From July 30 thru August 7, we hung out at the Barndominium. It gave us an opportunity to take care of a few chores, give Brutus and Petunia a good wash and wax, and vote. We were not happy to see the old barn shell still standing when we arrived. The reclamation guys have said “it’ll be down and gone next week” repeatedly. They made it out to take the wood off they are recycling, but the rest is still standing like a giant skeleton. Ridiculous! We were very happy to see that the septic issue has been solved, though. Awesome work by Laymon and Sheri Burke! I was actually able to use the washer and dryer. (Although I’ve really decided that I like the laundromat better…two hours versus all day.) While working outside, MW found a visitor hiding out in the wheelbarrow. The little fellow scurried along the wall and around the corner to a couple of blocks stacked behind the trash bin. We’ve often smelled skunks passing through at night, and they smell awful even without spraying. I can usually pick up that odor from a good ways away. This little fellow, however, didn’t smell at all. Our only thought was that maybe he was too young for his glands to have developed. He hung out in the block for a while, then scurried on off.

One thing I forgot to include last time we were home was this video. We saw a few deer this time, but no turkeys. In the Spring, though, turkeys were everywhere!! This is two males fighting over their harems. Sorry for the quality. I had to shoot it from inside Petunia and the windows were dirty.

Turkey Fight!!!

On the 6th we were able to catch up with our daughter Amber, and her little ones Angel Booger and Missy Booger. Due to all of the Covid craziness, we hadn’t been able to see them for several months. It was definitely time, and we enjoyed the visit. She has relocated to Blaine, Tennessee, which is a little over an hour from the barndominium and gives her access to Knoxville for work. I hope it will be a good move for them. So far the kids are loving the farm life. Interesting note: between the barndominium and Amber’s new place is the town of Luttrell, Tennessee. The interesting thing about this little town is that it is the birthplace of Chet Atkins, a country great and one of the greatest guitarists ever. It is also where country superstar Kenny Chesney was raised. Hmmmm…must be something in the water. If you’ve never listened to the album “Neck & Neck” by Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler (the haunting voice of Dire Straits and another world-class guitarist), check it out. It is one of my favorites.

On Friday we headed to Greensboro for a few days, parking ourselves at Hagan Stone State Park, where we have stayed before. (I’ve previously talked about some of its areas here. and it really is a pretty nice park, with fishing, a chapel, playgrounds, a pool, and hiking trails. The campground is okay, although the facilities seem to only be moderately clean and the toilets always seem to be clogged in the main bathhouse. Mom…it wasn’t me!!!!) First priority was to catch up with our son Ryan and his crew (wife Alene, and Booger Butt, Little Booger, and Cutie Booger). The latter just had a birthday on August 2, so we needed to deliver her gift (a cross-stitch project that took me about 1-1/2 years to complete). Until we sold the house I was used to having Booger time every week. I’ll admit that I suffer from withdrawal on the road, so we try to get back as often as we can.

Activities for kids are hard to come by with all of the Covid restrictions. We did find the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, North Carolina. Our tickets were for a specific time period in order to limit the number of people in the facility. Upon arrival, we were told that the inside portion was closed. Well, except for the museum store. Apparently the risk of contracting Covid is lower while purchasing souvenirs than it is while walking around a mostly empty museum looking at stuff. (In fairness, we could have seen that information online before buying the tickets, but we just checked for open and didn’t surf around the site. We won’t make that mistake again.) Although they said the outside areas were open, the reality was that several things there were closed, too. Charging $16 per person (including the kids) to see half a dozen animals seemed a bit steep to me. The icing on the cake was the requirement to wear a mask outside. With the ticket restrictions on the number of people in the facility at a time, there was absolutely no way you could not socially distance. There were no crowded areas whatsoever, and only occasionally did you pass anyone on the walkways that were 8-10′ wide. With temps in the low 90s, everyone was extremely miserable, so we ended up leaving within an hour or so. My son said it was too bad because he has been before, and it is usually a great facility that the kids really enjoy. Don’t know if I’d give them my money again, though.

A close second on the priority list was to hang with my BFF Tina. She and her kids are family, and I sure do miss our regular visits. We had some pedicure and margarita time, as well as a family cookout at the campground. We also caught up with friends Missy and Roger, Ashley, Hillary, Chuck and Dempress, and Ravi. It was a great and very busy stay. SIDE NOTE: Any of my Greensboro peeps, check out @Elm Street Grill. Times are tough for restaurant owners, and Ravi can definitely use the business. Plus, the food is great! Try the Chicken Tikka Masala.

Our original plan was to head north from Greensboro, but we had to make a change in order to take something pretty special back to the barndominium. A couple of years ago our son found a water-saturated, muddy log after a big storm. Being the creative guy he is, he felt that there was something special in it and started working to figure out what. The result was an absolutely amazing mantle that we will eventually use in our home. We were in the process of selling our house when he completed it, so he’s had it stored at a friend’s place. It was time to get it out of their way. I forgot to take pics before it was wrapped up for safe keeping, so Ryan sent me these. If I must say so myself, my boy is super talented!!! What a centerpiece!

Next we head north. See you on the road!


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