Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Old Man and the Sea

As all may know, we went to Ocracoke this past September for one of the family rituals that we have nurtured through the years (along with the fair in October, Texas in July, Badin Lake in March etc). Chubby and Sallie came in from Texas and Brittney breezed in from UNC the last couple of days. Well, our trip is old news, but suffice it to say that we had a great time. If it weren't for the mosquitoes that nearly carried us away, I believe it might have been even better.

Chubby saved his money and wanted us to go out on a charter boat and catch a "big fish". We chartered a boat and went out on Thursday morning, which turned out to be the first day of the week with threatening weather. Still, we made it to the wreck without difficulty. We did have some waves which made it easy to get a little queezy (just ask Hunter). Once on the wreck, we started fishing and almost immediately started hanging fish. The first several cut the lines but eventually, we started hooking some that stayed on. This one was the biggest of the day, an Amberjack weighing 46#. We caught two others greater than 25 pounds.

Hunter caught a bunch of Vermilion snappers, but wasn't quite able to bring in the Amberjacks. I believe he did help us though by his frequent "chumming" of the waters :-)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Hunter and Dad's Mountain Tour






Hunter and I just got back from a two day trip to the North Carolina northern mountains. Hunter had wanted to go and we couldn't have picked a better time. The weather was phenomenal - mid 70's while down in the lowland it was the high 90's!
We started out on Wednesday morning in the truck and headed west. I always like to go different ways when I have time, so we went through all the odd towns. Albermarle, Granite Quarry, Salisbury, Statesville, Taylorsville, Lenoir. And then, the mountain. Hunter wanted to go all the back roads, so of course we went up the mountain on mostly gravel roads. It took a long time, but it really was fun. Twisting and turning, switchbacks to get up the steepest parts. The road followed the creeks, so there were frequent pull offs where you could walk to the creek and hop from rock to rock. We saw only one or two cars the whole way up the mountain. The road and all the bridges were one lane. Along the way, we met the man that grades this road. He was on an old road grader that had no seat. Talk about a nerve racking job! Having to go around all those curves with the grader. One wheel off the edge and down you go!
When we finally got to the top, we came out in the small town of Linville. It was late in the day, but we wanted to try and make it to the Linville Caverns before they closed. We got there just in time for the last tour. Not the most extensive caverns I have ever seen, but interesting. Hunter got to ask a bunch of questions and saw a few bats roosting in the cave. We also got to experience "total darkness" and a real scary story about a couple of 15 year olds that dropped their only lantern in the water when exploring the cave. Said that they finally made it out after two days by following the flow of the water.
Later that night, we got to Boone and went to the show "Horn in the West". It was supposed to last 2 1/2 hours, but we got rained out at the intermission. The show was about Dan'l Boone and the early pioneers that came through the area.
We spent the night in a Boone hotel and next morning, we headed north for a day of backroad driving, geocaching, and exploring small towns and tourist shops. We went through Todd (and it's general store), Trout, Jefferson, and Sparta. We found a couple of caches in the high mountains, one on the New River and one in a park in Jefferson. All beautiful places. On the way home from Sparta, we took a much faster road. Came down through Roaring Gap on 21 to Elkin. Once we got to 421, it was smooth riding all the way home. It was an awakening to get down the mountain where it was hot again. Now we are just waiting to do it again!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Hunter and Dad's Eastern NC Trip





Hunter and I made a trip "down east" to the Aurora Fossil museum (among other places). We are trying to go somewhere every month at least this summer while Hunter is out of school and I am on a stretch off of work. Aurora has always been a destination that I have wanted to go to as we pass the ferry going there every year while traveling to Ocracoke. Of course, then we have no time!

We left fairly early in the morning on Thursday. Our plan was to make the trip east while stopping frequently in the areas we were traveling through to geocache. My new GPSr has a mapping feature, so as you travel, it will show geocaches in the area. If one is convenient, we would look it up on my pda (yes, I do paperless geocaching now - what a geek!) and if it looked interesting, we would stop to find it. Although this does not make for fast traveling, it does add a lot of interesting stops along the way.

We got to Aurora middle of the afternoon, and it was hot. The museum in Aurora is very nice with lots of fossil displays. We spent the first of our time in Aurora looking through the museum. It was air conditioned! Later, we were in the pilings out front looking for some fossils of our own. The pile that we looked through had lots of sharks teeth, coral pieces and other small fossils. No big ones would ever be found, as this material had been pumped through a sludge pump. To find the really nice, larger teeth and bones, it is necessary to go into the phosphate mine itself, and this requires forsight and cash. You have to apply and pay a membership fee.

After a couple hours there, we left to go towards New Bern. After stopping at Charlie's restaurant to have a bite, we got into New Bern about dark. I did my normal routine - drove into a neighborhood and found some wireless access, looked up local motels on google and started calling. Within a few minutes, I had us a room at the Comfort Inn on the waterfront. We got in our room and took a walk in Federal Park on the waterfront. Lots of history there. This is on the point overlooking the river and the site of the Union takeover in the War of Northern Aggression.

Next morning, Hunter and I went to Tryon Palace, paid the fees and started touring the grounds. Hot and dry! We were there on a day that was not busy. We got to meet a family dressed in period clothes and on the tour of the palace, we got to meet Governor Tryon himself! Hunter had a few questions for him. The palace grounds have lots of gardens. Some of them were suffering from the heat and drought, but overall, very pretty.

After seeing the palace, we left New Bern and began the trip towards Wilmington. We still had some geocaching to do, as well as a trip to Hammock's Beach State Park. I would recommend it to anyone with half a day or more to spare. A very beautiful beach, and lightly used. The sea turtles had laid eggs in the dunes the night before. We almost got stranded on the island (you have to take a boat to the island), but we caught the last boat off just as a thunderstorm was approaching. We got back to the car, found a couple more geocaches on our trip towards Wilmington, and ate pizza at a small pizza joint on the way. Got to Steve's place just after dark. Joy and the rest of the family were on there way, but had not gotten there yet. They did arrive very late that night.

The next morning, Joy, Walker and I went out to the yard sales, something we do a lot of Saturday mornings. We didn't find any interesting steals however, so we went back to the house. The rest of the day was spent between the pier, in the kayak and the deck on the house where we set up Walker's kiddy pool. He had a great time in the pool! Next day after lunch, we began the trip back. Took it kind of slow and got back late in the day. Glad to be home, but all in all, a great trip!


Friday, June 15, 2007

Visit to NC Museum of Natural History


Hunter and I took a trip to Raleigh on Tuesday to vist the museum. What prodded us to go was a display of Todd Pusser's photography there, but as all know, I can get lost in any museum, particularly natural history.

When we got into town, our first challenge was finding a parking space. I had come to town with no cash, so I could not put money in a parking meter nor could I pay the attendent in the parking lots. I had to drive around to find a teller, then we had to go back downtown and find a lot with vacancies. All in all, it took awhile.

The museum tour was nice. Hunter and I both got an audio tourguide that told us about the exhibits as we went. We probably spent too much time there, at least according to Hunter. I believe that we were there at least 4 hours!

I got Hunter's picture (above) at the entrance to the museum on our way out. It really was a beautiful day! We left Raleigh on our way to Streets of Southpoint to see the exhibition (Bodies: the exhibition). I really thought it was incredible. Every organ and system in the body was seen from virtually every angle. If you have not seen it, you should go. It is expensive ($25), but if you are interested in this sort of thing, it is well worth it. I saw a comment from someone saying it made them appreciate and want to take care of their body. It made me feel that way too. Once again, I believe I probably enjoyed it more than Hunter, but it was good for us both.

Afterward, we ate at the California Pizza factory (way overpriced and over hyped) and on our way home.

Next week, Hunter and I are going to Aurora to look for marine fossils! Look for more to come then!

Friday, June 8, 2007

New Blogger Google Widget for Macs

Well, it is the middle of the night and I am at work.  Things are running smoothly, so I found this google widget to do blog postings on our blogger website.  You may remember that I have tried "Performancing", which is a Firefox addon that you can use to post to blogger with. Performancing has been nice but spotty.  Also, you cannot post pictures directly to blogger using it.  If you have the pictures hosted on another site, you can post links to them.  I believe this google widget will have that limitation as well, but at least it will probably work each time you try to use it.  It does make it a lot easier to post an entry if you do not have to go to the site, log in, etc etc.  

Well, that is it for tonight.   

Monday, April 30, 2007

Engines that go Vroom!

What is it about boys and equipment with engines? I can remember stories of Tim driving Papa Smith's tractor at a young age. Hunter has enjoyed riding the lawnmower since a toddler - be it with his dad or granddad. The four wheeler and tractor have had the same allure. Now, we see the same excitement in Walker. Hunter is having to learn to share the lap and time with his brother when moments with Dad or Granddad present itself.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Terrific Kid for Hunter











Today was a great day for 3rd Grade recognition. Hunter got to stand proud for being on the honor roll and also received an award for being a "Terrific Kid". He seemed excited, except for when his mom went to give him a congratulatory hug....."Ewww! Yuk, Mom!"

