January 20 to February 14, 2014 NOMADS Project, Mercedes, MS

February 15 (Approximately) to June - Gate Guarding, TX or LA.

June, 2014 - Up to Alaska!

September - NOMADS Annual Meeting, Branson, MO

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Project winding down

Hayesville,  NC

Welcome to Sue G as a follower to this blog.   Good to see you here old friend.

As our three weeks here at Hinton Rural Retreat Center ends, here are a few shots of some of the projects Len and I worked on the last few days.

Starting to repair a faucet in one of the cottages
Removing old draperies from another cottage
Installed new mini blinds
Climbing the roof of the administration building
Repaired 3 skylights.
On Monday we were all invited to dinner at the home of a local couple who are interested in joining NOMADS.

This is Gene and Evelyn Russell.   We appreciate they would welcome 14 strangers into their home.

Gene makes jewelry from acutal coins by cutting away the backgrounds.
This is our last full day here.  Tomorrow we head to Marion, NC to attend the NOMADS annual meeting and reunion.  This will be a first for us.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

As the weekend winds down.

Hayesville,  NC,  Brasstown, NC and Hawassee,  GA.

It is now raining, has been most of the night and day. That's okay we need it not only to water the earth but to cool down the heat.  This past week flew by.   NOMADS really know what they do when they have us work only four days a week.  Us old people do need a 3-day weekend for sure.

So, what did we do with our three days off?

Friday:     Len and I drove around the area for a while in the afternoon. We stopped at a roadstand and bought peaches, tomatoes, yams and muscadines.  We had a late breakfast so just grabbed a salad at McDonalds for lunch/dinner.   In the evening most of our group drove over to Brasstown, NC to the John Campbell Folk Center.    The one hour entertainment was a gentleman (rather good) who played various autoharps, the Mountain dulcimer, hurly gurly and even the saw as he sang some familiar and some not so familiar folk songs.  We enjoyed it immensely.

The real treat for the evening was a telephone call from Granddaughter Charlotte in Maryland.

Saturday:    We first went to Hiwassee GA.  They were having their "Last Kiss of Summer Craft Show and Fair".   We walked around for a short time but bought nothing. We did sit and listen awhile to Loose Cannon, an Army band.
Old post office sitting near parking lot in town.
For lunch we stopped at a Pizza place and had their salad/pizza buffet.

In the evening our group gathered and drove about a half mile down the mountain to Goldhagen Art Glass Studio for an evening of folk music and a glassblowing demonstration.

Thea and the Green Man (Chuck)
The owner of Goldhagen showing his craft.
A finished product.

Sunday:  We attended the Hayesville First United Methodist.   After services we selected Rib Country for lunch.    We had passed this place several times and decided we just had to try it.

Phyllis' lunch.  Ribs, Texas Toast, Sweet Potato and Slaw.
Our NOMADS leaders this project:  Dian and Don Greeno
To end the weekend on a fine note:  Len is busy in our kitchen making chicken gumbo and his special potato salad.   

Tomorrow it's back to work.  We wonder what we will be doing if it continues to rain as expected.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wesley Meadows

Hayesville,   NC

First - welcome today to blwebby who joined our blog yesterday.  Howdy!

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday our NOMADS group worked at a project of Hinton Rural Life Center.  Wesley Meadows is a community of homes being built by volunteers and the future home owners.  It is on the order of Habitat for Humanity but with a stricter set of guidelines for qualification.

Applicants need to have one solid year of current continuous employment.  They must meet a set credit score.   They must be able to show they can make the mortgage payments.    The current group of future homeowners consist of 6 families.    Each family must provdie 14 hours of labor each week.  No one can move into their home until every house is completed.  Then they all move in the sameday.  Currently one house is move in ready and another is just getting the foundation poured, the rest are in various stages in between.  Hinton feels this program not only builds houses but a community as well.

