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Posts Tagged ‘Shenandoah Valley of Virginia’

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My father was a painting contractor in that long-ago time when houses were done with oil paint. I understand oil is still available but mostly folks use Latex now. Dad taught me to use a brush up and down with quality oil paint and then side to side to avoid visible brush marks! He had his own business, carried his ladders on a truck, and was much like the painters today in our little rural community in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

I thought I knew it all about how to choose a house painter because talking to them would be like talking to Dad again. I would join the world of estimates, numbers of men on the crew, gallons of paint needed, scheduling, etc. I knew it all.

I wonder though, what Dad would say to this story of trial and error in the selection process.

We would like to get the outside of our house painted/stained ASAP so the question was, “How do we find someone to do a good job and show up when expected?” In other words, we were looking for a professional, trustworthy painter like my Dad.

First we learned over time to go to friends for shared names and experiences. I did that and got two prospect numbers from a trusted friend who had work done a few years ago.

Neither telephone number worked.

Next I went online and got a name and an immediate response! Wow! Impressive. And Wow! We had an appointment with “Ambrose” (fictitious name) to come to our house the next day.

Meanwhile I remembered a company who did some minor painting for us years ago and although the crew were the biggest scariest looking men I have ever met, they had done a stellar job. So I called that number too. Again, a quick response and an appointment for them to come out the next day.

Finally, my son did a little digging and came up with another name we shall call “John”, who was just as responsive as the first two! And we had another appointment for the day after the first day of appointments.

None of this is very scientific but what the hay, this is country living right? They say three is a crowd but in the case of obtaining bids, I figured three was a reasonable number.

APPOINTMENT DAY

Ambrose showed up and was great to talk to and not only said he did painting but he also does handyman work! We were excited. He went around the house, took pictures and measurements and then said he would get an estimate back to us in a week. That was Monday. Bill liked Ambrose. We were both leaning toward Ambrose but needed to see the other two.

John (another fictitious name) was supposed to come Tuesday but arrived on Monday so he was eager. He is a friendly extroverted talker who quickly convinced us he knows what he is doing, but we were still leaning toward Ambrose. Nevertheless, John produced a detailed estimate by email on the same day. We are definitely not used to this level of professionalism in this heavenly place my Mom called “No Man’s Land.”

Finally, the big big guys who had once done some work for us came out and remembered us and our place. We were hopeful and were leaning toward them since we already had a record of their great work in our house. These fine fellows are what people around here call “locals” and of course they, in private, call the rest of us “foreigners” since we were not born here. True locals have a Virginia dialect that is sometimes difficult for us foreigners to understand but we all managed to communicate and they promised to produce an estimate next day.

This they did.

But their quote was twice as high as John’s. Their quote was very very high.

Nix the Big Guys because they were just too expensive.

Ambrose waited a whole week to contact us again. He did call in precisely seven days to let us know he had not done an estimate and to announce that he was too booked up to take on this project. Huh?

Nix Ambrose because he said he was not available.

And so we are now committed/contracted to have our house painted in late May by John.

We trust John,

we think.

I will keep you posted on this yet-to-be-begun project but at least you know some dubious steps to find a house painter :

  • Call friends.
  • Look online.
  • Remember good workers from the past.
  • Enlist family members to help.
  • Or you may have figured out that if you live in No Man’s Land, it will be just plain luck if you find a painter as good as my Dad. On the other hand, you may not want to paint your house with oil paint either.

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It was ccccold when I opened my eyes this morning. I was looking at the ceiling where we can immediately know the time and the temp all lit up like a starry sky above.  Who needs to know the time and temp that early anyway?  In fact, knowing made me want to go back to sleep.

But I had to get up to put chicken in the crock pot. 

I was thinking, “How can I rise, dress in something warm and cozy,  find my cane, and then hobble out to the kitchen with nary a sound?

Should I just go back to sleep and forget the crock pot?

