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Posts Tagged ‘Summer activities

Tennessee Vacation

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7 states on a clear day

7 states on a clear day

This summer I was fortunate to take a couple mini vacations.  In June I went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to check out the mountains and enjoy the wildlife.  I avoided nearby Pigeon Forge and all the tourist attractions.  I did see a black bear and several deer and even a turtle that was crossing the road as I toured the Smokey Mountain National Park.  I visited a farm that was founded in the early 1800’s by rugged pioneers.  This place was remote even in 2016; I can’t imagine what it was like then!  I cooked some juicy steaks on the grill and enjoyed a swim.  It was in the mid 90’s even at the higher elevation so a dip in the pool was quite refreshing.

About a week later my wife and I spent a long weekend outside of Chattanooga at a bed and breakfast.  We visited Rock City which was nearby and spent an evening in downtown Chattanooga checking out the local scene and stopped in at a wine bar to escape the nearly 100 degree temperatures.  We also checked out the Riverwalk and an outdoor flea market by the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga football stadium.  We browsed local produce, arts and crafts and had to buy some kettle corn that was made as we watched.

After the flea market we had lunch at a BBQ restaurant and headed back to the B & B to check out the pool.  They served locally roasted coffee all day long and I enjoyed some with my frequent snacks that were also served in the afternoons and evenings.  The breakfast offerings were very good with a breakfast burrito one day and Belgian waffles the next.  Again I enjoyed the coffee to wash it down.

On Sunday night we decided to travel about 30 minutes west of town and have dinner at a local winery that overlooked the Tennessee River. The wines were made from California grown grapes but were made, bottled and aged on site.   We sampled a flight of their offerings and had dinner there.  They had a wood fired oven that made a very tasty pizza.  You can’t beat pizza, wine and a terrific view on an outdoor balcony to end the day.  We took home a bottle of wine to enjoy and remember our trip.

It had been a long time since I had a chance to get away and relax.  I recommend it!  If you can’t get away before summer ends, try a fall excursion to view the colorful leaves as they reach their peak in you area.  Have a great week.

Tennessee River

Tennessee River


Ten Things To Do Next Weekend

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We are approaching the mid-point of summer and perhaps you are running out of ideas for what to do keep things fresh and different on the weekends. Good news; I have a list of ten things you can do that you probably haven’t thought of that might interest you.

  1. Go fishing – why not? Sitting on the shore under a tree sipping a beverage with some tunes on and snacks of your choosing is a lot like being on the couch. On Monday you can tell people you went fishing and impress your friends for having diverse interests.
  2. Complete a home improvement project. Choose something that will not take too long but still can brag about. How about put up a clothes line in the back yard? You can say you are doing your part for conserving energy and if you do it right it can double as a runner for your pooch.
  3. Go to a flea market and browse. You can people watch, find a treasure and snack. That sounds like a winning combination and your spouse might like it too so the bonus points will rack up.
  4. Go to the city park and take in a free concert. You are supporting the arts and being community minded. That is another great way to sound more interesting to your friends. Pretty soon they won’t think you are a boring Neanderthal who only watches baseball.
  5. Take a trip to the town down the road and go to their local museum or other attraction. You might learn something and then you can also eat at their local restaurants that might be new and different. Your spouse may also like this.
  6. In case it is going to be a rainy weekend plan to clean out your garage, closet or basement. You need to do this any way and if you clean out your closet you can donate the clothes to charity. After you drop off the clothes you can have lunch or dinner and the nearby eatery.       You deserve it you were charitable!
  7. Another good idea if it is going to be a bad weather weekend is to make that old recipe that takes too long to prepare during the hectic week. If no recipes excite you, bake bread for the first time or the first time in while.
  8. Paint your bathroom or other room to give your house a little extra pop for the rest of the summer. Small things can make a big difference.
  9. If you are able in your neighborhood, have a small bonfire and invite your neighbors to an evening of trash talking and bragging how great you were back in the day. Of course there will be food and beverages to kick things up a notch.
  10. Work on a craft project to get a jump on Christmas gifts. Nothing says I love you more than a handmade sweater, quilt or if you are less ambitious a couple of pot holders. If you are old enough, you can relive your youth and make the kids some tie dyed T-Shirts.

I hope this list will get you thinking of things to do for next weekend. Have a great week preparing for something different.

Spring Has Sprung And Summer Is On My Radar

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This is better than snow

This is better than snow

Spring arrived just after midnight at 12:30 A.M. last Sunday. I hope you have enjoyed the first week. It was the second week of daylights savings time and we are rapidly hurtling towards the first day of summer – I can’t wait. Since we are heading towards warmer weather I thought I would break out a favorite topic – things to do as the temperature rises. Read what I wrote in previous years here, here and here.

This year I will have my list of usual things but will try to add a few more challenging items to my list. Before I begin let me tell you that harvesting veggies from my garden will appear on the list again. I have changed my strategy a little bit after a few years of misguided planting. I am going to plant few, if any, tomato plants since they have not grown well the past couple of years and they don’t last very long after picking. I am going to ramp up my hot pepper production because they always seem to grow well and I can pickle them and they will last a long time. I canned about 9 quarts last summer and I am still enjoying them on sandwiches.

I will start with my list of challenges:

  • Go on a vacation that encompasses at least 4 business days
  • Cut down 6 trees that do not belong near my house – this will involve a chain saw
  • Go to a cultural event for my wife’s sake (let’s keep that a secret between you, me and the internet)
  • Be more adventurous when picking restaurants for our weekend dinners
  • Ride my bike once per week with my wife to help her improve and for more quality time together

My “usual suspects”

  • Go to a major league and minor league baseball game
  • Cook lunch on the grill on Saturday afternoons while listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on Satellite radio
  • Ride my bike on the Silver Comet Trail as often as possible
  • Plant and harvest a bumper crop of hot peppers
  • Take Jimmy Sad Eyes to the dog park so he can romp with reckless abandon

I hope I can accomplish all that is on my list and more. I will keep you posted on how things are going. Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

March 27, 2016 at 8:01 am

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

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Summer is winding down for the year and I just like the first homework assignment in the new school year thought I would take a look back at what I did, didn’t or wished I had done. I hope you had a summer full of pleasant activities.

What I Did:

  • Lots of bike rides
  • Lots of cutting the grass
  • Lots of working
  • Picked lots of hot peppers from my garden.  It was a great year for peppers.
  • Lots of dinners outside at various restaurants. We probably ate inside a restaurant less than 5 times since April.
  • Lots of walking Jimmy Sad Eyes
  • Had dozens of trees cut down in my back yard that were killing my grass (is that really a bad thing?) and threatening my house.
  • Bought a new car!
  • Ate at the Corral roadside restaurant which I blogged about previously and can be read by clicking here
  • Attended a minor league baseball game
  • Saw the movie Ant Man and then blogged about it. Read what I wrote
  • Watched lots of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games on MLB.TV (lots of wins!)

What I didn’t do:

  • Take a vacation – so this whole thing could be zero words because I did nothing on my summer vacation since I didn’t have one. Boo!!
  • Shiver. There have been about 50 days above 90 degrees in my area of Georgia this summer. We have only had 5 days below 80 since May 1st.
  • Wear long pants after work or on weekends. The last time I wore long pants after work or on the weekend was probably the beginning of May. That is fine by me.
  • Complain about it being too hot. I had my fill of long cold winters so it may be a while before I can’t take the heat. It might be hot but you don’t have to shovel sunshine.
  • Go hunting, fishing or camping. That is mostly because I don’t like those activities. I have a house with a nice, big, soft bed – why would I ever want to sleep on the hard ground?

What I wished I had done:

  • Grill out more. We didn’t seem to have the time this year for much grilling.
  • Hired someone to cut my grass when I was too busy. Why stress out when there are people who do that. All it costs is a phone call and money. A lesson I need to learn is you can’t make more time but you can make more money.

I guess that is all I wished I had done. I don’t have many regrets because I have learned that the journey itself is part of the fun.  Have a great week checking off things on your summer to do list.

Written by pacelinebiz

September 14, 2015 at 8:01 am

Observations At A Minor League Baseball Game

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The National Pastime

The National Pastime

I went to a single A minor league baseball game between the Atlanta Braves affiliate and the Miami Marlins affiliate.  The game took place in Rome, Georgia which is about an hour away from my home.  Before I make my observations from the game let me say that Rome, Georgia is a nice town of about 35,000 residents that has several colleges.   Before the game we enjoyed a meal at the local Olive Garden restaurant.

At the game our seats were behind home plate in the second section but were very close to the action as were all the seats.  Fans up the base lines had to keep alert as several foul balls rocketed into the seats allowing for very little reaction time.  Our seats were $10 and if you attend a Sunday game you can get 4 tickets, 4 cokes, 4 bags of popcorn and 4 hot dogs for $40. I recommend you attend a minor league game this summer if you have a ballpark within an hour drive of your home.  It is a fun time and is inexpensive and it is baseball – especially for younger kids who can’t tell the difference.

Now some observations:

  • When the opposing pitcher can’t find home plate when tossing his warm up pitches between innings, you might want to keep your bat on your shoulder until he throws you a strike.  Why get yourself out?
  • Run out all fly balls.   This is the minor league and balls get dropped or lost in the sun, clouds or a pretty girl can cause a distraction.
  • Some people should never, under any circumstance, wear shorts.
  • Park your car as far away from the field as possible.  Foul balls can carry into the parking lot and windshields are expensive.
  • If your wife asks you what the infield fly rule is just make something up since she doesn’t know and explaining it will cause you to miss the next two home team at bats.
  • There is no way for a four-year old to eat cotton candy without everything within 3 feet getting sticky.
  • If a four-year old wants cotton candy do your best to sell them on a bag of peanuts or a blueberry snow cone.  Everyone in your section will thank you.
  • Snow cone means expensive frozen sugar-water in SOME language.

