Our view

Our view

Sunday, April 30, 2017

All The Baby Birds Are Here

There is a nest that gets built somewhere on or around the tool shed and for the past three years these nests have been well occupied.  This Spring we have 4 to 5 baby birds.  Since we cannot get too close to really see Lisa has gotten very good at getting pictures with her phone but she does it in a way that it does not threaten the nest, baby birds or parents.  With that said, she cannot really see what she is taking a picture of so it is hard to determine how many babies there are.  We know that we have counted 4 beaks but we also think we saw a fifth beak.  Anyway, the baby birds are doing great and we predict that within the next week they will be leaving their nest. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Cow Tails Saga Continues

A Cow Tails breakthrough has been found.  The cows came visiting once again and decided to walk through the blueberry plants.  The blueberries were looking so good until the cows came for another visit.  We will be planting the garden in the orchard in the next few days and we really do not need the cows to visit and take out some items so George and Tim got busy yesterday and went to find the area along the fence line that had been compromised and aided in the cows coming to visit here at the farm.  They found it and it was no wonder the cows came in with a herd; there were a couple of trees that had fallen down on the fence crushing it and allowing a nice opening for the cows to get through.  There was even a nice path created by the cows to ease in their coming and goings.  So George and Tim got busy in removing the downed trees and repairing the fence.  This should stop the visiting cows and protect our garden from being stomped on.  Thanks Tim and George: very nicely done!  So this should end the Cows Tails saga.  Now all we have to do is watch out for the gifts the cows have left us in the orchard...cow patties!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Preparing The Vines

Last year we had a pretty good crop of grapes and used the grapes to make a lot of grape jelly, which was/is delicious, and some grape juice.  The grape crop from last year was not as big as the year before but it worked.  This year we are expecting a bumper grape crop and since we are still sitting on several jars of grape jelly we are going to try and make wine with most of the grapes. The grape vines had to be tied up to the grape trellaces that help support the grape vines as they grow.  George and Lisa were busy doing it before the rain hit.  Now that the grapevines are tied up we are ready for the grapes to grow and harvest them. Some of the grapes harvested will still be used to make some grape jelly but most of the grapes will go into making wine.  We are learning that wine can be made from almost every fruit we are growing so we are going to be experimenting and will try to make wine from watermelon and peaches too.  We do know that with making wine it is a process that will take almost a year before the finished product will be ready to try but hey, we can wait...I think? 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Going In Sytle"

We all went to the movies yesterday and saw the movie "Going In Style" at the Newport Cinema.  It was a really good, cute and entertaining movie.  It starred Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin.  It is a remake of the same movie from the 1970's and just as good if not better.  It is full of comical moments that makes the movie fun and enjoyable.  If you want to go see something just for fun than this is a good movie to see.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Colors Of The Mountains

Last night the mountains were glowing with color that the setting sun was creating.  I have not seen this before but it was absolutely beautiful and of course I had to take pictures to share.  I even used my real camera and not my phone just to make sure I captured all the colors. The sun was putting on quite a light show highlighting the mountains.  Even the far off mountains in North Carolina were highlighted enough to show the ranges we normally don't see.  It made for a beautiful ending of the day.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

We Got A New Car

Tim and I have been discussing getting a bigger car due to traveling and needing room to seat more than four people.  Tim went to the Dodge/Jeep dealership yesterday to have our Jeep Compass looked at because it has a hum in the engine that was not there a couple of weeks ago.  He was gone for about four hours and when he came home he drove up in a white car but it was not our Jeep Compass.  It was a brand new Dodge Journey.  It is a V6 with third row seating and is all wheel drive.  It is really nice looking and now we have plenty of room for traveling and carrying passengers.  It was a nice surprise and it drives really nice.  Thanks Tim!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Time To Dry Out

We have just finished three days of almost solid rain.  It started Friday and did not quit until late Sunday night.  We even had over 24 hours of solid rain from Saturday night at 7:00 pm until 11:00 pm Sunday night.  With all the rain came a cold front so we went from 80 degree temperatures to 55 degree temperatures.  However, we knew it wouldn't last and today we woke up to sun and warmer temperatures.  It is going to be so warm that by the end of the week it may be in the 90's.  Gee, I hope it won't get that warm that soon!  The rain has made everything so green and you know the saying, "April showers bring May flowers".  If this is true we are going to loaded with flowers in May!  It is pretty outside even with the low lying clouds.  Welcome Spring!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Woodshed

