Opry Mills Shopping Mall

>> Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Before returning home on Monday afternoon, July 20th,  Connie and I spent 2-3 hours at the Opry Mills Shopping Mall.  This mall is right next door to the Opryland Resort and the Grand Ole Opry House and sits on the former site of the Opryland USA theme park.  It was constructed in 1999, a joint venture of Mills Corporation and Gaylord Entertainment.  It is now owned by Simon Property Group.  There are over 200 stores and services within this 1,200,000 square foot facility.  I calculated that out to be 27 and 1/2 acres.  You can check out the Opry Mills website.


One of the couples that sat at our table on the General Jackson had visited Opry Mills the previous day and mentioned several interesting things to us.  One was the Aquarium Restaurant.  They advertize this as “an underwater dining adventure.”  They were not open for business when we walked by but we could look into the dining area.  Huge fish could be seen swimming right by the tables.  As you walk into the facility you will have fish swimming on both sides and above you.

july  19th - 20th 077 july  19th - 20th 074 We also enjoyed the aquarium within the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.  (That facility takes up approximately 3 acres!)  Their aquarium if filled with fresh water fish, one of which is this gigantic catfish pictured below.

july  19th - 20th 083 It was almost impossible to keep from getting reflections.

One store we particularly enjoyed spending some time in was Black Lion (or maybe Blacklion)

.  This large facility is filled with numerous smaller booths with items from individual vendors.  Some would liken it to an antique mall perhaps but the items are new and range from framed pictures, craft items, to ???  I think Connie did buy a couple of small items in this store.

If you can keep your cash and credit card close to you this mall is a fun place to visit.


Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

>> Saturday, July 25, 2009

After checking into our room, following our cruise on the General Jackson Showboat, we walked across the street to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. This hotel is the largest non-casino hotel in the continental U.S. with 2881 guestrooms, 200 of them suites. In fact, it is the largest hotel in the U.S. outside of Las Vegas. The room rates were a bit more than we cared to spend. Even the parking is a bit much, $18.00 per day for self-parking and $25.00 per day for valet parking. Our interest was to visit and walk through the 9 acres of tropical gardens, all under glass and steel. And, the admission to do that was in our price range, FREE.

The three gardens, The Conservatory, The Cascades, and The Delta, contain over 10,000 tropical plants. There are numerous small streams, many waterfalls and several fountains. The Delta even has a 1/4 mile long river upon which one can, for a fee, take a guided boat tour.

july  19th - 20th 040 This is a view of the glass and steel roof in one of the gardens. Being climate controlled the plants are very “happy” and lush. In some of the following photos you will see some of the many flowers that were in bloom.

july  19th - 20th 022 Connie told me that this was a variety of African violet—much larger plant and blooms than what Connie has at home. There were many different colors of blooms.

july  19th - 20th 045 I was quite impressed by all of the different types and colors of orchids. Consequently I took several photos of them.

july  19th - 20th 043
Here is a view of one of the many waterfalls and streams throughout the gardens.

july  19th - 20th 067
It maybe difficult for you to see, but Connie is standing directly behind this waterfall. It was rather “neat” to be able to walk behind and be able to see through a waterfall.

july  19th - 20th 049

We enjoyed the many fish in the streams, most being Koi or goldfish, as I call them. Over time there has been a lot of coins thrown into the streams, as can be seen here.

We spent 2-3 hours walking through the 9 acres of gardens, taking pictures and enjoying the many plants. Our only complaint was that there were no signs or labels to tell us what they were. Some we knew but many left us wondering. We would recommend anyone visiting Nashville to visit the gardens at the Opryland Hotel (or resort as it is now known.)


General Jackson Showboat Cruise

>> Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sunday, July 19th, was our 45th wedding anniversary.  We decided we needed to do something more than send each other a card.  We had been to Nashville, TN and attended the Grand Old Opry five years ago.  Nashville is only about 100 miles or so from where we live and makes an accessible destination.  We went on line and checked out several attractions and activities in the Nashville area and decided on the General Jackson Showboat cruise as one thing we wanted to do.

We left home at 9:00 A.M. Sunday morning and arrived at the boat landing about 11:00 A.M.  We picked up our tickets and entered the assembly area to await the call to board.  It was here that our photo was taken.  (See my last post.)

The General Jackson Showboat , named after the first steamboat to operate on the Cumberland River in 1817, was launched in 1985.  It is approximately 300 feet long, the length of a football field.  It can accommodate 1200 passengers and a crew of 157.  It is powered by two 1050 horsepower (per engine) diesel engines.  These run 880 kw generators that in turn power two 600 h.p General Electric motors that turn the paddlewheel.  (1200 h.p. total)  The paddlewheel is 36 feet long, 24 feet in diameter.  The paddlewheel weighs 36 tons.

179-1july  19th - 20th 005 We took what is known as the mid-day cruise.  We had wanted to take the evening cruise but it was not offered for Sunday evening.  The evening cruise lasts a little longer, has a bit nicer meal and has more elaborate entertainment, but we had no complaints about our cruise.  Our seating in the Victorian Theater was excellent.  We were only a couple of tables back from the stage, as can be seen in this picture.  Tim Watson and his band put on a very enjoyable show.

july  19th - 20th 018 The cruise on the Cumberland River isn’t all that scenic but it was quite enjoyable.  While most of the time was taken up eating and enjoying the entertainment we still were able to spend some time on deck and watch the river.

july  19th - 20th 020 Following the completion of our cruise we checked into our hotel room and then embarked upon our next activity, which I’ll tell you about in my next post.


Our 45th Anniversary

>> Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sunday, July 19th, was our 45th wedding anniversary.  I’ll share a bit of our activities in a future post but thought you might like to see what we looked like 45 years ago and what we look like now.

