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Three in A Row; Spring Surgery 2017

Keeping a good out look on life is what I do,it is who I am. Tomorrow is my 3rd surgery in nine months for a verity of things that all need to be taken care of but are not at this point life threatening.It has been exhausting and I am thankful for all the recovery time that has been given to me as part of the planning.

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JoLynn kissing Christopher on top of Bald Knob in Cass WV fall 2017

My first surgery was last spring in May. I needed to have my appendix removed in addition to a ovarian cyst that they removed at the same time. The surgery went well  and recovery was normal for the first few months until I coughed. Yea, I coughed deep, like you do when you have a cold and that was all it took to tear the internal stitches open. I knew I had done something wrong,but had work to do, and forgot about the pain as soon as it passed. The problem is that the small tear has become a hernia.So,for the last two months I have noticed a large hard spot in my addendum. My digestion has changed, I now have pain, gas and bloating that I have never had before. I returned to my surgeon for an exam and was told I needed another surgery. This kind of incision hernia is pretty common in woman and could be life threatening but is normally  just unpleasant. So,another trip to the hospital and another few weeks off work as I recover.

I feel as if I have just been holding my breath for the past year as I have gone from Dr to Dr. Waiting to finally get time to rest,heal and move forward with my life. I plan to do some writing  as I recover. Then later in the year I plan to take a vacation. To see family and friends and take my son to see his grandmother. I plan to see everyone that I have missed for the last few years and take time to be thankful that I am still here with them.

So wish me luck as I take the next step needed to be fully healed, yours always JoLynn.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Change, Healing, health, Hernia, Home, wellness | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Slate Tile Floor and Ceiling Work Almost Finished

The floor is almost finished, yahoo! If you have been following along you already know about our remodel and the adventure we are having working with the Barnwood Builders and their TV show.  If not take a look at where this mess all started and here is the idea we have for the future. The slate tile floor is about finished and the repaired ceiling is looking better than ever. It has taken about a month of weekends to get this far and we need about two more real good days to finish up the last couple boxes of tile and get about 10 cut and set in the hard to reach areas. Then grout will be the final step. I  am not looking forward to spending 8 hours on my hands and knees trying to get grout to set up in between all this tile.

Family room floor with slate tile in place

Family room floor with slate tile in place

Slate tile missing from entry area and stairwell

Slate tile missing from entry area and stairwell

One of  the unexpected things we have learned is that you need a tile saw, even if you do not buy one and only rent one they are wonderful and save you hours of work and worry when dealing with slate. Slate is layers and layers of sediment pressed together over thousands of years making it flaky and brittle and it is not as stable as ceramic tile. We tried several ways to cut the tile before finding that with delicate stone a tile saw saves you hours of headaches. Tom and I bought this portable one from E-Bay. This is what the company does best, selling used equipment that is still in great shape but not new! Tom and I found this same saw at Home Depot listed for $ 235.00 we bought this used one that was complete in the box with all the paper work and blade for $ 106.00 including shipping. We will use the saw at least 10 times this coming week and again when we redo our bathroom and kitchen making this a wise 100 dollar investment. Tom just set the saw on a piece of plywood over two saw horses as our work area. As shown the saw did a wonderful job of cutting a hard to fit piece of tile for the cross over between the family room and entry areas.

Used tile saw

Used tile saw

Then while Tom was at work my oldest son Cody came over to help with finishing up the mud and tape that we added to the old ceiling. The old ceiling looked like this and was in rough shape. The 4 x 4 trim across the ceiling was loose and pulling away from the drywall in places and the lag bolts that you see are not hooked to anything and are not holding the ceiling up. The trim around the room was 2 x 2’s and did not fit well at the corners. All the trim just needed removed and the ceiling just needed a traditional finish.

ceiling was decorated with 4x4's and 2x2's and lag bolts.

ceiling with 4×4’s and 2×2’s and lag bolts.

So in the process of removing all of this from the ceiling we also removed a sheet of paneling from one wall. The paneling made the wall surface uneven and lumpy. It was white so you would not have noticed it until the barn wood was up and the boards were uneven. So here is what we found under the paneling.

