Nurturing Giant Pumpkins – Part I

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(c) Town and Country Magazine

My brother Dave is a bit like Doc Emmett Brown from Back to the Future. Like Doc Brown, Dave is an intelligent inventor. Dave has several ambitious, ongoing projects like bouncing radio signals off the moon, developing radio communications using lightbulbs as antennae, and communicating with the International Space Station.

When Dave is involved in a project he does the research and becomes very knowledgeable. Often he pushes boundaries of “the envelope.” Growing giant pumpkins is one of his intense projects. This story is Part I  about this 2019 adventure.

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A Final Resting Place… Maybe

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Thomas Wolfe’s Inspiration for Look Homeward Angel

Years ago I was intrigued watching an historic church’s cemetery being removed. Although I knew nobody buried in this particular cemetery, it saddened me to think that a parcel of land deemed to be sacred as a “final resting place” for an earthly body had been identified as being more useful to those above ground.

It was even more striking to me when it became apparent later that the need to reuse the cemetery plot was for a parking lot for a Burger King.

I had long forgotten about this particular occurrence in my life until recently I learned of an even more dramatic (at least to me it is dramatic) similar event which occurred in Hendersonville, North Carolina, where I now reside.

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On the Rocks Near Hendersonville, North Carolina

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Chimney Rock from Above (Photo by Bruce Godzik)

Having moved to Laurel Park near Hendersonville in Western North Carolina’s “Blue Ridge Mountains,” I shouldn’t be surprised by the number of places given names for “rocks” such as “Flat Rock,” “Jump Off Rock” and “Chimney Rock.”

But I have been surprised; each has an interesting history connected with it. This blog story is about these rock formations and the stories about them… stories which have been passed between generations of Native Americans and others living in these beautiful mountains.

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Throughout Europe with Excellent Cappuccino

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Pastries at Cafe Konditorei in Vienna

In the past several years I have traveled throughout several European countries and grew fond of really great coffee. I believe that most people have not experienced the aroma and smooth taste of truly great coffee.

It isn’t that I think of myself as a connoisseur or an advocate of beans from specific places throughout the world. I also don’t believe I am a snob because I rather enjoy a cappuccino or a latte than a cup of black Americano.

This story is about exceptionally great coffee with a particular emphasis on cafes and coffee in Europe. Like the one in this photo inside Cafe Konditorei in Vienna, Austria, many European cafes sell delicious pastries along with exceptional coffee. Fantastic coffee, pastries and food are also found at the famous Cafe Central, also in Vienna

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Going “Hog-Wild” at North Carolina’s Lexington Barbecue Festival

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Festival Sand Sculpture

As a recent Yankee transplant to North Carolina, I have learned about the loyalty people of the “Tar Heel State” have for their preferred brand of slow cooked pork barbecue.

There are two primary variations of North Carolina barbecue. “Lexington Style” (sometimes referred to as “Piedmont Style”) claims to be the best barbecue in the world.

North Carolinians living along the Atlantic coastal areas eat more “Eastern Style” pork barbecue. And they have a different point of view about this “world’s best” claim.

My story, however, is not to draw distinction to barbecue preferences but rather is about my recent visit to the 35th Annual Barbecue Festival held in Lexington, NC… the legendary world capital of slow cooked barbecue.

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The Stillness Isn’t Silent on the Deck

LakeWhile I am recovering from a surgery by recuperating at my brother and sister-in-law’s house in North Carolina, I have spent a good deal of time sitting on their house deck. There is much to see looking at lush vegetation, the trees, the pictured mountain lake and a distant tree-covered peak. There is often stillness sitting here as I write but in the stillness there isn’t silence.

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“No Nudie in Hospital”

I was recently hospitalized for four weeks in Budapest for a serious emergency surgery. There were numerous experiences to record in my blog during this time but because of the remnant effects of the anesthesia, it is often difficult for me to determine reality from my vivid imagination. One, though, is certain when my nurse Etta required me to wear pajamas citing in easily understandable English “No nudie in hospital!”

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