Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Garage is approaching empty!

It's kind of hard to see from these photos but it is true.  It's getting cleared out!  I have been told by people that they lived somewhere for five years before the last box was unpacked.  I imagine that is because some of the stuff in boxes is extraneous stuff, not really needed or wanted but too good to throw out and "worth something".  I have tried to overcome that with our move.  I gave a ton of stuff to Salvation Army and Habitat Restore before we left but the packing was going slow, so eventually was just pitching stuff in boxes and telling myself I would sort it out when I got here. Which I have been doing!  

I went through about 12 boxes yesterday and a couple more today.  Some had some stuff already removed from it.  The reason it's taking so long is because we are still waiting for the main floors to be finished in the house and I expect those to be done by Christmas!  However, I can put stuff in the kitchen cabinets, in the dressers and bookcases which are in the bedrooms and in the closets.  The bedroom floors are all finished! 

A lot of stuff has gone to Jerry's workshop, some has gotten hung up on the walls of the garage such as bicycles and horse blankets, and some is going on shelves out there.  It's getting done.  I will one day soon have an actual garage to park the cars in!  What a luxury since we converted our last garage into a boarding kennel!  :)

Today's Surprise Boxes contained a slew of winter coats (and I'd sorted through these before we left) and some vests.  The other box had some CDs in it, a huge shoe box full of pens and office things, another coat or two and I haven't quite got to the bottom of it to see what else is in there.  Definitely office/coat closet stuff though.  I will get it all arranged and settled in.  I pulled out two more coats, a navy blue leather jacket and a red/violet longer windbreaker lined in fleece.  I like both of them but hey, we live in Kentucky now and I don't need the assortment of jackets and coats I used to, this one for 0 degrees to 10 degrees, these two for 10 to 20, this fleece vest with that coat for 20 to 30 degrees, etc.  It's 55 degrees today and sunny.  I'm running around in a long sleeve t shirt with the sleeves rolled up, slopping through some mud to help Jerry with the posts on the new barn and then back up to the other barn to put this buck with these two does for an hour or two to make kids for next spring!  And not cold a bit!

I swept out a ton of leaves that had drifted into the garage, and moved some boxes around into better order and moved in an end table and a bedside table, too.  Much better.  You can see here how much better it all looks:

 It was truly stuffed to the ceiling and triple stacked.  And the concrete bags on the right side are gone now, too, I took the photo before Jerry started to build the barn today.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Yay, it's the weekend!

And I'm still not feeling like writing today.  A long day with a slight headache and boring things to do.  And my boss had a cold and came into my office! Ack! Stay out!  Then he used my phone.  So maybe by the time I get there on Monday the germs will be dead.  And I have to remember to wipe down the phone with something germ killing.  No offense, Boss, just taking care of your employee!

So I will go through my photos and find some more photos for you all to see.  How about the sunsets?

And I will finish my story of getting down here this weekend, I hope.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving, 2010 in our new home!

Today it is 70 degrees and green.  I am stunned.  Maybe when I was a kid in the South I could remember this but not in the last 30+ years.  I checked the weather where we came from and it's bitter and windy and supposed to snow if it already hasn't started.

I love it here.  Have I ever mentioned that?

I got up and did a little bit of cooking, Kathy is taking care of the turkey, dressing, potatoes and gravy.  I am doing sweet potatoes and green beans (Not the casserole kind, though).  And the pie.  Well, that is another story.  You see, yesterday I was in the grocery store.  I hadn't been for 2 weeks, last Friday, my regular grocery day, we really weren't out of many things.  I thought I'd go Monday after work.  Nope.  Just didn't work out.  Maybe Tuesday.  Nope. So I went yesterday and it was busy but not really crowded.  Lots of specials on sale and so I got a few extra things.  But I was feeling guilty because Kathy was taking on the lion's share of dinner so thought I'd get pie.  I got a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie (it's a Southern thing, I always had pecan pie as a kid, we really never had pumpkin pie, that was a New England thing).  YUM!

