Category Archives: Anecdotes

Bears on a stroll and repainted rooms….

21Aug14 –  I came back from my walk this morning and unexpectedly came across a Momma bear and her 4 cubs visiting our back yard about 20 ft away. We startled each other and I chose to let her know I was leaving and going around the other way.  The first rule of mountain living: never get between a Momma bear and her cubs.  I rushed to the front door and closed it, rushed to the garage back door, closed it loudly, and then safely watched the 5 of them strolling through our back yard through the dining & living room windows.  I was enjoying them so much I  almost forgot to take photos.  Mom was very nonchalant as she led her troops all the way around the yard, down our driveway then down the main road until out of site..  Fun.  Fun.  Fun.  Gotta love the mountain life.

We are done painting for now!  Steve repainted the Laundry/Mudroom yesterday and the Master bath this morning.  Much better – they’ll look super when the trim is up in a future time, far, far away…..

My Heroes of the Trees of Heaven Decimation

16Jul14 – Jeronimo and crew spent the day ridding our property of the majority of our forest of invasive Trees of Heaven.  MY HEROES!  This is one time I was delighted that a material delivery will be a day late.  Deck building starts tomorrow.  Today they tackled the heavenly trees! What an amazing difference…..

As Steve was readying to chainsaw a rather large heavenly tree, he came upon a hornets nest in the ground, along with the complementary kazillion hornets.  Quick thinking told him not to try & climb up the steep slope so instead he just let ‘er rip and slid all the way down to lower Creston Drive, chain saw in hand, as he encountered blackberry brambles, vines and 4 ft tall weeds (thank goodness he didn’t meet any trees along the way!)  He escaped with only 2 bites to his hand.  Now, I didn’t know that this was going on from up at the entrance.  All I saw was the four of them, then 3 of them running away up the mountain and Steve yelling “Oh, !@#$%” and disappearing down the mountain.  Jernonimo then frantically waved me to go get my car and rescue Steve.  I couldn’t get there fast enough, not knowing what I’d find lying by the side of the lower road.  Thank our luck stars, he was upright and walking, a little worse for wear, but ok.  There now is what appears to be a large bear track going down through the black berry bushes all the way to the road.  But that’s all our Steve’s doing.

Ah, life in the mountains.  You ‘gotta love it.

Trees of Heaven – an impossibly healthy invasive; and digging trenches

14Jul14 – I’m finally tackling our very healthy orchard of Trees of Heaven.  They are prominent on the sunny slopes of the mountain. They are an invasive species.  Over time they will choke out the natural species that the insects, birds & wild animals depend on.  Oh no.

We have not done much about them the past two years as we weren’t concerned with the “yard” –  the Carriage House & the Maple Forest Cottage has had our attention.  But this year, they are huge!  So I donned my Trees of Heaven protective garb complete with my trusty sawzall and non-diluted super concentrated Round-Up. Once cut, by spraying the remaining sprouts, “trunks” for us, the chemical will seep into their roots and eventually prevent them from returning.  I should have taken a picture of the depths-of-darkness at the bases of our trees of heaven on the steep slope of our property as it goes down to meet the road.  It’s like a Jurassic Park jungle under there…  I’ll go back in tomorrow and do just that!

Lightning Strike and finishing the next stage of the Laundry/Mud room

23Jun14 –  Thunderstorms are everywhere.  10 years in the FL Keys and we had our share, never coming close to danger.  But living high on a mountain is another story.  It’s like you’re just asking to get noticed – by Mother Nature.  And we were.  Noticed that is:  the deafening sound of the thunder came after a second after the bright bolt of light (1 one thousand, 2 – what?!) which were enough to make me jump and get the heart pumping, but it was the big “POP!!” right after  that made me realize we might have a situation on our hands.

We didn’t lose our electricity, but all of our electronics were fried.  !@#$%^!  The bolt came from the cable box across the street, into our modem, router and out to all the connected products.  Darn! Had to use the wifi on my cell phone to get rudimentary real estate work done.  We spent a few days regrouping and the Maple Forest Cottage got put on temporary hold….

Steve finished putting up the channel bead board in the Laundry/Mudroom today – Love it! We’ll put the trim on later.  Up to the master bathroom next – that channel bead board will be 2 1/2″ wide there instead of the 3 1/2″ downstairs.

Winter Wonderland on the Mountain!

29Jan14 – What a beautiful sight to wake up to this morning:  Sunshine, blue skies and sparkling white powder all over.  All two inches deep of it!  This couple from the Keys gets excited about snowfall, to the amazement of neighbors & friends.

News from the top of the mountain…

08Jun13:  As I was coming up the mountain to work this morning I frightened a bear at the top.

He decided to stay.

And eat the leaves off a tree.

Right next to the Office entrance.

I stood by the car and talked with him for awhile since the front door was right to the left of him. He remained interested in his snack.  Do I? Don’t I? Do I? Don’t I?

