Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Quail, our new additions

About a month ago one of our neighbors, and elder man in his 80's announced he is moving further south, he can't handle another Kentucky winter. He didn't want to take his birds with him, Peach doves and quail, so we took them and added them to the growing collection that is the Wandering Wonderful Homestead. Several emails back and forth with the state, and reading up on Kentucky's laws proved that in order to raise and sell quail we would need a commercial license. We don't think we are ready for that yet. So for now we are keeping them for ourselves. Getting our feet wet in the world of raising quail. I have never ate quail meat or quail eggs but I have heard both are delicious. We bought a few more quail to add to the few that we were gifted, going through a licensed seller to obtain these. Here are a few pictures of our very cute quail.
Fresh from the quail farm

Hiding in the slanted corner

Moe, checking on things in the quail coop

Attempting to get their bearings

Monday, October 12, 2015

My Ghost Story

I have had experiences that I can't explain away logically.

A couple weeks before I started middle school, and met the Wanderer my grandmother died. She died very unexpectedly. My family is pretty old school southern when it comes to funerals. We believe in the old tradition of "sitting up with the dead". The night before grandmas funeral a group of was standing around the portico of the funeral home enjoying the warm night air. Suddenly an electric charge seemed to feel the air, the hair on our arms and back of neck stood on end, and then we heard it. My grandmother's sing-song voice. She called out to my uncle's wife. 3 times we heard her call her name. She was my grandmother's favorite daughter-in-law, her and my uncle met at a livestock auction. They were bidding on the same goat, she won the goat and he won her heart. 

Odd things had happened leading up to this. One aunt had heard someone coughing while she was in a bathroom stall. When she exited the stall she found herself alone. Others in our group had similar experiences that evening, but we brushed it off. We can't seem to brush off or explain away all of us hearing grandma's voice. 

Growing up our house was weird. I have already posted one story about our neighborhood, this is about our house exclusively. Sometime a couple years after we moved in dad saw a dark hooded figure standing in the hall way in the middle of the night. He kept this story from us for many years. I remember times during our childhood when we would hear something shatter in the next room, or hear what sounded like everything from our cabinets being throw into the floor. We would go into the kitchen and check, but everything was always in its proper place. I was a latch key kid and was often home alone for a couple hours every evening. At first I would sit in the living room and just listen to the sounds coming from down the hall, voices, often mimicking people I knew, trying to get me to come down the hall. Eventually it got to the point were I would sit outside on the porch, do my homework and wait for my parents to come home.

At night the blankets would routinely fly off the bed, this got to the point were I would roll myself in the blanket every night so it would stay on. I would wake to see the shapes of people in my room.

The topic of ghosts and the supernatural is always controversial. Mr. Wanderer is a non believer, I am a believer but I have no explanation as to what causes this or why it happens. 

Friday, October 09, 2015

Random Facts Friday

1. The Pentagon has a plan for combating a zombie apocalypse. 
2. So does the CDC
3. Iran arrested 14 squirrels for spying in 2007.
4. Two actors have died playing Judas in live Biblical productions by accidentally hanging themselves during his death scene.
5. The world's biggest family live together in India : A man with 39 wives & 94 children.
6. The world's oldest known creature, a mollusk, was 507 years old until scientists killed it by mistake.
7. In 2011 a woman bought a "non-visible" piece of art for $10,000.00. Has she heard of the Emperors new clothes?
8. In 2013 a girl survived Asiana's plane crash, only to be run over & killed by a responding fire truck. I don't recommend watching the video.
9. In Jamaica, sex between men is punishable with up to 10 years imprisonment & a fine of $1,500, while sex between women is allowed.
10. In 2011 a man killed his wife inside the Walmart where she worked. Rather than close the store, they chose to rope off the gore-splattered area while police investigated. We had a meth lab explode in our Walmart, the store didn't close for that either. 

11. Banging your head against a wall burns 150 calories an hour. 
12. The average woman uses her height in lipstick every 5 years. I am not the average woman...

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Real Live Horror

It's getting close to Halloween, my favorite holiday. For most this is a time of cuddling up on couches and watching scary movies, or gathering around the flicking lights of a campfire for spooky ghost stories. I love a good horror movie, won't pass up a change for ghost stories, but what really gets me is true accounts of horror and mystery.

Earlier this week I stumbled across a Youtube channel called Mr. Nightmare. I am loving this channel. One video really stood out, because it brought back memories from my childhood that I would rather forget, but I know I never will. These are the memories that make me check the doors and windows multiple times before I go to bed. Memories that make look over my shoulder while walking my dog in our backyard at dusk. After all these years I still have the urge to reach for a gun when I hear a sound outside.

