Our travel loops begin and end at the barn, and we are always excited to leave and just as excited to return. When we’ve been still for a few weeks or months, we are both itching to get out and see something new. On the other hand, after weeks or months of being on the road, it is relaxing to park Petunia, get to see our church peeps and neighbors in person, empty the mailbox, work on projects, and just veg and enjoy the wildlife. Our plan right now is to make a couple of quick, out and back trips, but mostly remain stationary until mid-Marchish. There are several projects on the list, too, the coolest of which will be solving our on-going irritation with gas oven cooking. Yay! Stay tuned on that one. We spent our first few days, though, sitting outside and enjoying the weather, fall colors, and our freshly mowed field. Mr. Wonderful (MW) helped me pull the picnic table outside, so I can work in the fresh air, and I LOVE IT!!

Since we returned, we’ve had a couple of hawks hanging around the periphery. They are fairly large and spend most of their time soaring above the field or watching from the tree line. With a good deal of regularity, several crows (murder anyone?) come racing up the valley as soon as they hear the hawks’ call. For a while, they will hassle them relentlessly, then fly off. It is not nesting season, so there is no guarding of eggs or babies. The crows just appear to be bird bullies! The hawks mostly fly around and ignore them, though. I caught this guy while sitting out at the picnic table.

I’ve done a good job of keeping up the walking schedule, although I do sometimes have to push myself to get moving. MW goes along sometimes, but most often I’m just accompanied by the neighborhood strays, adopted by everyone. They wait down at the corner or in front of Jerry Lee’s house for me to appear. After the walk, they follow me back to the barn for a treat and a quick swim in the pond, then they are off to play. On the days I don’t walk, one or both make a pass by the barn. That way they don’t miss out on their treat. LOL. The walks have also given me the opportunity to meet a few more neighbors and see plenty of turkey and deer. Here are a few pics from my strolls with the beautiful, Fall foliage. There are plenty of beautiful places on this big, blue rock, but this part of Tennessee is pretty spectacular during the change of seasons.

One afternoon there were four deer, two large does with two youngsters, grazing in the field visible from the rear of Petunia. As deer always do, they looked up constantly, checking for danger. All of a sudden, MW saw one of the does race up the hill. “I don’t know what scared her, but she took off!” We were watching to see what would show up when she came racing back down the hill and circled the three still standing there. After a few seconds, it was clear she was trying to get them to play, and they obliged. There was chasing, kicking, butting, and a lot of running around for the next several minutes. The second doe reared up on her hind legs, and playfully swatted at the first as she came blazing by. It was like watching children on a playground. You know, more than once I’ve heard someone say that wild animals don’t play. That is just malarkey, especially when young ones are involved. Many years ago when we lived in Plantation, Florida, my parents were visiting. They slept in their RV in our driveway, which backed up to the large, open side yard. Mom came in one morning and said she couldn’t figure out what she was hearing in the middle of the night. She said it almost sounded like puppies. I had forgotten to tell her about the mama fox and her three babies. Every night for quite a while they showed up in the open grass and chased, rolled, tumbled, and cuddled. I would sometimes sneak out onto the lanai to watch, and it was on of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen. We were lucky to have her living in our back yard for a couple of seasons and sure enjoyed the noise and the show.

When we first made our home base in Sneedville, we began looking for a local church. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 67 churches in our county, and the plan was to hop around a bit until we found the right fit. Our first outing was to Sneedville First Baptist. Although we did try one other, we felt pulled back and connected there, and a big reason for that was the first person we can remember meeting…Carlin Greene. He made the rounds each Sunday, visiting with the regulars and welcoming the newcomers. Good looking with lovely eyes and a ready smile, his chats were a constant that we always looked forward to. You didn’t have to know him long before he bragged about being married to his lovely bride, Arkie, for almost 60 years. In fact, I’m pretty sure he said that the first time we met! Church is about coming together to glorify God, and no one enjoyed the interaction or gave more credit to the Big Guy upstairs than Carlin. After the Covid hysteria was finally behind us, he was sure glad to get back to greeting folks at normal services. Although his step was a little slower, that smile and the twinkle in his eyes were still bright. Near the end of our last trip, Carlin appeared on the church prayer list, so we were sure glad to see him that first Sunday back. He had fallen and cracked his ribs, but said he was on the mend. God had different plans, though, and took him Home on Saturday, October 29, at 83 years old. It was a shock as, through his tears, David Jones announced it the next day in church. Our former pastor, Dustin Jesse, came over to preach at the funeral. Through the service and Carlin’s obituary, I learned that he was a life-long resident of Sneedville, graduating from Hancock County High School in 1957. He and his brother owned Greene’s Supermarket in Sneedville, still the main grocery store. He loved this area and its people, and certainly left it better than he found it. My entire relationship with Carlin was quick visits on Sunday plus a couple of sit-downs at Michael’s Diner when we ran into each other there. Yet, his loss is greater than the sum of those meetings. Pray for those who knew him well, because the hole in their hearts must be huge. Picturing him greeting everyone in heaven makes me smile, though. I’m pretty sure they all know by now that he and Arkie have been married for almost 64 years!

That’s it for this post. Wait…there is one other thing: Am I the only one who noticed that the AP news stories about the assault on Paul Pelosi said the attacker was “in the country illegally”? Doesn’t that make him an “illegal alien”? Hmmmmmm…so when they are stealing, destroying property, and forcing American citizens near the border to live in constant fear (see more in this post), they are “undocumented migrants”, BUT when a politician’s husband is attacked, they become “illegal” again, at least temporarily. That is messed up! Despite media claims, only a small percentage of the waves crossing our southern border are good people looking for a better life. (Check out my talk with the former National Deputy Chief of the Border Patrol in this post.) In your home, you most likely have lockable doors, which you can use to keep out unsavory guests. Some of you have fenced yards, which also deter invaders. This country is home to all of us, and there is NOTHING wrong with putting a fence around it, meeting people at the gate/front door, and allowing the good folks to pass through while weeding out the riffraff. In fiscal year 2022, more than 2.76 MILLION illegals were stopped at the border. That number is up from just over 1.76 million during the same time in 2021. Note that those numbers don’t include the ones not caught. If a “small percentage” are good people, that means an awful lot of thugs, human traffickers, drug dealers, and other unsavory characters are spreading throughout our home like a wildfire. It MUST be stopped!

Okay, I’ll calm down now and take a break. Next up…exhaustion and a wedding! See you on the path!


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