Blogging again after a 4 year hiatus.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 on Wednesday, June 25, 2014

After four years of life-altering changes and then boxing up and moving out of the farmhouse into the downtown area of this small, albeit quaint, community, I have finally decided to return to blogging.  

I spent four years doing anything I could possibly think of to avoid myself. And avoid blogging.

 (I can't write everyday). 

Now where did I get that idea from? It's a ridiculous story I made up for myself.  Somehow in the past few months I had willed myself to forget that from October 2013 -January 2014, I had written the entire first draft of a book by doing what?  


For four years I had only been freelance writing a bit here and an article there to fulfill a contractual obligation, receive a paycheck, and push back from the keyboard; however, I wrote an entire book in three months, then left it to die on the side of the road while I pursued anything that didn't require me to sit my ass in front of a computer screen and write.  It's not like this is anything new.  I have three manuscripts that lie in a heap collecting dust since I abandoned them ten or so years ago.  

And then I found this quote:

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” - Howard Thurman
So I will blog.
My definition of blogging, of course, is spilling one's day-to-day life out on a keyboard for the rest of the world to view..... get a glimpse into my crazy world, quite possibly enjoy a laugh, a smile, share a new recipe, or just sit back, relax, and watch tidbits of my quirkiness unfold in front of you.

I have come alive and it feels good to be back!  I hope you enjoy this journey with me, or at the least I hope you get insight to another's world, understand that world a little better, and maybe smile with me.   God Bless!  Namaste! 
P.S.  Since I would consider this an introduction to my "blog" and a bit too serious even for me, I encourage you to continue to the next post.   "Let the blogging begin!"   

Margarita Shrimp Stir-Fry

Thursday, June 17, 2010 on Thursday, June 17, 2010

Margarita Shrimp Stir-Fry
chef and photography:
Miranda Wampler

If you're looking to escape this early summer heat and enjoy fresh garden vegetables, my daughter came across a delicious new way to enjoy shrimp using frozen margarita mix.

1 can frozen (thawed) Margarita mix
2 tablespoons Mrs Dash Fiesta Lime Seasoning

(1 teaspoon red pepper flakes for a spicier taste)
1 lb uncooked peeled deveined medium shrimp, thawed if frozen, tail shells removed
2 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 medium green bell pepper cut into strips or julienned
1 medium yellow bell pepper cut into strips
1 medium red bell pepper cut into strips
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 cup uncooked instant white rice
1 cup water

In a small bowl, stir margarita mix and fiesta lime seasoning. Reserve 2 tablespoons mixture. Add shrimp to remaining mixture; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

In 10-inch non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook bell peppers 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender-crisp.

Remove shrimp from marinade; discard marinade. Stir shrimp into skillet mixture. Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are pink and firm. Stir in reserved 2 tablespoons of sauce and add the cilantro. Cook until heated through.

Meanwhile, cook rice and water as directed on package. Serve stir-fry over rice.

If you happened to pick up 2 cans of frozen Margarita mix, you might want to blend a couple of refreshing frozen drinks to have with dinner or enjoy afterward in the summer night air.

This is The Bartender's Frozen Margarita Maker. It's wonderful for making yummy frozen drinks!!!


Leftover Burger

Monday, May 24, 2010 on Monday, May 24, 2010

Yes, I said leftover burger! I would be willing to bet there are a lot of you for one reason or another that end up with some leftover ground beef. We grilled out this weekend and for the 999th time, I ended up with too much ground beef. Not to fear, it usually ends up as extra burgers for lunch the next day or goes into spaghetti sauce. But today I was hankerin' for a homemade meatball sub.

This quick and simple recipe for mom's meatballs will work for my favorite meatball sub as well as a number of other dishes. You can also double the recipe and freeze them for later use.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

* 1 lb. lean ground beef
* 1 egg
* 2 Tbsp. milk (or water if you are lactose intolerant)
* 1/2 cup bread crumbs
* 1/2 cup minced onion
* 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1/8 tsp. pepper

(I use Morton's Nature's Seasons Seasoning Blend instead of salt and pepper because it also gives it that wonderful garlic flavor.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl combine egg, water, bread crumbs, onion, salt and pepper and combine. Add ground beef, broken into chunks, and mush with your hands to combine. Form into meatballs about 1" in diameter and place on a broiler pan. (A 13" x 9" baking dish will do as well.) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until meatballs are no longer pink in center. Cool and freeze, or when baked, use in your favorite recipe.

