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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bush Brothers & Company

In 1904 A.J. Bush, founder of Bush's Bean partnered with the Stokely Brothers, located in Newport, TN, to open a tomato cannery.  The partnership was that  A.J. Bush would build a factory and Stokely would supply the equipment.  This was a huge success for Bush and in 1908 he bought out his partners and the Bush Brothers and Company began.  The company did well  and even during the rough times the country went through financially.  During the depression Bush canned more hominy and sauerkraut to keep the company going.  In 1934 they developed and canned Pork and Beans which became an inexpensive staple to the country.  During WWII Bush concentrated on the war efforts and after the war the first expansion was made by opening a canning plant in Blytheville, AR.
In 1946 A,J, and Sallie Bush passed away but two of their sons kept the company growing.  During the 50's a new line of canned green beans was developed which kept the plant operating all year long.  During the 60's the Showboat line was started featuring their own brand of Pork and Beans and canned Spaghetti.  The core of Bush Brothers & Company continued to be canning vegetables including green beans, spinach, southern peas, hominy & sauerkraut.  The company grew so much that they opened up production facilities in Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Louisiana and expanded their plants in Tennessee and Arkansas.
The biggest change for the company began in 1969 when Condon Bush (grandson to A.J. Bush) along with some fellow employees developed Bush's Baked Beans based on a secret family recipe.  This happened in Augusta, WI.  During the 70's & 80's Bush continued canning the vegetables  but it was the Baked Beans that really made the company grow, regionally.  In the 1990s Bush Brothers changed the whole focus of the company from a regional cannery to a national brand featuring Bush's Baked Beans and the great grandson of A.J. Bush, Jay Bush did the first national TV commercial in 1994 and in 1995 Duke was added to the commercial.  The new label and current branding of Bush's was created in 1998 and during this time created several different flavored baked beans.  In 2008 Bush developed the Grillin'  Beans line (our favorite) and opened up the Visitor Center in Chestnut Hill, TN across the street from the Bush's Baked Beans plant.  About 80% of canned baked beans consumed today is produced by Bush's. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Max Patch - We Did It!

I know that I said today's blog would be more of the Bush's Bean Visitor Center and Plant but on a whim George suggested we go to Max Patch yesterday thinking if we went early enough we would beat the crowd because it was a cold morning but a clear day and it was going to warm up.  So we decided to do just that.  So we got into the car and drove into North Carolina and headed up to Max Patch Mountain.  Max Patch is a bald mountain where the Appalachian Trail crosses and at the top it is 4629 feet in elevation.  Once at the top there is a 360 degree view of the Smokey and Blue Ridge Mountains.  Now that we have been there I can confirm that is does have spectacular views.  What we didn't anticipate was that there would still be snow at Max Patch.  That did not stop us it just made the climb a little more challenging.  The parking lot at Max Patch is very small and when we pulled into it we were one of four cars.  There are two trails that you can take to the top of Max Patch one is 2.4 miles and circles the mountain before reaching the top.  The other trail is 1.4 miles and goes directly to the top.  Either way you climb another 350 feet in elevation before reaching the top.  We took the more direct route especially since we had to deal with snow and mud on the trail.  When we started our hike it was a cool 32 degrees, the snow was still firm  which made hiking and climbing a little easier.  We brought Shadow with us since dogs are allowed on the trail.  He had a ball running around and when he found his first snow drift his expression was great.  He kind of looked at us like he was saying "what the heck" but then it became a game.  The hike up with the views was beautiful but once we got on top the views were breath taking.  It was not a perfectly clear day, we had some haze, but even so it was beautiful and you could see for miles in every direction.  We spent some time just enjoying the views and walking all over the top.  Max Patch was originally cleared for pasture land in the 19th century.  The one thing we noticed at the top, when we were not talking, was how quiet it was.  There was no sound just peace and beauty.  We met some very nice people while we were at Max Patch.  Some were just day hiking like we were but we also met some that were hiking the Appalachian Trail.  One girl, who took our picture for us, had been hiking the trail for three weeks; she started in Georgia and was on her way to Maine.  She had started with her brother but he got hurt and had to leave the trail so she was on her own.  We spent quite a long time on the top and the sun was melting the snow.  When we decided it was time to leave the real challenge began for us; getting down the trail without getting hurt.  Lisa and I had terrible traction with our hiking boots so Tim and George were there to help us out.  With the sun melting the snow and the ground thawing the trail turned to mud which made it very slippery.  Tim and George did great, they have good boots, and even Lisa did good with the little traction she had with her boots.  I, however, decided to get one with the trail and fell several times.  Even in the snow I could not grip the ground on parts of the trail as we hiked down.  I would not of minded sliding down the side of the trail on my bottom except that there are pricker bushes on both sides.  At one point I did not care and slid down just to get off a part of the trail.  The rest of my descend was walking in the snow drifts and making my own trail down.  We finally got down to the parking lot and the temperature was balmy 50 degrees.  I am so glad we had the opportunity to hike to the top of Max Patch and be able to take in the beautiful views.  We will be returning to Max Patch several more times so we can enjoy all the seasons.  If you are ever in the Max Patch area please take the time to hike the trail to top you will not be disappointed. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bush's Visitor Center