The houses are energy efficient.  Homeowners are guaranteed a payment for one year of no more that $28.00 a month for heating or air conditioning.   The homeowners can receive interest rates as low as 1%, depending on their income and credit score.   In addition, there is built into the contract a clause of up to 24 months grace period should they lose their job or become disabled before they face losing their homes.

Partically completed houses we are now working on.

Building a handicap ramp on an otherwise completed house.....

Installing doors on crawl spaces.   Before and after......

Three of the houses have full basements, three only crawl spaces.   Leonard and I built access doors for each of the crawl spaces.

And now our favorite time of the workday..... except, of course, quitting time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back to work and liking it.

Hayesville,  NC

We arrived back in Hayesville to our NOMADS project late Sunday afternoon.

These are some of the rigs all lined up.   Hinton provides full hookups to its' volunteers.

From the back porch of the "lodge" we see this fantastic view.  The distant mountains are Georgia.

We were only able to work on Monday last week before being called to return to Louisiana.   On that day and also this past Monday we worked in three different buildings changing out light fixtures.  The Center received a grant that enabled them to change all fixtures over to high energy efficient lighting.
We also removed an inactive exhaust fan in a hallway of a housing unit.   Len also installed a fan/lighting fixture standing on a 16 foot ladder in the center of the Chapel.   I wish I had gotten a picture of that one.

On the way to and from Louisiana and North Carolina we drove through the Cherokee National Forest.  On the way back on Sunday we saw hundreds of white water rafters on the Ocoee River.

Lake Ocoee - Tennessee
At the start of the rafting - it's over the Dam:
This part looks a wee bit calmer.
I would have to be sure I would come out alive from this adventure before I would get in one of these contraptions.   However, of the hundreds of rafters we saw, only one was turned over and the people appeared to be having a good time laying in the water.   I'm guessing they were still alive.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Remembering Mom

Vinton, Louisiana

In memory of Mary Alice East Chesson who died at home on September 15, 2010 at 4:20 pm.    Mother of 10 children.   Grandmother of 39.   Great grandmother of 57 and Great, great grandmother of one.

Mother - Alice Chesson
Son - Leonard East Sr.
Grandson -Leonard East Jr.
Great Granddaughter - Tiffany Reid
Great, Great Grandson - Alex Reid

Leonard gives thanks that he was present and holding his mothers' hand at her passing.  The above picture was taken this past Easter showing the five generations.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Called back to Louisiana

We knew when we left NJ and headed to NC, there was a good probability we would be called back to Louisiana due to the illness of Leonards mother.  We cleared this with our NOMADS leaders.

We got the call yesterday that Hospice said she would not live through the night.  We left NC at 5 pm and drove until 10.   Got up early this morning and was on the road at 5, arriving at her house around 2:30.  The house is full of family in and out all day.

Mom is in a heavy sleep as she has been for days.    The head Hospice nurse was here this afternoon and said he is surprised she lived last night and her strong will must be keeping her here.   There is a nurse here 24 hours a day now.  We know the time is short.  

We are thankful that we made it here in time.

We left the rig at Hinton Center in NC as the project is only in the first week of three.   We believe we will be back there by Sunday or early next week at the latest.   We are both tired and need some sleep soon.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Driving through driving rain.

Hayesville,   NC

Drive into Riverside Campground.
We left Abingdon VA at 7 am this morning.   At first the weather was fine then the dark clouds gathered.  The trip took 4 hours.   For much of the trip we were in driving rain.  I have to say, I white knuckled it as we drove the mountains coming down at 8% grades with not only the rain but fog.  

Down a mountain in the rain
As we arrived at our destination, there was construction work going on.  Lucy, our GPS told us to make a left turn.  It was a small dirt road and luckily we overshot it.   We had to drive more than 3 miles to turn around.   Yesterday I received an email from our leaders Dian and Don warning us about the construction and telling us to look for the NOMADS sign and saying there was a larger sign at the road indicating to turn for Goldhagen Art Glass.   

