We're Back

Hello again from the homefront. We've been on vacation for the past week, so it's time to settle down to the usual Monday routine. A little laundry. A little blogging. I have added another little activity, but I'm getting ahead of myself. First, let's recap...

As N/M/E has been feeling so well lately and agreed to hold the fort with the ferocious Bassets (wink, wink) here in High Point, Mr. T and I headed off to KY last Friday to spend the Labor Day Holiday weekend with Missy M, Ella Rhea, and Elmo. All are well in that neck of the woods, I'm happy to report. As Saturday was Mr. T's birthday, Missy M had made a yummy cake to help us celebrate (photo, left). Steaks on the grill. Corn on the cob. Who could ask for anything better?

We also enjoyed seeing all the fruits of her garden labors, like the beautiful watermelons (photo, right), including one with an eggplant sitting on top, which Ella-Bella is checking out in that photo (left).

Of course, what would a vacation be without a little DIY? You can now check off one huge project from her home improvement list: painting the downstairs den. It used to be this dull-as-dishwater beigey color with wallpaper to match...but NO MORE! It is now a bright yellow color called Squash, with Antique White trim. Wow!! What a beautiful change.

After work, it's always a good idea to include a bit of play, don't you agree? Leaving Louisville, we pointed the Endeavor toward the Smokies. On our way, we enjoyed one of KY's finest wineries, Jean Farris, just outside of Lexington...a lovely treat! Of course, we brought some home with us for our own wine tasting on the screened porch.

Even though I've been going to Gatlinburg and the TN mountains all of my life, I have somehow missed taking the Roaring Fork Historic Motor Trail. It's a narrow, winding 5-mile trail that allows visitors to "slow down and enjoy the forest and the historic (and well-preserved) buildings of the (former community of) Roaring Fork."

We took the drive and were delighted with every aspect. We even stopped for a "little stretch of our legs" by hiking to Grotto Falls (photos, left and right). Oh my goodness...how beautiful! I guess we took 40-50 photos between the two of us. This is supposedly the only falls in the park that allows you to walk behind it. What a treat! I've uploaded some of our photos over there in the left-hand column, so I hope you enjoy the Falls as much as we did.

On our next morning, we headed to Newfound Gap and Clingman's Dome...two old favorites. Unfortunately, the weather arrived at the Dome before we did, wrapping the whole area in a cloud. Still, we were lucky (?) to see a black bear on the road back down the mountain (photo, below, right). He was quite intent on digging something out of the ground, so he paid little attention to us in the car...with the open window...just a few feet away from him. Yikes!

We came back home, rested up and with all good intentions of finally finishing off the remaining boxes in the garage, but alas...didn't quite reach that goal. Still, we continue to make a dent...slowly but surely. I'll let you know when I can finally park Lillie Pearl in the garage...that'll be a yahoo-day, for sure!

While we were away, our garden continued to produce (photo, below left). I was delighted to see all the tomatoes, peppers, and beans on the vines Friday morning. I used the majority of the tomatoes to make a sauce for the Eggplant Parmigiana we had with our dinner Saturday night. Yummy! But it will be hard to top the juicy, sweet watermelon we had yesterday, courtesy of Missy M. I wish I could take a picture of just how good this watermelon tastes!

And, my little extra activity that I've added to my morning routine? Well, spurred on by that 3-mile RT hike to Grotto Falls (and having finally recovered enough for a good walk not to cause muscle pain in my legs...:), I'm back to walking again. Yes, this morning I laced up my New Balance 740's (found them in a box the other day!), fired up my iPod (which had just enough battery "juice" to make it), and was able to do 4730 steps without any leg or back pain. Yippee!! And, I have to say it again...our new neighborhood is simply fabulous for a morning walk, since the half-way point is the park on Oak Hollow reservoir...I walked all the way out on the point to where the picnic shelter is this morning. Waved at some boaters out on the lake. Lovely, indeed!


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