Bush's Visitor Center is located and in Chestnut Hill, Tennessee about 24  miles from Parrottsville, TN. just across the street from the Bush's Baked Beans plant and homestead of A.J. Bush.  The Visitor Center is located where the old Bush's General Store once stood and houses the Bush's Museum, General Store and Bush's Family Café.  It is opened six days a week, Monday through Saturday and although you cannot take a tour of the Bush's Baked Bean factory there is a short film that shows the operations of the factory.  We had passed Bush's Visitor Center back in September on our way to Pigeon Forge and have wanted to visit it since.  Well the wait ended yesterday and we finally spent the morning and early afternoon at Bush's.  It took about 1 1/2 hours to tour the visitor center seeing the film, the museum and general store.  The staff at Bush's are very friendly and knowledgeable.  We then had lunch at the Bush's Family Café and we are really happy we did.  The food was delicious, very reasonable and the service was great. We even splurged on dessert where Tim, Lisa and I had their homemade pies and George enjoyed a Banana Split.  Lisa was the adventurous one and tried Bush's Pecan Pinto Bean pie.  She said it was good and got the recipe for it.  She also tried to get the secret recipe of Bush's Baked Beans but was not successful in doing so.
It may seem strange to have Bush's Visitor Center in the middle of nowhere but it is a popular tourist destination and shows just how popular Bush's Baked Beans are.  A.J. Bush, the founder, started a business in 1904 when he partnered with the Stokely Brothers to open a tomato cannery.  By 1908 A.J. Bush bought out his partners and the Bush Brothers and Company was born.  His home is located right across the street from the Visitor center and is used for meetings.  The Bush's plant has been expanded throughout the years and has kept the area's residence with jobs.  If you are ever in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area take a couple of hours and visit Bush's Visitor Center and Family Café.
Check back tomorrow for more Bush's pictures and history.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Quail Way

 Quail Way is the private road that takes us home and at times is a challenge to maneuver but there are some interesting things along the road that I see when driving in the car but the other day I drove the road in the Golf Cart for the first time and the things can now be seen up close at a slower pace.  The first thing that I noticed, whether you are in the car, cart or walking, is the small barn or building.  The interesting thing about this building is that it leans towards the road and it looks like it could fall over at any minute but the truth is that this building has been leaning this way at least 25 years or more.  Along the road side there is a small stream that runs just to the right of the road.  Next to the stream are some small buildings or remnants of some buildings that at one time were useful.  About half way up the road there is a large barn that also looks like it could cave in at anytime but it won't because it was reinforced just last year.  There is also some old farm tools that were placed as decoration, I think, by the barn owner.  After passing the barn if you look up and to your left you see a large old log cabin.  This cabin has been there for years and the owner only uses it every once in awhile.  The interesting thing about this cabin is that it can only be seen in the winter and early spring because it is camoflauged amongst the trees.  There is a barn on the right that is in good shape that houses the horses and donkeys of our neighbors that also live on top of the hill.  There is also two ponds one large one and one small one. The large one is on the left just as you approach the big hill that takes us home.  So now when I drive the road, especially in the golf cart I appreciate the things that are along it just a little more.  Don't ask me why!

Friday, March 27, 2015

An Afternoon On The Deck

We have officially had our first visitors come and spend time on our new deck.  George and Lisa were the first friends to sit on the deck with us  but Larry and Linda were the first friends that does not live on the property to come and enjoy the deck.  Of course while on the deck you cannot miss the beautiful view.  It was a warn and sunny day (about 75 degrees) with a breeze so it was very comfortable on the deck even with the sun still on it.  After a while we took Larry and Linda for a ride on the golf cart (they gave us the top for our golf cart) and then we headed down to George and Lisa's to see the new wood floor in their bedroom.  It was not a long visit but it was still nice to get together again.  I even receive a long distance hug from my friend Sharon delivered by Larry; thanks Sharon.   At the end of the visit I sent one back to her!  The weather has changed from yesterday and so far it is cold and rainy and we might even get a little snow tomorrow.  I  just hope that it does not freeze and ruin all the budding trees. Thanks Larry and Linda for coming by, we always enjoy our visits together.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Clean Up Process

