Category Archives: North Carolina ~ NC

Teenagers Take Triple Falls


I took Annie and 3 of her friends to find “The Rock” where Peeta lay camouflaged in The Hunger Games.  I won’t bore anyone with all the details, but I will bore you with photographs.

Triple Falls, North Carolina:

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Home Schoolers Obeying Signs:

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Finding THE ROCK:

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Sliding Rock (there were many other insane people getting into the cold water, too)

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Annie actually slid down the rock twice!  Annabelle and I were the only sane ones who did not do this.

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The day ended with ice cream, but I don’t have any pictures of that.


Closet ReDo #3 … or maybe #4 …


Yet again, I decided that the closet was still not functioning optimally.  I have been stalking Home Depot and Lowes for closet shelving ideas for months.  I finally stumbled upon something at Lowes this week – it doesn’t use the vertical brackets, so in theory, I figured I could install it on the wonky walls in the closet.  The left and right closet walls are perpendicular, but the back wall is angled up and down and left and right, to fill in the void created by the nose of the RV.  I am glad to have the extra space, but I have been continually trying to modify the space because it is so wonky and nothing pre-fab works.

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Left – Before

Right – After.  The wire shelves are each installed at a different angle because the back wall of the closet is totally wonky.  I photoshopped the pictures a little to help understand.  There are 4 rows of shelves:

1 – black – a previous installation, attached to the original closet rod

2 – pink – 3′ long 12″ wide – hung upside down so the edge can hold things on the shelf (I hope)

3 – yellow – 4′ long 20″ wide – hung parallel to the front edge of the closet.  To the right, is 14″ of rod space for Phil’s work clothes.  Still need to put his suit in there.

4 – green – 4′ long 12″ wide – hung upside down, also.  This shelf is on special brackets that are designed to hang a shelf at an angle to hold shoes – since the wall is angled, the end result is “nearly” horizontal.

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Left – empty closet

Middle – First shelving installed.  (Blue) Left closet wall.  (Red) Closet floor.  (Yellow) 20″ shelf.  (Green) Angled lower shelf

Right – full closet

More photos are on SmugMug

Thanksgiving 2013, Asheville


global_198479792.jpegWednesday, we ate dinner with the Asheville Vegan Society – it was a yummy vegan feast.
IMG_2203Asheville has a compost-pickup service … need to research it a bit more …

When we got home, I prepared our Tofurky in the crock pot – Of course, I did not follow the recipe exactly. I coated the roast with Earth Balance, using a knife, not my hands. That made quite a mess inside the crock pot, but I assume that it was necessary to make the roast moist. Vegetables on hand included sweet potatoes (might be better with white potatoes, but it was pretty good, I think), carrots, onion, celery, mushrooms and garlic. I used the Tofurky gravy plus about two cups of my leftover soup puree and a box of veg broth. I think I used too much liquid, so it was a little soupy. The instructions say to boil it for 8-10 hours. We weren’t ready to eat til much later in the day, so I kept it on “warm” all day. I did add brussel sprouts and more mushrooms about noon.

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It might have been nice to have bread or stuffing to go along with it, but we did have a can of squish cranberry jelly sauce for tradition. My crock pot is 7 quarts, and this made a LARGE meal, but we managed to eat almost all of it. I froze a bag of the gravy-sauce and some is in the fridge. I might make some rice and have a meal of just the gravy!

Phil and the girls enjoyed a pumpkin pie, and I finished my Closet Remodel (see next blog post).

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Körner’s Folly


As an architect with a specific interest in residential, I was excited to tour this house today.  The kids were less enthusiastic,  but in the end, I think they enjoyed themselves.

We started off in a bad way, though.  As soon as I parked the car, I realized I left my wallet at home!  Molly had $7, and I found $4 more.  I finally succeeded in begging Annie to loan me the additional $11, and we were set.  The tour started with a short video.  Zoe was her usual fidgety bored self, but we got a little information.  The house has 22 rooms and 15 fireplaces (which held Franklin Stoves instead of open fires).  It even had a cool (pun) passive cooling system of trapdoors, transoms and rotating windows that I’ve never seen before.  The house is being decorated for Christmas now, so there were Santas and ornaments everywhere.  (and boxes of more decorations waiting to be used)

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Jule Körner began building in 1878 and remodeled the housenrepeatedly until he died in 1924.  He built it because he loved his work, but he also used it as a showcase for his interior design company – every doorway and room was unique.  I loved it!!


