Well, last week I was just telling y'all about driving up the Natchez Trace and eating at the wonderful Council House in French Camp, Mississippi. We really had fun on the Natchez Trace, but after a long day of not camping, we were pretty worn out. So when we finally rolled in to Nashville, we got a room at the Hermitage Hotel. It was beautiful and after we rested up, we were back on the road to meet my brother in Lexington, Kentucky. My brother loves horses and horseracing, so, this year and another one, he's been getting us all tickets to the Kentucky Derby. We were excited to meet up with him, but on the way, we got a little hungry and stopped here:
Wow. Just wow. We really like ice cream and the listeria outbreak at Blue Bell has pretty much broken my heart. Thankfully these guys are still up and running! Chaney's Dairy Barn makes all their ice cream from scratch, right on sight-- by that I mean that they do everything from milking their cows to churning up the ice cream right there on a farm just outside Bowling Green! They also make this:
They call it a "Moo Pie." It's a cookie baked all warm and tasty in that little skillet and topped with the creamiest, most delicious ice cream ever! I told Better Half that I had some of those tiny skillets at home and now he wants me to try to make our own little "Moo Pies." Maybe we could top it with some of that Best Ever Banana Ice Cream we made all last summer! That sounds pretty good now that the temperature is well into the 90's!
Oh, and Chaney's is kind of a Kentucky cultural icon. It was even mentioned on Justified! My daughter loves that show! Here's the clip:
Better Half and I recently took a trip up the Natchez Trace. Things got a little scary, but you can read about that here. Today I wanted to tell all y'all about the spectacular lunch we ate on the Trace.
If you read the last post, you know that the Natchez Trace isn't exactly flush with cell service, but before it conked out completely, I was able to get to my trusty trip advisor app to find the Council House Café. The restaurant is run by the French Camp Academy, a private Christian home and school for abandoned and orphaned children. It operates the restaurant, gift shop, and a bed and breakfast. Student residents work at these businesses as part of their job training and the profits fund scholarships for the graduating students. The whole set-up is, frankly, awesome.
Plus the food is amazing!
That's homemade bread stuffed with 10(!) slices of bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and creamy mayo, or, as Better Half dubbed it, the best BLT ever. And Better Half knows BLTs!
After we ate, we went to pay our bill and were directed to this sign:
Curious, I asked how many people skip out on their bill. The woman in charge told us that never happens!
With our bellies full and our faith in humanity restored, we got back on the Trace for our trek to Nashville!
More on our stay in Nashville coming up!
I love camping. By that I mean that I love our camper trailer. I might have mentioned before how much fun it is to camp in our little Cameo camper. It's like a miniature house. We have a great little kitchen, full (and private!) bathroom, a soft, comfy king-sized bed, and power to charge all our electronics, watch TV, and generally live in the 21st century! Our camper is great! Just take a look:
We've been happily camping in our Cameo for a while. We've been to some very nice campgrounds and also some very sketchy ones. The Cameo is a great place to relax after a long day of hiking, biking, and communing with nature.
Well...apparently all this enthusiasm has made Better Half think I'm down for some real camping. Like sleeping-in-a-tent-type camping. So he bought this:
I'm not complaining, it's just that, if you'll the compare photos, there's a significant difference between the Cameo and the Jeep Camping Recreation Tent. I'm also getting the impression that Better Half is spending too much time on Amazon...
Oh well, I'll give it a try...
The plan -- jump on the Natchez Trace, head towards Nashville and on the way, see the sights, eat and camp along the way...
So off we go, with our amazon tent, a couple of sleeping bags from our camper, pillows, two towels and a bar of soap...
Oh yeah...and plenty of 'this camping thing is going to be wonderful' ideas.
Ah-- the Natchez Trace-- a historic path first used by Native Americans, linking the Tennessee, Cumberland, and Mississippi Rivers. As Americans moved west, the Natchez Trace was commissioned as a postal road by Thomas Jefferson, providing passage for settlers into the Louisiana Territory. The history of the Natchez Trace is wonderfully interesting and the scenery is beautiful, so it seemed like a great place to camp.
The Natchez Trace also has a speed limit of only 50 mph, over its entire 444-mile course, which basically means that we weren't going anywhere fast. And that might have been fine if we had cell service, but we didn't. After about an hour of moving at parade speed and not even being able to check my e-mail, I started to ask myself a lot of questions...
It was becoming pretty cold and drizzly, not exactly the best camping weather and we hadn't thought to do a test run of our little tent, we just tossed the Amazon box in the back and hit the road. What if our tent leaked? What about all our electronics? How would we charge them? What if we killed the battery in the Jeep? It was going to be really cold and dark in the back of the Jeep too. Plus I'd noticed a lot of foot and bike traffic along the Trace-- a lot of really questionable-looking foot and bike traffic. Would we be sharing those free public campsites (and public showers) with hobos?! And what about security?! The Cameo has a dead-bolt locking doors and windows. That tent just has a zipper. Not to mention that I once saw an episode of Criminal Minds that started almost exactly like this...
Yep, I'm backing out of this camping idea, but how to tell Better Half?
Plenty of miles down the road, a stop for a supper of yogurt, berries and cashews...dang, is that a turkey? Yes, it is a turkey! And a deer! No, several deer! I want my camper. I'm tired. I want to get off the Trace...
I’ve always loved popcorn. It’s a favorite supper food. All I add is cheese!.
Yeah, I know you feel bad for Better Half...
When we go to the movies, popcorn is just as important as the movie.
We seriously love the stuff.
I remember when I was a kid, we would make popcorn on the stove in a huge cast iron pot. Mama would drizzle warm butter over it and sprinkle on a little salt. Better Half remembers, in the afternoon, he'd walk over to his Granny's house, pop some popcorn with her and have a little visit. Pretty good memories...
Over the years I’ve invested in many a popcorn-related gadget. Remember these?
Oh yeah! The Stir Crazy! I loved this thing and used it for years. First you put in a little oil and add popcorn. You then cover the base with that distinctive (and decorative!) yellow dome and plug it in. No fancy on/off switches here! The base heats up like an electric skillet and two searingly hot motorized metal rods stir the kernels for even and complete popping.
And then, there were the air-poppers...I was never really a fan of these. Their appeal was that they made popcorn with no oil—as the packaging says—“a delicious and lowfat snack!” What the packaging fails to mention is that the air popper also tends to shoot 300-degree bits of popcorn and occasionally red-hot popcorn kernels into the air. I had children. It was dangerous. I sold this gadget in a garage sale. Now that’s someone else’s problem.
Over the past few years, though, we’ve switched to microwave popcorn. I can admit that it’s not as tasty as other methods, but it’s quick and we’re busy, so microwave popcorn became our popcorning go-to.
The other night Better Half wanted popcorn and we were all out of the microwave variety. Somehow he found a jar of popcorn leftover from a gift package someone gave us. However, a search through my entire kitchen revealed that somewhere between 1985 and last week, our trusty Stir-Crazy had gone MIA.
Undeterred, we got a pot and put it on the stove to make popcorn the old-fashioned way!
Other lesser cooks might have googled a recipe. Seriously, how hard can this be? Yeah, it's been awhile, but we are of average intelligence, hey, and it's only popcorn, right?
We decided to wing it.
Some of our measurements might have been a little off…
The results were fantastic! Sweet and crunchy, salty and wonderful! This is popcorn from my childhood. Better Half's, too...
And WAY better than the microwave stuff!
In case it’s been a while since you made popcorn on the stove, here’s a recipe:
3 tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup popcorn kernels
1. Pour oil and corn into a four-quart pan
2. Cover pan, leaving lid slightly ajar and place over medium heat
3. When popping slows, remove from heat
4. Drizzle with melted butter and salt to taste
Do you have any great popcorn ideas or stories? Leave a comment below and share with me.
I passed by the fig tree today...
We have a new growth of figs, they will be ready mid-summer...
This tree has been around, at least since I have...Neighbors, friends and family members pick figs every summer. They have made fig preserves, pretend strawberry jam, fig cakes, etc...This fig season will be no exception.