Now that the trees have been cut down the task of cleaning up has begun.  The downed trees had to be cut up for firewood and all the brush, small limbs and branches were gathered into piles so they could be hauled over to an area to be burned.   A burn permit is required so George obtained one.  The trees were cut up for firewood and then placed into storage bins where the wood will age and be ready for George and Lisa's wood stove next fall.  Tim spent all day yesterday burning up the piles of tree limbs and brush and it took all day to get the debris burnt.  So the clean up process from downing the trees is almost complete which leads to the next project for Tim; building the driveway for the Golf Cart. 
Meanwhile, George and Lisa began laying down the wood flooring in their house.  They started in the bedroom and what has been laid so far really looks good.  It took awhile for them to decide what kind of wood flooring they wanted but as George puts it "patience grasshopper" and that patience paid off because their wood floors look great so far.  
I spent the day working in the Crafty Cottage on door prizes for my sister's next SAS in May.  I am doing it early because I will not be able to work on anything while we are traveling. We will be on the road in 11 days!  Wow, there is a lot to do to get ready; I better get busy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The New Views

Now that the Widow Maker has come down Tim and George started looking at other trees in and around the area of the RV.  The two of them decided to take down some more trees and in doing so two things have happened.  The first is that we now have a new view a little higher up that is really beautiful.  I know I say this a lot about our view but when you have a great one you tend to talk about it a lot.  With the higher view we can see more of the rolling hills of the surrounding farms and see more of the mountains too.  I know with in the next month the trees will have leaves on them again and the view will be different but right now we are enjoying the new green grass and budding trees.
The second thing is that George has always felt we should have another driveway near the front of the RV and now that we have the golf cart the two of them began to create one.  The trees and brush have been cleared and now the area just needs some cleaning up and preparing the ground.  The driveway will lead right to the golf cart garage, okay canopy.  It will be nice to have the driveway so I no longer have to drive on the grass especially now that it is getting nice and green again.  So, weather permitting, in the next few days we should have golf cart driveway. Check back and see!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cinderella

Lisa and I had another "Girls Day at the Movies" and we saw 'Cinderella'.  It was a very good movie and the special effects in the movie, for Cinderella's carriage,horses, footman and more, was very well done as only Disney knows how to do it.  Before the movie we watched the animated short called 'Frozen Fever'.  It was about Elsa and Anna from the movie 'Frozen' and it was really cute. It makes me look forward to Frozen 2. 
It was a beautiful day yesterday and before we left for the movie I went up on the road just above the RV and we now have another beautiful view due to the Widow Maker getting cut down.  From where I was standing I could see more farm land and a little more of the mountains that surrounds us. 
Tim and George worked on cleaning out the area where the Widow Maker was.  They are clearing more of this area to allow the cedar saplings to grow and fill in the area and to get some firewood for next winter.  There is still a few more things to be done to the clearing including a driveway for the golf cart.  Check back and follow the process.  Also, if you are looking a fun movie go see Cinderella; you will not be disappointed!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Taking Down The Widow Maker

There is this one tree that is right behind the RV that sits about 6 feet away.  The tree is a beautiful Oak but it is a widow maker.  The roots are exposed and it is leaning towards the RV that is why Tim calls it the widow maker.  Well, we survived the Fall with acorns dropping on the roof sounding like bombs and we survived the Winter with the cold temperatures, snow and ice. Well now that Spring is here it is time to seriously look at the widow maker and Tim just did not want to take any more chances so yesterday morning Tim and George began to clear the widow maker of its branches.  With the tree leaning towards the RV Tim and George figured out how to secure the tree and have it fall the opposite direction of the lean.  They secured the tree with chain and rope and began cutting it down.  Right before it was time to chop it down Tim had Shadow and I leave the RV just in case it fell the wrong way.  Shadow and I were safely in the Crafty Cottage waiting for the tree to come down.  I expected to hear a boom or something but I didn't hear anything.  The widow maker fell in the direction away from the RV and now we don't have to worry about the widow maker any more.  Great job Tim, George and BJ (George's Handy Man). The widow maker is down and will be chopped into firewood and aged so George can burn it in his wood burning stove next Winter.  There are a couple more trees to come down but the widow maker is gone and the RV is just a little safer now and so are we!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Second Day Of Spring

