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Peaceful Pastures Farm Trip, Part 1

Index:

Peaceful Pastures Farm
Jenny back by the barns...
This isn't a trip resort per se, since I've segregated the photos into categories rather than a linear sequence, but it really doesn't matter in this case...

If you're interested in the products Peaceful Pastures sells, the links are:

www.peacefulpastures.com, their meat web site, and
www.country-girl-soaps.com, their soap web site.

Background:

I was supposed to do some work for Jenny. Computer work. Reformat one computer, install thunderbird and set up an account on eternal-september, work on her web site, etc. Then pictures of the farm got thrown in. Then had to set up her weather radio with SAME (that she purchased on my recommendation) for her county, rather than the broadcast area, some simple photoshop tricks... It turned into an actual list.

In return, I get a cat, a turkey and an education. And most of the food was free. :-)


Getting there. Day 0.

Woke up, and my furnace is dead. Oh, that's nice. I look at the weather forecasts, it's going to be cold, but not freezing.

I will later arrange for PiC to stop by to check the place. If it's too cold, I'll call the HVAC guys. If the first floor heats my place, it can wait until I get back. If not for Figaro (my cat), I wouldn't care.

Hit the road late at 6:45. There's an accident on Lake Shore Drive (known locally as LSD), and we're dead stopped for 20 minutes. When we're by that, we slowed again for construction over the next couple of miles. (Last February, we had a record snowfall, and the city found out that the millions poured into beautifying LSD by putting in a lane divider that could hold plants, was also a barrier to getting snow and cars out that were snowed in. So, we're now spending more money to remove a portion of said beautification for a storm we probably won't see again for 10 years. But I digress...)

It starts to rain in Indy. It never stops. There's some tropical storm type rain in South Indiana.

The same construction in Louisville that screwed me up on my last trip still exists. The bridge across the Ohio River for I-74 is closed, so they're all being detoured through the SB I-65 bridge. I am actually warned about this by a sign in Indianapolis, advising that you should detour to I-75 if it's an option. Well, it's not an option.

If you stay to the very left all the way through during non-rush hour periods, it's not that bad. The real bad part are the morons that don't merge into the I-74 exit early enough, and *stop* on I-65 in the right lane of thru-traffic.

Accident in Lexington
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Karen once again wants me off of I-65 South of Bowling Green, so I go. I don't mind detouring around Nashville at all. After what feels to be a shorter drive every time, I am on I-40. I get off at the exit Karen wants me off, to find... nothing. Neither fast food nor hotel.

Finally get to Edgar Evins State Park about 4. It's about 5 miles from the entrance to the room I'm staying at. I drive to the cabins, which is at the end of a long dead-end road, only to find I can't find where to check in. Worse, there's no one around. And I mean no one. Not even in the other rooms. Spooky.

I drive back up the main road to the marina, and find a couple of employees as they're closing the store, and find I have to go to the main visitor's center, which is by the entrance to the park. I also find out that the only place for food for miles, is the restaurant at the marina, which is closed for the season. That's nice...

The Center Hill Dam, which is responsible for the reservoir the marina is on, was recently under construction. They had to partially drain the reservoir by about 30-40 feet. So to get back to my car, I had to walk up a steep incline for a couple hundred yards. While I cursed the last couple dozen yards to the car, it would be nothing like the days to come...

I go to the main park visitor's center, and they're closed. I sense a pattern here. But they have a rack next to the door with an envelope with Jenny's name on it, so I figure that's mine. Since I'm close to the entrance anyway, I decide to go get food first. I mean it's a 4 to 5 mile drive back to the cabins, and I'd have to drive past here again to get food.

Karen tells me the closest place I can really get food is Gordonsville. So I retrace my steps 15-20 miles, and get a burger and some chili from Wendy's. I take it back to Edgar Evins.

I decide to be clever and take the back road to Edgar Evins, and take the road that passes by Peaceful Pastures. Mistake. It is about the same distance from Gordonsville to Peaceful Pastures, as it is from Peaceful Pastures to Edgar Evins, and instead of doing 80 on I-40, you're doing 30-40 mph on twisty roads. So it takes me twice as long as it should have.

I get back to the cabins (more like town houses than cabin, but I digress), go inside, and it's freezing inside. The beds aren't made. The bedding is all thrown in a chair in the corner of the room. The bathtub has dirty towels in it and on it. I call the front desk, and no one answers. The entire state park closes down at 4:30. It's off season, it's extremely quiet, and there are no other humans around, no cars in the parking lot...

I look out the balcony, and there's a drained pool, a playground and a pay phone. I am probably miles from another human, and it was the type of setting that if I saw body parts hanging from the trees, it wouldn't have surprised me.