Paneling removed and ceiling exposed

Paneling removed and ceiling exposed

For a couple of days Cody and I worked on taping the ceiling, sanding and painting. The amount of glue you see on the wall is not bad so the paneling came down without ripping any huge holes in the walls. We did fill in some nail holes but over all the wall would just be painted white again and covered with barn wood to give it a uniform appearance.

Cody Powers doing mud and tap repairs to the ceiling

Cody Powers doing mud and tap repairs to the ceiling

Then a fun photo of Christopher and I after sanding the ceiling and getting ready for paint.

Christopher and I after sanding the tape on the ceiling.

Christopher and I after sanding the tape on the ceiling.

The with two coats of paint on the wall and ceiling we are only left with removing the single board that holds my light fixture/fan up. This board has my only light source attached to it so I am guessing that it will be in place for a long time.

 

Ceiling repair finished for now and wall painted white

Ceiling repair finished for now and wall painted white

Tom and I are so happy with the over all appearance of the floor that I am sure we will be doing this flooring in the kitchen in the future. It may take a little more time then rolling out linoleum but the results will last a life time and are so much nicer in quality. I just can’t wait to see it polished.

In the next couple of days  I will likely  be moaning that my hands and knees hurt from crawling around getting the grout cleaned off and the floors polished. I will complain that my mother’s day is at a restaurant instead of at our house because the kids can not play on wet grout. I will fall in to bed that night knowing I have just created not only a lovely home but wonderful memories for my kids.

Categories: Barnwood Builders, Home, Home Decor, home improvement, Memories, Mothers Day, slate tile | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

Out with Old in with the New, Slate floors.

As part of the barn wood remodel on our family room Tom and I decided that it was best to also replace the flooring in the family room before adding the barn wood to the walls. The wood is thick, 1 inch thick, making the boards stick way out away from our drywall, so changing the flooring after the wood is hung is a little more challenging than doing the floor first and setting the wood on top. So we agreed that gray barn wood would look great with slate tile. Barn wood and slate tile have unpredictable texture and color variations  that makes them work well together. The natural feel of both the wood and stone with my leather furniture should give the room a rustic feel that we hope to slowly bring into the entire house.

So to achieve the new look we took out the old flooring. The house came with a white Berber carpet at one end and a rolled linoleum at the other.It took a whole day to remove the old tile and carpet and the hundreds of staples and nails that were in the old flooring.

Family room carpet end

Family room carpet end

Cody Power stripping old floor tiles

Cody Power stripping old floor tiles

After a much-needed rest Tom began to install the cement board that would be the base for the tile. It is a water-resistant and mold guard product used for bathrooms, kitchens and in this case sticky floors.

Tom installing cement hardy board

Tom installing cement hardy board

The Hardy Board comes in sheets like plywood but much heavier. Each board is a cement  fiber mixture to make it stiff, hard and water-resistant. I could barely lift one board at a time. Tom guesses each board weighs about 25 pounds and is 5 feet long making moving them very inconvenient. So keep in mind that you will not want to move them once you have them home. Mine took up a large portion of my kitchen floor for the two weeks we had to wait for the tile to arrive.

Remodeling supplies hard board, mortar, screws

Remodeling supplies hard board, mortar, screws

Then finally the tile arrived, all 30 boxes and I got to unload it alone. Where do you store them I thought as I drove home from Lowe’s…. In the kitchen with everything else, of course. We are still cooking in the kitchen but eating is getting a little hard at our small 4 person table.

Tile boxes stored in the kitchen behind my french doors

Tile boxes stored in the kitchen behind my french doors

The next thing was to prepare the tile for installation. Slate is a natural stone product and not factory made so it has some funny characteristics.Each tile is different in color, texture and thickness. Some will be close to matching but almost nothing is really the same. When you first open a box you discover the slate is brittle and flaky and the boxes are full of chips of stone and are very dirty from the cutting process. So dirty that you hands will change color in a matter of minutes while handling the tile. So before sealing the tile, to prevent staining to the tile in the future, I washed everyone in the sink with a scrubby to remove any loose flakes and dirt. That is about 300 tiles and about two full afternoons.

slate tile getting a good washing in sink before adding sealer

slate tile getting a good washing in sink before adding sealer

The water really brings out the wonderful colors in the tile and we can glaze the tile after installation if we decide that we want a shiny tile surface. I let the tile dry for about 2 hours and applied the liquid pre-grout sealer. I let the tiles dry for 4 more hours and Tom installed them on the floor.

