Saturday, October 19, 2019

Had The Chimney Swept



Today the chimney sweep and his partner came to clean my chimney at the cabin.  They were so cute!  I was very impressed with their work.  They were a little dusty with the black chimney soot on their faces and hands.  It reminded me of the movie Mary Poppins.  That is one of my favorite dance numbers of all time, 

 I didn't expect was that one of the chimney cleaners was a young woman.  She was so sweet.  She had actually been one of the waitresses at The Blue Ridge Inn when I went there for dinner last week.  It reminded me of when I was her age, and had several different jobs.  I paid them $10.00 extra as a thank you.  It's heart warming to see young people starting their own businesses, making excellent money, and becoming independent.

The chimney hadn't been cleaned for two years.  The seller hadn't been using the cabin, because her husband was sick.  The home inspector let me know that it definitely  needed to be done.  I'm glad I took care of it right away.  It feels good to tick off those jobs on your home maintenance list.  Apparently it was very dirty.  Not anymore!

I asked how often I should wait between cleanings, and he recommended having it done after burning  two cords of wood.  That's about how much  I have left in the wood pile, so I will keep track and then call him again.  Have you had your chimney swept recently?

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Fall Flowers and Homegrown Fruit

Best Kept Secret is a fragrant rose that is a blushed pink and is  mildew resistant


Today I delivered several bags of homegrown pomegranates to my neighbors.  Everyone was so appreciative. It was fun to chat with people and catch up on their lives.  Riding the bike in the sunshine was such a pleasure.   I'm inspired to plant more fruit trees.  It's amazing how much fruit one standard tree can provide.  I'm so glad that I didn't give up on this tree during the drought.  The fruit was tiny and deformed for years.  This year, it's excellent.  The rain and extra water made all of the difference.   

I planted this Bougainvillea along the driveway  

 I was thrilled to see that the Bougainvillea has finally flowered.  I love the color; I was actually afraid that it was dead.  Still, I continued to water and mulch it, and it is finally looking healthy and happy.  This plant is drought tolerant, and doesn't need a lot of care. I am hoping it will get huge.  I plan to put lots of it around the cottage.  I think it will look beautiful and am pleased that it will be able to stand the hot summers that we get in Canyon Country.  I hope it gets stronger and larger.  



I got some hand laundry done while I was home.  I knit the socks and hat.  The cashmere sweater I bought on sale twenty years ago.  It's still so warm and soft.  I can usually find these on clearance at T.J. Maxx in January or February.  This one was $25.00.  It washes up to beautifully.  What have you been doing around your home?

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Living in the Woods and Hiking

trail head in Autumn

I have noticed that since I've been spending time up at the cabin, it has made me really appreciate life at the pink cottage.  There are so many contrasts.  The climates are totally different.  Up in the mountains, I build a fire in the fireplace, gaze into it, and have a tendency to veg out and read.  When I drive back down to Canyon Country, I get busy cooking, gardening, doing laundry, cleaning, and paying bills.  It gives me a nice balance.  I work at the cottage, and gather wood, hike, play, and relax at the cabin.

stopping for a rest after hiking a mile

Today I picked most of the pomegranates off of my bush.  They were starting to split, so I knew they were ripe.  This harvest has been by far the best in several years.  The fruit is so healthy.  Having the rain last season made all of the difference.  I gave out bags of them to my neighbors.  I have several more  to share with friends up at the cabin.  They seem like the type of people that would really appreciate home grown fruit. 

it's so nice to have land and space

I notice that my knees act up a little in the colder climate.  I'm not sure if it is all of the stairs, the temperature, or the new hikes.  All I know is that when I am back in the warm weather at the cottage, my knees feel fine.  I remember hearing about old people moving from cold states back east to places like Las Vegas, for the warmth.  Now I understand why.  It's interesting how our joints respond to temperature and wetness.  I've been enjoying sitting on the sunny porch while I'm home.  Lula loves to lounge in the backyard, too.  She appreciates the sunshine as much as I do.  She has made it clear that she is eager to hop back into the car and get back up to the mountains, though, too.

I walk down through these trees to the street below, which takes me into town

I remember my mom commenting on how big the kitchen is at the cottage.  It's true.  It's an old fashioned one, and  is ideal for cooking, baking, and soap making.  I can really spread out and be comfortable.  Even though the cottage is tiny, it is very well designed.  The garden feels welcoming and healing, too.  I love sitting out there and admiring the roses, cosmos, zinnias, and sunflowers.  All the hard work has paid off, and it's waiting for me when I arrive.  The gopher plant and amaranth are in bloom, too.  Soon the citrus will be ready to pick.  I am excited about new crop of  Meyer lemons.  It has been years since I've had a successful harvest. I had almost given up on that tree.  I'm so glad that I didn't.   I love that variety; they make the best puddings and cakes.  Are you harvesting anything at your place?

