Hiking Sweetwater Creek State Park
Thanks to the thoughtful planning of Tara, several of our gang (Tara, Starr, Terri, Jackie, Andrea and I) met up to hike the trail at Sweetwater Creek State Park. It turned out to be a great day, as we had mild temperatures and overcast skies, making for good hiking conditions.
As you can see, the water was roaring along, due to the routine thunderstorms we have had recently. The park has been the set for several TV and movie productions we understand (Mockingjay?) and there was some activity around the ruins of the New Manchester mill works.
Along the 6 mile hike we saw a good variety of wildflowers, including lousewort, water hemlock, spiderwort, cranefly orchid (?) and the flowers of the hophornbeam tree (if you are a craft beer enthusiast, you will note the resemblance to hops).
There were even a few critters along the riverbank (frogs and fence lizards).
Of course we were totally drained from the trek, so we had to refresh ourselves at the local World of Beer afterward. Made for a great day!
Once again we are deer-parents.
Days before our Retirement+2 party and our trip to Panama City Beach, we were eyeing the 4 deer who had been regulars in our backyard and the neighbors to the left and right. This small herd seems to be the original doe and three of her daughters. Two seemed to be pretty pregnant, so we were thinking any day now.
After being gone for just over 2 weeks, it seems we missed the special day, but clearly we have yet another fawn that was born. This time the pair was spotted early in the morning by Kodi, who was barking at the doe along the fence line who didn’t move and really didn’t leave … a sure sign that she was keeping watch over her baby. And moments later we spotted the youngster hopping out of the ivy next door for a morning feeding.
We are back home for three days and already we have had an incident. Kodi and Doug stepped out back for the early morning (6:30, ugh!) call of nature only to have Kodi spot the doe in the yard and take off after her. While Doug yelled for Kodi to stop, he chased the deer around until the doe turned on him and they tangled up, with Kodi yelping. All we could think of was a repeat of the injuries Benji suffered a few years back that left him with a pretty bad hole in his side after being kicked and flipped by that doe. So far, Kodi seems unharmed physically, but he is a bit subdued for now. The doe stuck around the yard for a while, even as we walked around chasing her off. Hope the fawn gets up and around pretty quick and they head off for another spot.
It appears this morning, thanks to some barking from Kodi, that we had twins again this year. They were romping in the front yard until mom came across our backyard and hustled them up the street a few more yards. They look older than 2 weeks, so maybe they were around earlier than we thought.
We had a blast this weekend, celebrating new retirees Karen, Bernadette, Aria and Teacher of the Year Tara. Great music by Blind Fate (Dan and Terri with featured artist Barb), awesome craft beer to share, good stuff from the grill and bountiful, delicious salads prepared by all our teacher peeps. It was a great way to break in the new patio.
Thanks to Lon, we had a heads-up about the impending rainstorm, so the electronics made it to safety before the rain hit. We finished eating just as the wind rack hit and rain began to fall, but teachers are a hardy bunch… many were still outside chatting away as the rain came down. We retreated inside amid cries of “Save the Beer!”
What fun and what a great group of folks to know. Everyone needs to keep in touch.
Kennesaw Beer Fest!
Spring is here and summer is not far away, so it is time for some outdoor fun.
We volunteered at the Kennesaw Beer and Wine Fest, dispensing brews from the Red Hare taps and then sampling all sorts of local and regional craft beer. It was a beautiful sunny day for this, just a bit breezy but loads of fun for an afternoon. Our good friends Tara, Barb and Terri (beer peeps) were there as we tried sours, pale ales, porters, stouts, pilsners, saisons, mimosas and even some local bourbons. Oh, and we just HAD to have our pretzel necklaces. Good times with good friends.
A Little Roof Cleaning . . .
Since we are soon to hit the road to Florida and other campground destinations, it was time to have a look at the RV again. My, my, that roof does get nasty in the Spring! So a day of power washing and scrubbing finally revealed the white roof beneath. It was a pretty tiring day, but gosh, doesn’t it look so much better? Well, one more day to apply some UV protectant and we will be ready to pack up for St. Andrews State Park.
Brewdog! and friends
Kodi has been learning some behavior basics at puppy class so we decided a few class trips were in order. For two weekends we checked out some of our local breweries… coincidentally where friends Dan, Terri and Barb (Blind Fate) were playing. Kodi loved the people he met, the music and a few other dogs. What fun. He even got a special beer toy just for him! We figure it is good practice for the anticipated beer samplings we will encounter on our summer and fall trips around the country.
Friends around town and the holidays …
Barb C. was playing with the Cobb New Horizons Symphonic Band last weekend, so we went to listen to some stirring holiday music and recognized a few retired school band directors among the players. Well done and a great start to the holiday season! Then off to Dry County Brewing to listen to Dan and Terri (Blind Fate) strum some songs and we sipped some beer.
Yeah, I know, it’s getting to be old news with our craft beer samplings … but you understand if you have been out and about doing the same. Beer never tasted so good – and there are lots of fall and winter brews out there now with some great flavors. Speaking of which, Southern Sky Brewing, where I volunteer most Thursday nights, is about to brew up a few new flavors (they mentioned a Mesquite Honey Brown might be next). They have their four standards now in cans around town, so look for them and support your local small business / brewery!
Holidays and Migration
We were busy the weekend after Thanksgiving putting out the decorations for Christmas, raking up endless piles of leaves and getting the cover pulled over the RV when I heard the trumpeting of the sandhill cranes overhead. I dashed inside to get the camera, switch out the long lens and snapped a few shots as they flew overhead. We are in the flyway for these very cool birds as they migrate to warmer spots south. To me they are more special than the Canadian geese flights, as bugle to each other and try to arrange and rearrange their flight lines. I always look forward to their flights in the fall.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know of our many backyard deer encounters. The herd seems to number 7 at this time. We figure the original doe and fawn, plus subsequent offspring over the past 4 years … it’s hard to figure. Anyway, now we have this buck moving through the backyard, following one of the females. There was a moment when he got that rack tangled up in some vines and was a bit confused about how to get out …
It certainly has been a big year for the mast crop (acorns, nuts and fruits from the trees). That keeps bringing the deer back to the yards that surround us. Plus, it keeps the squirrels and chipmunks pretty busy. I figure there will be an uptick in owls and hawks next spring!
Volunteering at Acworth Craft Beer Fest
The first weekend in November and it was a perfect fall day as we spent our afternoon volunteering at the Acworth Craft Beer Fest. It is so much more fun now that we know something about the styles of beer and many of the local and regional breweries. Our assignment was to man the taps at the Crispin truck… and we had a lot of beers and ciders that folks could choose from! Thank goodness we had a few other folks at our station helping out.
On tap were selections from Orpheus, Eventide, Gate City, Treehorn, Second Self, Southbound, Blue Moon, Sierra Nevada, Abita, Crispin … gosh I forget all the selections.
After our shift we got to check out the many other breweries represented and had a great time sampling. Our brew peeps were there, Dan and Terri (who play as Blind Fate), and we talked about their upcoming appearances at Dry County, Red Hare and the Marietta Wine Market. What fun.
Craft Brews are now a Family Adventure!
Back from our travels in the Florida Keys we were just in time for the “Friends and Family” can launch party for the Southern Sky Brewing Son of Icarus. This kettle-soured Berliner Weisse beer will soon be available in some spots around town, but you can definitely get it in the tasting room as part of your tour package. We were fortunate to be invited to their first can launch party for World’s Apart Ale, a pink ale (hence the can color). Both are great brews –you should stop by and try them (I volunteer in the tasting room most Thursdays).
Spent a weekend with my folks this July and my brother and I took Dad out to a great spot to have a flight and good eats. Fat Patties is a food and brew spot featuring Salt Marsh Brewery in Bluffton, SC. Dad had his first-ever beer flight with us and finished off a delicious pattie: Tide’s Changin, a shrimp burger topped with fried oysters. Beer-wise I particularly liked the Hive-A-Weizen and my brother Jeff loved their Daufauskie Rum barrel-aged ale. Although Dad was sipping the beer flight generously all meal, he liked the porter that was a collaboration with the Corner Perk coffeehouse.
Birthday Brews with Alex!
Went to Chattanooga, TN recently to celebrate son Alex’s Birthday. We had flatbreads and BLT’s at Chattanooga Brewing Company with him and his great girlfriend Bethany. Jackie likes Chickbock Maibock and the Black Lager, Alex and Bethany like Chestnut Street Brown Ale and I enjoyed their Chattahooligan Lager (brewed for their local CFC soccer team).
Southern Sky Brewing Volunteer
Now pouring at the tasting room!
Retirement is cool. You get to pick and choose what you want to do, rather than what you have to do. So, volunteering to help out in the tasting room is what we want to do, from time to time. Thursday nights are a good start for us (5:00pm to 8:30pm), so stop by and say hi and take a tour. Jon is brewing up some great beer.
Southern Sky Brewing’s Sit & Stay ZeroK Race – July 2, 201,
For the fabulous 4th of July weekend, we joined good friends Dan, Terri, Tara and Jon, Melissa and Southern Sky family for the 1st annual Sit & Stay race. It was a grueling 10-second event, sitting in place in the very hot parking lot, beer in hand after a session of stretching and preparations. The after-race celebration inside the tasting room included a very refreshing Red, White & Brew white ale with raspberries and blueberries along with their other signature brews. Music by Blind Fate and just a whole afternoon of fun.
Dinner at local favorite The Nest afterward for great pulled pork barbecue… it was an exhausting day. Unfortunately, not a qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race.
Memorial Day Weekend, 2016
A Night at Southern Sky Brewing
We kicked off the Memorial Day weekend with a tour and samplings at our local favorite craft brewery. Newly retired Terry (part of the acoustic guitar group Blind Fate), Barb, Jackie and Tara were joined at the bar by brewmaster Jon and assistant brewmaster Jay.
St. Patrick’s Day at our new local spot
St. Patrick’s at Southern Sky Brewing
We have peeps! A new Kennesaw brewery has opened and we love their beer and company. St. Patrick’s was a fun night to tour the brewery and try a few of their new brews. Southern Sky Brewery is the new place to be! Oh, and I just had to sport my best green t-shirt (by now it is vintage, since the KSU takeover).
Cruising the Caribbean
Had a great time in San Juan, Grand Turk, St. Thomas, St. John … well, you can check it out in our Places page. It was a hot day in San Juan, though, and a stop at a local brewery helped cool things down.
Acworth Craft Beer Fest – November 2015
We just HAD to put our new craft beer tasting skills to the test at this local event. It was only a 4 hour event, but there was plenty of generous sampling and great weather. Kinda need a bit more than a pretzel necklace to munch on though — next time we need to hit the food vendors. Oh, and can you believe we met some former students?
Just a few of the “critters” that call our backyard home.
Last day lunch at school and “Back to School” lunch on the deck