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Thursday, February 27, 2014

AMISH COUNTRY

In my professional experience, you just never know for sure how your day will unfold.  After 32 years in this business I had not had the experience of appraising property owned by the Amish. Our area of western Kentucky includes a few counties with a strong Amish community. 

So Here I go.  My current task is to appraiser an Amish Farm. Typically, they do not have a phone, however, this particular farm has another business which has a phone available 30 min. per day.  That does enable me to make an appointment to view the property. I must say they do have some pretty farms. 


After meeting the your owner of the farm, I toured the property with his company, and it is obvious he is proud of his farm.  While a small farm, it offers a wide variety of operations. He has a dairy herd, 43 head, milked twice per day, a tarp construction business, draft horses for plowing about 80 acres and a homestead.  This is a considerable operation for only 100 acres. 
The above horses are large, draft horses used to plow the fields. They are huge and well behaved.  I watched a young man back them into the barn with the plow.  Of  course you had better not be behind them at the wrong moment. 

While touring the property I stumbled upon these calf feeding. It appears they have been weaned from Mom and are in a feeding barn.  They are cute and one has a name.
I spied this calf and since the calf is named after our daughter I thought she deserved her own picture.
Notice the name and date of birth on the ear tag.  They have plenty of room in the small coral and must be destined for the dairy operations. 

In another farm visit I encountered another pet.  I saw any number of these in Vietnam but this one is a pet.
Just scratch this pig behind the ears and it is your friend.

After touring this farm I need to invest in some rubber boots to mind my walking.  The cows and horses do not seem to mind where they poop.  But I must admit I do enjoy seeing the farms and admire the simple life style of the Amish.  I do wonder what they think of me. 

Oh well, see you on the farm or the water.

Happy sailing,

Adm. Denise, Capt Barry, Deckhands Bella and Bailey

Sunday, February 23, 2014

MY HERO

I have discussed in this blog my good friend "Doc".  Well he continues his voyage along the gulf coast of Florida.  Having cruised over 4,000 river miles, Doc has expanded his sailing south to cruise the Florida waters.

Thus far, Doc has cruised along the Gulf Coast panhandle from Mobile Bay to Steinhatchee.  He is rounding the corner as explained by looper boats.  He could cut the corner from Carrabelle to Tampa, but this requires a 180 mile cruise overnight across the Gulf.  While this can be possible for Doc's boat, this range can task his fuel and increases  the risk.  Therefore, Doc has opted to round the corner and see what he can see.
Click on the layer to see the locations of Doc as he travels the corner.




The above map is a work in progress.  I am new to New Google Maps but trying to teach this old dog a new trick.  Envious as I am of Doc we will follow this old dog along his pirates route along the West Coast of Florida.  Who knows, he may like the Sea Hag!  This will take an education on my part but hopefully my skills will improve. 

As I follow my Senior Hero down the west coast of Florida I continue to envy his journey.  However, I do not think I would enjoy the solitude of anchoring many nights with out anyone to share the experience.  Doc seems to enjoy the solitude but also craves human conversation after days at anchor.  

Doc is currently at anchor off coast from Suwannee River about 3 miles off coast.  Seems access to the river can be very shallow and at low tide he felt getting caught was a possibility.  After spending a few days at the Sea Hag Marina, an anchorage may be a break.  He did provide his coordinate which I will update on the next map post.  Now that I know the last coordinates, I can inform the Coast Guard of his last known location. 



While I am writing about "old sailors" I have another sailor dog to introduce.  A good friend and college has purchased an Albin Family Cruiser to restore.  Restore is a generous word, rebuilt would be more accurate.  He purchased this boat after it sat behind a house in the rain for 3 years.  The boat sunk on its trailer.  Tom pumped over 1,000 gal. from the boat.  Now, the restoration is underway.  He plans to follow Doc along the waterways.   Notice the bumped up cabin in the stern. This area is a small sleeping cabin.  It has more space than appears but is like crawling into a coffin. The boat has a cabin with head, galley and bed.  The saga will continue during the next year as the boat is restored.  


 Found this wonderful pic, reminding me of Kentucky Spring. Yep, only good looking dogs and a beautiful women in this picture.  The old sea dog was the photographer.  We have experienced a rough winter and this is a view we all are looking forward to.  It will appear eventually.  

We continue to remodel the condo and I would estimate about 95% complete.  We will post before and after pics for all to enjoy when the project is complete.  Of course, Spring brings boat work which I certainly enjoy. 

Well I must bath the wife and walk the dogs.  Good time along Bend of the Rivers.  See ya'll on the water.