“No”, I answered.  “You have to stay on plan.  So, it’s cold.  You will survive.”

Now I am aware it is colder elsewhere in the country.  And wetter.  And snowier.  So feeling sorry for myself and broadcasting the woe-is-me attitude is self serving. 

“Stay in bed”, I thought. “You are entitled to selfish self-serving pampering.”

“No, get up!” 

“Get going.”

The internal struggle continued and jumped to other concerns about the cold temperatures.

Do the lights go out just because it’s cold?

Ooooh!  I almost forgot we now have a whole-house generator so the crock pot would theoretically keep on “crocking” and no need for me to find candles or store water.

No visitors expected here anyway due to the nasty Covid-19 virus, so why am I keeping to a regular dining schedule?  We could eat late or early or even in the middle of the night.

But the sun is rising in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  And by golly it’s cold!

The chicken dish is in the crock pot at last, and if you are interested, here’s the complicated recipe:

DOR’S CROCK POT YUMMY CHICKEN

GOOD ON A COLD DAY NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE

WORTH GETTING OUT OF A WARM BED FOR

Ingredients:  Chicken, a can of black beans, and a jar of salsa.

Directions:

Put however many pieces of chicken in the crock pot

Dump in a can of black beans and a jar of salsa.

Put on “Low” for about 8 or 9 hours and plan to serve over noodles or rice.

And go back to bed!

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Layers Sunrise

The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

 Just another miracle here – the dawning of a new day.

The sun is rising over lingering storm clouds over the Blue Ridge Mountain range and finally over the foothills and hollows of home.

 

 

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blue ridge jan snow 1

I never tire of the views from this little house in rural Virginia.

And even now, after so many years and so many pictures, there are still moments when I feel compelled once again to try to capture the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

The Blue Ridge is sometimes shrouded in mist or covered in snow, or blue against the sky, or blanketed in fog, and always stunning.

The snow was clearing a few days ago here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

And it was one of those days when I simply had to get one more picture.  

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The Daily Post:  Ready, Set, Done!

Set a timer for ten minutes. 

Write without pause (and no edits) until you’re out of time. 

Then publish what you have

(it’s your call whether or not to give the post a once-over).

Note:  Being a perfectionist, I did give this post a once-over

and made some minor corrections to  

achieve perfection.

I am really NOT supposed to be writing this morning since we have company coming for dinner.  The menu is prime rib, mashed potatoes, green beans (pre-cooked and just need to be heated) and Waldorf Salad (already made up in advance).  It’s a sunny day in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  Sunshine is so welcome now because we have had days and days of chilly overcast weather. We even had an ice storm one night that melted the next day.

Almost everything is done except I’m not dressed and the house needs a once over to make it more than perfect.  Perfect is the key word here.

Our tree is up and gleaming.  The tiny-light wreaths are in the windows so everything looks festive as you drive up.   I am ready.  I must admit I am a perfectionist so vacuuming, dusting, setting out candles and hors d’oeuvres, and  preparing a beautiful table is next.

Noche With BabiesTomorrow we are also expecting my niece, Judy and her wonderful German Shepherd, Noche.  I am sooooo excited about this and have already bought squeaky toys for the pup and those special chew bones she loves.  We can’t wait to see sweet Judy of course, but Noche is like a favorite child coming for Christmas and she makes things all the more festive.

I am wondering if I should hide things or remove them all together from tables and corners – the decorations you know.  Will have to ask Judy when she arrives if the dog attacks things.  We will all be here so she should feel secure, but she is known to move things around if left alone.

After Judy leaves Sunday, we will wait for Christmas.  Son and grandgirls will not be here until after the actual “day” as I have just learned they will be coming  in early January instead.  That will be fun!  All the pressure for perfection will be off and we can all just let our hair down.

Barbie & Suzanne on Deck Dec. 27,2013 This Christmas Day we are expecting good friends, Barbie and Suzanne.  They were here last year too and we have such a good time playing scrabble, shopping the day after, and of course giggling and reminiscing Xmas Day with all the goodies we can manage to ingest.

