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’.

The perfect storm

Mammy Camp is going great!  Payton loves the park, 


but I’ve discovered that if you give the boy a barn, a feed barrel and


a chicken coop, he will be entertained for at least an hour. He’s a very busy little guy!

The girls, being princesses and all,


are a different kind of busy. 

Last Friday, after a trip to the park and then to the store to get some Skittles, I decided to put up my hammock for them. Everything seemed to be going my way.


I had a chair and a bottle of water. They were in the hammock…


laughing and having a fabulous time.  All I had to do was sit there and swing them.  

But somebody had guzzled down coffee milk at breakfast and then ate half a bag of Skittles.  That, combined with swinging in the polka dot parachute, created the perfect storm. 


I guess you know she threw up in my hammock.  

Chick wagon

We have an old tracking wagon that we weren’t using for anything, so I decided that it would make a good portable chicken house.  We finally got it finished, and yesterday Joel’s brother, Marc,

backed it out of the shop and moved it down by the barn.  Of course Hudson and Denton made the trip locked inside.


The thing resembles a covered wagon, and is complete with a roost, nests and a removable ramp.


The chickens were a bit curious, but had no clue that, come dark, they would be swept off their familiar roost and locked in that ‘chick wagon’.

At the appropriate time, the twins and I went down to the barn with a flashlight for the surprise move. I ended up manning the gate on the wagon while the boys caught and transported the chickens.  They had named the bloomin’ things and for the life of me I don’t know how they tell them apart. They would go in with the light and say, “There’s Pecky. That’s Fat Cheeks. Hey there’s Jedi.” ……And on and on. Finally I said, “It doesn’t matter who’s who.  Just catch ’em and come on.”

After the wagon was loaded, we moved it to a fenced in area, which is now their new neighborhood.  Of course we got stuck, but Joel pushed us out with the tractor.


Then, we left them to settle in.  This morning I let them out and


it was business as usual. They even layed eggs in the new nest.  

As it was nearing sundown, things seemed to be shaping up pretty well.


One at time, the chickens began heading to bed in their new quarters.  

But, when I went out after dark, ten chickens and Fasma, the turkey, (I didn’t know that was her name til today) were camped out by the water trough next to the fence.  So…I scooped them up and carried them to the wagon.  It took six trips, but I got ‘er done.  And…I am just hoping beyond all hope, that this doesn’t become my new nightly routine. 

Plenty of adventures to be had

Payton has started coming to “Mammy Camp”, and it’s  amazing how much a two year old can accomplish in two hours, not to mention how much ground can be covered. 

He LOVES to be outside, so that’s where we mostly stay.  


We hike and climb hills.


The only thing is, when he reaches the top, he’s ready to go back down and start another adventure. And…that’s okay, because there are plenty of adventures to be had.  

Yesterday, we rode the golf cart to the park.


He had fun, but before long, he was ready to move on. So, we came back home and went inside for a snack, 


which he decided to feed to Piper.  

There is plenty to do inside…


things to figure out,


and piddle with…


things to ride, and 


shows to watch.

But the thing that can occupy him the most at my house is


is the chickens. And you KNOW that makes me proud.


Everything about the barn seems to interest him, and that’s fine with me because I like to hang out there myself.

He’s still a little bit cautious when it comes to the turkey.  I can’t say that I blame him, since she is about as big as he is.

But, he’s figured out how to watch her


and still feel like he can have the upper hand.

And now you’re six

Mammy Camp is going well.  We do different things, depending on the weather.


Sometimes we feed the animals.  Sometimes,


we just visit with them.  We go on walks and 


find sticks to throw for Piper and Jasper. 

We started eating lunch at Mammy Camp.  Today we had gumbo.  When I told Josie what we were having, she said, “I used to like gumbo, but now I don’t. Besides, I’m not a very good eater.”  I said that if she ate her gumbo, she could make a necklace,


and that took care of that. 

Wednesday we had spaghetti. Josie noticed that the little fork she was using had three prongs. Then she asked how many my fork had.  I showed her my fork and she started to count.


“One, two, three, four.”  Then she said, “I used to be three, but now I’m four.”  I replied, “That’s right. And I used to be four, but now I’m not.” She looked at me and said, “That’s right. Now you’re six.” She was close…give or take a zero.