26 November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, #TBT

#TBT: Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a very happy and thankful day.
The hubs and college daughter will be in Colorado. 
The Big Guy just does not like travel and has not been feeling well, so he won't be joining us.
Cue the sad face. 

Since it is still #Throw Back Thursday November I am repeating a Thanksgiving post from last year....
An idea for table decor.   A link for turkey roasting. 

In December I am hoping to institute a Random Act of Kindness project. One random act of kindness from December 1 to December 24. Join me?   
A bit of an extension of the December 2012 post: Playing Secret Santa.

#TBT: November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy, happy Thanksgiving.

Nothing from my list today.  Didn't plan ahead to make it to the beach. So much for No. 13.

Just a very sincere wish for everyone to have a very happy day.

Be thankful for all you have.
Remember those who are gone.
And eat lots of turkey.

In the spirit of stretching yourself and learning/trying/doing something new:

Go ahead. Roast that turkey. It really is easy. For last minute turkey help, click here.  (Thanks, Butterball.)

For last minute table decorations try pumpkin place-cards. Grab those leftover Halloween mini pumpkins, a bunch of flowers (or greenery)and your electric drill.   Drill a hole in each pumpkin, pop in a flower or two, then use ribbon or raffia to tie on a card with your guests' name. Keeps Great Aunt Edna away from 
your gangsta nephew.

Aren't I adorable?

Happy fall table.

Enjoy your day!

O! And even though he is not on any social media and doesn't read my blog, Happy Birthday to the Hubs.

24 November 2014


Perseverance: I Think I Can, I Think I Can

Back in October I wrote about "doing it like I mean it" and looking for a job.

I kept looking for jobs, had a couple of interviews and basically accomplished nothing.

Then about five weeks ago a little coffee/decor shop opened up about 5 miles down the road from the cabin. I had watched this building being renovated and set my sights on working there.

The very first week they opened, I went in, ordered a mocha espresso and told the owner that I wanted to work there.   She looked at me like I had two heads.

This machine makes a lot of noise.
It's scary.
But I persevered.

The next week I went in and the owner's son was there. I repeated my request. I want to work here.
He looked slightly more interested, but no jobs available, they were just getting started.  He told me to maybe call his mom.

The following week, another employee was there and I told her I wanted to work there because  "don't you want to take some days off?".  I left my name and number, again.

Again the next week. Declaring my intentions, leaving my name and number.

I pretty much had given up.

BUT.... Hope springs eternal.

I went in last week and the owner's son said "O! I was going to call you today. Can you come in on Wednesday?"


I've worked one day. I made espressos and chai teas and sold some coffee mugs. Business is slow to start- this is a seasonal area. But the ski area opens Thanksgiving weekend so possibly things will pick up.

The grinder for these guys is also scary.
But I still have my fingers!

I go back on this Wednesday.

It was fun, I learned something new, I persevered.

Hey! Isn't that the entire premise behind Project Sixty by Sixty?

19 November 2014

#TBT: The Green Acres Kitchen

#TBT: My Green Acres Kitchen

We're continuing with this month's Throw Back Thursdays in honor of completing my second year of blogging.  I'm repeating some of the most popular posts each Thursday in November. And since next week is Thanksgiving, which means many of us will be slaving away in the kitchen, I thought this week I would repost last year's love note to my cabin kitchen.   Ok, maybe not exactly a love note.

But this was one of my favorite posts and a year later, I still love this kitchen. I bake more here than I ever did in Texas. High altitude baking at that. I've gone through a gazillion pairs of purple gloves while doing the dishes. And doing the dishes is in some way a highlight....order out of chaos and all that.

So...here's to spending time in the kitchen.   Food is love.

Green Acres/Redux: In the kitchen with Nancie

Don't panic. I'm not actually cooking anything.

