Wednesday, July 26, 2017

You can have the whole world in your hands!

While my husband and I can do limited travel due to the dog, others cannot travel at all.   There may be physical issues, or financial issues, or time issues.  I may not be able to go to Paris or London but I can still learn about those places and so can you.


Hard copy or e-books are a good way to travel without leaving your home!  You can even get some recipe books with foods of those cities you may never get to in person.  Then you can prepare your version of French cooking.  It might not be the same as eating in Paris, but it might be more fun (and cheaper!)

Visit your local library and search out books about foreign countries that you want to learn more about.  The library is free and on these hot days of summer you can sit there and read and soak up their Air Conditioning!  Click this link for some recommendations.


You can find many movies that are set in Paris or London.  I am not a big movie buff but if you are I bet you can come up with a list.  If you click this link there are some suggestions that I found.

Social Media:

Here’s where it gets a little more specialized.  Many of you aren’t fans of sites like Facebook for whatever reasons.  One reason may be due to so much tension there, especially since the election.  You don’t have to read all that ‘junk’ but instead join Facebook groups that share your interests.  You can find travel groups, cooking groups and most any kind of group that might interest you.

Other sites may be more to your liking.  I belong to a site that is a social site where members post their thoughts and members can jump in and comment.  We share laughter, sadness, we offer each other support or advice.  We learn about customs of other countries and foods that we don’t normally know about.

In just a few hours I can learn from members from India, China, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and many other countries.  Sometimes we run into communication issues when they try to translate our silly phrases into their native language. While we may be vastly different in some ways, we are all pretty much the same. 

The next time you think you would like to travel to foreign countries but can’t afford it, try some of the tips I provided and pretend you are there.  You do hold the whole world in your hand!

Photo from Pixabay

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Brasstown Beef, Ridgefield Farms – Brasstown, North Carolina

Things are not always what you think they are, or what you assume they are, or what you are told them are.  Let me explain!

I saw a segment on TV not long ago about a cow farm in Brasstown, North Carolina. Since we had plans to spend a few days in Murphy, I found that Brasstown Beef was only a short ride from our rental.

I checked out their website and found out a lot more about the company.  We are beef eaters and they have a retail shop that is only open on Friday and Saturday.  Our goal was to get there on the last day of our vacation, Friday.  


It is a beautiful ride though back country roads to get to Ridgefield Farms.  I had my camera in hand in the hopes of seeing the Blue Ridge from a different vantage point.  I was not disappointed.

To not reinvent the wheel, I am not going to go into the history of Brasstown Beef.  It is rather long and you can read about on their website.  But I will say that the show I saw gave my husband and I the desire to visit their store to buy some of their beef. They have a price list on their site and the prices seemed reasonable to us. 

We purchased two London Broils, three NY Strip Steaks and one Delmonico Steak. The Delmonico was fresh and the other meat was frozen.  We put the meat in the freezer of our rental, except for the Delmonico which we planned to have for dinner when we got home the next day. 

Fast forward to the following day’s dinner.  My husband cooked the Delmonico on the grill.  While the steak was flavorful and tender, it was extremely greasy.  Unlike a Rib Eye where you can see and cut away the fat, the Delmonico’s fat is throughout the meat. 

A few days later we decided to try one of the Strip Steaks.  I have to say the beef was not only not tender, it was so bad we could not eat it.  We ate veggies and the dog got the steak.  We said, “Maybe the next one will be better.” We were oh so wrong. 

It was then time to cook one of the London Broils.  We thawed it overnight and early in the morning I marinated it in soy sauce, pineapple juice and some fresh ground pepper.  Soy and pineapple are natural tenderizers but they did nothing to help the London broil.  It was as tough as the Strip Steaks.

Anyone can advertise a product/food as being the best, the ultimate, nothing better – but too many times we find this not to be the case.  We had looked forward to Brasstown Beef and were totally let down.  I would not recommend this place to anyone.  Yes, it was a beautiful ride, but you can ride for free, just don’t stop and buy meat there.

I wrote them a complaint letter.  I didn’t put my return address because I was not looking to get anything from them.  I just wanted them to know that their meat is not all they claim it to be but it is a lesson learned.

Photo belongs to AbbyG

Friday, July 14, 2017

New service dog vest for Tomlin

Our drive to Alaska begins Monday. People have been supportive in many ways. A friend of mine at Excellent Elite Spanker asked me if Tomlin could use a new service dog vest. His old one is a few years old and is looking a little worn. I was touched that he would do think of us and took him up on the offer to pay for it after I ordered it.

Although the other vest lasted for a few years, I believe that this one may hold up just as long or longer. I turned it upside down and every which way. The workmanship on the service dog vest is very good. My pet peeve is missed seams or loose threads on his gear and there weren't any. The clips fasten snugly and the material is sturdy. Spot cleaning is all that the vest is likely to need. It looks good too. Tomlin may end up being the best dressed service dog in town! lol

There is a handle on the vest that I can use for steering if needed. My hand fits well under it and it too is secure. The loop for the leash got an unexpected test when Tomlin suddenly lunged after a squirrel. The critter flew up a tree and all Tomlin could do was watch it go. Everything held securely.

Importantly, the patches on the service dog vest by Excellent Elite are clear and easily seen. They must be sewn on by some kind of super industrial strength Velcro. I don't see how they would come off without effort.

The vest is a welcome addition to his gear inventory. It doesn't have saddle bags, but the vest itself is smaller and better padded thank his older one. I also like the khaki color and want to say thanks again to my friend for the gift. It means a lot.

The photos are screenshots that were taken from a video that we made of the service dog vest. I'll also be posting it as soon as it's complete. In the meantime, this is the link to the specs. It's an affiliate link. If you should choose to purchase, I'll get a tiny percentage. It may only be 1.5%, but it helps with blog expenses. Amazon will never tell me who purchased anything from an affiliate. Just know that I appreciate it very much. :)

Do you have a service dog? What kind of vest or service dog gear do you like? Let me know in the comments down below.