Happy sailing,
Adm. Denise, Capt Barry, Deckhands Bella and Bailey 

 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

LIFE, IT IS A CHANGING

Sitting here along Lake Barkley shoreline I am a bit pensive and realizing, Life is changing.  This is certainly prompted by our recent move to a wonderful condo unit along the "beach" of our development, Bend of the Rivers.  I sit here daily watching the river, lake and view change. Each morning I am greeted with a new view, punctuated by my friends, Canadian Geese, Mallard Ducks, uncounted birds and changing landscape. 

As visible above, our view changes many times in just 24 hrs. We have had sunsets, snow, fog and the ever passing towboats. 

As readers of this blog will hopefully remember, our plans have always been to travel as far and wide as we can manage.  As these plans have evolved, we found ourselves transitioning from land based travel via our motor home to water based travel aboard our trawler, 0 Regrets.  This included the purchase of our first condo unit, a one-bedroom charmer.  However, karma intervened and offers us an opportunity to purchase our current home on the beach with the view above.  We sold our one bedroom unit to the first viewer and happily began this journey to make the "lake" our home.  

This began the renaissance of Unit 4B.  However, this project has opened other doors to Ms. Denise and I.  Other factors must fall in line to complete this relocation, but it appears they are moving along.  I feel the most significant change is Denise seems more than happy here and has been "nesting" actively since our purchase.  I tend to stir the nest up i.e. demolition, and she puts things back together beautifully.  A good team effort.      
The above shot conveys the comfort we are feeling in our new home.  Although the entire unit is being redecorated, the view and dogs remain.  This picture seems rather "comfortable" to me which is how we feel here.  We will be completing our remodel in the next 3-4 weeks.  Our careers do continue but will require some commuting to and fro but a little driving is a small price to pay for our plans to continue. 
Above is our planned water borne conveyance, 0 Regrets.  Seen here a Grand Harbor Marina in Pickwick Lake during our fall cruise of 2013.  We plan to live aboard for 2-3 months then dock the boat, somewhere, escaping back to Lake Barkley to visit and get land legs back.  Then back to 0 Regrets to continue our adventures.  We are following a number of blogs of friends we have met along our river cruises, stealing ideas, anchorage and marina locations. 

I remain envious of friends who are currently aboard their boats along the Panhandle coast of Florida.  I have written about "Doc" in this blog and he continues to entertain and provide a glimpse into life along the coast.  Another long time friend has just begun a dream by purchasing his cruising boat.
The above boat is the dream and project of my friend Tommy. This is the same boat Doc lives aboard, just about 2 feet shorter. Right, 25 ft. of joy awaits Tommy.  The boat sank in the Ohio River and sat on the bottom for over a year. He purchased boat and trailer and has embarked on a total rebuild.  In fact, the only really good portion of the boat is the hull and trailer.  While we were talking "boat" we stumbled on the idea of cruising together when time permits.  He does anticipate maybe a year project to complete the rebuild.  Maybe he can help me with projects aboard 0 Regrets. That would be a challenge. 

Well, our transition continues.  I am starting to feel like a local. The lizard keeps changing but he has a smile on the old face.

Happy sailing,

Adm. Denise, Capt Barry, hands Bailey and Bella

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

CONDO RENNAISANCE

The first blog of 2014 has to be the " Renaissance of Condo 4B".  We purchased our first condo at Bend of the River development about 2 years ago.  We have so enjoyed our life here that the opportunity presented itself to improve our life here.  So, we sold our one bedroom unit and purchased a two bedroom, two bath unit on the water.  We now have "water front property". 

 We now have the water about 50 yds. from our door with a view east and west along Lake Barkley(Cumberland River).
So we have embarked on the complete remodeling of Unit 4B. Being a condo, this entails the interior of the property.  We are removing everything except the Sheetrock, including appliances and other fixtures.  We have the services of expert electrician, painter and floor covering specialists.  I want to let all know that Lowe's Store offers all veterans a 10% discount on all purchases, a significant savings.  We have invested significantly at Lowe's and enjoyed the discount. 

Our lake view offers every changing water and views.
 Sunny view looking across Lake Barkley with fog on the water .

Winter view this morning at 2 degrees. 
 
View of sunset with passing tow boat.
 
View from our old condo on a cold morning.
 
Sunset view with tow boat cruising by.  All these pictures were taken from our back door fronting on Lake Barkley.  The prime reason for locating here and living with "new" water. 
Living room with inherited furniture.  Stone fireplace is good and will remain.
View to dining room area prior to renovations.  Behind the curtain is the great view we purchased.  The condo is just a place to enjoy the view, as shown above.