So last night, figuring that two pies between three people was an awful lot of pie to eat, I told Jerry he could start eating it right away.  Kathy isn't crazy about pumpkin, so figured she would help me with the pecan pie and there is that german chocolate cake she made this week, tool  He decided to dive into it for dinner.  He's so skinny he can do that, so he heated it up, lathered it up with Coo Whip and got through about three bites before he commented that it wasn't very good.  As a matter of fact, he said it was terrible.  

"Here, taste it" he said.  Nuh uh.  He did that to me once with milk.  "Here, smell this" and like a dummy I did and he laughed like a hyena.  So I said "Let's get Kathy to taste it" and went over and got her.  

She came and tasted it and made the same face as Jerry had, squinting eyes and tongue out, universal sign of "YUCK!".  The tried to decide if it was lack of eough spices, Jerry kept saying it tasted liek squash.  They looked at the ingredient list and it was full of lots of thickeners instead of eggs, etc.  So now I am leery of the pecan pie.  Kathy prefers that so we will try that one.  If it stinks, I have the receipt and will take it in and get a refund.

The dogs liked it for breakfast, though.. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sunrises in Kentucky

I don't feel much like writing tonight.  So I thought I would share some incredible sunrises. As a matter of fact, they are different every single day here. We had NOTHING like this in Northern Michigan.  Our deck out back overlooks a wonderful valley, a perfect setting for whatever God decides to paint each morning (except for cloudy days when He takes a morning off).  So here we go!

The first one was actually the east sky while the sun set, so the sun is reflecting off the clouds.  The ones that follow are sunrises.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

From the Beginning, Part 2

Once we got on the road on the second day, we traveled a bit and then had breakfast, as I recall, at a Bob Evans.  Or maybe not.  I have eaten at Bob Evans' Restaurants on all of my journeys up and down this summer, so really can't remember.  Maybe we pulled into McDonald's.  Anyhow, my next memory is getting out of Michigan and into Indiana!  Indiana!  One state down and now we are truly on the move to Kentucky!  

We could not seem to get our schedules right on the drive though. You would think that we would travel for 2 or 3 hours, stop, hit the bathroom, get gas, walk the oldsters and young ones and then get on the road again.  Oh, no.  If we had to stop for a human to pee, I usually went along just in case.  The oldsters seemed to have to go more often, about every hour and a half.  My truck sucked gas as did the moving van.  We'd stop for gas for the truck but then an hour later we had to stop for the moving van.  There was no rhyme or reason and seemed like we had to stop every hour or so.  We had a spot picked out in S. IN to stop for an hour and walk everyone, but that was a long way off.  And going 55 miles per hour.  

We were just getting into Indianapolis and about to get on the bypass when Jerry called me.  

"We have to stop."  

"Why?  We just stopped a half hour ago!" 

"Well, Hayley is stuck." 

"What do you mean, stuck?  How could she get stuck?  She's riding in the front seat of the moving van for God's sake!" 

"She's gotten wedged under the seat."

"Can't she stay there til we get out of town?"

"No, she's starting to panic."

Hayley just turned 15 years old before we left on this trip.  Although she is in pretty good health, well, she can't hear at all anymore and her sight isn't great but she manages pretty darn well.  And we were worried about her thrashing around and hurting her back.  So I dutifully pulled off the road at the next exit and began to search for a parking lot.  The only one I could find was a gas station with a drive thru Subway.  And hardly anywhere for a huge moving van. So I pulled up as far as I could, and jumped out to assist Jerry.  

Did he stay stuck?  She was WEDGED in.  I honestly thought we would have to take the seat out.  She'd gotten back in and wrapped around and I don't even know how to describe it but the closest I can come to is a child who fell down a narrow well.  How to get her out?  Between Jerry and I (we handed the dogs off to Erin who held them while we decided whether or not to find an acetylene torch) crawling under the seat, placing her feet here or there, moving her head, etc, we finally freed the old lady dog.  I took her for a short walk to let her pee and to see her gait to be sure she hadn't hurt herself.  Packed everyone back up and on the road again, another 20 minutes blown.  We got thru Indy just fine, and then headed for Louisville.  

