Banjo Man and I are back in front of the television. That’s not exactly breaking news, but it’s how we are surviving 2020.
And surviving 2020 is the name of the game.
Here are some Amazon Prime shows you might like to watch, too:
From the Boston Herald: “…the so-named two-part EPIX documentary uses archival interviews and footage to tell how the rural enclave in the Hollywood Hills outside Los Angeles became home to a laundry list of some of the most influential and famous names of 1960s and ’70s music, among them the Eagles, the Doors, the Mamas & the Papas, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joni Mitchell, the Byrds, Bonnie Raitt, The Monkees, Little Feat and Jackson Browne.”
This was great fun, with lots of background info and interviews from the musicians themselves.
Also on Amazon, this is a 4-part series about three historians who take on an 1850’s Victorian lifestyle for a year. Their experiences with livestock, plows, cooking and laundry are fascinating. Banjo Man has loved it, especially since he remembers his father using draft horses and the same equipment used in this documentary.
This is only two parts, but I hope they have more. It chronicles two British families trying hard to support the castles and estates they have inherited by renting rooms, serving tour groups, leasing land, etc. A glimpse into all the behind-the-scenes work.
And here is our favorite:
We loved this documentary. Lots of info about the Scotch whiskey business, plus the story of a man whose passion at 15 led to him being the most respected man in the business and a whiskey ambassador to the world.
The Funny Grandson turned 10 today! Does he look happy?
I think he does!
We wish we were there to celebrate with the family, but I sent an Early Birthday box of goodies–including a blueberry cake–three weeks ago.
Next year, when this Covid stuff is over, we’ll celebrate “Early Birthday” at the condo again, complete with breakfast at the Magnolia Cafe and root beer floats and balloons and bacon and walks along South Congress.
I just returned from voting at my town hall. “Early voting” was a first for me, because I love the excitement of election day. Four years ago I was up before dawn, itching to get to the polling place and cast my vote.
But this year I had to be practical and forego the excitement. Why? Well, I’m not ready to stand in long lines for hours. Physically I have come a long way since last year, but I don’t look forward to testing my stamina outside with the wind from the ocean blasting towards me.
And then there’s Covid. The governor is getting ready to wind us back to Phase 2, maybe at tomorrow’s press conference. How will that affect voting? I have no idea, but I wasn’t going to take any chances.
I have no idea what the not-at-all-peaceful protestors/anarchists/Antifa have planned for election day. They’re quite active up in the city and I cannot imagine them coming down here to the country, but if they were demonstrating at our polling place I would not be able to control my temper.
So I stood in the rain. And oh, was it raining! But it was kind of fun after all, standing in line outside of the town hall waiting my turn to go inside and cast my vote. They’d converted a garage into a polling place, complete with voting booths and registration desk.
I was in and out in twelve minutes.
Now I am warming up with coffee and homemade potato soup. I plan on spending the afternoon staring at my fabric cupboard for inspiration, as it’s time to start creating something new. I have no idea what that will be, though. But it is time to get busy and accomplish something.
This past week I’ve cleaned drawers and shelves in my office (and I have the huge stuffed black garbage bag to prove it!) and made another pass at my pantry shelves (and donated a load of glassware to the thrift store). I bought a new “stick” vacuum cleaner. And I cleaned out the freezer.
Now it’s time to hunker down with my sewing machine on a rainy day.
This fall the cabin got a new roof, a new porch, new screens, new supports and–ta da!–a floor. The excitement of the floor cannot be sufficiently described. Let’s just say that joy = pine tongue and groove.
Banjo Man loves sweeping it.
Son Will and Banjo Man spent several weeks assisting with all of these improvements, while our Montana contractor friend headed the crew and gave advice and instructions and worked alongside of the less-experienced members of my family.
Here’s an older photo of the view of the lake from the cabin. A lot of those trees are gone now and the view is more dramatic.
Oh, how Banjo Man loves it up there in the mountains! He’s owned the land since he was a young man, long before I came along. He is now shopping for a 4Runner to drive up there next summer. And he is making plans for a new outhouse.
I think there is a wood cookstove and maybe a propane refrigerator in our future. It’s off-the-grid, folks, and very primitive.