To finish this wonderful and easy meatball sub recipe I just picked up a jar of Ragu pizza sauce, a pack of sliced mozzarella, and some sub buns at the local grocery store. And voila!

I also had some leftover macaroni salad. Pasta salad would be great with this too. Simple Italian Meatball Sub and pasta dish! Mmmm...

Better Late than Never

Thursday, April 15, 2010 on Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gosh! Isn't that a phrase we've all heard time and time again? "Better late than never." I know I heard it a lot growing up. And it suits my life, the material in this blog and the blog itself quite well. If you check the dates, you will find that I have neglected my wonderful blog page for almost 8 months. Yikes!!! I went back and reread every page and I remembered why I loved this old blog. I enjoyed sharing my everyday; albeit humdrum, life with all of you. Good memories on this old farm, great recipes, fun times, and Miranda's beautiful photography. If you decide to peruse this website, please notice that after scrolling to the bottom of each page, you can click on 'older posts'. There are quite a few pages if you are interested. I know I had fun with each and every one of them!

So... here I am again! YAY!!!

After the crazy winter weather we had that seemed to last forever, it was difficult to even begin yard work, fencing, and gardening this year. So, for the past couple of weeks (yes, it is May) Kent and I have tried to finally get these things checked off of our "to-do" list. Mowing, trimming, mulch, removing limbs, branches and twigs from the yard, and yes... finally tilling our small garden. Flowers will have to wait until next weekend.

This has been a good start to getting back into blogging... I have missed you my friends!

Fall is in the Air

Saturday, September 26, 2009 on Saturday, September 26, 2009

While I was scrolling through my blog, I had to stop to reflect... and... I would like to re-post one of my favorite blogs from this time last year. Thanks for allowing me to reminisce...

We all will enjoy the cooler days of Fall that is certain, but I will miss the hot days of summer. I enjoy all that summer can bring.

I will miss the thunder showers and the dew covered mornings. I will miss the yellow squash and the fresh tomatoes hanging on the vines. I will miss the smell of hay that is newly mowed and the cool nights after the sun sets with sheet lightning in the distance. I will miss fireflies lighting my sky.

I will miss the frogs groaning in the pond, and the I will miss the barefoot opportunities that exist to wander about my yard. I will just miss the whole season.

But Fall is in the air, and so the farm, grass, and animals are welcoming the cooler evening temps. And, I guess that I am too.

'Fall' conjures up visions of gourds, pumpkins, fodder shocks, and colorful leaves. The local farmers market is still being stocked with fresh veggies, herbs, and flowers each week, but I suspect it won't be long before those wonderful Fall colors will splash through the market and give everyone Fall Fever.

The Outer Banks

Saturday, September 26, 2009 on Saturday, September 26, 2009

Yes, it has been a while, but what better time to post a new blog when telling about a fabulous trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina!

We rented a newly constructed beach house in the 4-wheel drive section of Corolla. Letting air out of your tires to drive the beach was fabulous.... and the scenery was breathtaking!

I woke up and walked out onto my balcony from my master suite to this view every morning. Sheer bliss!

Of course, this gorgeous new home was just as inviting in the evenings spent watching the wild horses, the sunsets, listening to the ocean, and dining from our spacious kitchen/dining area.

Everyone had the chance to cook each evening and we enjoyed everything from crab legs to Daniel English's "world's best fried chicken." Local pizza and Miranda's famous "caribbean shrimp" were also favorites!

he Outer Banks of North Carolina is one of very few places in America where wild mustangs still roam free, stubbornly surviving in this once remote coastal environment. Descended from Spanish Mustangs which arrived close to 500 years ago, these hardy, tenacious wild horses have lived here since the earliest explorers and shipwrecks.

We saw Mama and baby roam the beaches and dunes around our house everyday... what a treat!

...and of course this is the happy photographer, hanging out truck windows, and lurking in the dunes to get these gorgeous photos each day. Yes, I am a very proud mom!

We had one unbelievably nasty day when we could not only leave our house, but could not even find the beach road due to squalls (bad storms), but no one was too upset. We holed up in our beautiful beach house, played games, took photos, ate scrumptious food, watched funny movies in out theatre room, and enjoyed great company!!!

