Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... Just went out on the porch and now I know exactly what the old folks meant when they said, "Them clouds is heavy with snow..." Or my mother would say, "On the wind's breath rides the smell of snow." Or as the Old Man is out there singing, "Gonna be a cold time in the old town tonight!" I laughed out loud when he did a little shuffle across the porch in my direction. "Think you got the words mixed up, Old Man. It's "hot time int he old town tonight." He actually swept his hat off and gave me an old-timey bow! "Not on this day and night, Missy! I've decided to let loose here in this part of the world. I've just been a teasing all of youn'se up to now. It's a gonna SNOW!" I grinned at him and let my eyes move across the valley toward the big mountains. "Yep. I reckon it is. Coming up from the south, too. Daddy always said that was where we got our big snows from." The Old Man stepped off the porch and leaned his head back to study the sky. "Well, your Daddy was right. Them old folks could tell you young folk a thing or two about this weathering business. They knew a lot more than these folks on that there television with all their fancy, dandy weather pre-dicting machines and such. Now take for instance when you was talking before about Ground Hog Day. Bet you didn't know they moved it?" I laughed. "Yep. I do know 'they' moved it... from February 14th to the 2nd. That upset my Breaddaddy a lot, you know? He quarreled about it when I was little. He said, "How are we supposed to know how much more winter we have to deal with if they're gonna mess with Ground Hog's Day? And then they up and made it something called Valentine's Day! What a nerve some people have about them!" So, on this morning of snow riding on the wind's breath, I remembered Breaddaddy... my grandfather. He was the one that rode all the way to Chicago with E.Y. Ponder to bring back a hit man and held a gun on him for over 24 hours while Sheriff Ponder drove back to Madison County.... Tough customers those old mountain people were - God bless all of them! So... stay warm and safe out there, my dearest dears and let's all have a thought or two about those 'tough old birds' that live and breathe in our heart's memories. I would sure love to hear one of your stories... There ain't gonna be much else to do today as the Old Man is out there whooping and hollering about conjuring up snow! Love, love. love all y'all! xoxo SK
Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... Woke early this morning and it certainly was colder than yesterday! I went out barefoot to get wood and just as I was loading the last stick in my arms a voice behind me said, "Morning, Missy!" I dumped the wood and turned toward the Old Man with my fists on my hips. "Well, we were all wondering when you'd make your way back down to this part of the world." He reached up and grabbed his hat off his head. "I had business a bit further up the road but I've got that piece of weathering done so figured I'd stop by to see if you might be considering some gravy and..." His voice sort of trailed off when he saw the look on my face. "I know everybody is wanting me out of the way of that red-headed gal but it's still my weathering time. Look at your calendar, Missy. It's just the 4th day of February! Why I recall in 1961 they was a foot of snow fell here on this very day!" I could've bit 10 penny nails in half. "If you pull such a trick as that Old Man, I'll be waiting for you with my shotgun the next time you show your face around here. And I mean that!" He did a little soft shoe shuffle on the porch and danced his way out into the yard. I felt the temperature fall about 5 degrees and my feet were now like plugs of ice. "Now don't you go threatening me. This is my season and I mean to make my kind of weathering right on through the end of March. You know that ground hog saw his shadow day before yesterday and went scooting back into his hole!" I started loading my arms with wood again and didn't say another word. He's right, you know? I'd forgotten all about Ground Hog's Day! Did any of you remember? Sigh and sigh some more. Love and hugs out to all y'all from a foggy, wet and sort of dismal Eskey's Ridge... Psssssst - That ground hog scooting only gives the Old Man 6 more weeks.... Yiiiippppeeee! xoxo SK
Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... "They's a warm spell that comes around the first part of February... A respite from the bone chilling cold. It's a glimmer of hope and a promise, grandbaby. Folks in this part of the world calls it False Spring." These were the words I heard clear as a bell this morning when I stood on the porch before daylight... I took a deep breath of the rain soaked air and smiled. I feel so very blessed that my heart's ear can recall all those precious voices from my childhood... I whispered, "False Spring..." Right then a sweet voice from behind the house began to sing and my heart lifted with the sound! She didn't come to sit with me but she's on the Ridge. I listened to her running footsteps as she moved from one place to another... This might not be the real spring, my dearest dears, but it is our promise. Spring will come and it won't be as long in the coming as it has been! Love out to each and every one of you on this morning of hope and peace. The house is quiet - - Andrew has been gone for a week now and I've missed him. But there is something to be said for content solitude. I love all y'all... xoxo SK
Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... It was warmer on the porch at 5:15 this morning than it was when I went to bed last night. I hope the 'weathering folks' are right and it gets up into the 40s later. I am slap worn out with this mess and yep, I know it's the end of January. The Old Man was no where to be seen this morning but I found out he's been spending some time up in Ohio where my cousin, Genny Lee lives! Love out to all my friends and family up in the midwest and northwest. We're cold here in western NC but we ain't seen anything like what they're suffering there. If you see the Old Man do not tell him I'm thinking biscuits and gravy.... xoxo SK
Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... Well, the Old Man is dancing about on the Ridge this morning. He was right tickled to see me out getting in wood. "So, Missy, you been under the weather?" If you could've seen the look I gave him it would've curled ten penny nails... I got sick on Wednesday and I reckon it went to walking pneumonia pretty quick. I wheeled around on him and there he stood with his hat in his hand and, I must say, a right tender look on his face. "I have and if you don't knock off this really cold weather I just might have to rethink all the times I've given you biscuits and gravy and coffee and cornbread!" He actually scuffed the porch floor with his gnarly old work boots. "Well, it is sort of my weathering time and I'm just doing what comes natural." I couldn't help it... I picked up a big piece of hickory and chucked it at him. And, he broke to run! So.... There will probably be snow on the Ridge before nightfall. Hope all my dearest dears out there are Going It! Love and hugs from Eskey's Ridge. Lordy me... it sure has been cold and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon! Oh how I miss that red-haired girl!!! xoxo SK
Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... This very second it is 2 degrees on my kitchen porch! The Old Man is out there raising Cain! There's 4 inches of fresh, powder-fine snow on the ground and the view from the porch is stunning as you can see from mine and Andrew's pictures. But it is so COLD... 'killing cold' as Mama called it. Here in the little house that Jim built, it's warm and cozy. Andrew and I have been up talking since well before dawn.... What a blessing my son is in my life....
When I stepped out to take the picture, that Old Man was on the front porch in a whirling snow shower. "Good morning, Missy! Just look at my handiwork. Ain't we having a grand time?" With chattering teeth I said, "Oh but yes! I wouldn't have it any other way, Old Man." And, I wouldn't. I remember my mother's slender hands 'comforting' a fire into being. I recall my grandmother's ropey blue-veined hands loading the big Home Comfort cook stove and oatmeal in a speckled blue enamel bowl. In my heart's eyes, I can see my daddy's gnarled from hard work hands coaxing well placed kindling into a roaring blaze.
Every single time Mama built a fire she reminded me that good fire building was an art that took time and patience. Daddy built a fire like he lived life - fast and with gusto. But, it's Mama's hands that I remember with tenderness. I reckon that's the way of the heart, my dearest of dears. What is that old saying...? Something like "The hand that rocks the cradle..." Here's to all those beautiful hands that have rocked all those cradles! Love and great big hugs out to all y'all... Get out there and Go It on this day and live it hard... It's the only one we got. I love y'all...... Oh... the Old Man just started hollering about biscuits and gravy. Maybe I'll surprise him here in a bit - - and maybe not! xoxo SK
Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... Just outside to bring in wood and the smell of snow rides on the air. Yesterday while I was outside I had a very brief visit from that red-haired girl. I was sitting in the porch swing when I heard "Pssssssst," from around the corner of the house. I turned and there she was! "What are you up to, young'un? I know it's warm and sunny today but don't you know what's coming for us in just a few hours?" All that red hair danced around her head as it bobbed back and forth. "Oh I reckon I DO know what is coming. I just wanted to let you know that I'm heading for much sunnier climes. That Old Man has worked himself into a Big Blow! It's going to be cold and windy and snow..." I patted her arm. "Well honey, it's winter time.... The time of the Hunger Moon is coming up quick. In this part of the world, we sort of expect this time of year to be just this way." She gave a big sigh. "They's lots of folks saying the same thing. I reckon they's just no place for me in these parts..." Her hair settled about her pretty little face and she looked so sad. "Don't be so down in the dumps. Why, in late March or early April all manner of folks will be out calling your name and you'll come rolling back in here and every step you take will bring such joy to all our hearts! You go where it's warm... we'll cuss and moan about the Old Man but we'll be singing your praises." I gave her slumped shoulders another pat and said softly, "Go on now..." And with a tiny little smile she swirled into the bright blue of the sky and was gone. There was no sign of the Old Man when I went out to bring in wood. But he's on his way. As soon as it gets daylight I'm going out to the wood shed and lay up as much wood as I can on the porch. I'll let you know what and all that old coot has to say for himself as soon as he shows up. Love and hugs from a quietly waiting Eskey's Ridge. Be ready for him, my dearest dears. April is coming but it's going to be an interesting 3 months! xoxo SK
Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... The moon was not a bashful moon last night. It was bold and bright as it rose above the mountain across the valley from the little house that Jim built. I sat on the porch swing for a long time watching it move up above the ridge line into the waiting arms of the big oak's branches off to the side of the house. In its silver light I saw the smoke from the fire diving straight for the ground and thought, "There will be snow before daybreak..." That's what all the folks from my childhood always said. And like a child, I was up and down all night long, peeping out into the bright night waiting... I'm still waiting for the snow. The night passed cloudless and still and just magically beautiful.... I think I'll go down and see if that Old Man is out and about this morning. Good morning all my dearest dears!! I'll keep you posted as to the unfolding of that possibility of snow - I just hope the Old Man has had his biscuits and gravy!!! xoxo SK
Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... The rain woke me last night and I lay in bed listening to the pattering on the roof. It's been very quiet on the Ridge for the last couple of days. The Old Man is out and about - he must've found some biscuits and gravy somewhere! It's snizzling rain here and 39 degrees on the kitchen porch. Not my favorite kind of weather but it'll do, I reckon. I've been battling off a cold all week and think I've finally turned the corner. Hope all y'all are out there Going It! More to come from the Ridge when that Old Man shows up! Love and hugs from a peaceful and quiet little slice of western North Carolina... xoxo SK
Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... 2 degrees on the kitchen porch this morning. And the snow is still on the ground. Last night the half moon set the whole world a'dazzle... tiny rainbows and glowing mist as far as my eye could see. My little wood stove is being helped by the monitor heater but I bet you if a feller sat up and loaded wood into the stove about every couple hours, that little critter would heat the house up just fine. I was tired last night since I'd been up the night before fretting about the cold... Everything takes about three times longer to do when it's this cold. According to the Old Man this is not the coldest it has gotten in my part of the world, either. "Why in 1985, my weathering brought temperatures of -18!" I peered out at him from my layers of thermal underwear, flannel shirt, wool sweater and heavy coat. "How about we not strive to break our record, Old Man." He laughed. "You sure look a sight all bundled up that a'way!" I laughed, too. "I reckon I do. You look all spruced up this morning, though!" He did a little back step and jumped up and clicked his heels together. "For an Old Man, you sure get feisty during all this cold," I said from beneath my several layers. He cocked his old derby hat forward over one eye and winked at me with the other. "Oh there's gonna be more of my weathering than you can shake a stick at, Missy. You just wait... Hold up, there. Where you running of too? I'm still talking to you." I just sailed through the door with my arms loaded down and closed the door behind me. He's out there hollering about gravy and biscuits again.... sigh. He'll just have to holler on till the cows come home. His weathering is tiresome... beautiful but very tiresome. Hope all y'all have a great day and stay warm. Please feed that Old Man some biscuits and gravy if you see him! Love and hugs from the Ridge to each and every one of you. xoxo SK
Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge.... -9 degrees on the Ridge at 7:00 this morning. I had the wood stove glowing with the monitor heater kicking in to help when the temperature dropped below 60 in the house. All was well - right up until the water froze. Out the door I went with hairdryer in hand to the pressure pump for the well. It only took me 15 minutes to get it thawed out... Whew! I was just unhooking the hairdryer when the Old Man stuck his head around the side of the door, "Uhhh... should I dare say good morning?" Before I even thought about it, I aimed that hairdryer in his direction and flipped that sucker on high/hot! Wish y'all could've seen him cutting didoes there in front of the shop! I haven't had such a good time since I don't know when... I finally took pity on him and turned it off but kept it at the ready. He fussed and cussed and finally shook his fist at me. "That was uncalled for, Missy!" he thundered. I waved the hairdryer in his direction and nodded at the water pipe. "That was uncalled for, Old Man. And if you can't stand the heat, get yourself out of the garage." He swirled off over the Ridge but I heard him out there mumbling as I was walking back to the house. I don't mind his beautiful landscaping but this bone chilling, water freezing cold has got to go! No more iced-coffee until he straightens this out and I mean it! Stay warm, for goodness sake, my dearest dears. It is plime-blank COLD out there this morning. Love out to all y'all on a frozen but still lovely Eskey's Ridge! xoxo SK
Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... There was no thought of going out in my shirt-tail this morning! It is 5 degrees here on the Ridge. After I was dressed and coated and gloved up, I went out on the porch to bring in more wood - I was up three times last night feeding my little 'stove-baby' - and the Old Man was sitting in porch swing rocking back and forth. This morning he's wearing a rumpled, moth eaten wool three piece wool suit and has on one of those flap-eared, fuzzy hats pulled down over his ears. He has it on backwards but I'm not going to tell him! I ain't messing with him this morning. As far as I can see now that morning's light has come for the Ridge, the whole valley is under a blanket of soft snow. All the sharp edges have been softened and it truly is beautiful. I took a breath and it was so cold it hurt... but I couldn't help but smile. The second he saw that grin he was up and swirling across the porch. "Good morning, Missy. Would you agree this is my best run at weathering for this season?" I swear I tried to look at him with a stern and disapproving expression on my face but he was standing there with such a boyish smile I couldn't help but laugh with delight. "You old coot! It is so cold I can barely take a breath but it is so very pretty. You've done a fine job of weathering this morning." He hooked his thumbs in his vest and strutted across the porch with his chest all puffed out. "Indeed it is... Why I believe it's as cold this morning as it was back in 1947 when I came through here. That was when that cow froze to the ground up on the head of the Big Laurel. Now them were the times, Missy." I leaned down and started loading my arms with wood. "At least I don't have a cow but I'd better get that fire roaring or no telling what might freeze up here." He scurried over, "Let me help you." Right then an icy wind blew across the porch like I've never felt before. "No!" I hollered. "You get on back over to the porch swing and I'll go fix you some iced coffee!" He's still out there and is hollering now about biscuits and gravy... Well, he can holler on. I ain't going back out until I have to go. The little stove is having a struggle but the monitor heater has kicked in to lend a hand. It is COLD out there, my dearest dears. Keep a watch out for the Old Man today. He told me he was going to be sticking around for 'nigh up to a week.' That caused a huge sigh but it is his weathering time. Love out to all y'all. Stay warm!!! xoxo SK
Weather Report from Eskey's Ridge... The wind is howling and that Old Man is singing harmony! It is fogging down the snow and when I went out on the porch, he came sliding across it like it was water. "Well, Missy, and what say you now about me letting that red-headed slip of a girl take my weathering?" I didn't say a single word to him. I lifted a stick of wood and put it in the crook of my arm and he let out a big loud bark of laughter. "Cat got your tongue?" I just kept loading my arms and right before I opened the door to come back inside, I offered him my biggest smile. "You just do your best, Old Man." His eyes met mine and we had a stare down right there on the porch! To be honest, I've got the curtain pulled back and every so often I go over to the door and he's still out there. It's warm in the little house that Jim built and my heart somehow welcomes the snow and wind and cold. It is January 2nd after all. And he'll blow himself to smithereens before the night is done. And tomorrow will be beautiful. Uh-oh! Now he's out there hollering about his supper and has set my wind chimes to singing. Better go and let him see me, eyeball to eyeball! Stay warm wherever you are my dearest dears and don't go out unless you just have to go. It's really coming a Big Blow and we'll just hunker down. Love and hugs out to all y'all. I'll be back out to talk with that dastardly Old Man in the morning bright and early. Weather report to follow in the a.m.
She giggled and went running out the Ridge so don't be one bit surprised if she comes knocking on YOUR door today.
Love and hugs out to all my dearest dears... Enjoy this nice cool spring day and tell that Miss Spring I'll be looking for her tomorrow! xoxo SK
This stunning background was taken by my good buddy, Jon Zachary, just a few minutes ago. No photoshop here - just God's handiwork. Blessings and love out to all y'all.
My youngest son has been such a blessing in my life. He was here on the day we lost Jim and he has been my rock for almost 4 years. Right now there is sunlight as yellow as butter coming in my skylight. The house is warm and my son is still sleeping. Giving thanks this cold winter morning for a young man who was willing to put his life on hold for a bit so he could hold my hand. Thank you, Andrew - our life together has been 'quite interesting' these last few years.
And, it did snow, son! Blessings, peace, love and thankfulness going out to all y'all from the Ridge. xoxo SK
Gotta go unstick my chickens, they haven't moved in some time and might be frozen to the ground.. Love and blessings out to all my dearest dears. Gonna take a much needed nap, darliins... Keep warm and don't go out into this unless you dress like Nanuk of the North. No frostbite, please! Nap time! xoxo.................. SK
Just so you know, I am very thankful for all y'all tonight. So blessings and peace out to all my dearest dears - you are loved and very special folks and I appreciate you more than you'll ever know.
Go out and speak to that sweet little moon... It'll give your heart a wonder moment.
Sleep well, dears and dream that little dream for me.
So here's hoping all y'all take a few minutes to just be still and be thankful for all we maybe take for granted the rest of the year. God's blessings out to all y'all from one peaceful, thankful old soul here on Eskey's Ridge. Thank you, God.... especially for my sister June Adams Gahagan. Love you, June!
Yiiippppeee I'm going to Scotland!