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Duke Gardens


Sunday afternoon, Reed and I drove over to Durham to walk through the Duke Gardens. I’ve been there once before, but I think it might have been before I moved up here full time. That time, we just walked through them quickly and then Reed went to his talk and I slept in a chair in the library like a homeless person. We also saw the chapel on that visit, which is marvelous.

On Sunday, we went to stroll about and see something new. We walked through the Asian Gardens, where there are lots of ducks at the pond. A Great Blue Heron was there, too, and we even got to see it catch a fish and eat it. Very, very neat.

In the Native Plant Garden, we found out that we were on the 36th parallel. That garden also has a bog garden, with pitcher plants and Venus Fly-traps. I always liked the bog garden at the Botanical Garden in Georgia, so it was nice to know there is one close to us.

I enjoyed our outing, even though Duke is farther away than I remember (as always). We still haven’t taken a visit to Chapel Hill since I’ve lived here, although Reed has been a few times for talks. We will have to go over there one Sunday afternoon for a trip.

Lake Raleigh

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Well, it has been a while since I have stretched my legs on a trail. I’m not sure what knocked me off my good habits, but I’ve got to get back on track.

After lunch today, Reed and I drove over to Lake Raleigh on NCSU’s Centennial Campus and walked about at bit. I’m not quite sure how long we walked, but I will estimate that it was about half a mile. It’s cooling off up here and we’re at the end of sandal weather, but we were comfortable walking.

This swan swam by, making its strange honking sound.

We saw two others at the base of the dam’s spillway. There were also a couple of people on the lake in small boats. It would be so great if we had space for a kayak!

We also saw a Little Blue Heron below the dam and a great old oak tree. While we were walking back towards our car, we saw lots of deer tracks. It was a fun walk.

Jaguar on a Stick


When I visited my parents on Labor Day weekend, I spent some time cleaning out my closet in my old bedroom. I still have toys and books and whatnot there, like most people probably do somewhere in a dusty box at their parents’. I was looking for my letters from when I was a child, but they must have been moved to the attic. In any event, I threw out almost three bags of what at one point were priceless treasures full of deep meaning. There were a few things that I’m not sure why I ever kept, like my Herbs and Medicinal Plants class project about plant-based dyes. It was still packed up in the enamel stock pot that I made the dye in.

The only things that made their way back to Raleigh were a box of my school yearbooks, some special dolls and stuffed animals that I still love, and a few other useful things (like my pinking shears) that I discovered. And Jaguar on a Stick.

Jaguar on a Stick is a sculpture that my PawPaw brought back from Mexico. (If I doubted that, I could read the word ‘Mexico’ that is scrawled on JoaS in not one, but two places.) It sat on my mantel or hearth for many years. I don’t remember exactly when it arrived in my life, but it is one of my favorite things. I couldn’t believe I had forgotten about it for a while.

Jaguar on a Stick was a wee bit gross after being retrieved from the closet, so today I filled the sink up with water and a little Lysol and scrubbed him with an old toothbrush. Perhaps I should have paid closer attention, because some of its paint/glaze/sealant has flaked off and exposed the underlying clay/plaster. I don’t think it is a fatal flaw, so he should dry out fine.

We have been trying to think of a good place for Jaguar on a Stick to live in our house. He needs a prominent spot, and not the top of the bookshelf. Since his bath, he is residing on the end table, but I can’t see his face from my usual seat at the table. This may be problematic.

Wouldn’t you want to see this from your usual seat?

Anywho, Jaguar on a Stick is the artistic name I have now given my little creature, although if it were a true art name it would be: Jaguar on a Stick, No. 1. Bwhaha.



So I am playing around with the Orbitz site. RDU (that’s me) to Memphis, the lowest fare shown is $300+, and you have to connect through Charlotte. Edited to add: The direct flight from RDU to Memphis is $350+, I didn’t see it at first.

BUT, if you run the same search dates from RDU to Birmingham, it is $150+ and you have one connection. Your connection is Memphis.

Ok, so it’s not Orbitz’s fault. What would stop you from buying a cheaper ticket and just forgetting to go to Birmingham, though?

Latest Gourmet Update

Well, I had the chance to try another of the Gourmet recipes this week. Reed wanted chicken and cabbage soup earlier this week, which meant that we would have practically all the ingredients for Vietnamese Chicken Salad on hand anyway. I just had to get chile peppers and limes.

It was pretty good, although not as spicy as I think it should have been because the grocery store has a very limited range of chiles. It’s basically poached chicken served on a cooked cabbage and carrot base, with a fish sauce based dressing. Nice and tangy.

Even though it had most of the same ingredients as soup on Monday, it was a very different dish. It wasn’t cabbage-y at all, since cooking it in a big pot of water kept it sweet and mild. We will probably have it again sometime because it is a good way to use up cabbage.

I’d been wanting some Vietnamese food recently, so this was good to tide me over until I feel like making the Vietnamese steak sandwiches again. MMMMmmm.



Labor Day


This past weekend was Labor Day, and I took the opportunity to drive down to my parents’ house to see them. Reed didn’t want to make the trip, so I left him at home.

It was a fun trip, because I also got to see the Monkeys! Or at least, all but one of them. We met up in Columbus and drove around and around and then went back to Ellerslie to see Blackjack (he’s famous!) and kittens and cows. I’m so glad that we did that, since the Adventure Monkeys haven’t been together like that in over two years! But I don’t think it will be that long before we do it again.

My mom and I went up to FDR State Park while I was there to see the new statue of FDR on Dowdell’s Knob. Dowdell’s Knob is where he used to picnic while he was President and came down to Warm Springs.

In this picture, you can see the grill he had built there, and the beautiful view. Pine Mountain is a lovely place.

I also went with my dad to the feed store to get some sweet feed for the cows and Blackjack, and then took some out to the cows. You can see how attentive they are, when their treat is being put out. The cow nearest the camera is named Buttermilk. If you look near the back, you can see Trademark–she’s the black (with a black face) cow whose tail has the white band around it. Buttermilk also has a white band on her tail, but it is harder to see because she is so light colored to begin with. When I was in high school (I think), there were a lot of calves born with those white bands around their tails.

This is the bully.

Their feed is stored in the barn with Daddy’s antique Case tractor.

I had a nice visit with the Monkeys and my parents.

Also, I know that I did not meet my hiking goal for Labor Day, but I did really well! That’s basically as many miles as I hiked in the entire past year. I’m not going to let it get to me that I didn’t get those last 10 miles in, but just move on and make a new goal. I’m going to try for 50 miles by the end of the year, or 70 since July 4th! Woohoo!



Tropical Storm Hanna passed through last night and this morning. We are fine. It started raining off and on yesterday afternoon, and by the time I went to bed last night, it started really raining. Wake County has received 3-5 inches in the past day.

This morning, some of the roads near us were closed this morning because of flooding. We just took a mini-tour to see if anything big had changed. The road nearest us that was closed is re-opened, but the creek beside it is still almost up to the sidewalks. The Greenway near our house is closed because of water over the path. We went out to Yates Mill, and the swampy part is covered with water and has two nicely moving streams feeding into the mill pond.

It is a beautiful day now, and hot. Time for some football!

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