The hot tub and the pool was also a big "hit" during the week! Of course enjoying the trip with good friends and family made it all the better. Thank you Lisa, Daniel, Miranda, Trey, and "hubby" Kent for such a fabulous and fun vacation!

...I think they forgot about me!


One of Miranda's beautiful captions right off our balcony. WOW...

Enjoying one of the last mornings with good company at OBX! I could not have asked for anything better.

Someone told me that "bloody marys" were the breakfast of champions! hahahaha! It proved for a nice and relaxing trip.

Anyone interested in a very relaxing, educational, and fun time at the beach... I highly recommend the 4-wheel drive section of the Outer Banks, North Carolina. It will capture your heart and bring back the kid in you!


Sunday, June 28, 2009 on Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yes, you read that correctly.... I titled this 'hodgepodge'. Not a word I use a lot or one that I have heard in many, many years, but I thought it appropriate for this particular blog.

We have had so many nasty storms come through the valley these past few weeks, I wanted to share some of the fabulous photos that my (daughter, Miranda) own little prof. photographer captured as well as some mobile pics I have. There were numerous reports of funnel clouds, sighted tornadoes, and rotations in clouds in our area during this time. It just amazes me, because for many years, this was not something we were accustomed to ever experiencing. I have been in awe!

My daughter (Miranda) and I really enjoy taking photos of this old farm, but it's even more exciting when something captures your attention..... and makes you realize how "great the powers that be"!

In this photo, you can actually see something dropping down in what will actually become a funnel cloud. Pretty amazing!

And this, of course, is our backyard, being belted with heavy winds and rain!!!

And with all of this in mind... we decided that we needed something to look forward to ---- a vacation!!! Wheeee! Since Kent and I have been married, we honestly have not been on a vacation together other than our 'honeymoon'. Granted.... that was pretty special! So we perused over a gazillion different beach houses all over the Outer Banks, NC. (We love the Outer Banks ---- so romantic!) And voila! We found the perfect get-away!

Yes, it might seem a bit over the top.... and with 8 bedrooms, it is a bit large for us, but by the time we found everything we wanted in a beach house, this was what was left. Plus!!! We fell in love!
It is not only in the 4x4 section of Corolla... which means 4-wheel drive only vehicles, but it is pet friendly (you all know how much we love our animals!), and has a heated pool and hot tub. And with all of that... there are wild mustangs that roam the beach. Oh wow! We are so very excited... and it is always nice in life to have something to look forward to, isn't it? Like a little light at the end of one's tunnel, so to speak.

As you can see, the view is spectacular!

And since we will be miles and miles away from restaurants, stores, etc.... we will be taking advantage of this beautifully equipped kitchen and dining area. I have already contacted a family owned business back in Alaska that is going to ship Alaskan King Crab for a dinner on the beach! Oh yum! Something else to look forward to....

Besides Kent and I, my daughter, her boyfriend, a couple friends of theirs, and some wonderful new friends we have made over the course of a few months will be enjoying this fabulous beach retreat around the first of September, 2009. I will be sure to update and share photos after the big event.

Until next time....

My Dad

Monday, June 15, 2009 on Monday, June 15, 2009

Phew! I've done it again, haven't I? Neglected my blog and stayed away too long. But I've taken care of the farm, garden, house, cabin, etc. enough that I should be able to get back into the swing of things again.

This particular blog is "all" about my dad, a.k.a. "Buddy" or Larry Carty. I got to spend quite a bit of time with him this past weekend due to the Powell Valley High School 1960-1969 class reunion held here in Big Stone Gap, VA. He and my mom were the first graduating class at Powell Valley in 1960. I think that it is pretty cool... as well as the fact that I graduated from PVHS, myself, only 20 years later in 1980.


My dad also made a big announcement on his visit here with friends and family. He brought along his lady friend and fiance, Wanda. She was a delight! We got to spend a lot of time with both of them at our cabin up at Huff Rock the Sunday/ Monday after the reunion

Toward the end of the visit, we retreated back to the old farm house and dad took Wanda on a tour of the area. And my daughter (the photographer), Miranda, got to spend some quality time shooting their engagement photos on and around the farm. Lots of good food, laughter, and memories shared that weekend. I'm glad I got to share it with my "blog" friends.

Until next time...