1964wed This photo was taken on our wedding day, July 19, 1964.

Anniversary #2 Exactly 45 years later, this picture was taken July 19, 2009.  Remember, for a larger view just click on the photo.


Chigger Bites

>> Friday, July 17, 2009

I posted a few days ago about it being blackberry and chigger season.  I’ve been pretty successful in avoiding chigger bites by putting on a repellant before going out to pick blackberries or do other things in the garden or yard.  I don’t use the chemical repellants because of all of the nasty stuff they put into them.  We get a product that contains several essential oils.  It is called Buzz Away and contains citronella oil, essential oils of cedarwood, peppermint, lemongrass, and eucalyptus as well as purified water, grain alcohol and castor oil.  The most effective repellant, according to several websites, and one we used at home when I was growing up is powdered sulfur dusted onto ones clothes.


A few days ago I went out to prune my black raspberry bushes and get the new canes tied up.  I sprayed my pants legs and shirt with the Buzz Away as usual.  But, for some reason I got bunches of chigger bites.  Connie thinks maybe I didn’t shake the bottle before spraying it or perhaps the little beasties were thicker and hungrier than usual.  The following photos, not glamorous, show my legs about two days after picking up the little critters.

july 16th 001 july 16th 005 These are just the welts.  I haven’t been scratching them---although the urge to do so is pretty strong.  They itch worse at times more than at others.  One just must wait until they clear up, sometimes a week or 10 days.

Oh, I’ve been out since picking some more blackberries and the repellant seems to have worked.  Thankfully!


How Much Milk Would A Milk Goat Drink If A Milk Goat Would Drink Milk?

>> Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Although I don’t buy into the argument, some feel that an adult should not drink milk. One of the “reasons” is that one never sees an adult animal of any kind drinking milk. But, they have never seen Annie.

I’m not sure just when I first discovered her thirst for milk. I know that when there was extra milk I would put it out for our chickens to drink and Annie would drink it before the chickens had a chance. With two cows Darryl is getting more milk than his family can use. He skims the cream to use to make butter and the extra milk gets poured into the pan in our chicken/goat yard. Annie almost knocks one down getting to the milk. And, I’m not talking about a small amount. She will drink upwards of a gallon at a time if it is there.

Here are some photos I took recently of her devouring a gallon of milk.

july 10th 001The pan is filled BEFORE I opened the barn door!

july 10th 002 She is beginning to drink the milk.

july 10th 005 The pan is nearly empty!

july 10th 008 She’s done, and this only took a minute or two. Just what she “craves” I don’t know but she is quite the milk drinker.


It’s Blackberry (and Chigger) Season!

>> Monday, July 6, 2009

The wild blackberries are ripening and I’ve gone blackberry picking 3 or 4 times now.  Hopefully, I’ll be going out again soon.


july 5th 004 july 5th 001

The down side of blackberry season is that it is also Chigger season! I have to agree with the comment made in various articles on the internet, there is probably no creature on earth that can cause as much torment for its size than the tiny chigger. Chiggers, Jiggers or Red Bugs, as they are commonly known, that cause all of the problems are the larvae stage.  The adults and nymphs are vegetarians but the larvae need an animal host to feed on.  I was always told that the little mites, which are about 1/20th of an inch long and can be seen only with a magnifying glass, burrowed into your skin.  Not true.  They pierce the skin and inject a salivary secretion that contains powerful digestive enzymes that break down skin cells.  The tissues become liquefied and are sucked up by the little chigger.  All of this causes a red welt to arise and intense itching.  The natural urge is to scratch, which can cause the skin to be broken and secondary infections can develop.  These welts can develop 3 to 6 hours after the little beast climbs aboard and often lasts for up to a week or more.

As I mentioned, chiggers are very tiny but upon magnification one will see that they are usually bright red and have hairy bodies.

chig2 This photo, taken from the internet, is of a chigger magnified 1500 times!

I found a poem that tells it like it is.  I was given permission by the author, Jerry Schieicher, to share it.  You can find this and other poems written by Jerry on his page of the cowboy poetry web site.

The Chigger Blues

I ain't a'feered of snakes ner spiders, and ticks don't make me twitch.
I kin roll around nekked in a poison ivy patch and never even itch.
I ain't skeered much of lions ner tigers, or other carnivores much bigger.
The only critter that gives me the chills ... is the cold-hearted chigger.
They ain't no bigger than a dot. Most folks have never seen one.
You don't even know they bit ya', till they've already et' and gone.
And drilled yer skin with a bitin' end that's part needle and part digger.
Pound fer pound, the baddest bug around ... has got to be the chigger.
They crawl inside yer pants and socks, and creep into yer underdrawers.
And commence to have a feast, while yer doin' yer gardenin' chores.
It seems their spit dissolves yer hide, which they then consume with vigor.
Fer an arachnid version of the vampire ... I nominate the chigger.
I still got scars up 'n down my carcass that I reckon I'll bear fer years.
From clawin' at the welts they've left, from my toes up past my rear.
The itch they leave behind lasts much longer than you'd figger.
If you want to drive a man insane ... jist feed him to a chigger.
I've tried that nail polish myth, and doused myself with lotion.
But nuthin' seem to keep 'em off. There ain't no magic potion.
And steppin' out into my own back yard only seems to trigger
A fresh attack by my worst nightmare ... the man-eatin' chigger.
Most folks love the summer season, and fer most it's all good news.
Of flower gardens, fresh-mowed lawns, and backyard bar-be-cues.
But if you invite me to yer outdoor games, I'll respectfully refuse.
Cause you don't want to hear me wailin', as I sing the chigger blues.
© 2005, Jerry Schleicher
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


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