It just cracks me up that I voluntarily left a perfectly functioning kitchen to come to Colorado and fix two to three meals a day in this:

Bunny playing Vanna White in the cabin kitchen.
(And let me say, for the record, my kitchen at home could use some updating, too.)

To be perfectly honest, I love this kitchen. I love the hokey cabinets. It has some nicer features than the kitchen at the real house: turntables, knife drawer, narrow cookie sheet cabinet, slide out drawers inside cabinets for the pots and pans. Many things were scrimped on when this house was built but I get the feeling the wife put her foot down when it came to the kitchen. The kitchen works. 


We are on a septic system and we have no disposal. 

This is our disposal:

Carlos is very efficient.
And don't call the FDA.
All dishes get a bleach soak and lots of hot water.

Instead of an ice maker, we have ice trays.  I had to explain to my kids how they work.

At least we have graduated from the metal ice trays of my youth.
Those always stuck to your fingers and then threw the ice everywhere. 

This is my dishwasher:

Those purple gloves have already sprung a leak.
A new pair is on the grocery list.
Much cheaper than a whole new dishwasher.

And the thing that is most time consuming: 
Trash disposal. 
We have to pay to dispose of our trash and we have to drive our trash to the dump.  Now I know we all pay to dispose of our trash but it really hits home when you actually hand over a ten dollar bill along with your two bags of trash rather than pay that utility bill that has trash removal included. 
Here is where the trash goes:
The dump!
The bright spot of going to the dump? Cell service.
Why can the dump get cell service but my cabin can not?

Conveniently located about 10 miles away and conveniently open from 9am to 4pm on Saturdays                                                     ONLY!

In order to keep the amount of trash down we recycle everything.  

Carlos supervising the sorting.

It is a bit like a treasure hunt at the recycling center.  You have to find the correct bin for each item. Plastic in one, cardboard in another, corrugated cardboard in yet another. Brown glass, clear glass, aluminum.  At least the recycling center is open 24/7.  Although I have heard if you go too late at night, you might run into snoopy bears. 

Everything gets sorted by hand. 
Personally. By yours truly.

And truthfully, this is all pretty much the norm here. No dishwashers, no ice makers. If you live in town  maybe your trash is picked up.  But the recycling center is always busy. And it is probably not that unusual in many parts of the United States. But it is certainly unusual for where I come from.  

And here's the thing. This is really good for us. The girls know where to throw their recyclables. While I'm still working with them on the actual washing of dishes, they are good at rinsing. They know not to bring extra trash home. You go through the drive through? Dump that trash in town at the first trash can you see. Don't leave it in the car and don't bring it home. And recycle that plastic cup.
It's good to see how much we throw away. And how much we recycle. It definitely brings home the amount of waste one family can produce.  And if you are hand washing dishes then paper goods sound like a fine idea until you hand over an extra $5.00 that week. 

And the best part? It takes me back to when I was 18 and went to school in Mexico. I rented different apartments with different people and I have such wonderful memories of time spent in those apartments with those -ahem- kitchens.  
I remember the day Cathy and I blew the door completely off the oven when we didn't get the gas pilot lit like we thought we had.
There were ovens with no numbers on the dials. High - maybe 450 degrees- was all the way to the left and 350 degrees was in the middle. We still baked. 
No ice makers. In one apartment there was no freezer at all. Or oven.
There was tons of spaghetti made, not unlike here, for many happy meals.
When we were going through brown outs and had no electricity, we cooked by candle light. Thank goodness for gas stoves.
Scrambled queso con huevos. Kilos of those eggs in plastic bags. Bolsas for our groceries.
And in those kitchens I made some of my best friends.
People who have changed my life.
People who have made my life.

So here's to going back to the basics. 


An update on Tuesday's tire fiasco.  Hat's off to Discount Tire for redeeming themselves. They called me, they sent me an email and they compensated me for the additional gas required to come back again for tires. 
Bunny's car has new shoes! 


If you like what you read, please share. Or Like the SixtyxSixty FB page. Thanks!!
If you love what you read, find me a publisher. 

