Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Universe of Me

 Ok, it's time..... time to move to my own Universe. Planet Tracey has been in orbit around Wesley and Gerry for 30 years now and I'm feeling like it might be time to move to my own solar system. Wesley is working fiercely on the independence thing, needing me less and less and Gerry is on planet Associated Press, getting ready to go into shooting basketball every night and not being around... even when he is around..... just sayin'

So, let's talk about ME! I have to get out of the house more. You can only sit around in leggings and flannel shirts for so long and then you realize you are one major fashion tragedy. I took a hard look at my closet yesterday and it is a thing of woe. Time to make some changes. Do something different, stop planning my entire life around two other people. Everything I have done for thirty years has been focused on my family and their happiness and success. I have been the mom eating the burnt toast.

My pal Laura invited me and Wesley out to her studio to make prayer flags this weekend. This has now introduced a new obsession! I love making these flags! I got out all of my fabric stash, dusted off my White sewing machine that my dad bought me when I was in high school, and I spent the entire day yesterday happily stitching away. What a nice gift to myself. Making for the sheer joy of making. I didn't think about who would buy these, how much would I sell them for, where would I sell them, how would I photograph them for Etsy. Nada.... I just made....... bliss! Look at this happy mess! This room has not looked this creative in a year.

Here is Laura's prayer flag on her screened porch. Laura makes art for herself, alot. I am going to take a cue from her and start making things for just me or to give away. I hardly ever make anything without thinking of how much I am going to sell it for and who the customer will be.
Resting that for awhile.....

little raku beads and sticks from the Linville Gorge wrapped with embroidery thread
Wesley's flag, made with photo transfer paper and bleach stick

 Here are three I made yesterday, yes the photos suck, I only have an iphone now. Yes I live with a professional photographer that has thousands of dollars worth of camera gear, but I have an iphone and two broken point and shoot cameras. The cobbler still has no shoes....

Wesley came home for the weekend to finish up her Fulbright grant and get a little quiet from school. We had a great weekend together making and talking. More happy mess downstairs!


Wes gave me a tiny lap loom for my birthday that she got at Old Salem and I have been weaving away at night while watching TV. I have been holding on to a precious ball of yarn and strip of fabric Cindy, from Handstories blog sent me some time ago. Not knowing exactly what I wanted to do with it, not wanting to waste it. I finally used the materials and wove a little hanging this weekend. I used a couple of my raku beads and stuck in a chicken feather just for fun. I tucked it in the box of food and things I sent back to school with Wesley for a surprise. It really looks much nicer than my photo, ugh.

The best cup I ever made

Another yarn I have been hoarding. I bought this at a fiber festival last fall. I made little mats for my cups and tea pot, so cute and so quick, I don't get too overwhelmed by the size of the project this way. I have a problem with instant gratification. I start a project and I want to see the finished thing before I hardly even begin, so I stay at it until I can barely see anymore. Things like puzzles, knitting, weaving, painting...... I have a problem if they are big pieces..... this little loom is perfect for self control!

Also continuing to figure out this soap thing. Still don't have a clue how to get a really great fragrance, mine are ok, just meh..... but this last batch is soooo nice otherwise. I used sea clay and red moroccan clay, hemp seed oil and rosemary powder from my garden. They are soft and silky and I cut them in big chunky bar sizes so they feel like they are really special. I also made some little guest soaps, just experimenting with sizes and shapes. I ordered some new essential oils, gonna try a different path. The citrus is just not working, the fragrance won't stick and it is gone in a week. I'm going to try some more earthy oils that have more lasting properties and see how that goes. I do like the citrus, but its a waste of money to add these oils and then have them fade so fast. One of these days, it will all come together, they are getting better and better......

Now, off for some ME time!
peace y'all

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Where my egg go?

 Finally! We have been waiting for days for these girls to lay an egg. I was hoping for my birthday, but not too far off. My sweet girl Etta laid her first egg today! I have never heard such carrying on, all three of them. Dora and Sybil were on their perch cheering Etta on as she paced around, in and out of the coop, made a nice little place in the straw, moaned and groaned like she was in labor, back out of the coop, back in the coop.... this went on for most of the morning. The poor chicken was freaking out, and so were the other two. It was like she was screaming, "something's coming out of my ass, and I don't know what it issssss" !!!!!!!!

Right before noon, it got very quiet down there, and Gerry went to investigate. Etta was sitting on her egg, Gerry gently scooped it out from under her and she was ok with it all. He brought it in the house, still warm, sweet little egg.....

I struggled for a minute about whether I was going to actually be able to eat it..... but, hell yeah, that's what we got them for!

I held her for a bit and thanked her for the egg, she settled down and seemed to be over the trauma.

The shell was nice and hard, not too hard, but not thin and rubbery like I have been reading. I have read that the pullet eggs would be misshapen, rubbery, thin..... not my girls. They are eating the best organic non GMO food on the market, it's expensive, but that egg they produce is going in my body, I want it to be healthy! I give them dark leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, whatever we eat, they eat. I think the good care paid off. This was a fine egg.

It was small, but made a nice sandwich that Gerry and I split for a morning snack. I grilled a sesame bun with butter, tatsoi, tomato from our garden and some monterrey jack cheese, then topped it with Etta's egg.

I'm sure this is nothing new for those of you with chickens (you are probably laughing at me by now, haha), but this has been the most fun animal raising I have had in a long long time!

Thanks Etta

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

One of those perfect days......

I'm getting short, old and immature :)
 First of all, thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes, the emails and posts on my blog and instagram. So very nice to hear from all of you!! Made the day very special. xo

Wesley surprised me with a visit home yesterday. Gerry took me to breakfast, then we went to see the sculpture exhibition at the Botanical Gardens. We got home, parked right beside Wesley's car and I didn't even see it! Walked in the door and there she stood, I screamed! I was all set to be fine with her being at school, not a big deal, just another day, but it was so great to be surprised like that. I had already gone to Winston Salem on Sunday to have lunch with her and that was good a plenty. I am a very blessed mom to have this girl for my daughter. Except last night she said she dreamed that I kept insisting I was autistic. Now, what does that mean!?!?

Gerry gave me a great Carhardt vest for my birthday and some other nice gifts. Wes got me a little loom that I had seen at Old Salem, so cute, I'll show you once I weave something brilliant on it :)  She also brought me a bottle of Pliny the Elder beer from Lazarus. I'm liking this young man more and more, haha! Do you know this beer? It is apparently a rare breed that only comes around once a year, produced in Santa Rosa Ca, where he is from.

We shared the bottle of Pliny last night with a bowl of chili and some home made bread. We went out together for lunch but the day got rainier and colder and it seemed like staying in with a bowl of chili and beer was a great idea. It was. Perfect evening! Really good beer!

I had a lovely day at Old Salem on Sunday, as always. It's just a feast for the eyes. I have lots of pictures, I'l spread them out this week so you don't get crazy bored with my blog :)
This is where I would live if given a choice. In this little cabin with a garden out back. Perfect.
Lots of things are perfect lately, isn't it nice?!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Photo Essay

Way to go Gerry! Just a quick shout out to Gerry for a fantastic photo essay on the web today. If you look at online newspapers, you might have seen this. Gerry worked hard this summer on a special project with a local glass artist, Johnathan Davis and his efforts paid off. The package went out today and it looks like it got a tremendous response. He even made the AP Images blog today, so cool! Coincidentally, Jonathan was creating a sculpture for the NC Botanical Gardens sculpture exhibit, and he received an award for his creation. We went to see the exhibit today, strolling through through the gardens, looking at plants and sculptures, nice way to start my 54th year! When we got home, Wesley was here! She surprised me with a quick visit home, what an amazing family I have. Gifts you just can't buy!!!
Check out his photos here if ya wanna:


Monday, September 22, 2014

In a perfect world

Budweiser, blue jeans, cowboy boots, the smell of hay, sitting in the backyard on a cool morning, driving through the country with the windows down and Waylon in the CD player, Gerry playing his guitar on the front porch, the sound of Wesley's car pulling in our gravel driveway, fried okra, tomato sandwiches, chickens clucking, the smell of tomato leaves, dark chocolate, popcorn, farmer asking me if I would like him to tote the 'maters to the car for me, another farmer asking me if I want some 'taters, watching five episodes of The Killing on Saturday afternoons with Gerry, rain, more rain, Gerry's mother saying "do you love me?", my mother saying, "don't I look pretty?", fields of green and wildflowers in the mountains, a picnic with Wes, a hike with Gerry, Bloody Marys with friends, beer with friends, lunch with friends, playing corn hole and pool and foozball with friends, saying hello to my skateboard, a small but productive garden, herbs growing- mint, basil, rosemary, parsley, tarragon, building a chicken coop, cleaning said chicken coop.......

These were the things of my summer, random things that come to mind as I type, my last two hours of my 53rd year of living. September 23, I will be 54......... summer gone, fall is here. 

I still want a red ford pickup with white lettering on the tailgate, like the one my daddy had. I used to sit on his lap behind the wheel when I was a little girl and he would let me drive up Hwy 501 between Myrtle Beach and Conway, SC. It was a two lane road that ran through a pine forest back then. Now it is a four lane road that runs through a factory outlet store forest. My dad always had a pickup. A truck is a useful thing, I wonder why I have never had one, since I pretty much grew up in one. He hauled furniture with it.... he upholstered furniture for interior designers and motels and local folks at night after his day job. He had a shop in an old tobacco barn on a farm in Conway that belonged to Miss Dunn. That's all I know. There were cows. He would come home from work, eat supper and then I would ride back over to Conway with him while he worked, late into the night. I went with him to pick up and deliver the work too. I used to hate having to carry those damn sleeper sofas. I weighed about 80 pounds and I was carrying these big mofo pieces of furniture. Sometimes we would show up at a  house where a classmate lived. I would be embarrassed. When I was a 13 year old brat, he drove me to school and I would make him drop me off a block away so no one would see me coming to school in a pick up truck, especially when he had the red one. Funny, now I would give anything to have that truck, sit beside him in it, I would be proud to be with him....... wish I knew then what I know now....... I hope he knows. Yesterday, I drove to Winston Salem to have lunch with Wesley. I have a 4 CD pack of Waylon Jennings music, played them all on my drive and it got me to missing my dad. He always had a tape in his 8 track tape player, even when he was passed out on the sofa at 3am. I would sneak in to the living room to take it out and it would wake him up. He would say, "put it back in hot shot". That's what he called me.
Hot shot.... ha:)

I don't know what got me started down this road, I was going to write about what a perfect world would be.....  Ahhhh....... birthdays, I bought a six pack of Bud to get me through another one.
I was raised in the South, what can I say......

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The beginning.....

Can I just say....... I am beyond proud of my girl! Her professors are helping her apply for a Fulbright grant for her to continue documenting the monks of the Drepung monastery and travel to India next year. She asked the monastery for a reference letter and this came.... I cried......   Don't be surprised if you see a kickstarter here next year sometime:-) gotta get this girl reunited with our monks! Sorry, I am technologically challenged and couldn't make this better....  if you can't read it, basically its a letter from the head dude monk saying come on over and make your film, girl! We will help you any way we can, Whoop! This is her calling, if ever anyone had a calling, this is it!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014


God bless all the farmers out there! I got up early this morning and went to the Carrboro Farmers Market for some veggies. The air was crisp and cool, and apparently everyone slept in, because I got an easy parking spot and there were no lines at the stands. It pays to get up early. You get to experience the cool morning air and the quietness of the market. When I got there a couple of musicians had set up and were playing some really nice music, sort of Buena Vista Social Club.... congas and guitar, great way to start the day.

Our little garden space is in transition from summer to fall garden. Gerry absorbed so much information at the winter gardening workshop he took and we already have arugula, lettuces, white radishes, chard, kale and tatsoi coming up. We are so limited with our sun space, but Gerry worked hard to make it happen this year and we had a steady flow of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and even a tiny bit of okra. I grew a bunch of herbs and I have dried and ground some of them up and I'm using them in some soap balls.

Yesterday I made a bunch of these soap balls from trimmings. I had so much fun experimenting with ingredients. I threw in cinnamon, cardamon pods, poppy seed, thai basil, fennel seed, coriander seed, ground up black beans, nutmeg. Just grabbed things from the spice drawer and threw them in the chopper. My kitchen smelled amazing. The soap was already fragranced with lemon and rosemary and basil and the herbs and spice just added color, texture and aroma that was over the top. So fun!

I love the rustic look of these soap balls, soap rocks, what to call them. Dang, I struggle with naming things.....

This should be the week we get eggs from my girls. My birthday is this week so it would be lovely if they would gift me with their first eggs. They are in serious PMS mode, I'll tell ya that. Quite the little bitches this past couple of weeks!

The farmers market is just a feast for the senses. My senses have been on overload this week with fragrance and soap making anyway and the farm stands just added to it. A honey seller had some of his bees in his stall today. Work, work, work little bees! This honey making business is beyond understanding..... look at the perfect comb, how DO they DO that?!

This gentleman is one of my favorites. Every week he talks me into buying more than I intend to. If I pick up one pack of purple hull peas, he tells me how good they are and he offers me a dollar off if I buy two. Last week I just went ahead and picked up two because I knew what was coming, and what do you think? I ended up with THREE! He gives you this big ol' grin you can't resist, a pretty toothless grin I might add. Adorable.....

Last night I had one of my weekly insomnia nights and sometime around 3:30am I was thinking about my life and the waste of it right now. I'm doing next to nothing, inertia..... perhaps. I used to get on a plane every Monday and go somewhere, or get in a car and go somewhere. I did stuff. I went places. Now I do nothing. Its not that I'm unhappy, but I would still like to go places. I sure do lack motivation to do anything about it. Also lack funding. It was nice to travel and get paid for it.

Anyway, I was looking at this picture a moment ago, and thought about last night and my thinking about my lack of doing. Look at this dude. He is just there, tossing his roasting peppers about for his customers and he could not be more happy if he tried. So friendly and just enjoying the morning and the smell of those roasting peppers. So what if I'm not traveling all over the place anymore. Yes, I miss it, but I walk out in my backyard with a cup of fresh coffee in the morning, say hello to my chickens and check out the vegetables that are growing at my back door. I have good friends, an amazing family, and I don't really have a bunch of stress like I used to. I have abundance in my life....... its good.

We had good tomatoes this year, but they were for sandwiches and salads. I like to wait until late in the tomato season to buy a bunch of the ugly tomatoes in the boxes for canning. The prices are good and they don't have to really look good for canning. I found this one with a rather long nose at the bottom of the box. It just needs some eyeballs :)

I got 12 pints of tomatoes from a box this morning, so I canned some, ran out of jars, and froze the rest. The kitchen, once again smelled amazing. I'm gonna miss summer. It has been a rough one, but the fresh vegetables have been plentiful and we have eaten some good meals. Thinking now of cooler weather and the soups to come with these tomatoes.....

So that's my weekend, Gerry is shooting football at NC State, also working tomorrow. Wesley is at school but maybe coming home..... wishy washy child. I do have some exciting news to share about her but I'll save it for its very own post after I ask her if its ok. I like to ask.....

Have a great weekend
peace y'all