The video was 10 Real Creepy True Stories. This is my creepy true story. During the summer of 1988 we moved, not to far, just across the county to a house on a small private street, the area was pretty rural but a road in front of the houses acted as a short cut between two well traveled roads. Behind the houses was a hill densely covered with trees. Most of the husbands on the road worked nights, so most evenings it was just women and children home alone.

Not long after we moved in one of our neighbors mentioned that occasionally they would experience a "prowler" or peeping tom. The lay out of their house was nearly identically to ours, yet they had replaced their huge kitchen window with a much smaller window. The wife had reported that she had seen someone looking in the window at her several times while home alone.

I don't remember what our first encounter with him was. I remember a few times when my sister and I was home alone we would hear someone knock on the door or window, and when we checked no one would be there. He liked to sit just inside the tree line, we could see the glow at the end of his cigerette as he watching our houses. It wasn't constant, he would go months, sometimes a couple years without bothering us. He knew our names, sometimes he would call out to us late at night, just to startle us. One 2 occassions he poisoned our dogs, one dog was able to be saved, one sadly passed away. Another neighbor had a puppy disappear. Us kids found it, dead, tied to a tree on the hill. This was as violent as he ever got, thankfully.

One New Years eve, a friend from the neighborhood and I were home alone. My parents and sister were at New Years parties. The friend and I were old enough to be home alone, so that wasn't an issue. She was trying to lock my front door, the lock was finicky. I was down the hall. Suddenly I heard 3 loud bangs, she started screaming. I ran down the hall and found her with a shocked look on her face. She said she had been standing, straddling the open door trying to figure out how to get it to lock. It was being very stubborn. A man appeared out of no where and slapped the window 3 times before taking off running. We locked the door, grabbed a gun from the gun case and waited for an adult to come home.

A few times we would find hammers, screw drivers, or other tools on the front porch. When I was in high school I was reading a book by John Douglas, former profiler for the FBI. I hadn't had the book long, when it disappeared. I tore the house apart looking for this book. One night I devised a plan. I thought I knew who took the book, so I left our mysterious prowler a note. I told him if he returned the book so I could finish it, he could have it when I was done. I left the note on the TV. A couple days later I woke up and found the book sitting on the coffee table. Tell me, what would a prowler want with a book about killers, rapists and stalkers?

I believe the prowler had to be a career criminal, that would be a logical reason for him sometimes taking a year or two off before coming back to terrorize the neighborhood. Many of you may be asking yourself why we didn't call the cops. We did, our neighbors did, we would occasionally have cops laying in our bushes waiting to try to catch this guy. This was before Kentucky passed our Castle Doctrine law, but the Sheriff's office advised us that if we ever got a shot at the guy to take it.

We have sense moved away, but one of the girls we grew up took over her parents home, she has installed cameras around her house. She posted on facebook not long ago that she couldn't sleep, it was super early in the morning and she was sitting at her kitchen table, drinking coffee because she had gave up on going back to bed. Movement on one of the monitors caught her attention, a man was standing in her long driveway, just staring at her house. She watched him for several minutes, trying to decide if it was worth calling 911 over, she knew he would be gone when they got there. Then he just turned and walked away.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Improving Yourself with Free Resources

School is back in session. The long days of summer are over. The first day of fall as arrived, bringing with it crisp air, and turning leaves. It is a time of the year when we here at the Wandering Wonderful homestead start to make plans for the long winter days ahead. Last year we had a relatively mild winter, we were only snowed in for 2 weeks. We spent the winter months making plans for the farm, drawing up plans for various projects (Hoop Run) and starting a blog. This winter is dedicated to self improvement. We have found a variety of free services that we plan on utilizing.

Online Free College Courses
I will admit, while in college I hated taking online classes. Now I enjoy the ability to further my education while still wearing my pajamas. Classes at edx.org are free, with fees if you chose to get a certificate to verify you passed the course. EDX is governed by governed by MIT and Harvard. Open learning is the way of the future.

We are both learning Portuguese (Brazilian) at the moment using Duolingo in addition to conversing with native speakers. The format of Duolingo makes learning a language game-like and fun. They have several language programs to choose from, many Duolingo members are learning multiple languages at once. They will soon be adding Klingon, I for one am excited about learning Klingon. English is our primary language, Portuguese is the first foreign language the Wanderer has attempted to learn. I speak a little Lakota (one of my grandfathers was Lakota), I think this has gave me a slight advantage in learning Portuguese.

Part of TED's mission statement boasts "we're building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world's most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other" That is a driving philosophy behind the team here at Wandering in the Wonderful. We seek to be always improving and engaging with the world around us, teaching and learning.