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Day of Geocaching



Today, I went Geocaching with a friend of mine in northern Moore county and southern Chatham county.& Ronnie Emmons is a nurse I work with in CVT. He and I have been talking about geocaching and he wanted to give it a try. I am always looking for an excuse to go, so I arranged to meet Ronnie and to cache north of Carthage. We picked a beautiful day and took off around 10 AM. We go the first couple of caches in Carthage and then moved north to the House in the Horseshoe.



Ronnie is using the name, Lazy Scrub as a geocaching moniker. He and I found 8 caches over a wide area, finally ending up in Pittsboro at the Jaycee park. No doubt, the most interesting cache we found today was the Camelback Bridge near Gulf. It is a beautiful little park over the Deep river. The pictures here are of the park and a picture of Lazy Scrub on the bridge near the cache site.



After finishing up caching, we went to Elizabeth's Italian restaurant to eat. We called Brittney to come join us for lunch, but she was in class. All in all, a great day.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Help with the housework


I thought you all might enjoy seeing this picture of Joy running the vacuum cleaner with a little help. Seems as this is a commonality to all of our children - they like vacuums when toddlers, tractors and lawnmowers when preschoolers and neither when they are teenagers!

This picture (it is Brittney) is no different than what you might see around the house now with Walker or what you might have seen a few years ago with Hunter. Walker even got his own vacuum for Christmas and has used it a lot, although he certainly prefers the real thing. Anything that makes a lot of noise or is outside seems to interest him. The boy would live outside.

Hunter also likes the outdoors and would spend as much time as possible there. It seems that we have a hard time getting him there. Just yesterday (he is out of school this week), we had planned a day at Badin Lake but were unable to go because of the nasty, cold weather. We did end up going geocaching in the rain. We had good luck and quickly found three, but got completely soaked in the endeavor. Took a trip to Biscuitville to warm us up!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

www.wherethehellisbritt.com

Brittney on our recent trip to Vermont, dancing over a frozen Connecticut river.

Great Job, Brittney!!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

10 Year Honeymoon Anniversary Trip





Ten years of bliss is upon us. Yes! Tim and I have been married 10 years. We escaped to Ocracoke Island to celebrate – leaving all three kids in the loving hands of their big sister Brittney. She did a wonderful job especially with Walker who spiked a temperature of 104 one night.

We left on Wednesday the 4th of April, with no time limits or agenda – other than to get to our destination. Even signing our taxes and paying the Government didn’t dampen the mood. We were on the road by noon and rather than being stressed to get to the ferry on time, we elected to drive down the OuterBanks. We listened to an old cassette we both had made when we were dating called "Reply". It was fun reminiscing. I would record a special song, then he would get to listen to the surprise song/words, interpret them as he wished and then reply with his song. And then we continued back and forth. It was fun remembering what we intended to say in each song. Really quite romantic -young love. Now, ten years later, the "Married with Children" series doesn't seem so funny, only real!

We arrived at 9:10PM to a wait time of 50 minutes till the ferry to the island arrived. Our first night out was spent enjoying a picnic (in the truck) by flashlight! It was nice and cozy inside – it was cold and breezy outside!

Our nice little studio suite was cute. We – well, my husband, searched and searched for “free” – well, borrowed – wireless Internet. We didn’t miss the TV nor the DVD player nor the phone ringing all the time, but we did miss the Internet. He did find it, but only if you were out on the balcony – in the breezy, cold weather. We did enjoy the fire! (free standing, enclosed gas logs), but the romantic image was still there.

The Island was surprisingly busy for this time of year, but I guess Spring break and Easter vacation brought all the visitors out. We drove on the beach, we walked through the village, we found the coffee shop – shut down for remodeling, we found a “hippy, Busch-bashing, love child” store. We laughed and had some “oh my” moments too while shopping there. We enjoyed eating out too. One place was called the “Flying Melon”. What a name! And their d├ęcor was colorful chickens and roosters – not melons. I couldn’t help, but ask what the name stood for and the response was that the co-owner had a melon-head, thus the Flying Melon seemed to fit. Hmmm?? You have to wonder about some of these “island folk”.

It was a delightful trip, just enjoying each other and the quaintness of the island. We left on Saturday – with bad weather canceling the Cedar Island ferry and a long line waiting for the short ferry to Hatteras. While on the ferry, we were dusted with sleet and even saw some snowflakes. We missed a geo-cache though. Darn! If we had just been paying attention to the pieces of wood in the ocean? The drive home was long, but we did some Easter bunny shopping and we arrived home safely. “Finally!” was Brittney’s sigh!