We stopped at the planned rest area and tried to just walk everyone and hang out for a few minutes.  Then back on the road.  It was getting on in the afternoon then, and although it would normally take me about 3 1/2 hours to get to the house from the south side of Indy, I knew we still had a drive ahead of us. But we were so close.

As we approached Kentucky, Jerry called again and said he had to pull off and find a bathroom.  Not a problem.  And then we ran straight into a huge traffic jam with us in the far left lane and no way to get to the right side.  And we sat.  And noodged ahead a little bit.  And then sat some more.  Trying to not think of water, which we were going to go over, the big river, I think it is the Ohio River, into Kentucky. Apparently there had been a big accident in front of us.  After another hour wasted, the traffic picked up a little bit.  And then we were in Louisville!  Jerry was impressed, as we go right past the airport, the ball park and other interesting sites.  And Louisville has an awesome highway system, one side of the highway has something like 7 lanes.  So traffic flows well.  And in 10 min, we were leaving Louisville behind.  The sun was starting to get low and we got something for dinner and kept going.  At one point I must have speeded up because Jerry was lagging way behind.  I couldn't figure out why until he told me the next day that he could really only do 55 mph. I thought he could go faster but that the engine in his van was still having oil light problems.  We arrived at Cave City and got off the highway.  Only another hour!  Or maybe....more.  OK, more.  We got to the next big highway and I got lost in town and managed to go west instead of east.  When I realized my mistake, I was able to turn around at the next exit.  Now bear in mind at this point I'd only been to the house twice before, the first time with the realtor and the second time during daylight.  And now it was dark.  We pressed on.

And finally, FINALLY, we made it.  It's tricky approaching our house at night, the roads are curvy and very hilly and if you miss the driveway, well there are no shoulders in Kentucky.  So you have to go three miles to the next intersection and turn around because you can't use a driveway, backing out on our road is an invitation to meet Jesus prematurely.  And Jerry's driving a 100 foot long moving van.  So I slow way down, look and look and look and damn it, there goes the driveway!  I immediately slam on the brakes and turn on the turn signal and Jerry gets the message.  And I am actually able to turn around on one of the few bits of shoulder in Kentucky which is in front of our land.

Next chapter:  What we found at the house....stay tuned.

Monday, November 22, 2010

From the Beginning, Part 1

Well, as many of you already know, this has been a real journey!  From the time we decided to sell the business until now (nearly Thanksgiving) has been about 8 months.  In June, we closed on the house and on June 29th, packed up the moving van and headed out with all the dogs and most of the possessions, and a dear friend named Erin who worked like a slave to help us move.  We left Cheboygan around 7:00 pm that night, after a false start in which Jerry tried to load the Kia van, loaded with breakables, onto the flat bed trailer that was being towed behind a 26 foot moving van, which was the biggest one that UHaul had available.  We had pitched stuff, and hauled at least 6 or 7 vans full of still good junk up to Salvation Army when I finally said "enough" and continued to pitch it out but kept the nicer things that I didn't want and threw them in boxes.  These will be sold at a yard sale in the spring.  That van was stuffed full!  But back to the story.

Jerry attempted to load up the van and the front end of the trailer popped up off the towing ball!  Erin and I ran forward, yelling and waving our arms as excited primates are wont to do.  All to no avail.  I could only pray that the van wasn't shook up enough that anything broke.  I had glassware, picture frames with glass, etc in the van, figuring that nothing would fall on it as it would in the moving van.  Jerry carefullly backed off the trailer and then we spent another 20 minutes backing and forwarding the moving van to reattach the darn trailer.  Finally that was done and then we tried again.  He got it on, we secured the heck out of it and then everyone hit the bathroom and we loaded up the "loose" dogs into the vehicles, the crated dogs were waiting patiently.  I was driving the truck with a camper shell on it with most of the dogs in the back in crates, Jasmine was loose in the back seat, her 4 week old pups were in a crate next to her and the three older ones were in the front seat of the moving van with Jerry. After a bathroom break, we were finally on our way.  We hoped to get to Coldwater, MI that night at the very least, at the very best, we would drive all night, maybe sleeping a couple of hours in a rest area and working our way south steadily.  We had packed all day with the help of Erin and her family,  for which I am eternally grateful.