A site with articles that cover nearly every aspect of homesteading. We are still new to the world of homesteading, returning to the lives our grandparents lived. This has been a key resource for us as we grow and develop the farm and adapt our lifestyles.

Friday, September 18, 2015

PVC Chicken Run/Hoop House

At one time most of our neighbor were tobacco farmers. PVC hoop houses were a common sight. Many in the area still use hoop houses to get an early start on their seedlings. We took the idea in a different way. This spring we experienced a chicken explosion! We hatched out many chicks, but for safety reasons we didn't want to put the babies straight into the coop with our adult chickens. We also desperately wanted a way to reap the benefits of having chickens in our yard, without the concerns raised by free ranging.
Normal hoop houses are built using a wooden frame, the PVC pipes are inserted into holes drilled into the wood frame. Plastic is then stretched over the hoops to make a greenhouse. They are not portable or easily movable. We needed something that was easily movable. Ultimately we wanted something that 1 person could move around the yard without the aid of a four wheeler. 

Large 4 inch PVC drain pipes ended up being our go-to frame for the hoop house/chicken run. They come in 5 foot lengths, we joined two lengths together with a coupler to make a frame that was 10X5 rectangle. We drilled holes evenly spaced down both 10 foot sides and slipped 10 foot lengths of 1 inch PVC. This gave us a great domed hoop house shape. 

We used the same pipe that we used for the hoop "ribs" to frame out a door for one of the 5 foot long ends. We then stretched chicken wire across the whole frame. Using hog rings to join the pieces of wire together and zip ties to attach the wire to the PVC frame. 

This has worked well all summer long. We currently have 1 5x5 "broody run" were we are keeping a hen with her sole hatched chick. and 2 10X5 runs for chickens of various ages. We have just use tarps over the coop to sheild chickens from the weather. Soon all the chickens will be going into our main coop and the PVC runs will be stored in the barn. When the time comes for starting seedlings we plan on stretching plastic over the PVC chicken runs and using them as hoop houses for starting seeds. 

All in all this was a great project. Each run cost around $200 for supplies, and I could haul all of the supplies home from the store using my car!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Books to get you in the Halloween Spirit

Halloween is my holiday. I have no problem admitting that I have several totes full of Halloween costumes, I love getting dressed up, I love the history and the lore. I am already planning my first horror movie marathon. My family is the same way. My dad use to dress up as Jason Voorhees to scare mine and my sisters friends during sleep overs. The Wanderer isn't as in to Halloween as I am, and unlike me he is a complete non believer in ghosts, hauntings and things that go bump in the night. I recently picked up a book about EVP's written by a New England based author/investigator. This book as really gotten me in the Halloween spirit. The book is serious, but ghosts and Halloween have always went hand in hand for me. Here is a list of books that put me in the Spooky Spirit.

Ghosts Along the Cumberlands, William MontellI believe this may be the first "ghost story" book I read, and peaked my interest not only in ghost stories but in the author William Montell. Montell was a professor at Western Kentucky University. He is a noted  folklorist and oral historian, taking on the important task of preserving the rich storytelling tradition of Kentucky. I have had the pleasure of meeting Montell and listening to this rich storyteller in person on numerous occasions. To date he has written over 20 books, not all of them ghost stories. 

Dead Whispers, A.E. AngelThis book is unique because it inculdes a CD

of the EVP recordings A.E. Angel writes about in her books, allowing us the readers to listen to and draw our own conclusions. She also weaves in history about the area of New England that she is writing about, because to most paranormal investigators that historical context of the area is an important part of their research. A.E. Angel is the pen name for Luann Joly, the founder of Whaling City Ghosts based out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. She was also part of the Bridgewater Triangle documentary.

Ghost Soldiers of Gettysburg, Jack Roth Gettysburg, Pa may be one of the most heavily investigated places in the US. I have personally been to Gettysburg 10 times. I love the history of the area, I love the beauty. I have spent countless days wandering every inch of the battlefield. Yes I have even had a ghostly encounter on the battlefield. This book is one of the best paranormal books about Gettysburg I have found. It is well written and provides a wealth of historic facts that shape the paranormal elements of this place. 

Ghost Hunters: True Stories from the World's Most Famous Demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren
Ed and Lorraine Warren are two the most controversial paranormal investigators in the field. The movies The Amityville Horror, A Haunting in Connecticut, The Conjuring, and Annabelle have all been inspired by famous Warren cases. This book is their stories in their own words, the horrors, the demons, and the frightened spirits that they confronted in their very long career in the field of investigating and demonology. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Leaf Peeping Road Trips

I went camping this weekend. I left home Friday morning, Set up an old canvas tent in a field with about 40 of my friends. Rain Friday night, Saturday evening and all night Saturday couldn't put a damper on our fun. When I awoke Saturday morning to the sound of an 8am mess call on the bugle the weather had taken a distinctively chilly turn. I wrapped myself up in a wool cape and shuffled out to the fire. Fall was officially in the air. 
I love fall. I love watching the leaves change. I am lucky to live in a place that usually has a pretty wondrous fall leaf peeping season, comparable to our spring Redbud season. I hope each and every one of you take the time this fall to drive slowly down a scenic stretch of America and enjoy the beauty of fall.

The Covered Bridges Byway, Ohio
The nations longest and shortest covered bridges are just 2 of the 18 covered bridges you will trek across on this winding road through Ashtabula County, the heart of Ohio Amish country. Some bridges date back to the 1850's. I cannot think of a better combination than covered bridges and fall foliage. 

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina/Virgina
This 469 miles stretch of breathtaking, jaw dropping views earned this scenic byways a place on this list. This winding road through the Blue Ridge Mountains was built during a very desperate time in this nations history, working on this project were people from the Works Progress Administration, Emergency Relief Administration and 4 Civilian Conservation Corps camps. This project put America back to work. 

The Kanc, New Hampshire
Kancamagus Highway (Route 112)  through the White Mountains will take you through covered bridges, passed water falls, and some of the best fall foliage in the state. A 37 mile trek that is well worth your time. 

Acadia National Park, Maine 
This park is year round fun and beauty. Any time of the year you will find something to do, and the beauty of the area will make you want to come back year after year. Fall is my favorite time of year in Acadia, the vibrant mountainsides come to live with fiery shades of reds and golds. If you are a photographer or painter this area was made for you. The  mountains, an ocean shorelinewoodlands, and lakes that make up Acadia were original home to the Wabanaki people

Friday, September 11, 2015

Random Facts Friday

1. The US Army admitted it secretly dumped 64 million pounds of nerve and mustard gas agents into the ocean from 1944 to 1970, along with 400,000 chemical filled bombs & more than 500 tons of radioactive waste.
2. It is illegal to spay or neuter your dog in Norway except under very specific circumstances.
3. 100% of Earth's ocean floor has been mapped to a maximum resolution of around 5KM.
4. 1.3 million Earths could fit into the Sun!
5. According to the Bible, David was offered the king's daughter if he came back with 100 foreskin of slain enemies. He came back with 200.
6. In 2011 a man in Sweden was arrested for splitting an atom in his kitchen!
7. WWII Allied soldiers would fire thousands of rounds at random over the German trenches to boil the water in their machine guns to make tea. (And people wonder why a war costs so much! And those British love their tea)
8. In Ancient Rome, the punishment for killing one's father was the death penalty, which consisted of being sewn in a sack with a viper, a dog, and a cock.
9. Hallucinatory "voices" seem to be shaped by local culture. In the US, the voices are harsh and threatening while those heard by Schizophrenics in Africa & India tend to be benign & playful.
10. The logo of the Royal New Zealand Air Force is the Kiwi, a flightless bird.
11. Michael Jackson wanted to do a Harry Potter musical, JK Rowling said no.
12. California's official state animal is extinct.
13. A British POW captured by the Germans in WWI was freed to see his dying mother, then went back to the prison camp because he gave the Kaiser "his word" he would return.
14. The US has 19 aircraft carriers, compared to the rest of the world's 12 aircraft carriers combined.
15. Rastafarians are legally allowed to possess Marijuana in Italy due to it being a "sacrament" to the religion.
16. New York ' s area code is 212 because it was the fastest number to dial on a rotary phone.
17. During a car crash 40% of drivers never even hit the brakes.
18. Mount Everest shrank 1 inch due to the 2015 Nepal earthquake.
19. It costs $8,876 per year to own & maintain a car in the US. That's $443,800 in 50 years!
20. More than 86,000 people are injured each year in the US alone due to tripping over their cats & dogs. (I trip over the Wonder dogs often)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Things to do in Rowan County that doesn't involve Kim Davis

I am certain most of you have heard of Kim Davis and Rowan county at this point. As so often the case when Kentucky is the focus of the news, old stereotypes have been brought up, Mrs. Davis hasn't done a lot to improve Kentucky's image with the rest of the world. But Kim Davis isn't Rowan county. I have mentioned this area a time or two on the blog. Morehead, and Rowan county is a delightful place, snuggled into the hills, a place where you can experience world class hiking, mountain biking and fishing, in a charming small town environment.

Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail stretches 307 miles from Burnt Mill Bridge Trail Head in Tennessee to Rowan County. A portion of the trail runs through downtown Morehead. The trail, which bares the name pioneer Daniel Boone was given by Chief Blackfish passes through 4 recreational parks,  Daniel Boone National Forest, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Natural Bridge State Resort Park, and two large recreation lakes, Cave Run Lake and Laurel Lake.

Cave Run Lake, a 8,270-acre reservoir lake in the Daniel Boone National Forest bills itself as the Muskie Fishing Capital of the World. The largest muskie caught in Kentucky was caught at Cave Run. Numerous hiking trails, a large man made beach area expansive playground makes Cave Run a big hit with locals. The lake also makes for a very nice spot to watch meteor showers.

Morehead Arts and Eats Fest, over 60 vendors line main street on Saturday, September 19 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This is the prefect event to pick up unique, one-of-a-kind arts and crafts for the upcoming holidays. The food vendors are second to none, you can usually find one or two local Amish and Mennonite families selling dried apple pies, apple butter and fresh bread. 

Cave Run Storytelling Festival, September 25-26, 2015

Large tents dot the shore line of Cave Run Lake, deep in the heart of Daniel Boone National Forest. A prefect setting for the countries best storytellers. For the past 17 years this festival has strives to keep the Appalachian tradition of storytelling alive. 

Monday, September 07, 2015

Why we don't free range

Weather to free range or not is a greatly debated issue in the chicken world. Its something that everyone who owns chickens has to work out for themselves. What works best for their property and their needs.

Before we purchased our first chickens we did a lot of research and we discussed the logistics of raising chickens. We had a large building that had sat neglected for several years, we knew this would be a perfect chicken coop. But it wasn’t “close” to our house. If we are standing on our porch we can see the coop, but a decent size yard and a huge garden plot would be between us and the chickens. This meant if a predator attacked we may not be able to make it in time to save our flock. Would a predator attack? Yes. Our neighbors “free range” their dogs, and apparently our property is part of their “range”. We also have coyotes and cougars in this area, that would welcome the handy meal that a slow moving chicken would make.

While we live on several acres the house and the coop are in close proximity to a busy road. Cars do
not stop for slow moving chickens fulfilling their dream of crossing the road. Ultimately their safety is our responsibility and the best way to keep them safe is to keep them contained.

If we free range we would never have any guarantee that they would stay on our property. Our neighbors may fail at their duty to keep their animals on their property, but we refuse to be like those neighbors. I recently had a friend on Facebook complaining because his neighbors had asked him to keep his chickens on his property. He couldn’t seem to understand that some do not want chickens tearing up their property and pooping on their porch. Our animals are our responsibility and it's our duty to keep them on our property.

To allow greater access to vegetation we have built 3 mobile runs out of PVC and chicken wire. These contraptions are easy enough for 1 person to pull them around the yard by hand. These are not used for winter quarters, for winter all chickens must report back to the main coop, but it makes a great summer home.

I just cannot in good conscious let my little feathered breakfast makers roam free, it would be to heart breaking to lose one to traffic or a predator. Not that accidents don't sometimes happen. Not long after we bought our first chickens a relative and his grandson came up for a visit for the summer. The teenage boy would sneak into the coop at night. At one point he let two chickens out. We found feathers scattered across the yard in the morning. The coop door now has a lock on it. Earlier this summer, just after the Wanderers aunt moved into the place close to the coop we had a rooster escape. Her St. Barnard tried to "help us" catch the runaway rooster. Thankfully we caught the rooster before Big Mo. I have never felt more like Rocky Balboa than that moment chasing a chicken around the yard, I am ready to fight Apollo Creed.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Kentucky is Strange.

Early Native American settlers in Kentucky knew this place was odd, they have various stories and legends to illustrate their claims. If you have lived in Kentucky you know it to be true. We are a weird state full of quirky, unusual people. The following is just a sample of things that make Kentucky weird.

1. Two of the most haunted places on earth, according to the folks that track that sort of thing,
are located in Kentucky. Waverly Hills Sanatorium, and Bobby Mackey’s Music World. Since I have a whole post dedicated to Waverly Hills I won’t dwell on it here. Bobby Mackey’s is a nightclub in the northern Kentucky town of Wilder. There is a plethora of urban legends about this club, from suicides to murder, bootleggers and old school gangsters. Some even claim it is a portal to hell. Bobby Mackey himself has tried to link at least one of the alleged hauntings to the murder of Pearl Bryan. The 22 year old Indiana native was found decapitated a few miles from the club. Her head was never recovered. No hard evidence exists to link her 1896 with the site of Bobby Mackey’s.

