Thursday, November 27, 2008

Up Tennesee Way - Almost. Thanksgiving

I couldn't turn down an invite for a Thanksgiving bite from Chip who handled my stone work recently. He talked about his property but I didn't think it would be as nice as it really is. He was low key about it...grumbling more about how well my creek runs compared to his that now runs on a trickle. But, it trickles into a nice sized pond full of trout that he raises.

Apparently with the small trickle the pond isn't a good environment for trout at the moment due to the ongoing drought in the area. Trout need plenty of oxygen I'm told, and the creek is the major supplier. Not much of a fisherman on this end, he was talking about two foot long trout. Sounds big to me!

Apparently his six acre spread did well when conditions were good for the trout. With signs posted along roadsides in the area people would tent out in the yard and woods for a chance at a good catch. Only fee was $ 5.00 a pound if you took the fish home with you. It sounds so simple. He adores the place and I don't blame him. I'd love to see it with the trees in full cover.

Three year old Adrian gives me casting lessons. This little guy knew what he was doing.

A ride up some dirt trails with Laddy Boy in back of the pickup with Chip's son who is back from Iraq for awhile. The views are impressive looking east to where Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee meet. Some stubborn oaks dotted across the landscape yet to drop all their leaves.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ice - Winter Creek Views

With temperatures far below normal the past week it was a matter of time I would see some ice build up around the creek. Not much, but I was able to zoom in on a few areas.

and some creek photos without the leaf foliage....

Looking east towards the pasture

West towards my closest neighbor

...and some logs waiting to be split. I really like this exercise though I am certain it will not be a fun chore after a few months.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cold Weather Days

Need I say more? I've adjusted my activities. Good time to get into website updating during these colder days, but this is getting silly. Temps are 15-20 degrees below normal!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No Water - Frozen Pipes?

I'm guessing there must be a clogged frozen area along the route to the gravity well. Part of it just lays on the soil deep into the woods leading from the well about 100 yards up into the hilly area to my north. Incidentally the well is shared with my neighbor if I hadn't mentioned it. It may be time to look into this situation but what else would be the cause? I do have a small drool once the spigots are turned on then nothing. Temps dipped below 20 overnight.
Frozen lawn:(

May also be time to get this wood stove figured out. It has a fan function but it didn't help yesterday after running for an hour. Should it blow very warm heat or not? It doesn't. Manufacture no longer in business. No luck in obtaining an owners operation manual. I had this thing burning from 10AM yesterday. Maximum temp achieved downstairs indoors was only 73. Upstairs much warmer as heat rises.

Another quandary. Should the stove be extinguished when the house is empty? I don't think the fire will go anywhere if I'm gone for an hour or so. I've done it a few times and it has spooked me, wondering if the place burned down. Problem is the warmth leaves the cabin very quickly once there is no heat source. I've seen it drop from 70 to 62 in a matter of a few hours.

Ah, life in the mountains. Fun, fun, fun.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oak Fall Color On Rich Mountain

These are the oaks I've been talking about shown on Rich Mountain. Other trees are near bare of leaves. Rich Mountain lies north of state road 52 and east of 515 with a maximum peak elevation over 4,000. Not all my oaks have lost their leaves; a few remain but they are away from the cabin. Still not identified, but I'll get around to it. They are colorful once the light hits them, otherwise bland looking.

Identifying all the larger trees around here is a real piece of work. So far I know I have the following.

  • Poplar
  • Red Oak - type?
  • White Oak- type?
  • Black Cherry
  • Maples
  • Chinaberry - yea that's an odd one
  • Sycamore
  • Flowering Dogwood
  • Hickory
  • Sweet Gum
  • White Pine
  • Eastern Red Cedar

And there are a few of these. At first I though it was a swamp oak due to the very rough bark. Now I have no idea. This is the hardest I've found to split for firewood, and yet part of the trees that were cut down years ago! Still tough as nails. Had to cut a slit with the circular saw to get a wedge in there to split.

Flower updates. They're still alive! these things are hearty as well. Forgot the name already. I'm bad:(

Monday, November 17, 2008

Daily Chore For Winter - Firewood

No shortage of finding firewood around here and it looks like plenty will be used over the next few days. Temps are supposed to drop below 20 overnight tonight. Brrrr. I'm trying to stay away from using electric heat except for mornings to get the temps up to 70 inside. Turned off until afternoon for the stove.

The fallen trees along the driveway (fence in background) should provide a few months of firewood. I'm thinking they were originally cut and bulldozed off the bank when the cabin was built in 1991. After 17 years they are still quite good for firewood. Damned logs can get heavy. Good thing the stove can only handle 14 inch logs. I've been working the one in the foreground with another twenty feet to go toward the trunk.

No I haven't gained a bunch of weight. This is my early AM winter working garb. As mentioned before it's pleasant in the morning after a 15 minute workout lugging firewood or shovelling dirt (plenty of that needed around here). Otherwise I'd be cabin bound all day.

Btw the stone guys are finished, or so they say they are. The hippy was an artist. If I have work done again he will get the call. I just gave up on these guys and figured I could handle minor fixes with some missing or incomplete grout work. I notice it but others would not. These guys are starving. Absolutely no work on the schedule. I'll get some pics up once I get all the stone shovelled and the drainage completed (bottom pic).

Early stages...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Where Did The Driveway Go? More Fall Foliage

A few pictures looking up and down my driveway upon returning from Florida last week. There's still some fall foliage to see but the colors are more on the darker side and not like the impressive colors of late October. I'll have to look more into the oak trees of North Georgia. Mine are almost bare of leaves but driving to town many haven't shedded. Incidentally the Live Oak is the state tree.

List of oaks in the state. Wow!

Oak, Black
Oak, Blackjack
Oak, Bluejack
Oak, Chestnut
Oak, Georgia
Oak, Laurel
Oak, Live
Oak, Northern Red
Oak, Overcup
Oak, Post
Oak, Scarlet
Oak, Shumard
Oak, Southern Red
Oak, Swamp Chestnut
Oak, Turkey
Oak, Water
Oak, White
Oak, Willow


Noticing some greenery around the area now that the leaves have fallen, I'll check into stuff that looks alive during the winter months. I didn't know ferns grew in the winter, but there are some healthy ones here and there.

More pics...

Here's a great source in identifying trees by leaf, bark, acorns etc. Now I'll know what I have.

Link to oak trees in Georgia.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Officially A Georgia Resident

After putting off a drivers license, primarily due to not being able to find my birth certificate, today I finalized everything by getting tags on my Ford. What a difference from Florida in the time spent obtaining a license and the plate. Blue Ridge is the closest driver license office(24 miles from home) a mere 25 minute ride up 515. Come to think of it no traffic lights in between either. Oh one, but it's a right hand turn. Find that in Florida!

The size of the DL office took me back. Room size could not be any larger than 15 by 15 feet, able to handle perhaps ten when they are busy. I showed ten minutes before open being the fourth in line. Had I arrived 40 minutes later when the crowd thinned out, time spent would have been less than 10 minutes. I was prepared ahead of time to take an hour plus. Love the rural life, no rush, no waiting in line...except WalMart on a Saturday night.

Upon practicing my photo pose it came out much better than my old Florida drivers license taken about a week after I quit drinking back in 2002. Shown with a six day beard. I just can't find the time to shave anymore...hehe. Note cold weather clothing!

Obtaining tags took even less time at the Gilmer County courthouse in Ellijay. Ten minutes...done. Those gals are probably bored most of the time.

Yes I consider myself lucky. Thanks Google.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Winter Has Arrived - Or So It Looks Like It

Nine days away and the place looks very different. The red and white oaks that did not change in color before November 1 made a run for it. Quick change and most of the leaves have fallen. With most of the leaf cover almost gone a few pictures are added to show the southern ridge (hill) that provides quite a bit of protection from winds. I've been meaning to climb this thing to see the view on the other side. It looks steeper in person.

Looking south...

Looking southwest...
Looking north. Hill probably towers thirty feet from the porch level and extends over the roof line in the next two pictures.

Looking northeast...

