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Yesterday was M’s birthday.  We had originally planned for a whirlwind adventure down to Cola and then back up towards Charlotte but due to the gusting winds and generally ick weather yesterday we opted to just go out to eat at dinner time instead.

Now most of my readers know that M is an accomplished cook.  I learned my mad skills (modesty? pffft what is that?) at the apron strings of a master so a restaurant better bring their A-game when she sits at their table.

It doesn’t happen often and sadly did not happen last night either.

We are all still suffering from dinner last night.

Emphasis on suffering.

We went to a fairly well established restaurant, one that has put a great deal of PR into their charcuterie which is what hooked out interest initially.  I mean, I’m currently brining a hog jowl that I had intended to smoke later today but instead I will be using more of a non-smoked application… more on that later on.

Initially, things looked ok.  I did not care for the decor but to be honest my style is somewhere from log-cabin chic to Chateau de Versailles to minimalist Japan.  We were seated at what amounted to the kitchen-door table.  OK, fair enough, the place was moderately busy and we had the kids with us…. not a really valid excuse because my kids are like little restaurant reviewers on their own and at 11, 12 and 16 it’s not like they’re going to be needing high chairs and goldfish.

I digress.

Enter first nameless, wide-eyed, wait staff type person who was not really our waiter but was more of a paid greeter, filler of water-glass guy.  I had high hopes for him.  It was for naught.

Sophie went through her typical spiel of introducing herself and everyone at the table to which he replied (while pouring tepid water that tasted like Greenville City’s finest UNFILTERED tap) “I’m not your server.”

Well ok then.

We read over the menu, made initial decisions and then our actual waiter appeared.  I have a history of entertaining waiters.  It’s kind of my thing.  Some respond well to it (they are my favorites) and others just blink a lot and ignore me.

Guess which one we got?

So I opened with “this is our first time here and it’s M’s birthday!” Happy smiley face! He returned with “Great.” Zero affect, I hate my life face.

OK.

Me- “OK then, well… B will have the burger….” Here I’m interrupted with “You’ll want the kids menu?”

Me- “ummm…. no. He’s a cyclist, they are eating machines, he’ll want the regular size burger”

Blinky- “it doesn’t come with fries”

Me- “ok, we will order them as a side then”

Blinky “the kids version comes with fries”

Me- “ok… ummm… he really wants the bigger burger…..”

Blinky- blink,blink… and then proceeds to tell me what the kids’ burger consists of… which is sliders which B notorious does not like because they aren’t dressed like a burger which is what he wanted.

At this point B pipes up with “I really want the burger please, not sliders” so Blinky heaves a sigh and writes down the order, then in the most put-upon voice imaginable says something to the effect of “you want the regular sauces and stuff on it?” and B nodded indicating yes.

The rest of the ordering went ok until it got back around to me at which point I made another gallant effort to engage Blinky and failed once again.  I asked what he recommended after seeing the variety that we had ordered so that we had a good general idea of what the restaurant could do.

This should have clued him in that I do the occasional review.

It did not.

He pointed out the highest priced item on the menu, something else that I honestly cannot remember and a sandwich.

I went with the sandwich because at this point I was annoyed and just wanted the ordering nightmare to end.

While waiting on our food I had an opportunity to watch many orders being readied for service and also to watch other diners eating their meals.  I noticed that some of the servers took a lot of care in their presentation while others didn’t really give a flying…. well… you know.

I was just getting to a place of calmness when another waiter started screaming in the back. SCREAMING!!! Something about tea, something about coffee. I realize we were sitting in the galley for all intents and purposes but c’mon… people don’t play $12+ for a hamburger to hear screaming while it’s being prepared.

I digress… again.

The food came out and I was underwhelmed immediately with the plating.  The only “Insta-worthy” plate was Xander’s sandwich.  M’s plate looked like they simply slopped whatever available meat was handy onto a plate, Sophie’s as well.  My sandwich and B’s sandwich looked like lonely little satellites on their plates, especially B’s which was missing the fries that he had ordered.

At this point I was still, surprisingly, optimistic.  I can forgive a myriad of sins if the food is good.

My first bite of Reuben was potentially good. The flavor was intense but entirely too salty for my preference. The bread was good tho.  Sophie said she enjoyed her ribs, however she didn’t eat them all. I did taste them and the flavor was ok, not my favorite spice blend, but ok.  B said the flavor of the burger was good, tho a bit plain. X’s sandwich went soggy rapidly so the enjoyment factor waned a bit but he said it was ok. M’s meal tho… it was not good.  The brisket was predominately fat.  The pulled pork flavorless without the sauces which did not taste balanced at all to any of us. The hash which is my bench mark judge of any place that even tries to do a BBQ was horrible.