Last night we went to dinner at a new restaurant in Cosby and it was really great.  The Woodshed restaurant opened a in late 2016 and so far seems to be doing really well.  It sits up on a hill and looks like a cabin from the road.  I think it actually was a large cabin or woodshed that had nicely been converted into a really good restaurant.  The food is good and almost everything we had was good.  We were a table of seven: Tim & I, George & Lisa, Larry & Linda and Travis.  We started with some appetizers, the onion straws were great, and when dinner came we enjoyed our dinner.  The only complaints were the carrots were not cooked quite enough and Linda's steak was overcooked.  Other than that I can highly recommend the chicken tenders, baked ziti, pulled pork, and hamburger.  Thanks Larry and Linda, George, Lisa and Travis and Tim for a nice evening at the Woodshed.  We will be back!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Healing Hands

Tim and I drove up to Bristol, TN to the Healing Hands Health Center.  Healing Hands is an organization in Bristol, TN that was formed in 1977 by the First Presbyterian Church of Bristol, TN to aid working uninsured people quality, charitable health care.  The Health Care center opened 18 months ago and it provides services for working uninsured neighbors at no charge.  The services include medical care and medications, dental care, chiropractic care, eye exams and spiritual counseling services.  Yesterday they were offering free dental care to Veterans so Tim decided to take advantage of it and had a couple of bad teeth taken care of.  He called in advance and was given an appointment which was great.  It is a very well run organization and Tim was well taken care of.  There were other booths set up in front of the center that could aid the veterans from banking to haircuts.  Thank you Healing Hands for sponsoring this event.  We both appreciate it.

Friday, April 21, 2017

We Have New Babies At The Farm

The other day while I was headed down to the Crafty Cottage I was passing the tool shed and saw a nest on top of a light on the shed.  The mother was sitting on the nest and while I slowly got my phone out to take a picture she flew away but I did get a picture of the nest.  The nest's location is not a new one and for the past couple of years the nest has been built and eggs have been laid in this same location and this year is no different. The nest belongs to a wren.  There are four species of wrens in eastern Tennessee and I am not sure which wren this is but am thinking it is either a Carolina wren or a House wren.  Wrens are very small birds with big voices.  Their song is intricate and distinct with a lot of volume.  You can hear them better than you can see them.  Last night after dinner Lisa got close to the nest without disturbing it and got a couple of pictures of the eggs and new hatchlings.  There were two baby birds and two to three eggs yet to hatch.  The two babies must of just hatched.  So we have new babies at the farm with more to come.  They will be in the nest for about 15 days then fly away.  The mom and day mate for life and stay in the area all year long.  There may be two to three broods for this couple each year so we may have more babies in the future.  They lay eggs from as early as March and as late as August.  Welcome baby wrens!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bowling Banquet

The Coffee League is officially over for this year and will start another year next August.  We had our bowling banquet yesterday at a local restaurant, Janice's.  It was a really good breakfast that we were all treated to and I think we will be visiting Janice's again  because the food is good and the prices are great.  At the banquet we received our stats for the year, a cute little bowling pin with our best game and series printed on it and prize money.  I won three prizes, Handicap game, most improved and 3rd place in league.  I was surprised and happy with the money received for all three prizes.  Of course I don't bowl for the prize money I bowl for the fun of it and I really enjoyed the Coffee League and look forward to next year.  Through out the summer on Thursdays at 5:00 some of the Coffee Leaguers are getting together to just bowl and I will be joining them.  It should be fun and will allow me to get even more acquainted with the Coffee League crew.  Thanks to all who made my first year in the Coffee League fun!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

We Are Back But What A Ride

We have returned back to the farm and we had kind of an uneventful drive to get back. There were s few issues with some dump truck drivers.  Truck drivers are usually great on the road and I have the upmost respect for them and the job they do however yesterday was not a usual day on the highways.  There were at least three instances that a truck driver almost caused an accident right in front of us and twice we had to hit our brakes hard and avoid contact with the car ahead due to a truck driver's decision to merge when it was not necessary.  There were a lot of RV's on the road going a little slow and the trucks did not seem to appreciate it and made some dumb moves to get around them.  Even on a section of I-40 in North Carolina where trucks are not allowed to drive in the left lane there were trucks doing just that.  First time I had seen truckers purposely doing that. Even with the truckers we got home in good time and even though we miss our kids and our Rory it is good to be back!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Did You Know?

