Wednesday, April 12, 2017

An Anniversary Trip...

This past October, Lance and I celebrated ten years of marriage. Yep, seems a lot longer to me too. Ha. Since Lance was smart enough to let us get married during cotton picking season, so we would never have time to celebrate, we have never gone anywhere except out to eat. We honeymooned in the Smokies. It's our favorite place to go. I've always told Lance that when we got to ten years of marriage, I wanted to go back and stay in the same cabin again.
I knew we wouldn't be able to go on our actual anniversary, so I planned on a January trip. Because we also have chicken houses, we have to wait till the last minute to plan anything. Before I got to book our cabin, it burned up in the huge fire in Gatlinburg and the National Park in late November. Talk about upsetting. You can't plan something like that for ten years and not be upset.
After that, I wasn't sure where or when we would go.

So many cabins had been burned,  we decided to go a different route. I found a place called "Bearskin Lodge on the River" in Gatlinburg that looked pretty neat and told Lance about it. I always drop hints, nag, and flat out beg for stuff like this, but he usually ignores me and tells me to quit planning. This time he surprised me by booking a room! (Won't happen for another ten years).
And it wasn't just any was a suite! And he surprised me with roses and chocolate! Who is this guy?!

The room had a great view of the creek, and you could even see the Gatlinburg strip around the corner.
We could also see the Ober Gatlinburg tram go by every so often.

We found our new favorite breakfast place. "Crocketts Breakfast Camp." Lance's food was served in an iron skillet, and I had the biggest cinnamon roll pancakes I have ever seen.

We rode around looking a fire damage for a while. This is all that's left of our cabin. It was called, "Journey's End." Fitting.

We went to one of our favorite places, "The Island," in Pigeon Forge and shopped till we dropped.

Or at least shopped till we found the ice cream store.

And what's a trip to the Smokies without visiting the park?

Before we had kids, we camped for a week in Cades Cove each summer. We hope to start back this year!

We walked the Gatlinburg strip. Bubba Gump's is one of our favorite places. For our first Valentine's together, I bought Lance a "Life is like a box of chocolate" box of chocolates from Bubba Gumps. Haha.

We also found a new place we like to eat at. The Cherokee Grill. We were looking for somewhere to get all fancied up and have a "date" at. We don't ever have dates. We ate a lot on this trip. Can you tell?

This was our first time going in the Hollywood Star Cars Museum in Gatlinburg. We were looking for something we hadn't done before and picked this. Me being a huge race fan, and Lance just being a man, it was great. In case you can't tell, I'm standing by Barney Fife, lol.

Oh, and Lance's outfit (and my outfit in the above picture, including the boots that are hard to see) are from Stages West in Pigeon Forge. We are obsessed with that place. I'm pretty sure we could spend an entire day there.

These shooting galleries get Lance every time. He can't pass one up!

One of my plans for our ten year anniversary trip was to recreate the picture at the top of the sky lift they always take. Well thanks to the wildfire, the only swing still standing was the one at the bottom. So, here we are, ten years later. :)

P.S. This was our first trip without kids that wasn't a farming conference!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Favorite Christmas Memories of 2016

These are some of my favorite pictures from this past Christmas!

 Christmas program at our church.
 Christmas program at school.

 Christmas Program at my parent's church.

 Seeing the Rock City lights.
 Rocky the elf with Reed and cousin Noah.

Turtle Power!

 Yes, like usual, I'm extremely late with my Halloween post. I never want to completely skip it though, so I can look back each year on what we have done.

Reed decided much earlier in the year that he wanted to be a ninja turtle for Halloween. That idea was perfect since there are four of us and four turtles.
 I'm all about saving money, so I found the kid's costumes at a consignment sale. Reed's was the whole suit and came with a purple and an orange mask. Jade's suit was just the top, which was perfect because I made the two of us into girly Ninja turtles with homemade tutus. I found my shirt at Walmart and ordered Lance's off Amazon. I used bandanas we already had for the red and blue "masks."
 Since we always have to have a trunk or treat idea, it hit me at a Young Farmers meeting where we had pizza. Ninja Turtles love pizza. I have free pizza boxes. Fill the boxes with candy like I'm giving out pizza! Talk about a cheap idea!

The kids loved it!

Friday, January 20, 2017

So Long Big Bertha

Long-time readers, remember Big Bertha? If you don't, please get acquainted here. If you do, then you also remember what she did. Remind yourself here if you need to. 

After two years of seeing her looking like this every time we were in this field, she has departed from us. Finally.

Somebody was very glad to see her go.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Creamy Potato Soup

I originally got this recipe from Janet over at A Farm Wife's Life. I made a few modifications to it like leaving out the carrots and onions. I'm allergic to carrots (yeah, I know, crazy), and the rest of my family won't eat onions.

Creamy Potato Soup

4-5 potatoes
1/4 stick butter
3 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sour cream 
Cheese/Bacon Bits

Peel potatoes. Chop into small pieces. Put in pot and cover with water. Boil until soft. Drain water and place on medium burner. Add butter and 1 1/2c milk. In small lidded bowl, add flour, sour cream, and 1 cup milk. Shake to mix. Add to pot. Fill pot with milk to cover potatoes. Cook till thick and creamy. Add salt/pepper to taste. Top with cheese/Bacon.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Cotton Pickin' Roller Picker

This year we upgraded cotton pickers. Goodbye to the days of having to use boll buggies (which temporarily put me out of a job) and module builders, and hello to the JD 7760!

The picker passes over the cotton at a speedy 4mph. As the stalk passes through the heads, cotton is picked off the stalk by spindles (pointy metal things with barbs that spin). The cotton is knocked off the spindles by doffers (flat plastic round things with notches), and then blown into the accumulator basket in the back of the picker. Once the basket is full, it empties into the baling chamber. Cotton is continuously added until the bale reaches 96" round. When the bale is complete, it is wrapped in plastic, and the bale is ejected onto the handler.

The bale is dropped off the handler at a good spot in the field. All this time, still picking cotton and working on another bale. Much more efficient than having to stop and unload into a boll buggy or module builder.

This is a picture of the guys and our very first round bale!

The videos below are of a video screen in the cab, so they are kind of hard to see. They show the cotton being baled and ejected.

We have a loader that picks the bales up and loads them onto our truck with a 4-pronged spear, similar to a hay spear.
Once full, the truck is driven to the cotton gin!

For more information on cotton (or other things we grow) or better explanation of anything I have talked about above click here.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Turnip Greens Soup

I discovered this recipe in the Alabama Power bill a few months ago. It's pretty darn tasty and also great to eat on New Year's Day, as it contains most of those foods you're required by law to consume on that day.

Turnip Greens Soup

16oz chopped turnip greens
2 cans chicken broth
1 cup black eyed peas
1 can Rotel
3/4c shoepeg corn 
1/2c chopped carrots
1 med onion, quartered 
1lb Polish sausage 
Hot sauce to taste

Slice sausage in 1/2 inch slices and brown in skillet with onion quarters. Mix remainder of ingredients in a Dutch oven and simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours. Serve with cornbread.