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  • It’s hotter than Hell and I’m pretty sure I saw one of the cats melt under the oak tree in the bottom pasture.
  • I spent about 15 minutes today trying to figure out if one of my cats (not the melted one) had been injured only to discover that the blood spatters around the car were from Serah (the evil cat) killing a squirrel.
  • I found a juvenile purple finch in Pip’s salt block this morning. It hopped up on my finger before flying off into a nearby tree. That’s as close to a Cinderella moment as I’m likely to ever get.
  • Pip has canker in his off front hoof.  It will require vet assistance to correct. I’m very upset about it.  He’s scheduled for a little later in the week and I’m hopeful that we can get it cleared up. He will be sidelined for a while tho.
  • M moved her garden from nearer the creek to up here near the house.  I think it was a smart move as it makes accessing the garden much easier. She has been a bit late planting this year but everything is coming up well.
  • Of course we are drowning in squash and zucchini.
  • I am waiting (not so patiently) for the okra. It’s the only thing that makes these hot days bearable.
  • We spent last Saturday down in Atlanta watching X’s friend Han in a yo-yo competition. I have a feeling X will be competing in the next one whenever that is.  He’s quite good with the yo-yo tricks.  His next “trick” will be putting all his tricks together with a bit of music.
  • Since we were in ATL that meant we were able to swing by the Duluth Hmart!!  YAY!!  So much wonderful! I needed to do some heavy restocking so my buggy was pretty much packed by the time we were done. I was getting dangerously low on pretty much all of our Asian staples so I knew it was going to be a near 2 buggy haul.
  • We had a delicious early birthday dinner at Chung Dam for J. It was divine. That place is well worth the expense for the dining experience and inspiration.
  • I’ve pretty much cooked some form of Korean food everyday since we went to ATL.
  • Dining has been excellent.
  • We started our school year at the first of this month.  We had our usual hiccups at the start but found a pretty good rhythm by the second week.
  • We are doing lots of fun and difficult projects this year (dissecting animals, writing research papers, learning French among other things) and the boys are embracing the new challenges with if not eagerness, then at least curiosity.
  • I’m personally enjoying this year as we are focusing on US history and state histories and studying biology… two of my favorite subjects and adding in a brilliant reading selection (we are doing a study on The Hobbit soon!!). This may be my favorite schooling year so far!
  • The boys have been binge-watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Amazon. It has been amusing as the boys are continually asking “why was that funny?” or “who is that?” because they don’t get the reference. It took a solid 10 minutes to explain why Danny Bonaduce sitting in a pear tree was funny. The show is loaded with similar bits so the questions are frequent and often amusing.
  • I’ve got a couple other blog posts in the works which should post in the next few days so maybe the next post won’t be weeks from now and in bullet form 🙂
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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.

 

Some days living on a farm can be really depressing.

Some days it feels like all I post on here is how yet another of my senior horses has died or some other tragedy.

Some days writing feels more like admitting defeat than anything else.

Some days it’s a struggle to just get out of bed because everything will be the same, over and over and over again.

Some days that thing that makes you tick, that thing that makes people like you… just isn’t there.

Some days you manage to lock your keys in the car when it’s not suppose to be possible.

Some days you help other people with their blogs and realize yours has gone stagnant.

Some days you bump into other local bloggers and you become overwhelmed by all that they are doing and how WOW their blogs are.

Some days you wonder why you even bother anymore.

And then…

Some days the kids show you how all the effort really has paid off as they sit politely in a local cafe overrun with unruly children left to go nearly feral while their parents seem oblivious.

Some days you catch a glimpse of Pip being a complete idiot cavorting around his paddock, sliding in the mud then completely busting his tail as he loses his traction, falls, then pops up like no one could have possibly seen it all.

Some days the daffodil man is at the flea market and it’s hard not to suddenly become passionate about daffodils when hearing him talk about them all.

Some days you get three subscription boxes in one day and it feels a little bit like Christmas.

Some days you turn out a meal for the family that really is quite spectacular.

