Wipeout!

So we’ve been living in Scotland since the end of July (2017), and every single day has be absolutely amazing.  I cannot tell you all the incredible experiences I’ve had just in the short time we’ve been here, but I can tell you about one of the most awkward moments I’ve had to date.

At the end of September one of our friends was celebrating a milestone birthday, and his lovely wife decided to throw him a surprise birthday part to mark the occasion.  On the day of the event she asks me to come over and give her a hand is setting everything up.  Fine, no problem, I was very happy to help.

She and I and another lass spent the morning wiping down patio furniture and halogen lights,  setting up a number of extra chairs, a buffet table, and a large outdoor tent – thank goodness I’ve had lots of practice at craft shows setting up those foolish things!  While we’re setting up the tent my friend accidentally stumbles into the flagstone patio and promptly breaks her pinky toe.  I cringe at the memory of the “crunch” her poor wee piggie made.  In spite of the pain and nausea she soldiered on though, because that’s what Scottish women do!

That evening, after a much needed shower and rest we returned to the party scene.  The house was packed with folks, and everyone was doing what strangers do at a party….milling about making small talk over glasses of champagne.  Men were clustered around the BBQ grill, beer in hand, talking about the latest football matches.  The hostess was running around like a chicken with her head cut off, making sure everyone had drinks and appetizers, offering introductions, and generally looking frazzled.  Of course, me being me, offered to give her a hand with the final dinner preparations.

At the offer of help I was promptly put in charge of boiling the potatoes for the buffet.  No problem!  Cooking, I can handle.  As I stood at the stove in the middle of the kitchen, surrounded by slightly buzzed strangers I felt right at home.  When you’re the help, no one takes notice of you, unless you do something really stupid, like drop a tray full of champagne glasses on the floor.  Thankfully I wasn’t in charge of the drinks table, so I was safe from scrutiny…for the most part.

As I stirred the pot of potatoes I found myself approached by several middle-aged men who had obviously come with a spouse or date, but had managed to lose them at some point.  I was quite flattered by their curiosity and attention, having never really spent much time on the receiving end of pick-up lines,  being married by the ripe old age of barely 22.  But it didn’t take long to go from being a curiosity to being a spectacle, because that’s how I roll.

Flattery over and taters cooked, I had one task left before my hour of service was over and we could all settle into an evening of music, dancing, and well mannered birthday frivolity – the taters needed to get to the buffet table so dinner could begin.  No problem, right?  Um, yeah….you keep telling yourself that….

crock pot w locking lidSo I’ve got this pot of boiled taters transferred to my brand new slow cooker, the kind with the snap-down top.  By the way, this slow cooker is fantastic!  Whoever thought to put a snap down lid on a slow-cooker should win a Nobel Prize or something.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spilled chili and other soups in my car, down the front of me, and all over the floor because the lid of the slow cooker didn’t seal properly.  But I digress…

I pick up the slow cooker, considering for a minute whether or not I should snap down the lid, thinking to myself, “I’ve only got to get from the kitchen to the back yard, but deciding to not risk it since I had on a thin, silk top and didn’t really fancy wearing salty tater water down the front of my blouse the rest of the night.  Thank you Jesus for that moment of sanity!

I make my way through the press of people in the kitchen and down 3 stairs to the conservatory.  I could see the buffet table set up just off the flagstone patio about 30 feet from the back door.  It was a beautiful, bright, {rare} warm Scottish evening with a faint breeze and not a cloud in the sky.  The sun was beginning to make its way toward the horizon, the sea taking on the characteristic late summer afternoon shift from green to blue-black to golden as the sun dropped lower in the sky.  Most of the party attenders were in the conservatory around the drinks table and milling around the patio in groups of three or four, admiring the view and talking in subdued tones.

Dodging around a couple of women who were teetering on their heels and giggling over their glasses of champagne at the opportunity for a Friday night out of the house, I picked up my pace, wanting to deposit the heavy slow cooker full of hot boiled taters onto the buffet table so I could find my own drink and re-join my husband and friends.

