Bless your hearts!

Last night it snowed again, so this morning Mom


went out on the deck to clean out the bird feeders.  She replaced the sunflower seeds


which seemed to make the birds very happy.  Al came over to clear the driveway

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and came in for a cup of coffee.  It was nice to finally meet Al.DSCN1777-001

Lee went out and shoveled snow again.  I have to admit that


the landscape was beautiful with the fresh snow.


My art supplies were already in a box ready to be shipped, so painting was out.  So, what’s left to do, right?  Well, I’ll tell ya.


Trish, Lee and I got all dressed up,


pulled out the sleds,


walked to the top of the hill,


and had ourselves a fabulous time.


Well, at least I didn’t fall in the lake.

Then one last time,


we loaded up and went into town to get a bite to eat and run errands…


counting moose along the way.

Tonight, I leave for home, and I’m going to miss my Alaska family.  Thank you to all the characters who made my woodshedding trip a real joy.

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Trish McFarlin,

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Lee Edgerton,

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Sharon “Mom” Brower,

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Blanche “I sure hope somebody has a purse” Kuhlman and


Minx “Baby Girl”Brower.  I love you all, and… bless your hearts!

The seventh day

Today, Trish and I drove into Kenai for me to take some pictures. Since I accidentally let Minx out of the house, and she would not let us catch her,


she rode with us.  I wanted to photograph some things in Old Town Kenai, so Trish parked behind


Veronica’s Coffee House and let me out to do my thing.  When I was done, I found Trish


inside Veronica’s where she had ordered us both something hot to drink.  Not only was it good, but it felt good on my hands.

Denton’s favorite color is blue, and Hudson’s favorite color is green, so I asked Trish to take my picture

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by a blue plane

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and a green plane. Then, I sent them the pictures.

After returning home, I completed a smaller version


of the lake painting that I finished last night.  Then I did a small painting


of some little shacks behind Veronica’s.  And, morning and evening were the seventh day.

Good looks and sunny disposition

I’m still walking pigeon-toed and flat-footed, only now


I can’t see my feet.  Last night it snowed for the first time since I’ve been here, so this morning


Lee shoveled off the deck. While he was doing that,


Al dropped by to clear the driveway.

I decided to walk down to the lake to visit the spot where I turned over the canoe and fell in when I was here in July.


Somehow, it wasn’t as I remembered it, so I walked back up the hill


to the house. Minx met me in the front yard


and we walked about a half mile together.  We were going to walk further, but I couldn’t feel my legs.  So, in the house we went, and I headed downstairs  to work.  This morning, before breakfast, I had started on a painting of the lake,


so I piddled with it for a while.  Then, like the previous days, we all loaded up and went into town for a bite to eat.  And, like the previous times, Blanche said, “Do I need my purse?”


And, like the previous times, Trish said, “No Grandma, you’re going to get by on your good looks and sunny disposition.”

The fifth day

Monday it warmed up to ten degrees, but it was overcast and a little more breezy than the previous days.  Early afternoon found the five of us headed into Kenai for lunch.  Then, we dropped Mom off for an appointment and went to a fabric store to pass the time.  Trish and I actually passed the time in the store… Lee and Blanche waited in the car. This was the most wonderful fabric store.  As I wandered through, I actually wished that I could sew.


It was filled with the most beautiful batik fabrics.


According to the tags on the bolts, the fabrics were hand painted and one of a kind.  Trish bought enough to make a couple of atikluks.  In case you’re wondering, an atikluk is a snow shirt.

Trish finished shopping at the same time that Mom was done with her appointment, so we picked up Mom and went to the grocery store where we all got ice cream cones.

Before heading back to Nikiski, we drove around Soldotna and looked at ice sculptures.


Lee and I got out and took pictures.

Soon after we returned home it started to snow, and I went down to continue work on a painting


that I plan to finish on Tuesday. And that, folks, was the fifth day.

The corner of Earl and Josephine

It was twenty below this morning in Nikiski.


And, although some would say that temperatures like that


are for the birds, I’ve got to tell you that it’s never been warmer


at the Grouchy Old Woman Bed and Breakfast.

It is Sunday, and this morning at breakfast, there was some discussion over whether or not Blanche should go to church. She said, “Frankly, that just doesn’t appeal to me.”  Too bad, because it was pot luck lunch today at North Star Methodist Church.  So, Trish stayed with Blanche, and the rest of us headed to the church with a casserole and three loaves of freshly baked bread.  I enjoyed seeing Pastor Steve again and visiting with the other members.  I even met one lady who was raised in Morgan City, Louisiana.  (What are the chances?)

I’ve been working on my watercolor skills, and have completed two paintings.


Here is that shack in Old Town Kenai and


this is a female Pine Grosbeak on one of Mom’s feeders.  Tonight, I plan to get started on another painting.  I will tell ya, all is good


at the corner of Earl and Josephine.

The perfect place

The downstairs of the bed and breakfast is the perfect studio apartment.


This is my work space.  See, I told you.


Here is the sitting area…there’s even a fireplace.