drying slate tiles

drying slate tiles

He started last night with getting his center of the room measurements and his chalk lines on the floor and setting the corner stones for the floor. Now he will work back to these tiles and fill in around them as time at night allows. We are hoping to have the floor finished this weekend or next and the wood for the walls started by the first week-end in May.The final touches should be finished by the end of June, mostly light fixtures that Tom and I hope to make for this room. One will be a multiple colored mason jar chandelier and a wall mounted fixture that we need desperately over by the computer desk that I hope to also convert to a mason jar globe.

Corner slate tiles set and ready to fill in

Corner slate tiles set and ready to fill in

This is so far my favorite of all projects we have done as a family and I am looking forward to doing more tile in my kitchen. The colors are wonderful and I am so happy with the speed that we are moving forward. I know we still have a lot of work to do, but if all goes this well,I see a slate floor in my kitchen very soon.

I will post a more photos when all the tiles are down and we get the furniture back into this room. I also think I will use some of the broken tiles to make a mosaic top for the old coffee table we had in this room at some point over the summer. We should have enough broken pieces(one whole box is either chipped or damaged  already) and I should have some mortar left over from the floor so it will only cost me some time to make. So in the future I will have two posts about how we are making a mason jar chandler and one on a mosaic tile top for an old table.

I cant wait to see what this room looks like with one cohesive floor and wall covering. Over the years the room was divided and I want to feel that the kitchen and family room are large open rooms that connect in style and function. So “Out with the Old and In with the New” in a couple of summers the house we envision should really start to come together.

Categories: furniture, Home, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, slate tile | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

The Move to Higher Ground.

It has taken a lot of  hard work but my family is moving to another fixer upper that will be our forever home. The work on this house is more updating then anything but this wonderful brick ranch was over looked by so many others. Tom and I think that within about 3 years we should have this one in tip-top shape. I am looking forward to having more room and more storage. We are keeping in mind that grandma may have to stay with us again in the future and we just needed more space for our needs. new house

The move actually puts us closer to the more rugged mountains and for that I am grateful but not so high that I have no yard at all. We live at the top of what is regionally called Buckhannon Mountain. Upshure County is known for  Wesleyan Methodist College and the Strawberry festival that is the high light of every summer. We also love to visit the “Game Farm” where the state maintains a wild life zoo with regional species of animals and birds. We love to see the black bears and otters every trip that we stop by.

The house also sits only a few miles from a regional airport  and our house backs up to what was at one time an old air field.The land is flat and large and full of deer, ground hogs, birds or pray, mice and fox. Most of the community use the land for walking, letting dogs run, hunting and foraging. I excited to have such a nice “back yard”.

veiw of pine trees at the property line and old air field in back ground

view of pine trees at the property line and old air field in back ground

So this 1964 house is the loving creation of a family that we have been friends with for about 10 years. Andi’s mother and father built this house as their dream home and have continued to keep many of 60’s features of the house. Here are few of the photos of the houses present condition. Laugh if you want to, but this house has great bones and it totally livable. It just  needs some simple remodeling. In this case this will be our second kitchen remodel. Our first complete bathroom. The blue sink bathroom needs major renovation and the foot print of the fixtures will be moved to add a shower stall. Enjoy!

Kitchen with 1964 cabinets

Kitchen with 1964 cabinets

blue bathroom with shower

blue bathroom without shower

eat in kitchen and dining area

eat in kitchen and dining area

 

Family room

Family room

yellow bathroom

yellow bathroom

Laundry room

Laundry room

 

formal living room

formal living room

The house has 4 bedrooms.

my bedroom

my bedroom

Toms work room

Toms work room

Christopher's bedroom

Christopher’s bedroom

guest room

guest room

So I will be a little slow writing on the blog for a few weeks as our internet and phone will have to change companies.I will then have to find everything after move. Working hard never felt so good.

So in the mean time please have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from my family to all of you.

Christmas 2014 at the new house

Christmas 2014 at the new house

Categories: Game Farm, grandma, Home, home remodeling, Moving Day, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

A Time and Place to Heal

    Do you ever wonder after some major change in your life that maybe even if things didn’t turn out the way you expected that they turned out for the best?

