22 July 2016

2 Goats, A Baby & Heading Into The Weekend...






Goats are quick little beasts which make for blurry photos.  But I forgive them of that since they are GOATS!  I absolutely adore goats (although I heard an especially gruesome story about how they can sneakily defend themselves with those horns that made me see them in a bloodthirsty new light) and I almost never get a chance to see them live and in person.  When we visited friends who just had their baby (and other friends had their little one yesterday...it's raining babies 'round here) I was silly stoked to learn that their new home came complete with a ton of property being kept tidy by two goats.  I was also excited, of course, to meet the new addition of the tiny human...

Also, I can't blame the goats for my photography.  I've been Ms. Pointandshoot lately and itsfinejustrollwithit.  Meh.


Brady is kind of terrified of babies and small children (he's an only child with no younger family members to have interacted with) so this was a monumental moment!  In the beginning, about the time I snapped this picture when the thunderstorm was rolling in that caused the dog and baby to jump at every boom, he made that face a lot but by the end he'd relaxed and become a true pro in no time.  Luckily, he wasn't holding the baby when the pooping and crying began or else he would have reverted back in an instant.

So, goats and babies.  Cuteness abounds.  A great way to get an early start to the weekend, right?  We're planning on seeing Star Trek tomorrow as well as going to see some of Brady's new music students perform in a kids' recital (they're playing songs by Skynard and Leonard Cohen because that's what 10 year olds do now?) and I'm getting a massage for my aching shoulder.  I'm also going to make some amazing vegan ice cream for the bakery using local organic peaches that just came in this week.  Soooo good!  I'm also painting my bakery, Brady's got some lessons, we're cooking up a big dinner of something with tomatoes (they are everywhere here right now and delicious) and maybe going blackberry picking sometime on Sunday afternoon.  I'm also going to continue glutwatching Murder She Wrote because, duh, Jessica Fletcher...and because I've already glutwatched Stranger Things and I'm on a roll.  Have you seen it?  Stranger Things?  I really liked it because a) the music was great b) the Sheriff was such an interesting character c) the way it was filmed was perfection and d) I was almost the age of the youngest actors in 1983.  I kept saying things like 'oh my god, I had that necklace' or 'my house had that wallpaper' or 'my cousins played D&D all the time like that' or 'oh my god, those jeans are coming back again' or 'my bike had a banana seat!'  Brady loved that, 90's kid that he is.

So, we had goats and babies, and soon will have baking, glutwatching, massages, movies, berries, recitals. Yesssss.  Let the weekend adventures begin!

19 July 2016

Athens Adventures // My Secret Spot On The River...



A few months back I made mention of a small trail I found while out exploring with my friend Big John.  Now, I may be stretching it with the whole 'secret spot' thing but most folks that don't live in the nearby neighborhoods will have no idea where this is.  I sure didn't til Big John mentioned that he heard from a friend of a friend about this area.  There are lots of homemade recycling boxes dotting the walk, a few rope swings, a rickety ladder or 2 going to defunct treehouses, and the remains of an old mill and its employee housing to show that folks have used this place in the past and continue to do so to this day.  But to me it still has that secret feel.  I never, ever see anyone when I'm out there....

So these are the pictures I took that first day exploring.  April, I think?


Skipping stones near the shoals.  I suck at skipping stones just FYI.  It's more like 'plunking stones'...


Ain't nooooooo way I'm swinging or swimming out there...


It's always fun to be under a bridge with cars bumping by overhead.  The drivers have no idea that you're hanging out right below them!


I want to bring my hammock out and set it up on this little island...


Summer has its own unique sights and smells but it just doesn't have all the flowers of spring!  These little ones were just too simply cute...



Obviously I'm not the only troll under the bridge.  Nice little fire pit some folks built, eh?


There a was hill-like mound of these old slabs and rocks that ran near the river.  Pretty sure it's all the old stone from the water mill!


It's currently hotter than blue blazes outside (helllllo Summer!) so the fact that I'm wearing leggings in this picture makes me a) mad as hell that it's too hot to do that anymore and b) really wish fall would hurry along.  Just chalk me up as another one of those blogger folk who bitch about summer the whole time it's here...except I do enjoy those daily thunderstorms.  And blackberries.  And cicadas.  It isn't all bad y'all!

You'd be amazed how different everything looks already.  I went a few days ago and barely recognized some of the path.  Kudzu does not joke around when it comes to growing 'round here....

