Mawbry Mill

Blue Ridge Parkway

Mabry Mill


January is here and along with the first month of the new year are new year’s resolutions. I decided this year one resolution   I would make and hopefully follow through with  would be to learn more about the new area we have moved to. 

With January enjoying some unseasonable warm temperatures we decided to explore a little this past Sunday.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is only 5 minutes from our new place. Some may have traveled the Parkway and can agree it is a beautiful highway stretching 469 miles from Virginia through North Carolina. 

The Park Service maintains it with seasonal schedules   for restaurants and gift shops along the way. There is no winter maintenance so at times there could be sections of the parkway closed!

Here is a link for some great information on the  Parkway!

Along the  Parkway are mile markers for places of interest, look out areas and camping and trails. 

This link shows a great map of the 469 miles and places you can stop.

We can enter the parkway at mile marker  171.5, the Chateau Morristte winery is located here  and only drive 5 miles and arrive at Mawbry Mill. This is a beautiful place to stop and take a walk around the trail that winds around  the mill and other out buildings. There are even signs to read about the history of this mill. As we were leaving there was a couple  with their photographer posing for  engagements photos.  It certainly lives up to it’s name abut being the most photographed spot on the Parkway!

Click here to read a little history of the famous stop!

So as we begin a new year I challenge each of you to look around and take a trip & see someplace new. I’m guessing you won’t really have to go that far!

Thanks for reading and be sure to leave a comment about your favorite place.


P.S. Stay tuned for my next blog post “The Fine Art of Waiting”! 

Christmas Gift Ideas

With Christmas Shopping in full swing for many of you I wanted to share a few ideas for some great gift ideas!

(The link shared is an affiliate link that I earn a small commission with no cost to you!)

I always enjoy shopping and try to find some unique gift ideas for people! It takes a little time and wanted to share a few things I have found this season!  The first one is:


This is a subscription you can purchase for an annual fee of $40.00. It opens up a huge selection of classes that anyone can enjoy! What’s nice is not only the wide variety but also the complete supply list ( you can buy that as well here) that you need!  Just click here!

I will continue to share some other ideas over this weekend!

The Donkey!

As many of you know we have had several llamas over the years. Our plan with the move was to bring Tommy, the llama with us. However he died the end of August.

(John feels it was the same thing we lost the other ones to: Meningeal Worm.)

Unable to find a llama near our new place John researched donkeys. They are also known to be guard animals to sheep. I have to admit I know very little about donkeys! After finding a farm nearby who had them for sale the owner showed us a couple to choose from. Once the decision was made she commented on the “ Jerusalem Cross” on her back. Another fact about donkeys that I  never knew and once able to,  googled it to see exactly what she meant! It was a fascinating fact that I’m sure many don’t know!

Jerusalem Donkey

  The bible says that Mary rode a donkey into Bethlehem before giving birth to the baby Jesus.    We see this today in most Nativity scenes where a donkey is standing or bedded close by the manger keeping watch over the new family.    Then, on Palm Sunday Jesus rode into Jerusalem for the last time on a donkey.  The religious significance of the donkey is expressed in Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  The King, riding the lowly donkey, is seen as a symbol of peace and salvation.

You may have heard of the legend of the “Jerusalem Donkey”.  It goes something like this – after he brought Jesus into Jerusalem the donkey was troubled because he knew what Jesus was about to go through with his trial, suffering and death on the cross. The donkey seeing the sad treatment of Jesus wished he had been able to carry the cross; after all, it was his job to carry man’s burdens. The donkey could not bear to watch and turned away but in his concern stayed nearby as Jesus endured his torture.  God saw this and caused the shadow of the cross to fall across the little donkey’s back and he has carried the sign of the cross ever since as a symbol of God’s love.

The delivery went smoothly but the donkey wanted nothing to do with John and especially the sheep the first day or two. Eventually with some coaxing John was able to get it to the section of pasture where the sheep graze.

After a few hours of the sheep being terrified of something new in the pasture and the donkey being terrified as well of her new surroundings they have finally adjusted!  They are even hanging out together now!

Meet Clara the donkey! And yes she has the cross on her back.

Sheep Moving & Sam the Ram

Moving the sheep was one of the many steps to this move.

Once we arrived with the second truck load  we got things unpacked. The next big step to this move was the arrival of the sheep.