The second day of Spring the sun finally came out and it was actually a pretty good day.  Tim and I spent the morning cleaning out the basement in the RV, yes our RV has a basement.  It is a storage area under the bedroom.  Since we built the deck we no longer have access to the basement from one of the two doors to get into the basement so we decided that we would put all of our holiday items and some other items we no longer need but will when different holidays come.  This opened up a big area in the storage shed so now Tim has a lot of room in the shed.  In the afternoon I worked in the Crafty Cottage making my April Card Club cards so I will get those out on Monday. 
Saturday evening we had dinner down at George and Lisa's.   Lisa made a taco/burrito casserole she saw on Facebook and it was really good.  It was a cool evening but a nice one.  After dinner we did some target practice with our shotgun.  On my first shot I hit the target and moved it down the hill.  We all did pretty good because when we retrieved the target it was pretty shot up.  It was a good day and we accomplished a few things too!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Welcome Spring

Welcome Spring!  We survived our first winter here in Tennessee and we found out this past February was the second coldest  in Tennessee.  What a way to be welcomed!  The important thing is we learned a few things and will be even more prepared for next year's winter.  Now it is Spring and with all the rain we have been having, it has rained the last two days, the grass is turning green. It does seem since Tim finished the deck it has done nothing but rain.  The rain is suppose to end and we should be able to enjoy our new deck this week end.  The picture I posted is daffodils bordering the road and drive way right here at the farm.  Tim and I thought that they were just some kind of wild flower but when I posted the picture of the flowers on Facebook our friend Linda gave us the information that they were daffodils and that they were probably planted several years ago.  They are beautiful and a sure sight of Spring.  Linda and Larry are back up here from Florida and posted pictures of their yard here in Tennessee and their beautiful Daffodils.  Welcome back and thanks for the info. Happy Spring everyone!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Making An Easter Cross

About a month ago my sister Pam sent me instructions on how to make a paper Easter cross.  I thought it was really pretty and showed it to Lisa; she liked it too.  I was planning on using cardboard to make the cross but when we were at Dollar Tree the other day I saw a perfect cross we could use to make the Easter Cross so we both bought one.  Yesterday was a nasty cold rainy day which made it a perfect day to work in the Crafty Cottage.  So we started around 11:00 and by 1:00 we both made a beautiful Easter Cross. To make the cross we used the cross purchased or cardboard to make one.  Then we had to choose about four sheets of scrapbook paper,  I have a lot of scrapbook paper, that we then cut into 1 inch x 4 inch strips.  We used a hot glue gun to make the strips into loops then hot glued them on the cross.  When all four sides of the cross were covered I used card stock to finish the middle of the crosses.   The cross we purchased at Dollar Tree was bigger than the one given on the directions but all we had to do is cut more paper.  It was a very easy project to do and only cost us about $2,00 each.  The Easter Crosses turned out great and we had fun making them.  Good job Lisa, I am going to make you a crafter after all!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Deck Is Complete

The deck is complete and Tim did a great job on it.  He got the final boards at Lowes, they had restocked their deck boards, so Tim was able to finish the deck.  We took off the RV steps that we used to get in and out of the RV and Tim mounted them on the deck but we discovered that the steps were actually pulling the framing boards out.  So Tim took the steps off the deck and figured out how to repair the damage the steps had created.  Then Tim and George figured out how to remount the stairs so that they would be sturdy but not do any damage to the deck.  They had to run back into town to get the necessary items but it worked and now we have two sets of stairs leading up to the deck.  Thanks again Tim for working so hard and building a great deck for us and thank you George for your help in building the deck.  It looks great and we will be enjoying it a lot especially with the weather getting warmer.  We have been here seven months and with in that time we have completed four major projects:  the Crafty Cottage, the shed, the golf cart and now the deck.  To see pictures of the projects listed just scroll down.   By the way this is my 207th post on this blog. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Deck Is Almost Done

What I thought was going to be one of the biggest and longest projects we have done here at the farm has ended up being a lot shorter than I thought it would take.  Tim has been working hard and very long days on getting the deck done before the rain begins tomorrow.  So what he has started on Monday should be completed today. He just needs to get a few more boards because he ran short yesterday.  At Lowes they were running low on decking boards and so hopefully there will be more today.  Tim has been doing a great job and the deck is looking really nice.  The deck views are even better than the views we see from our RV windows.  Look for pictures later!  Thanks Tim for working so hard, the deck looks great!   

