Thursday, May 30, 2013

Prettying up the Porch & Patio

Memorial Day proved to be a work day around the Pennington place.
We didn't set out for that to happen, but once we got started, we just kept plugging away.
The garage was cleaned out & organized ... again.
With as many working men, tools, work boots, tool boxes, & tools {get the picture} around here, 
there's no option but to stay up on the organizing.
Three vehicles were cleaned out & vacuumed.
Bedrooms & closets were cleaned & laundry was caught up.
The fun work of the day, however, was on the porch & patio.
Here are a few pictures of what we accomplished.

I had decided that I was going for a certain look for the front porch this year.
I wanted to paint the big pots bright green, of the lime-ish shade  -- & add accents of black & white.
That was my plan for weeks ... until I stumbled on these primitive buntings again this year!
{I've had these before, but hadn't found them in a while.}

These wonderful buntings changed up my plan instantly.
Guess I was feeling extra patriotic.
I bought a large one for the front & 2 small ones for the sides, but the large one just didn't hang nicely.
I opted to return it & do 4 small ones all the way around.

I don't have the whole look pulled together just yet, but considering I am usually behind
on posting things on here as they are occurring, I decided to show what I've done for now
& update as I add more to it.
I am searching for 2 chairs for the porch, to stay out all summer,
but haven't found what I'm looking for just yet.
I also want to add a big primitive star right above these front buntings -- I have one,
I just need to have James hang it.

These are the pots that I had planned to paint green, but maybe next year.
To go with the primitive buntings, I decided to leave them as they are.
They aren't the perfect pots, but they were free, all three of them ... a trash pic score from a few years ago.

I decided to go with red geraniums for the main flower on the porch.
I added in a green plant for contrast & a vine that blooms yellow to cascade down the side.
Now to just practice patience til everything gets full & tall.

One pot by each porch post ...

& one on the other end of the house by the garage.
{Not sure why I didn't take a straight shot!}

Also on the porch is the galvanized bucket filled with geraniums.

I love this little bucket ... James found it at a flea market.

I moved my little spiral tree from the living room out to the porch.
I want a light feature somehow or another, but I'm just not sure this is it.
It may go back inside, but for now, I'm enjoying it lit up at night.
{I searched & searched for lights on a brown cord with no luck.}

I added a new rug, but it bugs me that the 'W' really looks like an 'M' upside down.
I guess it wouldn't bug me as much if the 'W' wasn't too small.
Eh well ...

Lastly, I only hung one basket this year, instead of the normal three.
I think with the buntings, I don't need them.
I chose white geraniums.

Now, moving on to the front flower bed.

I only added a couple things here this year, one being a Double Knock-Out Rose Bush.
I've been wanting one for a year or so now & I'm anxious to see it take off.

I also added this {can't remember what it's called} ... it was marked down at Lowe's to $3!

These fushia geraniums were a gift for Mother's Day.
I took off the hanger & decided to sit it in the flower bed.
I love using various garden decor to spruce things up ... thus the tulips sign.
Kinda funny, I don't have a single tulip planted anywhere ;)

I am absolutely crazy about my Buttercups!
Here they are in the morning ... look at all those blooms!

And here they are one day later!
I love the contrast of the red tips before they bloom out into the gorgeous yellow!
Another favorite about these, they close up at night.
So sweet.

The last thing is my wonderful little dwarf Japanese Maple.
Love this thing!
It's a little blurry cause it's been so windy around here lately.

Here are a few pictures from the back patio.
I'll post some in a few days with all my patio furniture & umbrella, etc.

Here are my stacked pots that I've used for years & years.
Well, not the same ones exactly, cause they've been broken & replaced.
I had 2 sets of these at our old house, one on either side of our front door.
I just love them.
Here's what it looks like now, at the beginning of the season.
{I've added to the bottom & middle pots since this pic
cause it was looking puny & I forgot to add the vine.}

Here is what it looked like last year, a few weeks after planting .

And here's what it looked like at the end of season!
See why I am nuts about my stacked pots?!

In the top pot, I planted a Gerbera Daisy.
I've never planted these before, but they were marked down to $1 each & I love them.
This little gal shed half of her petals on day two =(

Here's the second one ... planted in another clay pot that sits on top of our fire pit when it's not in use.
The third one is yellow & was planted in the front bed.

I added 2 more hanging white geraniums.

 This one is quite quirky in shape, but that's alright.

James added this bird feeder last year & boy does it attract some beautiful birds.
Someone forgot to buy birdseed {we've gone through several bags in the last couple weeks}.

Another markdown was this miniature rose bush ... $3.
We planted it on the corner where we just removed a tall shrub that died during the winter.

And these 2 Easter Lilies were left-over from Easter at church.
We put them in the ground next to the mini roses.
We are thinking of digging up this side of the house & making a bed, but just haven't decided.