2. We are the site of, to my knowledge, the only incident of a UFO hitting a train. The first I heard about it was in the book Weird Kentucky, if its in a book it must be true...right? Here is the deal, no one is dispute that a train suffered extensive damage that night. According to official reports from CSX debris fell off a hillside and damaged the train. They have an official report on the matter. NUFORC, the UFO reporting people also have a file on this. I will let you decide for yourself which version of events you believe.

3. Sometimes meat just falls from the sky. On March 3, 1876 Mrs. Allen Crouch was in the yard
A preserved sample located
in the Arthur Byrd Cabinet, 
Transylvania University
making soap in the rural Olympia community, when suddenly out of a clear sky meat began to fall. The shower was contained to a relatively small 100-by-50-yard area near the couples. Samples of the flesh were sent to various labs which confirmed it to be lung and muscular tissue from a horse. What caused this is still up for debate, but most agree that engorged vultures vomited up their meal.

4. Kentucky is home to the only town built inside a meteor crater. Middlesboro, at town of around 10,000 people sits in the Cumberland Gap, where Daniel Boone and early settlers ventured into the state. Although settlers had been in the area since the late 1700’s and the town was officially founded in 1886 it wasn’t until 1962 that the U. S. Geological Survey identified it as an impact crater from a meteor some 300 million years ago.

5. We have blue people. Devotees of a certain college team may claim to bleed blue, and Paul Karason dosed himself with enough colloidal silver to turn himself blue but only the Blue Fugates of Troublesome Creek can claim to be naturally blue. Martin Fugate settled in a rural area of Perry county known as Troublesome creek. He met and married a local girl named Elizabeth Smith. Little did the pair know that they both carried recessive genes for methemoglobinemia. They had high levels of methemoglobin in their bodies resulting in a blue appearance. In the 1860’s that a hematologist that the University of Kentucky heard about the “Blue people” and traveled into the mountains to investigate things for himself. He was able to successfully treat them with methylene blue clearing up their blue complexions.

6. We elect dogs to political offices. You may have heard that Lucy Lou, the Border Collie mayor of Rabbit Hash will announce her candidacy for President Labor Day weekend. I am personally a little apprehensive of having another Kentuckian as president. Remember the
whole civil war was fought between two native Kentuckians. Lucy Lou is one in a long line of Dog mayors of Rabbit Hash the tradition dating back to the late 1990's. The tiny community on the banks of the Ohio river is home to 315 people and one amazing old country store.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Festivals You Don't Want to Miss

We are quickly approaching fall in the Bluegrass state, and fall means 1 thing...FESTIVALS.
I love fall festivals, the sights, the smells, the funnel cake! Most of Kentucky's 120 counties hold festivals, allowing an intrepid traveler to see the diversity of the Bluegrass state. Here are a few festivals I am looking forward to this fall.

Kentucky Bourbon Festival, Bardstown Ky
SEPTEMBER 15-20, 2015
Kentucky is known as the birthplace of Bourbon, and Bardstown is the Bourbon Capital of the World. Its true, they have trademarked it. Over 6 days, Bardstown and 12 Kentucky bourbon

distilleries will provide you and I with demonstrations on the craft of barrel making, mixology lessons, taste testings, a historical tour and ghost walk. Rounding out the festivities is a good old fashion bootleggers train robbery. Don’t feel bad about handing your money over to the robbers, all donations collected go to Crusade for Children charity.

Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival, Morehead Ky
September 11-19, 2015
Over 100 bands and 20,000 people flock to this little 1400 acre plot of land outside Morehead
Kentucky every September to listen to the best bluegrass has to offer. Country artists are not excluded, but this is, and will always be a bluegrass celebration. This year country artists John Anderson, Tracy Lawrence and local boys Sundy Best join Bluegrass greats like Dan Tyminski and Blue Highway. Bring a tent, camper or RV, to best experience this event you should settle in for the weekend.

World Chicken Festival, London Ky
September 24-27, 2015
KFC, Kentucky Fried Chicken got its start here in the Bluegrass state. The World Chicken Festival pays homage to Col. Harlan Sanders and the origins of the KFC brand. You will find
the standard festival activities, music, carnivals, arts and crafts. The real gem of this festival is the world's largest chicken fryer. This skillet is huge measuring 10 feet, 6 inches in diameter; 8 inches deep; 8 foot handle; and weighs 700 pounds total. You will want to snag a piece of fresh fried chicken from this world famous skillet.