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Monday, October 14, 2019

From the Cold to the Sunshine

view of the mountains on our last hike; it feels otherworldly up there


It's been interesting traveling back and forth between the cottage and the cabin.  The weather is SO different!  I wear sun dresses and sandals at the cottage.  The roses and zinnias are still in bloom.  The artichoke plant from last year is coming back to life.  The hanging baskets are colorful with pink geraniums in bloom.  I love sitting out in the sunshine on the porch.


Lula takes herself up to bed early

Meanwhile, back at the cabin,  I have a fire in the fireplace constantly.  I close off the lower living room and kitchen, and the rooms become warm and toasty.  The heat rises, and by the time I go to bed, the bedrooms are also comfortably heated, without turning on the gas heater.  


I went to an interesting seminar on safe hiking at the local hardware store in Wrightwood.  It was excellent information.  I have been carrying a backpack now when I hike.  It's so important to pack identification, warm clothes, water, matches, first aid supplies, your health insurance information, and food.  You just never know what will happen. You can also help other people in need if you run into them along the way.  


Chris, the man who gave the lecture, works in search and rescue.  He told us that many people just go out hiking with nothing, and they end up lost, or in the dark without a compass, map, or knowledge of where they are.  It can happen really quickly this time of year.  Once I got disoriented on a hike in New Mexico.  I had just moved there.  I ended up asking my dog, "Where's the car?"  She hiked straight down the mountain.  I was all confused and turned around in my mind.  In actuality, we were just above my guest house, but I couldn't see it, because the incline was so steep.  What a close call.

Chris told us to have a flashlight,  as well.  The older I get, the more conservative I become.  I also carry pepper spray and a rod iron bar.  Hiking boots with well defined tread make a big difference, too.  I have some snow boots on order.  They're made in Canada, so I'm sure they're excellent quality.  I have a feeling it is going to snow soon.  I can smell it in the air; it reminds me of my childhood in Seattle.  We shall see...

What do you take with you when you walk or hike?

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Nearby Fires

I'm sorry that I haven't been able to comment on all of your blogs.  We have had some fires in the San Fernando area recently.  I am making arrangements and getting organized.  It's nice to have somewhere to go in situations like these; the freeways can get clogged.

Once I figure out how to post on my blog up in the mountains, I will.  There are a few extra steps I need to learn.  I use the Internet at the local library.  Thanks for reading.

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Exploring Your New Town in Retirement



I have been getting to know the new neighborhood  in the past few weeks, and it's exciting.  I think some locations just feel "right" to us.  Whenever I drive into Wrightwood and see all of the trees, I feel like I am home.  I relax, sigh, and my heart opens. We all resonate with   certain places, geographically.  It's difficult and uncomfortable to live in a place where you don't feel that connection.  It's so important to our happiness and well being.

I was excited to post some more photos for you, and then realized that I forgot to bring them with me.  It seems each day I am forgetting something new.  Oh well.  I will post them in the next few days.  This afternoon I went to the Farmers Market.  I can walk there.   I was very impressed with the array of goods and the quality of the produce.

I bought some Wonderful pomegranates, a couple of zucchini, two small melons, and a basket of luscious figs.  The fruit is expensive, so I don't know how often I will shop there.  It is convenient, though.  I also like to support the farmers.  They have to pay for their gas, time, stalls, and all the work that it takes to grow food.  I think I've gotten spoiled by the inexpensive prices at Valley Produce, in Santa Clarita.

I'm looking forward to trying one of the line dancing classes there.  It's held at the Community Center.  There is  also a free movie night.  The hikes and walks have been amazing.  I just love wandering through our neighborhood, and admiring all of the cabins.  They make my heart sing.

I got a post office box at the post office, and met some very friendly people there.  Everyone I ask seems to really enjoy living there.  It's different than Los Angeles, which is almost always warm and sunny. Many people move back after leaving.  It's a slower paced way of life.  We all love Winter and the snow.

I went out for dinner at a lovely restaurant that the seller recommended.  It had such an elegant atmosphere.  Some of the customers looked like skiers. Outdoorsy types are so healthy looking.  They all have rosy cheeks and big smiles.  They seem energized by nature and their auras are radiant.  I love it!  Do you feel at home where you live?

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Admiring the Nearby Homes and Cabins

this is one of my favorites


One thing I love about the cabin is that I can walk anywhere I need to go.  The post office, grocery store, hardware store, library, and restaurants are all a very short distance from where I live.  It's nice not to need to use the car.  I love the exercise, and the scenery walking to town is exquisite. 

the mature trees and gingerbread detail give this one so much charm

I always admire the stone work on these cabins.  I love the contrast of it against the wood.  Everyone in this area has a fireplace or wood stove.  Even the restaurants usually have a roaring fire going.  It really adds to the atmosphere and makes you feel welcome.  Once home, I find that I  want to brew a fresh pot of coffee or tea,  lay on the couch, and stare at the dancing  flames.  The sound of the  crackling kindling  brings back childhood memories of Christmas to me.  My dad would always build us a fire.  It was something that we all enjoyed.  I kept it going.  

Lula is leading the way home

In just ten minutes, we are at some of the most gorgeous hiking trails in California.  It's a quick drive, and there's no traffic.  The other night I sped out here after it got dark.  I was the only car on the road for the entire time, once I had turned off the highway, towards the mountains.  I guess people go home after work, eat dinner, and stay indoors.  It's such a different feel from the hurried pace of the city.


I stumbled upon this community garden the other day.  It looks like it's very popular.  There are all kinds of different plants growing.  I noticed some grape vines.  From what I've seen, red apples and pears do very well here.  They get the chilling that they need.  How is your garden doing?

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Walking Home From the Library



I took this photo as I was walking home from the library.  I found out that it's closed on Sunday.  This was the first time since the dog attack that I have walked anywhere from my cabin.  I left Lula at home, and brought a long rod iron bar with me.  This is my street.  I think it's just breathtaking.  



My favorite cafe is called the Village Grind.  It's such a sweet little place.  They allow dogs on the patio.  I go there regularly.  It's so different than Starbucks and the other chains.  I love the charm and attention to detail.  They have terrific reviews on Facebook, Yelp, and Travel Advisor, which are well deserved.  "It's small, but it's ours," the owner told me with a smile.  You can really see the love and care that they have poured into this place.



This door leads to the patio.  They also have al fresco tables near the entrance.  Most people in Wrightwood like to sit outside and gaze at the mountains.  It's mesmerizing.  It looks like they have quite a selection of wine, as well.  That old fashioned popcorn maker gets regular use.  The sandwiches are excellent, too.



Lula and I have been hiking every day.  I bought a map of all of the trails at the local hardware store.  It's exciting to explore all of the different areas.  It's a camper and hiker's paradise up there.   The air just fills up your lungs with oxygen.  It's so healing and rejuvenating.



I noticed these brightly colored red berries on our hike.  They look so festive.  I'm not sure what they are.  I bet the birds love them; they remind me of holly.  Have you been doing much walking or hiking where you live?  It's my new passion.

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Saturday, October 5, 2019

Doing Laundry and Picking Pomegranates



I came back to the cottage to catch up on some chores and writing.  The cabin doesn't have a washer and dryer, so I do my laundry here.  I also have my trash collected at home, rather than paying for it at two different places.  I have so little, because I compost and recycle most of what I use.  This is where I do my blogging, fill my Etsy orders, and catch up with online friends like you.  I also made a fresh batch of nectar for the hummingbirds.   


Yesterday I took my car in to have the oil changed.  I just realized by reading the receipt that I have been having this done twice as often as I need to do.  Next time I will wait for 6,000 miles before servicing.  I paid the owner to show me how to put the snow chains on my tires.  The new style is different than the pair that I had twenty years ago, in Santa Fe.  Next, I need to buy some snow boots and hiking boots.


For the first time in several years, the pomegranates look healthy.  I think last year's rain really helped.  I also fed them compost tea.  They taste delicious, and are ripening more each day.


I fed the roses, and need to feed the citrus trees, as well.  Some nocturnal animal has been picking my navel oranges and leaving them on the ground.  (sigh)  I put some netting up, but I think I need to buy more to cover the tree completely.  These are the blood oranges.  I will spread compost around them next time I am home. I save my fruit and vegetable trimming up at the cabin, and bring them back to the cottage compost pile.  I would attract bears if I composted up in the woods.

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Friday, October 4, 2019

Swinging On the Deck Overlooking the Forest

the swing is beautifully made and it's threaded through the beams


One of my favorite features of the new cabin is the swing that's out on the deck.  It is so freeing to sit there and swing, enjoying the view of the gorgeous trees and mountains.  On my way home from the library last night, I noticed a young girl swinging in her front yard.  It was so sweet to watch her.  You don't see that as much anymore.  Most people seem to spend a lot of time glued to their phones.



I don't know the names of all of the trees up there yet.  This one is one of my favorites.  It's so delicate.  I had never seen it until I moved up to Wrightwood.  The shade of green and the soft, light texture makes me marvel at nature's artistry. 



This is the sun room.  The couch is SO comfortable, and it folds out into a bed.  The one by the fireplace also makes into  a bed.  I guess if I ever have trouble climbing stairs, I can just sleep by the fire.  The seller told me that she used to sit in this room and do jigsaw puzzles, while  watching the snow fall.  It has a   large picture window.  I will probably recline on the comfy sofa and knit. It's so plush and soft; it makes me want to take a nap.  I'm terrible at jigsaw puzzles.  The thought of doing one completely stresses me out...the pieces are so small, and there are so many of them.  Maybe I'll give it a try, anyway.  She left some up in the guest room.  There are also several board games.  I don't have internet up there, and I may keep it that way.   


There are several birdhouses out on the deck.  I love the different shapes and styles.  There is a huge stash of bird seed in the pantry.  I'm not sure if I will feed them; I don't want to attract rodents.  I'll leave them up for decoration.  The attention to detail in the decor really impresses me.  It's so special. 

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Vintage Cabin Furnishings

I love the front door.  It is pure quality.  The letter box is very sweet, too.


I took some photos up at the cabin to share with you.  The seller left the place completely furnished.  It is amazing!  Anything you need is there.  It is so comfortable and cozy.  I felt as snug as a bug in a rug, as we used to say.


Here is the kitchen.  It takes me back in time.  The stove is petite and electric.  It reminds me of my mom's  when I was a child.  


The oven is spotless.  The lady who took care of this house and her family  for twenty years was an impeccable housekeeper.  The cabinets are just lovely, too.  Everything is in excellent condition, and so well made.  The original owner built it.  He was from Germany.  What a talented man!  I love the ceiling beams.


The kitchen is small but  efficient.  It has a gorgeous view of the mountains and pine trees.  It's like a painting.


The bedrooms are just big enough to fit a bed, and small chair, and a dresser.  They remind me of children's rooms.  In those days, bedrooms were built to be just big enough for sleeping.  There is also a tiny loft with a hand carved ladder.  I'm sure the boys in the family loved sleeping up there.

Do you have a small or large house?  Do you use all of the space, or find that you gravitate toward one favorite area?   Lula likes to hang out upstairs. Sometimes I hear her tripping.  It's a lot of extra sounds with four legs.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

First Night at the Cabin

my favorite part of the cabin


Last night was the first night we stayed at the cabin.  It was so incredible!  The bed is really comfortable.  Lula somehow knew which bed we would be sleeping in, and she was waiting for me in the master bedroom, once I got upstairs.  She looked like she was smiling and saying,  "I'm all ready for bed, in our new place... " She  is so funny.  She has been glued to my side since the Rottweiler and Mastiff attacked her. We are even closer now.  It's funny how going through something like that together strengthens your bond.

this is the view from the deck

The bed was really comfortable.  Sitting by the fireplace and knitting during the day was such a treat.  I have been longing for a fireplace for twenty years.  I am so looking forward to the snow.  It is going to be a stunning winter wonderland up there.  Now I need to buy some snow boots.

the fireplace is so cozy and warm

I met a few more neighbors.  I have really lucked out.  They seem very fit, outdoorsy, and happy.  People who love the mountains seem to have something in common, spiritually.  I feel very at home there.  It's so peaceful.

I stacked up some wood for the evening       

   
 We went on a new hiking trail today.  The landscape is so green and healthy.  The pine trees and oaks make all the difference.  It feels so healthy and healing to hike in the mountain air.  A cabin in the woods is like glamping.  You have the best of both worlds. How are things with you?

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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Recovering



I deleted the post about Lula's attack.  Last Tuesday she was mauled by two vicious dogs.  Animal Control is working on it.  Her wounds are healing well.  I had some scratches,  scrapes, and nicks, as well.  We are both relieved it wasn't worse. 

We've been staying home at the cottage.  Until these dogs are impounded or euthanized, I don't feel safe staying up at the cabin.  It really shook me up.  I've been making a lot of mistakes and wrong turns when out driving.  It's strange how a close brush with death affects you.  The owner of the Rottweiler and Mastiff is still not answering the door.

Thank you for all of your comments and support.  I've been talking with friends and neighbors, and that has helped a lot.  It will be a relief once we have the hearing, and Animal Control decides what to do.  I am trying not to think about all of the "what ifs"...

I am so thankful that I didn't sell my cottage.  I have so many kind neighbors here.  You can't put a price on that; I've lived here for over twenty years.  I chat with many of my neighbors on a daily basis.  That routine is what makes a community.   

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