Some days you realize your husband is awesome as you watch him climb a tree and saw off a dead limb just before going to work because he can.

Some days you realize that even though you’re failing more often than not, you haven’t stopped trying.

Some days you watch movies with 4 dogs and 2 cats and at least one kid all piled up in the chair with you because everybody needed a snuggle.

Some days you realize that you really miss writing whether or not anyone is reading anymore.

Some days you write.

  • Evidently I can’t write cohesive posts anymore (as my unfinished drafts seem to indicate) so I’m back to my favored form of blogging
  • In farm news, we have new poultry much to the amusement and disdain of the USPS.
  • They came in waves
  • First the French Guinea keets that were met with coos and smiles
  • Then the Khaki Campbell ducks that convinced the well-meaning postal workers that they needed water so that I ended up wearing water/duck poo soaked shorts home from picking them up at the post office.
  • And then the Novogen chickens which brought the ire of the postal worker/armchair animal husbandry expert that felt the need to lecture me on the cruelties of sending chickens via post.  Whatevs lady… I don’t recall asking for your input.
  • All the new acquisitions are doing very well and are growing by leaps and bounds.
  • It’s been a while since we’ve had ducklings and we all managed to forget how excessively messy they are.
  • They are super cute tho…. so that helps
  • In other news… It’s been too hot to do much with the horses.
  • The heat has been brutal!!!
  • So it was probably a good thing that I decided to go ahead and have the lipomas on my forehead removed.
  • Surgery was a beast.
  • Post op was a solitary nightmare.
  • I don’t even wish to relive it to blog about
  • in a nutshell…
  • facial surgery is painful (all them nerves gotta be feeling things!)
  • I reacted poorly to the anesthesia (hello panic attacks and hot flashes for 2 weeks!)
  • my family and friends UTTERLY ABANDONED ME for the duration (Love you guys soooo much!)
  • but on the plus side… tumors were lipomas (non cancerous) and I’m rocking some pretty bad ass scars… on my face.  GRRR!
  • I’m in the process of opening an Etsy shop… maybe.
  • I’ve been making lots of jewelry and happily people are responding very positively to what I’ve made.
  • I’m thinking of making a whole separate blog for that as I don’t necessarily want that traffic over here.
  • The boys are still avid cyclists.
  • J and B are planning several rides this fall… mini “tours” so to speak
  • Aside… Froome won the Tour de France so there is happiness in my house
  • He is B’s favorite cyclist
  • Along with Peter Sagan who is becoming X’s new favorite as X is becoming interested in cycling as well… particularly sprinting.
  • I think that X has always liked the cycling thing he just didn’t think his build was conducive to it, until I pointed out that Sagan is built like a tank (compared to Froome) and he’s a very accomplished sprinter.
  • I am coming to a place of peace with cycling.
  • We will see how this tentative peace holds once the weather turns and we are all vying for ride time.
  • I am feeling optimistic
  • School is in session for us and has been since the week after the Fourth of July
  • With the exceptionally unrelenting heat we’ve been having I felt that it was in the best interest of all parties to just go ahead and start now so that we could enjoy a few Fall breaks instead.
  • It’s going well.
  • X and I are avidly reading right now.
  • He’s reading Harry Potter (his first time through the series)
  • I’m reading Allegiant by Veronica Roth.
  • I thought the first two in the series were pretty good, but half way through this one and I’m starting to lose my immersion in the story.  At this point I just want whatever is going to happen to just happen already.
  • I hate when a novel turns that way for me.
  • J bought me a copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which I will be delving into once I’m finished with Tris and Four.
  • I almost forgot about Luna!
  • We have a new dog!
  • She’s a Lab/Staffie/Bully mix (I hate using the word Pit)
  • She’s adorkable (typo intended)
  • She loves me and is a big 40lb teddy bear already and will probably get even bigger!
  • She’s about 4 months old now and is all-elbows and knees and goofy gawkiness.
  • I love her immensely and Joop tolerates his “little sister” better than he would like me to believe.
