Monday, September 29, 2008

The Path Less Traveled


...passed the kids in the pond...

.....through the clearing....

...beyond the stack of logs....

... by the tornado ravaged trees...

...on up the trail that has been our summer project...

...and you come to this. Way before we ever had our Smokehouse business our property was home to a Moonshine Making Machine! But of course the feds have to get involved in any successful business and apparently they shut the whole operation down. How frustrating is that?

I wonder if we can restore it to all it's glory?

I sit in quiet contemplation, imaging the yummy goodness that was destined for this little bottle.

But then I head on back down the hill. And find this little bit of yummy goodness upon my return home.

Such is life in the hallows of Tennessee.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Free Flying in the Fork

This weekend is the RC Plane "Fly-In" at Leipers Fork. If license plates are any indication, this little get together here in our little village brings folks in from as far away as Florida and Missouri and all states in between.

Although Rick used to have a radio control plane, he is happy to just bring the kids and watch, without the nervousness of how big a hit his wallet will take if a landing doesn't go as planned. (which is what this guy is thinking, I'm sure)

Of course, where ever we happen to go, the kids see someone they know. This time it was Austin's friend who came with his Dad driving in on this Tennessee-ified 1930 Model A. I'd love to stick ol' grandma up on top and drive it all the way out Beverly Hills.

Here's the little kids giving it a test sit.

Ya'll come back now, ya hear?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Acclimating to the South

Coming to the South from California was sure to bring many changes to our family, especially when it came to the kids. We wondered how long it would take for the kids to shed their cool Southern California persona for one of redneck simplicity. Well, not long apparently.

When we first moved into our new 10-OC home, the builder had commissioned a local artist to paint a picture of our home as it looked the day we moved in. Then he had note cards printed up that we could send out as change of address cards or general note cards. On the back he even had them personalized with our last name. What a nice touch! Now, most everyone who spells our last name adds an "e" between the L and the Y, changing our name to Hambley. We're pretty used to that. So the first thing we did was check the spelling on the back of our notecards. Amazingly there was no "e" added! How lucky was that? But wait, what was that? No "e" was added, but somewhere in there an "i" got added. So on the back of our notecards, if you ever get one from us, is personalized as "From the Hambily's". Yes, that's HamBily's. Oh did the kids have fun with that one! So in keeping with the southern tradition of going by nicknames instead of given names, the kids have taken on southern monikers.

Meet this guy. Growing up in Southern California this boy was known as Austin, or aka Bubby.
He is now a Bubba. Bubba Hambily.

This strong young man here already had the nickname Derick, but at school he went by Frederick. His southern name, however, is Fredneck Hambily.

Timothy has a nice strong name. But not quite twangy enough for the southern culture. He is now Tim-Bob. Tim-Bob Hambily.

This little guy is Jonathan. But he is yet a boy. So he is known as Jon-Boy. Jon-Boy Hambily.

Now with Amanda you would think she was born in the south. She has a very southern name already if we go by her traditional Amanda May. But we've shortened it to May-May. Everyone can pronounce that. May-May Hambily.

Rick's southern name is Yes Sir.

Mine is No Ma'am.

We're fitting in just fine here!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Southern Monster

When I first moved here to Tennessee I figured that there would be a few things that would take me a while to understand. Like what IS a Meat & 3 and why DO they sell Kerosene by the gallon at tiny little gas stations that have pumps so old that one can actually watch the numbers turn like an old odometer? But the most concerning one of all to me was that ever elusive and strange creature called a Bush Hog.

The first time I had heard of a Bush Hog a was pretty much scared out of my mind because all I knew is that I heard you would see them on the side of the road and in people's pastures and yards and I pretty much imagined them meaner than a wild boar in Alabama. I would walk up to the top of our hill terrified I would see a bush hog.

Then one day I even saw a caution sign on the back of a truck that said, "Bush Hog Ahead."

I mean how frightening is that that you can't even catch them or shoo them off because they are so just have to put WARNING signs out on the backs of trucks and on the side of the roads like that?!?! I had never heard of anyone ever shooting a Bush Hog either, so they must be some creature on the endangered species list. Either that or their hide is so tough that a bullet just bounces right off of it.

It didn't matter, I never wanted to come across one of those Bush Hogs although I never figured out what I would do if I ever did. Climb up a tree or jump in the creek or something. But everyone told me that one day, I would indeed come across a Bush Hog and when I did, I would just have to wait until it was safe to pass.