Did you know?  A new series on Just Another Day At The Farm blog.  This will be added from my contributing editors.  The first is this series is from Lisa who did some investigating and found out something about one of the bugs that are on the farm.  Check out the picture to the right...we thought these were male mosquitos but we were wrong.  Lisa found out that they are Crane Flies and they come from standing water.  The adults come out in late winter/early spring with the sole purpose of mating.  They drop their eggs which will become the adults next spring.  They don't bite, sting or eat.  They only have a 10-15 day lifespan and are in both dry and wet areas.  So what's their purpose in nature to be food for birds and other insects.
The crane flies are harmless insects that sole purpose is to reproduce.  They do not hurt anything and are considered the gentlest of insects.  So the next time you see one just leave it alone and let them live their 10 to 15 days.

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Cow's Tail Continues

The cow's tail continues with an update...the cows returned Saturday morning to the orchard.  Either the fence was not repaired correctly or the cows just decided to storm it. Either way they did return and this time we have pictures to prove it.  In doing some investigative reporting Lisa discovered who's cows they really are and where they belong.  Thankfully, our neighbor farmer got his crew together to help get the cows back to their pasture but those sneaky cows must of known and left.  The cows belong to a farmer who is leasing a pasture on the other side of our farmer neighbor's pasture.  This means the cows are breaking through their electric fence, crossing the corn fields of our neighbor and then breaking through the fence into the orchard.  The farmer who owns the cows has yet to be reached but our neighbor said he would let him know.  I say if the cows return then George and Lisa get to become a dairy farm too or they will have beef for quite a while. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter

Today we get to spend our second Easter with Rory.  Her first Easter was in Hawaii and last year I was with her on Easter but this year Tim and I both get to spend it with her and our girls.  We have been having a great time and have kept fairly busy.  I hope you can celebrate this Easter with family and friends and have a wonderful day!  Check back tomorrow for a continuation of A Cow's Tail. Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ode To The Steiner

The Steiner was a good piece of equipment on the farm and it did so many tasks before it simply just wore out.  It could be rebuilt but a new tractor was purchased and the steiner was retired.  Now in Tennessee no vehicle EVER retires some one else comes along and buys it.  The steiner was sold and yesterday was hauled off by the new owner to Ohio.  So here we go:

Ode To the Steiner a good working tractor
you performed your tasks well with mowing and moving
you built driveways and pathways and trails
that will be used for years to come
so now that you are gone you will not be forgotten
well, maybe
Thank you steiner

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Cow's Tail

I have a story about a cow's tail or tails but it really should be tales.  On Wednesday, as I was working away in my Crafty Cottage,  Tim and George claim that about 30 cows came into the orchard in the corn fields or where the corn was planted last year.  The border of the farm is surrounded by dairy farms and an occasional cow has wondered into the orchard.  30 cows have not.  George called the local farmer thinking they were his cows but when he came over they were not.  It turns out that the cows came from a farm that is next to the farm next to us.  That farmer came over and worked the cows back to where they had broken through the fence.  Here's the thing, in a world of technology and everyone with a cell phone was there one to be available to prove this story correct?   Of course not but they claimed it happened.  I guess the cow patties and hoof prints can prove it BUT I don't have any pictures.  This cow's tale did happened!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Headed South For Easter

This will be a short posting due to technical difficulties.  For some reason my wifi decided to play games with me this morning and just as I am writing the blog it goes out.  So, I have moved to my phone and it's data to write the blog.  I love my iPhone but not when I have to use it to write my blog it does add a level of difficulty to posting a blog.  With that said, or written, today Tim, Shadow and I are headed south to Florida to spend Easter with our kids and granddaughter.  This year Rory will really understand the Easter festivities so it should be a lot of fun!  Just a short eight hour drive and we will be there!  Here we come Rory!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Pin Busters Take Thrid!

