Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Kentucky Jaunt

Oh what an adventure this evening. The best kind–errands and a destination but along the way you aren't exactly sure what you might see or who you might find. I have often kicked myself, and I mean right in the road, fist on car kind of "kicking," when I've gone off on errands and have forgotten my camera. I've learned to throw it in the car no matter what. This afternoon I was not disappointed. As my boys and husband are on a trip out west to visit a relative, I thought I'd bring our Aunt Cynthia along, too, who, bless her, made this great trek to Kentucky along with us, and have a "girls' outing" for a change.

Agricultural equipment, like this hay rake, has a beauty as well as purpose.

When I have my camera with me, I'm on alert. It's as if my inner eye is on overload and sees things in a different light or angle. Here where we have such vistas and changing skies and variable light, and scenes that transport you back to a time before you were even born–but that you know deep down in your soul–you may never pass this way again. I like being a tourist in my own land. Part of it is because even though we've been living here for eighteen months, visiting for well over the past three years, and completely moved (as in our old house sold) for almost a year, I still do feel like a tourist at times. A more settled tourist. Yet, wherever I go lately I feel I need to document my life in photographs. Perhaps it is keeping a blog for over four years: I often think about what I'd like to write and how I'd like to illustrate it. So, let me just say here now, thank you for having come along on the journey with me and here's a big "shout out" and warm welcome to all the new readers here in the pantry. I hope you will continue to visit.

Tonight, in addition to the usual philosophizing, I've included a photo essay with captions for your enjoyment. If I can't be somewhere myself, I'm a contented "armchair traveler." I sometimes feel like Macon, the travel writer in Anne Tyler's 1985 novel, The Accidental Tourist, who preferred the comfort, order and routine of his own home while writing travel guides from the safe sanctum of his study–and whose sister liked to alphabetize her spices and canned goods in her kitchen. I can somewhat relate to both of them:
“As much as (Macon) hated the travel—he loved the writing—the virtuous delights of organizing a disorganized country, stripping away the inessential and the second-rate, classifying all that remained in neat, terse paragraphs..."

"Maybe he couldn't get his guidebook organized, but organizing the household was another matter entirely. There was something fulfilling about that, something consoling–or more than consoling, it gave him the sense of warding off a danger. Over the next week or so, he traveled through the rooms setting up new systems. He radically rearranged all the kitchen cupboards, tossing out the little bits of things in sticky, dusty bottles that Sarah hadn't opened in years."

–Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist
I don't hate to travel or to visit in the world, whether near or far, but sometimes I dislike it. I have to be in the mood to leave my home, my nest, my familiar. I believe many women can understand that feeling. However, I so enjoy writing about the world around me from this new place where I am now–"organizing a disorganized" layering of thought–here at this point of midlife, betwixt and between my former home and settling into the new, where I am both comfortable and on a new cusp of something exciting and also something so comfortably ordinary. I'm not certain what, but I'm enjoying the journey just as I'm planning on "travel(ing) through (my) rooms setting up new systems."

Aunt Cynthia and I started our late afternoon journey on an infrequent drive down to our creek farm and over to the next ridge. It's a short cut, but steep and treacherous at times so it is "weather-depending." I saw a heron (Great Blue? I'm not certain as he was rather gray) and was able to get within fifteen feet of him by walking quietly. He didn't seem to be bothered that I was taking a lot of photographs, either. We finally left him alone to fish and went along our way.

Baldock Chapel, constructed in 1895 in Casey County, has seen better days. It hasn't been used as a sanctuary for many years and, until recently, much of its contents remained inside, as if the "Rapture" had come and taken everyone away during a Sunday morning service. Now the only ones who worship there are the pigeons in the belfry.

Two rabbits were playing together in a ditch and paused long enough to let me take their photos from my car window.

This big old Brahma bull had enough posing for one sitting. He is standing in front of Green River Knob that straddles Casey and Pulaski Counties and is the tallest point in Kentucky west of the higher Appalachians in the eastern part of the state. And yes, just like Babe the Blue Ox, he is bigger than Green River Knob!

We stopped at Middleburg Dairy Freeze for supper and then Aunt Cynthia had a butterscotch sundae. While there, by chance, we met up with a new friend (and "In the Pantry" reader) and her husband. We both discovered Shelley's Middleburg Dairy Freeze, and her delicious "Middleburgers," on our friend Teresa's blog. A few weeks ago, Teresa wrote about the place in such glowing terms that I surprised my husband and boys with supper out on the very day she wrote it (July 3).

Summer fun and smiles all around at our first visit to the Middleburg Dairy Freeze on July 3: excellent cheeseburgers, onion rings, French fries, soft serve ice cream, even corn dogs and real old-fashioned lemonade. Who needs the fair?

We had just been saying that we missed a good place to get burgers and soft serve ice cream when Teresa blogged about it. "Ask and ye shall receive..." Sometimes, yes, it's that simple, isn't it?

A rare photo with my boys as I'm usually the family photographer.

Heirloom tomatoes on an Old Order Mennonite porch in Casey County–I stopped to get some goat milk on our way home and they offered some to me along with a large, ripe canteloupe. Just before that, I dropped some tomato plants, a New Hampshire rhubarb root, and some Kentucky strawberry plants from our garden at my friend Teresa's house. In September, I'll hopefully have tomatoes like these!

Warning! I break for root cellars...more on these very soon. I've had a blog rooting around in here for a while now...and on that note, I bid you goodnight!


Nancy Jo said...

Great pictures. Love the one of the old Chapel, always so sad to see these go to ruin. Would love to see a replay of the people going in and out of there when it was first built.
Also a nice picture of you and the boys.
Nancy Jo

Anonymous said...

I'm new to your blog and just love it. I, too, love a country road trip -- something about the road less traveled speaks to me. Great pictures, beautiful children, and exciting things to see around each bend in the road. I'll look forward to visiting more often. Thanks for speaking and showing what is truly important in our world. Bless You, Deanna

Catherine said...

Welcome Deanna and thank you for kind words. Also, Nancy for yours!

One day before too long I will post a blog entry just on Baldock Church. It is haunting in its beauty and soon it will be gone as it collapses back into the land, as so many buildings seem to do here. I find them to be like rural ruins and there is a beauty in that, but also a sorrow.

Thanks and blessings,