Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Walkabout Wednesday: Salton Sea

I will post April totals next week.  It has been another challenging month with some pedometer woes but I am determined to keep walking!

I don't know why, but abandoned places intrigue me.  The thought of wandering unhindered through an old, empty building and filling it with my imagination and stories of Used-To-Be's is fascinating.

It is probably related to the school I attended for my first two years.  I still have dreams about wandering through that old building and I still have not forgiven Greenville School Systems for tearing it down!

Postcard of Donaldson Elementary before the rear addition.  When I was there the trees were full-grown

Because of this, my wanderings have included some spaces that others would probably not find very attractive.  One of these places is the Salton Sea.
Photo from Salton Sea Modern Museum

The Salton Sea is located in the Colorado Desert in Southern California.  Wikipedia has an interesting article on it here.  I read the history of how it was formed, with the canals, the flooding, the railroad, the farming run-off, the Hoover Dam, and on, and on.

I wonder about the people who lived there long ago when it was a salt-mining town.

Picture from Photobucket

The folks who struggled to make a living farming the land only to have the Imperial Canal fiasco flood the whole area.

Photo from

The men stationed at the Marine Barracks during World War II

Photo courtesy of Slab City Archives

The people who were drawn there in the resort years...


....only to have the dreams dry up and become crusted over with a layer of salt.

Photo courtesy of slworking2 from

Those first few folks who decided to make the abandoned marine barracks a place to live off the grid.

Photo courtesy of Chuck Coker from

Or a place to proclaim their faith.
Photo courtesy of pixeltoo on Creative Commons

Something about this area seems to draw people to try and capture it in words or paintings or photographs.  Independent film makers seem to have been especially captivated by this area.  It seems I am not the only one who finds the area visually intriguing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The View From My Kitchen Window: A Rainy April Sunday

God waited to send the rain until we finished the week's planting.  Gardeners appreciate such blessings!


Monday, April 28, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up

Wow, what a weekend!

Mr. Marvelous and I have been curious about a garden business about an hour away from us called Petals From The Past.  We kept hearing about them from various people, and were interested in their work to preserve heirloom species, but we just never quite got around to going there.

Saturday morning I packed a picnic and we took off and headed south to Jemison.  It was sunny and warm and the perfect day to wander through a garden. 

I hope one day my scuppernongs look this nice!

On the way home we stopped at Lowe's for some lumber so we could come home and build this...

We changed our homeowner's insurance this year to a different company, which costs about half of what our old company was after the latest rate hike. Their only request was that we fence off this drop-off.  For that much of a reduction in price, you bet we will build a fence!

After building the fence, Mr. Marvelous got busy tilling and planting.  Can you see the artichoke plants in the picture?  I'm excited about those.  We love artichokes and have tried ~ unsuccessfully ~ to raise them in the past.  I'm hoping that this year will be the magic year for them.

Meanwhile I cleaned up the herb beds and got the lemon balm, tarragon and parsley planted.

In between doing that and helping with the fence I got to work on this.


And after.  This is just the very beginning of the project.  I figured that since the next few days are supposed to be rainy, stormy and generally indoor days, I will finish it up when I can not go outside.

Saturday night was grilling hamburgers on the back porch while sitting in the swing and lying in the hammock.  Mr. Marvelous makes the world's best hamburgers!

Sunday morning was a wonderful morning of worship, followed by a homegrown meal (Mom's version of rotisserie rooster).  

The thunder and rain waited on us to finish and the rest of the afternoon was spent napping while listening to the music of the weather.

I got a little behind on the housework over the weekend.  Curiously enough, rather than complain about a less than perfect house, Mr. Marvelous just kept talking about how much fun we had spending the day working beside each other.

Friday, April 25, 2014


I read a book a number of years ago about the disciples after the ascension of Jesus.  A man who had not been a disciple was traveling with Justus Barsabbas (see Acts 1).  They were walking together and Justus Barsabbas was telling the other man about Jesus and all that had happened.  Finally the other man asked him, "Every time we come to the top of a hill you stop and search the sky.  Why do you do that?"
Justus replied, "Jesus left us and was taken up into the sky.  The angels promised He would come back.  I'm looking for Him!"

That is the attitude of eager expectation that I want to have every day.

Spend some time looking up today!

Gulf Shores, Alabama July 2011

Helen, Georgia July 2013

Blue Ridge, Georgia July 2013

Glover, Vermont October 2013

Home!  April 2014

Happy Friday!                               

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Holding On

Did you ever go for a walk with your Dad when you were a little child?  Many of my most precious memories are of taking walks with my Dad.  Getting to walk to church with Dad on Sunday mornings was an extra-special treat.  My little legs struggled to keep up with my 6'4" father, who always slowed his steps down for his children.  I never worried about stumbling and skinning my knees; Dad always kept hold of my hand.  The feel of my little hand being held in his strong grasp left me with a sense of safety, security and comfort.  I knew that nothing could hurt me because My Daddy was holding on to me!

Because of the gift of those memories, the description of God that I found in Isaiah 41:13 struck a chord.

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the One who helps you"

He is the One who holds your right hand.  Remember that as you walk through today.  

It is not a matter of us holding on to Him; HE is holding on to us!

Photo Illustration from Thinkstock

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The View From My Kitchen Window April 22, 2014

I have noticed something interesting today. 

Rainy days are not as gloomy in the Spring and Summer because there is so much green.

