I see the train a comin’

Payton LOVES trains.

He plays with them at home, and he plays with them at our house, and if I’m not mistaken, he plays with them when he goes to see Grams and Pawpaw.

Sometimes, when he comes to Mammy Camp, we take a ride down to the track,

and he plays with them there.

Today was Mammy Camp day, and the first thing we did was to visit the track.  Only this time, 

we saw lights to the north.  So we got off of the track and waited.  It took a few minutes,

but Payton was not disappointed.  The engineer even waved!  

The train was long, and he loved watching each passing car.

We stayed for almost an hour.

I held him up, and he checked out that dinging thing with the flashing lights.  

We walked,

we sat,

we rummaged through the scrap iron.

He was excited that the last thing he came across

was a tunnel.

But between the train and the tunnel find, he stood by the track looking at the north end of that southbound train and said,

“Payton saaaawww the train.”

Everything that glitters

It starts with a blank canvas 

and paint squirted neatly in styrofoam to-go plates. And then…

the unexpected happens.  Well, it only happened once, and now I know what to expect…and that’s okay, because it’s Mammy Camp.  It’s a learning experience for us all.  They learn freedom of artistic expression, and I learn that

some tend to be a neater that others.

I’ve seen how happy it makes them to just be themselves, and the thrill they get from mixing paint and making new colors.  

And…Ive learned that the best way to get them to the hose

is to roll them out of the house on a dolly.  

Sometimes the girls glue and glitter.  We don’t do this very often because

I’ve learned that everything that glitters 

is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to clean up.

Just goes to show you

Today was one of those nasty, rainy days, so when Paton came to play, I really wasn’t sure whether or not we would be able to do the things outside that he enjoys.

But, after about thirty minutes, the rain stopped, and we headed out so he could drive the mower and work in the barn.

Lyndsey was out checking for eggs, so when we pulled up to the barn, she handed one to Payton.

He carried that egg from one chicken pen to another, stopping now and again to hold it with both hands as if it were some sort of treasure.

Then he discovered another egg…one for each hand.

Very carefully he would tap them together and smile.  

But, before long, he broke the second egg,

so we let the chickens eat it.

He never let go of that first egg,

and he continued with his work holding it tightly in his left hand.

He still had the thing when we walked back up to the house where he spied a little blue truck…

the perfect thing to continue his ‘eggventure’.

He pushed the truck around being careful to catch the egg when it rolled down the tailgate.

He he carried the truck and the egg to the shed where we park the golf carts.  And then, just like that, he was done with them both.

He hopped onto the back of one of the carts and said, “Ride down the hill”.  So we did.

We left egg in the back of that little blue truck, and you know what?  That egg didn’t even have so much as a crack.

And that just goes to show you…miracles REALLY DO happen.

Keeping up with the Disney’s

There is a new Disney princess named Moana, and I had no clue about that…until yesterday.  

You see, Josie keeps up with all those princesses, and not only that,

she will go to any length to align her wardrobe with theirs.  And that’s just what she did yesterday.  

Striking resemblance, don’t you think?

Like I said, I knew nothing about this Moana chick, so yesterday evening, when the four next door showed up for our park outing, I was a little surprised to see Josie’s fashion choice. (Remember, I didn’t know.)  But…I went with it.

You’ve got to give the girl high marks for creativity, because when I examined her outfit more closely, I realized that she had fashioned her top out of a 

Columbia fleece neck warmer.  She was able to keep it in place with a white cord tied around it.


we had our little outing…outfit and all.

I have to admit that when I opened my door and saw what Josie was wearing, the first thing out of my mouth was, “Is that what you’re wearing to the park?”

Hudson immediately chimed in with, “If you walk around half naked it’s a disgrace…at least that’s what Mommy says.”  

Oh well, the things you have to put up with when you’re keeping up with the Disney’s.

Pet Rock

So, a couple of weeks ago, I was watching my chickens have fun with some new straw that I had spread on the floor of their pen. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Josie headed my way dragging what looked like a turtle on a leash…only the leash

was attached to the turtle’s rear. 

I just stood there as she came closer.  Then, being a curious person, I finally said, “Whatcha doing, walking your turtle?”

She came to a stop, turned and looked at the thing and answered, “Yes. Her name is Rock. She’s a girl and I’ve trained her not to bite or snap”.  Then, she continued on her way.

Later that same day, wearing a different outfit, 

here she came again, with Rock bouncing backwards over roots.

This lasted for a few days, and then I discovered Rock in the grass outside my back door.  So I picked her up and put her on

a bench on my sun porch.  She’s been there ever since, so I suppose Josie has moved on to other things.  

Once I even thought about taking Rock for walk…you know, just to see what the attraction was.  But I figure we’ve entertained the neighbors way too much as it is.

Worth the walk

Joel and I love Cades Cove.  Evidentially we aren’t the only ones, because the place boasts about two million visitors a year.

That’s why we try to go in the off season.  When we’re in the Smokies, we go into the cove sometimes twice a day.  A couple of years ago, we hiked its eleven mile loop road.   If you ever get the notion, I highly recommend the walk…just be aware that the last two miles are longer than the first nine put together.

So, we don’t hike those last two anymore.  

Although we go there a lot, there seems to be no end to what you can learn about the place and the people that once called it home.

This time, Tim told us about a tree called the Pearl Harbor Tree, a sweet-gum tree with a tire rim around its trunk.  

We got on line to see if we could find any information about it and its location.  Then…we went into the Cove to look for it.  