Pete n Phebe Spring 2012

Our Fun Friends for New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve will be fun too as we share it with another favorite set of friends and try to stay awake to midnight.

The sun is shining and I must get dressed and wander through the house and kitchen to make sure everything is perfect for our guests.  I have a feeling we will all be laughing at once and no one will notice all the perfection anyway.  The old adage, “with age comes wisdom” is actually true in some cases.  I know if I were wise-er, I would relax, but I still strive to be beyond perfect in preparing for a holiday party.

I will try to remember to take pictures of the festivities.

In the meantime, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Love,

Dor

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A deck-side view holds me still and admiring

a waning Shenandoah summer.

Is it really time to take the umbrella down?

One more day.  One more day.

Fading Summer

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Best Waiting

Do stop and look.

This is Virginia’s countryside

with swooping vistas,

far and wide, and

farms and fields and long horizons,

rolling hills and sparkling skies.

Do stop and look.

This is Virginia’s countryside.

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"Sang"

“Sang”

There are odd characters here in rural America.

Cindy of Cindy Knoke, recently commented, “You know the most interesting people.”  She triggered the idea for this post.  By the way, if you haven’t found Cindy’s blog yet, be sure to check it out for fabulous color, beauty and fascinating information from “the Holler” and beyond.

My husband and I moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia from the Washington, DC area (which, if you hadn’t noticed, has its own debatable cast of characters).

But, I had no idea the range of oddities among people here in the country.  Rural Virginia boasts fields of wildflowers, which at first seem ordinary, but on closer inspection, have  imperfections to make them  stand out among perceived “ordinaries.”  So it goes with the people here.  In fact, there are so many curious varieties that if you are not a bit odd yourself, you will not fit in.

My Country Cast of Characters (so far):

The Pickle Lady – who insisted on giving us horrible pickles in 5 gallon jars, just because I lied (to be polite) and told her I liked them once.

The Lumberjack Lady – who is handy with a chain saw and is always ready for battle with either trees or people.

The Gun Slinger – O.K., this is the same chain saw lady who also carries a tiny gun in her waistband, supposedly to ward off wild animal attacks.

The Avian Propagator – Who had over 100 finches flying around an unoccupied (except for finches) bedroom.  You could only open the door a crack to witness this fast growing population.

The Crow’s Nest Spy – A woman so worried about trespassers that she built a crow’s nest atop her house and has “seen things” ever since.

The Accidental Dumpster Diver – A friend who fell in a local dumpster, was rescued by the fire department, and still laughs at his own story.

The Tobacco Chewer – A handsome fella who has descriptive slang for any occasion and for every odd character in the county.  Have you ever heard the saying, “He’s hotter than a two-dick dog?”  Do they censor blogs?

The Mushroom Identifiers – A charming couple who could recognize mushrooms – particularly puff  balls (big white beautiful round mushrooms that are absolutely delicious).

The Wild Herb Identifier – Who could show me where to find watercress and land cress.  Who ever heard of land cress?  It grows in my driveway – or so she said.

The Ginseng Explorers – A couple of true country characters (Daryl and Daryl?) who politely asked (every year) if they could search for “Sang” in our woods.  Did you know ginseng is a root that looks like a little man and sells for hundreds of dollars?  It is supposed to be an aphrodisiac and has other health giving qualities.

Had enough?

You have my word these are (or were) real people who in the real world would be considered characters.  Actually, this IS the real world.  I tend to forget that.

There are more characters, lots more.   Knowing these folks, or at least being able to identify them and their stories, has been part of the fun of living in a diverse rural community.

And now – wonder of wonders – I have joined another community (this time in cyberspace) where there is a huge cast of odd blogger characters.

I MUST develop some recognizable idiosyncrasies soon!  I don’t want to be the only one in a group who is labeled “normal.”

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