Monday, August 27, 2012

Busy 12 Days

The past twelve days have flown by. We’ve traveled about 1200 miles down to the sticks-n-bricks home in Valrico, FL and back up to our site here in Dillard, GA. Actually the trip down and back was made from Sunday, August 19, and we pulled back in up here in our Falls View site in River Vista Mountain Village Friday, the 24th at 5:30PM. It is about a 9 hour and 15 minute drive but with a gas stop and a stop to get a bite to eat and a quick walk for Kozmo, it is a 10 and 1/2 hour journey each way. I (Jeff) drove the entire way down, but on the way back I drove the first three hours, then Barbie took the wheel for 6 hours before I drove the last hour and a half.

The main reason for the trip down was that I had my regularly scheduled 6 month check-up with my doctor.  On the last blog entry, we mentioned I had done my blood work up here in Seneca, SC, 9 days before my doctor’s appointment. The appointment went well. All of the results were good, so I’m good to go for another 6 months. HOORAY! Barbie really worked hard in the four days we had there. She pulled the wild grass and weeds from our yard areas and sprayed the area with Round-Up Extended Control. That should keep the area looking ok until we return in November. She also went through cabinets in the kitchen and did a lot of “purging”. Let’s put it this way- 5 large green garbage bags were placed out for the garbage truck Tuesday and another 4 were left for the Saturday pick-up. We also attacked my “old” clothes that were on the bed in the second bedroom. We went through them and filled 4 of the large green bags with my not needed big men’s clothing and donated them to Goodwill. So we did make a dent in some work we needed to do around the house. Barbie also managed to have lunch and spent an afternoon visiting with her BFF, Linda. We didn’t buy groceries so we ate out at some of our favorites in the area, Chipoltes, Tijuana Flats, Romanos and La Septima. So we managed to get some good Mexican food, Greek food and Cuban/Spanish food while in town. We also stocked up on Dunkin Donuts coffee by getting a deal on 4 – one pound bags of our favorite coffee for $25.99. There are NO Dunkin Donuts’ stores anywhere near Dillard so we’d have to pay somewhere around $8.00 for only 12 ounces at the local Ingles Supermarket where Barbie loves to shop.

I do know TWO things that I certainly do NOT miss about the Valrico area. One, the traffic. OMG, the traffic is crazy in that area and I think it has gotten worse since we left to fulltime in our rv in June 2010. The second thing is the humidity of Florida in the summer. Geez, it was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Plus, there were the daily afternoon thundershowers. And, if Kozmo could talk, she’d give you a piece of her mind about them. Poor thing, she shook more in 4 days than she has all summer in Dillard. Then of course, the icing on the cake, a storm named Isaac was projected to head straight for Florida and for certain impact the Tampa Bay area. Since then the storm has steered further west so the Tampa Bay area was spared of the major effects of the storm. So between Isaac and the Republican National Convention coming to Tampa, we were glad to head north early Friday morning.

We did hear some tragic news the day before we left to head back to Dillard. We got a call from one of our Falls View neighbors and he informed us that one of the members of our community took his own life. Needless to say we were shocked and saddened by the news. I plan to attend the memorial service tomorrow.

We were surprised to discover that two of our winter neighbors at Rock Crusher Canyon in Crystal River were camping here at River Vista when we returned. So, we had a great visit with Lee and Mary Saturday afternoon before they moved on Sunday. We’ll see them again when they return to Rock Crusher Canyon in January.

This weekend is Labor Day weekend and the campground has a waiting list for sites. So with a full campground Big Daddy DJ hopes to have a great crowd for our “Street Dance” Saturday evening. I’ll let you know how it went and have pictures in the next post.

So, ‘til next time……

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Winery Visits

We had a lovely time this past Saturday, August 11, at a new 12 Sisters Winery in Dillard, Georgia. We started out our day at Annette’s Café by eating a great lunch. Jeff had the chicken fried steak, collard greens and a salad. I had the country fried steak sandwich with squash. I had made a small carrot cake the day before to bring a piece to the waiter named Kenneth. He loved the wacky cake I had made Jeff on his birthday and Jeff told him that I make a “mean” carrot cake. So we took a piece to him and he was very appreciative of it. After lunch, we headed to the winery. Apparently from 1 to 4 PM that day, three wineries in Rabun County were offering a sampling of their wines. We chose the 12 Sisters Winery since it was their grand opening. The place was very nice with beautiful views.