13 July 2016

Summer 2016...



This time of year it's easy to just sit around the house and bitch about how hot it is.  Really, it's so easy.  I do it all the dang time!  But one can't live on work and Netflix alone, can one?  Nope!  In order to combat what I call the 'dirty old summer blues' I've created a short list of things to bring out the adventurer in me.  Nothing too crazy since a) we're on a strict budget til Brady's work situation settles and b) no long distance traveling til I get my own car (WAHOOOO!) but just some fun, inexpensive things that I think would be a nice way to combat my desire to just sit around and hug the air-conditioner.

Movie Matinee Mondays

The first day of every week is now slated for a cheap trip to the movies with some of my friends.  When it's 102 degrees, muggy and buggy, sitting in an air-conditioned theater and suspending belief by getting lost in the big screen is the only way to go.  We've seen a few since this newish tradition began about 3 weeks ago - Cool Hand Luke (at our local small theater), Raiders Of The Lost Ark (classic cinema repeat at a larger cinema) and The Conjuring 2 (which I think I saw about 1/2 of since I kept my face covered most of the time).  I'm wanting to go see so many movies I don't even know if I'll have enough time/money to do it all!

Here's a short list of what I'm planning to view:

Captain Fantastic
Ghostbusters (I'm getting a lot of flack for this from friends but whatevs!)
Star Trek Beyond
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (JAYSUS!  I cannot wait to see this!)
Lobster
Swiss Army Man

Georgia Ghost Town Road Trips

I posted about that already and have already gone to my first ghost town!  So take a gander at the original post here and the first ghost town here.

Tubing In Asheville

I now have several friends that live in Asheville so I'm trying to get up there on the regular to visit them and to explore.  The end of this month, right before Brady's birthday, I'll be there for about 3 days for a small getaway treat with my lady friends.  I want to really get going on the rocks and crystals in the area, drink some tea, do some yoga, eat some food and go tubing!  I can't really believe that last one since we went to Helen a few years back and had the worst tubing experience ever - crowded, river too low, floating in dirty water runoff from downtown.  Ugggghhhhh.  But I've been hearing about great tubing experiences from everyone I know so I'm going to give it another shot and hope that it'll wipe away those bad memories!  If you have suggestions then I'm all ears.

Become A Master (Or At Least A-Ok) At Cooking Indian Food

Years ago I made a vegan Saag Aloo but I haven't really cooked anything else like that since.  Which a downright shame because I loooooove anything and everything with those classic spices.  So good for my sometimes-still-weird-and-finicky gut and for my taste buds too!  I have about a gazillion Pinterest recipes saved but I'm going to focus on those using a crockpot (not traditional, no, but necessary in Georgia summers) and try to veganize/vegetarian them up.  Since work has an Indian Feast every Thursday night I'm also hoping that our specials chef will give me some secret pointers on his naan bread because his is so, so, so good.

Go To At Least One Summer Festival

Peaches.  Tomatoes.  Ice Cream.  Butterflies.  Peanuts.  Bluegrass.  BBQ.  Art.  Cars.  Races.

What do all of these things have in common?  They are all festival features in Georgia this summer!  While I'm not into big groups of people (I recently went to industry night at our local brewery and absolutely couldn't handle the 100's of folks milling around) I am into almost everything on that line above.  Maybe not BBQ (smells better than it tastes), Bluegrass (nope) and cars (to drive, sure, but not gawk at really) but a big yes to peanuts and butterflies and the rest.  So I'll have to take my pick, take a deep breath and go mingle.

Explore Atlanta

Our capital is about an hour or so away (depending on the absolutely terrible traffic around there/here) but I haven't spent much time visiting it since moving to northern Georgia.  I've been to the food mecca that is Buford Highway, to the DeKalb County Farmers Market, to Decatur, to the main cemetery and a few other places but there is much more to Atlanta that I'd like to see.  Still want to go to the puppetry museum for sure.  The botanical gardens.  The parks.  The beltline.  Just explore on a whim.

Lots of road trips on this list but, hey, it's what I love to do!  And I'm sure I'll add a few more to the list as they pop into my brain.

How about you?  Any goals or adventure plans for the summer?

11 July 2016

Auraria, GA - The First Ghost Town In America...



And so it begins!