Sure glad we overshot that dirt road Lucy told us to turn into.  Once more she was attempting to play a trick on us.    Coming back we found the correct road.   Hey, this road was no walk in the woods either.  Narrow, steep and winding.  At last - the sign for Hinton Rural Life Center, our destination.  

Our leaders came out of the motorhome to welcome us.  The selection of sites was limited.  We picked the only one we could possibly get into.    We realize these agencies are not campgrounds.  They provide these sites as a benefit to the workers.   But it sure would have been great if they put the sewer dump on the correct side.   Good thing we have lots of hose.

Where we stayed last night was not far from where my nephew lives with his family.    Emilie - if you read this, we are sorry.   We hear that you were upset that you did not get to see Uncle Len last night.  Sweetie - we promise next trip through we will stop to visit with you.  Love and kisses.

On this day, we remember the events of nine years ago.   On this day, we reflect how fortunuate we are to live in this country.  On this day and every day we pray for God's continued blessing in this the greatest country in the world.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A day and a half of rest

Greenville,  VA

Welcome to our blog - Jo Beth and Catherine.    So glad to see you here.

We left NJ on Wednesday at 7:40 am and arrived at Stony Creek Resort and Campground in Greenville, VA at 2:30.    We decided to stay until Friday morning to give us a little respite and relaxation.

Crossing Potomac River with Harpers Ferry in background
After some difficulty because of lots of curving roads with signs indicating high railroad tracks, we finally found the campground with the help of our GPS, Lucy.    This is a decent campground but the access roads greatly need improvement.  The sites are quite large, although because of the trees, somewhat of a challenge backing into.

There is both a small lake and a pool.   Near the pool is a volley ball court, tennis court and playground.

Our boy Lucky checking out his surroundings
It is now close to 10:00 a.m. and almost checkout time here.   We will only be traveling about 3 hours to Abington, VA where we will spend the night.  Then it is off to Hayesville, NC where we will meet the other NOMADS we will be working with for the next three weeks at Hinton UMC Retreat Center. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our first day out again was almost our last.

Greenville,  VA

We are at Stony Creek Resort and CG in Greenville, VA.   Will take post pics tomorrow.  Too tired today.

We left NJ at 7:30 this morning, arriving here at 2:30.   Most of the drive was uneventful.  BUT - we were driving WB on I70 about 30 miles east of Frederick MD.   Suddenly we saw what appeared to be two cars sideswiping each other in the EB lanes. It was so fast we could not tell really what was happening.  The car on the onside maintained control and pulled to a stop.

We watched in horror as the car on the inner lane lost all control.  First it made a half turn midlane still in the EB lane.  Then it seemed to pick up speed and crossed the medium.   It then crossed both WB lanes directly behind our fiver.  Had Len tapped his brakes when we first saw what was happening we would have been broadsided taking out our home and possibly the truck too.  Not to mention US.    I looked out at the outside mirror and saw the car hit the grass after crossing behind us, become airborn and flip three times.  

Our first thought was for traffic directly behind us.   It was so fortunate no cars were close enough behind us to be involved.  We slowed down enough to see a line of cars behind us stop and pull over to the side to give assistance so we continued on.  Within minutes we saw an ambulance and a fire truck headed EB toward the accident.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the driver and possible passengers.  I do hope they were wearing seatbelts.  

So, now we have settled down.  A little later we will take a walk around this park.  It seems quite nice.  More tomorrow.   Need to de-stress tonight.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Last weekend before heading out.

Driftwood, PA, White Hall, MD and Elmer, NJ

On Thursday night we drove down to Amy and Scott's and spent the night.   We packed up the girls Friday morning and headed to our family cabin in Driftwood, PA about a 4.5 hour drive from their home.  The girls slept most of the way.