Everyone will enjoy the faux distressed cabinets.  We are replacing all appliances, floor and counter tops. The cabinets will be painted and new hardware installed. 

We have plans for unit 4B to be our new Home, with the sale of our current dwelling maybe this summer.  Relocating to the Lakes area has been a long term plan and hopefully it will be a reality this year. 

This concludes the "before tour".  We will try to keep the blog updated as we proceed.  I am sub-general contractor, always under the guidance of the General Contractor, Denise.

Happy sailing,

Denise, Barry, Bella and Bailey.



Monday, December 30, 2013

MONDO CONDO MOVING DAY

Yehaw!!!  We finally closed on the new condo.  What a time closing due to an ill informed Indiana attorney. However, we did close and now excited about our move.  This will be our new home hopefully next year.  We can just hop and skip to the water from the porch.  I really thought I saw a blue whale surface this afternoon.  I know I saw future skinny dipping visions.  Yes, I was drinking wine. 

Now the fun will start. We have several contractors arranged to remodel the home, starting January 2.  First the painting, wallpaper removal, removal of carpeting, installing laminate flooring, new fixtures, bath floors, new appliances, and many other things we have not encountered.  Such is the result of moving.  We are more than excited about the view and enjoying twice the room. 

We made the move in anticipation of moving here full time. Our boat is only about 4 min. drive to the marina.  We plan to cruise long range with boat breaks here for a month or two at a time.  Condo ownership offers no maintenance worries with limited expense. 


Our new pool is still under construction but has taken shape and will be complete in the spring.  We all will be excited to enjoy the new pool which is larger and beautiful.  This is our main recreation in the development when not on the lake in our boat.
We have a great view in all directions. This view is looking west along Lake Barkley.  We have a herd of deer each evening and Canadian Geese during the day.  The dogs will have much fun.

Well, we will continue this saga in the next few weeks. Nesting in the new home is fun but just a bit of work.

Happy sailing,

Denise, Barry, Bella, Bailey
aboard 0 Regrets.

Friday, December 6, 2013

HATING WINTER NOW!

OK, it is no secret that boaters hate, absolutely hate winter months.  Not only do I have to stay in our hometown this weekend, but winter has raised its ugly head.
 
Now this is the view from our garage.  The color of the Bradford pear trees adds some redeeming factor to the scene but not much. There is about 1/4 inch of ice below this snow. YUCK!   It is difficult to believe I was aboard 0 Regrets just 4 days ago. 
 
We did not make the short drive to our condo on Lake Barkley this week due to the driving conditions.  We continue to work through the buying process for our new condo. We are purchasing a 2 bedroom/2 bath condo in a waterfront building in the same development, Bend of the River.  Our new unit is the floor level of a 2 story building with full, enclosed and screened porch with the greatest view.
This view is from the porch of our new unit.  This view is looking west along Lake Barkley which is only 1/2 the view. We have a similar view looking east along the lake/river.  Our dogs will love swimming and wandering along the river.   We have a large herd of deer that gather along the river each evening.  Bailey keeps her interest.  We hope to move in middle of December and the remodeling will begin. 
I have written of our good friend and famous boater "Doc". He is an inspiration and continues to cruise alone aboard a 27 ft. Albin Family Cruiser.  He is currently at Mobile Bay after over 4,000 river miles in the past 3 plus years.   His blog is good at
http://blackdogsailor.wordpress.com/2013  Follow Doc during the coming cruise of the GICW, Gulf inter coastal waterway.  He is being a good pirate with adventures along the waters of the US.  
We are venturing out when necessary for the "potty" break.  Yes, I use the indoor, outhouse, the girls have to squat in the cold, frozen tundra.  We always try to prepare for the venture into the frozen wonderland with some reluctance on Bailey's part.
 
"No Dad, not the hoodie!"  I insist on preparing my girls for such an adventure.  After all, the sled is in the garage.  We could not escape the press but made the best of our conditions. 
 