Quarter horse mare and foal... my baby "Dancer"

Quarter horse mare and foal… my baby “Dancer”

   When Tom and I moved off the farm 2 1/2 years ago I think we were both felt a little confused and lost. We had thought that our future was the land and the animals that we had filled it with. We both had jobs and at the time a toddler who needed us. We just had no idea that the future had us elsewhere and that we needed time away from the farm work to rest and heal. Tom needed two major surgeries and I needed to get time to raise Christopher, grandma need a place to recover from major surgery and I would eventually need time to heal a broken bone and time start this blog. ( this is my 50th blog post, a year has almost passed on WordPress)

Tom the day after arm surgery aug 2012

Tom the day after arm surgery Aug 2012

 When we moved Tom was suffering from not only Carpal tunnel but Cubital tunnel also, in both arms ( Cubital Tunnel is at the elbow) and it was getting worse. I knew without the surgeries his days of farm work and being a Farrier to our clients horses were over. I also knew that I was just plain tired of working so hard. Taking care of a toddler, working and looking after 7 head of horses and the rest of our animals was more than a full-time job. I wanted more time to play and show our son the world and you can’t just pack up and leave 15 or 20 animals alone and go to grandmas 1500 miles away.

Tom forming horse shoes on anvil

Tom forming horse shoes on anvil

  So our move off the farm was a good one, not because we understood that we needed to find the old unloved house that we now live in or bring it back to life. We had no way of knowing that the time and money to get Tom arms fixed would take years, not months to correct.That Christopher’s grandma would need loving care and at our house for several weeks or that I would need to let a broken bone heal for 6 weeks. Some how, not having the farm was just what we all needed at the right time.

Grandma staying with us after her surgery

Grandma staying with us after her surgery

   I guess this broken bone in my foot has really changed things for me.I was always looking after everyone else so they had time to heal, now it is me who needs the time off. I think I broke my foot in September but I’m not really sure. The pain just kept growing and no healing was taking place. The pain got so intense that I just couldn’t take a walk out to our mail box anymore. I had to see the Dr and hope they could fix what ever was wrong because without some kind of help I was looking at losing my job and not being able to do simple things like grocery shopping. All due to my feet hurting.

Well the mystery is now over and I look like this…..

Jolynn in her leg in air cast Dec 9th 2013

Jolynn in her leg in air cast Dec 9th 2013

I have some how ( the Dr say stress fractured) the small bone under my big toe joint. I would try to spell it but really it is not worth the mental anguish to figure it out. They are hoping that with 6 weeks off my feet and in the cast it should heal but given the fact that I think I have been walking on it for almost three months with no signs of healing they are not sure what to expect. If the bones do not knit themselves back together then surgery going to be in Feb. At that point they will remove a portion of the bone that is floating loose in the ball of my foot. That would mean another 4 to 6 weeks off.

    So as I look back over the last 2 1/2 years, the amount of time we have been off the farm, I can’t help but to see that we needed this move. The whole family needed less, less things, less land, fewer animals and more time to rest and heal. Who would have guess that my 1920s cottage with thousands in repairs would turn into a safe haven for all of our broken bodies. Again, I am always amazed at how things work out for the best even when we are unwilling or unprepared to see what we need at certain times in our lives. I am just glad to have this healing place we call home.

the new back porch Tom built on the old house last year

the new back porch Tom built on the old house last year

Categories: Family, Farming, Farrier work., Healing, Home | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Books, Hot Tea and a New Bed

Me with my books again

Me with my books again

Ok,  I am really deep inside, a reader… not a writer. I write because I have so much that I want to share with my family and friends.Writing is my way of keeping those memories and stories alive. I set a goal of reading at least one book every month and writing at least one post every week. Then life happens and I struggle to keep up with those goals… But I think this will make reaching one goal much easier.

New White fence head board that Tom made for me.

New White fence head-board that Tom made for me.