17 November 2014

Deja Vu All Over Again

O! NO! It's Deja Vu All Over Again...

Last Fall was just a comedy of errors when it came to the cars. 

We started with a lightning bolt, went on to electrical issues, check engine lights, dead batteries, and low tires.
The beginning of the car fun...

I drove a rental for more weeks last Fall than I drove the cars that we own.

So of course, I was feeling really positive about this Fall and then Bunny had her altercation with the neighbor which left the baby Hummer in the shop for two weeks.

Possibly this car is jinxed.

But the Hummer is fixed and I was really hoping that would be IT.

A week after getting the Hummer back, the low air pressure light came on. It came and went and finally I took it to the wonderful Chaffee Tire Company and they added air and said "keep an eye on it." I think we both  figured it was just not filled correctly when it was replaced during the repairs. 

Then Bunny calls me on a Friday night on her way to work saying her low air pressure light is on in her car.   She dashes off to Chaffee Tire where they manage to diagnose a nail, repair the tire and have her ready to go in less than 30 minutes. That would be 30 minutes before their closing. Wow. 

Next week, the low air light is back on in the Hummer. Really? So last Friday I take the Hummer back to Chaffee Tire, my new best friends. They pop the tire off and discover the valve stem was installed poorly when the tire was replaced from the accident. Fixed for free and on my way. 

Except Bunny's car needs tires. We knew that was coming. Since the snow and ice are also coming, we figured we better get those tires sooner rather than later. 

So we scheduled a trip to the Springs to get new tires on Friday.  (Friday seems to be the magical day for tires!)
Because that was going to be a four hour round trip drive, I called the Colorado Springs Discount Tire store to make sure they actually had the tires and I could get them installed. I very clearly explained to the salesman that I was making a long drive, I could not get there early because I wanted the sun to dry up the snow and ice and there was a tiny possibility I wouldn't make it at all if the roads were bad- but I would call if that was the case. 
I was really clear about the fact that this was a long trip just to get tires and that I had limited time. 
Please. Just four of these and I'll be on my way.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the tire store and the line to check in was OUT THE DOOR. When I got to the counter, I was cheerily told that yes, indeed, my tires were in stock and they could get to them in about SIX hours. So my car would be ready about 9:00pm, maybe 9:30pm.  And then all I would have to do is drive an icy mountain road home in the dark. 

O wait? That doesn't work for you? Just come back tomorrow and we'll get you an appointment.

Well, why the Hell didn't someone suggest an appointment in the first place??

Long story long, I complained, wrote an email and got a nice phone call.  Tires will be replaced on Wednesday. Yes, I still have to make the 4 hour round trip but they are compensating me for gas. And I have been assured that they will have me "in and out" in no time. 

And let's cross our fingers this is IT. 

No more car problems.
No more tire problems. 

How about just no more problems, period?

Now there's something I could be thankful for.

In the meantime, I've been working on No. 24, Organize all those Photos.  Not very successfully. 
It's tedious. Two years of pics down, only 8 more to go.  And that's just the digital stuff.  On the bright side, the colder and snowier the weather gets, the more likely I will actually finish this project.
I was hoping I would have it done by Thanksgiving.   Now I'm feeling more realistic.  Let's shoot for Valentine's Day, shall we? 

12 November 2014

Throw Back Thursday: Two Lives, Two Houses

Throw Back Thursday: Two Houses, Two Lives

Last year we went back to Texas so Bunny could go to HOMECOMING!   Homecoming in Texas is a wayyyyy bigger deal than it is here in Colorado. And Bunny last year was talking to a lovely young man here who "doesn't dance" and "doesn't get all dressed up" and "doesn't do dances".  Except a year later, they are still seeing each other and guess what? I imagine he will. Dance. Dress up. Last year she just was not interested in missing out. So homecoming in Texas it was. This year she says she will be going to prom whether friend boy wants to or not. And he will be going also. I have no doubt that Bunny will prevail.

