Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We Say Goodbye To Greg And Charlotte

The evening before we left Greg and Charlotte’s home, we were sitting around under the Motorhome’s awning, enjoying life and talking about all the things we had done while there. We just couldn’t have had a much better time then what we had. Thank you Greg and Charlotte for making us feel soooo welcomed! Even Ben dropped by on the Kawasaki Mule to join us.
Meet Ben. He made sure the Coyotes kept their distance from us at night.DSC_3653

Of course the favorite, Tess joined in also.
Meet Tess. “The Favorite” DSC_3657

It just wouldn’t be a family gathering if it weren’t for Speck.
Meet Speck. Such a loving dog, just can’t get close enough to you.DSC_3654

Case, their female Boxer must have been on Coyote duty and missed the gathering. But when she does come around she always lets you know. I remembered when we first arrived, and all the dogs came out to greet us. It was Case that caught my eye. She looks intimidating but her warm heart will win you over in minutes. It was a funny moment when Case first met Kybee. Both dogs with their noses pushed in, one towering over the other. But it was Kybee who was the one doing the barking. Dog face
Greg felt that the Sycamore tree branches were just a little too low along his drive, and feared we might do some damage to the units on our Motorhome’s roof. So he decided it was time to do some trimming!

Greg and Charlotte load the saw and ladder on the “Mule” and off we go down the drive to the first of many tree’s that he felt needed trimming. Charlotte stopped the Mule under the first tree, Greg opened the ladder in the back of the Mule, and I braced the ladder so he wouldn’t fall. Very scary to me, but Greg had it all under control.

I tip my hat to you Greg! You have gone above and beyond helping us out. Thank you once again!
Wilma and I both extend our thanks to you Greg and Charlotte for your wonderful hospitality. You made our stay with you more pleasant than you could ever imagine! God bless you both!
Tomorrow morning we leave and head for Cousin Linda’s home.
Until next time, be safe and God Bless

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Ride in a Combine

Today was very special to Wilma and I. Greg arranged with the Tapp family a ride in a combine!
The Tapp family own and operate a very large farming operation. I may be mistaken, but I believe I heard that they plant and harvest around 3000 acres.
The “Tapp Boys” as they are referred to, told us they would be more than happy to let us ride in the combine with them when they start their corn harvest this week. This afternoon was the time they started, and Greg had us at their farm.
Greg with Wilma next to one of several tractors.DSC_3617
We stood back and waited for a signal from Keith in the Combine. It took several short runs to get the Combine set properly for maximum efficiency. When that was accomplished he signaled for Wilma to climb up and get into the cab with him.
Greg looking on as Wilma climbs onto the Combine with Keith the operator.DSC_3633
Wilma getting her first ride in a CombineDSC_3620
While the “New Holland” Combine was working the corn field, another “Tapp Boy” lined up the “John Deere” Combine to connect the proper head and start working.
The John Deere Combine with it’s head being attached.DSC_3629
Both of these machines harvest 8 rows at a time. I was told they are capable of using a head up to 12 rows. As their planter is a 16 row planter, for efficiency they use the 8 row harvester. I don’t understand all the math involved that is used in figuring out which is the most efficient, but the Tapp Boys have it down to a science.
The Combine and Tractor moving in sync while transferring the corn.DSC_3643
The corn being harvested is “Feed Corn”. Even though it looks like the plants are dead and very dry, the corn was registering a “moisture count” of 20. The grainery needs it at 15 or they do not pay top dollar for the product.
If you break any ear in half, there will always be 16 cornels in diameter.DSC_3646
Waiting for the Combine operator to signal when he is full and needs to unload.DSC_3648
View from the Tractors seat.DSC_3651
It’s just amazing to me how massive and powerful these machines really are, and how efficiently they accomplish what they were built to do. Riding in the “Co-Pilot” seat in the Combine gives one a new meaning to what is involved in this type of work. The two computer screens and numerous types of sounds and alarms, makes one feel like your playing a video game. But believe me, this is no game and these men are very serious with their harvest. They told us it will take them about a month to harvest all the crops, working 12 to 16 hour days.
Like Greg said to me, “The TV show where people are gambling don’t really know what gambling is about. The Tapp boys take a real gamble, along with every farmer, each year after planting. They are completely relying on Mother Nature weather they make it or break it.”
My hats off to all the farmers in this great country of ours. This “City Boy” has a very new and appreciated knowledge of just a small part of what they have to do to survive. It’s amazing, just amazing!
A very special “Thank You” goes out to Greg, for arranging this experience for Wilma and I.
And an extra special “Thank You” to the Tapp family for taking the time from their busy schedule, and allowing us to “take a small peak” into their special lives.
Wilma and I will never, ever forget this special day.
Driveway leading up to one of the Tapp farms.DSC_3611

Getting closer to the farm equipmentDSC_3613
Just after the corn harvestDSC_3652
A 2 minute Video of the Harvest from the seat in the Combine.
Wilma in the Tractor, I am taking video in the Combine
Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Day at the Shooting Range

Greg also knows that Wilma loves to shoot rifles. (That’s why I really try to “tow the line” around her!)
So he planned on taking us to his neighbor’s property and shoot his rifles at a range that he helped build. And what a beautiful outdoor range it is!
I don’t know much about caliber of rifles, so I asked Greg. He said we started with the smallest and worked up to the largest. These are the caliber of rifles that we shot: a 22LR, a 220 Swift, a 243 Winchester, a 6.5/284 Norma, a 308 Remington, and a 308 Savage.
Wilma taking aim, the first shot of the “Big Gun”DSC_3576
After the shot, she was a little taken back of the power and loud soundDSC_3578
I really have to tell you, Wilma is a great shot! She really enjoys target shooting, and I believe Greg enjoyed it as much as she did.
Wilma pointing to her 3 shots. One of them in the bulls eyeDSC_3593
The range that Greg uses is one to be proud of. Even the local police dept. is interested in possibly utilizing it. The targets are set at 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, & 400 yards.
Greg & Wilma at the 50 yard site.
Getting ready, taking aim at the 250 yard targetDSC_3600
Thank you Greg for another great day. We really enjoyed ourselves, and admire your rifles.
Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fresh Tomato Juice and A Surprise Birthday Party

It has been my fascination how many different items Greg has canned and frozen. I asked him if he might be able to tell me how to make tomato juice from garden fresh tomato’s. He decided today that he would not only show me, but let me help him!

Two 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes, washed and being cored.DSC_3439

Greg and Charlotte explained how they have a “system” and explained the several steps involved in making the very best Tomato Juice. First we went out into the garden and picked tomatoes. Enough to fill two, five gallon bucket’s!

After cleaning, then coring the tomatoes, it was time to grind them up in the food grinder.

I load the food grinder with tomatoes as Greg operates the grinder DSC_3449

Greg explained that it takes 2 grinds of the tomatoes before all the juice is extracted. He also knew from experience that the 2 buckets of tomatoes should produce at least 5 gallons of juice or more.

After all the tomatoes were ground twice, it was time to wash off the equipment used outside and then move inside the shop for the cooking and canning.

Tomato Juice on the left, V8 on the rightDSC_3452

After boiling the juice, and pre heating the jars, Greg showed me how he fills the jars. It wasn’t long before I was given the opportunity to fill the jars to get the hang of it.


They were all placed on the table to cool and wait for the “pop” of the tops indicating the jars were sealing properly.

Tomato Juice at the rear, V8 in the front two rows. DSC_3468

Greg actually gave us all that we made to take home! My goodness Greg, we were not expecting that at all! Just wanted to learn how to do it so we will be able to can juice next year. But Greg wouldn’t hear of it. He is just that kind of a great guy. I won’t even go into all the extra items he and Charlotte ended up giving us to take home. Let’s just say the Motorhome was full going back home! Thank you so very much Greg and Charlotte!

Later that evening we were going to a restaurant to meet part of the family to celebrate Aunt Dean’s 80th. surprise Birthday party.

Some of the family gathering prior to entering the restaurantDSC_3469

There must have been close to 50 members gathered in a special section in the restaurant waiting for Aunt Dean to arrive.

She was totally surprised by all of us there to celebrateDSC_3479

What a great place to pull off a surprise get together! If the family would have all met at someone’s home, Aunt Dean would have known as soon as they arrived by the amount of cars that something was going on. But at a restaurant, that was eliminated! Great plan family, she was totally surprised.

Daughter Linda gets the first hugDSC_3482

Wilma, her niece, was nextDSC_3483

Followed by her son, DannyDSC_3486

Everyone got a “Happy Birthday Hug” from Aunt Dean. Then we all enjoyed a delicious meal before watching her open several gifts that were brought for her.

From the restaurant, a few decided to meet at Aunt Dean’s home.

Wilma, Linda, Aunt Dean and her dog TinyDSC_3534

Mark, Eddie, Beth, Ed holding Tiny, and MyselfDSC_3541

We all had a great time sitting in the yard until the mosquitoes started biting.

Happy 80th. Birthday Aunt Dean. And we wish you many many more to come in the future!

Until next time, be safe and God Bless

Friday, August 26, 2011

Arrive at Greg and Charlotte’s home

Only being at Greg and Charlotte’s home once before, last year, I was relying on the GPS to get us there from last nights campsite in Henderson, KY about 22 miles away.

We knew they lived on a narrow gravel road, and we would have to disconnect the car prior to pulling into their driveway. There is a small church at the corner of the main highway and Greg’s road, and we decided that it would be wise to stop there and disconnect the car from behind the motorhome.

A phone call was made to Greg while we were at the church and he was home waiting for our arrival.

The Driveway looking from the workshop, splits right to the home, left to the main road.DSC_3396

It was a little tricky getting parked close to their “workshop” but Greg had a plan. Drive up toward their home, turn around in the yard, head back toward the road. When you get to the split in the drive, back upward into the drive toward the workshop.

Parked in front of their “Workshop”DSC_3398

Greg accommodated us with a newly installed 30 Amp plug that we could plug our Motorhome into. Thank You Greg!

Wilma had a great idea a couple years ago to bring Greg and Charlotte a gift of items “Made in Michigan”. She gave them a basket last year and they really appreciated it, so this year Wilma put together another “Made in Michigan” container.











We believe it was another big hit with them.

Opening their gift inside their “Workshop”DSC_3402

Greg is known for canning and freezing many items from his garden. One of those items is Tomato juice. He knows how much I enjoyed his Tomato Juice so we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a “Bloody Mary”.

Enjoying a Bloody Mary at the counter in the workshopDSC_3407

As the day progressed, Greg wanted to take us to one of their favorite restaurants. I handed the keys to my car to Charlotte and she drove us to Feedmill Restaurant.DSC_3388

Wilma’s plate of delicious foodDSC_3393

A piece of  gator, “Delicious!”DSC_3392

Wilma and I had our first taste of gator and fiddlers. Greg explained fiddlers was a farm raised catfish served ‘bone in’. All I can say is “I wish we had a Feedmill Restaurant where I live”! What a delicious dinner. Thank you Greg and Charlotte.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

John James State Park, Henderson KY.

After a long, long ride we finally made it to the John James State Park in Henderson, KY.

This is the first time we have been to this State Park, and we noticed right away that this Campground had been designed many years ago. Most of the sites were set up for smaller trailers leaving only a handful for large Motorhomes such as ours. We were given site #3. I’m very happy there was no camper in the site just across from ours, as I had to back into there site to make the swing into our site. Many of the sites were just laid out reverse of what is normal, making it very difficult to park. I guess the people who first designed the layout of the campsites were NOT campers.

The tree made it difficult to get into this site.DSC_3385

After settling in, we drove around the park in our car. I was really impressed with how large of a park it really is! From the main entrance, most of the park is hidden by trees.

Wilma remembered that her parents brought the family here to go swimming when she was a small child. We found the lake and where the beach used to be, but is no longer there. Now the small lake is just for fishing and paddle boats.

We had a great night sleep, and felt this was a very nice Campground to stay at if one is in the area and is looking for a campsite.

Looking at the reflections on the lakeDSC_3382

There was a car show locallyDSC_3378


Tomorrow morning we are heading to Greg and Charlotte’s home. Greg and Wilma are related, his Grandmother and Wima’s Grandfather were brother and sister. Would that make them third cousins? Eye rolling smile

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.