Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tobacco Road Rail Trail & Blue Ridge Parkway

Sunday everyone but Aaron enjoyed the beautiful weather on the Tobacco Road Rail Trail which extends 22 miles in the Apex/Cary/Raleigh/Durham area.  We rode about five miles up and back. For being located mostly in a urban area, it feels remote, rugged and will be beautiful as the fall colors progress.  One of these times, I would like the ride the entire length of the trail. 

The rail road line was originally built to transport tobacco primarily for J.B. Duke who founded the American Tobacco Company in 1890.  In the 1970s the Corps of Engineers constructed Jordan Lake (where we stay) which required the moving of the tracks.  Then only 10 years later, the then Norfolk Southern rail way was bought out and the right of way became available for use as a rail trail. 

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The crazy thing about our ride is that I didn’t take any pictures. Not sure how that happened, possibly because there weren’t good places to stop with all the people on the trail on a warm Sunday afternoon.  The two pictures above are taken from Google pictures.   

The nearly two weeks flew by.  It was a good visit because we had time to do a little geocaching, walking to the library and just hanging out. We visited Kim’s new work site located in a health complex in Raleigh.  It didn’t seem that far from their home and she is happy with her situation there.

We didn’t leave Cary until almost noon on Saturday and still was able to spend the night at the Pisgah National Forest Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We accessed the Parkway in Ashville and drove a south loop.  We were fortunate in that we were approaching peak color, especially in the campground area, which set at around 6,000 feet. 

This will be the second time we encountered cold temperatures on the way home.  I put my thermometer outside before we went to bed—it registered 26 degrees the next morning!  The sun came out and warmed things up quickly, so no water mishap in the camper. There was a Magnolia Tree near us in the campground.  I took a picture of it the night before.  The next morning it was frosty and drooping.

On the way out of the Parkway area and onto the interstate, we went through a little town where the residents didn’t get the word about the Confederate flag.  That picture, along with the campground and some of the color along the parkway are in the slideshow. Click here or on the picture below.  You know to click the “slideshow” in the upper right hand corner for the best way to look at the pictures.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

North Carolina Sweet Potatoes

Marc’s company, Bayer Crop Science, has opportunities for its employees to volunteer in the community.  One was scheduled while we were visiting so Marc signed us up.   That explains why Dan and I spent two hours helping pick up 8,051 lbs. (over 4 tons) of sweet potatoes!  Meals served from this project, 6,780.  This was all thanks to the owner who generously turned his harvested field over to the volunteers.

The project was coordinated by the Society of St Andrew, which is a faith-based group that works with local farmers to glean the left over vegetables and fruits to distribute to the hungry.  Its motto is, “Gleaning America’s Fields-Feeding Americas Hungry.”  We all feel we would like to help feed the hungry.  This organization helps by bringing many people  together, working to make a big impact.

Seventy-five employees, family members and friends loaded in the buses around 9:30.  It took about 30 minutes to reach the sweet potato patch south of Raleigh. 

The sandy loam dirt must be perfect for sweet potato production because there were a few monsters left.  Mostly, though, they were a bit smaller than what we see in the store which might explain why they slipped through. We were instructed to “bump” the dirt a bit to show any hidden potatoes right under the surface.  There were plenty.

Here is Evan working itIMG_2822

The two hours went fast but I would find it hard to keep up the pace if I were required to do this  work all day.

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Bayer Volunteers

Of course, we got the t-shirt which had a nice message.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bayer North Carolina Bee Care Center

Bayer Crop Science recently opened an interesting and enlightening Bee Research center at their US office in the Research Triangle in the Raleigh area.  

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As we know, bees are necessary pollinators.  And, farm chemicals are often pointed to as a reason for bee declines.  Bayer Crop Science is taking the pollinator/pesticide stewardship seriously. 

The modern building is beautiful.  It contains a research lab but is also loaded with educational materials including bee hives for people like me who find the bee story interesting and want to know  how to keep it going.  A pamphlet on protecting pollinators on Farms and Urban Landscapes emphasizes the need for farm chemicals to be applied as directed and with understanding of drift potential, etc.  Modern farming and pollinators must learn to live together in health.

I enjoyed the information on pollinator-friendly habitats.  They even had little packets of pollinator friendly seeds.  A few of the tips include plant native flowers, plan for a long season of bloom, include diverse flower colors and provide habitat for nesting and egg-laying. 

Here are two pictures of pollinator friendly flowers.  If you click on the picture, it will be bigger.

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It’s good to know the Bayer Farm Chemicals corporation is looking out for these little tiny characters.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

North Carolina Week One

We’ve been busy keeping up with the family here in Cary. 

We have enjoyed two football games with two more this week.  Here is Adam, No. 20 playing for Davis Drive Middle School Panthers.

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and, Aaron, No 66, who plays for Green Hope High School Falcons

IMG_7812-1and Evan, who plays basketball although this picture was taken at Jordan Lake where we spent the day fishing and hanging out.

IMG_2790Aaron’s JV team won their game with their nearby Cary rival Apex.  Adam’s team won as well.  We get to see Evan play a basketball game tonight and Thursday night both older boys play another game.

The weather is beautiful here—only one day of rain.  It rained the entire week before we arrived.  So glad we missed that. The water is high out at Jordan Lake, but we caught a couple small fish.  Not bad for no harder than we have tried.

Our trips back and forth from the lake to the kid’s home has been fun in our little rental “Nub:”

IMG_2787 aka Chevrolet Spark.  We’ve driven all over the place finally going through a tank of gas today.  It cost $17 to fill.  I have to say we have been surprised with it’s ride and handling.

Next,  Tobacco Road….