Saturday, November 26, 2016

Digging myself into a hole: 11 '16

I had parked both of our vehicles at the end of our cul-d-sac while the trees were being removed.  There isn't room to turn around at the end of the street, so in order to retrieve them, I had to back up the street and make a y-turn into a neighbors driveway. Unbeknownst to me, there was a large deep pothole right where I started my turn.  The right front wheel of BJs Vehicle slipped into it leaving the car perched on pavement on three wheels.  The hole was too deep to drive out of.  Thank goodness for AAA. It only took them 30 seconds to pull the car out, but I probably will never stop hearing the end of the woman driver jokes.

Bye, Bye River Birch Tree: 11 '16

Notice anything missing between the photo above and the one below?
It's called a Tree!

The River Birch in our front yard began rocking violently during Hurricane Mathew.  At the peak of the storm, the only thing holding it upright was a single root growing under our neighbors driveway.   The  wind was so strong that the tree's root system was cracking  their driveway trying to uproot, but the pavement held long enough that the tree did not blow over.  Even so,  our HOA decided not to risk having it come down in the next storm, so they hired a contractor to remove it .   Below  photos of the full process.

First Cut

The biggest challenge was that my neighbor was not home and  there were two branches over-hanging my neighbor's driveway that had to come down without damage to his vehicle.

The contractor met the challenge by using two people in the cutting process.  One did the cutting and the other held onto the branch and directed its fall away from the house and vehicle.

 Then  they began removing all the branches on the opposite side  so they had unobstructed access to the branches overhanging the car.  Just in case, they covered my neighbors car with blankets.

A ground crew removed the limbs  and branches that were being dropped from above.

They also finished removing the larger segments of trunk  until it  was completely level with the ground.

Next week the contractor  will be back with a stump grinder to remove the trunk and whatever roots can be reached from the surface.

While I fully understood why it had to be removed,  I still  felt very sad watching the tree come down.  It almost felt like losing a member of the family.  We've nourished it, and watched it grow from a young sapling (See above photo from Fall of 2007)  into the mature  beauty it had become before the storm.   It will be missed.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday is Adopt a Black Cat Day

Stinky Inky heard that Black Friday is adopt a Black Cat Day.

When we opened the front door this morning to let Ms. Kat out, Stinky stepped inside, and has made himself at home.  I guess he has decided, we should adopt him. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving: 11 '16

Our homemade Thanksgiving Dinner to be grateful for: Roast Cornish Game Hen with Garlic stuffing, roasted carrots in butter and maple syrup, roasted Brussels sprouts with  Parmesan crust, home made ginger beer (non-alcoholic) and  Spiced pumpkin pudding ( not-shown)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

BJ and his service Kat: 11'16

Bruce came through his surgery with flying colors, but remaining inactive until he heals is  trying his patience.  Ms. Kat has volunteered  for service cat duty with the responsibilities of keeping Bruce company and comforting him through the boredom of  post op recovery.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Post Hurricaine Mathew Cleanup: 11 ' 16

Remember,  the photos in my Oct. 9 2016 post which showed the trees and branches broken by  Hurricane Mathew being piled along side the curbs in our community?   Shortly after that photo was taken, our  Community Home Owners Association  contracted with a firm to come in and cart off the debris.  The contractor was supposed to cart it off to a location , shred it, then return the shreds to the plantation for use as a ground cover.  Instead they pushed all the debris along Tanglewood  Dr.into a mountainous firetrap right next to the 18th fairway's green.  And there it still sits.  What can I say... It's the South.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

New Bern, Dinner at Persimmons: 11 '16

To celebrate out last evening in town we decided to have dinner at Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant, which specializes in farm to table cuisine.

Everything on their menu sounded wonderful, but eventually we settled on the special of the evening which was lamb medallions,with riced potatoes and sauteed collards on a bed of red pepper gravy.

Oh my!  Everything was delicious.  Even the collards were to die for!  We really happy we chose this as our last adventure on this trip.

New Bern to Cliffs of Nuese SP: 11 '16

The site of Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, with impressive 90' cliffs overlooking the Neuse River, has been a landmark for centuries.

Five hiking trails explore the riverside habitats and their mature forests and lead to some quiet fishing spots along the waterway. 

We took the 350 yard trail which led to an overlook of the Neuse River 

and a close up view of the cliffs . ( They are hard to see through the trees from this angle)

Then the trail angled down hill to the edge of the Neuse River where there were

some beautiful reflections of the trees in the water.

Unfortunately, even with bug spray, we were being swarmed by mosquitoes, so we turned around and attempted to go downriver on the Spanish Moss Trail,

only to encounter the same swarms of insects
as the trail dropped closer to the river the river. 

A favorite facility for the local communities is an 11-acre swimming lake with a bathhouse, grass-covered lawn, sandy beach and diving platform with rental boats available. Expansive picnic grounds are nearby. Interestingly we did not encounter too many insects on the trail that circled the lake

A visitor center offers kid friendly exhibits that explore the natural and cultural history of the region, complementing regular interpretive programs.

