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I guess this will qualify as a “travel” edition even though we only travelled 45 minutes, but I wanted to tell you about a local (for us) landmark that is worth checking out.  C & I live about 45 minutes from Mammoth Cave National Park and, even though we both had been to the park, neither of us could remember being in the cave itself.

Every year for the last 16 years, C’s dad has a group of Mexicans that work (legally) on the farm for him during tobacco season.  One gentleman has been coming to Kentucky for all of those 16 years and others for many years as well.  They had asked to go see Mammoth Cave so when R took them, he asked if we wanted to go, too.  I am so glad we went.  I took photos for the workers so their families could see them and the cave.

I was surprised at the beauty of the cave itself.  Of course, the grounds are scenic.  The park is covered in forests with the Green River running through it, but I wasn’t expecting the scope and magnitude of the cavern.

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We took the 2 hour Historical Tour and had a wonderful time.  Here we enter into the only natural opening used by the National Park employees:

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The guide tells all sorts of interesting stories along the way.  After walking down these stairs, you come into a large open area about 150 feet tall.  There are hollow tulip poplar logs running on one side and these were used during the War of 1812 to mine saltpeter for gunpowder.

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The guide also told us about the “historical graffiti” that is on the walls of the cave in several areas.  All of this writing dates back before 1941 when the area became a national park.  After that, writing was considered a federal offense.  Here are two examples of the graffiti:

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The second photo shows an example of “smoke writing”.  It was so cool!  Next we crossed “The Bottomless Pit” which is about 150 feet deep.  It was discovered by a slave names Stephen Bishop that worked at the cave.  He laid a log across the pit to cross over.  Mr. Bishop is credited for exploring and discovering much of Mammoth Cave.

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Next we went through “Fat Man’s Misery” which is a series of twists and turns that are very narrow and low.  Thankfully, none of our group had any trouble navigating the misery!  Here’s proof C is no fat man!  Ha, ha, ha!

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The last big attraction on this tour was Mammoth Dome, also discovered by Stephen Bishop.  It is an large open area with beautiful coloring in the rocks.  Here is C & I at the Dome:
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As we all left the cave, there was one little bat hanging upside down…spooky!  I am not sure why this seems so spooky since we see bats all of the time flying around the house at dusk catching bugs, but it was a little spooky!

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It is required that each visitor walk across a soapy mat after leaving the cave to prevent what is known as White Nose Syndrome that can damage the bat populations.

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We had a wonderful time at Mammoth Cave and want to go back to see more of it.  If you have the chance to go, don’t hesitate!  You will learn a lot and see some beautiful sights, but remember to take a light jacket with you.  The cave is always around a cool 54 degrees.

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Today’s Thoughtful Thursday post is a little different.  I decided to dedicate today’s thoughts to my cousin, B, and his new wife, D.  They were married on April 30, 2011 at Rose Mont Mansion in Gallatin, Tennessee in a beautiful outdoor ceremony that evening.

C & I traveled there with my dad and my paternal grandparents.  It was the first time ever that the five of us went anywhere together like that and the trip went really well.  I was happy that I was able to take them to see B get married!

Here is the location:

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C & I in the garden…

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My grandparents…

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My dad and I…

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The happy couple…

The reception tent…

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The cake…

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And for favors, there was a candy buffet!

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The day and the wedding was beautiful and I wish them many, many years of happiness!  I will leave you with a few photos of the garden at Rose Mont.

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It is Monday again, but this week is a little different.  C & I are traveling a few days this week so the menu plan has been postponed.  I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

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Happy Valentine’s Day

C & I wish everyone a very wonderful Valentine’s Day!  What, you say, no menu plan this week?  That’s right, folks, I am taking a week off since last week’s was a disaster.  How? 

Well, Monday afternoon, about two inches of snow fell in our area.  C & I were heading home together after work and about 4 miles from home, we had to stop and put the vehicle in four wheel drive.  We had no problems at all for another couple of miles and then IT happened!  I am not sure exactly what IT was, but our vehicle started sliding off the road, went down a ten foot embankment and we hit a tree…HARD.  VERY HARD!!  Hard enough that the vehicle bounced back about three feet and hit another tree in the back.  The tow truck driver said it looked like the vehicle was parallel parked in between them.

Thankfully, C & I only sustained minor injuries, mainly scratches and bruises, but we were so sore.  Actually, we are still sore, but it is slowly getting better.  Not much cooking was done last week, and probably not this week either.  I hope to get back on track next week if I feel like it.

Here is hoping that you, my fearless reader, have an awesome week!

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2010 in review

I want to thank all of my readers for a successful blog in 2010 and I hope to continue to grow!

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

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A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2010. That’s about 10 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 138 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 253 posts.

The busiest day of the year was November 16th with 161 views. The most popular post that day was Cookies & Creme Cake.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were eatathomecooks.com, mybakingaddiction.com, goodlifeeats.com, southernplate.com, and thepioneerwoman.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for easy caramel cake, quick and easy caramel cake, velveeta cheese dip, hot cheese dip, and easy carmel cake.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Cookies & Creme Cake July 2010
3 comments

2

Quick-And-Easy Caramel Cake October 2009
1 comment

3

Hot Cheese Dip November 2009
1 comment

4

Mississippi Mud Cake April 2010

5

Chocolate Cake with Cocoa Fudge Frosting August 2010

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Happy New Year!

Today is New Year’s Eve and many people around the world have already celebrated the change to 2011.  Do you have any big party plans to ring in the new year?  We don’t and I am just fine with that.  

The Christmas decorations came down yesterday and that means today is all about house-cleaning and reorganizing.  Except, that there is a little basketball game going on in the Bluegrass today that I am going to watch.  It’s the University of Kentucky Wildcats versus the University of Louisville Cardinals!  Woo hoo!  Go Big Blue!!!!  Go Cats!!!  I guess you can tell who I root for, huh?

Anyway, C & I want to wish everyone a very happy new year and we hope 2011 is the greatest yet!

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Vote for me!!!

In the last couple of months, I have started entering online contests sponsored by other bloggers.  I haven’t won anything yet except, hopefully, a few new readers, and that is the main reason why I have been “linking up” my recipes with other blogs!

I have had some really favorable comments and I want to keep them coming.  Right now, My Baking Addiction and goodLife Eats are sponsoring a comfort food challenge and the winner receives a Le Creuset French Oven!  Oh my goodness…I am drooling right now.  I have always thought that Le Creuset cookware was beautiful, but I have never owned a piece of it. 

Voting starts December 17th at 12:00am and if you have time, I would greatly appreciate your vote at either blog.  You only have to vote at one because they are linked together.  Here is the list of recipes that I have submitted:

Chili

Salisbury Steaks

Sloppy Joes

Spicy Beef Vegetable Soup

Banana Pancakes

Peanut Butter Pancakes

Taco Soup

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes

Thanks in advance for your vote!!!

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