"How will I know when it's safe to pass one?" I asked.
"Oh you just know, sometimes someone is there to wave you by." was the reply.

Oh thank God! Hopefully when my turn came to experience the company of a Bush Hog there would be someone there to help me get passed it. Right after I locked all my car doors and told my kids to duck and cover, it would be safe to pass.

And then one fine day, I learned the truth...

...Bush Hogs are big mowers that trim not only grass but small trees and limbs.

Oh look! Here is someone now coming up upon this Bush Hog, that happened to be right in front of my house.

Safe to pass.

Carry on Bush Hoggers, carry on.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Because Friends Do Love At All Times

Word has gotten out all over about woman who kept a blog about her and her family, nienie She and her husband were in a small plane accident in Arizona. A flight instructor was killed and the wife and husband were badly injured. They have 4 small children, who were not on the plane at the time. People that they have never met, but who know their family through her blog and emails, heard of her story are currently trying to raise $100K to help this family offset some of the medical and rehabilitation bills. This outpouring of love has reached media outlets and is making news. For those of us who have been in the online communities for years know that this is nothing new. Love and connections become deep even among people who have never met in person, just through chatting online and opening up to each other.

The day my house caught fire, I called the fire department, my husband and then shot an email off to my group of online friends that simply said, "My chimney is on fire, gotta go." Then my power shut off.

After a long day dealing with fire trucks, Red Cross, confused kids and dripping water blackened with ash, it was time to use our hotel vouchers and head to our new temporary hotel rooms. When I opened the door to my darkened room, there on the bed sat a basket full of goodies....including snacks & things for the kids, light gossip magazines for reading and a big wonderful bottle of wine for Rick and I. How did that get there?

Once my online friends could not contact me through email or telephone, they organized amongst each other to find out what happened to me and my home. They eventually got a hold of the Red Cross who told them what hotel we would staying in. One of my friends in Houston happens to have a friend who lives in Franklin, TN. They called her and told her what happened. They pooled resources and delivered this basket to my room....before I had ever gotten there, they had it waiting for me.

One of the most beautiful and thoughtful gestures. EVER. From people I had only met through online connections. Love runs deep from many sources. Never sell it short.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Pitfalls of a First Year Gardener

Well the first year garden was quite fun. I sort of gave up on it half way through the summer, but the tomatoes did well regardless.

In California I had a little garden and actually had pretty good success, so here in TN I was feeling a bit over confident. In one area of the garden I planted some bell pepper and egg plant. I grew eggplant one year in CA and it did well and I thought I kind of remember what an egg plant plant looked like.

So when this little beauty appeared with its deep purple stalk, I assumed it to be egg plant. But then it got much taller than an eggplant. I soon realized that it probably wasn't an egg plant plant unless things in the south just sorta mutate on their own.

But I let it alone because it was doing very well in my garden and not a whole lot of other stuff I planted was doing well and I wanted my garden to have SOME success.

Then it put out these darling little flowers. So cute!

And these yummy looking berries.

But then I found out about a week ago that this is actually Poke Weed and quite poisonous, unless you are a little song bird. We had a good soaking rain yesterday so I went out this morning and pulled that little tree out, right after Rick told me that he almost ate some of those yummy looking berries.

Then I found this volunteer in the next bed over. Pretty sure it's Poison Ivy. It's doing quite well. I must have a knack for growing dangerous plants!

And after not seeing any pesky little bugs beside the Japanese Beetles, I came across this little stinker today.

Where do they come from? There isn't a garden a mile from my house in any direction! I should just toss all of them on the Poke Berry as some sort of science experiment!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Snake Rescue

Little kitty brought to my attention this black rat snake on our hill. Every summer we get a few that get tangled up in the erosion control mesh.

So I get out this: my snake rescue kit.

I put the towel over the snake's head basically so it slows him down if he tries to bite. I've never had one try to bite me, but you just never know. Then carefully I cut him free from strings. The first time I tried to cut a snake free, it took 3 of us, now I can do it on my own.

This particular guy was in a mess of mesh, so I decided to move him. You'd think I'd just pick him up with my hands, but this hockey stick will do just fine for today. We move him up to a place at the top of the hill where he is free to leave.

And there ya go!