Sunday Driver, Yeah

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Maggie Valley, Western North Carolina

 “She was a day tripper

Sunday driver, yeah”

– The Beatles

All dressed up and no place to go. My brunch plans with friends were canceled. It was a chilly Sunday morning and I could have stayed warm under the covers.

Plan B. Get in the car and drive. Take myself to brunch. I decided to try my buddy’s new diner by the old truck stop. Still unfamiliar with all the country roads, it took me forever to find the place. Once I arrived, people were turned away (including me) due to unforeseen plumbing issues. So my brunch plans were also flushed down the toilet.

Plan C. Keep on truckin’. Next stop? The Swag. Since I was in the neighborhood, why not treat myself to a spectacular view and a killer meal? The sunlight kissed me through my sunroof as I headed up the mountain. I drove by old barns, farmland, and rushing creeks. Amazing.

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“Old Black Water, keep on rollin'” – The Doobies

From cows, sheep, chicken, and horses, I felt personally greeted by every animal I passed. I even stopped and talked to the animals a la Dr. Dolittle.

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Getting a kick from the donkey.

 

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B S-ing with the Bull.

After a very steep drive I finally reached the highest peak. With my appetite as grand as the mountain, I was so ready for my long-awaited lunch! The recording at the gate said, “Welcome to The Swag. We are closed until late April.” What?!

Plan D. Around and around she goes. Where she stops, nobody knows. “Time for a drink”, I chuckled, just as I drove by Popcorn Sutton’s home. Coincidence?  I nearly drove off the cliff laughing. Seems as though the sun wasn’t the only thing shinin’!

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I’ll shut up my mug if you fill up my jug with some good ole mountain dew- Gr’pa Jones

Cruisin’ down the mountain and into Maggie Valley I stopped by the Stompin’ Ground. This literally was my old stomping ground, where I learned to clog as a little girl. Oh the memories of me in pigtails hoedowning in my handmade patchwork skirt. Hee haw!! Yep, I still use those dance moves.

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Oh play me some mountain music like Grandma and Grandpa used to play -Alabama

I kept driving and saw a sign for Cataloochee Ranch. Oh yeah! Ain’t no mountain high enough to keep me from lunch over yonder! Climbing in my car, I arrived at last. How breathtakingly beautiful! But the signed posted on the door read, “Closed until late April.” Huh?! Okay, where is Alan Funt and his Candid Camera?

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Cataloochee Lodge, Maggie Valley

Alone, I walked around and gazed out onto the majestic scenery that I had all to myself. Starving, I sat on top of the mountain and ate my emergency granola bar from the bottom of my purse. Funny, it was not exactly the culinary experience I had pictured but somehow it now seemed perfect.

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“Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams, Telling myself it’s not as hard, hard, hard as it seems.” – Led Zep

Plan E. Exit, Stage Left! She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes! Since I skipped Sunday Mass for brunch, (don’t tell my Grandma) I decided to swing by my Church to give thanks for this unforgettable day. I parked and walked up the path. The Church was locked! On a Sunday?! Wow, even He has a sense of humor!

So, I bundled up and sat outside on the Church bench and prayed. The sun caressed my face just as the cold wind tossed my hair. A baby blue sky accented the fluffy clouds floating by like angels. The fragrant early spring flowers were blooming beside me. Now I know why the Church was closed.

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This Sunday I had a spectacular time driving and exploring Western North Carolina. You never know where life will lead you if you just laugh and go with the flow. I would never have traded this day to meet my friends for Eggs Benedict. Even for extra Hollandaise sauce!

Do you ever have days that go better than your original plan?

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Shared with Fiesta Friday, Gluten Free Fridays, Crafty Spices, Natural Family Friday

50/50: Fifty years of life’s lessons

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Me with Mom in Miami

You’ve come a long way, baby!

This is it!  The Big 5-0! Half of a century. Five decades.

Adios, youth.  Hello, AARP! Egad!

….Cue music: “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.” 

Where has all the time gone? I act so silly sometimes that I just can’t believe my age. Well, I’m definitely older and maybe a little bit wiser. I have learned much over the past fifty years. But the lessons I have learned have not all been easy.

As I laugh myself into the next 50 years, I reflect on a few, okay, 50 things that I know for sure from 50 years passed.  Here’s my 50/50 countdown:

50.  You should always talk to strangers.

49. Diamonds Dogs are a girl’s best friend.

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My rescued dog, Dingo

48.  Cherish your family.

47.  Life’s too short to drink cheap wine.

46.  Friends are measured in quality, not quantity.

45.  Eat dessert first.

44. Never talk to Dad during a football game.

43.  I believe in angels!

42. Watching the sunrise can change your whole day.

41. Rainbows make me giddy.

40.  ’70’s and ’80’s music rocks!

39.  I will always be Daddy’s little girl.

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Dad, my first true love.

38.  Bees are beautiful.

37.  Laughter can cure anything.

36.  You don’t know how strong you are until you have to be.

35.  My mother loves me.

34.  I may be a little bit older, but I’m young at heart!

33.  The smell of rain intoxicates me. (Cue music: “Have you ever seen the rain?”)

32.  I smile at strangers. (You should try it!)

31.  My garden fills me with peace.

30.  Me gusta el café cubano.

29.  The ocean calms me. (Cue music: “Well I was born in the sign of water, And it’s there that I feel my best.”)

28.  I love the Autumn breeze blowing my hair.

27.  My 99 year old grandmother is amazing (and she wishes she was my age!)

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“A garden of love grows in a grandmother’s heart.” ~Author Unknown

26.  I could dance for the rest of my life! (Cue music: “I could have danced all night and still have begged for more.“)

25.  It is better to be alone than in bad company.

24.  A smile is a reflection of your soul.

23. No matter how bad life seems, remember: “This, too, shall pass.”

22. I love the smell of a wood-burning fire (and eating smores)!

21. If you have one true friend, you are rich.

20. Snowflakes make me skip!

19.  Mean people stink!

18.  Fall leaves are absolutely spectacular!

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17.  You should really, really listen to people.

16.  Sunsets rock!

15.  I sing along with birds.

14.  Sunshine on my shoulders really makes me happy.

13.  I love watching butterflies visit my flowers.

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12. Music moves me.

11. Trains are really cool!

10. I wish upon stars.

9.  Writing satisfies my soul.

8.  You are responsible for making yourself happy.

7.  A random act of kindness can make all the difference in the world.

6.  God loves me.

5.  A rescued dog rescues you right back.

4.  There’s nothing like a really great joke!

3.  A good, cold craft beer is totally worth the calories.

2. I would rather be in my garden than in the courtroom.

….and the number one thing I know for sure is…(drumroll please)….

1.  50 is the new 39!!!

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I’m excited to see what the next 50 years will teach me!  Stay tuned…

What life’s lessons have you learned?  I would love to hear them!

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Shared with:  Wordless Wednesday, Fiesta Friday, Great Idea Thursday, Natural Family Friday, Farm Hop, Home and Garden Thursday, Foodie Friday, Old Fashioned Friday, Real Food Fridays, Share Your Cup Thursday, Simply Natural Saturdays, Simple Saturdays, Full Plate Thursday, Craft Spices, Busy Monday, Motivation Monday, Creative Mondays, Mix It Up Monday, Totally Talented Tuesdays, You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday

Just Peachy! [Pie Recipe]

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“An apple is an excellent thing – until you have tried a peach.”

George du Maurier (1834-1896)

I’ve always wanted to have a big ole peach tree. Yet it’s too hot to grow peaches in Florida. In North Carolina, it’s too cold. But in South Carolina, it’s Peachy Keen!

Recently, I was driving down the Interstate in South Carolina, and signs were everywhere:  Fresh Peaches!  There were more Peach signs than Speed Limit signs!  I got a whiplash checking them all out. Drooling, I had to stop!

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Ripe, sweet, juicy peaches are sure to put a Big Smile on your face.

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Summer is peach season. Supermarket peaches (flavorless hard baseballs) don’t hold a candle to just-picked-from-the-tree peaches, like these beauties from Ragan Orchards in Inman, SC.

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The girl at the Ragan Orchard stand was a real peach and even set up my own taste test!  August Prince peaches (larger, yellow skin, melting yellow flesh with an acidic tang) versus O’Henry peaches (bright red and orange skin with a sweet and juicy flesh). Of course I bought both types!

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My first bite: As sweet as the perfect summer day.

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I even got to check out the peach trees at the orchard!  Really cool!

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“I really love your peaches, I want to shake your tree.”

I was hooked! I loaded up my car with peaches like Santa packs his sleigh with presents. Like a human Pac Man, I chomped on my just-plucked gems all the way back to North Carolina. Amazingly, some peaches survived for my homemade Peach Pie. Mmmmm!

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The addition of fresh rosemary adds a touch of savory, almost buttery taste to this sweet treat. For a more intense flavor, I replaced some of the sugar with pure local honey (from the orchard). Tapioca thickens the pie and cooks up clear. Tradition holds that peach pie is lattice-topped, which adds beauty and allows some moisture to escape during baking. This summer treat is Just Peachy!

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Savory Peaches and Cream Pie

Adapted from Ready, Set, Dough! By Melanie Barnard

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

½ cup sugar

¼ cup pure honey

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

3 Tablespoons heavy or light cream

One 15-ounce package refrigerated folded Piecrusts

6 cups fresh peaches, peeled and cut into ½ inch thick slices

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove and reserve 2 teaspoons of the sugar. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the remaining sugar, honey, tapioca, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, rosemary and lemon zest. Stir in the peaches and any peach juice.  Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes to soften the tapioca.

Keeping one crust refrigerated, unfold the other crust and ease it into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Spoon the peach mixture into the crust, spreading evenly. Dribble with 2 tablespoons of the cream.

Unfold the remaining pie crust and place onto a floured surface. Use a small, sharp knife or pizza wheel cutter to cut the crust into ½ to ¾ inch wide strips to create a lattice topping.

Brush the lattice with the remaining 1 tablespoon of cream and sprinkle with remaining reserved 2 teaspoons of sugar.

Bake the pie on the lower rack for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F. Carefully remove the pie from the oven, place a 14-inch square of foil on the middle rack, and move the pie to the center of the oven. Place the pie on the foil and bake until the juices are bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes more.

Cool the pie on a rack.  Then serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Tips:

*If available, use a variety of two peaches for a more complex flavor.

**To peel peaches, place peaches in a pan of boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds. Remove with thongs and run under cold water.  Use a small knife to loosen the skin, then slip the peel from the peaches.

***If the edges of the pie begin to darken during baking, lightly cover edges with foil to prevent burning.

***

How sweet it is! Homemade Peach Pie! Want a slice? (or two…)

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I’m bringing a slice of my pie over to the party at Fiesta Friday #31.

Do you stop at roadside farm stands? What is your favorite Peach recipe?

All original photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.