Wednesday, July 31, 2013


served to fifty-some folks with the most discriminating palates on the planet!  They are chefs to presidents and prime ministers and kings (and the Queen of England*)!  Yes,  Reader Dear, and I helped to prepare this meal!  Do you wish to hear more?**

*"Have you seen the baby yet?" I asked this chef.
He smiled.  "Not yet."
(He's been out of [his] country since George was just a few days old)

**Here's a little more: That's me on the right with Obama's chef.
And do you recognize, Viewer Dear, the Swiss flag?
Just let me know,  Dear Reader, if you yearn for details.
I'll happily oblige...

Saturday, July 27, 2013


home from Asheville, The Yard Man and myself!  (The tale is lagging).  So here you go, Reader Dear, a whirlwind wrap-up of Day Three.  In which you'll see:

The Frisky Otters (it's feeding time at the Nature Preserve)
The Raccoon (because I promised)

A quick jaunt back to see how Mrs. Bear is bearing up (because I'm curious to know!)

 And that's it.
We are leaving the Nature Preserve.  You won't see anything more of this place.

You won't ever see a twenty-two- foot-long earthworm, either, Viewer Dear.  I can almost guarantee it!

Okay, NOW, moving will NOT see the tasty supper at the home of Our Dark-haired Daughter and David. But look what you DO get to see--edible ecstasy from the chocolate shop that we visited later in the evening in downtown Asheville!

(More's the pity I can't call you Taster Dear, eh?!)

We climbed back into the car fully sated with chocolate, but we still had room for one more sensational delight!
(We found a parking spot and got out of the car to watch
this final show of our Asheville visit).

Yes, you DO get a glimpse, Viewer Dear.

Friday, July 26, 2013


our visit to Asheville finds The Yard Man and me and one of our hosts at a Nature something-or-other.*  And have I got the animal photos to prove it!  But first A WORD OF WARNING, Viewer Dear.  If the sight of certain belly-crawling reptiles makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, and your stomach do gymnastics without any commands, you may wish to skim right over the first of these movies.

Personally, I was thrilled to see these cold-blooded creatures in motion, though it did tend to make my own blood run chilly.  Rattlers searching for prey just inches from my face! (Hurray for the plate glass that made it possible!)


I'm sorry to say I barely gave any attention to the frogs and the turtles. They are every bit as amazing to behold. Or they should be.
When I could get myself dis-entangled from the reptiles, I went back out into the sunshine and followed the path taken by The Yard Man and Our Dark-haired Daughter.  It led to the home of wolves and coyotes and foxes and other such dog-related animals. 
Red Fox went slinking away when we came to peer at him, the coyote was snoozing, and we just couldn't get these creatures to give us a show.
But then we walked on down the path and came to the bears.
And the bears...!  Well, Viewer Dear, you will have to make your own assessment as to exactly what was happening here.
There was definitely action.

But was it the type of action the pursuer had in mind?
I will never know, Viewer Dear, and doubtless you won't either.
But I do know I'll be back with more animals.  Oh yes.

(to be cont'd.)
*A preserve, I believe.
For creatures found in the wild and
needing helpful assistance from those of a different species.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


you'll just have to suppose that you accidentally hit the "mute" button.  The old man with the Santa Claus beard who introduced the performers at this concert asked us viewers to please not record.  Sitting there, my camera in my lap, the corners of my mouth went down!

Oh my golly, it was such a temptation!
Honestly, how was I to describe an Old-Time Bluegrass concert without passing along a tune or two?!
And these two young women did a "cranky"...(uh, cranked an illustrated banner from one spool to another in that box, as one of them sang a song)...I must try to describe this kind of performance without movement and sound?!
See this young girl dancing? (I wish you could, Viewer Dear!)
And here, I suppose, is where I must make a teeny-tiny confession:
The temptation to record at least a smidgeon got a smidgeon too strong for me.
When the banjo picker asked the audience to join him in a refrain, I figured it'd be me I was  recording (surely no problem with recording myself!)
So, er...

I've got no such rationalization for the following short clip of the clogger.

Can you see how lively and lyrical? 
Okay, well, that's the extent of my take-a-few-movies misbehavior (Not bad, I'd say, for a three-hour concert!)
We left the auditorium and ambled with the crowd through a light rain to a tent with food.  I ate a veggie burger and sweet potato fries for my late supper. (Though it's possible I ate that food as an early midnight snack.  I really can't say.)
And then!
We got more music! Recording allowed!
Square dancing, too!*
I talked that Yard Man into it,
even though we were (nearly)
complete nincompoops when it came to
this kind of dancing!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


looked pretty much like any other goats I've ever seen.  And that sentiment, Reader Dear, informs you of my not-so-heightened interest in the sometimes-bearded critters.  But it was fun to have an up-close and personal greeting from one of them.