Which is part of its charm. According to my husband.
I drove down to Home Goods on Saturday hoping to find a white twin-sized fleece blanket. Oddly there were very few blankets. But there was a pumpkin pillow!
Banjo Man hauled my bins of velvet pumpkins and fall decorations up from the basement in the morning, so I am slowly placing pumpkins around the house. Later today I will finish decorating the mantle and organizing the decorations for the Thanksgiving tablescapes.
Let there be pumpkins!
On Sunday I went to the local pumpkin patch, where they were giving hay rides through the pumpkin fields. I should have bought a ticket and gone for a ride.
Can you see all the different pumpkins? Dark green, lemon yellow, pink, striped and the oh-so-popular butterscotch warty ones. The place was packed with people hauling pumpkins around on little wagons. Lots of excited children, too.
I bought a small striped one, having never seen them before. It reminded me of candy corn (note to self: must buy a bag). I would have bought more, but we live in the country at the end of a long driveway and there is no one to appreciate a decorated porch or smile at warty pumpkins.
And then it was time to move on to a farm stand on a beach road to buy a pot of mums for the dining room table. October in New England is a time of bright colored leaves, pumpkins, gourds, huge pots of mums and sunshine.
This was the view from the plane as we flew over Colorado last Wednesday afternoon.
The sudden onset of smoke was startling. Such a filthy sight after many miles of blue skies and fluffy white clouds!
Our trip back East was uneventful. We flew with Will to Denver and we separated in the plane so each one of us had a window seat. At Southwest the middle seats are still left open, which is lovely.
FYI: Everyone–and I mean everyone–wore masks. At the Spokane, Denver and Baltimore airports, every single person I saw was masked. As they were on all the flights. 100% compliance.
The airline industry wants you to feel safe. And we did.
Denver’s airport was packed with people, but the three of us found a restaurant where we had our last meal together and talked about our favorite moments of the summer. Then there were hugs goodbye and final waves and we went in different directions for the next flights.
Banjo Man and I landed in Baltimore at midnight, so that airport was much quieter. We spent the night in Baltimore and then flew out the next morning to arrive in Providence at 10:20 AM.
And yes, once again everyone was masked.
And now we are home. The leaves are turning color and falling to the ground. I am going to a pumpkin patch this morning to admire pumpkins and buy a little pot of mums. After a couple of weeks of cleaning the lake house in preparation of leaving it, we are now cleaning again.
Make it stop.
We had one last campfire the night before we left the lake.
We arrived here at the lake in early June, amidst the cool weather and plenty of clouds. And Covid. Naturally everyone was afraid of the virus, so we were careful to quarantine for two weeks after our flights from back East.
I was so afraid I would spend the summer all by myself, as I’d spent a very long spring. There is a quilt shop here in town, so I went there and bought fabric. Would I spend the summer cutting and sewing? Probably. Was my Texas family coming? Maybe not. Would I see my friends? I had no idea.
I cried all the way back to the lake.
But the isolation didn’t last forever, thank goodness. Check out the social distancing on the side of the mountain near Bull River in June.
We appreciated the fire.
Social distancing? Absolutely. Outside? What could be better!
Fortunately for my mental health, we found ways to get together these past four months. It’s all about the outdoors, of course.
Corn hole game.
Dancing Mandolin Players luncheon for the Montana and Peninsula gals.
Dinner for two with my French Friend Janou!
A morning with DMP visiting farm stands.
Looking for the rise of the moon.
A self-distancing Montana lunch and mini baby shower.
How about a late September cocktail party? Nine of us managed to stay safe while drinking wine and filling our plates with yummy food.
Hospitality at the Border.
My Texas family did indeed make the trip to Idaho. They drove, brought their own sheets and sleeping bags into the hotel rooms, used face masks and ate at drive-through restaurants. They were determined to get here safely and so they did. We had a ball.
Looking for fish.
And now we’re busy packing up, cleaning up, picking up. We only have a few days left before heading back to New England and whatever faces us there in relation to the virus. We’ll quarantine again. I’ll unpack my velvet pumpkins and bake pumpkin muffins. My November is filled with medical tests and procedures, but there is Thanksgiving to look forward to.