HORRIBLE.

It wasn’t so much hash as really finely minced pork in the terrifically unbalanced sauce over undercooked rice. Not crunchy like bottom of the rice steamer rice… but this-rice-has-had-about-10-minutes-in-rapidly-boiling-water rice.

That, my dear readers, is an unpardonable sin.

Blinky did come around several times and kept the drink glasses full, thankfully as our salt intake was sufficient enough to cause dehydration.

I tried to ask him about other items on the menu and I’ve never had a waiter undersell a menu as much as he did.

Me- “tell me about the popcorn!”

Blinky- “it’s just crackerjacks with bacon and grease mixed in” (yawn  implied by tone)

Me- “oh… well then… nevermind.”

And then he asked if we wanted dessert, we said no and we paid and we left.

As far as I know, M’s birthday went under the radar even though I mentioned it not only to the hostess, but water-pouring waiter and Blinky.

There did seem to be a lot of excitement (aka yelling) about one of the other tables so maybe they were distracted, I don’t know.

So, needless to say we left a bit unhappy.  M was not impressed and my birthday present to her is writing this review.  I’m leaving out the restaurant name as I honestly in my heart feel like maybe there is a management problem, maybe a staffing issue as I’ve seen posts on their social media that they are hiring all positions… that would indicate something not working exactly right to me.

I don’t like leaving bad reviews, likewise I don’t like that I felt like we were judged and minimalized as “worthwhile” guests when we walked in.  Had the waiter been upbeat about menu items we would have ordered them, but his “meh” attitude indicated to us that it wasn’t worth our money or his time to place the order.

We took our left overs to J who was stuck in the ED and even he had a hard time with the saltiness and the unbalanced sauces.  This morning found him green and queasy with a sudden dislike of all BBQ and more than once we feared that he would actually need that emesis bag that we kept in the backseat of Landy from when the kids were little.

That doesn’t tend to induce future visits.

So cross that one off my list of restaurants to try in G’ville.  It’s the first one that failed so horribly and cause our entire house of foodies to feel like we had been clearing trees and burning brush while snacking on salt licks in the pastures.

I’ve left enough unique descriptors in this post that locals should be able to easily figure out where I’m talking about and I’d like to leave it at that.  I like the premise this restaurant is trying to achieve with supporting local farmers but I feel that there’s a bit of the emperor’s new clothes effect going on.  Just because you are doing the trendy thing does not mean you can drop the ball because it’s a Thursday and you don’t think diners will notice. Calling yourself a “restaurant that just happens to serve BBQ” means that your BBQ game needs to be strong, otherwise don’t do it and stick to your charcuterie.

 

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Yesterday found us heading out on a hay run which lead to J and I checking out a new to us restaurant off of Woodruff Road in Greenville.  We have been long time fans of the Korean BBQ on Woodruff (the one in the same building as the Red Robin gas station…weird? yes!) but had seen that another Korean restaurant had popped up a little further down the way and decided to swing in to check it out.

It is a tiny restaurant so large parties or families with lots of kids will have some difficulty seating together but for just the two of us it was very quaint and cozy.  There are pictures of menu items on the walls and the menu was well illustrated with pictures and both English and Korean titles.

We started with fried dumplings.

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They were good, not spectacular, but tasty.  The dipping sauce was exceptionally good and accentuated the standard pork filling nicely.

J ordered the Bulgogi at a level 9 spiciness.

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This was very tasty and fairly spicy but was more like any Asian stir-fry.  It was a large portion and heavy on the beef so well worth the price, just not the flavor we had been anticipating.

I ordered the Duk Boki.

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Duk boki is kind of like a stir fried or maybe braised spicy rice cake.  This was very spicy and was ok.  I felt the rice cakes were a little mushy so there wasn’t the chewy texture that I am more familiar with and the spicy flavor was a little one dimensional, but otherwise it was good and the portion was ginormous!

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I felt that the side dishes were a little lacking.  There were three kimchi type vegetables and 2 bean sprout type things but there wasn’t a sweet or sour balance to the flavors.

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Everything was just HOT and SPICY or somewhat bland.  The kimchi was very good.  VERY good, so next time I would probably get something that focused on the kimchi.