  • The gardens are doing well
  • We desperately need to put up more pickles as B has eaten all of ours.
  • All of them
  • As in there are no more
  • We are getting really creative with zucchini and squash
  • We have a deer problem this year which is annoying.
  • X and B have been huge helps to M.
  • X has done much of the plowing and B is a pro at picking both vegetables and bugs!
  • I’m certain that I’m leaving something out but for now that’s it… hopefully there will be a new proper update (sans bullet post) soon!
  • I have a new laptop (YAY!!) and it’s serviceable but not brilliant (BOOO!!!) but will allow me to hopefully blog again (YAY?)
  • I have purple and green hair… well the ends are purple and green.  I had wanted purple and blue but there were concerns as to how my hair would take the blue color and to avoid ending up with icky green from blue over my reddish-gold hair I opted for a turquoise/mermaid green.  I like it…. a lot and J loves it.
  • I have not been riding much.  The winter weather and personal confidence issues have kept me from the saddle.  I would like to mostly blame the weather, but that would be a blatant lie.
  • J and B have become those cyclists.  You know the ones in the insanely tight, slightly embarrassing shorts that speed along the side roads at greater than 15 mph.  Their addiction has trumped mine and now Saturdays are spent gearing up for their group rides instead of saddling up.
  • I have had 15+ years of having my horse addiction at the forefront of my family’s free time, so I am trying to be graceful about giving up my rides.
  • I succeed most of the time.
  • But not all the time.
  • We are looking at letting B ride with a local cycling club… research still ongoing and any input greatly appreciated.  B is a small (tiny) 10 year old but with all the tenacity of Genghis Khan so there’s a balance of allowing him the freedom to go do the thing, but with enough guidance to keep him from (seriously) damaging his body.
  • X does not have any aspirations for anything physically demanding.  Not saying he is lazy, just that he’s great at conserving energy… and holding down the couch… which I didn’t know was in danger of floating away… but I digress.
  • Seriously tho… X is an artist and as we know, art can’t be hurried or harried… it just is and so is X.
  • He’s got the mad the skills tho.
  • He’s also developed a keen interest in cooking… which has been a difficult undertaking.  M and I are very proficient cooks and work well in our independent spaces.  We don’t “help” each other directly, usually we are preparing completely separate dishes or different stages of a multi-step meal.  I learned by observation and self-lead learning (ie… back when cooking shows actually taught you technique). X is a “teach me” child and I’m like “watch” and he’s like “teach me!” and I’m like “WATCH ME DO THIS THING!!!” and he’s like watching the dog sleep and wandering why I’m now brandishing a chef’s knife and getting agitated. So I’ve left his cooking education to M… who has only kicked him out of the kitchen a few times.
  • It’s the age… pre-teens… so much drama.
  • Sophie is taking over the world.  Nothing new there.  She’s currently in love with (hang on let me check my phone)… Bumble Bee (yeah that’s a transformer), don’t judge.  In the scheme of things in the world I’d much prefer my ASD  daughter to pine over a fictional robot car than a real live human… in an hour or so she will have moved on to Leo (TMNT Leo if you were wondering).
  • Sophie is planning to dye her hair pink when she turns 40 and will be moving into a Hello Kitty themed house when she is 30… she’s got it all mapped out.  After a couple years of telling us this she finally decided that I could move in with her 🙂
  • I have been flirting with the idea of vlogging.  I haven’t actually managed to record anything yet but the planning continues.  I have a camera that will do, this laptop that will begrudgingly allow me to edit and a desire to do it…. and yet I have recorded nothing.
  • I really got into subscription boxes for a couple months.  I will be doing a review of the one that I have coming in the next few days, so be looking for that.  I am currently only getting two boxes and one of those won’t come until next month.  It may turn into a regular feature (and an excuse to blog more frequently).
