Tuesday, December 27, 2016

More Thrift Store Fabulous!

More Thrift Store Fabulous! 

I was able to finish making  all the decorations for our home that I hoped to.
I spent very little on the entire project thanks to frequent trips to the area Thrift Shops as opposed to
retail sales stores!    These items would have cost me hundreds of dollars had I tried to purchase them retail.  Aside from the cost savings........... I have unique items that suit my tastes! 
I don't have to have cookie cutter decorations like everyone elses.

18 foot long lighted garland with jeweled fruit, pine cones, ornaments. 
Cost approx.  $50.  I would have paid $220 or more for this retail. 

Golden bough themed matching wreath
The whole thing together... looks nice!

Coordinating jeweled fruit swag.. this is interior. Non lighted.  love it!

Real greenery wreath.  Apples, cypress, pine cones, holly and ribbons.

Lighted rag garland on my living room mantel.

Detail of the lighted garland.  I made this using burlap and fat quarter fabric scraps. I used a strand of lights I already had.  The light strand quit on me.   I repaired it using battery powered light strands from Michaels.   I was not about to undo all that work and start over!

Christmas Tree in the living room of Kügler Haus this year.  Lots of Kurt Adler antique German ornaments this year! 25 cents each at the Good Will !

Lovely Christmas wreath I made for my daughter in law Lydia.  100% thrift store!

Front door wreath I made for my daughter Crystal.  Thrift shop!  all except the pine cones which were free.

I had wanted some of those retro multi colored lights like I had on my house as a kid. Found some at the 4 Chics and a Cat store... Everything was half off.  Paid $1.50 for the set!

Not Thrift Store.. but homemade.. Polymer Clay ornaments! We had a family ornament making day.
Everyone got to make polymer clay ornaments. It was a blast!  Frosty the Snowman hat and a rose.
I made these!

Tiny World Christmas village in the bottom of my coffee table.  My mom made the North Pole Santa's workshop back when I was a little girl.  I bought everything else at the Thrift shop and fixed it up.   Dollar General sells the mini light strands for $3.  Much cheaper than Hobby Lobby or Michael's and they look every bit as good and work as well.

I made a second Kurt Adler ornament wreath for my bedroom.  Love it!!
Coffee bean candle.  All thrift store stuff!  Turned out great!

Credenza in the front foyer.. I always wanted one.  Got it from Craigslist $60! 
Camels from Good Will store! 

Detail closeup of garland.   

A little imagination and some elbow grease and you can have all sorts of nice things put together from bits and pieces.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Saving Money and Contributing to Worthy Causes During the Holidays

Saving Money and Contributing to Worthy Causes During the Holidays! 

    Charitable causes and giving should be on our minds all year, but the period from Thanksgiving
to Christmas is when we think of it most.   I have always donated money, clothing, household wares, food to causes. I have always liked Thrift stores. I've always been artsy craftsy.  It was not until recently that I learned how rewarding it could be to combine  all three!  It has the added benefit of
taking money away from the retail giants,and spending money in stores where the funds do a great 
deal of good.  

        I have recently started going to various thrift stores in my area before going to the retail
 craft store for supplies.  I like vintage items and retro stuff. No better way to find these things than
digging through someone else's cast off "junk".   It is like a treasure hunt.  My grandkids have gotten
in on the fun also.  I have been teaching them about how the monies go to help feed people, clothe the poor, provide housing for the homeless, care for unwanted animals, etc.  

         I have been enjoying creating unique, inexpensive, beautiful items for my home. I have also
been creating inexpensive,one of a kind items to give as gifts!  Candles, wreaths, floral arrangements, gift baskets, all kinds of neat things.  