I participated in my first Roll Off, the Coffee League Championship, and the Pin Busters came in third place.  We did not bowl to our full potential but we did pretty good.  I bowled well and stayed above my average all three games.  As a team, we bowled well enough to come in third.  We were bowling against the winning team and they were just unbeatable.  Way to go Billy's Crew!  The important thing is that we bowled well, we made the roll off and it was another successful season for the Pin Busters.  Next Wednesday is the Coffee League Luncheon which will be our last official get together for  the Coffee League until it starts a new season next August.  This was the first bowling league I have been in but it won't be my last.  Way to go Pin Busters! 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bowling Roll Off

Today is the last day of bowling for the Coffee League this season.  Today the four teams that won each quarter will bowl against each other for the championship?  I am not sure how it works I am just glad we made the roll off.  We actually won two of the four quarters but we can only win once for the roll off.  I have enjoyed bowling this year in the Coffee League and I hope I will be able to participate next year.  My only hope now is that I do not collapse under the pressure of the roll off and that we do well.  I can do this...we can do this...go Pin Busters!

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Cercis canadensis Are Beautiful

The Cercis Canadensis or better known as Red Bud trees are out in force and are beautiful.  This tree thrives in the Eastern part of the U.S. as far north as Canada and can live as far south as Florida.  It does not do well in the West especially with the arrid temperatures.  This tree can grow up to 20 to 30 feet tall and have kind of a twisted trunk with several branches.  The red buds, that are actually a dark pink majenta color, come out in spring and will last until early summer.  The tree is also known at the spice wood tree due to Native Americans using the the twigs and leaves to flavor their game while cooking.  It is a pretty tree and it grows well here in eastern Tennessee.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Another Great Saturday With Friends

We had another great Saturday afternoon and evening spending time with friends.  Larry and Linda came to farm and we all spent some time together.  It had been a while since Tim and I have been with Larry and Linda due to our traveling but we are all back and together again.  We decided to BBQ even though it was a bit chilly but when you are with friends and having fun you don't mind a little wind and chilly temperatures.  We decided to grill steaks and we had corn on the cob and a potato and green bean pack. Linda brought a great dessert, pineapple salad, and it was delicious.  Wow!  It was a great night.  Thanks Larry & Linda, George & Lisa and Travis for a nice time together.  I could get use to a friends Saturday nights!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Sun Did Come Out

After all that rain that we had the past few days the sun came out and stayed out.  It was cold, high of 45 degrees, but the sun made it seem warmer when the wind was not blowing.  We have had three days of high winds but today no wind.  By the way, the wind was so strong it took out all but one of my spinning flowers that I placed on the fence.  I am still trying to decide to replace them or not.  Today we will be spending some time with our friends Larry and Linda.  They are coming over later this afternoon and we will be grilling steaks!  Yum! Hey Sun, please keep shinning!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Rain, Rain Go Away...

Rain, rain go away...come again another day!  After the past several days of rain I am ready to have some sun.  I know we need the rain and it has really greened up around here.  The pastures are a really pretty green and the leaves on the trees are that really pretty spring green right now.  The later blooming trees are starting to show it blossoms but the rain has been heavy and came with colder temperatures.  The higher elevations are getting snow but we all know it won't last long.  Anyway, this week end is suppose to be warm and sunny and the sun it breaking through the rain clouds today.  Rain, rain go away...come again another day!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Wood Pile Is Gone

For almost a year there has been a large pile of limbs and branches from trees cut and or collected around the farm.  For some reason every time Tim and George tried to burn them there were several branches and limbs that just would not burn.  They tried everything and then burn season was over for a while so they had to wait.  Well in getting rid of the plum trees that were affected by black knot they needed to be burned.  What better place to burn them but on a pile of branches that also need to get burned.  Tim worked and worked trying to start the pile on fire.  Short of using a blow torch he finally built a small campfire and finally the pile burned and very quickly.  By the time George pulled the first black knot infested plum tree up from the orchard the pile was nearly gone but there were some nice coals that allowed the three infested to trees burn also.  Mission accomplished... the pile is gone!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Getting Rid Of Black Knot

