Monday, September 30, 2013


Every Sunday, whether we want to or not*, we make a point to spend the afternoon enjoying it as a family. With so many new places to explore, and a keen awareness that these warm days are not going to last forever, Paul and I insist on it. Two weekends ago we really felt like a day at the beach, but we also really didn’t feel like being in the car for hours. This area is chock-full of lakes, ponds, and rivers, and some even have beaches, so we spent a little while researching and settled on Jordan Lake.

*I say “whether we want to or not” because there is always someone who resists, claiming they’d rather spend the day reading/watching TV/playing yet more video games, and you’d think we’re taking them to a tax audit the way they complain, but they always are happy when we’re out, and they’d be climbing the walls and complaining of boredom by mid-afternoon if we did just sit around doing nothing anyway. Plus, we tend to relax a lot on Saturday as well as Sunday morning… so…

A short ~25 minute drive away, if you take the scenic route, Jordan Lake has a couple of beaches, and the one we chose was Ebenezer Church Road Beach. It didn’t disappoint.

JordanLake 008

JordanLake 010

JordanLake 019 JordanLake 050

JordanLake 061

JordanLake 085

There is a playground right by the beach, which Paul obligingly took the boys to a good half dozen times during our few hours there. Though, I don’t think he minded, as I saw him go down the slide more than once. ;)

JordanLake 091

JordanLake 180

JordanLake 195

The lake bottom is covered in pockets of gooey, fairly high quality clay, which the kids must’ve spent over an hour playing with, first making lumps, then giving them faces and personalities.

JordanLake 211

JordanLake 225

JordanLake 243

Bunny named her lump Roberta.

JordanLake 244

We’re definitely going to return…

Friday, September 27, 2013


JordanLake 001

one single photo – no words – from the past week // inspired by Soule Mama

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


One of the largest gardens at the arboretum is the Annual Color Trials Garden, where each year over 700 varieties of annuals and tender perennials are planted, with each plant carefully recorded, its performance evaluated, then rated for size, color, hardiness, etc. Flowering plants obviously dominate, but there are also beds of vegetables and beautiful foliage plants, too. This is also the most wide-open area, as trees are hardy. (Der.) The very best varieties of each plant as tested in all 21 national testing sites are declared AAS (All-American Selections) Winners and are made immediately available for sale and distribution.

JCRaulstonArboretum 164

JCRaulstonArboretum 138

Holy Coleus, Batman. I used to take cuttings of these (which are perennials in Santa Cruz) and keep them in water long enough to sprout roots, then plant them. (I also had a habit of “taking samples” of any geranium that caught my eye and jamming into the soil in our yard, because, the Bay Area is the perfect climate for geraniums.)

I have a real love of coleus for its amazingly colorful foliage, so I took a bunch of coleus photos. Deal with it.

JCRaulstonArboretum 144

JCRaulstonArboretum 137 JCRaulstonArboretum 142

JCRaulstonArboretum 146

JCRaulstonArboretum 162

JCRaulstonArboretum 149

JCRaulstonArboretum 182

JCRaulstonArboretum 184

There is even a large section for testing hanging basket plants.

JCRaulstonArboretum 195

JCRaulstonArboretum 196

JCRaulstonArboretum 158

It was amazing to be surrounded by such beauty. As the seasons change, so do the beds. I look forward to the winter garden, but the idea of spring bulbs is really making me excited.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Bunny and I sneaked out for some “us” time Saturday morning and headed over to the Holly Springs Farmers Market. Being nearly the end of the season, we were told there were fewer stands set up than you’d find in June or July, but it was still nice to slowly explore and sample, and to chat with the vendors.

HSFmrMkt 003

There was a booth by a local water quality advocacy group, mainly with the purpose of educating people about runoff and the help them understand the impact some of their choices may have on the local water supply. I saw it as a good opportunity to find out whether a local lake, about which I had heard and read varying opinions on the recreational quality really was clean or polluted. Me being me, I picked his brain and found that the concerns people voice relate more to algae bloom problems from nitrogen and the like, but that, for recreational purposes the lake is totally fine. They also had their own version of corn hole.

HSFmrMkt 002

Since the veggie and fruit selections were not so abundant, we decided it would be fun to try some treats.

HSFmrMkt 008

We bought a blondie intending to share it, but the thing was so big we took it home and ended up sharing it among all 5 of us—and Carter still thought it was too rich to eat all his share. I helped him with that problem. ;)

HSFmrMkt 009

We also sampled a lot of yummy quick breads. I love how if you put zucchini or pumpkin in what basically is a cake all of a sudden you can justify it. Win-win.

HSFmrMkt 014

I thought this rickshaw was pretty neat, but didn’t take up the “peddler” (heh) on his offer to take us on a ‘two point tour’ of the area… we like walking. :) But Ricky Rickshaw was really friendly! We also sampled salsas and wing sauces and basically confused our tummies thoroughly.

We decided to walk around a little to see the small downtown area in Holly Springs, too. It’s a really pretty town with a lot of old buildings.

HSFmrMkt 020 HSFmrMkt 023

HSFmrMkt 025

HSFmrMkt 024 HSFmrMkt 028

HSFmrMkt 030

HSFmrMkt 034

HSFmrMkt 038

HSFmrMkt 049

They’re hosting a Chili Cookoff in a couple of weeks, and we’re thinking we’ll head over to see what that’s about, too. It was really nice to spend some one-on-one time with my baby girl—who is nearly as tall as I am , and whose reach is actually taller (long arms!). We also noticed the trail head for the “Springs of Holly Springs,” which we’ll have to try sometime when the weather is a little drier. It’s been so muddy lately!

Monday, September 23, 2013


Not the one in New Orleans… that would warrant a nice long look… Sunday was the Apex JazzFest downtown. The kids and I were out busying ourselves while Paul worked on some code and needed quiet, so I decided we’d check out some local culture.

There was a large outdoors venue with a beer garden, which, when we peeked in to see the band, looked like people were enjoying themselves. The odor was evocative of a fraternity keg party, and Bunny even noticed the beer-y smell. Pubs up and down the street were set up as venues that people who’d bought wristbands could enter to hear more bands, and musicians also were performing on the street.

ApexJazzFest 004

The weather had been threatening rain all day since Bun and I went to the Farmer’s Market in Holly Springs, and we were rewarded for carrying our umbrella when the skies opened up, so we didn’t really stay long. The food trucks did look promising, though.

ApexJazzFest 029

ApexJazzFest 007 ApexJazzFest 026

ApexJazzFest 027

ApexJazzFest 002

I didn’t get a photo of their set up, but I met Dave of Tequila Dale’s Wings just that morning at the Farmer’s Market, and he does have some yummy (booze free) sauces and salsas. I bet those wings were tasty…

ApexJazzFest 005

At the risk of sounding like a big old grump, I was kind of underwhelmed. Perhaps the later acts were more genre specific, but Will Smith’s old DJ buddy Jeff was was jazzier than the main venue band. Yeah, they had horns, and I am no jazz expert, but I doubt a cover of Blurred Lines (while fun!) or a Lady Gaga song (I dunno, one where she says, Oh La La?) really fit the bill. They had horns, but I still think there is more to jazz than that. Or, maybe I just needed to pay for wrist bands and then $5 per cup for keg beer to get in the spirit? ;) I want to say, maybe if it was just Paul and me we’d have liked it more, but honestly, I am not sure. The inside venues probably were more fun? Maybe it’s just that it’s not really a kid-friendly event.

It was a good excuse to do some walking up and down Salem Street, though!

ApexJazzFest 006

ApexJazzFest 034


Blog Widget by LinkWithin