The next thing I know, I’m lurch forward through the air as I step out the back door.  Both my feet have left the ground, and somehow I’m making a nose dive toward the rough flagstone patio directly in front of me. Now a normal person would probably have thrown the slow cooker away from their body, allowing for themselves to brace their fall with their hands to avoid a face plant.  Not me though!  For some unknown reason, I folded the slow cooker against my chest, the lid pressed tight against my ample bosom, fingers clenched around the plastic handles on the side of the pot like I was heading out into the ocean for an afternoon of body surfing.

Moments later, the serenity of the party is broken by the ungodly screeching sound of metal against stone as I land on top of the slow cooker, sliding across the uneven flags of the patio in a spray of sparks from the bottom of the cooker.  As my ears are processing the high pitched wheal I can feel my feet gain momentum faster than my body and my legs begin to curl back over my body, and I’m feeling pretty certain that I’m about a heartbeat away from flipping over this crazy slow cooker in a bloody face plant.  Somehow, I managed to press my legs to the ground to halt my progress, stopping the ear splitting screeching, and as I abruptly ceased motion my glasses flew off my face and skidded a further 6 feet in front of me, thankfully coming to rest upside-down on the frames rather than the lenses.

I took a breath.  And another.  The crowd had fallen completely silent and in the absence of noise I could feel every pair of eyes at the party trained on my back.  My own eyes popped open and I realized simultaneously that my face was only inches from the rough flagstones, and I was somehow perched on top of the slow cooker like a hen on top of her nest of eggs.  I felt Sam lay his hand on my back, bending down to see if I was alive.  Prompted by a mortifying sense of embarrassment I heard myself repeating, “I’m okay,” two or three times before my brain had a chance to take stock of whether or not the words were true.

As my brain began to engage my body, I could feel the lid handle pressing hard against my breastbone and every breath I tried to draw in sent a twinge of pain through my chest.  The heat from the boiling water and hot potatoes was radiating through the glass lid and thin silk of my duck-egg blue blouse, causing my chest to burn as hotly red from the contents of the cooker as my face was from embarrassment.  My knees had slammed sharply against the flagstones and they felt like someone had run a hot poker against the kneecaps.  I silently cursed myself for wearing my favorite jeans, figuring they were probably ripped and ruined.

And then the gravity of the situation hit me…I was laying on top of a slow cooker of boiled potatoes in the middle of a crowd of strangers, and the worst part of the whole situation was, I was going to have to try and get up off the ground, preferably without looking like a turtle that was flipped over on its back, and without showing off my extra-large bum.  If I made it off the ground, I was going to have to find a way to exit the party quickly, most likely covered in a ruined top of smashed taters and hot salty water…. In that moment I was certain the social gods hated me.

Thank you Jesus for adrenaline.  In the time it took for a party-goer to retrieve my glasses from the patio, I had managed to burpee off the slow cooker into an upright position.  Sam plucked the slow cooker from the patio, which was somehow, miraculously still in one piece (although it will never sit level again), lid securely clipped down, and not a drop of hot contents spilled!  And I found that while my knees burned like fire my jeans were not ripped, and my bum had been securely covered by the tails of my silky blouse the entire time!  Within 90 seconds the party began buzzing again, and I was able to retrieve the vestiges of my dignity, smile at a few of the remaining gawkers, and sachet to the drinks table like nothing had happened.  Of course my cheeks never did lose their rosy red glow, and I noticed several of the chaps who’d paid me complements 15 minutes earlier were shooting me mischievous smiles of amusement before turning their attention back to their dates.  Oh, what a night to remember.

Only me, right?!  *sigh*

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Resurrection!

I'm back

Hello friends!  Wow, it’s been a while, right?  I can’t even believe this site is still an active site on WordPress, but hey, that’s the beauty of technology.  So I’ve got a wacky idea, lets resurrect this blog and see what happens.

I noticed my last post was written 5 years ago.  What?!  That’s crazyness!  And what’s even more insane is how different my life looks today from way back then.  To say a lot has happened in 5 years is really just an understatement, so let me catch you up on all the madness…

IMAG0420
Is this not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?! This is Romeo and he’s babysitting by also doubling as a jungle gym!