12 Sisters 1     12 Sisters 3

They have a small shop inside a barn that had a beautiful bar area. We paid $5.00 to sample up to four wines and we got to keep the glass. All of their wines are dry except for one which is slightly sweet. Since I don’t like dry wines I told the server to give me the slightly sweet one. It was a nice wine but not something I would buy. Jeff tried the dry rose type and he didn’t like it. Then he tried the same wine as I did and felt the same way about it. It was OK but definitely not one we would buy. We sat outside under a table umbrella and enjoyed the scenery.

12 Sisters 6    12 Sisters 4

They had a canopy with seating under it plus a couple of chairs out in the open. The temperature was in the low 80’s and the place was not crowded. As a matter of fact, we saw more people who worked there than customers while we were there. We did find out from our server that she lived in the Forest Hills section of Tampa and her children graduated from Chamberlain High School. As we were leaving we spoke with one of the graduates and she was there when Jeff was an Assistant Principal, but she didn’t remember him. The other graduated after Jeff left Chamberlain for Riverview in 2001.  Needless to say, we won’t be going back to the winery since we didn’t really enjoy the wines. Their price for a bottle was $14.00 which wasn’t too bad a price. You just need to love dry wines.

We traveled to South Carolina on Monday, August 13, for Jeff’s 11:45 appointment at Lab Corp. Since he has his six month check-up in Valrico on August 23, he needed to get his lab work done up here so the results would be to his doctor when Jeff arrives for his appointment. What a challenge it was to find a Lab Corp business in this NE Georgia mountains area. There was one in Hiawassee, GA, but we think that was at the hospital, so we ruled that one out. The one in Seneca, South Carolina, was only an hour away. We had not been to that area for over 11 years, so it was a great trip. We left at 9:20 and got there at 10:25. As we were going through Seneca we noticed that there were many chain restaurants, retail stores and of course a Super Wal-Mart. The place was very nice! We went to the Lab Corp first in hopes of maybe getting in before the appointment time since we were early. Jeff took one step in and noticed the place was packed. He decided to wait until his appointment time. So we headed back on the By Pass 123 road and stopped at Pet Smart. We had Kozmo with us, of course, and she stayed in the truck with Jeff while I shopped for her. I picked up some new dog food for her since she got tired of the Rachel Ray food she had been eating for a month. I also got her something called Boo Bars, a snack treat, which has pumpkin and cinnamon in it. She loves it! It is made by Blue Buffalo. After shopping there we went to the Bank of America. The Bank of America that is closest to us is in Highlands, North Carolina, which is about a half hour away. This bank is beautiful and I could tell it is brand new. There was no waiting line and the people were very friendly. By the time that task was done we headed back to Lab Corp and got there at 11:17. Jeff came back out at 12:10. Apparently there was only one technician working in there. She had to sign people in, and then take them back on an individual basis to draw their blood. Jeff inquired and found that the other person who usually works there had broken her hand over the weekend, so this lady was on her own. Poor thing! Jeff said she was already tired by noon but was very friendly and upbeat. We will definitely go back there when blood work has to be done again while we are here in Dillard.

Since Jeff had to fast for his blood work to be done, we headed to get something to eat. We wanted to eat at Chick Fil-A but I could not believe the lines inside and out. So we headed down the road to Zaxbys. The food is always good at any Zaxbys that we have visited.

After lunch, we headed back towards Dillard. On the way back we stopped in Long Creek, South Carolina, at another winery called Chatooga Belle Farm. This place is outstanding! The views are magnificent! See for yourselves.

Chatooga Belle Farm 3    Chatooga Belle Farm 1

They have a small “farm” store inside a gigantic new barn. They have been here for three years and the place is immaculate. We bought two wines. One is a muscadine and the other is a scuppernong. Since they are dog friendly we walked Kozmo around the premises and sat down and just enjoyed the view.

Barbie & Kozmo @ Chatooga Belle Farm 1    Jeff & Kozmo @ Chatooga Belle Farm

The temperature was about 79 degrees and very comfortable. Apples are in season and although they had some there we opted to not get any this time. They had fresh raspberries you could pick yourselves as well. The place can also be rented for events like weddings, parties etc. We tried the muscadine wine last night and it was quite good! The price on it was $16 and we would definitely go back there and buy some. They also had some canned vegetables, jellies, ciders, souvenir items and literature about the area.

Well, as much as we dread the thought of it, we are headed to Valrico this coming Sunday and will stay there about 4 – 5 nights. It is time for Jeff’s six month check-up. We are not looking forward to the humidity in Florida this time of year. But, I will be able to see my great friend Linda while we are there and probably have some house cleaning to do while we are there.