 I have about $7 total in this wreath. It took me 20 minutes to make it.  The candle is Red Apple.
Materials all but the candle and the ribbon were purchased at various thrift stores.  Ribbon $4 from Michael's. Candle $5 from Wal-Mart.  The same candle from Yankee Candle Co. costs $25 or more!
 Teddy Bear and Toy wreath.... I have about $10 in this.  Took me about 45 min. to make.
All but the ribbon came from Thrift Stores.
Terrarium Christmas scene.. I made this today in 20 minutes.
I was able to get the artificial snow, bells, and ribbon from the thrift store.  
The rest I had to purchase retail.  still saved me money.

The artificial snow cost me $1.  Bag of this retail is $5
Ribbon  50 cents. Retail is $2
Bells 50 cents.  Retail is $3

    Red Riding Hood Doll. I got the basket, the doll, the doll stand, a red cashmere sweater, a velvet blazer, the red ribbon from thrift stores.  The colorful Bavarian trim and the print material for the skirt I purchased from Etsy.  She cost me about $11 to make. 

Two monsters I drew then brought to life using mostly thrift store items.  I purchased velour sweaters for $1 each from the Salvation Army store's going out of business sale.  I have about $9 in both monsters.  I was able to purchase most of the material from thrift.  

Maryville has some good thrift stores that help lots of different causes. 
Here are some of my favorites with a little bit about what they do to help our world. 

KARM Thrift Stores --K.A.R.M. stands for Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries

This is one of my favorites.   They are the most pricey for a thrift store, but they also do the most in our area.  They are more selective about the merchandise they put out for sale.  Not snooty, but particular.  It is the cleanest, best organized, best staffed.  Lots of them around Knoxville and surrounding counties.  They are a Christian based ministry and support the spreading of the gospel of Christ.  They have a homeless shelter, they feed and cloth people, they have coats for the cold program. They also help provide shelter for women and children who are fleeing abusive home situations.  They help the homeless get retrained for jobs and back into housing and back into society.
Crossroads Welcome Center provides showers, bathrooms, access to phones, computers, referrals for those who need help getting clean and sober from substance abuse, storage for belongings.
I donate to them. I shop from them.  They offer a 25% off coupon for each donation on your receipt.
I no longer use it because in doing so I take away from the ministry, but it is a nice perk for those who need it or want it.

The Salvation Army Thrift Store  The Salvation Army will always be special to me. They have the lowest overhead of any charitable agency hands down.  They are a Christian based program to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are His hands and heart at work.  Our area store closed in September and thus far has not re-opened, but they are in Knoxville and other areas nearby.
They provide substance abuse rehab, food, clothing, shelter, veterans assistance, elderly programs,
missing persons programs.. helping unite families, combating human trafficking, prison ministries,
youth recreation centers and camps,  international sponsorship programs, disaster relief.
I love these folks so when I see the bell ringer with the red kettle outside a store at Christmas I have my money ready in hand to give.  

Goodwill Thrift Stores-- our town is fortunate enough to have two of these!  Both are good, both are huge!  Goodwill helps put people back to work. They train people, they help with resumes, they help with job searches, they create jobs.  They accept ANYTHING you donate except the things the law won't let them take like mattresses.   Our Browns Creek store is clean, well organized, friendly staff, 
convenient location.  

Four Chics and a Cat-- I love this place!  They have animals in the store including a one eyed cat!
They have some great stuff at great prices.  The have such good deals if you see something in there you want ... better get it now. You'll come back and it will be sold!  They take anything and everything except mattresses.  The provide fund raising assistance to animal welfare groups in our area.  

All Creatures Thrift Store-- supports the Blount County Human Society. Helps animals.
It helps provide protection, assistance, food, shelter, vet care, rescue, forever homes, to all kinds of animals.  It smells funky because of the cats, but the store is neat, has a wide assortment of items,
friendly staff, good value on the items.  I believe in what they stand for as I am an animal lover.

Community Chest Blount County--Community Chest ministries helps sell items to the area residents at a low price that nearly anyone can afford. Household goods, clothing, toiletries,  all good stuff and some vintage items!  The monies go to help support the FISH hospitality pantry to help feed people who need nourishment.  Ours is in Eagleton Village.  The staff is very nice and the store is a cool place to browse.  

