We stopped to spend some time with our SOWER friends, Kim and Joe, who live in Upstate New York. We love our visits with them – totally laid back at all times.
Two of their grandsons (ages 14 & 12) were there one day since Kim’s been helping out with their virtual school days. They wrapped up their school requirements by noon and spent the rest of the day on the tractor or 4 wheeler or Gator. Pretty much this is a young boy’s paradise!
Along with all those fun-for-boys (young and old) vehicles, they have also helped build this incredible treehouse!
I mean really. Does this resemble any treehouse you’ve ever built?
When we visited them last summer it was ‘mostly’ done. The “Phase Two” structure (bedroom) was complete (and mostly decorated!)
and the kitchen/living section was just waiting for cabinet doors and countertops.
But even then it was most impressive. Did I mention that Joe has milled all the wood he used at his home sawmill? Almost anything that isn’t wood is something that has been repurposed (windows, roofing, doors, etc.).
Here’s the living area this year –
Love this sink and counter!!! The running water comes from a 250 gallon tank, and the fridge, lighting and stove are propane. This baby is totally off grid!
We thoroughly enjoyed getting a tour of this year’s improvements and finished out our treehouse time with a hotdog roast around the campfire.
Does it really get any better than this???
It was a wonderful way to end our little early summer get-away to Vermont!
Just for the record – we call them “SOWER friends” only to identify how we met them. We are such good friends at this point that I can’t quite remember when I did not know them and I thank God continually for merging our lives together. How gracious He has been to us!
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. If you’d like more information about Joe and Kim’s Treehouse, he’s entered a contest through the Wood-Mizer manufacturer (the sawmill company). Here’s a link that should take you right to his spot. Feel free to vote for him too – or check out some of the other entries. It’s pretty impressive what you can do with a ‘backyard’ sawmill and lots of ingenuity!
Lynne and I met when our oldest sons were in preschool together. They are both 42 now, so you know we’ve been friends for a long while. They’ve moved a couple of times over the years, but we somehow managed to stay in touch, however loosely that may have been. When Roger retired (or mostly retired) they settled in Ludlow, VT, which just happens to be on the way to The Cabin! Since we’ve been on the road our friendship has blossomed again, as they have often come to The Cabin for an overnight or two and we have stopped to spend time with them in our comings and goings to our cabin. It’s been a lovely thing!
Late in March of this year dear Roger slipped quietly and unexpectedly into Heaven. Oh, how our hearts ached for Lynne. As we were preparing to head to the cabin in late May I asked Lynne if she was ready for company. She was hesitant at first, I think – so much seems so overwhelming right now, but she finally said yes. Come. So Gary dropped me off on our way north and I was able to spend three lovely, quiet, tearful, and maybe even a bit productive days with this dear friend and sister in Christ.
I joined her on one of her daily walks
and we found a five-legged newt!
We helped him get safely to the side of the road. (Though it’s not a very busy road and he probably would’ve made it without our assistance!)
We lingered over breakfast on the porch,
filled the house with the delicious smells of homemade soup,
attacked some crazy weeds in the garden,
did little dusting and did a little puzzle puzzling.
And finally, when the chores were done, we spent some time in her studio – the first time she’d been there since she lost Roger.
It was hard, but it was good.
We sat quietly and remembered Roger with both laughter and tears. We prayed. We talked about the days to come and the days that are gone. Her grief is great, but her hope in the LORD is greater! I was blessed and honored to spend those precious days with her.
We all miss you, Roger – but we know you are in such a better place! See you when we get there!
Over the years many of you have asked if we really drive with so much ‘stuff’ on our dashboard. And the answer is a very simple “Yes”. It all started with this little jade plant that was a cutting off a plant that I had purchased in 1972, the summer after we were married. By the time we left on this adventure it was over 3 feet tall, and had about a 3″ diameter trunk. It didn’t seem really practical to bring that along, so we settled for those two sweet cuttings. Over the years as it grew (and we left more cuttings with friends along the way) it was joined by an Aloe Vera plant from the Florida Keys in 2011 and then this sweet little cactus from Arizona in 2016.