Kentucky Apple Festival, Paintsville Ky
October 2nd & 3rd, 2015

Unlike a lot of other festivals all of the food booths are local organizations. Many of them get the
bulk of their yearly funding from sales during the Apple Festival. Free concerts Friday and Saturday at the main stage, and clogging near Paint Creek. Lets not forget to mention 3 large tents filled with local artisans selling their creations.


Monday, August 31, 2015

6 Natural Wonders Worth Taking a Dip In

A few evenings ago while perusing Reddit.com I stumbled across a picture of a location so breathtaking it gained an instant place on my "must visit" list. After a bit of location research I realized, much to my disappointment, that I have missed several chances to visit this hidden gem. Its one of 6 Waterholes you must visit.

Location 1. Cummins Falls, Cookeville, Tn
I first learned of this location from friends who live in the area. It was hot and sticky, typical summer
conditions in the southland. They had sneaked off to their favorite local swimming hole
to cool off. The 75-foot cascading waterfall is Tennessee's 8th largest waterfall. The plunge pool at the base of the fall is the ideal spot to cool off after you make the 1.5 mile trek to the gorge and falls.  

Location 2. Big Rock at Cherokee Park, Louisville, Ky
Louisville, the largest city in the Bluegrass State is home to some 760,000 people and is most famous for the Kentucky Derby and Heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali. Cherokee Park is an oasis in a otherwise bustling city.  The 409 acre park was designed in 1891 and holds the distinction of being the 69th most visited municipal park in the US. Big Rock is quite literally a big flat top rock sitting in Beargrass creek. The boulder slows the creek, allowing for a perfect spot for wading, while the rocks flat top makes a picturesque picnic area. 

Location 3. George Rogers Clark Park, Springfield, Oh
by Cadcam
Several years ago I attended The Fair at New Boston in Springfield Ohio. I went as a spectator but I met up with a friend who does Revolutionary War reenacting. While touring the fairgrounds I received a call from my mother, who gave me the news that one of my uncles had died. Seeing I was upset my friend grabbed my hand and lead me through a 300-year-old beech-maple forest to a bench beside a very gentle waterfall. The was were Shawnee women and children hid during the Battle of Piqua. The stream empties into Hosterman Lake a tributary To Mad River. No motorized boats are allowed on the 9.2 acre lake making it a perfect spot for swimming, canoeing and kayaking. We saw people doing all three the day I was there.

Location 4.  Meadow Run Natural Waterslide, Ohiopyle State Park, Pa
Ohiopyle State Park is nature's waterpark, between the 35-foot Cucumber Falls and the 100 foot long corkscrewing Meadow Run waterslide. Shaded by Eastern hemlock and Mountain Laurel the slide ends in a 3 foot deep dunk pool. Warning, you may want to wear sturdy denim cut offs to protect your tushy from the rough sandstone.

Location 5. Tallulah Gorge, Tallulah Falls, Georgia
Ignore the fact that this area was used a filming location for Deliverance. It is a beautiful area that deserves a visit! This is one of the few places on earth were you can see Persistent Trillium, this  herbaceous perennial had delicate three petal white blossoms. Tallulah Dome a unique geological formation was made during the creation of Pangaea, when the earth's crust double folded. After you spend the morning exploring take plunge down the 17 foot Bridal Veil sliding rock, one of 6 waterfalls that make up Tallulah Falls

Location 6. Devil's Bathtub, Devil's Fork Loop Trail, Va
Would you take a dip in the Devil's Bathtub? Located 1.5 miles into a grueling 7 mile looping trail the Devil's Bathtub is a pool of blue-green water at the end of a sandstone luge. Steep sandstone sides
and a dense old-growth hemlock and rhododendron canopy makes this an ideal spot to cool off in the hot Virginia summers. Not interested in the Devil's Bathtub? Walk a little further on the hiking trail and you will find a 50-foot waterfall at the mouth of Corder Hollow. Be careful, and be alert. It is very easy to become disoriented or lost on this trial. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Secret Identities

Last week the secret lives of 32 million Ashley Madison users was brought to the light. Marriages have been ruined, reputations tarnished, and the Duggar's are even more embattled than ever before. By now those of
you who are interested have already searched the list. I hope none of you found your significant others on the list. Yes I ran both mine and the Wanderers names through the list, neither of us had accounts. If I had found his information on the list it would have been okay, its nothing we can't work through. But this post isn't about Ashley Madison double lives.