My (Phyllis) parents bought this cabin about 43 years ago.  At the time it had no inside plumbing or electric.  It was heated by an old pot belly stove sitting in the middle of one large room.  The cabin was originally a one room school house.  Over the years it was separated into one room for sitting and a kitchen area, two small bedrooms and a bath with shower.   So much better than the outhouse it came with and bathing in the cold river.

This school was attended by Tom Mix.  Okay, if you know who Tom Mix was you are OLD!   Tom Mix was THE cowboy movie star in silent movie days and the beginning of the talkies.  His family home is about 1/2 mile down the dirt road from us.  All that is left now is the old foundation.   At one time there was a small park with a store, picnic grove and tourist information.  However, there are fewer and fewer people still alive who remember Tom Mix or have any interest.  Some of the buildings that were constructed when it was a tourist site, are now burned out.

Our cabin sits in the Allegheny mountain range surrounded by state game lands.   In front of it is Mix run normally a shallow river allowing the truck to drive across to the closest highway - PA 555.  If not driving across the river to get to town, it is 5 miles over mountain roads.  The nearest large town with banks, groceries, fuel, etc is Emporium, about 25 miles away.  This area of Pa is known for its large Elk Herds.  Often we see them down by the river and even in our side yard. 

Up the road about a mile is the Mix family cemetery.

Unfortunately, went we arrived at the cabin we found there was some type of leak in the bathroom causing wet carpet and mold growing on the wall.   I scrubbed the mold but could do nothing much about the dampness.  Charlotte had a difficult time that night with her allergies.  She and Leonard slept part of the night in his truck.    So, Saturday morning we packed up and headed back early to NJ, a long drive of close to 8 hours.

On Sunday we took the girls to the local Jellystone campground where my Mother, Sister, Niece and Nephew and their children were camping.  The girls loved the playground.  Especially the slides.

My Mom and her new best friend.

On Sunday we packed up the girls and returned them to their Mom and Dad.  There were tears all around as it will be several months before we will see them again.

Amy with her girls, Charlotte and Abby.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

From last Saturday until now

Upper Deerfield Twp,  NJ.

Last Saturday we met up with Amy and brought the girls home for the night.  On Saturday afternoon we took them to our local small zoo.   I had taken Charlotte earlier in the year.  This was Abby's first time.

Charlotte taking her turn pushing Abby
One of two white tigers at the Bridgeton Zoo

When we picked up the girls, Charlotte was SOOOO excited about her new Pillow Pet - a black cat.  But, after leaving the Zoo we passed a yard sale.   There is was!  Charlotte has been wanting her own doll house.  So Grandpa slams on the breaks and opens his wallet.  For the rest of the weekend, Pillow Pet took a backseat to the doll house.  Aunt "T" (the name Charlotte gave her aunt Terri when she was learning to talk) and Uncle Steve went shopping Sunday morning and  helped to furnish the house in fine style.

Trying out the motorcycle
We had planned on keeping the girls most of Sunday and meeting Amy midway Sunday afternoon.  However, Charlotte's allergies really kicked up.  We think it might be due to the chemicals the dealer used on our carpet when it was returned to us last week.   So we took the girls all the way home a little earlier than originally planned.   Last year we saw fields and fields of tall sunflowers in Jarrettsville, MD, a town close to where they live.  This year there were only a few fields and the flowers appeared stunted.

Our Pastor Tom Austin with his wife Barbara.  They hosted us for dinner.
Besides missing our family here in NJ and MD and our friends in this area, we will miss our home church and church family.
Deerfield United Methodist Church

Dear church friends Diane and Russ Kilmaier

Len called our dealer yesterday regarding concerns about the rig.  They said the new steps were changed accidentally - it was meant for another rig.   Hey- our old steps were more study and larger.   They said we can bring our rig back and they will put our steps back on - no charge!   WELL THANK YOU!!!!  No thanks, you people will never touch this rig again.    I have written a letter to Keystone asking for an inspection at another Montana dealer.