The animals were being called to dinner as we left, and the thought of food sure got us going!  We headed for 12 Bones.  It's the restaurant, if you will recall, where Our Dark-Haired Daughter had lunch with the U.S. president just a few years ago! 

"The line will be long," our hosts warned The Yard Man and me, "even this late in the afternoon."
"Ah, but it will be worth the wait!" the two of us chorused.

So we got to the spot, got in line, and inched along, little knowing by the time we got to the counter to order, there'd be a friend behind us in line!  And, Reader Dear, this is not a friend who resides in Asheville!  No, he has lived in various states, and he just happens to be visiting a friend of his in Asheville for just a day or two!  They arrived at 12 Bones just minutes after we did!  (Okay, so it's not like sitting with the president,
but still...*)                                                                                                              
*We were tickled.
Plus, here's the thing.
There's always a chance we ate with a future U.S. president.  Who's to say?!

(Well, yeah.  Maybe he would have some thoughts on the matter.  But I didn't think to ask.)

 Back to the present, however.  We say goodbye to Matt and his friend, and then we head for a concert!

It's a most lovely evening. Just look at that sky!  Oh, and the mountains!  The green of summer!  I am rhapsodizing as we drive through the countryside.
We arrive to find a jam session in progress.  The concert will consist of quite a few performers, but this group appears to be anyone with an instrument and a hankering to play.


More snippets of music to follow...


(i.e. later)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


was eating its lunch when we happened to look down on the little waterfall under the bridge and spy it basking there with a prominent bulge in its midsection.  Yesterday the four of us (our Asheville hosts and The Yard Man and I) chose to visit the former home of Carl Sandburg, who departed this life exactly forty-six years prior to our visit*

 Evidently numerous snakes have decided to currently call the property home.  On the short walk from the parking area up to the house, we counted at least four of them sunning themselves in the brook.

I sincerely hoped that, not unlike Carl and his wife, two of his three daughters and the two grandchildren (all of whom lived there), no one in our party would get bitten and die a slow and agonizing death from snakebite.  (Because The Yard Man gets a certain thrill from grabbing a twig and tickling it against the ankle of an unsuspecting walker [just after a walker has expressed the above sentiment], I very nearly died of apoplexy.  However, the stunt elicited strong laughter all around, and the snakes happily left us alone.)

At the house, we took a lengthy tour, in which our Tour Guide described a visit that Carl Sandburg received from Bob Dylan back in 1967.  "They met right here on the porch where you're standing," she said "Bob Dylan was somewhat disappointed that Carl was not aware of his (Dylan's) fame."
After the Dylan vignette, the Tour Guide ushered us into Carl Sandburg's home.  I'm ushering you in, too, Viewer Dear:

Bookcases lined the walls in nearly every room.
The Tour Guide wowed us with the actual number of books. 
"Did he read them all?!"  a fellow gawker asked.  But the Tour Guide couldn't say (though she doubted he did [and I'd venture to say it was a common doubt]).
And then she went on to tell us about Lilian Sandburg's dairy goats.**-***

Advancing to the second floor, we got a peek at Carl's impressive collection of National Geographic magazines.  "He was a bit of a pack rat," the Tour Guide explained.  I felt a slight kinship, Reader Dear!

Then she told us about the record players in nearly every room.  Hmm, yes, sounds like a kindred spirit! I mused.   Well, when she got to Carl's sleeping habits, there was no more room for doubt, surely Carl Sandburg and I shared some DNA!

"Pardon me," I begged of her, when the tour was over, "please will you repeat that part about him staying up at night?"
She graciously complied;
I joyfully present!


*Perhaps he died in the very chair, at the very same moment she pointed it out, and said, "It was TODAY, in 1967."

 **Lilian was his wife, a great animal-lover
(Ha! [please note] so like The Yard Man, Reader Dear!)

***Following the tour, we went to see the goats. 
Descendants of the Sandburg goats, of course.

I suppose the reptiles were descendants, too.

...yes, to be cont'd.
(Monday's going to wander into Wednesday...)

Monday, July 22, 2013


the doors of that craft show building and strolled by that busker yesterday, it was mid-afternoon.  All four of us were famished.  So The Yard Man and I trotted along behind our Asheville hosts as they took us to Salsa's (a restaurant, just as you might astutely assume).  Ah, what a feast we savored!
My Yard Man ordered such an astounding dish that he gained an admirer from a neighboring table
(the fellow carnivore pulled out his camera and took a photo)!

It may strain your credulity, Viewer Dear, but I can tell you the remainder of the Whole Pork Shank (alas, yo no puedo tell you the Spanish name) was still bubbling in its juices at the end of the meal (it was served in some sort of lava rock)!

Following this lavish repast, we practically waddled out of the place.  Which once again might make it  difficult for you to believe me, Reader Dear, when I tell you that we returned to the home of David and Our Dark-Haired Daughter and then took a short walk to a frozen yogurt shop!