Have a great week and observe a minor league game near you.

Written by pacelinebiz

June 22, 2015 at 8:01 am

Ready Or Not, Here It Comes

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Summer Is Here!

Summer Is Here!

Before getting into today’s topic let me give my annual reminder that in the summertime I cut back on the business related topics.  I will publish a business topic on the first Monday of every month instead of every other Monday.  I will resume the normal schedule on Monday September 7th with a business topic.  This happens to be Labor Day and the latest day on which it can fall.  That means this year the unofficial summer – beginning on Memorial Day and ending on Labor Day is 105 days long.  The tally of summer days looks like this; 7 days in May, 30 in June, 31 in July and August and 6 days in September with Summer Ending on Labor Day the 7th.

Speaking of summer; that is the topic of today’s blog.  Since I have already established it will be 105 days long, I thought I would give you a run-down of summer by the numbers this year.

1 – Today, Memorial Day the unofficial kick off to the summer season.  Have something on the grill to celebrate our freedom and remember the Veterans who served to provide it.

15 – The number of weeks from Memorial Day to Labor Day – make them count!

24 – This summer, consumers will buy a lot of products that contain this many cans in the package. 

36 – This many days of summer will have elapsed on June 30th.

40 – Independence falls on day 40 of summer.  Be careful with the fireworks.

53 – Day 53 of summer falls on July 17th.  There are 52 days of summer before this day and 52 days of summer after this day.  The Mid-point of the unofficial summer is July 17th, are you getting nervous that summer is going too fast?

57 – The number of Heinz varieties, all of them can be delicious with a summer meal.

61 – The record for the number of home runs hit in a 162 game season by a non-steroid aided baseball player.  The record holder’s name is Roger Maris and I recognize his contribution to the game played by the “boys of summer”. Hank Aaron holds the career mark of 755.

68 – August 1st is the 68th day of unofficial summer.  Until I moved to Georgia, I always dreaded when August came because that meant time was running out and summer would soon be over.

75 – Happy Birthday!  You turn 75 today if you were born on August 8th 1940.  August 8th is the 75th day of unofficial summer.

80 – My preferred year round Fahrenheit temperature with a relative humidity of 50%.

97 – Reasons I can think of that summer is the best season.

105 – The number of days in the summer of 2015 – make everyone count.

Have a great summer it is finally here.

Written by pacelinebiz

May 25, 2015 at 8:01 am

This Blind Squirrel Found A Nut

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Squirrels are omnivores

Squirrels are omnivores

Over Memorial Day weekend my wife and did not plan much and at the last-minute on Sunday we picked up a pork tenderloin to have the next day. It was one of those in store specials that they discounted for a quick sale since the sell by date was soon approaching. We got a 5 pound cut for about $14 after using a $2 coupon the store mailed us along with coupons for other frequently purchased items. Yes, big brother knows what we eat.

I cut it in half, length-wise and froze one half for later consumption. The other half, I rubbed down with a special mix and then put it in a gallon storage bag with an apple cider based marinade for about 24 hours. Alton Brown will tell you the science behind the acidity in the vinegar breaking down the meat fibers making it unbelievable tender. I will tell you that science or no science it was good!
Since you have all been very good I will give you my rub recipe and my marinade recipe.

The rub consisted of salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper and brown sugar. I did not measure anything but I would say it was roughly 1 tablespoon of salt and pepper, about half as much cumin and cayenne pepper and about ½ cup of brown sugar. After I rubbed it on I took some minced garlic and added it and then I took about 1/3 cup of pure Ohio Maple syrup and slathered it over the rub.

I placed the meat in the storage bag and added the marinade which consisted of about a half cup of apple cider vinegar, about a half teaspoon of liquid smoke and about a tablespoon of soy sauce. I also added a about a tablespoon of olive oil.

When I was ready to grill, I cut the meat in half again lengthwise making a piece about a foot long and 2 1/2 inches thick. I had fired up the grill and waited until it was about 700 degrees and cooked it for about 5 minutes on the 4 sides for a total cook time of 20 minutes. It had a nice char on it when I lifted off the grill and onto the serving plate and let it rest for about 10 minutes. As I was taking it off the grill I remember thinking that it had a very pleasing aroma as it drifted up in the air.

I was very pleasantly surprised how good it was and the maple syrup and brown sugar gave the meat a subtle sweet flavor. We also had boiled redskin potatoes and corn on the cob to make it a great kick off to the summer. I guess you can say that even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. I can’t wait to repeat the process with the other half someday soon.

Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

June 30, 2014 at 7:58 am