Back to the leaf raking exercise...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Peanut Country - Plains Ga

Trying to imagine what this little cracker town was like back in the 70's when Jimmy Carter's name became known worldwide must have been a sight to see. Upon driving west on Ga state road 280 into town, a half minute later the town is gone. Small indeed. About 630 residents.

I'm sure all the photos have been seen before, but I was kind of surprised to see Billy Carters service station has become a museum! Not many photos to share as I had camera problems and made the mistake of showing up on the wrong day as even the local restaurant was closed! So much for breakfast.

Peanuts. How do they grow and how are they harvested? Much like a tomatoe plant in so far as height and harvested like wheat with large combines. A few pictures shot outside of town. A peanut field adjacent to a previously picked cotton field is worked on.

A few more peanut farming pics...

And some town pics on an early Monday morning. I will revisit another day.

Train station with trains still running.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cordele Ga Hotel Hunt - Ashburn Inn

Headed back home and a stopover before my trip to Plains Monday.

I often wondered what the cut rate motels look like these days and been meaning to check a few out while going through the southern and central part of Georgia. After all, what's the difference between a $100 room and twenty nine these days? Sure enough you'll get a nice comfy king sized bed at LaQuinta or that other place I can never remember. Same sized bed at the Ashburn Inn in Cordele(south of Macon on I-75 at mile marker 101) .

Not as soft but why pay an extra $70.00 for that? A few less pillows and not as fluffy, but hey, if others aren't spending in these uncertain times I may as well do some budgeting too. The room has a coffee maker. That in itself is probably the most important aspect I was looking for. Yea, I could drag around a coffee maker, but eventually I'd forget it and buy another one here and there. Before you know it I'd have five instead of two at home.

At one time high speed internet was a priority before I signed up with Verizon this past summer. There seemed to be one problem after another connecting wherever I went. With any hotel one should always be aware of what kind of high speed you get if an internet connection is important while travelling. Hard wire is about the only service I could rely on, and many hotels have wifi that always gave me fits.

Hey look at gas prices here! Apparently Cordele has the lowest hotel taxes on I-75 or so a billboard tells me so. Looks like the lowest gas prices too. A mere five weeks ago I was paying $4.00 in this same state! Think it will go lower? I expect a bump up soon...they can't go straight down.

The rest of the room? Shower squirts out some pretty stiff water. Watch those private parts. Couldn't adjust the shower head. Microwave, fridge and a very good cable selection. Better than other semi pricy road hotels. Minor paint peeling here and there. Towels aren't scratchy(Verizon dead zone advertisement). Off to dinner at the Golden Corral, another excellent budget type choice for about $ 11.00. The Corral is a buffet style restaurant.

EDIT- $ 13.00. Prices must have increased.

Conclusion. I don't need to spend an extra 70 bucks for a USA Today. Nor do I need a continental breakfast which I never eat anyway except for a banana and a small OJ. I've always been fond of that other place I cannot name. Maybe I'll bring my own pillows and comforter next time to make up for the minor shortcomings.

Hampton Inn. Now I remember. And yes this small hotel has a continental breakfast too!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Florida Visit - Edison Ford Winter Homes

I do not miss this place whatsoever after moving permanently in August. Back in the early 80's it was the place to be when I moved here. Traffic light count is a good indication of the congestion. In early 1980 there was only one traffic light in Bonita Springs; last count was something like 25.

The Edison complex along the Caloosahatchee River covering 14 acres is a site I've always enjoyed touring, marking my third visit in 28 years. For botanical fans the Banyon tree next to the Edison Lab is well known in many parts. The tree was a gift from Edison friend Harvey Firestone in 1925. Original height was four feet. The picture tells all. Quite an impressive tree.

Aside from many of Edisons inventions the gardens are an impressive sight. Plants and trees from all over exist including another Indian specimen or the Mysore fig tree with a pretty wild root system.

A few more unusual plants...

Lipstick Plant.

Chenille, also from India.

The homes in the complex from foreground. Henry Ford winter home(under renovation), guest quarters, and the Edison home. Other small caretaker homes also exist on the property.

View along the river with the original seawall...

A view from one of the cottage porches...

Headed home Sunday while planning a possible stopover in Plains Ga, home of former president Jimmy Carter.