The Clampits go Camping


This entry was started on our way to the weekend.  I thought it would be pretty cool to blog from a blackberry.  But it was interminably slow, and then we drove out of range.  Too bad.  So here I sit on my apple – it’s much less cumbersome.

We went camping at Cades Cove this weekend.  We saw it advertised quite some time ago.  Prince Farming took Friday off from work, and I made arrangements for the kids to skip school (shame on me) so we could call it a vacation.  We were supposed to be packed and ready on Thursday evening, but that didn’t happen.  Lots of reasons.  So we woke up late (not late like 10am, but late like at the time we normally leave for work/school) which was really nice.  We got everything ready to go – and packed.  And packed.  And packed.  When we go camping, the only thing missing is our temperpedic mattress and the air conditioning.  Everything else, including the kitchen sink, comes along.  Really!  Prince Farming is an excellent packer person, having been designated the packer-person since he was around 10 years old.  So he can get LOTS crammed into small spaces. 








Normally when we go camping we pull a trailer.  Not a camper trailer, but a utility trailer.  This is very convenient, because we can throw everything in there (and store it in between times) and then pull it to our destination.  Then we neatly arrange everything outside the trailer, and use the floor (with the back hatch down) as our off-the-ground tent floor.  Except with no tent.  It’s really quite nice.  And spacious.  And private.  And level.  But the camp site where we were going didn’t allow for trailers.  Anywhere.  At least in the group site, which is what was reserved for this occasion.  So we had to wing it with camping how we used to do it.  Let me tell you, it was quite a challenge. 

Added to the challenge was the detail that all food, and anything that might have anything to do with something consumable had to be stored inside a vehicle outside of meal times.  Can you begin to imagine how much stuff we had to cram into the truck cab when we weren’t eating?  Added to this discomfort was the fact that we couldn’t bring vehicles very close to the camp sites – they had to be parked in a loop around the perimeter of the camp site.  Good grief – hike to the truck for a pan.  Oops.  Also need a spatula.  Oh yes, and the oil.  Did you bring the salt?  No?  Go fetch.  You get the picture.

Here’s our camp set-up.  Actually this is on break-down morning, so there’s extra stuff lying around.  Prince Farming & I slept in the yellow tent.  The kids occupied the green one.  My daughter had a really tough time being okay with sleeping that close to her brother.  She was all for camping in the truck.  Too bad all the food and stuff had to sleep in there.  There was NO ROOM IN THE INN.  Besides, I made the very excellent point that when a person travels, one has to be willing to be in less than optimum conditions.  Mostly only briefly.  It was a hard lesson.  And a hard swallow.  But once she made up her mind, she bunked with her brother with the grace of a champ.  And guess what?  She’s still alive to tell the story.  And so is he.

Numbers I Love!!

 People who know me might  be aware of this detail:  I LOVE COOL NUMBERS.  And I like to share this love with people around me.  I am an avid odometer watcher.  I get a little antsy when a cool number is about to appear.  My phone is usually close by so I can capture the cool number at the right time – no matter what speed I might be going.  Before I had a digital speedometer I would actually have to speed up or slow down so that the speedometer needle wasn’t right over the top of the odometer number.  My kids don’t have any idea that this is a weird thing.  They don’t know any different.  They have become number lovers too and often ask me if a certain sequence is a cool number or not.  I tell them that they get to define their own "cool"   To me, cool is a pattern or symmetry.  So on an odometer 100101 might be cool because of the simplicity, but 101101 is even cooler.  They’re learning.  But this number-love has become a slight obsession.  Numbers that aren’t in a pattern can also be amazingly cool.  You have to start looking at thing differently.  0 and 8 are very good digits on an odometer because they are perfectly symmetrical.  1 is okay – but it leans a bit to the right, making the number spacing off just slightly.  Don’t laugh.  I don’t try to be this way.  It’s the voices in my head.  They make me do it.  Before I switched to blackberry, I used to MMS cool numbers to my friends.  They weren’t quite sure WHAT the picture they were getting was (at least not the first 3 times).

