The Hodgepodge Splurge

Joyce asks the questions, and we provide the answers. See how others answered at From This Side of the Pond.

1. What does productivity look like to you? 
It looks a lot different now than it did a month ago. I have no idea what retirement productivity is going to look like. I'm assuming it will mean actually getting out of my pj's before 9:00 and doing things around the house.

2. What was your fondest (or one of your fondest) memory of High School? 
My high school life centered around band. That being said, one of the memories I have was when I was a freshman at band practice. I kept getting something wrong, and the director ran over to me and said, "Mary! What are you doing???" I just replied, "I don't know!" Needless to say, I think I got it right after that!

3. What did you do the summer after High School? 
I went to college! The university where I attended switched from the quarter-to-semester system that fall so they gave freshmen the opportunity to take some classes. It was a great introduction to college: we could only take 2-3 classes and only freshmen were in them. I met a future roommate that summer. 

4. June 14th is National Strawberry Shortcake Day...are you a fan, and if so will you celebrate? How do you make yours? Have you been strawberry picking? If so what do you do with all those berries? 
I love strawberries but I'm not a big fan of strawberry shortcake. I don't know that I've ever "made" them: I have bought the sponges shells, thrown some strawberry pie filling in it, and topped with whipped cream. YS planted a strawberry plant that is kicking but has produced very little strawberries that we've seen. I think maybe a bird, squirrel, or rabbit has been getting them.

5. What's something you always splurge on? 
Cherries...when they're on sale. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 
We still haven't decided where we're going for our big trip. Who knows? We may just get in the van and see where the road takes us!
We did get away this past week but it didn't go as we planned. Stay tuned for a post on that coming up soon!

Exploring East Tennessee: Tsali Notch Vineyard

After visiting Grain Bin Commodities, we drove just a few miles to Tsali Notch Vineyard in Madisonville, TN. They are only 2 exits away from each other. The Lost Sea Adventure is very close to the vineyards and would be another good stop. 
Tsali Notch Vineyard is a Muscadine Vineyard but if you're a dry, red wine person, don't let that deter you from visiting. I was skeptical because I don't particularly like sweet wines but during the taste testing I was pleasantly surprised. They have wine for any taste. I was especially surprised by the Rose, so much so that I ended up buying a bottle.
The Tasting Room

Why Tsali?

Tsali was a Cherokee Indian Chief who refused to leave his NC home after they ceded their lands to the US Government. There is folklore and then history as to what happened to Tsali: legend says that he surrendered to the US Infantry Division but documents indicate he did not. The result is the same: Tsali was killed by another Cherokee, one of his neighbors. Euchella hunted down Tsali and killed him so that he could stay in the area, as promised by the US Government. If you've ever heard of the outdoor drama Unto These Hills, you would know the story which is about Tsali. The play has been open for over 60 years in Cherokee, NC.

Back to the Vineyard!

With over 6000 vines, Tsali Vineyards covers 35 acres. With the Appalachian Mountains as its backdrop, the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. It's quiet, with the wind blowing around the valley as its only sound. There is a Tasting Room where you can test 4 of the wines plus the juice (which is only sweeteners added) for $10. You also receive the small glass you used for the testing. The wines included when I tested were Chatsworth (dry red), French Broad (Rose), Atala (sparkling wine similar to Prosecco), and Tallulah (dessert wine similar to a Port). I ended up buying a Chatsworth, French Broad, and a bottle of juice (for CH). There is plenty of seating around the Tasting Room to take a bottle of wine and enjoy the view.

There's more to the Vineyard than just Vines

Also on the property is an event barn. When we drove in, JD was prepping for an event. We were parked on the other side of the Tasting Room (up the hill from the barn) so we didn't get in their way or vice versa. Since we were using our Harvest Hosts Membership, we spent the rainy afternoon hanging out in Maeve Anne. It was incredibly peaceful.

View from the side window during the rain

Clouds hanging over the vineyards after the rain

View from the front during the rain
Honestly, I had no idea there were places like this within an hour from my house. There's so much to explore in this area. 

Have you heard about Harvest Hosts? It's an RV camping membership that has opened up exciting and new overnight experiences for my road trips! Use it to unlock unlimited overnight stays at locations such as farms, wineries, museums and so much more. The network has over 4000 locations and is expanding daily - and it's so much fun! I think that you'd really enjoy it. Here is the link to join with a special discount: ​Flyin' the Coop Harvest Hosts Invitation. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Ageless Wednesday Hodgepodge

Joyce asks the questions, and we provide the answers. See how others answered at From This Side of the Pond.

1. Tell me something you remember (or if you're not there yet, something you look forward to) about being 35.
I don't remember a whole lot about being 35. I had an 8, 5, and 2-year-old so I was pretty busy with them. CH & I laugh because he'll bring up something we did or saw from waaaaay back and I usually don't remember them. I tell him it's because I had more important things on my surviving with 3 little boys.

2. Last time you 'burned the candle at both ends'? 
I've learned through the years to say "no". I've really cut back on "extracurricular" activities to focus on home life (and camping!). I try not to stress myself out anymore. So, to answer the question: I really can't remember! 

3. Are you someone with the 'gift of gab'? Elaborate (which shouldn't be a problem if you answered yes teehee).  
This question is a little trickier than you'd think. I can hold my own in a conversation and I definitely will give my opinion on things, but when you first meet me I may appear on the quiet side. (CH and my siblings-if they read this-are probably doubled over with laughter!) When I met a group of online friends at a convention a few years back, one of them said that I was a lot quieter than she thought I would be. 
Splitcoast Speechies: New Orleans, 2017 (minus our Ohio girl!)
States represented: Texas, Oregon, Washington, Tennessee, California, New Hampshire, Louisiana

4. Do you request a special meal on your birthday, and if so tell us what that meal is? Do you want the same kind of cake year after year or will any flavor work? Do you want cake at all? Growing up were birthdays a big deal in your house? Are they a big deal now? 
We usually have a family birthday dinner with the birthday boy/girl picking the restaurant. I love birthday cake but haven't had one in a long time. Give me chocolate and I'm a happy birthday girl. Growing up with 9 siblings, we were allowed 1 birthday party. I had mine when I turned 7. On birthdays, mama would fix us what we requested for that day. Other than that, no big deal. They aren't a big deal now, either. Just another day!
Pictures of my first 4 birthday cakes that my mom made:

5. 'Age is just a number.'..agree or disagree? Tell us why. 
I definitely agree. I just hit 61 a few months ago and really don't feel any older than 35. You're as old as you feel and I'm just not there yet!

6. Insert your own random thought here.
We're getting ready to plan a big trip! We don't have to be home until mid-August so we can take our time and just enjoy seeing new sights (for me, anyway) and the beauty of North America. We'll definitely be heading north since it's summer, but how far north will we go? Any guesses?

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