The photo below is the size of van we had.  We didn't have a cool horseshoe crab on there but did have a really neat green sea turtle on ours. 

We arrived in Indian River and decided since it was close to 7:30 pm that we really should stop and get a bite to eat on the way.  Jerry was driving the moving van and pulling the flat bed truck with the van on it. We were tired but exhilarated, we were actually moving to Kentucky!  So clutching our McDonald's burgers and cokes, we headed south on I75, where in about 30 minutes, Jerry called me on the phone.  Something was wrong with the van.  What now?  The oil light came on and stayed on.  He had thumped it, tried changing speeds, etc. but it stayed on.  So we pulled off at the truck stop just north of Grayling.  The sun was just getting ready to set and I had horrible visions of having to unload that huge van and reload it on another van.  I was going to sue UHaul for all they were worth if we had to do that.  I nearly lost heart when I thought we would have to repack everything.  Jerry checked the oil and Erin and I took the opportunity to clean out the dinner trash and hit the bathroom again.  He couldn't figure out what was wrong so we decided to continue on.  So we did.  And at 50-55 miles an hour, it takes a good while to get anywhere.  Poor Jerry was exhausted, all three of us were.  

At Alma, MI, Jerry called me and said "I have to pull over, I'm so tired, and need to take a nap.  We got off the highway and pulled into a WalMart parking lot that was well lit.  I decided to go to the bathroom but they had just closed and wouldn't let me in.  I didn't have to go all that bad and so really concentrated on other things so I wouldn't obsess about having to go.  Jerry put his head back and tried to nap, I was all Pepsi'ed up and figured I'd better walk the dogs. So got Jasmine out and walked her, let her nurse the babies and put them away.  Erin wanted to help but I said "you nap, I can do this".  So I spent about an hour walking everyone, giving everyone water.  They were a little bit "panty", they had been panting and their feet had sweated a little bit and this gives the doggy smell that is sometimes noticed.  Everyone was ok, and everyone emptied out and were glad of a drink.  The pick up is very tall and I had to climb in and out and move crates to get to dogs in the back.  But finally everyone was done.  I got in the cab and tried to relax and doze but just couldn't quite do so.  I turned on the radio and found a talk station and think I finally conked out for about 20 minutes.  

There was a knock at the window.  It was Jerry and he wanted to move on.  He said he couldn't sleep and we needed to find a bed. At this point we are barely a normal three hour drive from home but it had taken us 5 hours.  I thought we would never arrive at this pace.

So we got going again and I was leading, since I knew the way.  Darned if I didn't miss the exit onto 127 and so over the highway we went, right onto what immediately became a narrow 2 lane asphalt road.  Uh oh.  No place to turn around. So Jerry went up a ways and tried and tried to back around but couldn't so he gave up and went on down the road to look for a better place.  Erin and I went up and parked under a light by the over pass and waited and in about 10 min. he was back. But another 30 min. had been wasted and we were an hour north of Lansing and God only knew where we would find a hotel.

I knew there was a Red Roof in to the West of Lansing, I'd seen it but didn't know what exit it was. We got to town and took the by pass around the west side and the eternal road construction made the road really rough.  With everything so torn up and the signs down, I couldn't find the sign and so we passed right by it.  Finally, towards the south part of town I saw a sign for a hotel chain, I can't remember which one it was. At this point is is about 2:30 am.  We've taken 7 hours to drive a normal 4 hour drive.  It's becoming apparent that it will take us 4 days to get to Kentucky.  Even worse, the hotel is not "just off the road", it's several miles down the way.  We finally get there and go in to register.  I don't mention the dogs.  I can barely remember my last name and have no idea what my birthday is.  I mean, we were really, really tired!  Thank God that I'd walked the dogs beforehand.  The charge for the night was over $100.  I almost had a cow but was too tired to think and all I wanted to do was get into bed.