Other items have joined the party (mostly attached to memories or stuff found in Gary’s pockets)and this is how the dashboard looked as we left Columbus last month, heading east to PA.
Ah yes, complete with mask (good to keep one handy, right?) and a couple of crumpled up tissues. (No staging here. This is a true life still life.)
As I began taking my ‘windshield shots’ to document our drive, I noticed that items were beginning to do a little dance.
Let’s face it – the roads through Akron had those guys really jumping!
Gary added the candy wrappers and those tissues just kept moving to the road music.
The mask was the first to topple over the edge as the dance floor became quite crowded.
The dove had fallen over, attempting to get closer to the memory stones, and the pink flowers were distancing themselves from the potted plants. As we crossed Pennsylvania on I80 and then headed north up I81, I was keeping a close eye on the breakables that were getting precariously close to the edge. Just as we were coming into Montrose, the inevitable happened.
Can you tell what took that final leap off the dash?
One of my little Kenyan hippos! All is well, though – no harm, no foul! He was safely reunited to his mate!
The tissues made it just fine (eewwww), and don’t even ask me why we had a mousetrap on the dash. Somethings are beyond my understanding!
Thanks for coming to the dance!
And yes, I know that little leaning cactus need to be repotted!! Yikes!
So Ohio was great! We were so excited when we learned late last year that an Ohio ministry had joined our SOWER family! And especially pleased that it was only about 45 minutes from our Ohio kids. Not in the same direction, mind you, but still. We didn’t make any weeknight jaunts (we are, after all, working folks during the week) but during the weekends we did manage to get in a couple of sporting events,
a Kentucky Derby Party
a lovely family Mother’s Day gathering
and even a purple manicure from an experienced technician.
Oh, and did I mention there were some fun games on the deck
and some lovely snuggles.
Being able to work at Heartland this May was especially fortuitous because it coincided with our oldest granddaughter’s high school graduation!
Not sure where the years have gone – but we were delighted to be able to share in the festivities. Although we weren’t sure we’d be able to actually go to the ceremony with all of the COVID restrictions, at the last minute the family was granted a couple of extra tickets so 6 of us (7 counting the daughter in the band and already there) were able to be there in person.
OK, it was kind of a far away in person sort of thing, but it was still thrilling to see this young beauty take this momentous step.
(Pops stayed home with the boys and the baby and watched it on the TV!)
I loved watching the three oldest girls interacting together down on the field after the ceremony –
But I think maybe this one is my favorite!
Because, well, they’re sisters! And God made each one of them delightfully different!
Another highpoint of our time in Ohio was our last day when the whole clan (except Ellie B) came up to OUR Place for a picnic!
We took a fun hike
and the kiddos had a great time playing in the creek!
After we stuffed ourselves and folks began to pack up for the trek home I even remembered to get some group pictures before we said our final (for this time) good-byes! (Lord willing, we’ll be seeing them all in July at our Family Reunion at the Cabin!!!!)
Man, I love these guys! I think we might just have to volunteer at that Ohio project again!
The next morning we packed up and hit the road. But more on that later……
I know this has been long, and more than a little photo heavy, so thanks for persevering to the end! I did spare you from SOME of the photos, so if you’d like to see the rest of the set, you can check them out HERE!
I know, I know — it’s been quite a while since my last post. But I offer no apology. I’m pretty sure I warned you that we were heading to the cabin, and my days were filled with cabin-y things and the ol’ computer was barely cracked open. We enjoyed time with family and friends, got started on some reunion preparations, and generally filled up on Cabin vibes. It was a very good time.
As of last night we’ve returned to our little nest at Montrose, and today we launched into a project that (we hope) will take a week or so to complete. And then we’ll be heading back to the cabin! So over the next few days I plan to do some catching up, because once I get back to The Cabin, it will be vacation-brain all over again! And I’m pretty sure I’ll be short on apologies then too!
Thanks for stopping by (and putting up with these long silences)!