Before sunrise

This was the view out our side bedroom window on Wednesday morning, just after dawn.


We’re having our driveway paved. Concrete guy David, the same concrete guy who did the basement slabs and drive at our old house, is doing this one, too. He started early Monday, skipped Tuesday (except for a predawn visit to get some of his tools) and then returned Wednesday morning while it was still dark. He and his workers prepared the forms, and a truck showed up around 7:30. Needless to say, we did not sleep through this.

The odd pattern in the photo at the top right is the reflection of my iPhone in its case. It took me a few moments to figure that out. I could have opened the window, but that would have drawn attention to the fact that I was standing in my sleeping shorts in front of an almost full-length window. The woman in the yellow shirt standing at the rear of the truck is the driver.

David told me he is 53 years old, but in concrete years he is 93. Two of his workers are also of a certain age, although probably not as old as me. I was surprised that the third in his crew is a young man. I wonder if he will continue in this line of work. It seems to take a toll on those who do it.

David and his crew finished to within about 15 feet of the street on Wednesday. They plan to return early Thursday. Fortunately for us, they will be at the bottom of the driveway, so we might be able to sleep a little later. Leah, unfortunately, will have to feed the cats earlier than normal because the commotion scares them away.

The driveway from the large pad outside the garage to the road is about 300 feet long. So far it has taken seven truckloads of concrete, each about nine cubic yards. David hopes it will take only one more truckload to complete the driveway to the road. I hope so, too. Each truckload costs more than $1,000.

Peach State

Once upon a time, long, long ago, my parents took me and my brother to a peach orchard. I don’t remember where it was, only that it was not far from home. I do remember  the heat of an open-sided processing shed on a sunny day, and I remember biting into a peach. I remember the sticky juice that ran down my chin and over my hand, the itchy peach fuzz, and, most of all, the incredibly peachy sweetness of a ripe peach just plucked from the tree.

That was back in the time when Georgia was known as the Peach State. Today Georgia is third in peach production in the US, behind California (far, far behind), and not all that far behind South Carolina. There are no peach orchards in Floyd County, or in any of the neighboring counties. The closest orchard that offers peaches directly to the public is about a two hour drive on the other side of Atlanta. There are more roadside (or interstate-side) stands or stores down in south Georgia, below the fall line, but those are even further away from us.

That leaves grocery stores as our only practical source of peaches, or what passes for peaches today in the average grocery store in the Peach State. We have tried to eat peaches from Walmart, the closest grocery store to us. They look incredibly realistic, but they are as hard as baseballs, and taste about like what I imagine a baseball might taste like. We tried putting these peach-like objects into a paper bag to let them ripen, with results that ranged from unacceptable to somewhat decent. They were nothing at all like the peach from my past, and that’s not just because of rose-tinted memories of my childhood.

I suspect that peaches are harvested way before they ripen so they can be shipped to warehouses and then to grocery stores without bruising or spoiling. So they end up looking good, but with no taste.

Several years ago when a large tract of property at the end of Lavender Trail was being auctioned I met the man who subdivided and sold the lots where we now live. He said that there was once an orchard up here on the mountain. At that time I used to take our last doberman Zeus on long walks through the woods. I found a number of old, overgrown roads, but no sign of an orchard.

A few weeks ago I found this peach tree at one end of Lavender Trail.


I doubt that this peach tree has anything to do with the mythical Lavender Mountain peach orchard. It’s probably the accidental offspring of a peach that was eaten nearby. I had been up to this turnaround many, many times but had never noticed this tree. It was around 10 feet tall.

The tree held about two dozen hard, green peaches, a little larger than ping-pong balls. I went home planning to check back on this tree and maybe, just maybe, get a decent, if small, peach. I didn’t hold out much hope, though. This turnaround, like the one at the other end of Lavender Trail, is frequented by tourists and other ne’er-do-wells (one of which might be the source of the tree itself).

I went back a couple of weeks later. The peaches were closer to ripe, but only about half of them remained. When I went back a week or so after that, they were all gone.

