17 October 2014

McDaniel Farm Park / Duluth, GA...



It's sunny, in the 60's during the day and breezy around these parts, and my soul sings to be out in it all as much as I possibly can before this busy weekend.  So yesterday I decided it was going to be an adventure day in nearby Atlanta with a visit to a scenic park, some playing of miniature golf, searching for a french bakery that sold a blueberry pear crumble and finding a Japanese Ramen place that turned out to be uh-may-zing!  Seriously, it was pretty close to perfect.  We even saw a whole gaggle of geese cross the road and stop traffic...in the city, no less...

The first set of photos I'm sharing today are a) numerous and b) browns/neutral.  The next set will be the brighter flowers I found running amok on the property.  Until wasn't til I got home and uploaded everything that I saw how divided my images were in regards to color and material.  McDaniel Farm Park is quite lovely with a restored working farm from the 30's, creeks, wildflowers, gardens and miles of trails.  On a day like yesterday with the changing leaves and a wildly fluctuating sky - clouds, sun, clouds, sun - the rust and dust and metal of both machinery and nature seemed subdued yet somehow just as vibrant as the flowering vines in Archie's Garden...















I must admit something right here and now.  I love floofy fall flowers/seeds so much.  There's just something about them that seems otherworldly.  I mean, don't those wild chestnut husks (right below the tractor picture) look like little alien critters?


As for this last picture, I realized just yesterday that I might have a favorite color of blue when not only my cords, water bottle and jacket trim matched but also my camera bag and phone case.  Really, it was startling to have them all in one place and see that I am definitely a creature of certain preferences...

15 October 2014

My Life In Pictures...


shucking the last of the corn during the 1st cool spell of the season // furry hitchhiker and big boobies
// seriously fancy? nah... // cleaning up camping gear for a future road trip
// R.A. Miller work at work // Toby cleans up well // covered bridge adventures
// wild chestnuts (um, didn't like them at all!) and persimmons (much better)

While I still haven't started logging in some serious ideas into ye olde blogge journal, I've given the layout a slight revamp and made it look a bit more, well, me than the utilitarian look before.  I still haven't improved my Instagram game though.  Two pictures of my boobs?  I'm not thinking my shots out beforehand...yeesh.

Let's see...what shall I talk about?  Gah!  Why is this been turning into an awkward thing as of late?  I feel like I'm on a first date in high school before I knew better...  Don't talk about too much silly stuff.  Whoops, too late!  I mentioned boobs.  Twice.  Don't talk to much about yourself.  Um, it's a blog about my life.  Don't mention weird hobbies just yet.  Too late!  Everyone knows about my covered bridge obsession.  You get the idea here...

Well, that said it's time to go to the bakery and make a bunch of pies for the day.  I've got a gluten-free option that I've been selling for a bit, and it sells like crazy!, and I'd like to share it with you all soon.  Maybe a with a bit more panache than this post has, eh?

Happy Wednesday!

14 October 2014

Rewind: Halloween...

Hey!  Remember when I used to have folks guest post all the time and I did things like decorate for holidays?  No?  Well, I did.  Promise!

Brady and I will be out of town this Halloween since we are taking a little weekend trip for his Travel & Tourism sociology class.  That means no decorating but since I'm trading that for a road trip I'm totally fine with the swap.  Ah, I love it when his school projects require traveling to new/fun places.  We still haven't decided 100% where we are going but we need to...fast.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we head toward the mountains before the changing leaves are all gone!

Anyhoo, even though I'm not sprucing up the porch/house with themed decor/music you just might be...and I've got some really crafty ideas/info that have been been featured on the blog before.  What better day than TUESDAY THE 14TH to feature them?  Wait, that's not really scary is it?  Oh well, take a gander at the ghosts of posts past...

















I'm going to experience Halloween vicariously via other blogs/bloggers and your comments.  Tell me what you have in store for the holiday, eh?

13 October 2014

Road Side Finds: Religious Iconography...


Here's a little back story about me.  When I was growing up it was very, very, very important to know where folks went to church.  I didn't know why, and still don't really, but that was the ways of the small southern town in which I lived.  Myself, I grew up without any real religion for the early years of my life and then my parents found Jesus and things changed.  Without delving too far into that past, let me just say that the churches I attended (or were forced to attend because I was too young to have a say in whether I wanted to go or not) were mighty heavy on the hell fire and brimstone instead of love and understanding.  Agape?  No way.  Not in any of those places. 

I left the church as time went on and instead became immersed in a completely different world where music was religion and the Grateful Dead my savior.  I almost didn't pass my Senior year in high school because I went on an adventure in a VW Van selling veggie bagels in the crowded, chaotic parking lots of various shows - the Dead, H.O.R.D.E., Widespread, Phish.  I was a hippie kid.  Totally.  Those interests faded with time, as did my love for much of that music except for some classic Dead, and I became a staunch but not overly vocal Atheist.  Yadiyadaya.  Today's Jennifer, after receiving that oh-so-used-in-the-bakery-business B.A. in Religious Studies years ago, is more of a Possibilitist (yes, I made that term up and you can read more here) with a great interest for the religious works found painted, printed or put up in lights in the towns, fields and back roads of rural Georgia.  Here are a few I found as of late...





Almost every trip we pass by at least two or three signs or paintings that I think 'hey, I need to come back here and take pictures'!  Yes, religious iconography is rampant in the south but the types of imagery found here seems to be waning in order to be replaced by a much angrier, divisive set of rules and depictions.  There's a whole set of billboards with an smiteful Jesus in front a pretty graphic worn torn background talking about the end being nigh due to religious tolerance aka accepting other faiths.  Has anyone seen them on the highways here in GA?  While I'm not a great believer in religion as a concept, I'm a firm believer that we could all use a little self-sacrifice and devotion to each other and a little less fear and anger and, well, yes, smiting.  Don't you?

I'm going to continue to try to capture images like these when I can and before they're gone...

08 October 2014

It's Oh So Quiet...



Lately I've really struggled with finding the energy or desire to blog about, well, just about anything.  I love blogging, I really do, or whatever it is I do here...putting myself out into the online world.  I love reading comments from you all and getting awesomely sweet letters and emails.  I've said it before and I'll say it a million times I LOVE CONNECTING WITH Y'ALL.  But damned if lately I just can't muster up anything interesting to say!

So, I'm just going to leave this here and keep planning my trips to fall festivals, like the one held this past weekend at the Farmington Depot, and maybe I'll regain my writing mojo.

Hope all is well with you...

PS  Did anyone happen to catch the eclipse?  Whoooaaaaa.  It was beautiful!

02 October 2014

Cromer's Mill Covered Bridge...


Although I'm not turning 40 for another few months, I feel as if mentally I've rocketed past that milestone and I'm now a 75 year old retiree named Tillie.  I leave an umbrella, a box of tissues, a trash container, hard candies and a cardigan in my car at all times.  The last of which I wear when I go to the movies or the grocery store.  My shoe collection has dwindled to just only the comfortable stuff in neutral colors.  My vitamin intake looks like a bowl of children's cereal.  The library has become my second home.  Most tellingly, I'm now chasing down all the covered bridges in Georgia on my days off.  See?  I'm an old lady in a middle-age body.  And I think I'm totally okay with that...


I've been to several in the state already (here and here are the ones I've documented) and have been amazed at how different each and everyone can be.  Hidden or not.  Still in use or barely hanging in there.  Big or small.  Covered in graffiti or pristine like the day it was built.  These bridges are pretty damn cool to me.  Especially when Brady goes with me on my adventures and we listen to comedy on Pandora while driving around and then eat 7 layer cakes from a small Mennonite bakery we stumbled upon...




With the leaves starting to turn all the vibrant hues of Autumn, I'm so looking forward to exploring more of these structures whenever I can.  Oh, and finding baked goods in little Georgia towns only sweetens the deal...pun intended.

23 September 2014

Currying F(l)avor - Crock Pot Saag Aloo...


via

I had someone ask for the recipe for the vegan crock pot Saag Aloo I whipped up last week and I had every intention of providing you with some stellar pictures of my delicious creation.  Alas, me + camera + Saag Aloo = enemies.  I couldn't get a good photo to save my life.  Ugh.  So I'm just going to give you the recipe here:

8 small potatoes - I used white but I imagine that any potato would do
2 big bunches/bags of fresh spinach, trimmed
2 cups low-sodium veggie broth
1/2 small onion sliced thin
drizzle of olive oil
1 tablespoon tumeric
1 tablespoon yellow curry
1 tablespoon pepper
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon fenugreek
1 teaspoon masala
1 teaspoon chili powder or 1/2 fresh chili pepper of choice

Peel and cubed potatoes and place in crockpot with all other ingredients except spinach.  Stir well, turn on medium to high heat and then cram as much spinach as possible on top of everything.  Cook for 2 1/2 hours or until potatoes are soft but not mushy.

That's it!  This dish will be better after sitting for a bit and letting the spices do their work.  And just note that I do love my spices so if you don't then you might want to cut back on them a wee bit...

We paired our finished product with some simple homemade naan bread and then finished up with a batch of spicy chocolate chip chai cookies.  Damn!  This one was one good meal!

Crock pot cooking has always been a favorite of mine.  There's something about a one dish meal that's easy to make but can still be healthy that floats m'boat...

Recipe adapted from here...

18 September 2014

My Life In Pictures...


a perfect post from the swap // my favorite new glass to fill with iced tea // Toccoa Falls // my name in print for a local publication...woo! // missing Miss Vienna on National Dog Day // hidden garden in Metro Atlanta // enjoying the last of summer with peppermint tea and 'mater sandwiches // Brady was a hit at a recent gathering

The day I started this post it was cool and overcast here in Athens...yes, yes and yes.  It fit my just-want-to-read-in-bed-and-eat-tater-tots kind of mood.  Whenever it's pretty out and I stay inside I feel like I'm robbing myself of outside time.  So how lucky was I that I got all of my cull-the-closet-clean-tent-gear-make-the-house-spotless-visit-the-library things done then (this was Monday when the post began) and since then I've been hiking around Athens soaking up this nice 80 degree weather...

Other things that have been happening since Monday morning:
  • lots of discussions about the independence vote and what that would mean for Scotland and England
  • made crock-pot saag aloo
  • seriously culled my closet and took 8 bags of clothes to a local shelter
  • cleaned our tent and gear in preparation for FALL CAMPING!
  • started watching Supernatural and I love how ridiculous it is (and so much like the X-Files in many ways)
  • came thiiiiiiiiiiiis close to chopping off all my hair but I've decided keep my long longs after my Mom showed my some old photos of me with short hair...yeah, not good
  • hit over 60 days smoke free and I know this time it's for real because I found some cigarette packs when cleaning our coats and I didn't even flinch when I tossed them out
  • took some awesome pictures in the park but then my computer freaked out and I lost them all once they were downloaded and deleted from my camera *shakes fists at sky*
Today I'm going to do a bit more of that hiking thing but not too much.  I've got to save my energy for a busy weekend.  It's a home game and it's on the early side so that means lots of hungover/drunk folks wandering into the restaurant Saturday night and Sunday Brunch.  And nightmare traffic.  But thanks to this awesome weather it will be an easy walk to work...

12 September 2014

Swippy Swappy...



I've got a huge stack of Toccoa Falls & Georgia themed postcards that I picked up recently.  Send me a postcard with your name and return address and I'll send you one back featuring waterfalls or the like.  Oh, and maybe tell me what book you've read recently that you'd recommend?  I'm searching for some new reads besides all the travel guides I had cluttering the bedside...

Go here for all the information...

11 September 2014

Just A Day In The Life...


I've said this before but it's worth saying again.  Realization = that as of late my blog has definitely taken a turn for the different.  Back in the day I used to post some pretty personal stuff - pictures of myself (whoa), lots of opinions on body shaming/imagery, my dreams/hopes/goals, etc...and I still do from time-to-time - but now it's mainly travel stuff, my new found love of the great outdoors here in GA and some records that I like.  I'm okay with that in general but the feeling of disconnect from readers about all the other things that make me, well, me has been acute.

Gah, I'm gearing up a lighthearted post about every day things in my life as this kind of monumental shift in my thinking when really it's 'hey, I should really show you all some of the stuff that's been happening with me so you can now choose whether to stay a part of my blogging world, ignore me or ditch me faster than you can say lickskillet.'  That last part is derived from a lovely idiom my Nana was fond of.  Ha!  / go here for more of those sweet southern sayings /

Anyhoo, let me just start the damn post...


We got a ton of videos for me to watch while I was recuperating from surgery but I was too high on Percocet for the first four days to watch anything other than the inside of my eyelids.  After that I was finally ready to start the video marathon!  Unfortunately, we begin it all with Beastmaster and that was rather sucky.  I remember that movie fondly as a child but it is a totally different experience as an adult.  RIP TORN WAS THE BAD GUY?  But the rest of the movies were so much fun - Police Academy, Back To The Future, Willy Wonka (the original, duh), Finding Nemo, Thor 2 (gosh, I've become obsessed with comic book movies lately...maybe it's the heat?) - that I ended up keeping them all much later than I should have.  Like I always do.  Sheesh.


See this?  This is why I can't have flowers on my porch even though I keep trying.  What Mama Kitty doesn't eat she destroys by sheer body weight and determination.  While everyone else in the Northern Hemisphere is all fall, pumpkins, warm socks, chilly weather we are still in the 90's here in Georgia.  Yes, my cat is trying to cool off by laying in dirt.  Think about that while you're snuggled up in the cold with whatever nice hot beverage you're sipping on.  No, I'm not bitter.  Maybe a bit bitter.  Maybe a LOT bitter.


Hey, look!  It's a flower...or what's left one!  That's something you never see on this blog, right?  Disclaimer: my name is Jennifer and my weakness is closeup photography of flora and fauna.  Since I don't buy flowers for my house and rarely, if ever, pick them from yard, this is my way of enjoying their beauty and existence outside of seeing them blossom and leave.  Right now there are still a number of flowers around including spider lilies which are one of my all-time favorites but, alas, it doesn't grow at our house.  Fall is on the way though...even if we can't feel it yet.  Some leaves are yellowing and blossoms are becoming scarcer as the days grow shorter.  Even though I'm not a huge fan of making everything pumpkin spice (I do love spices though) I am really, really stoked for Fall!  I love cold weather.  And scarves.  And boots.  And hats.  And pink cheeks.  And crunchy leaves.  And the smell of woodsmoke in the air...

So, there's that.  Things of the every day / everyday that make up the whole...

10 September 2014

Atlanta History Center...



Brady has an internship in Atlanta this semester and his first meeting was last week on a very stormy day.  A day that I decided to drive with him to explore the Atlanta History Center.  A day that will live in infamy as the day that I careened into what seemed to be a lake in the middle of the road near downtown Decatur...at 45mph...while other folks drove at 75mph and almost killed us all.  Needless to say, by the time I got to my final destination of the AHC I was thankful to be on solid, albeit flooded, ground that I wasn't driving on.  I was also thankful that there was an exhibit on folk art in the ever changing south.

The exhibit was extensive and I spent several hours in there listening to old stories including one about a talking ghost dog that was hilarious.  In the music section there was a whole faux chapel set up for shape note singing which is something I grew up with in my youth and despite my lack of religious affiliation I still find the hymns something beyond beautiful to hear...

Hand-in-hand with stories and singing go quilting and weaving and stitching.  Quilting bees and the motif of quilts often gave women a chance to mingle and to express themselves and commemorate events. The ladies in the picture above were from the Collins family, a big part of the weaving community in a small town here in GA and the possessors of some mighty fine hats.  They never sold their work (the blanket in the picture was gifted to AHC) but they did enter the occasional item in textile competitions in Atlanta where they inevitably won.




There were also exhibits on basket weaving (I dream of owning a sweetgrass basket), sun bonnets, net casting, embroidery, lace making and so much more.  Oh, and pottery!  I love folk art pottery.  My learnings from the The Folk Pottery Museum came in handy on this adventure and I tried to identify styles and makers without looking at the information plaques.  Alas, I didn't fair too well but I had fun refreshing my memory...


There was an excellent display on 'modern' folk art and it focused not only with innovators in the field as well as the controversies that arise from different factions of artists but also how the immigrating population has infused southern folk art with their own cultural art.  I loved this part!  And I loved the paper planes that were displayed as part of the changing faces of old traditions...




The torrential rain meant that some of the outside exhibits and interactions weren't really open to the public.  But when the weather let up for a minute I walked around the historical farm and snapped just a few shots before it began raining again.  I cannot wait to go back and explore some more!

If you're in Atlanta for the day I highly recommend that you stop by the AHC and spend a few hours looking around.  There are lots of exhibits I didn't feature in this post including an Olympic display, a Civil War piece, Native Americans in GA (which a bit lean but had a great collection of brief documentaries that played) and one on some famous golf guy.  I skipped all those but the Native American one because the museum closes at 5.30pm and between the rain and an out-of-the-way trip to Revolution Donuts, I was very limited on time.  But, hey, vegan vanilla bean DONUTS!  It was totally worth it...

07 September 2014

Toccoa Falls...

After having to be very careful about lifting, moving and, well, almost everything for several weeks, I finally got clearance from the doctor to get back in the swing of things full force.  For me, that kind of talk means only one thing - road trip!  You'd never seen a happier person behind the wheel of a tiny Kia in all your life.  I knew that I wanted to go up to North Georgia where it was cooler (a bit) and see some waterfalls and hike and maybe have some pizza.  I did it all, y'all.  I did it all...


Can you believe this waterfall?  In Georgia?  Toccoa Falls are the tallest east of the Mississippi...even taller than Niagra Falls.  There's not much hiking to get to them.  In fact, you pay $2 at the Toccoa Falls College bookstore then mosey out back and then you're gawping at the falls.  Easy peasy and pretty for those looking for a relaxing hour or so.  For us it just whet our appetite to do some real moderate hiking before the rain rolled in.  Alas, our adventures took a different turn than expected but that's for another time...


We did relax and take it all in though...no doubt about that.  The flora and fauna were quite varied due to the mist from the falls.  And there was no one there but us!








The falls are only about 45 minutes from Athens but there is nothing else to see in Toccoa for the most part other than some Civil War sites (not my thing).  It's a great beginning stop if you're heading to Tallulah Gorge / Falls, Lake Rabun and Black Rock Mountain.

Road trips, y'all.  I love them so much!