Fortunately for John he found a very dependable driver. He was able to get  the sheep loaded at our house and deliver them to their new home in Floyd. With the help of our neighbor they got 28 sheep loaded pretty quickly! A text sent to John confirmed they were on their way.

It was about an 8-9 hour trip and they finally arrived about 4:00 that afternoon.

With my son and family only a little an hour away they decided to drive down and welcome the sheep once the truck arrived.

It was a huge relief once we saw the truck come down the driveway. The plan was to have him back into the barn area and open the back of his truck. We were all hoping this would go as planned and believe it or not it did!

As you can hear from the video Margaret  cheered once they all jumped off!

Click on “ They made it” and you can watch the video!

They made it!

Sam the Ram arrived yesterday!

Sam the Ram And the adventure continues; the donkey is coming next week. There is an ongoing contest of names for this donkey so stay tuned!

A nice little fall treat!

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Here we are in the last week of October & I have to admit I have started with the “pumpkin spice items”.

The coffee flavors this time of year are really hard to beat along with many goodies containing pumpkin!

I have always been a fan of this baker’s cook books and have 2 of them in my cupboard!

Following her on Instagram I happened to see this cookie recipe last week and thought I would give them a try.

Most of the ingredients you will have in your cupboard. Even if you are missing pumpkin pie spice you can always substitute with a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice! Even a baking spice would work.

Just mix up according to recipe with mixing  dry ingredients in a separate bowl first.

One tip once they are on the baking sheet go ahead and press down slightly. Also once they are done baking leave them on cookie sheet a couple minutes then remove.

  Check out her great cookie recipe book! Might be a great gift idea for those bakers in your house! I have included a link Below with a price for a hardback that’s hard to beat! Just click “too” below!

Great price too!

Here is the link to this great recipe!

The Move Part 1!

* This post may contain affiliate links, I earn on qualifying purchases at no cost to you.

3 Men & a Truck!

Many of you are familiar with the moving company that you can hire to help move you.

They provide 3 Men ( 4 if you’re lucky) and the moving truck. They come into your home and in a short time can have your furniture wrapped in plastic & cover with blankets.

The men can load a truck at record speed while keeping your valuables safe.  They will drive their truck to your new home and unload your possessions to all the correct rooms.

With family members moving in the last few months they highly recommended this company! Unfortunately in Fryburg we don’t have that luxury but we have the next best thing.

Boxes were packed and furniture wrapped in plastic in preparation for the packing. We rented a Penske truck. When John arrived with it our help had already arrived!

Our 3 Men & a Truck consisted of our Amish neighbors. They arrived right on time and were ready to help!

We knew they would be a great help but didn’t realize what quick work they would make of loading a moving truck!

They are not  a custom to the amount of “ stuff” a family can accumulate. They do speak German between themselves and could have very easily been complaining but I would never have known!

With having a couple yard sales we did clean out however we still had a full load! They finished by noon and lunch was provided. Once finished they left in their buggies.

The trip started out early the next morning with 2 drivers taking turns and with the Subaru driven by me!  We arrived at the Floyd house mid afternoon and began to unload at least a small portion of it.

Once the truck was unloaded the next day  with the help from John & Joe it was returned to the nearby Penske rental.

Knowing we have to do this a couple more times is rather tiring to think about but most of the household items are here.

John however still has many “ treasures” in his work shop that a person can not part with which will be packed next load!

A couple things we found to make the packing easier can be found on Amazon here!

Thanks for all the well wishes on this move, we really appreciate it.

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive these updates hopefully weekly! Once somewhat settled I will add a variety of other blog topics!

Happy Fall everyone and enjoy this beautiful weather,


5 best ideas for those apples!

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, I earn on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

This post will show you 5 different ideas you can use  for apples.

*Bake with them.  

Apple pie is one of everyone’s favorite pies and  bake up to a delicious dessert. By using a blend of different slices in a pie you can  get a wonderful pie. For any one of these ideas this great apple peeler makes the  the job of peeling quick and maybe even fun!

 There are also other ways to bake with apples if pie baking sounds a little intimidating! 

 Apple cake is easily mixed up in one bowl  and baked in a 9 x 13 inch dish, then served warm with ice cream!  

Check out this link to this Great apple cake recipe. 

*Dry apples.

Dip the slices in some lemon juice to keep them from discoloring. Lay the slices on each tray of your dehydrator keeping them flat with no overlap.

Each dehydrator has specific directions to follow in their enclosed booklet, so by following these you will just how long it will take.