So Erin and I went up to bed and Jerry had to walk the three old ones. Then he brings four of them into the room to sleep with us.  Nuh uh.  Take them back to the truck.  So he left two of them in the room and put the other two out.  One was Hayley, who would have paced all night and has an old dog's bladder, and one was Justin to keep her company.  I felt bad they had to camp out but peeing on the rubber floor of the moving van floor in the front seat was better than having her pee on the carpet which I knew she would do.  However, they did stay dry in the truck.  So Buttercup and Charlotte stayed in the room with us and of course, one of them peed on the floor in front of the bathroom door.  Darn it.  

We were all in bed by 3:00 am and by 8 the next morning, I was up and out taking care of everyone, feeding, walking, etc.  At 9:00 we were ready to hit the road again.  Today!  Today would be the day we got to move into our new house!  I couldn't think about the huge amount of unloading.  I couldn't think about anything except getting on the road and GOING.

And the oil light was  still on.

Part 2 to follow.......

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cumberland Gap and Cumberland Falls

I have been meaning to start this blog for some months.  As so many of my friends know, we picked up and packed up, lock stock and corgi, and headed south from the wilds of Northern Michigan to the wilds of Southern Kentucky in July.  We have worked very hard the past few months on the house and the barns and getting settled.  There is still a lot to do and a lot of things to blog about.  But we decided to take a day off this week and took a day trip to Cumberland Gap and Cumberland Falls in Eastern Kentucky.  (You can look these places up on Wikipedia to read more about them).  I have been to the Gap a few times and adore it.  And there is so much more there to see and we will be going back and touring the cave, the Hensley Settlement and the trails in the future.  But I wanted to give Jerry a taste of Kentucky that he hadn't seen. Well, ok, he's actually seen very little of the state as I have.  So we will enjoy exploring it together and since we are near the Tennessee state line, will be making trips down to that area, too.  So sit back and enjoy our day trip!
Here are photos of Cumberland Falls, the largest ones this side of the Mississippi and below Niagara, I hope I have that correct.
Here is Jerry with Promise who does not look too happy about the second trail name:

 This is the Cumberland river just above the falls:
 Jerry and Promise at the entrance of the Park:
 During a full moon, you can see a "Moonbow".  We have a full moon right now.  Maybe we will go see it next spring:
 Cumberland Falls:

 Looking down the river after the Falls:
 Jerry, Promise and Trinity near the edge of the Falls:
 Looking at the falls from downstream.  I kind of like this photo:
 Looking downstream again:
 This neat rock formation is across the river:
 This is such a pretty waterfall!
Me in front of the Falls with Promise and Trinity:
 Me, again:
 Jerry looking very serious:
 Neat photo looking down from the path that winds around the area:
 Wild Holly trees!
 Yet further downstream.  For some reason this reminds me of photos taken at Yellowstone:

 Trail that goes down further from the Falls:
 The corgis did not want to go on the Trails, though:
 Cumberland River just approaching the Falls:
 After we spent a couple of hours here, we drove on over to Cumberland Gap.  What a wonderful place, and so much to do there but we basically just went up to the top of the Pinnacle and then went to the Visitor center and hit the bathroom.  Of course, I spent a few minutes in the gift shop and got a few small Christmas presents.
View from the Pinnacle:

 Looking to the right of the Pinnacle:
 Jerry loves this view!  Just wait til I take him to see Clingman's Dome!
 It's one of my favorite places in the world!
 Jerry stands with his left foot in Tennessee and his right foot in Kentucky.
 The paths are now paved with asphalt since the last time I was here.  Very nice!
 Cannon on the site of Fort Lyon.  This didn't look like a Civil War cannon to me, but more like something more modern used in World War II: