Monday, August 29, 2011

Oreo Cows -- "Got Milk?"

Do you have Oreo Cows in your area of the world?  We saw some yesterday, and I decided to do a post about them.

I've seen them before, but we don't seem to have a lot of them in our area.  My husband first saw them years ago when he was travelling back and forth to England for a project at work.  He told me about them, and I think he may have taken some pictures; I can't remember now (that was before we had a digital camera).

Actually,  "oreo cows" is just a nickname.  They are really Belted Galloway cows.  According to Wikipedia, they're a rare breed of beef cattle originating in Galloway, in the southwest of Scotland.  Some of their other nicknames in the U.S. are "police car" cows and "panda" cows.  Aren't they cute?  I realize that "cute" is a funny adjective to apply to an animal of this size, but nevertheless, I happen to think they're cute.

On Sunday afternoon, we decided to drive up to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Based on the posts I've done lately, it probably seems like all we do is travel.  But, that's not really the case.  This is just one of those in-between times in our life.  We only had one child, and he's no longer a child.  He's flown the coop, so to speak.  He's making it known that he wants some independence.  So all the time that we spent doing things with him and for him, has suddenly become free time.

There are some projects we would like to do on our house, but that's out of the question until our son finishes college.  And we are fortunate that all four of our parents are still living, but they are quite independent too :)  I quit my part-time job (which I liked a lot, by the way) after our son's sophomore year in high school.  Now the job market is terrible, but I knew that was a possibility at the time.  Thankfully, my husband has a good job, but it's very stressful right now.  He likes to get away whenever we can.

We have always liked the mountains.  We love the ocean too; we really do.  But it takes us four hours at least, to get to the coast, and we can be in the mountains in a little over an hour.  So yesterday, we drove to the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed north into Virginia.  I love Virginia.  I think it's such a pretty state, and there's so much history there.

We stopped at an overlook on the parkway to stretch our legs and maybe take a few pictures.

We've driven by this little farm many times before, but since we had stopped (and of course there were the oreo cows), I got the urge to take some pictures.  Such a pretty, pastoral little scene.

This house appears to be new, so I'm not sure if the existing farmhouse was torn down to build a new one.

What I found so amusing was that this cow stared at us over the fence the entire time we were taking pictures.  My husband pointed out that she had a calf, so I imagine she wanted to make sure we weren't a threat. 

In a pasture right beside the cows, there were several lamas, and a sign that said "Alpaca Farm and Store".

The mother cow is still giving us the eye while the young calf is nursing.

Moooo  :-)

It was a beautiful day up there, but the breeze was so strong that it was hard to hold the camera steady enough to take decent pics.  That's okay; we still had fun.  And I almost forgot to mention that we took our "adopted" child on the outing with us...

...because he needs a change of scenery, too, and a chance to get rid of some wiggles ;)

This is my Seasonal Sunday post for the week.  Thanks to The Tablescaper for faithfully hosting this party every week!  I'm also linking to Outdoor Wednesday, hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer.

Thank you for stopping by House at Forest Manor; I always enjoy your visits!




Saturday, August 20, 2011

Enjoying The Blue Waters

The Tablescaper reminded us last week that summer is almost over and to be sure to link our summer posts to Seasonal Sundays this week.  A big part of what summer means at our house is our annual trip to the beach and our trip to the mountains.  We took our beach trip in May with our son ( it seems like ages ago now).

Recently, the Hubby and I spent four days at the end of July in the mountains of Western North Carolina, or as I call it "Deliverance" Country.  That's right; I've never actually seen the movie, but I've heard enough about it to know that this particular area can (at times) have some eerie similarities.  Don't get me wrong -- it's beautiful, but the first year we visited there, I had one ear tuned at all times for the sound of banjo music :-)

This year was the seventh year that we've been to the same place to gather with other Mazda Miata owners from all over the U.S. (and Canada) to enjoy the mountains; and specifically, to drive the famously curvy roads in that particular area.  It's a welcome break from the work-a-day world and a chance to see some really incredible scenery.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What's Up With Google Blogger Comments?

Is anyone else out there having trouble leaving comments on people's blogs??  I always try to reply to those folks who are kind enough to visit my blog and leave a comment.  And of course, I also try to visit the blogs on my blog roll and leave comments on various posts.  The point of this ramble is that for the last couple of days I've been trying to leave comments for people on my blog roll, and after typing what I want to say, when I press "Publish" I get this blank box with the following message at the top:  "Your current account does not have access to view this page."  How frustrating.  These are people who are following my blog, so why do I not have "access"?

Well, I'll just end by saying that there are some great posts out there at the moment, and I enjoy viewing them.  If you left a comment on my blog, and I don't reply, it's not because I didn't try to.  I just wondered if others are having this same problem.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

English Garden Tablescape

I'm happy to be linking to Tablescape Thursdays this week, hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.  It's been awhile for me, and I'm going through tablescape withdrawal :-)  The inspirations for my table this week are the floral table runner and matching napkins that I found way back at the beginning of the summer, and I'm just now getting to use them.  What an incredibly short summer this has been!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Movie Review

I finally got to watch "The King's Speech" this week.  I voted it worth the wait.  After being gently persuaded to watch it with me, The Mister enjoyed it, too ;)  We thought that Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth did a fantastic job, and so did Helena Bonham Carter.  It was interesting to see Queen Elizabeth and the late Princess Margaret portrayed as young girls, and they even had their Welsh Corgis.

After having watched the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton this Spring, it was fun to see this bit of history about the Royal Family and the period leading up to World War II.  Until this movie was released, I knew relatively nothing about Prince Albert (later to become King George VI).  We had seen a piece earlier about his brother, Prince Edward VIII, and the infamous Wallis Simpson on the History Channel.

Some critics have said the movie was not quite historically accurate.  I found the story  to be entertaining and inspirational.  Just call me Ms. Ebert/Shalit/Maltin.  What did you think of "The King's Speech"?


Thursday, August 4, 2011

An Afternoon in the Highlands

No, we didn't go to Scotland.  We did hear some bagpipe music though :-)  We spent an afternoon in a town called Highlands in the mountains of southwest North Carolina.  I really do love mountain towns, and there are lots of them dotted throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.  I haven't come anywhere close to seeing them all, but of the ones I've visited, I think Highlands is the most picturesque.

I got so many comments about the pretty churches in the post I did on Blowing Rock ("Finding Mitford"), which you can read about HERE.  I love churches as well, and for some reason, it seems that mountain churches are some of the most charming.  Highlands has a fairly small main street that runs through the center of town, and almost all of the protestant denominations are represented on this one small street.  While we were there, we saw a Baptist church, a Methodist church, a Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Catholic church.

Hubby and I didn't have a lot of time to spend there that particular day, so we were only able to photograph three of the churches, mainly because they were in closer proximity to one another.  I hope to photograph the Baptist church and the Catholic church next time around.  We also took pictures of some of the shops and the gorgeous flowers, like these pink Phlox.

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