Anyway – all this to tell you that today is an amazingly good day.  Almost as good as July 7, 1977.  But the thing that today has that July 7, 1977 didn’t have is that the clock can play cool number games too.  See, it’s August 8, 2008.  If you write that in school, you’d write 08-08-08.  WOW!!!  (btw – WOW is cool too – perfectly symmetrical, which is hard for words to be).  And the clock plays too because it can be 8:08 on 08-08-08.  It’s really hard to be grumpy on very cool days like today.  

The only downer is that I wasn’t able to get through to my daughter at the Lake House to share the moment with her.  But I know she’s aware of the day.  And the time.  Because she’s my daughter and shares this crazy obsession.

Bare Essentials

Every time I‘m compelled invited encouraged commanded begged I go out for farm stuff, there are certain things I must take with me.  By now you’d think I’d a) know exactly what I need; or at the very least b) have a spot for all these things.  But no.  That’s not how my amazing brain works.  See, the longer it takes me to remember, but more importantly find these essentials, the longer I delay the inevitable.  Sometimes I go so far as to get to the job site, only to have to return for something.  Just writing about it amazes me – this is exactly what totally annoys me about my kids – their endless delay tactics.  Hmmmm.  They DO learn by example (note to self:  only use delay tactics when kids aren’t watching).

It’s hard to say which one has highest priority.  The things I most easily grab are



because these are things I grab every time I leave the house, regardless of my activity.


The other thing that should be fairly natural and habitual for me, but isn’t is:

I need to be taking these every day because life without them is just a drip drag.  I can’t make sense of what exactly I’m allergic to, because sometimes I’m exposed to NOTHING and I about drown in my own . . . you know.  And other times I’m out there working my butt off and breathing in all kinds of toxins, and I’m totally fine.  I’m putting an end to that – hopefully – with a visit to a new allergist lady from Egypt who started taking patients in a nearby office.  Appointment is made.  Hope she knows her stuff, because . . . because I need her to.

The next item that usually is a no-brainer for me to grab, and I basically know where it is (at least one of three places it probably got put) is my favorite hat.  I actually put this in Prince Farming’s Christmas stocking one year, but I have since annexed it back.  I like it because it has a good fit, my pony tail can hang out the back, and the bill/shade thingy is long enough to keep the sun off my face mostly.  And I also LOVE what it says (which is why I bought it in the first place, but obviously "Boss-hood" has switched hands.

Now come the things that I struggle with.  Not on purpose.  Not because I want to.  It just happens.  I really need to ALWAYS take these with me















so that my nails don’t look worse than this when I  get back from work (this was obviously a SHORT work time – normally I have to go mining to make them look almost this good).        

Actually I count myself lucky.  With a trip coming up, I could have BET that a nail would break or get ripped off at the quik.  Most of the time my nails break doing something that should not cause such damage.  Harmless things like closing the trunk on my car or filling the tank with gas.  I’m holding my breath – only 2 days to go.  Watch me break a nail in the airport.

I have been known to start working without gloves, and then remember that they are part of my essential set, so I buzz back up to the house and grab them.  And a drink.  And switch the laundry over from the washer to the dryer.  And check to make sure my son flushed his toilet.  And clean my sunglasses.  And put the last few dishes in the dishwasher and start it.  And then buzz back down to wherever Prince Farming has me working.  Of course it’s not long before I desperately need this.   I don’t always buy water, because we have fantastic spring water on the farm.  Mostly I have bottled water and then refill the bottles several times till they’re just too trashed to be used anymore.  I always have bought water on hand because sometimes the rain causes our water to get muddy cloudy.  But that’s a post all on it’s own.








One of Prince Farming’s pet peeves is when I show up ill-equipped to work.  Most of the time the cause is probably my feet.  I’ve already told you I don’t want a boot tan.  So I farm in flip flops (sorry – forgot the picture for that one – might insert it later).  But in a perfect world on a perfect farm day, I’d show up for Prince Farming fully dressed, including (but not limited to) these:

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