We had been in Colorado a couple of months. It was all still new here. The girlies were happy to go home to familiar, even though they were loving "new".

It was a great weekend to be in Texas, but we were happy to get back. And it's fun to reminisce.

Back in Town: a few observations about spreading myself around and occupying two places....

Belle and Bunny and I went back to Texas over the weekend for a quick visit.
Carlos stayed in Colorado and went to the kennel. 
Obviously one of us got a bum deal!

I had low expectations for my own entertainment since I knew I would be driving Bunny around while she got herself gussied up for Homecoming.
Homecoming in Texas is a whole 'nother ballgame compared to Homecoming in Colorado.

Homecoming in Colorado. 
No mums, no garters. 
Corsages and boutonnières instead.

Look at all those ribbons! 
Just like big Texas hair, 
the bigger the better when it comes to mums.

A garter had to be procured for Bunny's date. This is a big Texas tradition. I figured that would be easy but nooooo.
Michael's craft store would not accept an order over the phone.  Period. No way. "It's against the rules."
A Facebook plea garnered an innocent victim volunteer: a poor friend who had NEVER ordered a mum or garter before. Michael's made her run around the store picking out ribbons and trinkets and while she had NO IDEA what she was doing- the final results were spectacular.

Bunny and date.
With mum and garter.

Both girls insisted on getting their hair done while they were in the "big city".  I was brave and got mine done in Colorado before we left and couldn't be happier. A cut and color for half what I usually pay and I can't tell you how many people told me my hair looked great.
Apparently Texas does not have a corner on the market for "perfect blonde highlights".

I truly did not think I would have time to do any visiting.
Thankfully I was wrong. 
I got lunch with one friend, coffee with another and a chance encounter at dinner with yet another.
And I got to see my horse and a couple of barn friends, too.

I got to see Boy and of course, the hubs. The hubs had been in Colorado the week before and I talk to him all the time, so I hadn't really had a chance to miss him. 
But Boy.  Haven't seen him in over two months and he isn't much of a phone talker. So it was nice to spend time with my oldest child even though he was possibly not as happy to see me as I was to see him. Sometimes we don't see eye-to-eye.
I did get this photo which totally warms my heart. He pretends to be gruff but he's a softy at heart.

 Me, Clara and Boy.

"Hey cuz. Can I have a bite?
The parents aren't giving me real food yet.
I won't tell."

But best of all, and totally unexpected, I got to spend time with the youngest and oldest members of my family at the same time.   My brother and sister-in-law came into town and there was a big ol' gathering at my parent's house.  This was especially lovely since it was the one year anniversary of my other brother passing away and it was a treat for the remaining ones of us to gather. 

Clara and Colby (6 months) with the peeps (1075 months  and 1090 months)

My nephew in Utah had taken my brother's/his uncle's ashes up to Yellowstone and scattered them on Saturday. Brother Paul gets to spend his eternity in Wyoming, a place he never visited but always wanted to go to.  I guess it's true: It's never too late.


And some little observations.

I walked into the Texas house and thought "There is stuff here that I haven't seen or needed in 2 1/2 months. I need to purge." 
There will be a major cleansing in December.
The second thing I noticed was that we left a LOT of animals at home for Boy and the hubs to care for.
A lot.
Three cats, one of them very old and needy.
A turtle.
A chinchilla.
A Beta fish that will turn two next month.
Every one was still alive and mostly doing great.
The old cat needed a bath and a good brushing but I am sure they will do better now that they realize he really can't groom himself.
Otherwise all was good.
We can replace that molding on the wall where someone didn't realize that chinchilla's chew.

Ruby says "YUM!"
This used to be my dining room wall. 
Well, it still is, but now it has "character".

Remember the little photo of the bunny footprints in the snow on my Colorado front porch?

Bunny feet prints. Must have been researching his dining options.

