Spring has arrived – finally – in the North Carolina mountains … and there’s music in them thar hills

Spring has sprung in Brevard. High time, too. The raised bed garden has gone begging longer than I’d hoped for. But the recent warmth has pushed the envelope and it’s time to get in gear garden-wise.

But Brevard is more than just jamming seeds into black dirt. There’s music in them thar hills and with tourist season just around the corner the little town has begun to stir from its cold season slumber.

Alas, Ellen, Tim and the girls will get a visit from me in short order. Tending to the garden will be left to the caring hands of neighbors and Robbie. 

April 23, 2018

Ellen/Reid: It’s raining this morning but for once I won’t be cranking about it since the lawn and the garden could both use the moisture. The peas, romaine and spinach are all up, the blueberries are booming and the raspberries seem to be making a tepid recovery from whatever ailed them. There’s a chance for a trip to the nursery later today for some herbs to grow in pots on the back deck. Space in the raised bed garden is too precious for herbs, what with tomatoes and peppers on tap in the near future. Ellen, tell Tim the two of us will need to sit down while I’m up there to plot the plans for the the deck extension which should be started in late May or June. Hopefully I should be able to do most of the labor.

Kitty and Tom Bohr were here for the weekend and it was really great to host them. They are salt of the earth people and it also gave Tom and me a chance to kibbutz about our upcoming 30 day trek through the French Alps. fullsizeoutput_3014It really hasn’t been on my radar at all, but as you both know Tom is a planner extraordinaire and so that has me jizzed up and anxious for the trip. Ordered two trail guides from Amazon a few minutes ago. About the only major purchases left to make are some new ankle-height Salewa boots and some light-as-air hiking poles from Z Pack. Tom highly recommended the poles. The downer is you can’t stow them in a pack but will need to put in checked baggage at the airport. We spent Friday night bar hopping – if you can do such a thing in Brevard – and we polished it off with live music at the Phoenix and the Fox. The band was just crazy.


You pay your money and take your musical chances at the Phoenix and the Fox. Usually, you come out a winner.

Three good musicians and a woman (the girlfriend of one of the guys) who dressed in a pink princess gown and tooted every so often on a kazoo. It seemed her real job was to waltz through the crowd with the tip jar as the band played on. It was so fun. We walked downtown and back on a lovely evening. 

They went on to Black Mountain on Saturday to visit some other friends from our former church at Caldwell. Robbie and I spent all of Saturday grooving to 10 bands at the Songfest at the Brevard Music Center and it was incredible. $4 Oskar Blues beer, too. Such talent there is here, and from Nashville, too, where many of the musicians are anchored. The raucous finale was two hours with the Wood Brothers, and they were just flat-out unbelievable.


Oliver Wood had fans reaching for more, more, more music.


For a trio, the Wood Brothers can really bring the music. Man, I hope they return next year.

They had the crowd jumpin’ and hollerin’, so much so that the sparse security finally gave up trying to keep dancers and revelers from the front of the stage. The crowd just overwhelmed the two person music police. It was the first-ever such fest and it’ll be a sell out next year. I will seek out the Wood Bros. to see them again. Their lead singer, Oliver Wood, has one of the most distinctive voices heard in a long, long while. What a high-energy show.

Sondra and Jody and our Irish buddy Luke will visit this weekend for golf and no doubt music, beer and fun somewhere in town. This is what the mountain home was intended for; to have people visit and spend some time. I’ve offered it to them and Andrea and Kurt while I’m traipsing through Europe and they are welcome to commit at the last minute if that suits their schedules. From the look at the social/music schedule in Brevard there will be a whole lot going on. That’s why I’m excited for the spring/summer season to really be here. The next big thing is the White Squirrel Festival over Memorial Day weekend. They shut down the two main drags, Main and Broad Streets, for live music and vendors and stuff like that. If you guys want to visit, let me know and the arrangements will be made.