Friday, April 6, 2007

The Big Fish!



This is no Fish tale! A fish tail, yes! Brittney, being the daughter of a hard core fisherman – braved the waters of Baden Lake, as did Hunter, to set out a Trot line! (A long rope like thing with hooks bated with yucky stuff and left to sit in the water, waiting for some dumb fish to take a bite) Kind of takes the fun out of real fishing, but anyway! Midnight comes and a need to check the lines is noted. “We were just riding along the lake, enjoying the moonlight. We slowly pulled up to where we had our line placed. And out of the peaceful water jumped this huge creature. It was splashing its tail in the water, ‘bout made me pee in my pants. I jumped up, screamed and started to clammer to the back of the boat. I could hear dad yelling “Brittney settle down. Your about to rock over the boat, not to mention fall out.” But dad, it’s like the creature from the black lagoon!” Dad calmly stated, trying hard not to laugh, “Brittney, I need your help.” The determined tone and covering of the laughter seemed to calm her down. I’m sure the boat engine could hardly handle dragging in such an enormous catch! They brought in the “creature” by placing it in a net and dragging it to shore. Two grown men had to carry it up to the campsite. What a commotion in camp. Lights from cameras were flashing. Whoo Whee’s ! were heard from all who were awake and even from others who got woken up from all the commotion. I slept!

The following day I did gasp and awe at the catfish. However, as stated previously, my support and love for my husband and his hobbies does not include cleaning, cooking or eating his catches or kills! This 35-40 lb mammoth of a fish would find another kitchen sink and stove! Very exciting though, if I do say so myself, as he was bigger than Walker! Quite a contrast to the Neon Tetras he caught for our fish tank at home.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

A Martin Family Sunday in April




Recently, Gloria and Tyler came home for a few days to visit for spring break. We all gathered for a fun filled family time. THE food was great for lunch, snack and supper. The intense kickball game revealed quite the competitive spirit of the males in our presence! Lots of fun by all. Everyone got to see and play with the newest addition –Baby Harper! He’s a cutie!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hunter's Spring 2007 Baseball Draft



Hunter was drafted for the Athletics Baseball Team. To those that are baseball lovers, I guess this is the name of a national baseball team? Anyway, we refer to it as the A’s. Their first official game was a win – 13 to 7. They all played good. Hunter got to “pinch run”? What is that? He was placed on the base to replace another runner who was not able to run? Or maybe it changes the batting order? I have no idea. I will allow my family who are baseball geru’s to enlighten me, but nevertheless, Hunter got some game time. Batter, Batter, Batter, Swing! (Is that right?)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Roscoe Update

Well, I’ve never been a cat lover. I did not inherit that trait from either of my mom’s or my dad. I do not share that love of creatures as all of my children do. However, as a mother, there are things you tolerate so your children can enjoy things in life. The dog hair was one thing, but now we have cat hair too. The smell of the ferret and now the litter box! Ugh! The constant reminders to the kids to help with these responsibilities……And then there is Roscoe. He is a nocturnal cat, doing most of his prowling in the evening hours and early morning. You can depend on him to be meowing at 0500. He’s like a reincarnated Rooster! In his previous home, he was fed at 5AM and 6PM. We, however, leave food out all day for both the cat and the dog. Why we buy two different kinds, I don’t know. The cat likes the dog food and the dog likes the cat food. It also gives Walker more food to throw! Anyway, Roscoe loves Danielle. When she is upstairs, he seems to be close underfoot. Once when leaving the deck door open as I was cleaning, the dog, cat, and toddler were on it. It stands 12 foot off the ground. The crazy cat jumps off the deck onto the grass. Oh my word! How he got his fat body (thickened from eating all day long) and through the small spindles of the deck wall? He did land feet first though- no broken bones. Danielle was the one we had to wake up to go fetch him from the outside. He will have nothing to do with me – Darn!, much less Tim or Hunter. He runs from Walker---Walker’s tail pull is quite fearsome. Smart cat though, he runs when Walker’s pitter patter is near. Then there is the bolted runs of the cat being chased by the dog – the fern and plants in the sunroom getting knocked over – just because they seem to be having fun. Although it took awhile for the cat and the dog to become friends, it’s the one thing I enjoy about Roscoe now. Pell will tantalize him, wagging his tail all the while. The cat loves it and he defends his honor quite well. The cat throat grab from Pell, the scratching and nail claws from Roscoe. The cat hiding discreetly under a piece of furniture smirking and boldly twitching his tail because Pell can’t reach him. One can’t help but smile! It’s sick entertainment like this that allows me to tolerate all the chaos!