Several years ago a guy worked his way into our group of friends. Over the course of several years we all started noticing flaws in his life story. He would tell stories about how he grew up in one state, but his brothers, ex wife, and other assorted family claimed it wasn't true. He claimed to be Native American, but knew very little of the culture and language. Again his family, including his children claimed this was false. He insisted on being called by his "Native" name. His family had never heard of this name, and it wasn't the name they called him. His hometown, where his family lives is 400 miles away, it appears that when he moved here he started over, complete with new history. Recently his legal woes has landed him in jail and we don't know if we will ever know who he is really.

This is not an isolated incident. A family I am friends with and share a hobby with have assumed names on Facebook and within the hobby. The husband, who isn't on Facebook and doesn't participate in the hobby is the only one that isn't using a fake name. I am sure they have many reasons for wanting to keep parts of their lives private and secret.

 Many celebrities under stage names. A dear friend of mine is an author, she writes exclusively under a pseudonym event thought her writing ties in directly with her occupation.

The Wanderer and I are basically using assumednames. We have attempted to keep our real identities separate from this little space on the web. We have done this for a variety of non nefarious                                                                                           reasons.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Saving and Preserving Historic buildings.

I love the Gilmore Girls. Recently I have been thinking about the episode right after Lorelei bought the Dragonfly. She is feuding with Taylor about renovations the building needs. She wants to tear down the porch and replace it. The porch isn't original to the building, but Taylor doesn't care and makes a statement about how we won't have historic things if we tear them down when they are only a few years old. Yes I am going somewhere with this ramble. A feud is taking place in the next county over from the Wandering Wonderful Homestead. A year ago a historic 86 year old church that has been a landmark of this town was purchases with the intent on being made into the towns new library. The board paid over 470,000 for the building and lot. That may not be a lot of money where some of you come from (I watch house hunters) but here in the hills of Appalachia that is an astonishing amount of money. The board didn't see fit to have a building inspection before plunking down nearly half a million in tax payer and coal severance money. Always get an inspection, always. They are now behind schedule and have realized that the beautiful brick building will not work for their intended goals. Their plan now? Raze the build, and build a new, similar structure on the lot. Many people are outraged by this, you can watch the board meeting here and here and see the original idea for the library here The building is eligible for a place on the historic registry. 

 I love old buildings, on my travels I always seek out historic buildings that are available for tours, I love the creak of hard wood floors and banisters shined by a hundred years of hands. I love the worn charm of history. People around the state have been buying up historic buildings and converting them into works of beauty. Dr. John Pellegrini bought the old Whitesburg post office and plans to convert the space into a art gallery. Whitesburg is already home to the world famous Appal Shop, a non-profit multi-disciplinary arts and education center. 

Morehead State University's Folk Art Center is housed in a beautiful old store front that was
generously donated by  Lovena and William Richardson when they closed their business. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Breaking up is hard to do...

This has been a roller coaster few weeks for relationships. Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert have called it quits amid cheating allegations. Country music power couple Reba Mcentire and Narvel Blackstock are divorcing. Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog have ended their romantic relationship. The last one was probably most shocking of all. If a pig and a frog can't make it work what chance does the rest of us have?

Relationships are hard work. Mr. Wanderer and I have had a share of rough patches, we have broken up a
few times. There have been times we didn't think we could work things out, didn't think we wanted to try. But fate and love keep pulling us back together. He isn't the same person 13 year old me fell in love with, and I am not the same person he fell in love with. But that is okay. We have grown up, and at times grown apart. Even in our worst moments he has always been the man I wanted to grow old with. I have dated a lot during our break ups. The grass isn't any greener on the other side of the fence.

When he is away I miss the little things, sharing a sink and mirror while getting ready in the morning. He is tall enough to see into the mirror over my head. I miss waking up to him, falling asleep with him. I miss walks to the chicken coop holding his hand.

And that's love, or at least as close to love as I have ever gotten.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Ouija Files

A good friend of mine and I have been discussing ghosts and the paranormal for some time. We attended a ghost hunt put on during a Civil War reenactment last year. A few weeks ago he took the plunge a built a
Ouija board. This man doesn't do anything half way, so when he said he was working on a board I new it was going to be something special. 
A few nights later me and a few others met at his house and settled in for an evening of Ouija. Nothing scary happened, no demonic possession. But whatever was in control of the planchette did know that I had a poem written by my grandmother and a picture of my great great grandmother in my wallet. No one in the room could have known that, nor could that have guessed my great great grandmothers name, it isn't a very common name. 

I believe I have mentioned the poem here on the blog before. It was written for me by my grandmother and we found it with her things after she passed away. None of my friends know I blog, my sister, who is also a blogger doesn't know about this little space of the web I call my own. 

Is it real? Who knows. We do plan on using it more, and seeing what, if any, results we get. I will be sure to keep you informed of any Ouija excitement that may happen.