Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Visiting with Friends

Our friends from Washington, Ann and Dave, stopped by our place in Georgia on their cross country trip. We had a couple of days to catch up on old friends and acquaintances from back home before they headed out for Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, and points west on their way to their home in Phoenix.
Since we are old real estate people, we couldn't resist a look at an interesting property in Eufaula, Al, overlooking the Chattahoochee River/Lake Eufaula.  This is the old city jail - ideal for a bistro for someone more ambitious than all of us.  $240,000 is the asking price.
After Ann and Dave left, Ron and I took the motorcycle down to the old 'hood in Bainbridge, GA, where we looked up our old friends and neighbors, Gene and Dianne at their home on Lake Seminole.
Gene and Dianne's dock and lake yard on Lake Seminole
I will probably be neglecting this blog in the month of November as I have committed to writing a whole novel in the month.  I have a blog on that project November Novel Writing Project "NaNoWriMo" The goal is to write 1500 words a day or 50,000 words a month, or 175 pages.  

For all you bloggers who might have a novel you are thinking about or working on, you can sign up and join me at NaNoWriMo.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Magnolia on Main - Blakely, Georgia

Debbie, Huck and Ron with Huck and Deb's new trike.

Another beautiful sunny warm October day in SW Georgia, and another memorable motorcycle ride.  This time we met our friends, Huck and Debbie at Magnolia on Main - a real down home southern restaurant in Blakely, GA.  The staff consists of mostly family members, all of whom give new meaning to the term "southern hospitality."
Food, food, and more food.
Clockwise from 12 o'clock - sweet potatoes, okra, squash, cabbage, cornbread, celery stuffed with a delicious secret recipe, baked chicken, bacon, black-eyed peas.  I passed on meatloaf, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, collards, and most of the salads - (there were at least a dozen of those).

So many luscious pies, how to choose?  Skipping dessert is NOT an option!

Magnolia's on Main - Blakely, Georgia - a must stop for anyone looking for authentic southern cooking or anyone doing a culinary tour of the south.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Botanical Gardens, Dothan, Alabama

Dothan, Alabama is about 55 miles from our home in Georgia.  A visit to the botanical gardens is great no matter the season.  Lovingly cared for by mostly volunteering local people, it is beautifully laid out, with paved walking paths throughout.  We were lucky enough to hit it today when they had their annual scarecrow contest entries on display.  I sure realized by the time we had walked through that my imagination for scarecrows has been severely limited in the past.  Here is a sampling:

The roses were so beautiful - not all are fragrant, but when walking through the rose garden, the smell of roses is everywhere.
Well worth a visit if you happen to be in the area!

Tarrer Inn, Colquitt, Georgia

On this beautiful day in mid-October, we set off early on our motorcycle to meet our friends in Colquitt for lunch at the famous Tarrer Inn.  The link takes you to the current events of the town.  The most important is the Swamp Gravy Festival.  People come from miles around to watch local actors portray events from the area's history.  We squeezed into the Tarrer Inn in front of a busload of tourists from Valdosta, which is two hours away. 
Jesse, Peggy, Rosie, Ron
This meant we got first crack at the amazing buffet.
I took the smallest possible portion of most everything and sure wouldn't have wanted to miss any of it!  A non-Southerner might turn up their nose at "fat back", and that might be a good thing for their waist line.  However, once you try it, you will surely come back for more!  At this buffet, it was dipped into some sort of batter and deep fried.  I am starting to figure out why I gain weight every single winter when we are in the South!
The city is full of murals 
Notice the bin of peanuts being pulled by the mural in the square.
The cotton mill has been transformed into the playhouse for the Swamp Gravy play.  The next performance was an hour away and sold out, so we moved on - happy to be outside riding the bikes on such a glorious fall day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Collage Art

I suddenly realized that my blog says it is about family, travel, and crafts.  I have been a bit of a slacker lately on crafts - partly because we have had a lot of yard work to do, partly because it has been so nice outside, partly because I wasn't motivated, and partly because crafts are more fun for me when I have someone to work with and talk with as we work.   Even though my Mom is 91 years old, she is very artistic and we worked last fall to make all of our Christmas cards using collage.  

The first step is to make multicolored tissue paper.  There is a lot of interesting tissue paper available, and we collect that too, but we paint a lot of our background tissue also.  

We cut heavy artist paper into approximately the correct size for a greeting card (5" x 5" or thereabouts).  We cover our work area with paper towels as this can be a messy operation.  First, we paint the artist paper with medium (clear glue) and then lay a piece of tissue paper on the glue and paint it again with the medium.  Then we add scraps of paper, or dried flowers, or anything else that can be glued and suits our fancy.  We carefully paint each layer with more medium.  

Once the card is dry, we cut it to size and mount it on card stock.  Scrapbooking paper is perfect for the card and matching envelope.  It is 12" x 12", and we cut it at 6 1/2".  The large side is the envelope.  We fold it nearly in half - leaving a 1/2" flap at the top and glue the sides together.  The 5 1/2" side we cut to 10" x 5 1/2" and fold in half to be the card.  