My bedroom is down the hall on the left, right past the bear skin rug.  I don’t know why Mom put that thing on the wall.  It’s inconvenient to use, but you do what you have to do.

I’m very happy in my ‘Alaskan woodshed’, and even though I could, I don’t stay down there all day.  Yesterday, we all loaded up


and went into town for lunch.  It also happened to be hair day for Blanche. Then, later on, I settled back into my woodshed


and continued work on a painting of a shack in Old Town Kenai.  Other than painting, I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to spend today….but it will be good.

Pigeon-toed and flat-footed

I left Alexandria Wednesday evening at six, and after making brief appearances in Dallas, Seattle and Anchorage, I boarded the twenty-minute flight that delivered me to Kenai.  Needless to say, the plane was small and we were packed in pretty tight.  It wasn’t like the one that Ray Stevens sings about in Southern Air.  They didn’t peel rubber on the runway,  there were no window screens, and I did not notice an ‘eat more possum’ bumper sticker stuck out on the wing.  We did have a lady driver, the engine sounded a bit like my old neighbor’s outboard motor, and the passenger to my right was traveling with a hairless cat.  (Why would you have one of those in Alaska?) We landed right on time…4:50 a.m., which, being interpreted is 7:50 a.m. central time.  I don’t have to tell you that it was a long day’s night.

Trish, the Grouchy Old Woman Jr.,


met me and brought me to the bed and breakfast. I’m enjoying getting to know her.

Later that morning


…because I went straight to bed…Sharon gave me a big hug and said, “Welcome home!


Sharon’s brother, Lee, is here from Kentucky.  We are sharing the downstairs.  He said, “With me you have to be very blunt, so which towels are you using?” Being unsure, he had dried his hands on the bathroom rug.  What a thoughtful man.


The first words I heard Blanche say were, “I’d like to come in there if I could figure out how”.  It was good to see that nothing has changed.  That is, nothing except the landscape.


The place where we chopped down all that cow parsnip


is covered with snow.  And in town,


people are carving ice sculptures.  And since I’m not used to ice and snow,


I was given a seminar on how to walk on the stuff. They said to step flat, not from heel to toe, and to keep my toes turned in.  After a trip around the yard    I made the remark that walking pigeon-toed and flat-footed was doing a number on my hips.  Trish looked up and said, “Well, you didn’t slip, did you?”

She adds to the ambiance

In five days I’ll be leaving for Alaska for my “watercolor woodshedding in a winter wonderland“.  My art supplies and some clothes have been packed


and shipped to The Grouchy Old Woman Bed and Breakfast. (my woodshed for a week) To my amazement, the package arrived exactly when the nice guy at the post office said that it would.

Being from central Louisiana, I’m looking forward to experiencing a little winter. I understand that Alaska’s sunrises and sunsets are beautiful this time of year.  I saw neither one when I was there in July.  When I went to bed the sun was shining…when I woke up the sun was shining.  Other than the length of the days, it should feel a little more normal…whatever that is.

I’m looking forward to visiting with Sharon Brower and her mother, Blanche. It will be good to be back on the peaceful shores of Daniel’s Lake, which I understand were not so peaceful last month.


Blanche had a rather eventful December, with pneumonia, a broken arm and a bruised hip. Thankfully, she is mending very well.  I’m glad…Blanche adds to the ambiance.

That was my morning

Today I awoke to another cold, rainy, dreary day…the fourth on in a row, I do believe.


Anyway, I was glad that I had banked my coals last night so that I wouldn’t have to start a fire from scratch this morning.  It wasn’t long before the fire was roaring again.  About mid morning, I noticed that the fireplace was full of really nice coals.  Not wanting them to waste, I decided to cook lunch over them.


I hung an iron pot to which I had added some olive oi,l that I had infused with herbs and garlic, and a couple of chicken breasts.


I chopped some onion, celery and peppers


and stirred that in.  I had gotten some little carrots from the market at Inglewood,


so I sliced them


and slid them in as well.  After adding some broth and seasoning, I left it alone


to cook for a while.  Then, I threw in some noodles and called it soup.


While the noodles were getting tender I relaxed in front of the fire.


I gotta tell ya, it tasted pretty good.  And that was my morning.



She cleans up pretty good!

You are familiar with Denton and Hudson.


They’ve been in and out of this blog for quite a while, so I think it’s time to let you get to know Josie a little better.  You may recall that she was born with plenty of hair,

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all of which she has kept.  And, some days,

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it seems to have a life of its own.  She is beginning to really enjoy

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having conversations and seems to understand what we are saying.  In three days she will be five months old, and besides doing the regular stuff that a little girl her age does, she has become

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quite the outdoors type.  As a matter of fact, she spent almost a week at a deer camp in Alabama.


This is a picture of her with her first deer.  Of course her daddy and brothers didn’t want to be left out.  Less than a week later,

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she had this picture made with her second deer.  She let her Paw Paw join her since it was on his property.

Then, in the twinkling of an eye, she can go from redneck

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to princess.  I think she cleans up pretty good!