2012: sold our dream home and move to a tiny little repo’d farm in the middle of no-where Georgia.  Seriously guys, I traded in my heels and designer handbags for rubber boots and overalls.  I know, insane, right?!  We downsized from a 4,000 s/f home in an upscale neighborhood to 1153 s/f of double-wide trailer on acreage.  Talk about a step or ten down in the world, BUT……the farm was PAID FOR in CASH from the sale of our house…..so that really made it a step UP!  Sadly, I broke my back at the end of the year and it’s really put a damper on my dancing days since then.

2013: husband was downsized from his extremely well paying corporate job in the beginning of 2013.  We knew it would happen, but that doesn’t make it any less painful psychologically.  Thankfully we had sold our house in town and were living in a place with no mortgage and lots of land to grow our own food, which we did.  That was an experience, for sure.  But God is good, and we never missed a meal, never had unpaid bills, and never felt we were going without.

IMG_20150223_172030722_HDR2014 – 2016: I started my own soap company as a way to bring extra income to our little homestead.  I was fairly successful in our area of north Georgia, and I loved making body products.  I was a terrible businesswoman though, so I really kept it from growing as much as it could, but I enjoyed every day of my work, plus I got to meet so many amazing people, both in the business and from the business.  I sold the business in January 2017 and it’s still going strong, which makes my heart very happy.

findochty harbor

2017: began fundraising for our international move to Scotland!  Yes, that’s right folks, I’m sitting in my office in the north of Scotland, looking out over the sea.  We live in a little coastal village called Buckie on the coast of the Moray Firth (North Sea).  Our view is amazing!  Okay, I’m bragging a little bit, I know it.  But y’all, it is so incredible here!  My beloved is the pastor of a wee little congregation and our life is like an episode of the Vicar of Dibley…well, not exactly, but sort of.

Honestly, I know it doesn’t look like much has happened from that brief explanation above, but it really has.  If I were to write about every single event that’s happened over the past 5 years this blog would be super long and y’all wouldn’t stick around to read it anyway.  I’m a realist, and what you really need to know is that I’m back, at least as much as I can be, and as often as I’m inspired to be.  I have no idea yet where this blog will go in the future, although I suspect it will probably be very much in the same vein as before with my crazy musings, my two-cents worth on social issues, and my story-telling ideas, plus a little bit of cooking, crafting, and village life thrown in for good measure.  I’ve missed y’all, and I’m looking forward to us getting to know each other all over again.   So until next time…

{Muah!}

FRESH – a recap

On Saturday we opened our home for a private screening of FRESH the movie.  I posted about it our decision to become more conscientious in our choices of food and lifestyle HERE.  We only had a couple of people respond to our invitation to “dinner and a movie” however a movement doesn’t often begin with a nation, but a few.   The night was so much fun, and while I had fully anticipated snapping some photos of the gathering, I was almost immediately caught up in the fellowship and completely forgot to grab my camera.

Sam and I discussed our menu at great length – especially considering the nature of the event.  You wouldn’t want to serve a ton of “cruelty foods” at an event promoting a healthy, sustainable, local (dare I say FRESH) food system.  So we scrapped tons of menu suggestions and opted for something simple and flavorful – fajitas.  I decided to get the ladies involved in the process too by having them make the tortillas for dinner.  I’d made up the dough ahead of time using freshly ground whole wheat flour, and it was their job to roll and cook the flat breads.  I was so surprised to hear that my friends had never really made their own tortillas (and the one who had tried it never got it to work quite right).  I think they discovered it was simpler than they originally though, much more flavorful than the garbage you buy in the grocery store, and they did a great job!

After dinner, we headed to the media room for the movie.  It was awesome.  Sam and I previewed it a week ago so we knew what to expect, but none of the others had seen it yet.  It was eye-opening for some and a familiar recap for other.  If you’ve seen Food, Inc. you’ll be very familiar with most of the main players in FRESH – Joel Salatin, Michael Pollan, Will Allen, and others.