We transplanted some ivy next to the mailbox & have done a few other things this week.
We've yet to get the fresh mulch put down.
Once we get it all done, I'll share a few pics of the front yard.
Nothing fancy, but it sure is looking great around here though, little by little.
Of course, my summer evening job pruning, dead-heading, & watering has begun.
It's a big job ... & hopefully this summer won't be SO hot as it was last year.
It nearly burnt everything up.

Hope your Memorial Day was as busy relaxing as ours was ;)


Monday         Make It Yourself Monday        The Better Mom       C.R.A.F.T     Sunny Simply Life
Tuesday    Domestically Divine     A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                   Women Living Well    Southern Lovely     The Thrifty Home
Friday    Happy-Go-Lucky     The Thrifty Groove      Farm Blog Hop
Sunday  Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pennington Gap, Virginia

I'd like to share some pictures of a place that's near & dear to my heart.
It's a place rich in my family history.
Not mine, in particular ... I didn't grow up here or even live here, but my mom did.
This is where her childhood story takes place.
She was born here & this is where she lived until she was a young adult.

This is Pennington Gap, Virginia ... & more specifically, Puckett's Creek.

I have several pictures to share, so kick back, relax, & enjoy the tour.
It will start as you are driving from town, nearing Puckett's Creek.
These are the landmarks that always stood out in my mind's eye as a child.
I would specifically look for these things & places ...
& I'd know we were close to Papaw & Grandma Ely's house.

Here is one of several springs coming right out of the side of the mountain.
We have stopped many times to fill up jugs of this cold, wonderful-tasting water ...
& would often have to wait in line as others would be doing the same.
{I'm not sure if it's all FDA approved - yidda yadda yahdda - I'm just telling ya that's what we did.
I never got sick from it & neither did anyone else I know, so ... ya.}

Now, the piece de resistance, Pennington Gap's claim to fame is right here, folks.
And let me tell ya, I never got tired of looking for it.
My face was always pressed against the window taking this in, coming & going.

On US Hwy 421, just north of Pennington Gap, is Stone Face Rock.
It's called a few other names besides.
One moniker is Man in the Mountain or Last Man in the Mountain.
I, however, grew up knowing it by another name entirely.
There's really no other way to tell ya ...than to just tell ya ...
It was called Ni**er Head Rock.
Even the collector items from back then were labeled with it's 'politically incorrect' name
{my mom has a clay collector jar as proof}.
Somewhere around the mid-1970s the name was changed & I am so glad it was.

Some have speculated perhaps it's an Indian-made monument, but geologists have determined
that it's a natural rock formation ... just happens to be in the shape of man's face.

Take a second & watch this video tour featuring Stone Face Rock.
You'll get an even better perspective from it.

Right as we got to our turn, the road that winds back into the holler along Puckett's Creek,
we noticed a new sign that said ELY PUCKETTS CREEK.
That's us ... we're the Ely's!
{My mom is the baby Ely girl ... last child, number 8, born to Daniel & Daisy Ely.}
That sign wasn't there all the years we traveled to Papaw & Grandma Ely's for summer vacation!
We were sure excited to see it.

I took a pic of this little old out-building right next to the sign.
It's floor is level to the roof of the building beside it.

Behind this grey house on the corner is where my Uncle Leander & Aunt Edna lived.
Leander & my Papaw Daniel were brothers ... & they married sisters, Aunt Edna & my Grandma Daisy.

And now we are officially entering 'the holler' ...Puckett's Creek.

Here's the church that, for as long as I can ever remember,
was & still is pastored by relatives of mine, Reverend Jim & Zuane Ewing.
As a kid, I never had to go to the bathroom when we attended services here ... never.
Know why?
No indoor toilet!
That was very common though.
For years that's all my grandparents had ... an outhouse.
I remember when their indoor bathroom was built, complete with a bathtub.
Oh, the things we take for granted.

Here, nestled in the trees, you can look close & see an old house or barn.
It's all overgrown ... just a sliver of a glimpse of what used to be.

These next photos are the saddest of all.
See, the foundation of all my Virginia memories were right here.
The house my mom grew up in once stood here.

The house caught on fire & suffered partial damage.
It probably could have been repaired, but a mining company wanted to buy the property.
After it was agreed upon to sell, the company tore down the house.
Here's what it looked like during the time my grandparents lived here.
In fact, that's me standing on the porch with my Grandma Ely.

This is the lower end of the property, what was commonly referred to as 'the bottom'.
Mom said this is where she played most often as a kid with her siblings.
She said they'd shoot marbles, play hide & seek, make up games using their imaginations,
& play with whatever nature provided.
Simple times, simple lives.

This is one of my favorite shots ... this is the bridge that crossed over to where the animals were kept.
It's directly across the road from the house.