A couple of posts back I shared my idea to drive around Georgia and visit every known ghost town...and even those that just might be a ghost town.  On my only day off this week, Brady and I decided to hop in the truck and point it directly to the northern hills (or if you're of the bent of wishful thinking, mountains) a few hours away from Athens.  On the docket was visiting Auraria and White Sulphur Springs as well as stopping at a couple of other destinations including our state's only lavender farm.  Alas, White Sulphur Springs was a big fat failure this go 'round because I couldn't find the damn spot and then I realized d'oh! that I was in the wrong town (there are 2 with the same name in Georgia but the one I wanted was the one closer to Macon with the restored mineral water gazebo) and whoooops!  Auraria, however, was found and explored...to a degree.


Gah!  I absolutely adore this sign.  Welcome to Auraria!


This, the General Store, is the only one of two historical buildings still visible since the bank is covered in kudzu and the hotel has long since collapsed into the ground.  It's obviously been hit hard by vandals and time since most of the windows are busted and it looks like someone, maybe the folks living next door?, have filled it up with modern junk that's just gathering dust and mold.  There were people working very close to the property and they did not seem friendly (they had one of these signs) so I didn't step foot on the place but rather walked around in the highway (it's not a busy one so I was safe enough) and took a few pictures before driving down the road to a restored community farm + house...


This whole property was surrounded by some serious razor wire fencing since it's right next to the road and the garden had a mess of tomatoes that looked uh-may-zing.  Don't want anyone stealing your 'maters!  I'm not sure what the building is used for or what it used to be but I do know that it had a wonderful view of the mountains/hill from the back porch...


Now this?  I totally know what this is used for and, yes, it appears to be fully functional...

And that was it for Auraria!  In about 25 minutes and approximately 100 feet of travel I was able to see the whole thing, take all my pictures and avoid the locals who were giving me the stink-eye.  While I felt totally safe with my stop at this ghost town, I must say that I'd be very careful, even more so than usual, about respecting property boundaries here.  Ghost towns can still have a small amount of residents (less than 100 in this case) so be aware of where you're going and where you park.

In all honesty, if I had to rate Auraria I wouldn't give it high marks.  Unlike the other ghost towns I've been to (here and here) you can't walk around and explore the area much, if at all.  The best part of this trip was the visiting of small towns nearby and seeing what you can find that catches your eye.  Yep, worth going to but only if you're up for driving around the countryside too.  Don't make it the sole destination.

Oh, and the Yahoola Cherokee Museum wasn't open when I went but I plan on going back to Dahlonega soon enough to look at the glassblower on the town square so I'm hoping to find it open then...


While on the road I spotted this church being restored in Maysville.  The folks inside even let me walk around and take a quick peek!  I love the lines of the roof and bell tower...and I'm a sucker for weathered white paint.  Good thing for the latter since the exterior of our house is exactly that!


Another adventure that day!  Did you know that Georgia has exactly one lavender farm?  You did?  Wait, I mentioned that up there ^ at the top?  Well, so I did but here's more!  Since the soil in Georgia  *cough* red clay *cough* isn't good for growing lavender and the humidity isn't its friend either, lavender farms are a difficult thing to create and maintain.  But we do have the one and it's doing great!  The harvest is over, which is why you get that silly window shot instead of a photo of beautiful lavender plant, but the small gift shop has so much stuff that it's worth the trip to just buy, buy, buy all the local goodies.  I got oils, lotions, salves, herbal cooking blends, honey from bees on the property (it's sooooo good on apples!) and even more stuff made by the sweet woman who runs the place.  When the holidays get here it's going to be all about the lavender for everyone I know!  You've been warned...


Besides visiting all the ghost towns and covered bridges I can find, I also love searching out BIG CHAIRS!  There's a whole map of them right here although this rocker isn't on it.  What's better than a big chair?  A secret roadside big chair you discover after exploring a ghost town!  Also, that sky was knockin' my socks off all day...beautiful stuff.


See?  Big chair love started in 2013.  Roadside attractions 4evah.

Stay tuned for more ghost town adventures...coming soon!

07 July 2016

My Life In Pictures...



I'm dropping the 365 project from the title of these posts but the idea of it still encourages me to take more photos whenever I can of whatever I can.  I do mean whatever.  Y'all, a more random set of pictures cannot be found anywhere.  Tis life, right?  Although I do believe that there are more pictures of me than usual?  Look at me, all showing my face and stuff...sometimes.