Habitat For Humanity RE-Store-- This place is so popular that sometimes you can barely get around
in the store!  Clothing, appliances, toys, books, craft items, shoes, home decoration, furniture.
They accept all kinds of donations.  Habitat Re stores help repair damaged homes that need maintenance. They help people become home owners by building houses. Six new Habitat houses have been constructed 2 miles from me. They are great looking!  The sell items at low prices to help support their charitable works, but they also get all kinds of items out there where folks can afford them!   

     Before you spend your dollars giving to big stores and franchise operations... 
Shop local. Shop small. Shop area thrift stores when you can to support these fantastic causes.
I have made it a habit year round.  It is fun. I save money and feel good about the money I do spend going to worthwhile causes in my own area!  I believe it is what the Lord would want me to do.  
Back in the 80s there was a benefit concert for world hunger and poverty relief.  I am including it with this post, because the spirit of generosity and giving should always be with us here and around the world.  It is a good reminder.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Alpine Mountain WMA

Colorful pair of leaves on the forest floor. 

Alpine Mountain WMA

Monday Nov. 7, 2016
Dana & Kenny Koogler

    Monday was our last day of a long weekend get away.  We slept in. We had a light breakfast.
We got our stuff together and decided we'd try riding at Alpine Mountain WMA near Overton County.  We had heard mixed reviews on it from buddies. Most said "It's okay." with no real enthusiasm.   We wanted to see for ourselves.   Not to toot our own horn, but we have found that
many of these same persons who give a low to middle opinion miss a lot.   We had investigated
access before so we knew where to go. I will put some directions for access at the bottom of this blog entry.   We still do not know enough about the trail system to share detailed info on that part.

        Once we parked we hit the road and soon the trail at the base of the mountain.
It sits off to itself in the middle of nowhere. The small historic community of Alpine is at the base.
Alpine being in the Upper Cumberland Plateau it was very poverty stricken.  A desperate lack of education opportunities existed for the children of the area.  Lack of education leads to lack of prospects for the future. It keeps folks locked in a cycle of poverty.   Reverend John Dillard 
came to the area and saw the need. He appealed to the Presbytery for help in establishing a school.
Alpine Academy came into being. Later WPA  helped the school by building a gymnasium.
Many of the old buildings still exist today and are on the National Register of Historic Places.
 Christ Church Presbyterian
The back of the old historic gymnasium of Alpine Institute.

      We started up the trail onto the mountain and we saw the only person hunting all day. He was not on the WMA land, but on adjacent private property.  We encountered a pair of horseback riders later. We encountered two or three hunters prepping to go into the woods when we were loading up to leave.    The day was pretty and clear. The foliage colors were good!   The trail was dusty in places and muddy in others!   Riding up the mountain through the forest the higher we went the bolder the hues of color got.  Reds, yellows, golds, oranges,  copper. Mostly maple trees were there.
Having never been to this area before to ride we just wandered around rather aimlessly looking at this and that with no destination in mind.    The trails are in pretty good shape on the mountain.

      We turned and started back down to explore a different section of trails. We ran into the horse riders here.  They were two retirees who were fun to chat with.  One rode a horse the other a mule!
The mule rider told me that it IS possible for a mule to founder.  He said he had one at the vet at that moment who had foundered, but was going to recover!   Once past the riders and their animals not spooked we found ourselves winding along a ridge.  It was really pretty and kind of odd.  Above us were slopes filled with bright Autumn foliage. Below us was like looking back a month in time. The leaves there were mostly green with a tiny bit of yellow. Reminded me of the month of September!
The terrain grew more interesting here.  We passed by hollers with some fascinating rock features.
Big sinks, terraces, and cliffs were to be seen north of us.
 A perfect rose gold day on Alpine Mountain.
Sun star peeping down through the trees.
        We were going along and something caught my eye.  We ran upon a man made structure to the left.  It was the ruins of a very old stone structure!  It was cool looking.  I was intrigued.  I got out and
circled it taking pictures and peering inside.  I walked around the woods looking for additional detritus from human occupation.  I did not see anything more.   I would love to know a bit more about the history of it.  It appeared to be WPA era contstruction.  It was a similar stone that I have seen on WPA dynamite shacks and other buildings.  It was different from the crab orchard stone that was used on the church, shop, and gym.  I have read that the original Alpine School was on the summit of the mountain to start.  It was moved to the base after Bushwhackers burned it during the Civil War. Later it was destroyed again by the Ku Klux Klan.  After the second tearing up they moved it to the base of the mountain.   I can't help wondering if this had something to do with the original school?

Above and below  Stone house on the mountain.

The back of the house was just boards. in the center. the ends were capped with stone.

    We went a bit further on still enjoying the pretty woods.  I knew we should be able to ride from Alpine Mountain all the way through to Deck Cove and Hell Hole.   We were heading in the right direction.   Further out past the old stone house we saw another man made structure. It was the outlet or overflow of a pond.  We stopped to see it.  It was a wildlife pond with standing black water.
A spring is the source of the water way back in the holler.  It flows out a pipe and fills the pond then continues down to the old road.  I have seen a pond like this three times now. Once on property in the Blue Ridge mountains owned by my Daddy. Once on Skinner Mountain. Now here on Alpine Mountain. This is the neatest one far as construction goes.

Outlet of the spring pond.

Spring pond.  

  We kept heading westward.  We passed a double wide to the left of the trail!  Out in the middle of nowhere with no electricity, no water, no nothing!   We wanted so badly to keep heading west to try to find Hell Hole, but we knew we did not really have the time.  We had to get back and eat lunch and pack to go home. I did not want to be so late getting home.  I might as well have put that out of my mind.    We will definitely come back and try the rest of the trail system. The Gazetteer shows most of the trails!    

        We stopped on the drive back for me to take a walk along the West Fork of the Obey River.
I had long wanted to do this.   We found a good spot to pull off.  The river is pretty, but not as pretty as the East Fork.   We were interested in the trail that went along the river.  You know we wanted to aimlessly follow it to see how far it went, but again limited on time.   I thought I smelled diesel fuel on up the river.  I saw an oily sheen on the surface of the water.   I would love to know what went on there?  I know petroleum products when I smell them.  
 Two views of the West Fork river.   It must be reasonably healthy as I saw lots of fresh water mussels and minnows and small fish.
It was up in this area of the river that I saw the oily stuff and smelled diesel fuel.

   I walked along the river bank and shoals picking up shells, acorns, and natural items. I want to make a wreath for Sharon's new house.  It must have lots of pretty things from nature.  We drove back to the campground. I visited with Betty a little bit.   She is a good friend and will soon be moving.
Exciting for her and Klaas, but bittersweet for us.  Once we finally rolled out to drive home it was getting late. I talked Kenny into stopping in Rockwood for dinner.  He agreed and laughed like crazy... "We always try to squeeze the most out of a day, don't we?"  That sums it up perfectly. 
Wear it out!  Until the next episode......Below are directions how to access Alpine Mountain WMA to ride or hike.   Also a short video of leaves falling in the prettiest spot on the mountain.

From Hwy 52 in the community of Alpine turn onto Campus Circle and drive round behind the old gymnasium building.  It is now the Alpine Community Center.   Park here.  
Ride from there out Mountain Lane which goes briefly through a residential area.  You will curve past a small white house on the left and the road continues sharply right and up the mountain. From there it is gravel or dirt.    Just stay with the main trail until you get up the mountain. From there stay left to head toward the summit and bear right/west to head toward the old stone house. It is right by the trail.


Woo Hoo Holler in Autumn--Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Stiff Gentian still in bloom by the river

Woo Hoo Holler in Autumn--Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Sunday Nov. 6, 2016

Dana & Kenny Koogler
Sharon McGee

    Sunday we slept in and wallered.  I got up and started the coffee and set out the orange juice.
Kenny fixed bacon and pancakes. Yummy!  I love my tupperware husband. :-D 
We packed us a quick peanutbutter sammidge and grabbed our stuff. Out the door we went.
We met up with Sharon and planned out our strategy for the day.  We'd go first to find
Will Wright Branch Tunnel.  Once we had completed that we'd figure what to do next.
I did not feel super ambitious, but just wanted to be with my friends.  John was working today on their house with their carpentry helper.  We figured we'd ride over and check out their house later.
We started out in the direction of Pall Mall to find the tunnel.
Pretty spot we passed on the way.
    I knew the trip was going to involve going north on Hwy 127 through Pall Mall and past
Alvin York State Park.   I also knew we had to turn left onto SR 325 Moodyville Road.  Past that it was guess work. We had the GPS coordinates, but if you plug those in you can rest assured the Tom Tom will take you around your ass to get to your elbow.  Kenny and I had our usual navigation spat.
He thinks I should automatically know with 100% certainty where this stuff is even when I have never been before and he KNOWS I haven't.    We found it without any real trouble.  One real pretty, but unnecessary shortcut was all.  Soon we were sitting atop the arch on the road where it drives over.
"You have reached your destination." said the TomTom.  We turned around and parked at the only
reasonable place.  We sat looking at a cow pasture with sparse woods.

     We got out and entered the woods.  We saw a single strand of fence wire which looked like it might be electrified.  I just stepped across it and went on.   We ambled through the pasture and followed a path that lead down and swing right at the base of the hill.  Before us was the tunnel entrance in the side of the hill leading under the road.

What you see when you first round the bend. You can see the flat spot that is the road up there.

 Tunnel entrance.  Will Wright Branch Tunnel is the largest naturally occurring tunnel in the state of Tennessee. 150 ft through passage that is listed on Tennessee landforms as "complex". It is not a straight shot through.
Kenny stands at the opening on the other side.

    The creek flows through the tunnel and out the other opening.  We followed it. The tunnel itself was interesting with lots of formations and little side passages.  We easily found the second opening which leads to the other side of the road.  We did not want to try that one just yet and went into the dark one wearing headlamps.  It was a tight squeeze and duck down and watch your head.  It curved  back and forth and we just kept following it. It didn't take long for us to see a tiny bit of light above some rocks.  We were wading in mud so thick it would nearly suck your boot off.  We just stayed in the water as the creek bed was slightly less muddy.  We went over there and found we could climb out that hole, but it was not going to be easy.  It involved a slimy crawl up a slanted boulder the size of a Volkswagen.  We were able to tell it came out in the same general vicinity as the other hole.
We back tracked and on the way back saw some bats, spiders and cave crickets.  Sharon doesn't like spiders.   We wandered around and checked out the interior a little more.  Once we were satisfied with that we went to hole #2 and took a look.  We were out on the other side the road.
What is neat about this is that the scenery is pretty.  We must come back after a good rain.  Why? Below the opening of this tunnel is a waterfall.  It is not huge. Only eight or ten feet high, but it looks pretty cool.

 Looking out of the tunnel on the far side we are at the top of a waterfall.
 That black hole in the center of the photo is where hole #3 comes out.
Mo in the tunnel.  I am so thankful I have a best friend who likes to explore!  She is hilarious too and puts up with my nonsense.

    Once we got done exploring the tunnel we started our short walk back. We stood looking at the single strand of fence on the return trip.  I reached out my finger and touched it. It was electrified. I felt a little zap!  Sharon held the strand down for me with a large stick. I held it down for her.  We stopped on the drive back at the Forbus store in Pall Mall.  My boots were caked with thick mud. I was stomping them off in the parking lot when an old timer stood up and addressed me. "Gal, you stompin' that off 'fore you go in thar? Don't worry bout it. Go on in." I grinned and told him thanks that I had been under the ground in a tunnel.  His eyes got big and he questioned me as he wasn't sure he heard me correctly.
"Tunnel?!"  Yup.   Forbus Store is quaint.  I finally got to see it.

Forbus Store in Pall Mall.  It is not far from Static, Kentucky.

     We decided we'd go see the view from Rick and Lorelle's new house.   They were not home, but she took us up there to check it out and see the view. It really is something. Pretty house that still smells brand new.  View from their back yard that just won't quit.

View from Star Point

            Next we all went in the direction of Woo Hoo Holler so we could see the new house construction. We also planned to do some four wheeling and go back to the Hood Cave.   We stopped and visited with John and saw the house. It looks great and its going to be marvelous when it is completed.   I was standing in the area that will be the kitchen when it is done. I found myself overcome by emotion.  My friends dream and plan and it is coming to reality!  What a great feeling of joy.  Good friends who share common interests are the best.  They help restore my soul and are a source of comfort and joy.

      We scarfed down a quick sandwich so we could get going with our adventures for the rest of the day.    Sharon went ahead and Kenny and I hung back to avoid the dust.  It was dry and powdery.
We met back up at the cemetery. We continued up the river in the direction of Zarathustra's Cave.
John had said the river was nearly dry, but we were pleased to find many of the springs and holes of water still flowing.  Sharon was on a four wheeler and after a time holding the throttle with your thumb wears your arms and hands out.  Kenny put me behind the wheel of the RZR  with Sharon riding shotgun.  He drove her four wheeler to give her a rest from it.  I don't usually drive it especially in areas where there are lots of obstacles.  I did it though and he said he was very proud of me. I took my first mud hole and slung mud ALL OVER Sharon.  It was a total accident. She threatened to get me back on the return trip.  Dry as it was and we were still hitting mud holes!

Swift Ford is beautiful as ever.

 Autumn colors reflected on all that blue water at the Big Rock swimming hole.

Copper Beech leaves and the river.

      We drove several miles up the river to Hoodtown and finally found ourselves across the river from the cave entrance.  The cave has numerous entrances.  I found another one today!  I think it is the one the cavers call Dragon's Breath.  The wind was rushing out from under the ground at shoe level and rustling the weeds around it.   Getting to the main entrance requires fording the river, climbing the bank, walking along a narrow ledge, and climbing into a small hole.  That is what it takes to get to the first cave entrance.   Sharon had been before, but missed most of what we showed her today.  It was very cool.  We got across the river easily thanks to low water.  The bank scramble was tricky, but we did it.  Now we had to odd man to see who was going in that small hole first?
I just volunteered so I could get it over with.  Once you are in the room opens up and is larger.
Lots of laughing as we squeezed in the hole like dogs.  The air was nice and cool inside.  It was prettier than I remembered!  Lots of formations. Columns, stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, flow stone, rim stone.  It is gated at the back.  We did see one bat and some guano.  We also got further back in another passage than we did before. It had been filled with water the first time. Today it had water, but it was a lot less.

 Looking back out the hole we crawled in.

This cave column looks like "This is a stick up!"  

Sharon and Kenny have made it in too. 

 Sharon in the part that has just enough head room in the center
Pretty cave formations, drapery, soda straws. 

  We enjoyed this cave so much. It was far prettier than we recalled from the first trip.  We spent more time in there and saw more this go round.  What fun!  Sharon had missed this one when Howard brought them here years ago.   Next we crawled back out the hole one by one.  We had to crawl a ledge 10 inches wide or less for about 20 feet in order to reach the next opening to the cave.  That doesn't sound so hard, but it sure isn't easy.  A fall from there might not kill you, but you'd sure be dinged up.  No one got photos of it as we were all too focused on getting across safely.  The next entrance is seen below.  
Looking out of Zarathustra's Cave entrance #2

This entrance and cave Sharon had seen before.