The dried art work is glued to the card.  The finished product:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Southern Agriculture - Fall 2010

It still feels like summer, but the fall harvest is well underway.  
You can see the tractor in the background turning the peanut plants.  This is the field across from our house where they are just getting started.
The peanuts are uprooted, turned with the green side down and peanuts up to dry in the sun.
This machine sucks the vines in and separates the peanuts from the vines.  The peanuts are shot into the trailer and the vines are cornrowed so they can be baled on the next pass.
Peanut Hay
Some cotton is just starting to form bolls.
Some is fully formed and ready for harvest.
Some is already baled.  While most bales are still big square blocks, we are seeing the smaller round bales this year.
And all the roads are full of machinery!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Do I See Progress?

It has gotten hot again down here in Georgia, so we realized that if we were going to get done with our yard work, we would have to skip our morning swim at the pool and get busy early.  This morning, we were up at dawn, and had worked an hour before the sun came up.  It is so pleasant in the early morning with the temperature starting out at 55 degrees.  We know that as soon as the sun comes up, it will quickly get hot and all the bugs will wake up, so an early start is essential.

This morning, we concentrated on my folks' flower beds.  My Dad has built brick planter boxes on two sides of the house.  You would think that a two foot tall wall would be sufficient to keep weeds at bay, but they only consider it a trellis.  Mom has some nice Gerber daisies, and some creeping Thyme that were still alive, but most everything had to go.
Ron was a huge help - He really doesn't know a flower from a weed, but he has a strong back and was willing to pull grass and trees.
Once the big stuff was gone, I dug deeper and got the roots out.  Surprisingly, after 30 days without rain, the dirt wasn't totally dry.  The flower beds will be ready for Mom's green thumb and her choice of winter plants.

What are these flowers?  They have popped up everywhere, and are absolutely beautiful.  I don't think we ever planted them though.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Weeds, weeds, and more weeds!

We came to our Georgia home on Friday evening.  The sunset was so beautiful and the air so balmy and nice that it wasn't until Saturday morning that we really had a look at all our poor flower beds.  We had thought this area was inundated with rain this summer from watching the national weather reports.  However, our little area seems to have been on the edge of all the storms.  Most of my azaleas are dry and dead from lack of water.  The Satsuma trees are covered with small fruit, and everything is green and lush.  Our rain gauge was completely full (6") so they had some rain - just not quite enough for how hot the summer was.
Satsuma tree
Bird garden
Although a bit daunting at first, gradually we start making progress.  A cold front has come through, so it is pleasant (75-78 degrees) with a nice breeze out of the north.  Things are already starting to look better.
Mom's flower beds

As you can see, we have our work cut out for us!  Fortunately, we have wonderful neighbors down here, and they kept the lawns mowed, or the entire place would look like the flower beds.  We even came home to a casserole in the fridge that Bobbie had left for us.  Nothing like Southern hospitality!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Migration - Missouri to Georgia

Sunflowers along the road as we leave Iowa and enter Missouri.
Sheryl with their newest horse
We stopped to see Ron's sister, Sheryl and her husband, Jim, near West Plains.
If you need a saddle or tack of any sort, this is the place - Jim and Sheryl's tack shop in West Plains.

We left Missouri early in the morning on October 1 in time to see the sun rise on the Ozarks.  The windy twisty highway from West Plains, MO to Jonesboro, AR is very scenic.  The compass showed us going S then SW then W then N then NW, then worked its way back until it was showing S SE and SW again.  If we zoomed the GPS out, we could a snaky road for about a hundred miles.  On the road, we passed quaint villages, individual antique and junk stores, and miles of mountains and forests.  First stop, Arkansas, Mammoth Springs, just after crossing the border from Missouri.
In the early morning, the water was warmer than the air, and a mist rose off the spring pool before it dropped over the dam.
Tennessee is kind of a blur on our trip south - we just touch one small corner as I-55 meets up with I-40 in Memphis.
The highway from Memphis to Birmingham is nearly finished, so the trip through Mississippi after we left Tennessee is also a blur.  
We did notice that Kudzo starts here and we could probably have sighted something Elvis if we had taken time to stop in Tupelo.
We raced across Alabama, arriving in Eufaula at 5 p.m.  Eufaula is the nearest city to our home in Georgia.  It is a stately old city with streets of antebellum houses and stately oak and magnolia trees forming a well-kept median for Highway 431, the main road through town.

A few of the houses.  

The railroad bridge on Lake Eufaula/Lake Walter F. George, which is formed by a dam on the Chattahoochee River.  The river is the boundary between Alabama and Georgia.  We crossed the river into the Eastern Time Zone, and into Georgia at 6:15 p.m. EST, and were back at our Georgia house in time to watch the sun set.