I read almost every evening in my bed before we all pile into it at night. I spend hours and hours in my bed with a book, so when my 15-year-old sleigh bed literally crashed to the floor at 3 am in July, I was heartbroken. Tom and I did shop for several months to replace the bed. I knew what I wanted, a simple picket fences style head-board or foot board, but never found one. So, as the summer closed I was still bed-less. Tom finally did pickup a frame to put the mattresses on but it still was not the same.

headboard in progress pine picket fence style

headboard in progress pine picket fence style

So this Nov I asked Tom make me a head-board for my birthday. I explained what I was looking for and he took it from their. In a couple of weekends he had made the above headboard for me. I was so thankful to finally get my world back in order. When he hooked up that frame to the new headboard I was so emotionally relieved.I had a new nest.I could finally read and sleep well at night again.

I am also a tea drinker…. not a coffee gal. I don’t own a coffee maker and have never felt the need to pay 4.50 for a cup of anything other than hot spiced wine in the middle of a German Winter Fest. So from daylight to dark I have several types of tea that I drink through out my day. usually I start my morning off with iced tea and then move into the hot teas, unless the temperature outside is in the eighties and then it is Sun tea, Sweet tea or Sassafras tea all day. They say the health benefits are better for teas, but I drink them because of the never-ending different flavors. I started my habit young with my grandmothers Texas Iced tea and grew in a tea lover. In my teens I spent hours in a wonderful used book store/Tea house in Boulder Colorado where you could buy from the local Celestial Seasonings  tea company blends or try simple black or green teas. They also had the loveliest white china cups and sauces ever!

fresh made Sassafras Tea

fresh made Sassafras Tea

  So, now that I have my favorite reading area back I am soooo happy!  I am able to snuggle up in my quilt or comforter and have a cup of hot steamy tea again. I know it sounds a little funny how happy these things make me, but it really is the simple things in life that give us our biggest pleasures.

Categories: About me, blogging, Books, Colorado, furniture, Home, ice tea, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Jane Lew,West Virginia, my little town

   recently I have been thinking about how to share more about what I love about my rural life. I realised to do that I should really start at the beginning. The beginning of my experience here in a teeny town in central,West VirginiaWest_Virginia_State_map

Please do not confuse with the state of Virginia.                                                              

      Ok, yes  we were at one time one state. The civil war and topography spilt the state and I reside in the historically confederate and more rugged portion that became West Virginia. Looking at this simple map my location is off of interstate 79 near the city of Weston. The actual name of our town is Jane Lew. A Town of 547 people if you go by the 2011 census records. My family doesn’t actually count in this number as we do not live in city limits. Several thousand live within the zip code and that puts us up to say 3800  people who call Jane Lew home.  The town does have several amenities that we all love and share but we have NO stop lights only a couple of stop sign intersections and a nice off ramp from the interstate. 

main street Jane Lew, Wv

main street Jane Lew, W.V.

Other end of main street taken from the park

Other end of main street taken from the park

Hackers creek road entering into the town of Jane Lew from interstate

Hackers creek road entering into the town of Jane Lew from interstate

The actual town has a nice city park and a very small downtown area with a couple of shops for car repairs and two funeral homes, a gas station.  Several of our historical buildings used for the senior center, VFW,water and gas companies. On the out skirts of town we support three or four gas exploration companies, Two log home builders, a truck stop, two diesel repair garages, a dollar store, a hotel and 3 restaurants.  The town does offer two doctors offices and soon a pharmacy. We are really booming here.

  Off the interstate about five miles is where my husband has spent 45 or his 49 years of life. He grew up in the same house that we raise our oldest son. We farmed, worked and hunted the same property that his father bought and cared from the 1970’s. But recently we made a change and we are now remodeling and restoring a 1920 general store into our forever home. We still live about 5 miles from the interstate but in a more developed community.

the powers farm in 2001 Jane Lew wv

the powers farm in 2001 Jane Lew,W.V.

Photo of the house we are remodeling after years of neglect.

Tom removing old back porch

Tom removing old back porch

   Moving to a small town from a big city was a huge change for me. (My home town was around 20,000 people a true suburb of Denver Co). One of the very first things that was new to me was that everyone is friendly. People wave as you drive past their homes from the front porch or out mowing the grass. Old men wave as they drive down a country road. Everyone  just waves for know real reason. One of my first conversations with my husband was ….. “who was that?”… a woman waved at us while we drove past, she was collecting mail from the families road side mail box. My husbands replied “I have know idea”. Confused I said ” Then why is she waving at us?” Tom laughed and responded….”thats just what you do here.”