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Progress On The Deck

Tim and George were up early and headed to Lowes to pick up more wood for the deck that they needed for the day.  Tim and George worked on the deck in the morning then Tim continued on his own the rest of the day as George had to continue on working on his own house.  Thanks George for your help; we both appreciate it. Tim got a lot done and built the structure of the deck by dinner.  He was pretty exhausted last night!   Today he will be returning to Lowes to pick up the deck boards.  At the pace Tim is working the deck could be completed today.  Great job Tim, it looks good so far!  Check back tomorrow on the progress of the deck.  The views are going to be beautiful!

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Deck Begins

It was a beautiful day yesterday, sunny and warm (high 60's).  The morning started with fog in the valley and it was a really neat sight.  An hour later and the fog was gone.  Since it had rained for three days straight the grass has turned green and it is beautiful.  I worked in the Crafty Cottage on some things and Tim and George went and got supplies to start our deck.  We spent the afternoon and evening at George and Lisa's enjoying the views from their front porch and deck, talking about world events and grilling steaks.  After dinner we had target practice.  Lisa had gotten a handgun for Christmas but had not had a chance to shoot it so, since George has a lot of land, a target was created and we all took turns shooting Lisa's gun.  Our target was a Mountain Dew bottle and let's just say it was a challenge to hit especially as the sun was setting.  It had been a while (3 years) since I had shot a gun but I did okay.  It was fun so today we will be shooting our shotgun for practice which will be interesting since it has also been three years since I have shot that too! 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

McFarland USA

Lisa and I went and saw "McFarland USA" and we both thought it was a great movie.  I did not know the story and I am glad I didn't because it made the movie even better.  I don't want to ruin the movie for you so I will leave it t with this; go see this movie!  It was excellent and it made me realize how lucky I was growing up.   I ran cross country in High School and hated it but my track coach told me is was great conditioning for track.  It was but for a hurdler, it hurt!  Anyway it was the perfect day to see a movie since it rained all day again. So, go see this movie!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Tim Built A Work Bench

Tim was very productive and built a work bench for the shed.  The best thing is it did not cost us anything because he used the leftover wood we had from when we were working on the Crafty Cottage.  It turned out really good and is similar to the one I have in the Crafty Cottage except his is a little wider than mine and mine cost more.  With Tim building the work bench out of leftover wood he saved about $80.   So now Tim has his own work space which is good since we will be starting the deck soon.  We are still leaving April 6 th for our journey to California and Hawaii so he will just do some basic things for the deck then when we return home in June he will continue where he left off.  Great job on the work bench Tim.  Hmmm, what else can I have him build for me?
It was a yucky day yesterday.  It rained most of the day and it was extremely windy and cold.  So we decided it would be a good day to binge watch HGTV.  We like the show Beachfront Bargin and they ran all afternoon.  Did we feel guilty?  Not at all!  Just about 6:00 pm the power goes out.  The good thing is dinner was just finishing cooking so we could still eat. After dinner, not knowing how long the power would be off, Tim went and put our generator on.  Guess what happened?  That's right, the power came back on.  We were happy because we had rented a movie on Dish.  We watched "St Vincent" and it was really a good movie.  Bill Murray was great!  If you have not seen it yet you should.  It was a good movie with a message.
Today Lisa and I are going to the movies by ourselves.  Tim and George are staying at the farm.  We are going to see the movie "McFarland USA".  I am looking forward to seeing it especially since I use to run Cross Country.  Check back tomorrow for my review on the movie!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Driving Around The Farm

So, now that the golf cart is running we are now able to drive around the farm.  I was down in the Crafty Cottage when Tim came by with the golf cart.  It was running the other day but was a little sluggish going up hills. Around the farm hills are everywhere so being sluggish was not going to work.  He worked on the golf cart some more and was able to get it going a lot better.  He came by the cottage to put the golf cart to the ultimate hill test; climbing the hills with both of us in the cart and I am happy to report that it did really well!  So after the tests he dropped me back off at the Crafty Cottage and did a little more tweaking.  About an hour later he dropped off the cart so I could drive back up to the RV for lunch.  Now not having a bathroom in the cottage is no longer an issue because if I end up all of a sudden having to go I can drive up the hill; quick and easy! 
I did have one issue yesterday with the golf cart and it was from George accusing me of going too fast in the 3.4 mph speed limit he set in front of his house.  I better watch out the next time I drive past his house because the next thing I know he will have a radar gun out clocking my speed.  I wonder if I can set a speed limit in front of the Crafty Cottage for his Gator?  Hmmm, see what you have started George?  Thanks Tim for working so hard on getting the golf cart running. We can now ride in style around the farm.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Knoxville In The Rain