Cabin Weekend

Thursday, May 07, 2009 on Thursday, May 07, 2009

"Miranda is my cabin bunny!"

It's been a while since my last post, but I do like to keep everyone up on our cabin adventures. We enjoy our trips up on the mountain at our cabin. The last trip that my husband, myself, my daughter and her boyfriend took was especially fun.

We tilled up a huge area in the field above our cabin for corn and clover for deer, but we also spent a lot of family time together... cooking, grilling, mowing, sitting around the pit fire outside and enjoying each others' company.

We also rode 4-wheelers out on the trails and played with the dogs. I love spending time with family.

Mulch, Mulch, and more Mulch

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 on Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kent and I spent most of the weekend doing yard work. Cleared the rocks, sticks, and large branches from around the trees and hauled in mulch, mulch, and more mulch.

After several hours taking care of the three large trees in the front yard and replacing the stone border, it was time to take care of the ugly patches around the house. We're going to add the stone border next and do some reseeding.

Sheesh! The grass took a beating this winter, huh?

...and look at my famous "mulching outfit". Ha!

Filling in holes, raking it smooth, whistling a tune, and dancing in clogs. Wheeee!

Yes, I'm a yard-workin' fashionista.

We finished the weekend tilling the garden and mulching our little fire pit sitting-area.

It's small, but so nice for hanging out in the evening.

Note: the grill is close by. Ah yes. Nothing better than grilling fresh meat and veggies and then sitting by the fire with a cold one. It won't be long now.

Mister Bunny is back where he belongs, now all that is left is to fill the garden with lots of beautiful flowering plants and veggies.

I can't wait!

More yard work is on the way, along with repainting the large wrap around porch, flower pots, and rockers.

Yessss, I love Spring!

I'm Baaaack!

Sunday, March 08, 2009 on Sunday, March 08, 2009


Felt like an eternity, but I'm back in the blogging world with my new laptop. Just in time for lots of spring photos of farm life, preparing the garden, grown puppies, cabin adventures, wildlife, and my crazy day to day life.

I never knew how much I could miss my little blogging world and I'm so looking forward to posting my hum drum albeit silly life adventures again.

Just for grins and giggles; I must first include a photo of my big baby...... Buddy. yes, he is one of the adorable little puppies that we decided we had to keep. He also is one that survived the ugliness of parvo.

If you notice his lip, you will discover some missing fur and skin... all due to his discovery of super glue. Yes, my big baby is a doofus! But we still love him. After taking care of the glued lips, he is feeling much better.

He's usually found near the dining room table, scarfing for crumbs.

It's good to be back! Look for lots more posting soon. Hope you're enjoying some nice warm weather.

Temporarily out of Order

Saturday, December 20, 2008 on Saturday, December 20, 2008

Yes, I'm still alive, just temporarily out of order due to my latest computer blowout!

I'm hoping Santa will be quite generous this year... or family members will at least take pity on my blog-a-holic tendencies, and allow me a few minutes a week on their laptop. In either instance, I hope to back to my blogging-self within the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I would like to share some photos of our day to day life over the past couple of months.

Here's wishing you the Merriest of Christmases and a fabulous New Year!

Mountain Life

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 on Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yes, I've been gone a while...

I've spent the past two weeks at our cabin with the remaining parvo pups that lived. We had to be quarantined to ensure that the pups at our house did not get contaminated. Phew! It's been crazy, but the things we do for our babies.

I can't say that it was a difficult time or that I did not enjoy it. The Fall colors, the morning fog, and the breathtaking views everyday definitely made life on the mountain a pleasure that I already miss. I think the puppies miss it too.

Kent and I celebrated our wedding anniversary on Oct. 7, and since I was quarantined to our cabin, we invited my daughter and her boyfriend up for fillets on the grill (compliments of my wonderful in-laws) and a good glass of merlot.

Quarantine or not... it was a very happy and peaceful anniversary.

Trey and Miranda hiked down in the woods to retrieve photos from their deer cam and found quite a surprise! Apparently a pretty large black bear decided to play field hockey with the camera. But they managed to get some really nice photos from the battered camera before taking it to be fixed.

I'll be sure to post a lot of the photos from that trip for all of you wildlife enthusiasts very soon.

Deer Cam Near Our Cabin

Sunday, September 28, 2008 on Sunday, September 28, 2008