Aug 19
by Maryclaire Mayes

For Love of Family


This is our beautiful daughter- in – law, Jordi with her children. Jordi is down to earth, kind, fun loving, humble, considerate and loyal. Born and raised in North Carolina she is a charming southern girl through and through. Jordi grew up near her close-knit extended family, grand parents, aunts, uncles and lots of cousins.

Jordi has many happy memories of playing at her grandmother’s home with all her cousins. Dean and I are blessed that she is carrying this tradition forward. She looks for opportunities to come to our home when “the cousins” are here so they can all play together. This is such a great way of bonding families and building fond memories for us all.

Her college roommate was engaged to our son’s best friend and I think there was a bit of matchmaking going on there. Our son eventually won her heart, which brought her into our hearts, our family and New York State. I know she misses her family, the Blue Ridge Mountains and her southern roots. But she is a welcome member and adds a lot of love and joy to our crazy family.

Jordi is devoted to our son Hal and their 3 children. She loves being a wife and stay at home momma. Even though they presently live in a 3rd floor apartment, she manages to get their 3 little ones ( ages 4, 2 and 9 months) out and into nature. Besides the usual trips to playgrounds, she really loves to have adventures to more natural places like the Saratoga Battlefield.

Jordi is teaching her kids about patriotism and the history of our country while exploring and finding bugs and dragonflies and waterfalls. I love that Jordi shares her love of the outdoors with her kids and getting dirty isn’t something that has to be avoided.

Jordi has a strong christian faith that she is sharing with her children and this warms our hearts to see.


We are blessed to have her in our family.


Jul 19
by Maryclaire Mayes

Guinea Hens


IMG_2069We let our guinea hens free range during the day because they are very good at eating ticks and bugs. The only problem with this ( other than the noise) is they will lay their eggs outside in a place they think is hidden. In the evening I call them home and lock them in the coop for the night.

A few nights ago one did not come back, which most likely means she has decided to sit on eggs for the next 28 days to hatch them. Unfortunately, she would be a sitting duck (well hen) for the many hungry predators that live in the woods. I looked but didn’t find her. The next night two did not come home. This means her mate has decided to stay and guard her. The bad news is a predator would probably get both of them. The good news is it makes it very easy for me to find the sitting hen. Sure enough I could see the male at the bottom of the hill standing on a fallen tree. All I had to do was search the weeds nearby and I found her, she was not happy about it either. I explained to both of them that I am very sorry but since I found them that means the raccoons, fox and fishers could find them too.

I finally was able to get her off the nest though she complained bitterly and I don’t blame her a bit. I removed the 31 eggs she was sitting on and brought them back to the barn. They did not follow me so I had to go back down the hill and herd them back to the chicken coop. The first time we let a guinea hen sit on a nest she was killed on the first night out. After that I did my best not to let them stay out. Last fall one didn’t come home  and even though we all searched for her many times we never found her, and then one day she came back with 12 keets ( their babies aren’t called chicks) which we then had to scoop up and get warm under heat lamps. I really wish they would lay their eggs in the coop, but I’m keeping a look out for the next nest.

Jun 19
by Maryclaire Mayes

Growing up

IMG_1852This month I posted pictures of our puppy, 2 months old and now a little over a year old. Puppies grow up  fast. It got me thinking about how much our grandkids have grown. You don’t notice it so much when you see them frequently. They don’t spring up seemingly over night like a puppy, but they are growing, maturing and learning everyday.

It’s been hot here  and the grandkids have been up a lot lately. They willingly help in the garden before cooling off in the pool. Thanks kids, Grammy appreciates you. They are all making great progress in their swimming skills. Last year most of them didn’t even want to put their face in the water (except for Little Miss Number Five, she is part fish). It makes me want to slow down and take in this season of our lives. There is more than a garden growing here. I need to try harder to remember that each one is an individual and growing and maturing at their own pace.

One loves to get into mischief ( well maybe more than one…). I wondered out loud why she would line up the toothbrushes on the upstairs bathroom sink and not own up to it at first. Her mom reminds me she is 6,  I say oh, yes she is six. All of our grandkids are growing and thriving and we are thankful for each one.

May 19
by Maryclaire Mayes

About Our Daughter

nell (1)

This is our daughter and her family.  Our daughter was always quiet, kind of shy, compliant and easy going as a child; for the most part even into her teen years. She was never the most popular girl, but I had heard many of her friends say “everybody loves Nell”. Her nickname was Angel. I’m amazed now as I watch her raising and homeschooling her own children.

She has really come into her own. She has a quiet strength and inner beauty about her. Being a wife and mom suits her perfectly. She is much more patient than I was, but still correcting her children as needed and training them in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). And now they will soon be welcoming a new baby into their family and we couldn’t be more proud of our daughter and son in law. Their life isn’t perfect, they have weathered some hard times.  Their kids misbehave and are unkind to each. Their house is getting smaller everyday. But there is plenty of love to go around.

May 19
by Maryclaire Mayes

Cucumber Skin Care

cucumber peelCucumber skin care? Yes! I always plant cucumbers in my garden. We like to eat this wonderful veggie (actually a fruit) all summer . It is full of good nutrients for your face from the inside and out. It is very low in calories and a good source of Vitamin C and Molybdenum; both nutrients can help detoxify your skin and make it smooth and beautiful. But don’t stop there cucumber has topical skincare benefits too. It contains caffeic acid, to help to reduce inflamed or irritated skin, and it also hydrates due to its high water content. Don’t by pass the peel, most of the nutrients are residing just under the peel. The peel has silica, which can help firm up sagging skin. Even people with the most sensitive skin types can use cucumber.

A quick fix for puffy eyes: place chilled cucumber slices over your eyes. You’ve probably seen this before—because it really works!  Enjoy the cooling effect that helps relieve puffy eyes, and shrink dilated blood vessels. Cucumbers also have flavonoids and antioxidants that decrease swelling, redness and irritation

Redness: Cucumbers have natural anti-inflamatory properties like water, potassium, Vit A and sulfate that calm and soothe your skin. You can place thin sliced cucumbers anywhere there is redness. Great to soothe sunburn, rash or rosacea flare ups. Keep the slices on for at least 15 minutes. Remove and apply a light moisturizer like Replenish.

Spa Facial: Lightly puree 1/2 cup of cucumber and mix 1 to 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (look for one with active cultures). If it is too runny you can add a little oatmeal. Gently apply to clean dry face and neck. Relax for 15 to 20 minutes and rinse and enjoy your new glowing skin.