A Vacation Story: The Bad

7.22.2014

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this journey, we don't vacation well.  The morning of the day we were leaving, I woke up with a stopped up nose and a sore throat.  I had hoped it was just a sleeping with my mouth open all night problem, but nerp.  I had an itchy, running like a faucet, sneezy nose the entire time we were there.  Do you think I took any Kleenex?  No.  I had to use napkins.  I looked like Rudolph.

The weather.  You can't really predict the weather you are going to have more than a week-ish out, but it was like Mother Nature was playing a seriously cruel joke.  The days leading up to arrival were hot, but pleasant enough.  The day we left was the most beautiful day I have seen all Summer.  The four days we were there?  Hot.  Heat index in the 100F+ mark, every day.  Temperatures themselves were in the high 90's.  Plus there were chances of at least 40% of rain and/or thunderstorms.  You know it stormed.  If you didn't already guess that the rain cover on the tent leaked, you haven't been following along.  The Vacation Gods hate us.

Every time Chris would try to go fish, it would start to rain.  Camping + rain + toddler = no fun.  Trying to keep her cooped up in that tent was not the most exciting thing.  Yes, that is an arm floatie in my face.  She wanted to go swim. Which we were only able to do one time because... weather.

Bridges.  I'm terrified of large bridges.  There are two bridges here.  One over Lake Barkley/Cumberland River and, the one pictured, over Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River.  This particular bridge is called the Eggner's Ferry bridge and is currently under construction because a barge hit it and destroyed two portions.  In the second photo you can see the repaired portion because it's a different color than the rest.  I mentioned it was still under construction right?  Because I am terrified of bridges of this size... again the Universe was like, "Hey y'all!  Watch this!", and told the construction workers it would be HILARIOUS to stop the traffic (already down to one lane) in the middle of the damn bridge!!!

While not exactly part of the "Bad" category, the Golden Pond Planetarium wasn't on the "Good" list either.

As evidenced by the looks on my kids faces, not the best experience.  They have different shows throughout the day and I chose one that I thought would be a good mix for us all.  I thought it was going to be about the different constellations in the current seasons sky.  And it was, to some extent, but they really should have mentioned a target age group for the different shows.  This show was clearly not meant for adults or older kids.  Also it only covered a couple of the constellations.  The demonstration of the laser lights at the end was better than the actual show.  Overall, we were not impressed.  Thank goodness it only cost $18.

The coup de grâce came on Monday.  While we were out perusing the animals, the animals were perusing our campsite.  Particularly, squirrels.

The squirrels at Land Between the Lakes have a serious hot cocoa addiction.  This is a regular hot cocoa container made of cardboard with a metal bottom and plastic lid.  It was inside our tent on the table with the rest of our food stuffs.  They also took out the majority of a loaf of bread.

But how did they get inside the tent, you say?  For your viewing pleasure...

That's right.  The cocoa-crackhead squirrels CHEWED A HOLE THROUGH THE TENT to get to the cocoa that was all closed up and minding it's own business!!  What's even better than all this is that I had to pick up squirrel shit from all over our bed because in their effort to escape the scene of the crime, they also tried to chew a hole through one of the windows next to the bed.  They were not successful in that plan, but did manage to get their cute little raisinette crap all over our bed.

Originally we had planned on going swimming the morning we were to check out because check out time isn't until 3:30pm, but that night is rained.  Again.  And on top of everything else that had gone wrong...

Broken zipper.  BROKEN ZIPPER!!

We were up, packed, and on the road in an hour and half the next day.  On the most beautiful day of the year.  The most camping worthy day.  All we wanted to do was get the hell out of that place!

A Vacation Story: The Good

7.21.2014

*Fair warning... long post with lots of awesomesauce photos!*

For me, the best part of this vacation was visiting the 1850's Homeplace located in the southern, Tennessee part, of Land Between the Lakes.  If there is anything you should know about me, it is this...  I was born in the wrong era.  I love to see and hear about all the history.  Though I am partial to phones and internet as well as electric and indoor plumbing, I would like nothing more than to buy some wooded acres, build a tiny house on it, throw up some solar panels, and call it home.  After visiting the Homeplace, I have new ideas banging around inside my head on what I want that tiny home to look like.  On to the photo tour!

First off, I forgot to take a photo of the actual entrance which is this sort of earthen mound.  You go inside the doors to the gift shop and museum type area that held artifacts and information.  Walk out the back doors and follow a little wooded path that opens upon this wonderful old farm!

This is the main house called a double pen.  It has this amazing breezeway, also called a dog trot.  While not exactly a "tiny" home, it's smaller than most modern homes.  The dog trot area is what immediately set my brain to thinking.  It was stupid hot and humid that day, but this home was cool and breezy.  All the windows were open.  The curtains were all gently blowing in the breeze.  This house was cooler than my own house is with the air conditioning on.  Why do we not build houses like this anymore?!?!