  We didn't spend as long in the second part of the cave as it was not as interesting. 
We went back out and had to crawl the ledge back again.  Going back is sometimes easier, but not this time.  Kenny told me later he was really proud of me. My fear of heights and balance problems are gone!  I handled it like a boss.  Thank you Lord!   Once back out we had to go down and across to get to the next set of openings.  They were way cool.  Check it out below. 

Looking out of Bigalo Jingoist Hole.   Three views above.

This is looking back down at the river below the caves.  

  We were losing daylight fast after the time change.  We realized that we had a good distance to ride back so we needed to get going.    Lots of obstacles between us and the clear path to home. I had dinner in the crockpot at home for all of us.  We were all going to be tired and hungry after today's adventures and work.    Sharon drove the RZR on the way back. I knew she'd get the chance to sling mud all over me so once we stopped I saw a giant glob of black mud on the windshield. I could reach it. I got a handful of it and painted my face in a tribal motif.  I sat there while she and Kenny conversed. They paid me no attention. Finally she turned and looked at me and her eyes grew wide and she seemed a bit startled.  She laughed and said she would expect nothing less.   I wore it for a good while, but it got to stinking so I scraped it off once it dried.  We were all very dirty from dragging around underground.  We were also powdered with gray road dust. I looked like Ashy Larry.

Ashy Larry-- from the Chappelle show.

  We got back to the main path in great time. Sharon's four wheeling skills are excellent. She will tell you otherwise, but don't listen.   She is being modest.   We got back just before pitch dark to the Shabin and Baby Butt Lane.  John was already gone back to Maple Hill.  We had a brief scare that Sharon's purse was stolen, but it was located. We were all relieved and loaded up to get back to the campground to eat.  I wished I had time to shower, but instead I just took off my muddy boots and washed my hands and wiped my face off.  Kenny helped me and we got to cooking right away.
We could smell BBQ chicken when we pulled up to the camper.  Not a good sign.  It had overcooked.
It was eatable, but on the dry side.  We were all too hungry to care.  We sat down in our little Kügler Haus on wheels and shared a meal together.  Overcooked BBQ chicken. collards brought by Sharon, fried potatoes by Kenny, french style greenbeans and corn on the cob by me.  It was a good supper and a fine time of conversing with friends.  Very mellow.  We were all exhausted and finally turned in.  I had made coffee and we had cinnamon pound cake for dessert, but no one had room for it. 

      Kenny and I sat up and watched The Infiltrator starring Bryan Cranston. It is the movie about U.S. Customs and the DEA bringing down drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and the Meddelin cartel back in the eighties. It was good, but a bit depressing since it was too true.   If you don't know about the history of the CIA, the drug cartels and the DEA agents back during that time period.. read about the predecessor to Robert Mazar who the Infiltrator was based on.  Ernesto "Kiki" Camarena.  What a brave, dedicated man.  I stayed up yet a bit longer to get a shower and wash off the filth. And yes! I moisturized!   No more Ashy Larry.  We generated a lot of dirty laundry this trip.  We went to bed and slept like the dead. It was a good thought knowing our weekend was not yet over! 


      The East Fork Obey river in the gloaming. Evening shadows lie in the river bottom, but up above there is still a little golden sunlight left.   This place is restorative. It also gives me back a bit of my soul taken away by the daily struggles of life and the stuff the world takes away.

     Zarathustra was an ancient priest and son of a nobleman from Iran.   Not a lot is known with certainty about him. He followed a false god, but he was a loving, caring person and a gentle soul.
He wrote beautiful verses.  Here is an excerpt I particularly like from Zarathustra's Rondelay. It seems fitting in a time such as this when the world is filled with both deep woe and deep joy. 

“O man, take care!
What does the deep midnight declare?
"I was asleep—
From a deep dream I woke and swear:—
The world is deep,
Deeper than day had been aware.
Deep is its woe—
Joy—deeper yet than agony:
Woe implores: Go!
But all joy wants eternity—
Wants deep, wants deep eternity."”

*You can also find directions to the Will Wright Branch Tunnel on the front page of my blog at present.