  • I also really got into planners and travelers notebooks.  Kyle and I made several TN covers back around Thanksgiving and while I used my TN as a planner for a while, it just wasn’t working for me.  I use it almost exclusively for journal writing or brain dumps or art forays.  After a substantial amount of research I settled on an Hobonichi.  I ADORE my Hobonichi.  I ordered from the actual Japanese site and had the awesome experience of getting the big yellow bag in the mail 🙂  That was definitely a happy day!
  • I am not remotely artistic in my Hobonichi… I simply use it as a planner/schedule and it is perfect for me… Perfect paper and perfect layout!
  • My pen addiction is growing.  I still love my fountain pens but I’ve also taken a shine to many Japanese pens too.  I will need to do a “what’s in my pen case” blog at some point to introduce the insanity!
  • Fred (the cat) is quite disgruntled that I am disturbing his heated sleeping mat (the laptop) and has walked across the keyboard twice now.  I’m not amused Fred.
  • We are homeschooling demons this year!!  We are using the Build Your Library curriculum and it is as if it were written with our family exactly in mind!  Bolstering our BYL with Life of Fred math (LOVE IT) and will be adding in a cursive writing and possibly a Latin element in the next few weeks.
  • Yes we year round school.
  • No the children don’t hate it
  • Actually they are the ones that push to do school as they (like their parents) are avid learners and we often go off on in depth tangents during our history and science and literature studies.
  • Not math tho.
  • `Math is a beast.
  • Math had both boys in tears today because math was being all consistent and you know… literal.
  • I feel ya boys…. Math… not my thing… but hey I’m all up on my cardinality of sets and ummm…. communitive and non-communitive properties of obligate carnivores.
  • This is what happens when you are learning math from a fictional 5 year old… I love you Life of Fred books… you make Math fun!!
  • I have kept an air plant alive for like 2 months now.
  • I’ve also kept a jade plant alive for nearly a year!!  What is this?  A green thumb??? Nahhhhh!!
  • M and I have started craftiness again.  HGTV may have taken away Carol Duvall and Martha Stewart but we have discovered the craft dude at the flea market and we are good to go.
  • Copics 2 for $5… just let that sink in for a moment.
  • I’m not even upset about sharing his existence bc he has more stuff than I can buy… even tho we have tried.  Beads $1/strand!  Gaaaaahhhhhh
  • So yeah my supplies are restocked and we are go for creativity!!
  • YouTube is my new best friend.
  • I spend my evenings watching stamping tutorials and card making how-tos.  Or watercolor tips, or how to cook Korean foods ( I LOVE YOU MAANGCHI!!!) or lifestyle vlogs like Simon and Martina (I cried when she hugged the fridge goodbye!!)
  • I’ve discovered that there are some SAHM vlogs that are scary.  I watched one the other day that consisted of the vlogger (a very frumpled looking young mom) babbling incoherently for 5 mins about a neighbor that was odd and in between complaints she would catch a glimpse of herself in her camera and have to talk about how “on point” her make up was that day…  I made it 5 mins (fast forwarding) before I had to bail as it just was a hot mess going nowhere fast.
  • I also frequent Book-tube a great deal.  I don’t read many of the recommended books but I enjoy listening to people talk about books and authors.  I don’t think I could pull off that kind of vlogging…. I wouldn’t want to give away anything going on in the book so it would basically be me reading the synopsis and saying “yeah I liked it”  The End.
  • I’ve been gaming a little more often recently… Dark Souls 3 comes out in the next few months and I have it pre-ordered 🙂
  • I find it interesting to see how there are waves of people that hit DS2.  There’s a whole new group playing if for the first time now and it’s funny to run into them and experience their surprise as a monster pops out in an unexpected place or they are suddenly battling the Pursuer… for the 5th time.
  • And that’s about it for now… we are making Spring time farm plans that involve fencing and buying poultry and I’m hoping that as the weather warms and the days get longer I’ll find myself on the back of a horse again.  There will be pig updates and garden updates and a few other things that I’m planning so keep an eye out as I’m hoping to be updating more frequently again! 🙂

 

 

 

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