As George was getting the Orchard ready for planting season he noticed on the plum trees that there were black knots.  Black knot is a form of fungus that develops on some fruit trees, plums, cherries, apricots and peach trees, and if caught early can be pruned.  It normally develops in the early Spring right after the trees flower but in some cases you won't notice it until later.  This is what has happened to three plums trees in the orchard.  It was actually noticed last year and the trees were so far gone that  George cut the three trees down so the black knot would not spread to the surrounding trees.  Black knot hurts the trees by not allowing the fruit to develop.  George cut down the three trees, dragged them from the orchard and Tim helped in burning them getting rid of the black knot for good.  Great jog George and Tim and so long black knot!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Broccoli Apple Salad

I made a delicious salad, in my opinion, for last Saturday's BBQ.  It was a Broccoli Apple salad that I had gotten the recipe from Facebook and it was good.  It did take some time to put it together but it was worth the work.  It isn't the cheapest salad to throw together but the ingredients in it mixed together does make it tasty and the apples stay fresh and don't turn brown.  For you next BBQ or luncheon give this a try.  
4 cups fresh broccoli florets (1 bag or 2 medium heads)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 large apples, finely chopped ( I used Gala apples)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Creamy dressing ingredients:
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or lite mayo - I used miracle whip)
1/2 cup greek yogurt (or low fat)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1. In a large bowl combine broccoli, carrots, red onion, apples, pecans and dried cranberries.
2. To make the dressing: whisk together mayonnaise, greek yogurt, lemon jucie, sugar, salt and pepper.
3. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat.  Chill until ready to serve.
If you make this let me know what you think!

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Fence Is Decorated

The fence around the "MASH" sign at the farm has been decorated from time to time and last fall it looked great with the fall then followed by the Christmas decorations.  Since the beginning of the new year it has not been decorated until now.  I wanted to decorate the fence with Easter stuff but since it is only two weeks away I decided to decorate for Spring.  I went to the Dollar Tree and purchased everything for the fence.  Lisa and I decorated it Saturday morning and I think it turned out great.  It is cheery, festive and welcoming.  The nice thing is the decorations, except the butterflies and frog,  can stay up During the summer if we choose to do so..  Thanks Lisa for helping me get it all decorated.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Nice Night With The Days

We had a great time yesterday catching up with the Days.  Russ and Ann Day came to visit us at the farm yesterday.  We have been friends and singing together for several years.  We all attended Orange Park United  Methodist Church together and went on the Adult choir Germany trip together.  Russ and Ann are wonderful people and we are so lucky to have them as friends.  They moved to the Atlanta area in 2004 but we have kept in contact through visits to Florida and Facebook.  Russ is a terrific Bass and can play several instruments and is still singing and playing.  He even has his own Dixieland band.  Ann is also quite a musician and plays several instruments herself.  They did have some bad luck last fall.  They lost their condo to the Gatlinburg fire but they are rebuilding and will continue to visit here in the area which will give us a chance to get together more often.  Thanks for visiting the farm Russ and Ann.  It was great to see you again!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Parrottsville Police Near The Farm

We saw some very unusual things yesterday while returning from our Costco run.  Tim, George, Lisa and I drove into Knoxville to shop at Costco and as we were driving onto Smelcer road we saw two Cocke County police vehicles parked on the side of the road.  This is weird because the police never are on this road.  In the past two plus years we have never seen a police car on this road.  Well of course that got our minds going but then everything was escalated when we drove past the known "drug house" and there was lots of activity going on.  We continued to drive and then the weirdest thing of all happened when we turned on Quail Way, our semi private road, and saw two people we have never seen before walking down the road.  Our road is so off the beaten path that even delivery drivers are afraid to drive it.  Anyway, that was just the icing on the cake that got us all a little suspicious that weird things were happening near the farm.  Of the three incidents we only have solved one of them.  The couple walking on our road were neighbors from way down the road.  Phew!  We still don't know if there was drug activity or a drug bust at the drug house we just know that the police was involved and we will have to wait until after the week end is over.  The next Newport Plain Talk, our local paper, won't be published until then.  Excitement on, or at least near, the farm!