Although there were always a wide array of old junky cars littered up & down the holler,
there were never any over in this area.
Papaw didn't have a lot of animals, but there were usually a few ... a horse or two, a cow,
lots of chickens & ducks.
There were always hogs, but they were kept in the 'bottom', at the far end.

The bridge goes across Puckett's Creek.
This, my friends, was my daily activity, the highlight of my summer vacation - playing in the creek.

We'd wade up & down, not too far, & always watching out for snakes.
My favorite activity:  catching 'minners' ... that's right, minners.
I was several years older before I realized that they were properly called 'minnows'!
Dad would cut the front part off a milk jug, leaving the handle to hold on to.
I'd scoop into the water & see how many minners I could come up with.
Hours of fun.

Can you see the silver fencing in the photo below?
I remember the summer that was put along the sides of the creek.
Large rocks were hauled in to build up the creek bank & the fencing to hold the rocks in place.
And, I remember how bad the backs of my little legs hurt when I slipped & slid 
down the fencing all the way into the creek.
I, of course, had a dress on & my bare legs were torn up so bad that I could barely sit down for days.
This ties with one other event as the most painful experiences in VA.
The other was when I got the chicken pox while we were visiting on summer vacation.
They tried every old wives tale under the sun to try & relieve me from the icky itchy chicken pox.
I was the guinea pig, but I'll spare you the details. 

This barn was at one end of my grandparent's property, standing between them & their neighbor, Bud.
In all the years of visiting, this barn was never opened, not once.
I was always SO curious as to what was in there.
Course, on my recent visit, one door & window was missing ...
& I just had to hop out of the car & peek inside.
Well, sort of.
My peeking was from the edge of the road only.
It was drilled into my head as a child to stay out of the tall grass
cause there were so many rattlesnakes & copperheads...
a rule I still abide by.

I think my love of old barns started young & this one contributed largely to it.

And this was Bud's house.
He passed away several years ago, but it looks like someone is currently living here.
We would walk the beaten path from Grandma's to Bud's many times during the day ...
only to pester him, of course.
My cousin, Darla & I, would make up silly songs about Bud & we'd go down, 
stand below his porch, & sing to him.
He was probably glad to see us go back home ;)

I was never allowed to go into his house, but once I had to go to the door to deliver a message 
to him from my Grandma.
His telephone was hanging on the wall near the door & I could barely believe my eyes when I saw 
that he had written phone numbers in pencil directly on the wall! 
To a little girl, that was big news to run back & tell mom ;)

On down the road are a variety of rural scenery, all which set my mind to wondering.
Does someone live there?
If not, where'd they go ... what's inside?

 Love the clothesline in this pic.

And I saved my favorite picture for last.
I adore this old building.
The shape of it, the porch, the mix of colors ... what's not to love?

Now that we've reached the end of this somewhat long & picture-laden tour,
I can't help but be a bit sad to wrap it up.
I wish I could share a pic of every single place in Pennington Gap that holds a special place in my heart.
I feel like I've left out only about a million details & stories, all playing a part in forming who I am today.
Seems like I haven't done it justice.

All the pics featured on this blog were taken on May 15, 2012.
My sister & I rode together to attend the funeral of my favorite uncle, John Merlin,
lovingly known as Uncle Mert.
{All my uncles were favorites in one way or another.}
Before the funeral, we just had to head to Puckett's Creek.
We just couldn't stay away.
Lisa & I had a great time going down memory lane together.

Although we don't get down here often, I wish I could, not only when one of my uncles or aunts pass away.
James had never visited before we were married, so a few years back, our whole family came down
so he & the boys could visit all the places I know & love.

For my mom, it's not a place she cares to visit too often ... & I can understand why.
Her parents are now gone, the last of her siblings that lived on Puckett's Creek is gone,
the home she grew up in is gone.
She chooses to treasure the memories rather than revisit a portion of her life that is gone, closed, over.
For me, I see the beauty of history ... the intrigue of the past.
I flash back to the memories of my childhood & cherish them, each & every one.

“It has shown me that everything is illuminated in the light of the past.
It is always along the side of us...on the inside, looking out.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer

“How many people long for that "past, simpler, and better world," I wonder, without ever recognizing
the truth that perhaps it was they who were simpler and better, and not the world about them?”
― R.A. Salvatore

Doesn't seem right to close this post without a pic of my grandparents,
Daniel & Daisy Ely.

I blogged once before about Pennington Gap.
If you didn't have a chance to read it, click here Tin Roof Memories.

Monday         Make It Yourself Monday        The Better Mom       C.R.A.F.T     Sunny Simply Life
Tuesday    Domestically Divine     A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                   Women Living Well    Southern Lovely     The Thrifty Home
Friday    Happy-Go-Lucky     The Thrifty Groove      Farm Blog Hop
Sunday  Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways