Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Country Life

CONTENTS
COUNTRY LIVING
LIFE HACK
BAKERY REVIEW
RV PARK Revisited
BOOK REVIEW
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COUNTRY LIVING:
Yes, I've come to realize that even though Walmart is only about 12 miles away, we are still in the country.

We can't get high speed cable internet or phone. Luckily, there is at least DSL and cell service.

There is no recycling garbage...sigh...I drove 30 miles to the county recycling center to check it out. Since there was no recycling pick up, I figured, I go once a month and deposit them at the county center. Maybe I'd even ask the neighbors if they could recycle just one type of item and I'd take with me. But, alas, I was very disappointed. I arrived way out in the back country, to see large garbage containers with no labeling on them, so no way of knowing what should be deposited where. A sign by the building stated to not drop off anything before seeing an attendant. Hmm, where's the attendant? In Neptune, NJ, if you drive up to the recycling center, an attendant comes out immediately, all full of himself, asking what we were dropping off and proof of residence. Not here in Carroll County, TN.

No grouchy attendant giving me the 5th degree. I REALLY want to recycle my garbage. What a waste of resources and space to throw plastic, paper, glass, aluminium in with the regular garbage. So, I go inside the building. I see a lot of shredded paper, a large factory fan blowing and making a lot of noise, but no humans. I peek in the big work areas...no one. I go into the office...no one! Am I in a horror film? Have they all turned to Zombies and are going to attack me? I was actually a little nervous. Out here in the middle of no where. No witnesses. Help!!!!
No one came out to attack me, nor did anyone come out to help me. So much for the recycling center. I may have to write to "someone" in the County and ask what's up with this?

Some bills have no option for on line payment or even credit card payment. I actually have to write a check & mail or drop off the payment!! But the bills are fewer than NJ living. No water bill, no sewer bill, no gas bill.

Local folk don't understand fences, except to keep cattle, horses, goats in, but not dogs. Dogs come by to greet the neighbors.

For any "big box" stores other than Walmart, we have to drive 27 miles.

The only grocery store is Walmart, unless we drive 27 miles to Jackson.
NJ Turnpike

It's quiet

We can't see our neighbors.

There is no dog licensing required.

The major highways are not crowded
No toll booths.

Population of Cedar Grove is only approximately 2400. That is a population density of only about 26 people per square mile. Compare that to our old location, Shark River Hills, NJ had a population density of  4200 people per square mile.
42 HUNDRED!!!!

Ooh, ooh, just saw a deer trot across the front lawn! Ahh, the country life.
I'll accept the negatives of country living because the positives oh so very much outweigh the negatives!
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LIFE HACK:
How to eat a gourmet cupcake. You know the "in" cupcakes, the cupcake stores that was all the fad and now fading. The cupcakes are large and the icing is even larger, higher, than the actual cupcake! I enjoy trying out new cupcake places. Most times I am disappointed but it's still fun trying all the unique flavors.
But how do you eat those darn cupcakes with all that icing?? They are too big to really take a bite with both cake and icing included in the bite. I usually end up using a fork and knife and eating it like a meal. But the icing top heavy cupcake usually topples over. The mystery is over.

Cut the cake part in half horizontally. Then take the bottom half and put it on top of the icing. Genius! You now have what is basically and piece of layer cake! I have tried this and it works wonderfully.
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STORE/BAKERY REVIEW:
Speaking of cupcakes, I have tried two "local" (if you can call anything local to itty bitty Cedar Grove) cupcake bakeries.

Woodstock Bakery - Jackson, TN
My rating 3 out of 5
Prices were better than most "gourmet" cupcake shops at $2.25 per cupcake. The cake part was moist, dense and tasted home made. They had the correct, in my opinion, amount of icing. Although icing swirled high on top of the cupcake looks impressive, it can be too high and too much icing to really enjoy the cupcake. You need a more balanced ratio of cake to icing, which Woofstock understands.
Their flavors are unique and named after many Beatles tunes.

L & T CAKERY, INC - Milan, TN
My rating 2 out of 5
First off, be forewarned. You will be heartily laughed at if you mispronounce local town names. The town where this bakery is located is called Milan. Now us "Yankees" would pronounce it mee-LAN, like in France. But no, this town in TN is pronounces MY-lin. I snicker every time I have to say it that way.
Back to the review...
Very expensive. $3.00 per cupcake. $2.50 if you buy 4. But, if you buy the 5th, that is $3.00. I would think they'd continue the discount after 4 purchased.
Cake tasted like a box mix. Very airy. The icing was double the height of the cake. So with an airy cake and a very top heavy icing, this was even difficult to eat using my split the cake method.
And to top if off, not very good icing.
But I'll end with a good note. Their refrigerated Coconut Creme cupcake was excellent.
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RV PARK Revisited:
COLUMBUS-BELMONT STATE PARK - Louisville, KY
I have reviewed this prior in my June 17, 2014 post. We returned to this park for the first 2 weeks of July, our final days before settling down in a house again. We had a different site this time. Although the first site #34 was nice in that it was an end site, it was in full sun. Our last 2 weeks, we were located on the other side of the park. What a fabulous site #26! Huge, lots of shade, but open enough for clear sky for satellite set up.
View from our front door
View from behind the RV
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BOOK REVIEW:
The Monkey's Raincoat (Elvis Cole, #1)The Monkey's Raincoat by Robert Crais
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Could have been a bit better if the responses "unh-hunh" were not repeated over and over and over.
Exciting, action packed,suspense. I'm surprised how much the PI gets away with. Elvis and his side kick Pike are a couple of macho types, with Elvis having a soft side and Pike has a not so much soft side, but if you get to know his character a little, he can be likeable in a scary way.
I look forward to reading more, but hope the conversations have a little more depth. My husband has enjoyed the series a lot.

Fish FarmFish Farm by Walt Sautter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book. It reminded me of Carl Hiaasen books, but minus the quirky characters, but the characters certainly get themselves into difficult circumstances. How do they deal with the problems? Ahhh, that's the sick charm of this book.
People end up down and out for a number of reasons. These guys all have a different story, but they are all brought together and become friends in this bad area of town. Gangs are harassing and demanding what little money these low income guys have. What to do? What can they do? How long can they take this extortion? If you stand up to the gang, you may just get yourself killed.
There is a hero in a morbid sort of way.
There were many, MANY editing mistakes, misspellings, words left out which interrupted the flow of the book because I had to take a second or two to fill in the missing, sometimes essential word.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

What have your done with the Buskirks?

"a smile from a politician served the same function as the noisy tail of a rattlesnake."
Excerpt from Changing Woman

Yea, it's been a while. I just think of ourselves as "normal" people now. Why would anyone except our parents want to read a blog about a retired couple living in Tennessee? I have been pleasantly surprised at the many friends that have said they look forward to my continued blogging.

How weird to not have a section called "RV Life". Our RV is a mess! We have been emptying it as we need things. Our solar panels are finally being used! The RV is not hooked up to electric. We keep the fans going so the RV isn't so horribly stuffy and we use the lights to look in the nooks and crannies of the RV to find things to bring into the house. I'm making an "RV pack list" for items that need to be replaced since bringing them into the house.
We've been in our 1500 square foot house for a month and I'm so glad we didn't go large. I am so overly concerned about bringing too much "stuff" into the house. Scott & I have had two arguments since moving in. We RARELY argue, so 2 in a week's time in very unusual.
I'm so afraid of having too much in too little of a space.

We've spent a lot of money. There are certain things we won't compromise on.  Our two large expenditures being $1000.00 on a mattress, $1000.00 on a sectional, pet friendly couch. Reviews will follow once we've used them for a while.
What a great feeling to be able to order items on line and not worry about where we'll be and if the RV park accepts mail delivery.

I'm quite disappointed in the lack of yard sales and the disappointing flea markets and thrift stores. I was hoping to purchase most of our furniture second hand. The Goodwill was mostly clothes. The household items were just piled up and no furniture. The Habitat for Humanity "ReStore" was very disappointing, although I did see a couple of lamps, but Scott nixed them. The flea markets are either dirty junk yards or more organized and way too high priced. So after a month of hoping for yard sale bargains, it looks like we'll have to purchase or make pieces ourselves.

I am loving our property and very happy we made the transition to a house again.
This wasn't much of a post, but it's a start. Things are going well.
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AUDIOBOOK REVIEW:
The WoodcutterThe Woodcutter by Reginald Hill
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

There is probably some great ending to all this talk, talk and more talk.
The plot was really interesting, but then the years rolled on without much progress. Is he guilty? Is he falsely convicted? Does he have an alter ego? What is the real story. I'm curious, but not enough to keep listening. Couldn't finish.

BOOK REVIEW:
Changing Woman (Ella Clah, #7)Changing Woman by Aimee Thurlo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having visited the Navajo nation and learned about Hogans and the Dineh, I really enjoyed that aspect of this book. I enjoyed the main character who is a female Navajo police officer. It's interesting to see here deal with both the traditionalist trying to keep things as they have always been and not wanting to lose their uniqueness, and also living a more modern or "anglo" life.
The drama itself kept my interest and I look forward to reading the next book in this series.



Saturday, July 26, 2014

We live here????


This post will be "all over the place". If I try to organize my thoughts too much, I'll never get a post out. So bear with me until things slow down and living in a house becomes normal.

RV LIFE:
Oh the disgusting mess our RV is in!!!! We've just been transferring items a little at a time from the RV to the house as we need them. The RV is stuffy. Scott has the solar panels charging the batteries, so we are able to keep the fans running in the RV. But what a mess. The cabinets are open, the bed is unmade, the plastic storage boxes are in the middle of the floor waiting to be sifted through. What should stay in the RV and what should go into the house. And when it goes into the house, will we need that in the RV when we go on a trip? Lists for things we need for the house, lists for what we need for the RV, a list of what we'll have to pack when we decide to travel.

At least our now neglected RV has a safe place to rest. There is a short steep incline up our driveway. Scott assured me our truck could pull the RV up that. So the day we do pull the RV to the house, Scott is a nervous wreck. He tells me he's so nervous about getting the RV up the driveway, he feels like throwing up. Now I'm just furious!!! He assured me prior to purchasing the house, it would be no problem. I would not have bought the house if there was a problem storing the RV on our property.

We all made it up the driveway. Just a tiny scrape and our Ford F-350 didn't even break a sweat, unlike Scott. He knew "the wrath of Debbie" would be upon him if things didn't work out.
The RV fits beautifully between two of our garages and there's even room to let the slides out.

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BROWSING THE WWW:


Actually, my Father sent me this link to the tallest flag pole displaying our American Flag. It is amazing that this red, white and blue cloth can stir so much emotion. Of course, it's because of what it stands for. Our freedom and that freedom is because of the sacrifices made by families whose loved ones have fought for our freedom. I cannot imagine what it is like to be dropped off in a strange country and then have to fight for your life and kill people that are fighting for what they think is right also. And on top of all that...many are not even of legal age to drink, yet they can carry a gun, kill and defend our country. It is a necessary evil. My heart goes out to all those that have been sent away from their country to fight to keep our country free. Thank you.
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TENNESSEE LIFE, our little piece of heaven:
We really live here??? Every morning I can sit out on our covered porch and look out over the lawn and into the woods. Our property is full of birds and bugs and lizards.
Checking out the new "digs". And no, Devin did not "mark" anything.
I'm panicking about bringing "stuff" into the house. Scott is all gung ho. He bought a dish drainer. I had a hissy fit. I don't want that ugly plastic thing on the counter. Scott also bought a small plastic garbage can for the bathroom. I probably could have gotten one at Goodwill for $1.00. Wait!!!! Scott wants to go to home depot and start buying gardening things, and household things.
W-A-I-T!!!!!!! Geeze, give me a chance to get to Goodwill. Some things do not have to be new!!!! Nor does it have to be now!!!! We rarely argue, but we've already had two arguments about signing up for a landline and internet. He was going to sign up for land line without long distance. Why bother? We RARELY use the phone and when we do, it is to call out of area. I actually yelled at him NO! Relax! Wait! We've been living in an RV for 3 years and have done just fine! Just wait and let us settle in a little and we'll realize what we really need and don't.
As I write, Scott is already out shopping. I can see his purchases over $100.  in my email. I get notifications from the credit card company. I really am quite stressed about bringing in things that are not needed.
You can all keep Scott in your thoughts and send him calming vibes to deal with me. I don't think I'm all that pleasant to live with right now.

Scott is not good with money. I was surprised to hear him tell our realtor that if it wasn't for me, he would never have considered retiring at 55. He didn't think about saving or investing. I am quite conservative in my spending on most things. I think before I buy. Many times I see something I want and I'll give it a few days. If I keep thinking about it, then I must really want it, but many times I don't bother purchasing that item.  I do have a weakness for Silk & Alpaca hand dyed yarns though. Scott's weakness is electronics.

Scott went out two days ago to buy temporary fencing and a lawn mower. Surprising he did a great job! He originally was going to buy a new riding mower, but happened to pass buy a lawnmower service and stopped in. Jeff (owner) was a real nice southern gent. He happened to have a John Deere on consignment. It's 10 years old, but only 300 engine hours. It was sitting in a garage for many years and he got it back in good working condition. This mower cost $4000. in 2004. We got it for $1500. I was a little nervous about this "deal". He couldn't take a charge, because it was consignment. He did take a check, but no receipt given. He said he would deliver it, free of charge, the next day. Hmmmm. Let's hope so.
All's good. His word was good and we now have a new toy for Scott.

We put up 400 feet of temporary fencing. Our dogs don't challenge a fence, so 4 foot high and not real sturdy is ok, until the foster dogs start to arrive.


The woods in the back is ours also. We plan to thin it out a little so we can walk easily through the woods down to the lake (which I haven't seen yet!). 
And what do our dogs do now that they have freedom to run around???? Typical Lyla, just lazes around and watches.
 Go play!!! You have a huge yard now!
Some things never change. Devin watches over the yard in the blue chair and watches what we are doing inside on his green chair.

We are starting to feel so "country". A Green and yellow, John Deere riding mower, installed wire fencing, getting to know the locals, etc.
I can't believe we live here! Come for a visit. We have room for your RV.
Enjoy the view of our place below.
Front yard

Side front yard
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CRAFTS: 
I have not had much time to do any crafts. I knit in the truck when we travel 30 minutes to Jackson for shopping. We actually sat together, each in our own lawn chair in the living room and watched a movie and of course I knit during the movie.
This area is quilting country. Maybe I'll start quilting? There is a nice quilting/fabric store in town that invites you in to sit and chat and meet local ladies and find out what everyone is making and groups to join and lessons offered. I sure do miss my NJ Knitting groups though.

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Thank you all for your congrats on the house and encouraging me to still blog. Hopefully, I'll find enough things in Tennessee to blog about and you'll want to come visit and experience a little bit of Tennessee life with me.

Our Travels