The discussion after the movie was so much fun.  Sam shared a bit about our vision for the future and what we’re trying to accomplish with East of Eden Farms.  There is so much we’d like to do in the next year or two and we’re so excited about how it will improve the quality of our life, and what it can do to improve others lives as well.  You might say he was preaching to the choir as there were lots of head nods among the group, but we all agree that what we’ve got now is a broken system that just doesn’t work.  Not all of our friends can devote a large part of their time to growing a full garden, or milking their own cow, or gathering their own eggs, or shearing their own sheep, or gathering their own honey, or raising their own meat rabbits and fish.  And some of them don’t even want to do those things.  But we all understand the importance of eating better.  Eating locally.  And supporting the farmers who are trying to bring this fresh, herbicide and pesticide free foods to us.  Yes, the cost is more.  But the food is worth more too.

Savannah, day 2 photos….finally

Hey y’all. I was finally able to sit down at the computer and download my photos from our second day in Savannah. What an awesome place! If you’ve never been, you should go. If you’ve been there you know exactly how spectacular it is. A girl could easily spend a ton of money there too. There are loads of shops and antique stores – and they’ve got just about everything you could ever dream of when it comes to trinkets and souvenirs.

As my sisters-in-law and their husbands had headed home on Sunday, Sam and I were able to take our time and mosey around the historic district. We walked, and walked, and walked, and then took another horse drawn carriage tour, and then we walked about some more. The weather was so nice though, and everything is laid out in such and orderly fashion the walking didn’t seem too difficult – plus Savannah’s historic district is flat – unlike Scotland where everything is uphill.

The original settlement of Savannah was laid out around 21 town squares that cover about a 5 or 10 mile grid. We only had time to visit about half of them on foot, and I certainly would like to get back to see the rest of them sometime. Each square is dedicated to a person or persons who helped to shape the Savannah we have now. Most of the squares are also rife with ghost stories and legends of ghost siting. I didn’t see any ghosts while I was there, but I can see how easily the dark and misty nights could feed those legends. Truly, Savannah is on my top five favorite places to vacation – I think you’d love it too.

Ah, Savannah!

Yesterday afternoon was my first day in Savannah, and I already adore this town. It’s bustling streets are filled with quaint shoppes and eclectic street vendors selling everything from t-shirts to fine art and jewelry. Horse drawn carriage tours can be seen everywhere, sharing the old, narrow stone roads with local traffic. The old cobblestone streets and boardwalks down on the river give the town an ancient feeling that enhances its beauty and charm. The river walk is teeming with tourists darting in and out of buildings and restaurants, but if you stand there long enough you are able to hear the long gone wharf men – loading and unloading ships; merchants bartering with the Captain’s for the best price on their goods; even a politician or two in the background – welcoming you to their fine city of Savannah. It’s a magical place.

The city is rife with history. Every square – all 21 of them – have amazing stories of Savannah’s history associated with them. This town is steeped in an ancient refined culture, and as you walk the streets the architecture transports you back to a time when life in the South was gentile. When women were fragile and men were cultured, and everyone wanted to leave their own mark on the town – making it better; richer; more refined.

Today there is more walking and talking in our future. My sister’s-in-law and their husbands have all gone home, so it’s just Sam and I, but I bet we’ll find our way onto one of the many trolley tours and through several more of the row shoppes. I can’t wait!









Burns night recap

Last night was a blast! For those of you who weren’t here, we hosted our second Burns Night Supper – a traditional Scottish supper in honor of Robert Burns, Scotland’s most beloved and well known poet. During his short life, the Bard penned works such as The Rose and Auld Lang Syne, among many others.

In celebration of the Bard’s 250th birthday, we prepared a traditional Burns Night feast, complete with bagpipe music and genuine Scottish folk. One of our favorite couple’s, Graeme and Sara King, who are from Paisley, Scotland attended, and Graeme was kind enough to address our haggis in proper Scottish fashion. Many of our guests had never seen a real kilt nor heard the famous Address to a Haggis, written by Robert Burns. It was definitely a YouTube moment.

Here’s Graeme addressing our haggis in the original old Scottish language.

Here are some photos of the spread – it was quite huge and extended into our living room – although I forgot to photo all the appetizers – sorry.



And here’s a photo of our guests – Graeme and Sara are in the center.

Tom and Fran Jackson

(Left to right front: Barbara, Dianne, Pel; left to right back: Butch, Miranda, Graeme)

Dianne and Miranda

Pel, Miranda and Fran

Barbara and Butch

Ron and Dee