Well, while the dog was away, the bunny played. And ate.
That bunny systematically trimmed the flowers off of half of my chrysanthemums on the front porch.  Very neatly. Looks like he used some tiny scissors.

A very neat little bunny- with very sharp teeth.

Food that I was greatly anticipating didn't taste as good as I expected.
Tex-Mex!! Come to mama! 
Except- meh- it was okay.   Maybe I wasn't in the mood.

Grimaldi's Pizza- a weekly favorite in Texas- must  have been having an off night.  Either that or Moonlight Pizza here has stolen my heart away.

And I brought back a present for Carlos.  An item of clothing that never in my entire life did I expect I would have a need for.  I went shopping in the "Duck Dynasty" section of my local Academy and purchased a one piece "step in, zip up, go" camo jumpsuit to wear while walking Carlos.
At 7:00 AM  I am incapable of making warm clothing decisions and am very hesitant to actually get out of my nice warm jammies. This outfit "stylishly" solves that problem. Stay in the jammies, cover up and clip on that leash. I will blend into the landscape- no one will even notice if I haven't brushed my hair. (Because I won't have....)

Nope. Not modeling this one...

So....  back in Colorado and pretty happy about it.

I'm working on No.16: Write a letter every day for a week.
First off is a note to the Colorado occasional neighbors. They stopped by while I was away from the cabin and asked Bunny some questions about who cleared our property.

And ....  I will be spending the week traveling back and forth to Colorado Springs.
One of the main reasons I bought the car that I have is that the dealership is less than a mile from my house in Texas. 
Unfortunately the "check engine" light is on and it needs to see a Colorado dealer.
That dealer would be over 90 miles and two hours away from my cabin. Hopefully I can run the car in tomorrow morning, get it magically serviced while I kill time in the Springs and then retrieve it and be home by dinner. If not, I will have to come home and then do that trip again once it is repaired.   
Friday I get to go back to the Springs to see the girls cheer for their last football game.
I just drove in from the Springs last night when we came into the airport there.
So maybe I'm not so happy about this little aspect of being back in Colorado. 

At least it is a pretty drive....

(OK. Yes, I am happy about being back here. I just walked into my living room and there is a beautiful doe standing about ten feet from my door, grazing away. I just LOVE that. As long as she stays away from my flowers.)

Off to write a letter...

Update:  The peeps are now 1087 months and 1102 months.   Clara and Colby are 18 months.  They are no longer the youngest in my extended family. Their cousin, Avery, at 1 year has taken over that spot.
Ruby is still happily chewing away on anything that gets in her reach.
The bunnies and deer are also  still chewing on anything they can get their teeth on here in Colorado.

The more things change, the more they stay the  same.

10 November 2014

A Life Lived...

A Life Lived Long if not Lived Well....

Last week our orange tabby Manx cat had to be put to sleep.

He was 20 years, 4 months, 3 weeks and 1 day old.

That's old for a cat. VERY old for a Manx cat.  It's also more than a third of my life, all but two years of the Big Guy's life and neither one of the girls have ever known a life without Max.

Maxy Cat No Tail- 
one of Belle's friend's nicknamed him.

Max came into our life after the last of the four cats the Hubs and I owned when we got married died. (I had two cats, he had two cats, we got married and had four cats. Often it looked like a cat bomb had gone off when you walked into our house...cats everywhere.)

I had always wanted a Manx, ever since I was 8 years old and read a story about them in a magazine. In my 20s I had friends that had two Manx cats. That sealed the deal. Great personalities, beautiful cats.

So Max came to live with us. The Big Guy was 2 ½ yrs old.

 A very patient kitten.

The two of them grew up together.
Max was a hunter. There was not a chameleon safe in our yard. One morning he brought a baby bunny into the house. A live baby bunny. The Big Guy and I chased around after Max and the bunny until Max dropped him. Bunny was safely returned to the outdoors. Two days later I opened the back door to find the bunny deceased. Max was tireless in his efforts to protect us from small moving animals.