All in all I found it to be a fair restaurant.  Not exactly where I would go for my Korean fix, but not a bad restaurant.  You get a lot of food for the price and J and I left full and sated.  The staff was very friendly and we enjoyed talking to them so I can definitely see us going back there but just ordering different items.

Kimchee Korean Restaurant is located at 1939 Woodruff Rd, Greenville, SC 29607

So…. My laptop died.

Of course it died just as I was getting inspired to write again.

That figures.

So I’ve hijacked M’s chromebook to update that I am in the research portion of my new laptop acquisition.  It’s slow going.

In other news, I’ve gotten into the travelers notebook thing.  Not the crazy art level ones, but just the “oh my gah those are so neat I must have one even if I have nothing to actually write in it” ones.  I bought a ZLYC instead of a Midori because the ZLYC came with a standard and passport size plus a pen holder for the same price as just the standard Midori.  Initially I was disappointed as the leather was wonky and the notebooks didn’t fit properly.  Thankfully I had been binge watching YouTube videos setting them up so it made correcting the problems much easier.

I am thoroughly confused by the monthly calendar that came with the ZLYC.  I had to basically rework it and create tip-outs to set it up with my prefered 7 day week.  I attempted to do some of the artsy scrapbooking things that I’ve seen other people create and to be honest it’s just not my bag.  I have a couple of months that I think look awesome but others look like a craft store threw up on it.  Go me.

So I ordered the Midori weekly planner notebook and I absolutely love it! It is perfect for my planning style and while I do have a few strategic stickers it is nowhere near the train wreck that is the monthly spread.  I would include pics here if I weren’t hijacking M’s chromebook… hopefully I can edit them in later on.

Getting into the traveler’s notebooks obviously lead to a resurgence of my pen/office supplies/paper supplies addiction.  Luckily gel pens and such are a cheap addiction generally speaking.  I was able to swing by Binders in Charlotte and nab up a several fun pens… I may do a haul post as some of them are pretty awesome (looking at you Slicci 025).

In other other news…. We are riding in the Western Carolina Hunter Pace series this season.  Unfortunately we missed the first pace but we managed the second one at ScotsGrove.  It was our first time at their farm and we had a… somewhat adventurous ride.  Evidently the rules of passing need to be reviewed.  We were unsafely passed multiple times.  But we didn’t let that get us down!  Happily we maintained a consistent pace and finished in 3rd place!  Go Pip!!

We are hoping to hit the HP at Biltmore this weekend if our coggins make it back to us before Sunday.  My coggins run out 2 days before the event so I’m hoping that the 2 weeks we allowed for them to come back will be sufficient.  I’d really hate to miss the Biltmore pace.  J and I brought home a yellow ribbon (3rd) several years ago.  And of course L and I had our worst ride ever at Biltmore, finishing dead last but considering all the things that went wrong on that ride, finishing was as good as getting a ribbon  (1 hour of backtracking for my lost phone, L and Paris falling off the mountain after getting pelted with a golf ball, bad footing, Pip’s first outing, Noorah’s antics and elimination at the start, and my emotional blow up/break down/psychotic break at the trailer… it was awful).

***UPDATE*** The coggins are IN!!!  Right after I called to put our names on the gate list I got a call from the vet saying that the coggins were in!!  WooHoo!! Assuming we are all well on Sunday then we are good to go!

I am still working out the logistics of doing a YouTube channel.  I have been periodically posting videos but not full on vlogs.  My lack of operable computer is one of the hampering factors but I’m sure I’ll have it sorted out soon enough.  There’s a learning curve and I’m slowly figuring it out.  We are pretty much filming every time we go to a pace (Biltmore will be J’s turn to wear the goPro EEEK!!!) so hopefully I’ll have a way to post a highlight vid soon, because trust me you don’t want to sit through 2 hours of us riding.  Sure there are some hilarious parts (“I don’t even know you Pip”) but there are long spans of silence that even we the riders find somewhat dull and boring to relive.

So anyway, I’m hoping everybody is enjoying the cooler Fall weather and look for more updates soon!

Back at the beginning of February I heard about a gelding that had been relinquished in a high-profile neglect case down in the lower part of the state.  It was indicated that he was an Irish Draught by Rockrimmon Silver Diamond.  Immediately I was intrigued as Guinness is also by Rockrimmon Silver Diamond.  I knew that finding RSD babies around the Carolinas wouldn’t be that uncommon since RSD stood in NC for a while, but I was still curious.   So I called and talked with the vet in charge of his care and discovered that he had been standing as a sporthorse stud for a farm in the Charleston area and was slightly underweight and in slightly poor condition but would be gelded soon and they really wanted him out of their facility as soon as possible.

I was not in the market for a new horse.  Heck, I hadn’t ridden all winter.  So I politely asked if there were any photos and she sent me this:

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Well… doesn’t that horse look a bit familiar?  So I politely asked her to keep me in the loop and quietly walked away feeling that surely some other person would come forward for an ISH.  A week later I again hear from the vet.  The gelding had been done, evidently no one else had come forward and was I still interested??  Ugh…

Tentatively I spoke with M and J and we reached the decision that this boy had been put before us for a reason and started making the arrangements to bring him home.  We rearranged paddocks, set up his quarantine pen and started to fish around for a trailer to use.  I will not go into the horrors of trying to find a trailer to bring home a recently gelded stud horse that I don’t actually know.  Understandably nobody was eager to have him onboard.  So we made the decision to just use the old beat up green trailer.  Our wonderful neighbor David did a quick check over it to make sure it was safe and that all the electric components were working and even tho it was a mess cosmetically, it was safe and tall enough to bring home our new boy.

Valentine’s morning we headed out!  J and I had a good drive down and realized rapidly why the gelding needed a new home asap.  Living between the interstate and an airbase/airport isn’t exactly the most ideal life for any horse. So we pulled up and after parking amid what I think was a dog/cat adoption event and overhearing more than one person ask “how big is the dog you are planning on getting??” we were redirected to the barn were I met our new gelding.

This was my first look at him.

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What I saw was a profoundly depressed and unhappy horse.  Obviously he and G share a common look, but where G has the look of a horse that has lived the padded life of a privileged, beloved show horse, the new gelding, while polite, looked tired and weary.  As J put it “he looks like he’s seen some things”.

So I filled out all the legal paper work while J changed out his halter and put on his travelling clothes (cooler and boots).  I wasn’t entirely sure what he would have to say about loading up on the little trailer but after a look around he walked up meekly and munched on hay while I secured the ramp.  I couldn’t decide if he was that “OK” with the whole thing or if he just didn’t care anymore.

An so we began our journey back home only to realize that we were insanely hungry and needed to stop immediately for lunch.  J, the intrepid puller of trailers, negotiated several multi laned highways to get us into a large parking area behind a Chik-fil-a.  I decided to hang out with the gelding while J went in to order.  I opened the escape door and stood talking to him, nonsensical blathering of nothingness, just to let him hear me and hopefully keep him calm. Immediately I noticed a change in him.  He nosed all over my face, whoofed through my hair, nuzzled my cheek and really latched on to me as a person he was interested in.  I took out my phone to update M about our progress and this happened…

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I continued to talk and babble on to him and suddenly a car pulled up beside us!  I was a little nervous as I had read a lot about his case on our way to Charleston and I knew that there were some hot opinions about it.  The couple in the car stopped to comment on how much my horse must love me because they could see how relaxed he was when I talked to him. I told them that he was a new acquisition and they were surprised as they had thought that we were a long bonded horse and rider combo.  They wished us luck and safe journeys and again I noticed how the gelding was definitely warming up to both J and me.

So we continued home with me asking J every 5 minutes if the gelding was ok.  I think it made for a long trip for J even if he didn’t complain 🙂

Somewhere along the drive home I decided that Fawkes would be a perfect name.  I did not like the name he came with and I felt like he needed a new name to start his new life.  So Fawkes, the name of Dumbledore’s phoenix, seemed perfect!

Anyway, we made it home before dark and spent a good 30 minutes hand walking Fawkes around to work out his travel stiffness before putting him up for the evening.  He was polite and courteous, even with the wind blowing fiercely.

Then next day we spent shoring up shelters as wintry weather was forecast.  As I was feeding Fawkes his morning feed I noticed his sheath was grossly swollen.  I placed a couple phone calls to the vet and ended up driving to TR as the sleet and frozen rain started to pick up medicine at the vet’s office.

The weather tanked during the night and we awoke to an icy wonderland!

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Fawkes didn’t seem to mind at all.  He didn’t even think the children sledding on the ice was all that interesting.  He did spend some time making kissy faces with Noorah.

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Already looking like a different horse!!

