Gas at $1.869? I was in Georgia. At
the time gas in California was more like $2.429ish. I was visiting
my sister and her family. Nice of her daughter to make a sign for
the rest room door. Didn't take many pictures right away, it was
more about washing the road out of my system and catching up on
basic news. The next day my sister showed me around the current
incarnation of the farm.
She still has lots of chickens in
mobile pens. She starts with them by moving the pen on skids about
two yards onto fresh grass. That exposes whatever eggs the
chickens laid since yesterday.
Then she throws in some grain. They
chow down on it, making happy noises.
Seems there aren't as many chickens
in the big pen as I remember from last time. My Brother-in-Law is
very happy with the muscodine grapes growing across the top of the
thing. He says it gives the chickens more shelter from the sun and
heat, and the grapes raining down add to their diet.
The vegetable patch is much bigger
than I remember it being before.
Livestock pens seem bigger than I
remember to. They found out that the goats are great at clearing
land. Just enclose some brush and they eat away at it until the
trees fall down. Presto! Doesn't happen that quickly, but it
doesn't take any labor beyond moving the fence line.
The turkey shelter is a lot like the
chicken ones, except the turkeys seem to have escaped the harvest
last fall. When I got there they were talking about eating one,
but it didn't happen. We had burgers instead.
For a while my brother in law had a
hydroponic system, but it was based on this motor moving the water
around. It lasted long enough that he harvested a couple of crops
of lettuce, but then the motor died. He got another one, but that
didn't last any better. Then he decided that "the juice ain't
worth the squeeze", as the saying goes. Now the hydroponic system
is yet another lawn ornament. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of
that Rube Goldberg contraption. Loved hearing the explanation of
how it worked though.
The next day was wet and miserable,
so after doing the chores we hung around inside.
My contribution to supper was
cutting the watermelon. They grew it in the vegetable patch, so it
had very little transportation during it's life. It was delicious.
After we ate the red part I gave the rest of it to the animals.
I'm feeling grumpy towards Coda (the
horse not shown) after this he broke out of his pen, broke into
the vegetable patch, and ate the rest of the watermelon crop. Boo
Grace makes soap just like her
mother. I didn't take pictures of the whole process, but we could
hear her working in the kitchen while we watched TV. She sells it
at the farmers market and online.
Making breakfast in my sister's
kitchen is very different from making it at home. For one thing,
goat milk seemed like an unlimited resource. That means oatmeal
with goat milk instead of water and butter. So delicious! I
had it almost every day, and it was a great way to start the day.
For another thing, if you mess EVEN ONE CRUMB on the floor those
feet will detect it. I didn't realize it until she caught me. No
way would my mother have complained about that crumb. She wore
shoes in the kitchen.
The plan for the day was "Go to
Columbus". Grace had a shift as a volunteer at the library's book
sale, so the car had to go. I went along to wander around town and
see what I could see. The first thing I noticed was that the
streets change names in Columbus a lot like they do in San Jose,
or so it seemed.
Did my heart good to know that the
main public library is on Citizens Way.
I thought I was on Macon Road, but
this sign said it was "Tom Buck Parkway". Figure that one out!
Country Life is a vegan restaurant
and health foods store I got to walking down the road. It's hot in
Georgia during August, anybody would need to refill their water
bottle every hour or two. Turns out the cheapest nice beverage I
could find is a packet of "Emergen-C" from the restaurant and some
water from their cooler. Back on the road 54 cents lighter and a
refilled water bottle happier. So awesome there is a place like
I saw "Bradley" all over town. Here
was this plaque in front of the museum that explained why.
I kept walking until I got to the
Chattahoochee River. Looking upstream I could barely see the
rapids that made the rest of it impassible to big cargo barges.
Looking downstream it looked about
like the Illinois River did in Peoria, meaning wide and flat with
bridges high enough for barges to go under them. Didn't see any
cargo docks though. About then it started raining so I decided it
was time to head back for the library. This rain wasn't anywhere
near as warm as the summer rains in Virginia I enjoyed when I
There were signs like these all over
the place. Made me feel like Columbus was "the silicon valley of
soda" a hundred years ago.
I remember reading someplace that
the active ingredient in coca cola was cocaine, back before that
It was easy to find pillars of the
community with more than 100 years of continuity there...
Funny that some of those formats
have stations with similar names at similar frequencies here. Even
funnier that "sonic burger" is right next to the corporate radio
local office. I remember a time when I'd walk past a radio station
office and they would claim ONE FREQUENCY. Nowadays those seem
I kept telling them I wanted to help
out around the farm somehow. Finally my sister suggested I pull a
bucket of weeds and feed it to the goats. I did that. They were
VERY HAPPY about the fresh food. Then I did another bucket of
weeds for the next pen over. I repeated for hours. Five or six
buckets of weeds later my sister came and told me "It's now so hot
you should go inside." I did. Felt like I'd done something. For
the rest of my stay there the goats were much more interested in
me when I got near their pens.
