Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Odyssey

Well, we just got back from the mountains.  The husband was asked by a friend to help him with some strawberries, and of course it couldn’t be a simple there and back trip.  When we got home last night we felt like we’d never been so happy to see Goldsboro, NC (in no small part to a sea monkey who seems to think my bladder makes an awesome trampoline).  Following is a highlight reel of the trip.  I apologize ahead of time for the length...then again, it's supposed to be an odyssey.

Book 1 – How Getting A Ticket Was The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Us.

So since we were going to be in the middle of nowhere (the nursery was on Scaly Mountain and we stayed in the small town of Dillard GA, we were 2 ½ hours NE of Atlanta and 1 ½ hours SSW of Asheville), and there were (far as we could tell from the internet) no farm supply stores or irrigation supply stores around, we had to haul the supplies we needed from here.  There was no super great way to do this.  The husband got a trailer and went Friday afternoon to get loaded up.  When he came home a deep sense of foreboding settled into my chest (why oh why didn't I take a picture of this!).  The whole thing was leaning slightly in all different directions, haphazardly strapped down with three straps (I made The Husband add more, three just didn't seem sufficient to me), and was so tall he couldn’t park it around the house for fear of hitting the trees (I could just imagine going up at 10% grade with that thing and it all sliding off the trailer and crashing and burning down a mountain slope, and/or we'd be that poor truck parked on the shoulder with the hood up).  None of that was the major issue though.  The major issue was we were overweight for the amount of weight the tags were registered for.  We attempted to get a permit to carry the load leagally, but in his infinite wisdom The Husband didn’t go get the stuff until around four, so by the time he got back it was after five and since we weren’t pre-registered we couldn’t obtain this permit online.  Our only alternative: go back roads all the way and cross our fingers we don’t get a ticket.  So, as you can tell from the title of this paragraph, we did.  We went Hwy 64W, for the most part after Asheboro a winding two lane road through some pretty country that makes for a long, long drive.  We made it all the way to the town of Lenior NC before we passed a highway patrolman, the one with the SUV’s that go around checking weight.  I almost burst into tears on the spot.  We’d been so careful to go back ways, I sat with a map most of the drive trying to make sure we wouldn’t go by a weigh station, and all of our planning and stressing was for nothing, because he would definitely give us a ticket if he didn’t stop us from going at all.  We were (according to him) 7000 lbs overweight.  He gave us a fine and sent us on our way.  All in all it was the best thing that could have happened, because since we’d already been ticketed we couldn’t be ticketed again, so we headed straight for 40 with smiles on our faces because the idea of going down 64 around Lake Lure and Chimney Rock was not appealing at all to us.

Oh any by the way, we never saw another cop of any kind, and the weigh station we passed in Asheville was closed.  Of course.

Book 2: We Never Knew There Were So Many Mexican Restaurants in BFE

The place we stayed, Dillard GA, was about the size of Pikeville.  The closest town of significance, Franklin NC was maybe the size of Clinton.  There were three restaurants in Dillard, one of which was a Mexican place.  There were three places in Franklin to sit down and order, one of which was a Mexican restaurant.  Along the road in between we passed two Mexican restaurants.  I counted five in a 20 minute vicinity.  Along the way back from Franklin we passed through Silva and Waynesville before hitting Asheville.  There was at least one if not two Mexican places in those towns that we could see from the road we were on.  Never in my life have I ever seen such a concentration of Mexican places.  It struck me as odd, maybe I just need to spend more time in the mountains.  When did we eat Mexican you ask?  We stopped at Moe’s (I know, I know, it’s not ‘real’ Mexican, but it’s super delicious to me) at Southpoint in Durham. 

Book 3: How They Do It Better In The West

From the crew leader who was managing the workers that plugged all these plants we learned it was apple picking season.  That excited me, because I’m always looking for something new and different and fresh for our CSA boxes.  We decided on the way home we’d stop at the WNC Farmers Market in Asheville.  Having a coastal plain point of view, we thought it’d be smaller and quainter (is that a word?).  We were sorely mistaken.  It was twice as big if not bigger and the produce we found was some of the best looking produce we’d seen all year.  We weren’t sure if it was the lack of intense heat (I know they’ve been hot too, but compared to our heat and humidity I don’t think it’s been as intense), or maybe more rain at crucial times, but the produce was amazing.  So instead of waiting until this morning to ride to Raleigh or see what we could find locally, we decided to go ahead and purchase our CSA vegetables while we were there.  So if you get a chance to go up to Asheville stop by and check it out.  It’s not as ‘nice’ maybe as the one in Raleigh, but there are twice if not three times the vendors and everyone is very nice.

