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.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Easy ways to save money - traveling or at home!

We all like to save money and for some it’s a necessity.  Whether you have to or just want to save I will give you a few ideas:

First, we do most of our grocery shopping at Ingles.  Not only do they have decent sales (member card required) but they also have fuel rewards.  For every $100 you spent on groceries, you get 10 cents off the cost of a gallon of gas.  You earn the rewards month-by-month.  Example - rewards I am earning this month (July) have to be redeemed by the end of August.  They don’t carry over month to month.

We used our May rewards points the last week in June.  At that point gas at the Ingles station was $1.73.  We had enough rewards points for 40 cents of a gallon, so we paid $1.33 a gallon.  There is a limit of 20 gallons at the discounted price

If your grocery store has a fuel rewards program, make sure to take advantage of it!  Although gas it at a low not seen in years, saving more money on top of that is a wonderful thing! No matter if you only save 10 or 20 cents off a gallon, it’s money that stays in your pocket.  I know that Kroger has had a fuel rewards program for years and I assume other grocery chains have programs also.

Anyone who eats out likes a deal and so many restaurants have e-clubs that you can join in order to get specials or even free items on your birthday.  Not all restaurants advertise the programs so be sure to ask or check online.

I will post a link at the end of this article that gives information on some restaurants as well as movie theaters, stores and motels with deals.  While the deals in the links are stated for senior citizens, many of these companies also offer specials for any age.

We use Farm Bureau for auto and home owner’s insurance.  As members, we can receive savings on different things including motels and theme parks.  The point is, there are free deals or money saving deals all over the place…it might take a little work but it is worth the effort to locate and use them.

It’s your money and it’s worth checking into these things.  What do you do with your ‘old stuff”….toss items in the landfill maybe?  Instead why not sell the stuff.  If you are on Facebook search for yard sale groups in your area.  It’s free and you never know what people are looking to buy.  I have sold everything from A to Z including the kitchen sink!  Seriously!  We just got new carpeting and had two area rugs that we wanted to get rid of.  The carpet outfit wanted $40 to haul them off.  I said, “NO” to that idea.  I listed them on Facebook for free and within a few days I sold them for $80!

Sold the carpet and it didn't wind up in the landfill!

We eat at Ruby Tuesday and enjoy it more because of their ‘buy-one-get-one-half-price’ coupons.  I just got the coupons in the mail so we will be taking advantage of the savings soon.  I think we will be heading to RT’s this week to enjoy ourselves and save money!

Photo belong to AbbyG
Photo from PIxabay


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