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Monday, January 17, 2011

Great Sunday

Well, it was a laid back Sunday around here. We were up early and off to church. Heard another great message from God's word. After church it was off to Walmart for a few provisions. Back home for a nap and then off to the International Dinner at the that was a great meal. Some of the ladies in the park had volunteered to cook their favorite international dish, there was just about everything you could think of. For a three dollar donation you could taste anything you wanted. Proceeds from the dinner went to Escapees CARE and over $350.00 was raised. It was a good time. We were entertained by "The Chenilles", another group of ladies who love to entertain....that also was great... I don't have any photos but I "borrowed" a couple --thanks TG

After dinner we went back to evening church service, came home and called it a night.

It seems that a lot of people around here have had bouts with colds that won't go away. Here's a few old fashioned tips on how to cure the common cold.

Sometimes you manage to catch a nasty common cold. You know the kind. Your head feels as big as a foot ball, you have sniffles and sneezes, chills and sweats, a sore throat, and an annoying cough. You feel achy all over and you think you would be better off dead.
My grandmother was a midwife and believed in a lot of herbs and medicines and had a cure for everything - even the common cold. She used Mullein tea for bronchitis, a mustard plaster for congestion, or a clove or two of garlic crushed and stirred into some warm milk. Now that may not cure your cold but it will sure scare the heck out of one.
To cure the sore throat you had to gargle with salt water and she always told me "drink a little bit, it'll help". A tall glass of liniment was always in order too. That'll stop your cough. We had this couple who used to come around about once a month selling Raleigh products . There was always a bottle of this liniment in the cupboard. Any time you got sick you were made to drink this vile tasting stuff. There was two kinds of liniment "the drinking kind" and "the rubbing kind" which was used for aches and pains. It must have worked because it is still on the market today.
Camphorated salve was another cure, my grandmother would grease my chest, the bottoms of my feet, dress me in my flannel nightgown and into bed underneath the big featherbed I would go. I dont know if it was the salve, the flannel or the heat but it always cured me.
An asafaetida bag was sometimes tied around your neck to get rid of your cold....I don't know how it worked to get rid of your cold but I know you couldn't give your cold to anyone stunk so bad no one would even come close to you!!

Since Chicken Soup is the best known remedy for a cold so I thought I would share my recipe with you.

3 cups chopped cooked chicken(I use boneless skinless chicken breast)
About 3 quarts chicken stock (or chicken broth)
Salt and pepper to taste
chopped celery ( about a cup and half)
Chopped carrots (about a cup and half)
one onion chopped
clove garlic crushed

Saute the onion, garlic, celery, carrots and onion in a large pan with a little bit of oil until the vgetables are limp. Add Chicken stock, chicken, salt and pepper and noodles. Simmer 30 to 45 minutes.

Here's a little bit of humor for you.

A man went to see his doctor because he was suffering from a miserable cold. His doctor prescribed some pills, but they didn't help.
On his next visit the doctor gave him a shot, but that didn't do any good.
On his third visit the doctor told the man to go home and take a hot bath. As soon as he was finished bathing he was to throw open all the windows and stands in the draft.
"But doc," protested the patient, "if I do that, I'll get pneumonia."
"I know," said his physician. "I can cure pneumonia."

And in the words of my father, "That's it for today!"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hunkered Down and Reminiscing

Well, if you haven't noticed I am a few days behind in my today is being declared as "catch up" day. The weather has been unseasonably cold since Sunday and seems to be getting worse as the days go by. The good thing is that it will warm up someday -- hopefully by the weekend. I will give you a synopsis of the last few days.

Tuesday - a short journey to Wal Mart to buy Don a jigsaw puzzle otherwise we sat by the fire

Wednesday - Didn't venture out in the cold -- Don worked his jigsaw puzzle -- Jenny surfed the net looking for a warmer place to be---we did, however, go to Bible Study on Wednesday night. We couldn't get home quick enough---it was down in the low 20's Brrrrr!!!

Thursday was the same---An inside day -

Friday came and a little road trip - nothing spectacular but it got us out of the house. We were invited over to Pa and Ms Judy's for dessert and coffee and to meet The Guiler's, Randy and Terry. What a great evening....and how good it was to meet another couple of good friends. A wonderful dessert and coffee served by Pa and Ms Judy combined with lots of stories and loads of laughter----and no I am not repeating any conversations for fear of incrimination.

Pa and Ms Judy are planning to venture through Mountain City in the early spring. I certainly hope they don't find any signs such as this.

When we left Tennessee the weather prediction was for more snow and it seems we left just in time. In the last week the area has recieved anywhere from eight inch to two feet of snow with drifts as high as four or five feet. From all accounts we left just in time to bring the colder weather with us.