I legitimately slept until 9:15 this morning, far and away the longest I’ve legitimately slept in bed for more than a decade. Felt good for a change. Must’ve been the dark, rainy skies that kept the sun at bay. Now’s time, though, to head to the gym to work off the beer/food pounds added this weekend.

Love, Dad


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The retiree blues just got a new refrain …

So this is how the retiree life gets along in Brevard. Check your garden. Again. Bitch about weather you can do nothing about. Stare at your spiffy unridden bike. Drive to the store even though you don’t need to. Wonder if you got any real mail today.

But then there’s the rehash of a road trip that pushed all the old guy crankiness far to the side. 

April 17, 2018

Ellen/Reid: Well, if you believe the weather forecasters we are on the cusp of spring in Brevard. That’s a mighty big if. Allegedly it will be 78F tomorrow. I’ll believe it when I feel it. Like you guys, the weather here has been just plain awful; cold, wet, clammy. Geez, Ellen, a near foot of snow in St. Paul on April 15? What the …? No one can like that. Reid, I’ve not checked how Oakland is but has to be a damn side better than the Midwest and East.

Just walked in the door from trout fishing west of Brevard with Dave Hemminger. And unbelievably at the very end was something rarely if ever seen; the biggest fish, by far, caught on literally the final cast of the day. Dave hooked a monster and was able to steer it to the guide’s net. It was incredible. I have never witnessed anything like it. That’s on top of one helluva six day stretch of fishing – he hooked a nearly 200 lb. tarpon last Thursday off of south Miami. He fought the behemoth for an hour and 20 minutes before the hook apparently broke through its mouth.


My friend Dave fought this bad boy – actually, most big tarpon are females – for more than an hour. If they handed out certificates for near 200 pounders, he’d get one.

I think both he and the fish were exhausted. I never got a single bite although the highlight of the day was fishing for bonefish in the flats well offshore. It was an incredible environment although it was maddening that when the guide shouted ‘fish at 11:00 o’clock!’ I could never see the fish. He thought I wore the wrong color polarized lens, and that may well be but it was irritating to not see a single fish. At the end of the day, your dad just isn’t a very good catcher of fish. (Reid, you and Tim will fish the same stretch of trout water that Dave and I did the day after Thanksgiving.)

There are some pea and lettuce sprouts popping up in the garden. It’s good to see something finally start to grow although, distressingly, my raspberry plants are inexplicably dying. I’m not sure if it’s drift from nearby herbicide use or what, but the plants are withering away. I dunno. This isn’t what had been planned on. The blueberries are getting along fine, however. 

My new bike still languishes in the living room although it’s hoped that the maiden ride will be yet this week if the weather holds. Robbie said they had a big bike race in town while I was away fishing in Florida. But watching bike races just isn’t my thing. I want to pedal to the grocery store for bread or to Oskar Blues for a cold beer. 

Ellen, I just laughed out loud this morning at the photo of Georgia’s world-record bed head hair. What a tangle. That means she must’ve slept like a log. I hope she liked the stuff tossed in the box. I tried to minimize the number of pieces you’d have to pick up. Pretty considerate, huh? Still hard to wrestle with the scenes of snow armageddon up there. That’s just plain sick.

Reid, keep me posted on what’s going on in California. It’s nice that you’re pretty close to your mom. Nice to have family nearby. I’d like to see some photos of where you’re staying and what the work place looks like, too. How are you getting around without a car? You likely don’t need one. If you wouldn’t mind a visitor I’d love to come out for a couple of days around a weekend.

A young woman with two daughters moved into the house next door. She must be a florist because she’s had pots galore of cut flowers on her front porch. She had some raised beds for dahlias built in her backyard but they are so long and narrow the boxes look like coffins. Kind of weird but that’s the way things are in the ‘hood. The remaining still-to-be-finished four houses in the development have all sold. That’s a good thing. Based on what I’ve seen of their placement on the lots, my place still shines for the spacious backyard view. It feels like a good move to be out here. Now all that’s left to do is make sure the raspberries grow and to ride the bike. And catch more fish.

Love, Dad

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Finally, Big Fish and a short walk to the French Broad …

One reason – but far from the only one – that piqued my interest in Brevard is the proximity (next door) to fishable waters in the North Carolina mountains. Without exaggeration, trout can be had within a mile or two of my front door. I like that.

The persistent lousy, cold, wet ‘Spring’ weather here doesn’t phase trout; fish are gonna eat one way or another. And at long last, dreams of sizable fish – big, fat rainbows – finally came true just a hop-skip-and jump from here, courtesy of an excursion engineered by my friend Kurt. We slammed ’em. It sure takes your mind off the more unpleasant issues of clouds and rain while wearing the warmest fleece in the closet.

April 9, 2018

Ellen/Reid: This ‘no sign of spring’ thing is getting really old really fast. My garden seeds have been in for five days and no signs of sprouts. Zilch. A few should be nudging up through the soil by now. 41F and steady rain/drizzle this morning. That stinks. I shouldn’t be whining since St. Paul and Chicago are faring worse than we are in Brevard but c’mon. We can do better than this.

I drive to Florida on Wednesday for tarpon fishing with Dave on Thursday near Naples. We got shut out the last time we tried this since neither of us knew how to make double haul casts with heavy fly rods. It was beyond our skill sets. This time we’ll use conventional gear and lures. I’m excited about tarpon even though our methods won’t be the purity fly fishers might insist upon. Later today my three Penn Battle salt water reels will be lubed up and all the other gear readied for the trip.

Reid, we really got into a mess of gigantic trout last week on a stretch of private river water just south of Sapphire, NC. That was about 25 minutes west of here. My friend Kurt arranged for a guide and there was just no way I was prepared for the volume and sheer size of the fish.


Chunky rainbow trout were the order of the day west of Brevard on a river-to-be-named-later. It was fun to land big fish after big fish for a change. FYI … every fish caught was released. These beauties deserved to be freed. My son-in-law and expert fly fisherman Tim says it’s bad karma to keep a fish – and for once I agree with him.

While our guide rigged gear I walked to the river bank and the fish looked like logs. I mean, 6 – 12 fish stacked up like boxcars in big, deep pools. It was utterly mind boggling. I must’ve landed 20 with an average weight of two-four pounds or so with the largest at 7-8 pounds. Every one was bigger than any I’ve landed before. We have so got to do this the next time you’re down here (make that sooner than later, kid). My Scott 4A rod was ready but the guide semi-laughed when he told me it would in no way be adequate – and he was right. He stuffed a 9 foot, five weight in my hand and the fish doubled that rod over. It was incredible. If you join Tim and Ellen and the girls down here for Thanksgiving we will give it a go. 

Dave H. saw the pics of a couple of the hawgs and he took no time to announce that he’ll drive back with me to Brevard to give the monsters a whirl. The same guide will show us a thing or two on Tuesday, April 17. We may well make it a full day on the river. Honestly, it is just way beyond incredible.

Finally walked to the French Broad yesterday. It’s only 400 yards away. Not a lot of fishing spots due to heavy underbrush but I found a couple of cast-able locations within view of the house. Looked for muskie but saw none although there are 60 inchers reputed to be swimming around. Outfitters say there are plenty of really fun smallmouth bass along with some big browns but it’s so deep you’d have to put something all the way down to the bottom. 

Walked 36 holes on Saturday at a fun little 18 hole, par three mountain course. It was only $20 and it was good to just get out and about and get some honest exercise. I just zipped along, and finished in less than five hours. There was some significant bike race on the adjacent Greenville Highway and there was a steady stream of riders pedaling by the entire time I golfed.

Ellen, I’m in to build your raised bed garden. My assumption is Tim has all the tools so my toolbox will stay home. To keep the black walnut-tainted soil in check, the bottom will be lined with garden cloth to seal the box up. Tim said a sunny spot will have to be found either in the back by the alley or maybe even out front. That’s what some of your neighbors have done and it wouldn’t look half bad. We might even toss in a smaller 4’x4’ box for raspberries. Emma and Georgia shouldn’t be denied those red beauties. We will get it all figured out.

So now it’s off to the local garden store for arugula and spinach seeds. Let’s hope the weather turns and the sun shines so there will be some honest-to-goodness produce down the line.

Love, Dad

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A bike, a party and a few trout (make that a very few trout) …

I’ve been initiated – sort of – into the local social scene. It’s nice to have some new local friends. And for Ellen and Reid it’s a nice breather to get a taste of something other than blah garden news.

Most of these folks are actually transplanted Atlantans or Atlantans ready to move up this way. Brevard isn’t overly far from the Georgia border and for years Transylvania County was a summer landing spot for these Southerners. 

And courtesy of friends Andrea and Kurt, I’ve now got a spiffy bike (alas, not a Harley) that will let me tool around town like a real local.

April 2, 2018

Ellen/Reid: Today was the first day in a few weeks that I hit the wall with the garden. The last square feet of sod had to be carved out, the final few heavy flagstones laid in jigsaw puzzle fashion, and the day lilies planted at last. I dunno, it just seemed a mix between tedious and onerous. Just ready for the damn thing to be done, and, except for a few minor touch ups tomorrow, it will be. Then comes the easy part of planting lettuce and peas and spinach. But it’s fun to look at as I sit out on the back porch to write this. A glass of pinot noir helps to take my sour edge off.

Once the day labor is done the garden tools will be hung up for a while and I can venture out into the Pisgah Forest or trod a few hundred yards to the French Broad. And pedal to downtown Brevard. My friend Kurt Powell delivered my ‘town’ bike today vPyXmJ0%QQWkQFtsHf83Xwand it’s pretty spiffy. He and Andrea are good friends and he brought the bike up with him as they take their kids on spring break to a place called Lake Toxaway, about 40 minutes due west of here. He brought a bike lock and fancy front and rear lights and a rack to hold saddlebags (or panniers as he calls them). 

Tom Bohr and his wife Kitty will drive down from Chicago in two weeks time for a long weekend. Tom and I have some serious planning ahead of our hiking tour of the Alps in July and August. He’s a planner extraordinaire and will no doubt have everything down pat with the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed. Every trek needs a guy like him. My plane ticket is already in hand. Only about $800 but I cashed in some credit card miles to help pay for the trip. And listen you guys, give me your schedules for Thanksgiving stat so I can get your tickets. 

Hosted my first party this past Saturday for 18 folks. It was the birthday of a woman here, Louise, and Robbie and her friend Kathy from Atlanta did all the heavy planning and organization.


A birthday party with 17 guests broke in the new house in the right way. It’s a good spot for gatherings and it sure won’t be the last of these soirees.

The house is ideal for that sort of soiree. I made a muted effort to smoke a pork shoulder on Friday but after 13 hours it wasn’t done so had to tuck my tail between my legs and finish it in the oven overnight. It worked out okay but was clearly disappointing and there’s a lot of learning to be done on the smoker end of things. 

Formed a local Meetup golf group that’s a variant of my group in Charlotte, Golf for One, but there’s been tepid interest at best. Had several sign up for our first outing but no one showed up. I’ll give it another whirl but if there’s no real participation I’ll fold the tent.

Went trout fishing last Tuesday with a new friend Billy and he just knocked the trout out of the park. Me, not so much. I landed three, he netted 24-25, not counting more than a few that got away. He’s got it all; the gear, the stream knowledge, the casting technique, knows all the flies by name, et al. It was a lesson in abject humiliation. It’s as if I’d never fly fished before. But there’s no giving up now with so many streams so close by. Next Wednesday I drive to Florida for another type of fishing, tarpon, with Dave Hemminger. He has secured a guide and, hopefully, we will do better than be skunked, which we have the last couple of times even with professional help. I’m debating toting Miss Emma with me to make a foray at Charleston/Bowens Island on the way back. She’ll probably stay home.

With the raised bed gardens virtually a wrap, it might be time to turn toward design of a deck. Ellen, let Tim know he’ll be my deck advisor. Thinking of a design that has some sort of roof since there’s full sun all the time out back. Maybe even a pergola. Not sure when there will be time to start it, perhaps not before my St. Paul visit. 

Alas, time to go. Give the girls a hug and Reid, keep me post on Oakland.

Love, Dad

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Don’t worry, kids, there’s light at the end of your tunnel …

This whole settling in to the new home thing is beginning to wear on me; I’m ready for it to be done. Ready to get out and about. Ready to wake up and think about fun rather than more heavy treated 2x10s to be lifted or more shovelfuls of dirt or ‘Where should I set this heavy slab of flag stone?’

Also likely ready for it to be done are Ellen and Reid who have to be tired of hearing about it. But before long there will mercifully be some light at the end of their tunnel and their long weekly nightmare of reading about this lengthy transition will be over.

March 26, 2018

Ellen/Reid: Ellen, I have to ask about Georgia’s hair in this morning’s airport photo. My assessment is she got up so early she wouldn’t have anything to do with letting you fix her hair. It was just hilarious. That little goo. You won’t get this until after the Orlando adventure is over but I’m sure it was fun, energy-sapping, go-go-go, and exhausting. Not necessarily in that order.

The garden bed is finally a wrap and it turned out better than I expected. This afternoon while you were frolicking in FLA, I smoothed out the dirt and attached on a narrow ledge to sit upon while I pull weeds and otherwise putter around in the soil. It’s somewhat embarrassing to say for the last few days I’ve culled native rocks from the yard in hopes of fashioning a rock walkway to connect all the beds but it occurred to me that there was no way in hell to collect enough rocks to do so. Plus, what I did find was so disparate in size there’d be no way for the pathway to look decent. So, in keeping with my ‘buy local’ mantra, I ordered a ton of flagstone which will be delivered Wednesday. A ton. Jeez, that will really be the acid test for the hernia.


That the stone company guy could navigate his three wheel lift between unfinished homes to deposit a ton of flagstone at my garden boxes was a Godsend – and a back saver.

But in truth it will be one stone at a time, and my developer said he’d lift the pallet with his front end loader and deposit it at the raised beds. What a guy. It’ll cost me a 12 pack of Deschutes IPA but that’s a small price to pay. I won’t stuff the plants into the dirt until next week when it settles and dries a bit. Don’t ask why I forked over $100 for 14 raspberry plants but I did just that at a funky little down-home nursery near the backwater of Rosman, North Carolina. It was so fun. There’s an old guy, Joe, who runs it and we got to talking and he told me “Let me tell you something about tomatoes …”


The semi-finished product. My new mantra: one stone at a time. Note: I volunteered to build a similar box for Ellen when I visit Minnesota in May.

And he did. It’s just so quaint to frequent, and buy from, locals like that. It was a complete experience – he even sells seeds by the ounce out of Mason jars. I mean, you can’t see that anywhere.

It’s mildly irritating that the bluebirds haven’t settled in. They seem to be having an aerial spat over the nesting box with some swallows that won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I hope the box doesn’t go begging due to their range war.

Now installed are most of the louvered blinds but, as per usual, your dad is so dense in some ways. I completely overlooked blinds for the guest room. So now it’s another two weeks before the window coverings are done. Such oversight is maddening. What a decor fiasco.

Reid, please get to a dermatologist at some point soon. Your sister’s scare is enough to push both you and me to action. My next appointment is in mid May. It’s in our genes and we need to stay on top of things. I would, however, love to hear about your East and West coast experiences. Hopefully, one or the other will lead to full time work.

I’ll trout fish tomorrow at 5:15 a.m. with a Georgian named Billy. He’s kind of like Tim; he has far more fly gear than a person has a right to own. He has bags of gear. Big bags. By contrast I have a rod and a box of flies and some waxy flotant. We’re supposed to head a couple of hours from here to a big stream, a river really, that is supposed to hold big fish. I’d love to catch something but you never know. I tried to hike my way back to the French Broad River behind the house but could find no direct path.

It took me to move to Brevard to discover Sleepy Time tea. Man, that stuff really calms a person down. I take it most nights now. I’ve also gotta find some herbal blood pressure remedies since it’s higher than it ought to be.

All righty, I’m done for the day. Got to get some shuteye before Billy pulls in the driveway. At least I’ll be casting a rod instead of shoving dirt.

Love, Dad

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Enough already with interior design; let’s move on to the garden, shall we? …

The kids knew for years that their dad coveted the idea of a real, honest-to-goodness garden. Container veggies were okay but just didn’t cut it.

Now, however, the garden gods have granted my wish: it’s time for dirty work – literally.

March 19, 2018

Ellen/Reid: Well, my design and subsequent carpentry skills got called into question last week and things came out okay. The 10 ft. by 5 ft. raised bed garden is finally done and ready for dirt. It’s a double decker of sorts; two treated 2x10s stacked atop each other with treated 4x4s at the corners so it weighs just a ton and once the 19 inch deep cavity is filled to the very top it will literally weigh a ton. I dunno, as it is the wood is 300 – 400 lbs. So it’s not going to go anywhere. The reason for being so deep is that the soil here is crappy; red clay.

But the developer of my neighborhood has a gigantic pile of truly black dirt and I toyed with the idea of asking him if I could snatch 10 – 12 wheelbarrows worth of soil. Before I could ask him, however, he met me in the backyard to volunteer his front end loader to cart over several big loads of dirt. That will really be a Godsend and will save me a lot of backache and effort.


True to his word, the developer motored his front end loader to my back yard to dump several big scoops of black earth into the raised beds. Now the real fun begins. As for the bluebird box, the bluebirds and some assertive swallows have tussled over nesting rights.

But the gardening construction isn’t done yet. Dreamed up were two smaller yet separate companion beds, one for red raspberries and the other for blueberries. I’m excited about that. Planted about 25 feet behind the new box was a bluebird box and, amazingly, not five minutes after it was up some bluebirds were flitting about to case the box out. Unfortunately, some swallows have been more aggressive and seemed to pull the rug out from under the bluebirds since the brood pair has not been seen of late.

The developer also gave me the green light, surprisingly so, to build a deck. It won’t be enormous, probably 6 – 8 ft. out from the existing deck and down a short step. But I’ll make it wide enough, 15 ft. or so, to house Miss Emma beneath it. She really needs a place of here home (ed. typo, sic) and that should be plenty of space. The extension will give the grill a landing spot, too, since where it is now, on the driveway, makes me look like a hick.

The local community college, Blue Ridge Community College, has my application to teach continuing education classes on letter and news writing. I’m not sure if they’ll accept me or not but it’s worth throwing my hat into the ring. The classes would be about 25 miles away in Flat Rock, which is close to Hendersonville.

My Des Moines friends, the Daves and Bob and their wives, will be here in early October for  4 – 6 days of fly fishing, visits to Asheville, golf, hiking and just hanging out. I sent each of them a gigantic packet of Brevard/Asheville information to kind of whet their whistles and get them excited. I’m heading to Florida the second week of April to tarpon fish with Dave and will probably make a side visit to Charleston with Miss Emma on the way back. I’ll make a separate trip down there next week for my first kayak fishing in several months.

We need to talk, soon, about tickets for Thanksgiving. My treat. My guess is you could arrive Tuesday or Wednesday. Ellen, you and Tim will likely need to rent a car, which will be on me, too. Reid, I could come and get you if you fly into Greenville, SC or Asheville, NC. Charlotte is the least cost option but is the furthest away at two hours. It’ll be fun to have everyone here. We can hike and fly fish and explore while you’re down here. Maybe the girls can see some white squirrels.

Played golf this weekend. It was the first stab at it after the Feb. 20 surgery but everything felt great. No issues or seeming complications at all. So it was good to go through the dry run and come out none the worse for the wear.

Alrighty, that’s a wrap for today. Have fun in FLA over spring break. Spring is kind of dragging its feet here but maybe dunking my hands in black garden dirt will speed up nice weather.

Love, Dad

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Gentleman farmer, no. Gentleman gardener, yes …

For weeks the moving process was consumed by bringing the home interior up to snuff; in a flash, however, the focus shifted to the exterior, notably the lawn and spectre of a garden. And that included flirting with the very idea of chickens strutting around the backyard.

Spoiler alert: The dalliance with fowl is over. There will be no chickens on Bungalow Way. Ellen and Reid played along with me but secretly must’ve wondered ‘what is our old man thinking?’

March 12, 2018

Ellen/Reid: Don’t ask me why in the hell the idea of raising chickens entered my mind; maybe it’s the latent survivalist in me, living up here now in the mountainous North Carolina boonies. But already the Web has been surfed for ideas and inspirations, and the dual thumbs up you two gave the chicken coop photo yesterday was all prod I needed. The e-literature says to make sure would-be chicken farmers tip off/run-the-idea-by neighbors since chickens generate noise and poop – and eggs, to say nothing of predator management.


For a while there, this fancy store bought coop at the Farm Supply Store had me dreaming of fresh eggs. But the realization that chickens took seven day a week care brought me to my senses.

Ellen, it makes me grin to think of Emma and Georgia helping to gather eggs and pester the hens to no end. That would be good for them – I mean, Emma and Georgia. I got a note this morning from a hiker friend, Vince, who’s a bee guy and he said ‘why not bees?’ and that has me thinking, too. In fact, bee hives might be a more environmentally sensitive route to go. The overall idea of Papa as Gentleman Farmer has kind of stuck with me. But I’ll give the chicken madness a week or so to die down before a final decision is made to plow/not plow ahead. Go ahead, call me a cluck if you must. I get it.

What will happen for sure is a raised bed garden. It will be reality very soon. Traipsed over to the lumber store yesterday and gave the wood the eyeball test, and it seems that a 10 foot by five foot bed has real potential. Lowes will cut treated timbers to size for me. I hope to get the bed started yet this week. An adjacent yet separate four by four bed would be constructed for red raspberries and maybe a blueberry plant. The soil is inherently lousy up here so a lot of black dirt and additives that need to be considered.

But it’s been raining here the past few days – again – so there’s no rush until Wednesday to get started. On Friday Sondra and Jody and Sue, another friend from my old golf group in Charlotte, will join me for a weekend of golf and also to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Asheville. It should be great fun and it’ll be great to have them up in these parts. I have yet to swing a club but the recovery feels pretty good right now and I’ll just have to be smart about it. There’s a driving range less than one mile from here and I’ll lug the clubs over later this week for some test swings. On another golf note, I’ll start a golf MeetUp in the next couple of weeks to give me people to play with.

What was learned the hard way this morning was that all this moving hullabaloo has me woefully out of shape. For a few weeks tighter pants had tipped me off to that misfortune too. The first workout at a gym was complete torture. It’d been since early December since any sort of organized workout. Hopefully there will be a new routine of waking up followed by coffee followed by gym. That’s really what’s been missing here; any semblance of a daily routine.

Reid, can’t wait to hear about your new Chicago situation. It was nice of Kyle to host you for a few nights. Tough to keep up with your comings and goings. But the possibilities for you sound good and enticing. You need to put Thanksgiving here (all travel on me) on your calendar since Ellen and her crew will be here, too. What a reunion that would be.

For the first time in a long, long time, I trudged behind a lawn mower. When I toured the home in November it didn’t quite dawn on me that there would be grass that would need to be maintained. I mean, really, mowing never crossed my mind. I fell in love with the house and views and forgot about everything else. But my neighbor Sonny came to my rescue; he sold me his brand new (used four times) corded $200 electric mower for $50 since our developer split the cost of a gas model so Sonny could mow the common area. The chore took all of 30 – 35 minutes but the mower takes up all of the available space in the attached shed. But maybe my chickens can feed on the clippings.

Love, Dad

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