‘Til next time…

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Just Chillin’…AKA Not Doin’ Much

Yeah, I know, it has been awhile since we posted so we’ll try to update you on our summer laid back, retirement lifestyle.

Since we last posted, I suppose the biggest news is that Jeff celebrated his 60th birthday. We went out to eat at Fatz Café in Franklin, North Carolina on July 22, his birthday. They have Sunday “old fashioned” specials so Jeff ordered pot roast that came with mashed potatoes, green beans, cole slaw, and their great rolls. It was very good! I had the basa fish with a baked potato and a salad. We were very good …..we passed on dessert. :-) Well, we weren’t that good,  because I had made Jeff a chocolate “wacky cake” with chocolate peanut butter icing that he loves so much. We actually gave the last piece a few days later to the waiter  that serves us regularly at Annette’s Café . Kenneth is a good fellow who always clowns around and serves us well when we eat there. Overall, Jeff‘s  birthday was a quiet one. I think his 60th birthday was an awakening that, yes, we are getting a bit older.

A couple days before Jeff’s 60th, we went to our neighbor’s retirement party in Franklin, North Carolina at a place called Chris and Charlie’s on July 19. Our neighbor, Charlie, was the postmaster at the Rabun Gap post office in Rabun Gap, Georgia, which is about 5 minutes away from us. About 42 people from River Vista were there. The service and food was excellent! They have about a dozen beers on tap from regional micro-breweries. We tried one from Raleigh, NC that had a hint of cherry taste to it. It was quite tasty! I had a delicious salad and Jeff had something called the Fat Italian flatbread sandwich. It was very good. As a result of the retirement party Jeff decided to develop a Facebook page for the Falls View Community (which is the name of our owners section in River Vista). You can view it on Facebook, if you have a Facebook account, under “Falls View Community, Dillard, GA”. Jeff has placed information and pictures on the site for anyone to enjoy. He did a great job of it, too! Go check it out!

We went to Lowe’s this week and purchased some equipment for me to use when I tie-dye shirts and bandanas. I have two shirts that I want to do and have three bandanas to make for Jeff. I hope I don’t mess it up but if I do, the material that I buy at WalMart is cheap. We have found many designs on-line that help us decide how to create something “far out” but nice. I just have to get more nerve and try them out. I have seen some shirts that lost their color and I don’t want mine to look like that. So I have to research a bit more before trying some more.

I bought a book that is called EBAY for Dummies and am really enjoying it. As soon as I have finished it, by not only reading it but highlighting and making notes on it, I will try to sell some items that we don’t need anymore. My first item will be a “Giggles Doll” that I made about 12 years ago. I made four dolls. I gave one to my mother and grandmother and kept the other two. I got my grandmother’s back after she passed on and that one is going to be a keeper because it is so cute. I had also purchased clothes from consignment shops that sell baby items at very reasonable prices. I will post some of the pictures later on after we take a few, so you can see how cute these dolls are. Here they are:

Doll 1   Doll closeup

A neighbor where our house is in Valrico taught me how to make the dolls. She made over 200 of them a long time ago. She has since moved out of StrawBerry Ridge due to her health. She was selling them for over $100 a piece back then. I won’t do that in this market now because I know they won’t sell for that. Anyone out there ever make dolls? Oh yes, my mother has a collection of various dolls. I think she must have close to 200 or so. They were all bought or were gifts. Some of them she bought in Germany since she was born and raised over there.

The big excitement in Dillard this weekend is the Dillard Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival. We’ll check it out tomorrow. This event is the Kansas City Barbeque Society Georgia State Championship. Held adjacent to the Dillard House, the Dillard Barbecue and Bluegrass Festival started in 1997 and has grown to what it is today through the hard work, dedication, and efforts of many volunteers and BBQ enthusiasts from around the country. Each year people come from across the nation to compete in this once a year event, and to listen to real Bluegrass music played by numerous bands from all over, and to savor the mouth watering smells and sights of smoking meats of all kinds. There also are crafters who set up booths and sell their wares. There are always lots to do and things to see for the whole family at this wonderful event. The cooking rigs are a sight to behold, and the vendors serving the many foods and delicasies are some of the best in the world. And, needless to say, the smells are wonderful. Nearly $10,000 in prize money is awarded in categories involving beef brisket, chicken, pork and pork ribs. They even award desserts. Needless to say attendees may pay to “sample” the teams entries. It’s making me hungry writing about it! We’ll follow up with this story next time.

‘Til next time…..