Friday, December 17, 2010

Home Again

As I drove us back into our driveway, Pete made the Sign of the Cross and whispered thanks "That the crazy little dog didn't get us into any accidents." His lack of faith in my driving skills is a bit annoying. We covered 5176 miles this time out without incident, which is more than I can say for HIS driving. Sheesh!

We're hanging around here for the Christmas holidays, catching up on all the changes in the grandkid department. Here's Pete with his oldest and youngest grandkids, Sparrow and Eliot. I actually think it's pretty cool having a nephew I can see eye to eye with!

We had the twins and their folks over for dinner so Pete could try our his new smoker. Those two learned how to walk while we were out! Now I've really gotta keep an eye out for them. Santa's gonna bring them a new little brother or sister next June. What is he thinking?!? Then I'll have five little 2-leggers to look out for at family gatherings. AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kolomoki Mounds State Park

In the mood for relaxing scenery, a bit of fishing, and walking amongst an ancient civilization all rolled into one? Then I'd suggest you head for Kolomoki Mounds State Park on the southwest corner of Georgia.

Kolomoki Lake

Eight remaining mounds built sometime between 250 and 950 AD by the Swift Creek and Weeden Island Indians make for an interesting journey back in time. The burial mound in the foreground is 20 feet high and was found to contain 77 burials along with numerous items of pottery. In the far distance, the Temple Mound rises 65 feet and has a base the size of a football field.

An interesting museum is built around the site of another burial mound excavation where you can view the scene as discovered by archeologists in the 1940's. The four skeletons seen here are representations of the actual ones, which were respectfully interred elsewhere within the burial mound.

Oscar and I sat around the campfire in the evening, listening to ceremonial drums an chants echoing across the lake and pondering the march of time . . .

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bentgate B&B

As you slide down the Appalachians and cross westward through the Cumberland Gap, keep your eyes peeled for some unusual critters. You just might spot some through and old fence . . .

Keep heading west. Just south of the Daniel Boone National Forest is the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Nestled on the edge of the recreation area is the Bentgate Bed and Breakfast, a world class stopover for the weary traveler with the finest steak dinners east of the Mississippi.

If your timing is just right, you may be lucky enough to enjoy a most unique presentation of local history. Rugby's Lantern Tour at the Laurel Dale Cemetery has actors at gravesites in authentic period costumes telling stories in the first person narrative. All of their information comes from original source material, handwritten letters or news clippings, providing a real sense of life in Rugby during the 1880s. Hauntingly unique . . .

If you should pass through Crossville, TN be on the lookout for one of the many beaver statues hanging out dressed in costume like this feller, here!

A trip to Stearns allows you to visit the Blue Heron Mine, a historic representation of what life was like for the young and old living in the mining camp and owing their souls to the company store.

Feel your blood pressure drop as you gaze beyond the orchid out the kitchen window.

Oscar's fondest memories of Bentgate are all about squirrel hunting in the living room. He gets all starry eyed just thinking about it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Sanskrit for "Forest of Peace", Shantivanum certainly lives up to its name. Situated in the woods of southern Pennsylvania, this wonderful retreat beckons to those who may live in the world of The Hectic and invites them to come, relax by the fire, listen to the sounds of nature and feel the blood pressure go down ... aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh ... that's just right!

I took a meandering walk through the woods to and overlook and saw the fall colors splashed on the hillsides.

Hung out with my sister, Michele, her dogs Luna & Duke and her husband, Jim, who's behind the camera.

Oscar declined the long walk, claiming his itty-bitty legs would just get too tuckered out. I think he had a serious nap by the fireplace in mind. Ya think?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Harpers Ferry, WV

"The passage of the Patowmac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature ... This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic ..."

Thomas Jefferson, 1783

Jefferson wrote those lines as he overlooked the river from a rock outcropping, high above the riverbed. Harper's Ferry is situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, from where you can stand in one place and almost throw a rock into West Virginia, Maryland, or Virginia. Home to John Brown's raid on the arsenal in protest of slavery and the largest surrender of Union soldiers during the Civil War.

Harpers Ferry changed hands between the Confederate and Union soldiers fourteen times during the Civil War. St Peter's Church built in 1833, was the only church relatively unscathed by artillery during the conflict. Reverend Costello is credited with this due to his decision to fly the Union Jack above the church during the conflict.