Tim, Lisa and I went to Knoxville yesterday because Tim had his annual check up with his new cardiologist.  Five years ago Tim had a heart attack and has been going for annual and semi annual check ups since.  Well, it was that time of year and since we no longer live in Florida he found a new cardiologist in Knoxville.  All is good but because this is a new cardiologist Tim will be doing some tests over the next couple of weeks. This will be a test for our new health insurance to see what we will be paying now and what will be covered by insurance.  Keep your fingers crossed!
The drive to Knoxville was wet but Tim didn't mind because he wanted to get the car rinsed, no sense in having it washed since it was raining, so that some of the salt from the roads would get washed off.  I-40 through Knoxville has flashing signs cautioning drivers to watch for pot holes.  Since I have not been in snow for quite a while I had forgotten what winter weather does to the roadways.  Potholes were popping up or should I say digging down on several roads in Knoxville.  I-40 was developing quite a few.  It rained the entire time we were in Knoxville and did not quit until we got to Parrottsville.  By the late afternoon the sun was out.
While Tim was at the Dr Lisa and I did a little shopping.  Lisa wanted to go to Petco to get a few things for her cat, Angel and her new Grand dog Nyx.  Her son just adopted a new puppy.  After that we decided to go to AC Moore mostly because it was the closet craft store to where we were.  We barely had started shopping  when Tim called.  So we did a quick shop and then headed back to pick up Tim.  He was done a lot quicker that any of us thought he would be.  Yesterday I said we were going to have lunch while in Knoxville and we were not going to eat any restaurant that we had in Newport.  Since the area we were at for Tim's Dr appointment had nothing around there to eat we headed home and decided to eat on the way.  We had lunch at Perkins and it was good.  Lisa and I could not decide on a couple of different sandwiches so instead I ordered one of the sandwiches and she ordered the other and then split the sandwiches in half so we each had both sandwiches.  Good idea Lisa!  We got back to Parrottsville early afternoon and just spent the rest of the day being lazy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Toys

After 5 months of not having a laptop, mine broke and I was using Tim's, I received my new laptop that I ordered last week.  It is a Toshiba and has all the bells and whistles.  So, I am writing this blog on my new laptop.  I have to say that it is nice to have a full size keyboard but I am very thankful that during this period I 1) had my iPad and 2) had Tim's laptop to use.  My new laptop  does have windows 8  so I am learning how to operate it. It will take me a couple of days to get use to everything but that is okay because I do have the time.  Before the laptop came I did finish making all of my Easter cards but I can't show you them because some of you will be receiving one.
More good news, after 6 months, only one month that the golf cart was really worked on, Tim has gotten the golf cart going.  He has worked so hard to make the golf cart nice again and working.  After getting all the body work completed and the cart cleaned up and painted, fixing the wiring, brakes, etc.  Buying all the batteries and getting the motor repaired he got it running yesterday!  Way to go Tim! I posted a video of it on Facebook and will try to post on here but the video is not as easy to post as pictures are.
Today we are going into Knoxville for Tim's Doctor appointment.  While Tim is at the doctor Lisa and I will be doing a little shopping and then picking up Tim and having lunch.  Knoxville has so many restaurants to choose from that I know we will not be eating at Ruby Tuesday, Wendy's, McDonalds or any other fast food restaurant we have in Newport.  Check back tomorrow and see all that we did in Knoxville and even some pictures too!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Max Patch

Max Patch is a bald mountain on the North Carolina-Tennessee border in Madison County, NC and Cocke County, TN. It is a major landmark along the TN/NC section of the Appalachian Trail. Max Patch is known for its 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains. From the summit you can see the Bald Mountains in the vincinity, the Unakas to the North, The Great Smokies to the south and the Great Balsams and Black Mountains to the southeast. The parking lot at Max Patch is very small which is why we could not stop and hike the trail to the top. We will return to Max Patch in the next couple of weeks to hike the trail but it will be on a week day. The trail is about a 1.4 mile hike to the top which is 4629 ft in elevation. It has been called the "crown jewel" of th Appalachian trail. I think Max Patch will be a regular hike for us especially when the seasons change. Spring and Summer will be great but I am looking forward to the fall. Since the road to Max Patch is a little tricky I think we will skip winter if it snows. Max Patch did suffer some damage in 2012 when someone in atvs broke through the wire gate and drove all over the bald mountain creating deep ruts that today are still recovering. Keep coming back and see how our hike went. I do want to take this opportunity to wish my brother Craig a very Happy Birthday!

