M J and Choco Jesse James Jesse James joined Choco and MJ in the pasture and this showy hibiscus came up by itself inside of a cutting I took from my grandmother’s flowering quince shrub.IMG_0713

Bland balloon glider I don’t really know what kind of contraption this was.  High above the trees, I zoomed in and caught a shot of what looks like a go cart in a glider balloon.  If you know what it is, please enlighten me.

IMG_0693 Caterpillar Skid Steer

This is my husband’s idea of going to a ‘Cat Show’.  I was expecting furry four-legged animals.  But it was his first little day trip to Boone, North Carolina so it felt good to him to just be out and about.  And frankly, an hour without rain was a true treasure for me even if the ‘cat’ turned out to be in the form of big equipment.

IMG_0669The mist rises up out of the valley in the early mornings at Bland, Virginia.  I love this little phenomenon – so peaceful.

The next day trip was to the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis.   IMG_0702 They have an amazing candy store and yet, we didn’t purchase a single piece.  Can’t say that about the ice cream hut though.  Peanut butter/pretzel with chunks of chocolate called my name.  Oh yeah!

IMG_0703 Mast General Store Ice Cream

Even the duck wanted a taste.

Mast General Store Creekside

And for family style dining, Shatley Springs in West Jefferson offers the best – huge bowls of country ham, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn, biscuits, cobbler, and ice cream.  Yum!    Shatley Springs Restaurant Shatley Springs Sign

Fresh blueberries inspired blueberry bars and even blueberry sauce.  Yes, I actually canned a jar for Christmas Cheesecake topping – the one and only jar of anything I have canned.  But I did put a few berries in the freezer.

Blueberry bar stack Blueberry bar with sauce and whipped topping

Crockett’s Cove in Wytheville, Virginia has a beautiful little country church that intrigues me whenever we are in the area.

Crockett's Cove Church Crockett's Cove Church sign Crockett Cove's rolling hillsides Crockett's Cove Hay bales Crockett's Cove Hunting Lodge    My son visited Galax, Virginia’s annual ‘Smoke on the Mountain’ Barbecue Festival and cook-off.  He brought back a recipe and we decided to try it.  Cracking out the old smoker, soaking blocks of hickory wood, rubbing down pork loin, and then letting the smoker do its job, resulted in a wonderful smoked pork barbecue.  Fantastic! bbq smoker bbq pork loin bbq end result

We even took a shot at making our own donuts.

Cronuts with caramel sauce and cinnamon sugar cronuts with cinnamon sugar Fresh peaches were delicious alone, or baked in a ‘Peaches and Cream Bar’.  Another hit.

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As for the flowers, the storms beat them down to sad sticks, except for the hydrangea bushes.  They managed to survive the torments of never ceasing rain.  The purple is a particular favorite of mine, though my husband likes the pink.

hydrangeas in different colors

This was my attempt at making the cross between a croissant and a donut, complete with custard, and a fresh apricot and pineapple upside down cake.

cronuts with vanilla custard apricot and pineapple upside down cake

The supermoon was a curiosity.  If you look closer at the smaller version you can make out the clouds and the tops of the trees – spooky.supermoon up close supermoon above trees

I think surgery makes men crave sweets.  I acquiesced and baked some fresh cinnamon rolls.  He probably won’t get them again before November.  No wait, that is when I do NaNoWriMo.  Perhaps December.

cinnamon rolls iced cinnamon rolls

More clouds and my darling Gretel who is as tired of the rain as we are.

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Enough about me.  How is your summer going?