It makes me feel as though I am back in western North Carolina.

And that's a good thing!

Friday, April 18, 2014


Good Friday.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 NASB)

 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
(I John 4:10 ESV)

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”
(John 12:32 NASB) 

 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(II Corinthians 5:21 ESV) 

 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.  And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.
(Matthew 27:51 NASB)

I wanted a picture to post today to capture the visual of Good Friday.  I could not find one that did not have rays of light shining on the cross.  As I looked through what was available, I realized that as followers of Jesus, we seem to want to rush from the silence and darkness of Friday, the despair of Saturday and get right on over to the glory and the joy of Sunday.

My prayer for you today is that you will stop.  That you will allow yourself to experience the grief, the pain and the desperation of Friday.  I believe that if we will keep ourselves from rushing away from Friday then we will be able to more fully experience the joy, the glory and the wonder of what is coming. 

Be still today.  Meditate on the day.  Be reminded of what Jesus did for us.  Remember that it was done in order that the Father would be glorified.  Follow His example.  Seek God's glory in all of your life.  No matter the cost.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Holy Week.  

It is a week of remembering prophecies that are fulfilled in the Messiah.  It is a week of remembering the promises that God has made to people.  Some of the promises, for those who are surrendered to Him, are pleasant to look at.  Other promises, for those who refuse to acknowledge Him, are terrifying. 

This week I am reading through the book of Isaiah.  There is a balance of the terror and the comfort in this book.  There are a lot of different names and descriptions of both God the Father and God the Son, my Messiah.  I would encourage you to read and find the ones that pierce your heart.

Here is the one that I found yesterday in Isaiah 33:6.  This one I think will stay with me the same way that the name I found for Jesus in Luke 1:78 has. 

The Stability of your times
Remember that when the world threatens to unbalance and undermine you.

His peace to your homes.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Food Preservation: Eggs

Oh boy, do I ever have eggs.  

I currently have eight Buff Orpingtons.  I'm not sure if the "Old Girl" ~ aka Penny Purdy ~ is laying but the other seven are. I also have eight White Leghorns.  They lay almost every day.

The other Leghorn is in the hen house laying an egg.  Of course.

My daily average is around a dozen eggs right now.  That's EVERY SINGLE DAY.  So even though I have several people with whom I share my eggs, periodically I get a little bit of a build-up in the refrigerator.

Just in case you are having trouble counting, that is thirteen dozen right there.  Ten days' worth.  AFTER I gave away three dozen yesterday (one box to a total stranger at Aldi's.  I was desperate).  I know the math doesn't add up, but there are days when I get a total of fifteen eggs. 

I know what to do with an excessive amount of beans, squash, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes (and by the way Mr. Marvelous planted sixty tomato plants this past week.  Help!).

I'm big on preserving food, and I despise waste.  I don't mind spending several days a week in my canning kitchen.  But here's the problem.  Eggs really do not freeze well and you can forget about canning them.  My flyers are not getting me any egg-selling business.  What's a girl to do??

Then I had a brainstorm.  Why not bake up a dozen or so pound cakes and four or five fruit cakes (we like them, believe it or not).  They freeze well.  If the power goes out and we don't have a freezer for a few days they won't spoil.  I will always have something to pull out for company dessert.  While it will mean a little extra butter, cake flour, and whipping cream this month, I have enough stores in my home pantry that I can afford those extras.

Therefore, I hereby declare this week Official Pound Cake Week at the Akin Family Homestead.  We'll see if I can make a years' worth and get them in the freezer.

Come visit!

I'll add a piece of pound cake to the picture!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy Friday!

My son plays the bagpipes.  Have I mentioned that before?

Oh.  Well, he does, and he plays very well.

He also plays with a very good band, Palmetto Pipes and Drums in Columbia, South Carolina.

I have favorites in bagpipe music.  One of my favorites is a piece that he usually will not play for me.  He says that this is because it is NOT a solo piece, but a band piece.  I discovered that his band plays this particular piece.  In fact, the first time I ever heard this particular band in person (I think it was 2005), they were playing it.  It is one of their signature or go-to pieces.

Last week at Tartan Day South, the band performed my favorite.

After reviewing it with me Mr. Marvelous Jr requested that I not post it on the blog.

So instead I am posting here one of my other favorites.  It's their competition medley which includes Far O'er The Sea, Res Ipsa, and Wee Michael's March.  I love these pieces!  I especially love watching the drummers twirl their sticks through the music.

The people wandering around with paper and pencil are band members who will not be performing with the band at the next competition.  They do practice judging to help the band prepare for the upcoming competition.


Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tartan Day South 2014

Why did Mr. Marvelous Jr schedule his vacation in South Carolina for last week?

For the annual Tartan Day South in Columbia, of course!

Palmetto Pipes and Drums and two other pipe bands were in attendance this year.  I'll be posting some video links once I can get Mr. Marvelous Jr. to help me with a few technicalities, but in the meantime, here are some of the sights of the day

Piper with Ceol Na Gael.  And her student.


Adam has a lot of flair with his drums

Have I mentioned that Jr. is 6'4"?  They LOVE tuning his bass drone.

A handsome piper, isn't he?!

Junior's first pipe instructor.  Believe it or not (and I still get tickled about this) his last name is Pieper!

Pipers don't do bumper stickers; they do pipe-case-stickers.

Stay tuned for videos...