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Little Drive

It was a beautiful sunny day here at the farm and so we decided to take a short afternoon drive.  We began our journey and we were headed to Meadow Creek Tower, an old fire tower used by the U.S. Forestry service built in 1926, but found out the trail to it was too long for us to reach and get back before dark so we decided to take a little drive around the area instead.  For Tim and I we were in unfamiliar territory but since George was driving we had no worries.  We started towards Del Rio, TN when just outside the town we took a mountain road just to explore.  It started out as a paved two lane highway, turned into a paved road that eventually went to gravel mix to gravel to dirt.  Since we had begun to climb the mountain and the views were great we just continued to drive.  The higher we went the narrower the road got until we were eventually on an old loggers road turned into a way, the hard way, to get to the top of the mountain.  We were on Round Mountain that borders Tennessee and North Carolina.  At times the road was a little tough but George and Lisa's Honda CRV was doing great.  We were not sure where we were going to end up but we didn't care because we were all enjoying the ride.  Okay George was driving so maybe he wasn't as relaxed as were we.  The road we were on was narrow and had lots of curves but the views were spectacular.  We climbed to 3100 ft to reach Round Mountain campground in the Cherokee National Forest then continued to climb up to Max Patch, a bald mountain that borders the North Carolina-Tennessee border at 4600 ft.  Check back tomorrow for more about Max Patch. We then started to head down the mountain to Hot Springs, NC.  
So the drive we took essentially started in Tennessee but we ended up in North Carolina and took the LONG way to do it.  Did we mind?  Not a bit, we did something different locally, we were with good company, Tim, George, Lisa and I and we ended up on an unexpected adventure that also gave us more places to visit and retreat to during the hot summer days.  Out next exploring day is already in the planning stage. Check back tomorrow for more of our adventure.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Kingsman - The Secret Service

We had our third Date In A Box date.  March's date was dinner and a movie so we drove to a Morristown and saw The Kingsman.  It was a good movie. It was full of action and had some humor too.  I would highly recommend this movie especially if you like James Bond movies, etc.  After the movie we first went to the Ruby Tuesday in Morristown but it was packed so we headed for Newport and ate at Ruby Tuesday there; Lisa and I had coupons.  It was a nice afternoon and evening.  Good movie, good food and good friends make for a nice day. Hope you all sprung ahead last night and turned your clocks ahead one hour.  Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

We Spring Ahead

We 'Spring Ahead' this week and lose an hour of sleep tonight.  So when you go to bed tonight set your clocks ahead one hour.  By setting our clocks ahead one hour it will be lighter in the evening but our mornings will be darker for a while.  The sun won't be coming up until 8:00 am starting tomorrow morning. 
Lisa and I ran some errands yesterday in Newport, our road is better but still needs some work.  Lisa and George's wooden floors were delivered yesterday and we sold our huge lawn mower so it was a productive day.  
We are going to take a little drive either today or tomorrow since it is going to be nice and we are ready to go do something.  Check back and see what we do and don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour tonight before going to bed!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Crafty Cottage Creativity or CCC

Crafty Cottage Creativity or CCC is what has been going on during our cold stranded days here at the farm.  Technically we are not stranded.  If an emergency arose we could get out but we are trying not  to leave to  give the road a chance to "heal", does that make sense?  Hmmm, probably not.  The final hill to the farm is steep and the gravel that was on it has been absorbed by the mud.  The last thing we need is for the road to create huge ruts so we, Tim, George, Lisa , our neighbors Reg and Cheryl and I have agreed to stay off of it for a few days and we have. We are hoping that the ground or road settles.   During this time the Crafty Cottage has been full of creativity.  I finished up all the door prizes (including some surprise ones), made some St. Patrick's Day crafts with Lisa and finished my March card for my CCC card club.  The goal today is to send out the door prizes and club cards.  We went from 74 degree temperatures on Wednesday to 27 degree temperatures yesterday.  Right now everything is iced over so just walking down our steps is a hazard. Only time will tell what will happen.  Oh well, we have food, we are warm and we have our friends so life is still good here at the farm!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Wasp War

I have waged a war against wasps the insects not White Anglo Saxon Protestants.  From the time the Crafty Cottage was built it has had a wasp issue.  We were able to keep it under control while we finished up the inside but once everything was enclosed there was one area with  a thin gap that we missed.   Well we now know that wasps have built a nest in the one area and  I have been waging war with the wasps.  With the cold weather it was maybe two or three wasps a day.  Not so much yesterday.  I killed at 40 to 50 wasps and swept  about 15 to 20 out the door.  Now I have a lot of respect for nature and I am not a person to kill bugs unless they come inside.  That is when they become fair game.  Tim has closed up the gap and I think the wasps are trying to escape their nest and since they can no longer access from outside they are leaving it through my cottage.  Yesterday was our first warm day (74 degrees) but it is short lived and it is cold again and we are expecting snow.   So who is going to win the war?  I won today's battle but I know there will be more.  If, by the time we leave on our trip, I am still having issues we will bomb the cottage right before we leave and again when we get back.  The war is not over but I am hoping to be victorious soon.
Tim and George worked on George's new old truck yesterday and it is running pretty good now.  After working on the truck Tim put side trim on the golf cart.  That is one step closer to getting the cart going.  Check back and see how the wasp war is going. Maybe we need another freeze, brrr!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

We Have Booked Our Flight!