The park has group campsites and a 35-site family campground,, but we wouldn't recommend staying there unless (a) you are willing to bathe in bug repellent, or (b) the weather is too cold for mosquitoes.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Stanly House and Dixons House Tours: 11'16

A docent led tour of two private homes of the colonial era were included in the Tyron Palace Tour Package

The Stanly House and the Dixon House were both built and owned by private business men during the colonial era.  Each have a fascinating history and have been meticulously maintained with authentic furniture and details specific to their time in history.

 For more information about these historical homes see:


New Bern's North Carolina History Center 11 '16

Entrance to the  North Carolina History Center is included in the cost of the Tyron Palace Admission.  The Center has a wide variety of exhibits and some very high tech interactive historical activities designed to appeal to a wide variety of ages and interests. Our favorite was the Pespsi Family Center.

At the Pepsi Family Center, a virtual time machine transported us to a river village in North Carolina’s Central Coastal Region in the year 1835. Here, hands-on activities invited us to step back in time and sail a ship, distill turpentine and produce naval stores, piece an electronic quilt, and/or help the shopkeeper find merchandise for customers in the dry goods store.

New Bern was an important coastal river port into the 19th century. The time machine allowed us to visit the New Bern wharf and join the crew of the Snapdragon as she set sail on a trade voyage. Every crewmember has a unique role and must work together to help the ship reach its destination safely. Bruce manned the helm, while CC trimmed the sails and killed rats.

 At home in the Kitchen,  we helped the cook as she sought ingredients for her ice cream recipes, then watch as the ice cream was prepared as it would have been in 1835.  CC joined a quilting bee in the parlor, and designed patterns from squares that were then pieced together to create a beautiful quilt.

Finally, we stepped into a Main Stree shop and helped a local merchant who was  looking for some extra hands. In his Dry Goods Store, we help the shopkeeper  find items to fill his customers’ shopping lists.

New Bern, Lunch on the Neuse River: 11 '16

We took a break from the New Bern history tour, for a pleasant picnic lunch in Union Point Park on the Neuse River.

New Bern Tyron Palace work areas: 11'16

After touring the Governor and his family and formal rooms, we were free to explore the separate unattached buildings that housed the kitchen area and other working areas of the palace household.

The kitchen was large and roomy with many different areas for food preparation

A costumed expert  colonial cooking processes was on hand to answer any questions we might have while she  prepared an authentic meal for the day, 

Another room was set aside for weaving and tailoring

The head of the female staff.(above)  as well as the lead butler each had their own modest, but reasonably comfortable  private accommodations.

Other servants however bunked together in minimaly furnished accomodations.

Other areas we viewed were the blacksmith  house,

the stables,

and the herb and kitchen gardens.

New Bern, Tyron Palace Tour: 11 '16

Tryon Palace, located in New Bern, North Carolina, is a replica of the mansion built in the late 1760s for the Royal Governor of the Province of North Carolina Completed in 1770, During Colonial times, Royal Governor William Tryon and his family brought architect John Hawks from London to design and build the Georgian-style structure. Completed in 1770, Tryon Palace served as the first permanent capitol of North Carolina and home to the Tryon family.

Tryon Palace was the site of the first sessions of the general assembly for the State of North Carolina following the revolution and housed the state governors until 1794. In 1798, fire destroyed the original Palace building. An extensive 30-year campaign to rebuild the Palace and restore the grounds was launched by the people of New Bern, state leaders, world craftsmen, and generous, dedicated citizens such as Mrs. James Edwin Latham. Their efforts led to the triumphal reopening of the Palace in 1959. Today, the Palace lives on as a testament to history, community and rebirth.

Tryon Palace has numerous tour ticket options designed to accommodate individuals, families, tour groups, and school groups. We chose the One Day Pass, which allowed us to see everything Tryon Palace has to offer, including the Governor’s Palace, Historic homes, Gardens and the North Carolina History Center. 

Our tour guide showing us the General Assembly Room in the Palace.

All tours are led by docents in costumes of the colonial period, and costumed specialists are available to answer questions about specific skills like blacksmithing, or cooking.

The Govenor's Office

The Palace Formal Dining Room

Govenor Tyron, and his familly and visitors dined on fine china imported from Europe.

The floating mahogony staircase was used by the Govenor and his adult guests to reach the second story rooms. Children ( under the age of 14) and servants used a smaller less decorative set of stairs.

A light and airy guest bedroom faces the Trent River, and was decorated to impress visitors with the wealth and importance of the Colonial Government.

A second guest bedroom was more confining and probably reserved for guests that the Govenor wanted to leave quickly.

The Govenor's wife had her own sitting room in which she could entertain her freinds in private.

She also had her own personal dressing room

But she and the Govenor shared a bedroom which had a distinctly masculine flair.

Next door the the Governor's bedroom was a bedroom and sitting room of their only daughter.