  That example explains my whole experience, Confused.  It me took a while to learn to love it. If you see a car passing your home, some one you have never met is waving at you. It is also expected that you will wave back. If you are in an area that you don’t know, I suggest that you do wave and wave to every person you see on that porch. It is bad manors not to and you do not want anyone to think you are there for any reason other than friendly ones… Remember you are in the second leading gun ownership state in the US. Friendly is fine, strangers on the other hand take some getting used to.

   In summer you may wave 5 or 6 times in 4 miles. You wave to the farmer out cutting hay, the neighbor walking her dog,  the mail man who passed you in his personal SUV (No U.S. mail trucks  here) as you head to town. It is a strange and wonderful habit and it makes me smile when I think about how many strangers I have now waved to in passing.

Mr Hicks and Mr Randolph putting up hay

Mr Hicks and Mr Randolph putting up hay

  It is also impossible in a small town like mine to teach children to “NOT TALK TO STRANGERS”. I am not sure if it is a southern thing or just a small town thing, but its expected that you speak to everyone you see. From a simple nod of the head to an involved conversations with people you have never met before. As the new girl in town I used to dread going places with my husband… no one knew me and everyone wanted my story. It was hard to repeat the same information over and over.  No, I am not from around here… No, I don’t have a church yet,…. No, I have never lived in a small town… No, I am not from California… no… no… acccck. Please stop asking me Questions.

   Time moved on and I became just one of the many faces in “town” so it got easier. Then people assume that you know everyone they know or that you need to hear the details of the problem they are having that day. I have heard stories about cheating husbands, injured farmers and animals, children that have school problems all from total strangers. I  love and embrace that West Virginians love to ask questions, butt into conversations if they think they can help, and share a sweet hello… like “good morning sunshine” while shopping at the local   Dairy Mart. I never once remember anyone calling me sunshine at home! I also don’t ever remember someone over-hearing that my debit card didn’t work offer to pay for my gas. I just pumped 7 gallons at the local 7-11 and darn it, it was payday, I just knew that meant money in the bank… was I wrong!

   Danny, only met me once, but offered to cover the 20 dollars to make sure me and the babby got home ok. Embarrassed and totally over whelmed at his kindness as he handed the woman behind the counter a twenty. I drove home in tears and promised to repay him the next day when I got the mess at the bank figure out. He wasn’t worried about it at all….. He said “He had been their, and new what it was like to be short on cash.” and continued “when ever was fine to pay him back.” I went the next day to his repair shop and gave him back the twenty and thanked him until the tears were in my eye again. He hugged me and said that he had lived his whole life in this small town and knew my husband most of his life and knew that he was good for it.  This was a lesson for me and one that I build on still today. People here are good people and are willing to help when they can and I now understand that it is my job to pass it along to others when I can. “Pay it Forward” has been working here a long time before Ophra made it trendy.

    The stereo type that there is nothing happening in a small town maybe true. Three places are open after 8pm here in Jane Lew.  The 24 hour truck stop is one and the other two are a gas station and a Dairy Mart. We have no video store or Red Box , no all night laundry, or even a 24 hour Wal-Mart. But, Jane Lew does have little league baseball, churches, the largest craft fair in the northern part of the state, a best rated elementary school, a national rodeo every summer and lots and lots of friendly families. It is the families, rich, poor and in-between that make this my home. It’s the Dr’s wife out volunteering at the elementary school, it’s the Paster cooking hot dogs to raise money for vacation bible school. It is Danny the tow truck driver paying for my gas, the sweet sound of  children on the play ground, and the fire fighters community Pig roast that make it home. It is the way that some one I have never met will stand at the ice cream shop and tell me stories about how their Mamaw and Papaw lived near here and had a farm, that makes the roots grow deep in this place. A small sweet southern place to call home.

Christopher riding in puddles at Jane Lew park

Christopher riding in puddles at Jane Lew park

Pair of boots forgotten after rodeo and left on a stump

Pair of boots forgotten after rodeo and left on a stump

Categories: family fun, Farming, Friendship, Home, Jane Lew, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

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