Sunrise at caniconfidimus

Sunrise on Sunday from our bed:


The sun is edging south as the season progresses. It has been rising just out of view to the left of the window from our bed, but it’s now almost visible. We don’t have any window treatments, so it’s going to serve as our alarm clock soon.

We don’t have curtains, but at last we have cabinets. This was our kitchen on Tuesday.


I had already cleared out the boxes that had been sitting on the floor, the bifold door for the master bath, and the shelves you can see just inside our dining/living area.

This was our kitchen on Thursday, after a day of work by cabinet installers.


Zeke is thoughtfully searching for spilled food.

The dishwasher hasn’t been installed. At the time of this photo, neither had the range. The countertop installers are supposed to do a final measurement of the base cabinets soon, and then, after around two weeks, we should have quartz countertops. That will be nice — a completed kitchen. Well, complete except for window trim, base moldings and crown molding.

To bookend things, this was the sunset on Sunday.


This was shot with my iPhone, as usual, cropped down so you can get at least a hint of what the sunset really looked like. And, as usual, it was shot on a city street, the only place we have now where we can actually see the sunset.

A brown fall

Last week as I was coming back home on Huffaker Road, something caught my eye on Lavender Mountain. At first I couldn’t figure out what it was. It looked like a light brown streak near the top of the ridge. Then I realized. It was trees with brown leaves.

Here’s a view from our front porch.


There is a patch of light brown at the left of the image along one ridge line; that’s like what I saw from Huffaker Road. The brown tree at lower right is a dogwood. The dogwoods have been turning brown for weeks. One of our neighbors was worried that it was the blight that has stricken dogwoods in the Pacific Northwest and on the East Coast. I was more inclined to think it was simply stress, because here in Northwest Georgia we are in extreme drought conditions. It may be a combination, since drought stress can make the trees more susceptible to things like the dogwood blight.

Now other types of trees are showing stress. The maples seem to be doing ok. A few are actually showing some color. Most of the hickories seem to be doing reasonably well, too. Various types of oak are not doing well. They don’t normally have much color in the fall before they lose their leaves, but these trees look more like they’re dying rather than just preparing for winter.

We had a fairly wet spring, but there has been no significant rain on the mountain for at least the two months we have been in our new house, and it has been hot. Nineties have been common. Atlanta is approaching the 1980 record for the number of ninety-degree days in a year.

Neighbor John has been preparing our driveway for paving. His heavy equipment has left a layer of powdery dust that puffs up around the dogs’ feet as they walk. It coats the cars, the side of the house, and us.

It looks like the only color we’ll have this fall is brown … brown leaves and brown dust.

We hear some bar bands

We have been eating out a lot since we moved into the new house, mainly because we don’t have a kitchen. We usually don’t get out much, and when we do, it’s almost always just a quick meal and a visit to Wal-Mart. But last week we decided to try a few places on Broad Street in downtown Rome that have live bands.

Most of the stores Leah and I grew up with on Broad Street have gone out of business or moved away. Over the last few years, downtown has found a new identity, which consists largely of trendy restaurants. Broad Street looks as busy as it ever did, at least on Friday and Saturday nights. Of course almost everyone there is a lot younger than us, which, I suppose, is a good thing for Rome.

Friday night we went to a grill run by one of Leah’s old high school classmates for a late beer and some local music.


The band members are a little blurred; it was darker than it looks here. It was a benefit for the Animal Rescue Foundation. The beer was OK, and so was the band. I don’t expect to see them on TV, but they were good for a local group.

Sunday night is blues night at another grill.


We ate here. This building was a Five & Dime many years ago (so long ago that the restaurant only nostalgically mentions the drugstore that replaced it.) We were both disappointed with the food, but we probably should have ordered bar food instead of an actual restaurant meal. This band sounded good, but they could have done without the amps and speakers. It would have been a good venue for acoustic instruments. We requested Soul Man, but they didn’t know that one.

Our kitchen cabinets won’t be installed until Thursday, so we may try another restaurant in downtown. They have a regular jazz performance on Tuesdays, and Leah likes jazz. We’ll probably have bar food there.