All of the buildings were picked up and moved to this location from the LBL area, with the exception of the main home which came from a nearby location in Tennessee.  I was just amazed that these homes/buildings were not reproduction, not made to look old, but actual original buildings.

This is the back porch area.  The open space in the wall to the right is the dog trot area that also includes the stairs leading to the upstairs open landing between two bedrooms.  To my right is the parlor and to my left is the kitchen.

Holy awesome kitchen Batman!  The crocks!  The iron skillets and pots!  THE STOVE!!  

 Looking out the front part of the open upstairs landing is a view of some of the crops from the era.  Tobacco and corn were growing in this field.

From the back view, you can see the kitchen and the smokehouse building.  As well as getting an upclose view of the shake roof.

Resident mouse catcher.  Do you see the width of these wooden floor boards?!

This was the large fenced-in garden.  What a great way to keep out unwanted critters.  Never occurred to me to fence the whole garden.  Nearby was the corn crib and garden tool shed.

 I feel in love with this sweet little single pen home.  It's much too small for our family of five, but was so cozy and efficient.

Plus it had this flower and herb garden right out back.  Who wouldn't love to just step out the back door for fresh flowers or to grab some parsley?

There were lots of animals (horses, oxen, chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs), a small blacksmith building, a huge tool barn, and lots of little outbuildings to house tools and food for the specific animals they were near. Absolutely worth a visit if you are near the area.

Next up on the tour of Good Things... the Woodlands Nature Station.  The Nature Station houses native animals that are unable to be released back into the wild.  I wanted to go to the Nature Station so I could see the red wolves.  There are fewer than 300 of them left in THE WORLD.  Recently (May) the wolves here had a cub!  Great news!  Bad news... we waited and waited and waited outside their pen, but no sighting of a single red wolf was had.  No sightings of their coyotes either.  Apparently they were all hiding out due to the rain that was moving in later.

We did see turkeys.  Much prettier on the table for Thanksgiving.  Very mean in person.  Several different types of owls, which were scary and fascinating.  Do you know how tiny a screech owl is?  A bobcat who gave no shits whatsoever that we were there, like any other cat.  A groundhog, a few deer, an opossum, a bald eagle, and lots of hummingbirds and other birds.

Inside the learning center, there were all types of skulls and butterflies plus pelts of various native animals.  A skunk is surprisingly soft.  They also had snakes which Rowan was fascinated with.  Next time we visit we will try to go earlier in the day when the animals may be more active.

Lastly, before going we decided that while we were there we would pick a place to eat out one night.  I looked over the restaurants in the area.  Considered visiting Patti's 1880's Settlement, but I decided I didn't want to visit the place that every one else visits when they go.  I wanted off the beaten path.  I found it at Belew's Dairy Bar.

It was the best decision I had on the whole trip.  Do you see these prices?!  I had no idea it was going to be such a great value.  Cheeseburger? $2.80.  Grilled cheese?  $1.85.  Most expensive item on the menu was the shrimp basket and it was only $6.20.  Oh and these prices included tax.  AND!  Do you see "curb service"?  That's exactly what we got.  They come right up to your car and you don't have to be parked right next to the building either.  When your food is ready, it gets put on a nice stainless steel tray that hooks right on your window.  We ended up talking to each of the three carhops.  They were the nicest, most friendly ladies.  Each had a smile and were very helpful.  The burger was a little flat, but tasted great and the milkshakes were amazing!  I can see why they have been in business since 1951!

I have been thinking about that Homeplace and how sweet the ladies at Belew's were and it's a good thing too because if I focused on the bad stuff, I'd have a stroke.  More on that tomorrow.

Do-Dads and Cars and Crayons! Oh my!

7.19.2014

That's right y'all!  The Etsy shop is now open!

After I made Rowan her cute little purse so she could carry all her little do-dads, I knew I had to make more and share the love.

They are the perfect size for a few crayons, a My Little Pony or two, a couple of Hot Wheels, and various other weird things that only toddlers and small children can find.

There is a button closure without a buttonhole so little hands will be able to close and open.  I picked out lining fabrics that match up nicely with the exterior fabric!

The best part is that even though I made them with toddler age children in mind, they could easily be used by little girls, teen girls, or even we ladies who only need room for our phone, wallet, and keys!

So many idea are floating around in my head right now!  Future bags are floating around waiting to be made! Stop by the shop (or click the "Shop" tab in the menu) and use the code 5OFFJULY31 to get $5 off your order until the end of the month!