Harpers Ferry is maintained as a Historic National Park and is well worth the visit . . .

Friday, November 5, 2010

Oscar's Harrowing Halloween

Walking through the woods west of Gettysburg on Halloween, Oscar suddenly sensed an eerie presence he couldn't quite place . . .

Scooting away from there, he heard a witch's voice cackling "I'll GET you, you little DOG!"

He ran over tho this guy for help, but the fellow had problems of his own!

Oscar and his new found buddy, Duke, took refuge in a local cemetery only to find more mayhem. They both said "I didn't do it! I didn't do it."

With their world gone weird, they scampered to the cabin where aunt Michele consoled the whimpering pups.

Michele told Oscar if he'd simply sleep on it, it'd all be better in the morning. So he collapsed right there on the couch . . .

Next morning, Oscar was back to his smiley self, yelling "I AIN'T AFRAID OF NO GHOSTS!"

(yeah, right)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wooly Worm Festival

What is a Woolly Worm?
a. The caterpillar or larvae form of the Isabella tiger moth.
b. A great excuse for a party
c. Both A & B

Banner Elk, NC hosts the annual Woolly Worm Festival, where folks gather for some good old fun and worm racing!

This fellow gets a bit carried away as he revels in the sensation of multiple worms crawling up their shirt . . . that's the spirit!

There are plenty of opportunities for some health conscious snacks.

Crowds gather for the multiple race events which eventually culminates in an overall winner of a $500 prize pot. GO WORM . . . GO!

Twenty worms compete per event. The race consists of placing your worm on a string and watching it creep upwards to the finish line. Here's "Coolie" crossing the finish line as the winner of his event, being pointed out by a Woolly Worm Festival official.
Part of the fun is watching the antics and hearing the calls of of the master of ceremonies.

We returned to camp and told Oscar and his new best friend, Sydney about it. Sydney was astounded ...

Oscar simply cracked up and told us we were nuts!

We fondly recalled the wonders of the Woolly Worm festival over brunch the next morning.

Valley Country Fair

On the 3rd Saturday of each October, a bit of Americana sprouts up at the height of the fall color season in Valle Crusis, NC. What began many years ago as a local church bazaar has grown into a "go-to" destination for folks from all over . . . all proceeds go to local organizations supportting those in need.

Fine musicians take the stages throughout the day much to the delight of the crowds. You may get a chance to enjoy a master at "Playin' the Saw" (which was amazing, by the way) and encourage younger talent as they pick out some old standards.

Step on up and get close with a real live llama . . . don't worry, the handler will let you know if he's getting ready to spit! LOL

Booth after booth will entice you with items such as these beautiful hand made nesting baskets.

Kim, Lois, Herm, Paul, and Sherry gave this fair a big thumbs up.

The next Valle Country Fair will be held Oct 15th, 2011. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Eggs in the Fall!

Oscar & I've been outta range for a bit and have some "catchin' up to do" !!!!!

We spent some time with fellow "Eggers" up on a hillside east of Asheville, NC watching the leaves turn color. Here's the gaggle all lined up real close.

Oscar picked out our spot and I think he did a grand job! (Sherry, it's OK, just let him think it was HIS idea, it's easier that way)

Wandering along the winding Appalachian roads during the fall is spectacular.

We attended the East of Asheville Studio tour and saw artisans and their crafts in the making: pottery; blown glass; inlaid glass; wood turning; furniture makers; and my favorite - metal sculpture. Here's one of Aubrey, made by Dave Taylor of "Fire Steel & Rust" Great likeness!

Oscar loved Dave's works and while they were talking he told Dave all about our travels, so Dave made a sculpture just for Oscar's adventures. Perfect, don't you think?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

National Storytelling Festival

While folks have been telling stories since time began, some have elevated this communication form to pure art. They've been gathering annually at Jonesborough, TN for the National Storytelling Festival to delight audiences for three days of wonderment and laughter.

The small eastern Tennessee town of Jonesborough goes all out for the festival, making it the best run event ever.

After each day's entertainment, we retired to the campsite to recall great moments within the stories and get ready for another day of being transported in time and space through words.