We have been searching flights for Hawaii and after figuring our dates and searching for the best prices we finally booked our flights.  We are going to Hawaii for Rory's first birthday. Rory is 9 months old now and she is walking.  Jenny caught her first steps on video so we could all share in the moment of Rory taking her first steps.  Tim and I are getting so excited now to be with Rory, and Jenny & Nate, that we are counting the days.  We still have some time to go but at least one major hurdle is out of the way.  We have always flown United Airlines when we have gone to Hawaii but this time we are flying with Alaska Airlines.  We even booked the flights directly with them  The best part, it is a non stop flight both ways; we are flying from San Diego.  Our trip out to San Diego is  still in the planning stages but we do have three  places we are definately stopping at along the way, Branson, MO, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO and Hurricane, UT.  We are getting to San Siego early so I can be with my Mom on Mother's Day and attend Pam's May SAS.  So, some of the plans are under way and once we have our itinerary I will be posting in this blog and in my Travels With Ruth blog. If you have any suggestions on some things to see along the way please let me know by leaving a comment below, email, text or message me on Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Quiet Day

It was a quiet day, those happen sometimes, so not much happened.  I worked in the Crafty Cottage making my card club cards for March and Tim ran into Greemeville to drop off the engine from the golf cart to see what is wrong with it.  Tim has been working on plans for our deck and they are coming along.  Once we decide on the plans the fun begins and hopefully there will be pictures to show our progress. Check back and seeI

Monday, March 2, 2015

The People Of Walmart

If you are on Facebook then I am sure you have seen the pictures of the people of Walmart.  Well I never took them seriously until I saw one with my own eyes and I am not talking about a picture.  Lisa and I went grocery shopping yesterday at Walmart and as I was waiting for Lisa to get finished checking out I had a woman walk by wearing a white linen, see through, strapless  top and skirt.  Now if it were summer the outfit would make sense but it was 48 degrees outside.  The woman was rather large with her belly hanging out then as she past I could see everything but I didn't want to.  Now, I take my hat off to that woman for being so confident to walk around in that outfit I just wish I didn't have to see it.  I did not take a picture because it was an image I wanted to forget.
While Lisa and I were grocery shopping Tim and George did some tree trimming around the RV and  driveway.  There were some dead trees bordering our driveway but now they are gone and George and Lisa have more firewood.
We did manage to get down the road but I was pretty skeptical while I was driving down it.  Most of the road was still covered with snow and ice even though most of the snow has melted around the area.  I very slowly drove down the road looking for any gravel or non iced surface.  I did make it out only knowing that I will have to drive back up it to go back home.  Well by the time we got back from shopping a big portion of the road was better but the final hill was still slick.  We made it up the hill and safely home.  I guess it's just another day at the farm!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

We Are Melting

The snow is beginning to melt and by the end of today it should all be gone.  Tomorrow the rains are suppose to begin.  Knowing the weather is important especially for planning on doing something.  The weather affects our road so much.  The past couple of days we have not been able to leave because the hill is all iced up.  Our neighbors Gator is stuck at the bottom of the hill.  So we are hoping today that the higher temperatures will melt the road. Once the rains begin, and if the forecast is correct, then the road will be too muddy to use.  So, we will try to get out today to do some shopping.
I spent all of yesterday designing the fourth door prize for my sister's SAS.  I have all four cards designed I am just waiting for the matierals I need to arrive and I can make the forty cards.  Actually 36 since I do have 4 completed.  I did prep with the matierals I had on hand.
Tim spent the day working on the golf cart motor.  He is going to have to take it in for repair because it needs things he can't fix himself.  After the motor is fixed the cart should be ready to roll!  With it being so cold and snowy he has not been able to work on the golf cart for almost two weeks.  The next few days will be wet but at least they will be warmer.
Our March project will be starting soon.  We will begin to build the deck around the RV.  Tim has been planning the deck and has a list of what is needed now all we have to do is purchase the items on the list and hope for some good weather.  Check back and watch our progress!