Overall the trip was nice.  The weather was fantastic (I might just move up there until I have Sea Monkey, The Husband can just manage the Maze himself).  The scenery was amazingly beautiful (I don’t know how those people go to work everyday and get stuff done.  I guess they get used to it, but I think it’d take me a long time to get used to that).  I got to take a nap without feeling guilty about all the things I need to be doing other than sleeping.   The trip home was basically uneventful (except that I rode from Hickory home with tomatoes and squash at my feet because it started raining, needless to say when I got home last night I didn’t think my back would ever be the same).  So my advice on mountain trip:, make sure you leave enough time Fri. afternoon to get a permit, hope you like Mexican, and stop at the farmers market, you'll be glad you did!

These were in the console, tomatoes were under my  feet, cabbage, apples, and peppers were behind my seat.  By about Smithfield I could no longer feel either of my feet no matter where I found to put them.  If that's not dedication I don't know what is.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Making Ready

Well, my last blog was a bit dry. I’ll admit it (I felt the dryness as I was writing, so I broke bad and asked The Husbands opinion.  That should have been my first indication to give up.  This is a man who willingly watches Ag PhD and Successful Farming and Agribusiness This Week or really bad reality shows where you can't understand what they're talking about because every other word is bleeped out.  He shouldn't have been my judge for entertainment value).  It was kinda one of those things where I saw I hadn't blogged in a month, felt guilty for neglecting it, and wrote about the first thing I could think of to write about.  Sometimes you’re on fire, sometimes you just aren’t.  This week I have fodder for a much more entertaining blog, so hopefully I'll get more smiles than yawns. 

It’s August.  Less than two months ‘til corn maze D day (yikes!).  So of course the place looks like the surface of the moon, or an atomic bomb went off.  I’m sure any of you doing drive bys thinking about booking a group is thinking we’re crazy.  That’s okay.  I promise it will be ready.  If you look at our track record we’re actually getting started on this a whole lot earlier than last year.  That’s what The Husband’s been working on this week, disking up the existing rye grass (if you can call it that), leveling out the ground (again with the Gator and a chain-link fence), and planting new grass.  It’s a rather big area of grass, and my father-in-law had the idea that if The Husband sat on the front of our Gator (can you tell I’m a little obsessed with the Gator?  Forget diamonds, get me something like that I can ride on and I’m happy), he could get it done a lot quicker.  I’m all for efficiency, so I figured we’d try it.  Well, it was an epic fail.  Apparently the spreader requires pressure to do the spreading, and while attempting to hang on to the Gator The Husband didn’t have the force required.  So it was back to ole Pat & Charlie.
Gator power!
Forget Mars, they could have launched the rover at the farm.
Baby Maze
After grass planting, The Husband decided to go cut trees down.  I was not involved in this, since felling trees was taken off my list of duties while I’m in my current condition (granddaddy calls it an ‘ailment’, Frank H says I’m ‘in the family way’, I like either of those way better than the word pregnant.  I just hate the word, kind of like moist.  The only thing worse is pregnancy.  Ugh) and it was really humid and since the baby has decided to park itself (update on this to follow) right on my lungs and/or diaphragm humidity makes my already compromised respiratory system have to work that much harder.  We've been wanting to cut down a couple trees, most of them dead ones, to a) make the place look better, b) provide more room for bonfires/picnics, and c) make room for the fence for the animals we want to get next month.  The Husband comes in sometime around 4 and his hands resemble baseball mitts they are swollen so much.  Apparently while cutting down one of the already dead trees he disturbed some yellow jackets and was stung at least four times on his hand.  All the good stuff has to happen when I’m not around.  His hands are still swollen today (I told him he now had man paws).  The only thing funnier is that a tree almost fell on him (apparently he didn't account for the wind, or the fact that the tree is dead which supposedly makes the fall more difficult to aim).  Both of these were prime moments that I happened to miss.  The good news is he didn't get them all cut (due to the yellow jacket attack [is it weird I want to call them tracker jackers?  D*** you Hunger Games!]) so hopefully more shenanigans will ensue that I can photo/videograph.

As promised – baby update for all of you interested readers.  So last week we had our halfway point ultrasound, and I’m pleased to announce Sea Monkey is a GIRL!  I guess that solves the mystery of a nickname.  If we'd had another boy I'd hate to call him number two, for obvious reasons.  I think The Girl will suit just fine.