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Tennessee Adventure

I’m not a big sports fan. I like individual sports teams, usually local or college teams.  Wooooo Pig. Sooooie!  Goo Lady Bears!   It wasn’t until the day before we left for Nashville that I found out the NFL draft was in Nashville the same time we would be.  Oops.  Fortunately we’d made reservations for the hotel and had our tickets to the Gatlin Brothers at the Ryman.  The only real issue would be traffic and parking.

It was raining when we left Willard (cue country music background).  Uneventful trip and check in at motel.  Wednesday we toured the Carnton house and the adjoining Confederate cemetery, as well as the Carter houses.  This battle could have been avoided and included a charge even larger than Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. After all the touring and listening to stories of the families involved during and after the battle we ate at South 55. I had their Memphis hot chicken sandwich.  It was almost too spicy but I managed to eat it all. My dad said it was the best chicken sandwich he ever had.

Thursday morning we headed to Nashville  the area around the Nissan Arena was blocked to traffic   We found a parking garage near the Ryman and paid the $30 event fee to be there all day.  We checked out the Johnny Cash museum.  Did you know Leonard Nimoy sang “walk the line” ?    You can check it out on you tube  we are a sandwich and for dessert Dennis and I shared a GooGoo Cluster.   They were advertised on the Grand Ole Opry.  They are also good   Then we went to the Patsy Cline Museum   Also fun   Then spent several hours at the Country Music Hall of fame before ending the evening at the Ryman   Gatlin brothers were good  but Ashley Campbell was amazing.   Daughter of Glen Campbell.   The night opened with Tony Jackson in his first time at the Ryman.   I’d never heard of him before but I bet everyone will soon know his name.

We finished up the backstage tour just as the fireworks were going off over the Nissan Arena.  Crazy traffic but we made it to the hotel without incident

 

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It was a dark and stormy night

The storms arrived yesterday evening.  We live just off I-44, which is often referred to as “tornado alley”.  We lived through 3 tornadoes that hit St. James in the 25 years we were there.  During that same period of time other Missouri and Oklahoma towns were hit with more destructive tornadoes than we experienced.  At one point last night the wind was roaring and there was some hail, but no tornado reported.  We had our candles lit and knew where the flashlights were.  Lots of thunder and lightning.   We never lost power, but we were expecting to.  While we were in the basement we heard an odd bubbling/burping noise.  The basement toilet was bubbling up air.  All we could figure out was the ground was so saturated that water was getting inside the septic tank and forcing air up into the toilet.  It was disconcerting.  If there were tornado sirens, we didn’t hear them over the wind and rain.

We have one large branch down in the back yard and several other branches of assorted sizes down in the front yard.  Brenda and I did our morning walk.  We saw one tree blown over just down the road and plenty of branches down.  In one field three cows were munching on the leaves of a down branch, almost having a tug of war with it.  Who knew oak leaves were so tasty?

The wind continues to blow and there are dark clouds to the west.  Soon I’ll take Dennis to the medical building where they’ll do his colonoscopy.  In spite of the warnings to stay at home because of the impending storms and possible tornadoes, we will be out and about this afternoon.  After nothing but clear liquids and all the “prep” he went thru last night, Dennis is determined to get this over with.  I’m happy to be the one in the waiting room reading the book this time around.

Waiting for the storm

After supper last night I mowed our yard and my parents yard.  Originally I planned to mow them this morning, but it looked like the thunderstorms predicted for late this afternoon might arrived sooner than expected.  So I mowed.  Not an exciting way to spend Friday night, but day was cooling off and I didn’t have to worry about sunscreen or sunburn.

After 2 days of orioles not finding the plate of oranges and grape jelly, I took it to Brenda and Larry.  They have orioles in their yard.  The question–why didn’t the orioles cross the road?

It was 79 degrees inside our house yesterday afternoon and I turned on the AC.  We have an ancient central AC unit that works.  It was inspected 2 years ago and pronounced safe to use but inefficient.  It’s also a bit low on the old environmentally destructive Freon.  It would have cost $100+ to add more at that time, so we decided to minimally use this unit until we feel justified in spending the $$ to get a new, environmentally friendly and more efficient unit.  The fact that I was frying fish and hush puppies added to the decision to turn on the AC.  Brenda & Larry brought us some white bass from their camping/fishing trip earlier this week.  We had enough fish to invite my parents over to enjoy it with us.

It was gray, windy and cloudy early this morning.  Brenda and I got sprinkled on while we were walking, but the rain didn’t last long enough to soak us.  It was warm enough for us not to freeze with a bit of dampness.  I brought along a small shovel and some plastic bags to dig us a few of the wild daisies growing along the side of the road.  I think this might be illegal, but we decided we would take our chances.  At 6:30 AM there are very few wild flower police on the back roads of Greene County.  The transplants look happy along side the sunflowers on the south side of the driveway.  It’s one of the few places in our front yard that gets almost a full day of direct sun.  At some point we’ll remove the “fly bushes” and turn the entire area into a butterfly garden.  I don’t know what these bushes are called but they smell bad and attract flies.  We’ve already had several flies get into the house.

A downy woodpecker joined our front yard birds.  He’s small for a woodpecker (about 6″), mostly black & white with a tiny spot of red on the side of his head.  He’s also brave and doesn’t fly away as fast as the rest of the birds.

I’m almost finished with Pachinko.  It’s a good book chronicling a Korean family who moves from Japanese occupied Korea to Japan to try to survive.  The Koreans face prejudice because of their race and this family has even more discrimination because they are Christians.  In spite of incredible suffering the family survives and climbs out of poverty.  Min Jin Lee can tell a good story.  The fact it’s taken me so long to read it speaks to my lack of time for reading, not the dullness of the book.

 

Eighties

That’s in temperatures in the eighties.  Sunshine too.  It still cools down enough at night to sleep comfortably with open windows and ceiling fans.  Last night I fell asleep listening to calm frog songs and woke up about 2:30 AM to coyotes howling.  I was dreaming that I was at a meeting in an elementary school.  It was the kind of school that was one level, brick, flat roofs and long outdoor corridors with class rooms.  In Missouri they call them “California schools” because the architects forgot about rain and snow and unpleasant weather when designing them for this area.  Most were built back in the 60’s and 70’s.  The meeting was over but people were standing around talking.  I decided to walk down one corridor.  It was fairly well lighted and I started down the corridor feeling fine.  About half-way down the corridor I suddenly felt nervous and a chill.  I turned around and started running back to where the groups of people were still standing and talking.  Then I woke up and heard the coyotes yipping.  They sounded very close and yipped and howled for longer than usual.  I looked in our back yard but couldn’t see anything.  It was almost a full moon and bright out.  This winter we saw coyote tracks in the snow in the first field behind our back yard and I suspect that is where they were.  The trees and barn blocked my view of them.  It took a while for the hairs on my arms and back of my neck to lay back down.  I did manage to get back to sleep.  We are going to have to build a really really really strong chicken coop and house for our future chickens.

Both our bluebird houses have nests in them.  The older, lower one has one egg that I can see.  It’s light blue and very tiny.  The robins nest has 3 or 4 babies in it.  Today I’m buying oranges and grape jelly because several of the women at quilting said they didn’t realize they had orioles until they put the food out.  The dove nest is too high in the redbud tree to see if there are eggs or babies in there or how many.  I’m sure there are other nests around that I don’t see because I don’t want to scare off any birds.

On the note of odd “coincidences”, our library sent me an e-mail with a book recommendation based on the Zodiac.  My sign is Libra and my recommended book is Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke.  I’ll have to check that out.

With all the rain and cool weather, it looks like we’ll have a bumper crop of blackberries this year.  Our blackberry area is white with blooms.  We mowed paths around the wild bushes so picking will be a little easier than in past years.  I’m sure the mowing didn’t decrease the number of ticks and chiggers still hanging out on the bushes.   I’m looking forward to the first blackberry cobbler.  I’ll make some jelly, freeze some for more cobblers over the next winter, and can the rest as juice.  Mostly I’m looking forward to eating fresh off the bush berries.

Mother’s Day

And if you are a mom, you know every day is Mother’s Day!  It was inspiring to hear from so many friends, all wishing each other a happy mother’s day.  We raised our children together and know first hand what each of us went through, the good and the terrible, to raise our kids to be the wonderful adults they turned out to be.  We also heard from our children, thanking us for the long hours and hard work we put into assuring their success, or at  least survival.  And we all know that the job never ends.

One thing that will come to an end is my Fibers Class.  Today is our “final”.  We will present to the class our final project, which incorporates most of what we learned this semester as well as referencing artists (regular artists as well as fiber artists) who inspire us and who we are as an artist.  I’m looking forward to hearing what my classmates have to say.  Several are graduating and I wish them all the best in their art careers.  I’m looking forward to a summer of sewing and crafting for myself, working in the garden and yard, and taking another art class in the fall.  I also hope to do more reading.

It looks like the rain has ended for a day or two.  Temperatures remain cool, only in the low 60’s for today.  It warms up at the end of the week but we may have some thunderstorms.

We had 3 very sickly clematis when we bought the house.  Now we have one healthy clematis.thumbnail_IMG_2087-1  I also saw some tiny bud blooms on the climbing rose.  We need to clear out some bushes around it and see if that helps it do better.  Dennis and I are trying to “propagate” our pink dogwood tree.  A gardener never sleeps.

Soggy

It feels like it’s rained almost every day since we got back from our trip.  I know there were a couple of days it didn’t rain because I pulled weeds and planted flowers at least 2 afternoons.  Our clematis is blooming and more beautiful than ever.  I’ve got to dig out some red bud trees that decided to grow in that flower bed.  I’ll try to keep enough roots on them and put the biggest ones in buckets for George & Linda.  They visited us Tuesday and Wednesday and expressed interest in planting a couple red bud trees back in IL.

I’ve been working on my final fibers project.  It’s coming along but I’m not thrilled with it.  There’s still quite a bit of work that needs to be done, so maybe I’ll like it better once it is finished.

Tuesday evening George and Linda took us out to dinner.  We went to Cusco’s Cafe on (historic) Commercial Street.  It’s a Peruvian restaurant.  I had my favorite, Sweet Potato noodle stir fry.  George wanted their Drunken Goat dish but they didn’t have a cooked goat to make it.  The goat was still cooking in the oven, and would continue cooking most of the night.  This is the kind of place you see on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  It’s a small restaurant (long and narrow in keeping with the era it was built (1880’s) with 5 or 6 carved wood covered booths and 4 or 5 tables.  The ceilings are high and have pressed tin tiles.   During nice weather, they expand and have a small area on the sidewalk.  George had a fish dish instead and was impressed with it.  Linda had a chicken dish she said was wonderful. Since Dennis is watching his cholesterol, he ordered steak and eggs–probably the least healthy choice on their menu.

Our library is offering a new service called “your next read”.  You answer questions about they type of books you enjoy and list a few of your favorite titles or authors.  Then then send you a list of 8-10 books they recommend.  My list started with Midnight in Chernobyl.  I immediately put it on hold to read next.  I’m still reading (and enjoying) Pachinko.

 

 

Tennessee Adventure

I tried posting with my i-pad but didn’t have any luck.  So here is what happened.

Nashville

I’m not a big sports fan. I like individual sports teams, usually local or college teams.  Wooooo Pig. Sooooie!  Goo Lady Bears!   It wasn’t until the day before we left for Nashville that I found out the NFL draft was in Nashville the same time we would be.  Oops.  Fortunately we’d made reservations for the hotel and had our tickets to the Gatlin Brothers at the Ryman.  The only real issue would be traffic and parking.

It was raining when we left Willard (cue country music background).  Uneventful trip and check in at motel.  Wednesday we toured the Carnton house and the adjoining Confederate cemetery, as well as the Carter house.  This battle could have been avoided and included a charge even larger than Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg.  10,000 casualties were the final result.  After all the touring and listening to stories of the families involved during and after the battle we ate at South 55. I had their Memphis hot chicken sandwich.  It was almost too spicy but I managed to eat it all. My dad said it was the best chicken sandwich he ever had.

Thursday morning we headed to Nashville.  The area around the Nissan Arena (where the NFL draft was happening that evening) was blocked to traffic for several blocks in each direction.  We found a parking garage near the Ryman and paid the $30 event fee to be there all day.  There were big screen TV’s everywhere and bands playing in almost every establishment.  Fans were dressed to show their team pride. Not quite Mardi Gras but a similar atmosphere.  We checked out the Johnny Cash museum.  Did you know Leonard Nimoy sang “walk the line” ?    You can check it out on you tube.  There was a whole wall of famous people who recorded their versions of Johnny Cash songs.  We ate a sandwich and the coffee bar inside the Johnny Cash museum.  For dessert Dennis and I shared a GooGoo Cluster.   They were advertised on the Grand Ole Opry back when Dennis watched it on TV.  They started making the candy in 1912.  GooGoo clusters are also good.   Next we went to the Patsy Cline Museum   Also fun but not as large as the Johnny Cash museum and was very personal.   We then spent several hours at the Country Music Hall of fame before ending the evening at the Ryman Theater.   The Gatlin brothers were good, but Ashley Campbell was amazing.   She’s the daughter of Glen Campbell and my first thought was she was up there on her daddy’s name.  I was wrong.   The show opened with Tony Jackson in his first time at the Ryman.   I’d never heard of him before but I bet everyone will soon know his name.

We finished up the backstage tour just as the fireworks were going off over the Nissan Arena.  Crazy traffic but we made it to the hotel without incident.

Gatlinburg

Our next big tour was the Biltmore.  It’s technically in N. Carolina, but we drove there from TN.  We grabbed a bite to eat and hit the road early.  We arrived about 10 AM and were hungry.  They were serving breakfast items at The Bake Shop.  I had a savory scone and coffee.  It was the biggest scone I’ve ever seen and so good I managed to eat it all.

Our house tour was scheduled for 1 PM, so we walked around the gardens first.  It was sunny but not too hot.  The roses weren’t blooming but there were plenty of other flowers that were.  The size and varieties of orchids in the Conservatory were mind boggling.  How could one family afford to hire that many people to care for those acres and acres of gardens?  The house tour was even more jaw-dropping.  Fortunately for my mom, the original house had an elevator which is still working and anyone unable to get to the second floor can use it.  It requires an operator to run it–no automatic push buttons.  There was also a pool in the basement as well as a gym, servants quarters, the kitchen and pantry.  I just can’t describe the oppulence of the place, so I’ll just tell everyone to go visit.

We walked around downtown Gatlinburg, stopping to check out the shops and people watch.  We also went up to Anakeesta, which recently opened.  It’s still being developed but the views are amazing.  You can still see areas of damage from the fire 3 years ago.  There is a memorial garden walk (up to the best viewing area) and a canopy walk–a safer and more stable (but it still has some bounce) rope bridge type walkway down under the trees.  I was a bit disappointed, but it’s still being developed and will probably continue getting better and better.

Of course we couldn’t leave without seeing Dolly Parton’s Stampede.  It’s been years since I’ve been to the one in Branson and Dennis had never gone, so we had to do it.  It is still eat with your hands and the food is good.  The show is similar, with a contest between the North and the South.  We ended up on the North side and they won the contest.  It’s a bit more politically correct and in the end there is a big display of all the riders in red, white and blue lighted shirts and the American flag.  I’m glad we went but probably won’t go back for a couple years…and then I want to take Jax & Zane to see it.

There was bad weather in the Springfield area the night before we came home.  There was a confirmed tornado in Willard, but it was to the east of our place.  We had branches down but no damage.

Now I am in “catch up” mode.