(I will eventually stay here. More in Part 3.)

At 5:40, I am on the phone making a reservation at the Comfort Inn in Gordonsville, to make sure they have a room. I am there by 6:05. The chili is okay cold, but the fries and burger have coagulated, and this room has a fridge, but no microwave. sigh. I could have gone down the hill to get something (there are three other fast food restaurants right here with a couple more on the other side of I-40, as well as a liquor store and a gun store across the street), but I'm done for the day. Only a fire would get me out of this room.

Jenny calls later and apologizes for the State of Tennessee.

And so starts my trip to the farm...


Day 1:

I check out the next morning and go meet Jenny at the farm. I am greeted by 5 dogs (Hank the wonder dog, Arwen, Sandy, Cinder and Polly,) who have all met me before. Her sorta housecat Figment (this is Jenny after all) is also on the back porch and sez hello.

Jenny has already been out to check on her pregnant goats, has a duck in the smoker, and had bread dough rising for lunch. On the counter is a berry pie, a pecan and a chocolate pecan pie. Jenny is an evil person.

She is expecting a group for a farm tour at 8:30. I go and change shoes to a pair that will never see Chicago again. The pair of jeans I am wearing becomes my going back to the barn pants for the rest of the trip. In the days I will be here, I will step through more animal shi...by-products than I have in my previous mumble-something years. But I digress. Again.

Her tour group arrives, and we walk on the North side of the valley, along a dirt/gravel road that's used to get to the back of the property. One of them is actually taking notes, so this isn't a just come look at the animals junket. We are, of course, accompanied by all 5 of her dogs. This will happen anytime we're walking on the farm.

I've never been past the main house, so this is new territory for me. There's a large drainage ditch on the South side of the road to get water out. We are, after all in a giant bowl with only one exit. On the other side, is a rather steep hill, maybe 250-300 feet. We cross a cattle guard, and are soon face to face with the sheep and goats, who stare at us like the interlopers we are.

As we approach the barns, several of the barn cats come out for some attention. I find one in particular, Pike, has very sharp claws, and is one of those cats that if you ignore, will let you know he's there and will not be ignored...

Farm Tour
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We walk toward the back of the farm, and Jenny points out the hill we are standing next to, and remarks, "This is the steepest grade on property." (This turns out to be important later.)

We go into the North barn, and it's sort of the nursery barn, and in it are two kids a day old. They're almost too cute to be food.

We head back along the North side of the valley and meet Sutton, a horse that's boarding here, and eventually come to the chickens. There are a dozen one moment, and hundreds within a minute, thinking Mom (i.e. Jenny) is going to feed them. It's a very Alfred Hitchcockian moment. Or maybe a Jurassic Parkian moment.

An interesting introduction to the farm. Too bad I would see more of it, and I'm not talking about the flat parts of it.

Farm Tour
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Around the Farm

Peaceful Pastures Topo Map
If not for the opening to the Northeast, Peaceful Pastures would be a lake...
Peaceful Pastures might be listed as being in Hickman, Tennessee, but in reality it's in the middle of nowhere. Well, that's not exactly true. You know what happened to Radiator Springs? Well, I-40 was built within a few miles of the farm, so what would have been one of the main roads between Gordonsville and Cookeville is now a two-lane road with some places having 20 foot drop-offs as shoulders. And some of the repairs you see show you didn't even have that.

The geology of this area is interesting, because of the hills in the area, and the flat bottoms between those hills. This entire area had to have been flooded long ago for quite a while. I have yet to look up the specific geologic history.

It does make for interesting roads, however, since almost all the hills are too steep to go right over, and you either have to switchback up the hills, or go around them. So none of the roads (Other than the interstate) goes straight. They all follow the terrain as much as possible.

Peaceful Pastures itself is in a bowl, with a single opening. The main part of the farm is on the valley floor, but the animals graze up to the tops of the ridge. They don't care if they're on a hillside. I am in disagreement with them on this issue, but we'll save that one.

It's a pretty place, though I think I did miss autumn by a couple of weeks...

General Farm images
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Pets and Barn Cats

These pics are of the barn cats (some of which might as well be pets), and Jenny's dogs. The last picture is Figment, the only house cat (at the time.)

I ended up taking Louie home. More at the end of Part 3...)

Pets / Barn Cats
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End Peaceful Pastures Trip - Part 1 of 3.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Revisions:
  • 11/27/2011 - Page Added
  • 11/18/2012 - converted to v3, pictures added
  • 12/30/2012 - Update page to v3.1
  • 08/29/2014 - Update to v3.2