What I remember us doing for the
rest of the day and evening was binge watching "Just Add Water".
It's an Australian comedy about three girls that get mermaid super
powers from visiting this weird island. I found it as believable
as "I Dream of Genie" without the studio laugh track. While she
watched Katie cut something out of old cereal boxes. I wondered
what it was until she started painting. I asked and she said "A
guitar." When she was done she got the doll she'd made it for and
posed them together for me.
The next day was Saturday, when they
have a booth at a nearby farmers market. I accompanied them to it.
Unfortunately, I forgot my stickers. Wound up pacing around and
listening to conversations for the entire time. It was
fascinating. Had a great time and learned a lot about how small
farms in Georgia fit into the system there. Wound up even more
impressed with how important goats are in that world. Plenty of
people came to buy. The vegetable sellers did okay. The baked good
vendors did okay. The honey guy had plenty of customers. Seems
like the craft vendors had slim pickings. The talk had a
"wondering how to build up the local economy" quality. There was a
lot of that.
Getting back from the farmers market
I was impressed again by the simple nature of the latch on the
gate. Makes excellent use of a piece of chain and a groove in the
extra piece of metal.
Since it was near my birthday Grace
made me a cake. It's my favorite type, carrot cake. We got the
carrots for it at the farmers market.
By this time my lungs were so
allergied from being around the animals it was a real struggle to
blow out the candles.
Our objective for the following
morning was to see Jimmy Carter at the Amarantha Baptist Church,
where he teaches Sunday School when he's in town. Their website
indicated he would be in town this day. By the time they opened
the doors the line was very long.
They were not shy about letting us
know we were entering a controlled zone, where misbehavior would
not be tolerated. It wasn't just the sign. There were dogs
sniffing and a speech by a stiff lady with an "I'm in charge here"
Thank you to the preacher behind us
in line for taking this picture of the four of us! There was
plenty of time in line to chat, and the crowd was friendly in a
southern Baptist kind of way. As long as you were in favor of
Jesus we all got along well enough. I guess I exercised my right
to remain silent on that topic.
We got in. Yup, seats in the back
corner of the room. Oh well. At least we got in. It was looking
iffy for a while there.
Not long after I took this picture
Miss Peggy went up and explained how it was going to go down. She
mentioned that Jimmy Carter had done many things for the church,
including making the collection plates, which he signed JC. They
know that he's famous because on Sundays when President Carter
isn't around the crowd for the service is more like 17 regulars.
President Carter would come out and warm us up by asking "What
State are you from?" He wants to hear each state exactly once.
He'll repeat back each state as he hears it. That's the only time
during the event that picture taking is okay. After that is over
the picture taking is over until after the service, when we're
invited to come up and have our picture taken with the Carters.
She also had folksy advice for us on where to spend our money
while we were in town and stuff like that.
I was proud to say "California" when
the opportunity arose. Glad to say I know he heard me because he
repeated back "California" soon after that.
Then he pontificated at great
length, saying things like "This past year has been the worst of
my life because of cancer.", "peace", and "middle east". I had
difficulty staying awake for it for some reason. I also had
difficulty falling asleep, because every time I nodded off one of
my sister's daughters would poke me. By the time it was over I
felt very poked. Then we did the whole Baptist church service
thing before lining up to have our picture taken with the Carters.
When the collection plates came
around I was glad to put a dollar in JC's handmade alms bowl.
Wow! I got my picture taken with
Jimmy Carter! So awesome....
There were lots of opportunities to
buy "Jimmy Carter for Cancer Survivor" buttons, stickers, and lawn
signs. The only problem was they were too overpriced for my
sensibilities. I ended up passing on the schwag. My sister bought
us all peanut flavored ice cream from the woman that made the
stuff. It was delicious.
That was theoretically our last
evening together, so I took everyone out for BBQ. Turns out the
BBQ joint had this great photo op spot, which we got the waitress
to take a picture of us at.
Then we wandered around downtown for
a while to kill time until the bus was due.
Of course the bus was late. We
waited by the dock, talking about all the things we'd forgotten to
bring up earlier, and whatever else crossed our minds. It's one of
the traditions that I rather enjoy. Things took an unexpected turn
when the bus driver looked at my ticket. He said "There has been
massive flooding in Louisiana, so the road west is closed. You
don't want to get on this bus. You want to come back tomorrow and
re-ticket for another route. Otherwise you'll spend a few days
waiting a few hundred miles down the road."
We went back to my sisters and got a
good nights sleep. The next morning they dropped me at the station
again. This time I was able to get on the bus no problem. I
vividly remember meeting people at bus stops further down the road
waiting for roads to open up so they could go home to Louisiana.
Glad I'd listened to the driver!