In 2017 I found comfort in simple beauty and family. I have spent more time with people who are important to me. I fell even deeper in love with our home state with several visits to new places in West Virginia this summer. Over the fall I discovered how much blogging means to me as I spent over 4 months struggling with my computer. I finally just give in and purchased a newer lap top over the holidays. I want to able to write when the feeling strikes or a topic is burning a hole in my mind. So you should see more from me in the future.
I will change service/work locations in 2018 and will get to build a future working in a field I love. I will still be working in community development but this time in the area of structures and buildings. I will be working predominately with two historical buildings in my region. Taking them from abandoned and run down into useable contributing structures in the communities where I work. One is a 1906 hotel that had fallen into disrepair and had become a low-income housing.The 6 story structure will be turned back into a downtown hotel. The other is an abandoned retail grocery/ hardware store from the 1890’s. This one will be turned into a 11 unit apartment building for college students with a historical feel. I will be doing everything from cleaning and painting, to arranging for community volunteers to help with planting flowers and trees, to reglazing windows and filing for permits. It takes lots of work to rehab old buildings but I can not think of something that I love more.
The former Tygurt Hotel circa 1906 in downtown Elkins, West Virginia 2017 before rehab begins.
So this photo review is just a portion of the beauty I found this year and a taste of what I will be doing in the future. I hope that you have a wonderful New Year and 2018 brings you prosperity and joy! I am looking forward to an interesting new adventure in 2018.
Gas log fire-place behind antique farm table in modern addition of the Cutlip /Mayes log home.
Barnwood Builders film crew with producer Sean Mc Court at Dave Cutlip and Patricia Mazes home filming Spring of 2017.
I took time to write a story here on my blog about a historic house in Beverly, West Virginia. Owned for generation by my friend Dave Cutlip’s family. The story was then passed on to the Barnwood Builders producers. The producers liked the story so well they filmed the home for one of their TV shows.This gave me a second chance to work with Sean McCourt (producer) and Mark Bowe(creator and star) from the T.V. show the Barnwood Builders.
Doc Holiday sleeping with Christopher June 2017
Tom and I were happy to watch both of these boys grow healthy and strong for another year. Christopher and Doc… both snuck into my bed one Sunday morning while I was making a late breakfast.
Veda Maxine Buffington Lowrey age 87 summer 2017
This photo of my mother is the most beautiful sight I had all year. A family visit to see my mother in Rolla, Missouri turned into a mini family reunion. At age 87 she really enjoyed having most of her children and a couple of her grand children visiting her.As her health slowly fails my future starts to look completely different.
The famious St. Louis Arch from the Old Main County Court House steps St. Louis MS.
Under the Sea Mural at the Newport Aquarium, Newport Ky. 2107
After seeing my mom near St. Louis Missiouri we traveled to Ohio and Kentucky on the way home. Stopping at the Newport Aquarium and along the Ohio River.
Christopher tossing rocks into the Ohio River with Tom watching Newport,Ky. 2017
Lejay and Christopher releasing a baby redheaded Woodpecker at the Old Hemlock Foundation property 2017
close up or the baby birding in Christophers hands
Mountain Laural at the Old Hemlock Foundation, Bruceton Mills West Virginia
The 4th of July found us at the Old Hemlock Foundation property. The historic home of George Bird Evans the internationally famous upland bird hunter, artist and writer. Spending the holiday weekend with LeJay Graffious and his wife Hellen Ann tagging birds and releasing them, teaching young people about foraging in West Virginia, hiking and playing with the most beautiful dogs was about the best weekend we had all year.
Old Hemlock Foundation Visitors Center and education outreach building 2017
Then it was state fair time and the heat of summer. Christopher won a trip to the West Virginia State fair with his 4-H project pillow. We rode the rides, eat fair food and spent the weekend taking in the local town of Lewisburg,WV. The heat and humidity just about melted us at the fair, so Christopher slept in the air conditioned back seat of the truck all the way back to the hotel.
Christopher with his 4-H project pillow at the West Virginia State Fair 2017.
The following day we spent touring White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. It was one of the most interesting trips we have made in a long time. We took one whole day to tour the flood ravaged town and the world-famous Greenbrier Hotel.
My work had me working on several Heritage Quilt Trail panels over the late summer and fall months this year. Volunteers and I finished 4 of the panels this year. The largest was 8X8 feet and is the bottom photo called “The Tree of Life.”
Emma Scott Garden Club helps paint the panel called “Bear Paw” 2017
Panel made for The Elkins Sewing Center called “The Basket” 2017
Working on “The Tree of Life” with staff from Citizens Bank of West Virginia 2017.
Close up of color patterns on “The Tree of Life” heritage Quilt Trail panel 2017.
As the summer closed and fall arrived I decided that fall stood for “fun” and I took full advantage of it. I spent a couple of days volunteering for Christopher’s local youth center by helping with Stockert Youth Center fund-raiser The Haunted River Walk. I took Christopher trick or treating twice and spent more time in the mountains then I did all summer. The time spent with both my boys during Halloween made me feel young and many laughs and smiles were shared.
Christopher and Mom at the Downtown Trick or Treat halloween week 2017
the Scary Crow that was donated to the Stockert Youth Center Haunted River Walk 2017
Cody Powers and Mom heading out to be charactors in the Stockert Youth Center Haunted River Walk
The woods in fall in West Virginia are spectacular. We spent time hiking at the Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge during the peak of the leaf change. The high mountain bogs and wetlands are so unusual in this part of the country that you think you have been transported to Maine or Vermont.
Thorned tree in the middle of the wet lands of Canaan Valley Wild Life refuge.
Beaver Dam pond on a fall day Canaan Valley Wild Life refuge 2017.
A traditional country road in the mountains of Pendleton County West Virginia.
Then a quick trip to West Virginia University campus with Christopher’s 3rd grade class. How often to you get to stand on the 50 yard line of you favorite college stadium while the kids run the field and meet the Mountaineer Mascot?
Christopher and class mates meet the WVU Mountaineer Mascot on the Mountaineer field fall 2017
Christopher and several class mates run from the 50 yard line at Mountaineer stadium 2017
Finally winter came and we got 5 inches of snow and the temps dropped into the teens. So often I walk alone with my dog in the snow and see things in a different way. The old airplane hangers and airfield are connected to my back yard and make wonderful photo locations when the weather changes.
Veiw from my back yard on a walk with my dog in Buckhannon, WV
Maybe this theme of change is what I should look forward to this New Years. I have no resolutions, no promises or written plan. I just know that life is short and we should all be able to pursue what makes us happy and I hope to accomplish that in 2018.