This is a sunbathing dress – Victorian women would sunbathe as a social activity on the ROOF .  In order to maintain the pale complexion that was fashionable, they would also sit under parasols with hats and gloves.  Annie, in particular was astonished as to why they would even **go outside** if they didn’t want a tan.  (As recently as last summer, Annie has despised having a tan and would complain that her skin was getting darker … I think this summer might be different.)

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Jule’s wife Polly ran a community theater for children in this theater on the top floor.  The ceilings are 25′, and there are murals and wonderful woodwork everywhere.  They still hold small shows here.  The family were also musicians and had puppet shows – which continue today.  There is a display case of old puppets, which freaked Zoe out, and here, she was just beginning to show her annoyance.  On our way home, 3 hours later, she suddenly began talking about it again – begging us to never ever go back again.  😦   The girls performed various theatrical antics on stage for the camera.  Don’t let Annie tell you she hated this – the third picture is of her laughing hysterically.

After the house tour, we met Phil half way with my wallet.

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We then went to Old Salem Visitor Center, where we got some amazing fresh fudge.  We also walked down old Main Street and found this cool water pump.  We found two geocaches, and Annie was bored to tears.  Dinner and shopping at Whole Foods and back home.  We are heading to the mountains tomorrow.

We saw a geocaching sticker on a car for the first time tonight – unfortunately, we couldn’t read the tracking number on it.  I want one!!

Crock Pot Biscuits and Vegetable Gravy.


I have had a really bad sore throat for two days, but I felt a little better this morning. I was craving pot pie, but I really didn’t feel like cooking it.  So, I had a brilliant idea:  crock pot.  Surely that would work, right?

I found several recipes that involved sautéing the veggies or cooking the biscuits separately, but that seemed like too much work for me today.  I did find one recipe that had mixed reviews about whether or not it would work.  (mainly, the potatoes would take too long to cook)


I decided to risk it.  And, here is my result:

I started with leftover stove-top soup – broth based mainly potatoes and mushrooms with some pasta, celery, carrot, onions and garlic.  Without this soup base, use 1-2 cups broth or bouillon.  **note: I have a 7 quart Crock Pot

Ingredients, chop as needed:
1 russet potato, peeled
1 onion
2 stalks celery
Handful of baby carrots
Some cauliflower
Head of broccoli
Package of mushrooms, some chopped, some sliced
1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can of water, mixed with 1Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup of flour, 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, Braggs sauce

Stir in crock pot and cook for at least 3 hours on high – check potatoes occasionally

Make slightly wet biscuits (any method will do) (I used 2 cups of Pamela’s gluten free, following the biscuit recipe using shortening and extra milk – added some salt and Braggs because they tasted bland)
Drop biscuit batter on top of the veg mixture – they will sink like dumplings
Sprinkle spices of choice on top: salt, pepper, oregano, basil, sage

Cook another hour on high
Although I was convinced until the end that this was a failure, the biscuits rise up and cook fluffy!


See this screw in the tire?


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We had literally just pulled into one of the craziest RV sites ever.  In the dark.  It was narrow and unlevel.  Then, we heard the unmistakable noise …


It is pitch dark, air is streaming out loudly, we are in a state park, and did I say already that IT IS PITCH DARK?

Phil is scrambling to jack it up before it goes flat (or that is my assumption. I am trying not to interfere.)


Phil says: “This really forced me to think on my toes. I carry a 12 ton bottle jack, which I put under the axle to support it. Not sure how a flat on a Fiver would affect the balance but it didnt sound like a good idea. The only tool I lack is a good tire wrench. I guess I need to remedy that. Coachnet swapped the spare on and, as a bonus, the driver patched the bad tire. As much as this sucked, it could have been a lot worse.”