On our return, we politely stepped aside for the
lean and fit joggers (whom I'm only astutely assuming were
not headed for pistachio frozen yogurt with crushed heathbar
and chocolate syrup atop).

Sunday, July 21, 2013


dark-haired daughter for putting together a craft show as entertainment for The Yard Man and me today! (I thanked her.  She laughed)*

In addition to the two floors of oogle-worthy crafts, we got to enjoy some old-time bluegrass music, as well.  Which means that you, Dear Listener Dear, have lucked upon a sampling for yourself!

*Well, listen here, she did get us free tickets!


(More Sunday to come on Monday
[meaning, of course, that Monday will be elbowed aside and show up on Tuesday...
(and so on and so forth...[etc.])])

Saturday, July 20, 2013


in Pennsylvania this morning, and had a late-night snack in North Carolina.  The Yard Man and I,  we drove through six states, five summer showers, and only two tense-with-each-other moments (offset by viewing two rainbows!*)


One of the teeth-gritting moments involved a little jog off our track to drive into the town square of Harrisonburg, Virginia, where I took a photo of the grand old building that's been standing there since long before my college days.  The Yard Man found no value in this activity whatsoever. "It will add about a half-hour to our trip!" he huffed, when I made the suggestion that we drive through the town.  And then we were back on our route in less than ten minutes, Reader Dear! He had to eat his hat.  Or, well, he would have if I'd insisted (I like to believe). 

Instead he ate chicken.  It was much later, in Tennessee, when we'd reached a spot where the clouds were lingering around the mountaintops,  The Yard Man said he had a hankering to eat The Colonel's food. 

I ate the finger lickin' stuff, too, and after that we had a very scenic final leg of our journey.

The day-long road trip to visit our dark-haired daughter and her friend, David, in North Carolina.

*Took photos, but...uh...
can you actually see that disappearing arc in the
sky, Viewer Dear?!


"I'm gonna wrap my coat around you..."
This struck me as a strange suggestion, Reader Dear, for a hot summer night.
Most of his audience, I'm supposing, already each had on a coat...of sweat!
Perhaps he hailed from the chilly wilds of Antarctica (and had a limited repertoire).

At any rate, there was one little member* of his fan club whose enthusiasm didn't appear to be the least bit dampened by the lyrics!

*He's one that I like to coat with kisses!

Friday, July 19, 2013


recently got himself a rooster.


Ever since,  much to my dismay, Reader Dear, that fowl and the Yard Man's fowl have been fouling up my mornings!


Thursday, July 18, 2013


...good to go backwards in time.
I know, Reader Dear, you're thinking, "Oh! If only!"
But can you imagine what a colossal mess there'd be if everyone decided to put things in reverse!  And, of course, no one would agree completely concerning what year to which we'd all traipse backwards in time!

Suppose that today we are all HERE---two hundred years backwards in time from the year 2213!  We are living such a PRIMITIVE lifestyle!  Oh, gosh, can you imagine?!  We are living with those old-style flush toilets, and ...and computers!  (We thought they were such an innovation?!!)


Wednesday, July 17, 2013


beside a river.
Well, Reader Dear, my mother didn't exactly give birth to me on a riverbank.
But I did take my very first breath at the Riverside Hospital.  The James River was running along nearby as I set about squalling.*
So I couldn't help but perk up and take note when this singer claimed the same experience!
(At these performances in the park, one never knows what kind of shows might accompany the music.  One must not be too surprised [and tickled, as the case may be, when viewing camera footage long after the last notes of the concert have faded away], to realize one captured that couple [entangled upon the ground throughout the evening] just as they rose up to don clothing!)
*And the Warwick flowed past the door of my childhood.
 Oh, that river.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

THERE WAS MUSIC IN THE AIR!  So much music that I have the need to share, Listener Dear!  You see, The Yard Man and I, we've been going to those concerts in the park.  Oh, yes.  Week after Week.  Sunday evening after Sunday evening.  Except, of course, for the Fourth of July extravaganza (That Yard Man said, "Too many people!" and I concurred!)

It was Father's Day.  We planned a family picnic in the park prior to the concert, little knowing there'd be a torrential downpour and we'd have to huddle under the pavilion and move our picnic supper from table to table avoiding the wind-driven rain and then about the time we'd feel sure there could be no concert...ta-da! we'd have bright sunshine,
and puddles in which to play!  (As well as the concert, of course!  And a performer stopping by to wet his whistle [er...reed?] with water from the spigot at the edge of the pavilion.)

It was a delightful evening, including the suspense!
Before the music, but after the picnic, and while all the fathers that had eaten the picnic were still in attendance, I went for the Father's Day photo...

Dear Viewer, not every father was smiling by the time I stashed my camera...
...but, we made our way over to that concert area, and...oh, wow...what a concert!  (A gift for the fathers [as well as the mothers!]

(More music...
....uh...stay tuned)