Top to bottom // left to right:

/ Cucumber water splurge purchase from the super fancy grocery store in town since I had been sweltering all day running errands.  I didn't read the label carefully enough so I missed the fact it was full of sugar.  Mehhh...

/ Took a friend to a 'meat and three' restaurant on the outskirts of town.  I'd been wanting to try a new-to-me place for ages and this one is right down from the mini Stonehenge here in Athens (really, I must feature that thing on the blog) plus it has been open for 56 years so it seemed like a fun place to go.  I nixed the meat and just enjoyed being in a southern blue-collar restaurant much like all the ones my family went to when I was growing up.  There's something about every table already having a pitcher of sweet tea and a jar of pepper sauce perched on a metal box full of napkins that just makes me smile...

/ I actually went out during Athfest!  ME!  GOING OUT AFTER 9PM!  But when your husband is playing 40 Watt and your friends are in a benefit fashion show, well, you drag your introverted self out to play and to drink a miniscule amount of booze that still leaves you feeling like poopie the next day.  Goooooo Athfest!  Oh, and this photo is my beautiful friend in such said fashion show...

/ The last of the coffee we brought back from Puerto Rico.  I'm going to cry.  This stuff is so, so, SO good.  Could someone send me some and I'll send you some monies?

/  Found this recipe for a dutch oven bread and I gave it a shot.  Perfection!  One bowl and limited mess...

/  The cicadas are leaving tons of their exuvaie (exoskeletons) around our home and I couldn't resist bringing one in to put on the mantel.  The emergence is pretty much over around these parts but I can still find a late straggler or two out in the yard in the evenings...

/  For some dumb reason I've been cooking every night even though it makes the house a bazillion degrees.  When there are fresh berries popping up everywhere (and more on the way and peaches coming soon) I can't resist making breads or, in this case, a crumble.  It's totally vegan although it's great with ice cream (regular or vegan) or yogurt or you can just leave it good ol' plain and let the berries shine...

/  UGA has a very active botany program and there are so many people in the area that are interested in gardening, foraging and the like.  Lucky me!  That means there are lots of free lectures like this one that discuss plant and flower identifications as well as the issues with invasive foliage.  I usually skip the after party (the punch and snacks) so I never really get to know the other folks attending but maybe next time I'll offer to bring a GRIT cake and make some new friends?

/  I bought a new book on Georgia wildflowers that is uh-may-zing!  Seriously!  So good.  It helped me identify that flower pictured in the right corner of this set so it's already making me smarter.  Yay!

/  Monday Matinees are still a going' strong.  We saw the Conjuring 2 and I was one of the those obnoxious people in the movie who screamed and jumped.  It was super silly but I seriously can't handle those scary-ish movies.  Later, I ended up taking a picture on a fake surfboard advertisement for The Shallows (another 'no way nuh uh' movie on my list) but couldn't keep a straight face.  I didn't take this picture so maybe it shouldn't be in here but who cares?

/  Guitar fan from Athfest saved my life and I even take it to work sometimes because that old building gets HOT with all the cooking and baking and stuff.  Speaking of fans, I've been obsessed with them since I was a kid although I never really owned one.  I found this video (the music is terrible so shut off the sound) that shows about 1000 beautiful fans from all over the world and this site has great information on the language of the fan, history and use...

/  This is Cockscomb or The Velvet Flower or The Wool Flower or The Brain Celosia and it is such a beautiful plant.  My camera seriously couldn't handle how bright red it was and made it rather blurish.  It's so soft too, like velvet.  It does look like a brain which is even cooler.  This may be in a tie with Spider Lilies as my favorite plant/flower...

/  Found this Saison as a treat for doing a month's worth of laundry in one long, hot afternoon.  It's actually sitting on inside-out clean clothes in that picture.  Sadly, the beer description sounded much better than it actually was.  Don't get me wrong, it's a good beer but the nuances of herbs just wasn't there and it's a heavier Saison than I care for.  I've drank one and now they'll sit for a bit and maybe I'll find the perfect dinner to have it with and all will be well...

I can't believe it's almost the weekend!  Having 3 days off for the holiday really screwed up my internal work clock but I'm sure I'll be back on track in no time.  Well, I'm off to the bakery and to try to find Brady a desk for our recently rearranged (yet again *sigh*) shared space.  Have a great day!