Driving Miss Brittney









Brittney is great with her brothers. Here she can be found demonstrating how she can hit a ball, the correct form Walker should use when he attempts to hit the ball and last but not least, how Walker should drive his Birthday car!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hunter's 9th Birthday








Our little boy is now 9! It seems like yesterday he was climbing in and out of the kitchen cabinets or trying to cut down the Walnut tree in the back yard! For this years celebration, we started with cupcakes for his class. Nothing like sending home a bunch of 3rd graders with a sugar rush! Then it was….yes…it was CAMPING!!! For any of you that know me, “roughing” it in the cold, sleeping on the hard ground, no running water or indoor facilities sounds absolutely dreadful. As a kid – campling on the riverbanks was awesome! And then age set in! the reality of the finer things in life was made real! “Camping?” I asked at least five times to Hunter. “Are you sure?” It only took a few “Please! Mom!” for me to soften and agree – for only ONE night! Organizing, packing, unpacking, worrying, freezing, the packing up and then unpacking at home – suffice it to say, camping is a lot of work! As a family – the Carolina girl coming home as well – we traveled to Baden Lake to “enjoy” nature. My guardian angel was at my side – the campsite had running water! Indoor facilities only 38 steps from our campground! And the weather was great! Fishing was fun. Hunter enjoyed all the festivities of camping and a nice birthday cupcake moment as well. Grandmother and Grandaddy came up too! I think it will be a birthday celebration he will always remember!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tim - 46 years ago?


Pictures say a thousand words, but will “like father, like son” fit?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Roger's 76th Birthday









Roger Ernest Martin was born March 18th, 1931 in Eagle Spring, NC. Now, 76 years later, four children, 13 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren later, the celebration of his special day is still exciting and eventful! Dominos Pizza - $45. Birthday cake - $20. Having family together to celebrate - priceless. His gift? His family living a life filled with the traditions of good values and beliefs that are carried from generation to generation. Happy Birthday – Daddy, Granddaddy, Roger!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

From Infant curls to toddlerhood














The beautiful curls! So blonde, so bouncy. On our trip home to Texas – the crazy weather/stressed me out totally trip? – well, two people mentioned what a pretty little girl! Walker is a pretty baby, but the golden locks were getting quite long. A ribbon in them and a “pretty little” thing he was. We reached the one year mark, so now it’s time for that first hair cut. Overall it went well – he squirmed some! Wiggled a lot, and eventually wanted down, but fortunately this was not Glenda’s first rodeo. Snip! Snip! Buzz! Buzz! And magic! A little man appeared. What a difference cutting three inches off made! No longer the look of an innocent infant. Now, the appearance of a fun, energetic toddler!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Climbing the highest..what?

A new accomplishment for Walker – a new worry for mom!

Walker has recently discovered he likes to climb! The worries of a mother and her son hurting himself have heightened. You first worry when they learn to sit up – Klur-plup! Then when they learn to crawl – all the things they find at their newfound eye level! Then when the walking starts – oh my! The stumbles, the “oh don’t run yet” moments, the bumps and bruises. And now, the climbing! Whew! What’s next?

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Baseball Tryouts







Baseball Season 2007 is here! Once more we have engaged in America’s favorite pastime! Hunter is moving up to the team pitch game. Above pictures are of tryouts. Our busy Saturday – Soccer at noon, then tryouts starting at 2PM. It was a long afternoon, but Hunter seems excited about starting up again. So for 6 weeks we will have soccer and baseball overlapping. Life is full! Life is grand! I will be insane!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Old Woman who swallowed a fly








One of Tim’s favorite folk songs is “There was an old woman who swallowed a fly….” We often sing it on our long trips here and there. A silly song! Recently, our living room activities brought that song to mind except with a different version. “There was a sweet family who had a toddler who chased the dog who chased the ferret who chased the cat who wanted the fish – that wiggled and wiggled in the fish tank they had.” (or something like that!)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Tim's Successful Rabbit hunt







Tim has always enjoyed rabbit hunting, but work and family life has not always allowed time for him to indulge in such hobbies. Finally, the first time in a couple of years, he made time to do some male bonding with some of his buddies. Listening to yappy dogs, walking through bushes and briars and shooting a very loud gun does not appeal to me at all, but the thrill of the hunt must be enticing. Above are some pictures of Tim’s day of fun! Hunter seemed to be excited and thrilled and even little Walker already seems to think dead animals are fun! Yuk! (And for the record – cleaning, skinning, gutting, cooking and eating are not part of the deal when supporting my husband with his love of hunting!) Mama Beula will always be the winner of that prize!