I use this dehydrator. Rosewill Countertop Portable Electric Food Fruit Dehydrator Machine with Adjustable Thermostat, BPA-Free 5-Tray RHFD-15001

It runs quietly &  has 5 shelves that are easy cleanup.  It will probably take about 10 hours to dry them completely. Store in either freezer bags or mason jars.


There are a lot of great recipes for cider online which surprisingly is easier than you think. One of my favorites is from www.sallysbakingaddiction.

She places a variety of sliced apples ( leave those skins  on) with a few other ingredients and places everything in a Slow cooker at low for 6-7 hours.  Once cooked down just mash it up and strain through a mesh sieve. Serve warm! 



This is another great way to have apples for baking later. Peel,  core and slice the apples then place on a cookie sheet. Once frozen (about an hour or up to overnight) place them in freezer bags. This will keep them from sticking together.

* * you can soak them in lemon water before the cookie sheet step but that is optional! 


Applesauce is a nice addition to any meal that cooks up quickly and is good for you too!

Just peel your apples and place thin slices in a 2 or 3 quart sauce pan. A little water can be added to the apples.

 Just Cook on low/medium  heat stirring occasionally. Once the apples start to cook down mash them down a potato masher works great! Continue  to cook on low heat. Adding sugar is optional.

Apple  sauce can be frozen in containers and taken out and reheated. 

So as you can see there is no end to what you can do with  a bushel of apples.

Apple  season is upon us  once again. Why not   enjoy a treat with such a versatile fruit. 

Let me know your favorite ways to enjoy Apple Season!

Favorite Apple Cake

Favorite Apple Cake

Delicious apple cake, served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
5 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 Squares


  • large mixing bowl, spatula, 9x13 inch baking dish.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Cup oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 cups apple slices

Topping for cake

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)


  • Mix ingredients by hand in large bowl In order given.
  • Pour mixture into “greased” 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  • Bake approx. 30- 40 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Topping- Make topping by mixing in a small saucepan brown sugar, milk and butter. Bring to a boil and cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Take off heat. Pull cake out of oven the last 5 minutes and pour topping over cake and return to oven for 3-4 minutes.
  • Let cake cool slightly, cut and serve warm slices of cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


This is a great fall recipe for apple Season. It is a dense cake so enjoy alone or with a scoop op of ice cream.

Picking fruit with the right tools

With the arrival of fall comes the  time to harvest a variety of apples, pears and other fruits.

After gathering  up your baskets and equipment you need it’s time to head to the orchard to pick.

Depending on the size of your orchard there are a few ways to get fruit from the tress.

The first and probably easiest is to spread  out a sheet or tarp under the trees. Shaking the limbs will cause fruit  to fall.  The fruit can be gathered up and put in baskets or bowls.

As a result of  some of the fruit falling you will need to check  for bruised fruit and discard in your compost bin or leave to wildlife.

The tool we used worked to pick pears that were out of our reach was a fruit picker.Check out this great tool on Amazon here!

This  handy fruit picker  is perfect for those hard to reach limbs. The hook will wrap around the fruit and with a  gentle tug will release  your fruit into  the basket.

This was a pretty quick way to be able to pick your fruit which then can be put easily into your baskets.

Apples should be stored in boxes lined with foil or plastic to retain moisture at 32 degrees. Store apples separate from other fruit due to the gases that apples give off.

Ripen pears  by placing them in a room at 60 to 65°F for 1 to 3 weeks. The fruit is soft and a yellow-green color once it is ripe.  Store in  refrigerator at 29 to 32°F and 90% humidity.

Take  an afternoon and pick  fall fruit for winter enjoyment.

Sweet Autumn Clematis

As summer draws to an end this beautiful climbing hydrangea just begins to bloom.

We had previously had roses planted in this spot but over the years realized they just didn’t work in addition most roses require a lot of maintenance work.

We bought & planted Sweet autumn Clematis! This type of Clematis grows up a lattice. Similar to other varieties however  this one blooms  much later.

The plant dies back in the winter. The dead vines should  be cut back to about 12 inches from the ground usually in early spring.

This lush plant grows well through the summer with occasional trims to keep it on the lattice. Tieing the vine to the lattice as it grows will keep it from falling.

The buds of the flowers begin appearing in mid to late August and you can count on small white flowers covering most of the vine. The scent attracts a few hummingbirds and bees.

A beautiful climber without too much fuss.