I did and slowly made it to the door, unlocked it and scurried in.  If this is Berry, he knows I’m harmless as he just kept on eating.

Greetings from the Office Entrance....

Greetings from the Office Entrance….

Bears in the Back Yard – Take 2

We had our first visit from the bear family a couple of weeks ago when we found our bird feeder bent to the ground and not a seed left in sight.

We decided that the bird feeder may have to wait until hibernation season to be brought back out.

This weekend while I was in WV rendez-vous’ing with my Granddaughter, the bears came back. Deuter, our Maine Coon cat, saw them first as he sat frozen in place on the couch, body shaking, and his eyes glued to the french doors – outside were these big, black, furry animals just 6 feet from our deck railing.  Steve managed to get a few shots of the bear family – a Mama bear & her 3 cubs.  Coming back for more seed they were.

What we didn’t know, was that Hugh had wanted to surprise us and hung the bird feeder, Friday, from some fishing line on a branch away from the trunk of a backyard tree.  However, Mama bear apparently got up on her hind legs and was tall enough to tear the feeder down and the bear family ate all the seed once the feeder had been pried open.  Resourceful, I must say.  And black berries won’t be out for another 6 weeks.  No bird seed-a for you!

Baby bear in the back yard

Baby bear in the back yard

Bears in the back yard 2

Bears in the back yard 2


The Strawberry Festival’s Grand Parade

Saturday, 18May2013: Everyone (who wanted to) got to sleep in this morning. Aaahhhh…

11am:  Photo shoot at the campus water fountain! No, it became the stairs at the chapel.

11:45am – 130pm:  My first experience behind the scenes at a parade –  staging for the Strawberry Festival’s 3 hour Grand Parade.  Slogan:  Hurry up and wait. And then wait some more.  Got to see a lot of talented people, however.

I stayed until Kylie was off pedaling on her “Giraffe” unicycle with her 25 other Woodside One Wheeler cohorts, officially now in the Grand Parade.  Bye Kylie!  What a fun rendez-vous.

It was time for me to make my 6+ hour ride home, but all the streets out of town that I knew where blocked for the parade.  I needed to find someone who wasn’t attending this mega event to give me directions to the highway.  Again, be careful what you wish for.  As I was passing an impossibly slow driver on a city street the siren started blaring.  I thought the Fireman’s Parade was last night?!  OMG, where did that policemen with the bright lights behind me come from???

Well, I got my directions out of town. The only way out of town. And the officer was kind enough to not ticket me.  Saying I’m sorry and meaning it sometimes pays off….

I had a wonderful drive home through the mountains, singing to my favorite tunes all the way. Home by 9pm and happy to be there.

Got a text from Sue, Kylie’s mom, that the kids won 2nd place in the Grand Parade!!  Way to go, you guys!

(Photos coming soon!)



Buckhannon, WV: Strawberry Festival

17May2013:  What a full day with the Woodside One Wheelers!  There are about 25 kids from grade 3 to grade 12 at different levels of unicycle riding abilities.  About as many parents and then this Grandmother from the Asheville area.  Everyone has gotten along so well.  And the group has it’s share of comedians, too!

Kids practiced in the college parking lot, we went to the WV Wildlife Center & shared a tour with Sebastien from America’s Got talent (he also sang to us in the outdoor amphitheater), partook as spectators at the 72nd Annual Strawberry Festival, went to the Carnival, watched the Fireman’s Parade and then the kids performed on main street from 9-10pm.  Truly remarkable watching kids on unicycles performing synchronized moves as well as juggling & plate twirling!  The crowd loved them and I loved watching my Granddaughter, Kylie, show us her talents.  Dairy Queen for a treat and then a walk to my hotel & goodnight to my new friends as they continued on with their unicycles (“shorts”, “giraffes”, and “ultimate wheels”) in tow for another 1/2 mile to the college dorms.

Great Day. I’m exhausted.

(Photos will be downloaded when I get home)                                                And here we are:

Woodside Wheelers – or – Rendez-vous with Kylie

16May13:  Today I miss the framers & chimney masons working on our Maple Forest Cottage.


I get to drive to Buckhannon, WV to rendez-vous with my Grandaughter, Kylie, at Weslyan College.  She belongs to a youth group called Woodside One Wheelers and they are performing unicyclists!  What fun.  They left the Brunswick, Maine area by bus at 10pm last night and will arrive at the college around 1pm.  It’s a 6+ hour drive for me so I plan to get there around 6pm after they’ve settled in and are ready for the evening activities.  I’ve got a hotel reserved in case dorm life with kids-on-wheels becomes too much for this Grandmother!

We are both very excited about our first rendez-vous together…

Kylie with her Mom, Sue at the 1st Festival Parade

Kylie with her Mom, Sue, at the Festival’s 1st  Parade