Toddler and teenager.

Then Belle and Bunny came along and we moved to a new house, but Max was always there.

When Bunny was 4 (and Belle was 6 and the Big Guy was 10) we got a dog.  A wonderful fabulous intelligent Golden Retriever  named Jake.  While Jake was being house trained he stayed in a puppy pen. Once Jake graduated to "official house dog", Max decided he was just too old at 7 to play with a puppy all day, so he moved upstairs. Jake was not allowed upstairs.

Jake, the anti-cat.

Jake loved Max but the feeling was NOT mutual. 
So Max stayed upstairs. For six years. In that time, we replaced all the flooring downstairs. Max wouldn't come downstairs even to see the new floors. 
In 2008, Belle brought home another kitten. It was a stray, it was her birthday, sometimes these things happen. 

Mina, a very lucky rescue.

Mina was NOT afraid of Jake, even though he was much larger. She was not afraid of Max. She went upstairs and downstairs and outside and never thought that maybe she was supposed to be afraid of other animals.
And Mina taught Max a lesson. Mina wasn't afraid of Jake, so maybe Max shouldn't be either.
The sight of Max standing on the tile floor that had been installed five years earlier is etched in my brain. One evening Max just decided to come on downstairs. And after that, he went up and down and in and out just like any other cat. He was 13 years old.  Guess you can teach an old cat new tricks.

There was a truce amongst the animals. Max and Jake didn't love each other, but they also didn't fight. Mina on the other hand LOVED Jake and thought she was a dog, but that's another story.

But Jake got cancer. He had surgery, he had his leg amputated, and he had 11 more months with us, before he died too young.  Mina was devastated. Max was probably pretty happy.

Another cat came around. Marley. Again, no one got too friendly but also not too much fighting.
Three cats, no dog.

 A somewhat peaceable kingdom.
Marley, Max, Mina.

Then, Carlos appeared. Unbidden. Unwanted. Unexpected.

I did NOT want this dog. 
But how could you send this little face away? 

Max at this point was almost 18 years old. He just wasn't having it.
He started eating all of his meals on the dining room table. 
Max was 18, we didn't think this would be an issue. How much longer could he live? 

Eventually Max started sleeping on the dining room table, too.
Yes, this made holiday meals a little complicated.  I just moved the entire dining room table into the office and put another table in the dining room. Easier than upsetting the elderly cat. 

Max started getting a little wobbly. We went ahead and put his kitty box on the table, also. 
We kept saying this was temporary. How much longer could he live? 
Apparently, he could live a while.
For over two years Max lived his entire life on our 40" x 90" dining room table.

The centerpiece cat.
He was the first thing you would see when you walked into our house.

A few weeks ago the Hubs called and said Max was having trouble walking. I warned the girls that possibly his end was near. The next morning Max was up and walking as if nothing had happened. 

Then last week, Max was on the floor by the back door when the Hubs woke up. He couldn't walk.  It was time.

The Big Guy and the Hubs took Maxy Cat for his last ride. 
Max's ashes will be coming up to Colorado for Thanksgiving so that we can all say goodbye to him together. 

A long lived life. A constant in our lives. 
Bye Max. 
We will miss you.


05 November 2014

Throw Back Thursday

Throw Back Thursday: The best of the last two years.

November brings the SECOND anniversary of Project Sixty x Sixty.


Out of the sixty challenges I set forth for myself two years ago, I have completed 42 of them. Two of them are halfway done.  Sixteen remain to be finished. I've done a couple of "honorary" ones- things I didn't know needed to be done, but once I did them, I realized what experiences they were.  I have thirteen months to go.
Better get on  it.

To celebrate, I am going to repost some of the most popular posts from the last two years on the November Thursdays.

If you like what you read, please "like" or "share". If you love what you read, please find me a publisher. (No. 11: Get something published.)