On a hill, in a now wooded area that used to be the front yard of the Golman Myers family, stood the tree … straight and tall.

It seems that Golman Myers was listening to his transistor radio when it was announced that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.  Golman, who had two sons eligible to go to war, went into the woods, pulled up a sweet-gum sapling, and transplanted it in the front yard. He put a tire rim around it so it wouldn’t get run over.  When he was done, all he said was, “We will remember this day forever.”  He was right.

Some years later, one of Golman’s sons had this tag made and chained it to the tree.  

So, if you’re ever in Cades Cove, and you’re not in the mood to hike that eleven mile loop, 

it’s well worth a short walk up a wooded hill to see this piece of history.

Just hot enough

We usually visit the Smokies in the winter after the leaves have fallen.  Then you can see what the mountains really look like and better locate places you want to explore.  Besides, we don’t do hot.

Right now, the trees have leafed out, and the hills are alive with poison ivy … so no getting off the beaten path for me.

The wildflowers are beautiful

and abundant. Everywhere you go in the park there are butterflies and

all sorts of interesting insects…not to mention at least one

three and a half foot shiny black snake.

The woods truly are lovely.

The skies have been breathtaking.

And… it’s been just hot enough

 to cool your heels in a mountain stream.

Creatures of habit 

On Sunday, Joel and I left for a week in the Smoky Mountains.  People wonder why we don’t ever go anywhere else. We like it there. We’ve made friends there. Besides, there’s always something different to explore.  And, perhaps we’re just creatures of habit.

For instance, EVERYTIME WE GO we count the Ruby Falls signs along the way.  Years ago, many of them were painted on the roof tops of barns, but most of those have toppled over and there are new signs. 

We have no idea how many there are because we have a habit of loosing count.  But, it’s fun while it lasts.

When the signs run out, that means we’ve made it to Chattanooga.  That’s as far as we usually go the first day, so Sunday evening, we got a room at the Historic Read House Hotel in old downtown Chattanooga.  We stay there, not because of its history, and not because its haunted, but because its pet friendly.  However, it just so happens that the pet friendly rooms and the haunted room are on the same floor.  So far, that hasn’t been a problem. 

Two blocks from the hotel there’s a pizza place called Community Pie.  We love their pizzas!   So, we called in an order, walked to pick it up, then returned to our room to eat…just like always.  Piper loves to walk to Community Pie because he makes lots of friends along the way.

Monday morning, we took off for Wears Valley, where we always stay.  When we got to Maryville, we stopped at Target, just like always, to pick up some things that we didn’t pack.

Then we stopped at a place called Cycology Bicycles (we always go there) to get some socks.

When we made it to Wears Valley, we stopped in to see Tim at Smokey Mountain Grocery…(we always do…Tim was our first friend in the valley), before pulling into the front yard of our cabin.

When I walked onto the porch, I noticed that we weren’t the only creatures of habit staying there.  

A robin had made a nest on one of the rafters, just like the empty one that I collected from there in November.  This one has four beautiful, blue eggs in it.

We’ve been enjoying watching the momma bird take care of those little eggs, and are hoping that they will hatch before we leave.   But if they don’t, that’s ok.  Since they build a new nest for each family, I’ll collect that one when we come back in the fall…just like I did last year.

Curiosity and hindsight

I’ve always been told that curiosity killed the cat, and I suppose that HAS happened.  But from my experience, curiosity makes me laugh…especially when it’s someone else’s.

For instance, a couple of weeks ago I took four of my grandchildren to the park.  After they had played a while, we decided to go across the street and visit

the Memorial to the Unknown Sasquatch (that’s what I call it).  The children were curious, not to mention fascinated by its lifelike appearance…especially when they walked around to the back…

where they discovered that ‘hindsight is funny, funny’.  That is all except Ellie, who, though curious, wasn’t sure anything about the whole situation was funny…which was funny.

Then there’s Payton, 

my two year old farmer. He and Adam, Laura and Parker were visiting one evening.  We had taken him into the pasture to visit the horse and the goats.  Paton was standing behind Willow, who had just heard nature call.

Overcome by curiosity, Payton squatted down to see where the water was coming from.  For those of us watching, hindsight was, you guessed it, funny, funny. 

Payton stood up and took a step closer. Immediately Laura said, “No Payton!  Don’t push that button”!

It’s still scary

It would be hard to imagine life without cell phones, computers, digital photography and all the stuff that makes things convenient and allows you to have the world at your fingertips. Technology is a wonderful thing, but it’s a little scary too. 

For instance, this morning I looked on my phone to go through some pictures that I had taken earlier. I happened to notice that there were eighty four pictures and videos from yesterday that I had not taken…in a house that I had not visited.  Most all of them were blurry.  

There were pictures of Denton on the couch, and

Josh and Nikki on the couch, and

Ellie jumping on the couch.

There were pictures of children fighting, and there were even nine pictures

of Hudson’s naval.

I had no clue how those things got on my phone…or even how my phone traveled to their house and back to mine. To me, this was an even bigger mystery than in October 2015 when all the buckeyes on one of my trees vanished overnight.  Except this time…the mystery has been solved.

You see, a few days back, I gave Josh my old iPad.  His children noticed it and decided to use it to entertain themselves on a misty Sunday afternoon.  Then, all eighty four of those pictures floated across the yard on that cloud thing and made their way into my phone…unbeknownst to any of us. 

I think Nikki fixed it so it won’t happen again…but it’s still scary…just sayin’.