All this snow and cold brought back many memories of growing up in Johnson County and the hardships we had to endure in the winter months. We had quite the discussion of life style then compared to now. Shady Valley lies about 10 miles west of Doe Valley where I grew up.
Elevation of Doe Valley around 3515 feet and Shady Valley as you cross the mountain 3632 feet.

When we were growing up we had no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. On cold days there were always the animals to be fed and watered, cows to be milked, and coal and wood to be gathered for heat. Since the days were a lot shorter chores were started earlier in the evening in order to be done by dark. In the evenings we would gather around the old Buckeye stove to keep warm. If we put too much wood or coal in it the stovepipe would turn red and you closed the damper to shut the draft. Schoolwork was done by kerosene lamp. Sometimes as a treat we would pop corn on the heating stove and have grape koolaid and popcorn.

Since we had no central heating system our bedrooms were ice cold so about an hour or so before bedtime we would gather up an old flat iron or two and set it on the top of the stove to get hot. Once the iron was hot and it was bedtime we would don our flannel nightgowns, wrap the iron in a towel and put it at the bottom of the bed to keep our feet warm. If the towel happened to slip off the iron and you got your foot too close you could end up with a burned foot. Didn't take you long to get your foot away from it.

Because we didn't have but three beds and six kids most times we would sleep three in a bed. The body heat kept you warm as did the five or six quilts you had piled on top of you. By the time you got down under all those covers and got "your" spot warm you coudn't move so the bed was warm until you stepped out onto the ice cold floor.

If it was snowing and the wind was blowing the snow would sometimes seep in around the single pane windows leaving a dusting on the windowsill and the bedcovers. The windows would always have a layer of ice on the inside from condensation.

Morning would always find us waking to the smell of bacon or ham frying, eggs, fresh biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, and a warm fire. After a hearty breakfast we were ready to go take care of the animals, do our chores and get ready for school. We didn't have any snow days or any way of knowing whether there would be school or not. If the bus came you went to school. If it didn't you stayed home.

The coldest temperature ever recorded in Mountain City was on December 30, 1917 when the temperature dropped to -32 below zero. I remember in 1962 there was about four foot of snow with drifts so high there was no mail delivery service for a week or so.

It was fun reminiscing and comparing temperatures in today's time to those of yesteryear and we are looking forward to warming up here real soon.

From The Plantation -- That it for today.

No note from Don - he is busy with his puzzle.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Funday Monday At The Beach

Well, after a lazy Sunday we were up bright and early and ready for a trip to Gulf Shores with "Pa" and Ms Judy to attend the monthly Gulf Posse (Escapees Chapter 26) meeting and luncheon at the Original Oyster House in Gulf Shores.

(click on any photo for a larger view)

After a short business session we feasted on a great lunch of fried flounder, crab cakes, shrimp scampi, cole slaw, hush puppies and fries. Oh, I forgot about the fried oysters---Don actually wanted to order fried oysters with two sides of fried oysters and fried oysters for dessert but we convinced him there was more fish in the ocean than oysters and he should try something different. Food here is really great!!!!!

After lunch we headed for the beach. Unfortunately the north wind was blowing hard and the waves were crashing so we didn't spend much time on the beach, nevertheless, it was very pretty and we had a great time.

Driving around Gulf Shores and Orange Beach we discovered not only were the houses built on stilts but the businesses, hotels and condominiums as well.
The sand dunes were lovely---it amazes me that such tall grass grows with all that sand blowing around.
Did I mention I like the sand dunes?
and palm trees?

These "gulls" had just flown in and were waiting for lunch. Too late "gulls" Don ate up all the oysters.

Heavy equipment sifting sand by the seashore looking for tarballs.

Wherever we are ---We take the Star

Even in cloudy, overcast, cold and windy conditions a good time is always had at the beach.
One of the places we passed was a restaurant called Lulu's owned by Lucy, the sister of Jimmy Buffet---it sits right next to the intercostal waterway and looked like an interesting place. We will put that on our "bucket list" of places to visit.

All too soon our "Free Guided Tour" was over and we were back at "The Plantation" ready to hunker down for the colder weather that is to come in the next couple days. Thanks Darrell and Judy for another day of fun!!!

From the Plantation --"That's it for today!"

Note from Don: Thanks for a wonderful tour D & J. You certainly have a knack for finding great restaurants. I can safely say I am eating my way through Alabama.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Just Lazin' Around

Well, today was just a lazy kind of day after our funfilled day yesterday. Breakfast and then off to church. We have found a great Church of Christ here in Summerdale. The people are very friendly and it is evident that it is a working congregation who seek to practice the principles of the Bible without any man made doctrine.

In the afternoon we did venture out to the flea market close by where Don found what he described as "the buy of a lifetime" -- an iron skillet.

Evening found us again at church for another wonderful church service then it was home and "jammie time". The weather is expected to be below freezing for the next couple nights and after that there should be some sunshine.

From the Plantation -- That's it for today.

No note from Don -- he's busy trying out his new skillet.

"Squired Around"

Well, after one more trip to Walmart, a scrumptious dinner at Big Daddy's (flounder, shrimp, oysters and all the crab claws I could hold) we settled in with anticipation of a great road trip on Saturday.

"Pa" (Darrell) and Judy had offered to take us to show us some sights since they are the "old timers" around here. A little after tennish they picked us up and we were off to the big town of Foley Alabama. On the way they pointed out spots of interest like the post office, library, grocery, oh and WALMART!! They didn't want Don to be wandering out in the country again. Oh, I must have forgotten to mention that--well I will let him tell you about it.

Entering the town of Foley we arrived at the Alabama Model Railroad Museum. It seems that an elderly gentleman had began the model railroad and donated it to the city. In giving it to the City, he asked that the exhibit be available for children and that there be no entrance fee. The Caboose Club of Foley set it up in the old L & N Railroad Depot. The exhibit is 24' X 60' and has a quarter mile of track. It has 3 operating double track routes and 12 different railroads represented. It is set in the 1950's era, when the rail lines were in the transition of being run by steam to running on diesel fuel.

Some of the displays were an old town carnival, with a moving ferris wheel and a circus. There was a drive in theatre which continually showed a movie, a fire station with fire trucks that went racing to a fire, a fast food drive in where a 1957 chevy came driving up, the car hop came out and took the order, went back inside and brought out the food. "A hamburger, french fries and a milkshake, that will be a dollar and fifteen cents sir". You don't get that kind of service anymore.

"Pa" says they are continually adding new displays and he always sees something he didn't see before. He pointed out the airplane flying overhead and even knew the I just knew it was a yellow one! There were so many displays it was hard to see them all, there was a still up in the hills, some hoboes complete with a campfire camping next to the river, there was a lake with boats and people fishing and even a couple guys repainting the bridge. I could have stayed there a half day just looking and watching the trains go by. It was evident that a lot of work has gone into this free museum. If you are ever in the area you might want to put this on your list of "places to go".

After the museum, we were a little thirsty so off to Staceys Drugstore we went. From the minute you step in the door it takes you back in time. The old jukebox playing the tunes of the fifties, ten cents a play or three for a quarter-- to the old time coke box, not to mention the soda "jerks" and limited lunch menu--it reminded me of the old Courtesy Drug back home. It even had a scale where you could get your weight and fortune for a penny. Now I haven't done that in a long time. Don and I had an excellent milkshake while Pa and Ms Judy had a sundae...while there we met another couple of brand new RVers and were able to tell them about Escapees and Rainbow Plantation.

The street corners and sidewalks are planted with beautiful flowers

I loved this big pink fuzzy flower

Back in the truck we went on a little tour of Baldwin County by heading south from Foley, west to Bon Secor, and North to Magnolia Springs. On our way we stopped by Point Clear at Punta Clara Kitchens. Now this was the place to be! A family owned business for three generations We ate our way through chocolate covered pecans, pralines, cheese straws of different sorts, jams and jellies, and even just plain pecans. Another place you won't want to miss. I was so busy eating and looking I forgot to take a photobut here are photos of the area.

From Point Clear we made our way to Fairhope where we strolled out onto the community pier. Judy and I walked clear to the end of the pier while Don and "Pa" opted to stop and watch a fisherman using a net to catch fish. I would classify this as "no bait fishing" since he just threw the net over the side of the pier, pulled it up and caught whatever was in it---I was glad it wasn't a whale or an alligator of some kind. He was catching what he said was mullet...sometimes six or seven at a time. In no time flat he had a five gallon bucket full which he planned to smoke....Pa wondered how you smoke a fish...I don't know about Alabama but I can tell you they smoke whitefish in Montana and Blueback in Idaho.
Looking across the bay at Mobile Alabama

Casting out the net
Catching fish
Into the bucket

After all this excitement it was time to head for the "Plantation" and our respective homes. Thank you "Pa" and Ms Judy for a funfilled day and for squiring us is wonderful to see some of the area and great to be able to spend some time with good friends like you.

From "The Plantation" that's it for today.

Note from Don:
My wife mentioned my wandering out and about in the country but she failed to mention that it was my "GPS Jenny" which caused me to take a wrong turn that did not lead me where I wanted to go or needed to be. That darn GPS has a nose that can seek out any Walmart and after getting her bearings and following Darrell's well written instrutions we were home shortly. We had a wonderful day today being escorted around with no chance of being lost. Thanks Darrell and Judy for a excellent day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

.......And Away We Go!

Well, when we left you last we were just pulling out of the driveway on our way down the road. The 5'ver was packed to the max (so says Don) while I was making a list of everything I forgot (including my money).

The 27 mile ride to the freeway took us through the state of Virginia and once on the interstate we re-entered the state of Tennessee

He was driving so fast my photo was blurred (that's my story and i am sticking to it)

Breezing down the freeway at a fast clip everything was fine until we entered the Knoxville area right at 5 PM rush hour traffic. Don was a little "white knuckled" as traffic was bumper to bumper and semi after semi passed us in the fast lane. At one point I counted 12 of them in a row. Lucky for him he took his half right out of the middle and we made it through okay. Once through he had a chance to breathe again and the conversation went something like this:

He: If you had been ready to go when I wanted to leave ..............
She: You made it through okay didn't you? So what, if a couple of semis and a few cars are going faster than you

He: You weren't driving and please don't route me through any more big did remember to bring my heart medicine didn't you?
She: Well, no you didn't give me time to pack it.

and with that we continued on down the road toward Chattanooga. Once in Chattanooga we had intended to stop and spend the night at Camping World and do some shopping. However, Camping World in Chattanooga does not allow overnight parking in their big EMPTY parking lot but they will allow you to camp in their RV park (of sorts) for $28 a night. Sorry, Camping World we will take our business elsewhere. So off across the freeway we go until we find a

They graciously allowed us to spend the night and after a little dinner and buying a couple trinkets - we called it a night.

Up early and away we go down the big highway headed for Calera Alabama

but first we need to go through Birmingham-----and yes, you guessed it----if there is a rush hour in the evening there is also a rush hour in the morning----and we made that one too---hit it just right!!!! After a little more conversation and a we arrive at

We had heard they provide free overnight parking for RVer's traveling through and they just happened to have an RV or two to look at plus we needed to run by Walmart for some more groceries. In short order, we had a spot, was set up and ready to enjoy the day with nowhere to "rush" too. The staff at Suncoast were very nice and went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable. If you're traveling thru and loooking for an overnight spot this would be the place!! Of course if you want to buy an RV they can sell you one too. We haven't made a deal (as yet) but we are looking.

So, we left Suncoast RV with happy thoughts and great expectations of arriving at "The Plantation" to spend some time with our good friends Darrell and Judy. They had invited us for a traditional travel day dinner and we were certainly looking forward to it.

Everything seems a little greener in Alabama as opposed to snow white Mountain City

Palm trees awaited us as we got closer to The Plantation
and lots and lots of pecan trees

Palm trees waiting to be planted

We arrived at "The Plantation" where we were greeted ever so warmly by an office full of Escapees. After a brief visit with Darrell and Judy we continued to set up our RV while we awaited dinnertime.
At the appointed time we made our way to D&J's and were treated to a lovely dinner, lively conversation, coffee and dessert and a visit with the katts. Of course, we never saw Katie, but Alex did make an appearance and even let me pet him for a minute. (It's okay Fillmore - you're still my favorite standard poodle)
After we had talked non-stop for a few hours and my throat was getting sore we said our "see ya's" with Pa's handwritten directions to ---yep - you guessed it -- Wal Mart -- there's just a couple more things on my list. We made our way home for our first night at "The Plantation".
From the Plantation - that's it for today!
Note from Don: This is a great place and the people are so friendly....we may make plans to spend a lot more time here - it would be a good place to escape the ice and snow of the frozen north.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Road trip -- Let's Go!!

Well, about the time the first snowflake fell last fall we decided if we had more than three snowflakes at the same time it would be time to head south for the warmer climes. After all the snow and cold during the months of November and December that time has finally come....time to pack up the 5'ver and head for the open road. Here's the way that conversation went:

He: Are you ready to go?
She: I just have a few more things to pack.

He: Are you ready yet?
She: Just give me a little more time

He: How much longer, dear?
She: I will be ready soon, I still need to go to the grocery, do a load of wash, feed the dogs, and take down the Christmas tree

He: How about if I go to the grocery for you?
She: Okay, here is the list, make sure you get everything on it.

One hour later:
He: Where would you like this truckload of groceries?
She: In the 5'ver, of course

He: Where do you plan to put all this food? Why do we need six cans of beans, three dozen doughnuts and who's gonna eat a twelve pound turkey?
She: Well, I didn't want you to go hungry and there may not be any grocery stores nearby

He: How soon will you be ready to go?
She: Oh just give me a few more minutes

He: (a little impatient) Aren't you ready yet?
She: Just hold your horses - another minute or two

He: I am starting the truck
She: Okay, one more minute, don't rush me

Half hour later

He: The truck has been running , it is all warmed up and if you're not ready in five minutes I am leaving without you
She: Okay! Okay! (knowing he won't leave the cook at home)

Five minutes later as the truck begins to slowly move out of the driveway she comes running out of the house carrying two sacks, a box, and dragging the vacuum cleaner.

She: Wait for me!! Wait for me!! --- I still need another minute!!

That's it for today.