The swelling in his sheath gave us several days of concern as did his very ugly gelding incisions. I’ll spare you the pictures, trust me they are gross.  I had pretty much daily phone calls to the girls at the vet’s office to make sure we were on the right treatment path.  It was a tough time as my instinct said that I should cold hose his sheath area, but my common sense said that cold hosing in single digit temps was potentially dangerous!

A week or so in Fawkes turned grumpy and moody.  He was unhappy with the horses in his neighboring paddocks.  He was unhappy with me.  He was unhappy with the boys changing his water.  He was unhappy with J feeding him hay.  Everything caused penned ears and unhappy eyes.

I spent some time just observing him and noticed that he was repeatedly pulling at his turnout and biting at his shoulder.  So with a modicum of trepidation, he is a big boy after all, I walked up to him and started scratching his shoulder under his blanket.  Initially he had his angry face on, but then it melted away and he started leaning into my hand as I scratched.  So I took off his blanket and started scratching all over his shoulders and as far down his back as he would let me.  Initially he would let me go as far as his withers but after a few minutes he was ok with letting me scratch him pretty much all over.  Unfortunately in the middle of our bonding session a car pulled up in our drive-way and I had to leave him but as soon as I came back to the fence he backed up and invited me to scratch his butt.  We have daily scratching sessions now and the unhappy grumpy mood has disappeared.

Fawkes has also been having weekly sessions with Nicole of EquiZen Horse Therapies.  I really have to say that these acupressure sessions have worked wonders on all my horses and Fawkes is no different.

Fawkes is learning what it means to be a pampered and loved horse and seeing him really blossom has been amazing!!  He’s gone from being a dull and grungy, unhappy horse to being a shiny, personable, gelding with a little bit of a sense of humor that pops up from time to time.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him!

 

 

Due to the things going on at the house between my last “Adventurous Recap” post and today I just haven’t had time to sit down and really recap what happened.

In a nutshell we stayed at the Luray Caverns West Motel, which was luckily within easy walking distance to a McDonalds (yuck I know, but it was food) and within the delivery range of several Italian places.

After an unsuccessful conversation with the local insurance agent we made the decision to go ahead and get a rental car (provided by our insurance) and head down to Michie Tavern for the day while we figured out how best to have the car repaired.

Michie Tavern definitely hit the spot and made up for 2 meals at McD’s!! Even Sophie hit her chicken limit… tho she still had plenty of room for dessert!

We had decided that our best course of action was to have J head up with our flat bed trailer (after getting a tow quote of somewhere near $1600) and M and Sophie to head down in the rental while I stayed at the motel with the car.  I was able to arrange for a friend to hang out with the boys at the farm and keep an eye on things while J and M were in transit but I had not taken into account how stressful this how adventure had been on them.  In hindsight I should have had J pile Martha and the boys into the truck and had him meet M somewhere along the way… however that didn’t happen and ultimately lead to situations that I will blog about at a later date.

I will say that 4 hours that I was solo in the motel with M and J on the road was horrific. My phone was refusing to charge properly and as I was the only female in the entire motel (the other occupants being well intoxicated golfers) I didn’t feel exactly comfortable just wandering around.  I had thought to spend some time sketching or writing but my pens and pencils had been nicked by Sophie for her trip back home.  So I dug out a book I had purchased in Carlisle.  Last Words of Sinners and Saints is not good reading when you’re slightly creeped out and by yourself.

It was a long 4 hours.

I felt so sorry for J.  He drove all that long way up to Luray, slept fitfully in a less than comfortable bed, loaded up the car and headed out again the next morning.  That was a lot of driving!! At least the return trip he had me chatting away in his ear… the whole time…. mostly nonstop.

So… We made it home… dropped the car off at David’s and started the process of getting the x5 back in working order.  Not going to lie but it’s been a serious undertaking.  So many things were damaged from that deer that had to be replaced… things that were damaged that damaged other things that had to be replaced.  At one point I seriously thought the car was going to be totaled but thankfully it was not.

The car was completed and ready to go just in time for our next trip to MD for feed.  Happily that trip went uneventfully and we have since changed feed to a locally available product which works out better for both our horses and our cars 🙂

Had I been able to write this closer to the time it happened I’m sure there would’ve been more humor but so many things that happened on this trip started the downward decline of Martha that I can’t really look at it with humor anymore.  Martha was always a sensitive person and would fret over perceived issues.  Her worry over us having a wreck, her worrying over M and J driving so far. Her worry over me being alone so far from home. Her worry over situations that happened with the boys while we were away.  All those worries surely didn’t help an already unwell woman.

 

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