Well, I think we are very handsome.  Bailey is the short one in the photo.  Just think, our friend Doc is docked in Mobile Bay at 72 deg. while we suffer through this winter blast.  I do not like winter and hope this is our last winter in the bluegrass state.
We do not always have a Christmas Card but Denise in a moment of inspiration, formed this picture for our card.  I think the dogs had leg cramps before the final picture was captured.  Bailey has the devil eyes but we are proud of family Christmas photo.
I hope the Christmas Card next year is on the bow of 0 Regrets near Pensacola, FL and the inter coastal waterway.  We shall see! 
Ok to end this post I found an old picture from my more adventurous days.  Thought I would share with you in the hope you will not follow my example.  But, I did have a great deal of fun this year on BLACK FRIDAY!
   While rum is not my hard liquor drink of choice it will do in the cold months of the year.  "Here's Johnny" seems an appropriate caption.  Ok, river fans, I must end this post for I am in need of another bottle of wine.  I hope to thaw by tomorrow and make our way to the lake. 
 
Happy sailing,
Adm. Denise, Capt. Barry and deckhands Bailey and Bella

Monday, November 18, 2013

GREEN RIGHT RETURN

The river cruise does require a "green right return". Although we did not reach the headwaters of the Tennessee River, we reached the turnaround point of our fall cruise.  We flipped around at the 3 bridges across the river at the Tennessee Aquarium.
Doc, a good friend we have featured in this blog made the cruise to the Tennessee River headwaters and commented, "no red right return". Thus the title of this blog, we turned downstream with red on left marking the channel.  The Southern Bell riverboat is shown above for an evening cruise past of boat. The return to Green Turtle Bay will require locking through 5 locks.  Denise will depart the boat at Decatur, AL requiring me to single handle locks home.  "Not a problem" I have great deckhands.

Notice the crew is now in fur coats and sweatshirt. The temps have dropped, typical fall weather.  The River Gorge has not changed, but fall colors have improved.  Understanding I will be single handling the boat the last week of the cruise, I needed to practice locking through, single handed.  So, at the Nickajack Lock I prepared lines, fenders and the lower helm. Denise, or Adm. Denise was instructed to observe but let me handle the lock.  All went well with a little lock dancing, but the event was rather uneventful.  I did have help from one deckhand.


Ok, I know, the old guy is showing but my deckhand does seem a bit bored.  Locking can be a bit stressful when considering you can be a drop of 90 Ft. at the Wilson Lock.  Just take a look at our view from the bottom of the lock.


The above bollard floats but when at the bottom of the chamber you always wonder what would happen of something failed.  Then you always get to look at the lock doors as they open permitting you entry to the freedom of the river.

I never tire of the adventures awaiting when you depart the lock into this great river.  I continued my adventure downriver on my single handed cruise back to home port.  I cruised to Florence, AL with a stay at the Florence Marina to rest a bit and visit with an old friend. 

While cruising the Tennessee River, do not miss Florence Harbor Marina.  Eva is the owner/operator and will attend to all your needs. The city offers many good restaurants and the only Frank Lloyd Wright designed home in the south.  The new restaurant above the dock office is good with a wide menu and great local beers.  Also, please pay particular attention to the signs at the marina, Eva is serious about keeping things clean.

Fair Warning!
 
I  continued my downriver journey to Pickwick Lake and Grand Harbor Marina. I have visited Grand Harbor several times and find the staff and facilities excellent.  While docked behind the fuel dock we were visited by this beautiful yacht.

The crew of husband and wife are permanent crew, living aboard the yacht for the past 6 years.  Cool!  They move the yacht each fall to Ft. Lauderdale, FL for the owner to visit during the winter.  Summer months the yacht is docked in Lake Michigan near Chicago.  The crew indicated they are getting a new boat, 124 Ft. Berger when retrofit is complete. Nice and comfortable way to live. 
 
The cruise continued on to Clifton, TN one of the best and most fun stops along the Tennessee River.  Sonya and Gene keep things fun and interesting at Clifton.  The temps continued to drop at this point, reaching a low of 26 deg. overnight. Deckhands were baffled by the ice on hand rails and cap rails early the next morning.

 
  Well, Bella did not know what to make of ice.  She was lucky her tongue did not stick.  We slipped around and slipped lines about 8 am. to make our way downriver.  Next stop is Pebble Isle Marina.

Needless to say, we enjoyed an excellent cruise of just under 1,000 river miles. We used about 200 ga. of diesel, which is excellent for a boat.  I have included a map of our marina and anchorage stops. 
 

View .2013 Tennessee River Cruise in a larger map

My journey home did include part of a day bracing the winds on the river.  The river rarely offers waves splashing the bow but approaching Pickwick Lake I encountered some fun waves.  Just splashing over the bow was fun. The 0 Regrets can take much more.  I hope the video plays well

We hope to sell you all along the river next season.  We plan to cruise the length of the Cumberland River next season to no Red Right Return.

Happy sailing all,

Adm. Denise, Capt. Barry and deckhands Bella and Bailey.