From: 14 October 2013

Honorary No. 61: Visit Bishop's Castle

No. 61: Not on my list but it should have been:
Visit Bishop's Castle

Let's talk about passion.

Not the "Fifty Shades of Grey"kind of passion but passion for what you do in your life.
(Although, hey!  I'm game if you are to discuss Fifty Shades, also.)

Few of us are lucky enough to find our true passion. Even fewer manage to make it their life's work.

Part of this Sixty by Sixty Project is to inject some passion back into my life. I feel I've become complacent and I don't want to spend the rest of my life just "going along".

While friend Cherrilla was here we went to Bishop's Castle in Rye, Colorado.

Wow!   Talk about someone finding their passion. Jim Bishop has certainly done that.

This is his castle.

Jim's story starts in 1959 at the age of 15 when he purchased 2 1/2 acres of property surrounded by the San Isabel National Forest.  He cleared the land on the weekends and built a family cabin. He married in 1967 and decided in 1969 to build a stone house on the land. He chose stone because "rocks were plentiful, everywhere and free"*.
Once he started building his stone house, people told him it looked like he was building a castle. Sometimes it can just be an off hand comment, a picture, or a thought that will spark a person's passion.
That's what happened with Jim Bishop.   

Cherrilla and Jim Bishop discussing how he got started.
He is there most weekends still working on his castle.

He heard "castle" enough that he started looking at pictures of castles.
And he kept building. And adding stones.

As he added stones, he added iron work.  
Jim Bishop is a high school drop out with no formal education. No education at all in design, architecture or engineering. 
He supported himself by working in his family's ornamental iron work shop.
This castle has been 100% built by him, with no outside help. 
Every stone. 
Every bit of iron work. 
It is a passion, a feat of engineering and an inspiration. 
The iron work is amazing. 

The turrets are connected by iron walkways and circular stairs take you up the inside and outside of these towers. 
The castle is 160 feet at it's highest point and people are free to climb the stairs up that high if they dare.
(Perspective: 160 feet is about 16 stories high.)

 Me. Holding on for dear life.

People are also able to walk out on the many ledges and walkways that DO NOT HAVE ANY RAILINGS.   That would explain this picture of me with the death grip on the iron work. I am probably 100+ feet in the air and if I had stepped back- well, bye bye.

The castle is a construction site. It is not finished and according to Mr. Bishop, it never will be.

Safety is in your own hands.  A few ropes help keep you from plunging to your death.

 Stairs to no where.

A window to the main room.

Never the less, the element of danger just makes things more interesting. And the beauty of the work overwhelmed most of our desire to stay out of the hospital.

The main room had an amazing vaulted ceiling.

There is a dragon that breathes fire on most summer weekends. When there is a fire in the fireplace, smoke comes out of his nostrils.

Note that I took this picture from ABOVE the dragon. 
Very, very high in the air. 

Stained glass windows decorate the lower floors.

Again, let me repeat.
One hundred percent constructed by Mr. Bishop by hand with no education and no out side help.
He rigged pulleys and "come-alongs" to hoist things into place.

We had a fabulous time exploring Mr. Bishop's passion. Although I will say we were more than a tiny  bit nervous standing on steel grating 100 feet in the air. As you can see in this picture, Cherrilla and I were hugging the wall and my right hand was probably clasped tightly around a rock behind Cherrilla's back.  And for the record, I've never been afraid of heights.

But not to worry.

Mr. Bishop has all liability issues covered.
Signs are everywhere and we signed the guest book which apparently meant we waived all of our rights in case we dropped to our deaths.
The guest book was an old school note book.
I had to search to find an empty page to write on.

As we left Mr. Bishop, age 69, was back at work, moving rocks.

Although I suspect for Jim Bishop this has never been "work".
This castle has been his passion.

And we could all use a little passion in our lives.

Thanks for reading. Please share, pass on the link, like the Facebook page, send me some love.