And these cooks continue offering us (Better Half and me) fig stuff...
We don't like figs, in any recipe. No preserves, no fig/strawberry jam and no fig cakes; although, Better Half's 1st cousin, apparently, has a to die for fig cake recipe...still no, we don't like figs!
Better Half remembers his Aunt--mother-in-law's twin sister--coming up for visits and timing the visit around fig season. She and mother-in-law would preserve those figs for day and then, always insist we take a jar--I've probably had as many as 10 unopened jars just hanging around my pantry.
Having said all that--I will say--I love this tree! It alerts me to spring!
It's here and summer is right around the corner.
There's no place I had rather be in the spring than in the south.
One more time -- for good measure...just so we will remember...
There's no place I had rather be in the spring than in the south.
No truer statement I've ever made; hence, a trip to the Spring Pilgrimage in
A very simple definition of what the Pilgrimage means to me:
Owners of old homes open them to total strangers--so we may gawk and comment on the strange, wonderful and old things we see in the old home.
Now, Better Half swears we have been to many of the houses we toured this past week; however, I don't remember a one of them as being a house I toured about 25 years ago -- the last time we were at Pilgrimage...
I will concur; however,
they do all tend to run together in my mind...
The notable standouts--of the 6 or 7 visited--are the following, along with pictures of their unusualness.
Octagon in shape with 32 proposed rooms (each with its own entrance to the balcony) and 32,000 square feet, this one should have been a beauty! The mansion was begun in 1860. After completing the shell of the home, dang!, along came the war...(as in Civil War) All workers left, headed for the north and never returned. Hence the adage, 'D*** Yankees.'
A few southerners finished the basement and the family moved in -- yes, into the basement. It was only 10,000 square feet...
And so, husband dies of broken heart, wife raises 8 kids in the basement and home stays in the family until 1968 -- that's quite a long time. It was never finished and one takes a tour of the basement and parts of the unfinished second level which is really the first floor of the house...
It's quite beautiful -- as are the grounds...
Our little cabin in the woods was built right after our house was built -- 1984..
After the carpenters left our house, they marched right across the road and started building this one bed room house -- directly in front of the hay barn -- in the woods -- down a 1/2 mile dirt road, out of sight and out of mind.
Built for my in-laws and seldom used by them, it was mostly neglected save the occasional weekend visitor who chose to stay there rather than the big house, as we often referred to my in-laws house.
When Better Half half-way retired, the cabin was turned into his office. About one mile from our home, it was the perfect set up. There it became his office UNTIL his decision to relocate to our house because of better internet service and because the electricity didn't seem to 'go out' as much at the house as it did at the cabin.
Better Half moves to the pool house/storage room/exercise room -- the room I use to put everything I want to keep but don't know where to keep room.
And so, the cabin is empty again.
My brother and his family have stayed there from time to time, Better Half's sister and her family visited for some time while they built a new house, his other sister loves staying for a few days occasionally, and our niece and her family stayed for one year when her house burned down.
We are the latest tenants.
Remember, Son and his family stayed at our home while they were building their new house? Well, their new house is built and they have moved to it...
And so, we are moving back to our house and the little cabin will, once again, become empty, vacant, without inhabitants...
Although I love our house, I too, love the cabin. I will miss it...
A short tour and you will know why...
This old cold and rainy weather has to stop...
Ms. Easter Bunny is up and going...
while living in our house and having access to our hay barn,
created Mr. Snowman...
Dang, he's cute!
But...it's time for a change...
Mr. Weather has not been notified; however,
spring SHOULD be
to head this way!
I'm helping out...
Mr. Snowman is 'going away'
Ms. Easter Bunny
is taking his place...
Yesterday, about sunset, we added the final
to the Halloween display...
And then, it was off for a little trick or treating!
A few wonderful neighbors filled their little treat bags.
Breakfast, this morning, was candy and chips...
That's what I'm talkin' about!
A great way to end this most wonderful season!
My name is Susan. I'm a semi-retired businesswoman