Everyone I’ve talked to says they’ve never experienced a storm like the one we had on Labor Day Monday.
The guys were up and out early, before seven, to head up to the cabin and get things ready for the work on the roof to start first thing Tuesday morning. I was alone with my coffee, enjoying the quiet.
And then the wind picked up. Really picked up. I stood at the living room doors to look down at the beach and realized I hadn’t taken down the umbrella and that Will’s favorite hat in the whole world, a straw hat purchased one July in New Orleans, was sitting on the grass beside the little stone patio.
So I headed downstairs to throw on some clothes and rescue the umbrella and hat. I was on the outside stairs heading down when I heard a tree creaking in the wind. Not a good sound! I turned around and headed back inside as the wind began to roar louder and the power went out (thank goodness for the generator).
The next four and half hours would be spent jogging from window to window and floor to floor watching trees fall around the house, watching the umbrella fly and bounce along the beach, talking on the phone with the neighbors (one had two trees crash onto her roof as we were talking, another had a huge tree smashed onto her garage, the other had our trees and her trees come down perilously close to her cabin) and texting Will to tell him and his father to stay up in the woods until the storm was over.
“Pandemonium”, as one volunteer EMT described our peninsula. The nearby campers at the packed federal campground had been woken by 8 am and told to run for their lives to the large open beach. Trees fell on tents and cars and RV’s, the road out was blocked and it would take emergency crews hours to saw open the road out to the highway once the wind stopped.
By noon we came out of our houses and surveyed the damage. Banjo Man and Will returned, having sawed themselves out of the woods. A tree had crashed across our driveway and had taken the power lines with it. We lost a screen on the porch, the top of a small tree (the one I assume had been creaking), and two huge trees near the water.
We were incredibly lucky. The rest of our road looked like a tornado blew through it. Hundreds of trees are down. It’s a huge mess and will be for quite a while.
That afternoon all we could hear were chainsaws and people calling to one another as they worked to remove trees. No one could believe the damage done or that the wind had blown so hard for so many hours.
This was the view from my front window, at the start of hour 2:
Metal chairs, supposedly tucked safely together at the end of the dock, blew four feet in the air and into the water. Including a chaise lounge, which I watched levitate as if it was plastic.
I have a video of trees being lifted at the roots every time the wind gusted and I have been trying for almost three weeks to upload it to my computer to share with you. So far I’m still struggling to get it to work. But I’m not giving up, because in the video you can hear the wind and watch the trees finally crash down.
You can see from this photo how the root systems lifted up:
My umbrella may or may not have survived. It’s on the lower deck and I have yet to see if is damaged beyond repair. The power and the internet returned after a few days. The crews came that afternoon and sawed trees from power lines and noted each individual situation. They were amazing.
And Will’s hat? It sat on its patch of grass for five hours and never budged. We have no idea why, as the inflated toys and chairs flew up the hill and crashed into rocks and trees.
The clean up continues, although for over a week no one could do anything outside as the smoke from the California and Oregon fires descended.
We lived in an eerie world for a while.
And now? The sun is shining. It’s 39 degrees, a lovely fall morning.
Here we are up at the cabin a couple of weeks ago. Banjo Man is explaining something to me. I do not remember a word he said.
That might be classed as a Secret to a Long Marriage: Don’t remember anything he says.
I’ll have to give that some thought.
Other revelations? If you are not prepared for constant compromise and if you and your future spouse don’t have a sense of humor, then get a dog instead of getting married.
Our fancy anniversary celebration today will consist of a late afternoon campfire on the beach (it rained buckets last night) with a bottle of wine, a make-your-own-flatbread-pizza party with Will and then a college football game or two on the tv.
Have I told you about our new internet? No more buffering during football games! It is truly remarkable and makes life worth living on game days.
We have eleven days left here at the lake. Work on the cabin continues furiously, as does my annual cleaning out of freezers, refrigerators, cabinets, closets, food, etc. There are chairs and tables and kayaks to store, along with a myriad of other things to do to close up the house for the winter.
But the rain has stopped and blue sky is peeking through the clouds, making life a bit easier. A campfire will be perfect on this chilly day as we celebrate this particular anniversary.