Monday, March 30, 2020

Keeping the Economy Going!

With the US economy all but shut down, those who can should continue to patronize local take out/curb side restaurants and other similar businesses.  Tip generously as appropriate!  For those folks who are looking for work, grocery stores, pharmacies, delivery businesses, Amazon and others are actually hiring thousands of people.  However, none of that will help the majority of the millions that have filed or will file for unemployment across the country.

Readers will remember that we recently had a new roof put on our home.  That had been scheduled prior to the lockdown even though it took place after self-isolation.  Well, that was just Part 1 of a two-part play…as we help keep the economy alive.  

We are not usually up this early but this photo was taken just after sunrise this past week.

Actually, when I took that first photo, these trucks stopped on the road until I was done…and then they pulled into the driveway.  We had a truck with a trailer, a pick-up truck and a dumpster. (This photo was taken about a half hour after they actually arrived and started working)

This was the project that put the eyeliner and eyeshadow on the house, complementing and finishing our subtle ‘new look’.  In this photo one of Marvin Hatcher’s workers was in the process of taking down the gutter on one side of my office dormer…

...and the tear down continued in the front and back of the house.  There was no doubt that this was an experienced team.

When you see all of the gutters and downspouts in one place, you begin to realize that this is a big project.  There was a lot to recycle!

At one point, the crew stopped for lunch.  Unlike the crew that installed our roof and heated their meals in microwave ovens they brought with them, this group all packed a cold lunch.  One pair relaxed on the big rock in the middle of the front yard and the other pair ate at the table on our deck. 

This gutter forming machine was very interesting.  Basically, it’s set at the size and shape of the gutters needed and then flat sheet metal is fed into one end and your gutter pops out the other end to whatever length needed. 

Marvin told me that in the old days, (and he’s been doing this for over 40 years), gutters were made from galvanized steel and it would take at least 3 days to do a house like ours.  One issue was that the galvanized metal was coated with oil and that had to be removed before work could begin.   

I liked these extra wide deflectors which will help spread out and more evenly distribute the water flowing down the gullies formed by our varied and somewhat steep roof lines.

In this photo, one of the installers was working on the final section of the gutters around our screened porch.

Since we have trees on 3 sides of the house, some type of gutter screening is a necessity.  Marvin Hatcher uses Bulldog Gutter Shields.  It should be noted that our new gutters are an inch wider than the old ones.  Add that fact to that little ridge at the front of the gutter shields.  Now the odds of most rain water actually flowing into and through the gutters, rather than just over them, has greatly improved.

This was the finished look after the gutter crew had departed.  With the new unstained roof and pristine gutters, the house looks better…and we can more effectively cope with heavy rain for the next 20 years.

FYI, Adams Roofing, the company that replaced our roof, is highly regarded and highly recommended locally.  It was Taylor Adams who suggested we contact Marvin Hatcher in Sweetwater TN for the gutter replacement.  They have both been working their respective trades for over 40 years and they both offer relatively reasonable pricing.  Marvin Hatcher’s phone number is 865-659-6496.   

It took most of the day for our gutter installation.  After I took the ‘finished photo’ of the house, I took these 2 as well.  The first one is our spring time view down the street and the second is one more look from our deck.  Isn't this an amazing time of the year!

Given the state of the economy and the need to preserve funds, this will be the last significant expense we’ll incur for the duration of the Covid-19 world-wide pandemic.  This is day 16 of self-isolation for us…

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Stay Well and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, March 27, 2020

Odds and Ends plus a Timely Project

As I write this post, it’s Day 13 of our Covid-19 self-isolation experience.  As one joker said, with this isolation at home, he “talked to his wife the other day and she isn’t so bad”!  If you live with someone, you certainly are getting to know them better…or in some cases…possibly worse.

As for Laurie and I, we actually have always liked hanging around together and doing things together.  What we miss is our ability to go out to a restaurant or explore the back roads.  While we can and do go on drives in the area, not being able to stop, shop, dine, etc. limits the experience.

However today is a beautiful day with lots of sunshine and warmth…so the windows are open and Laurie has been busy spot cleaning, picking up sticks and roofing/gutter trash in the yard and re-potting a couple of plants.  I was out in the yard for a while too…and that sunshine was glorious.

We have these 2 pots of pansies on our front porch.  Originally the centerpiece of these planters were a couple of faux evergreen trees.  We had to remove them because the pansies were being attacked by beetles and the other one not as much. Can you guess which was which?  The damaged pansies are beginning to make a comeback…and as soon as conditions permit, Laurie will be shopping for a new centerpiece for the planters or maybe just more pansies!

We have a ‘flock’ of these little snails living along the front and in certain areas along the back of our house.  It looks like these photos represent 2 different species.  This area of East Tennessee has had a rainfall/moisture surplus that totals more than 14 inches above normal year to date.  Consequently, it’s been the perfect environment for these little shelled critters as well as the small frogs that we continue to come across.

They are tiny…at least at this point.  I tried to learn more about them on-line but there are so many species that I can only guess that they are some type of garden snail.  Apparently a plethora of snails seek shelter (hibernaculum) as a group when the weather demands it.  We’ve never had a problem (yet) with the snails destroying any of our plantings…

Many of those of us that are ‘trapped’ at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic have undertaken projects that we’d put off for months or even years.  Laurie decided that our first project of this sort would involve our spices and related materials in our kitchen cabinets.  This is what it looked like in our kitchen after we’d removed most of the items in the spice cabinet.

Once we removed everything, Laurie cleaned the shelves and the liners as well as the ‘stair step’ unit we used for most of our spices.  Once the cleaning was done and unneeded or unwanted items were discarded, we filled the stair step display, arranging the spices again by alphabetical order.  We can hold off doing this project again for another few years....

But once inertia was overcome via the effort with the spice cabinet, it was on to even more kitchen cabinet cleaning and reorganization.  This particular cabinet is the one right next to the stove top that contains the most common seasonings and cooking oils.  Now we even have a little empty storage space on the top shelf!

Laurie also cleaned and reorganized her baking equipment and baking supplies shelves…

A couple other shelves were attacked as well.  In this case it was a miscellaneous cabinet with honey, syrup, pancake mix, recipes, and more… More space on the top shelf!  Several drawers were also redone, with some other non-food items discarded or transferred to my storeroom. 

I will admit, and Laurie will be more than willing to tell you, that I’m ‘a bit’ lazy as regards housework.  In any case however, it's true that this project did provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment for both of us.

So…what have you done or are planning to do to pass the time while in self-isolation/quarantine? 

One last glimpse of spring at our blooming in one of our deck planters and pots.  These pretty little blue flowers signal the regrowth of our rosemary herbs.  Actually, they never really died off or went completely dormant over this mild winter and they were one of the first things to bloom here at our home at ‘paradise east’ in Tennessee.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Stay Well and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave and Laurie

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Malware Alert!!

Malware Alert 

This alert only applies to those of you that have exchanged emails with me.

If I have never sent you an actual email, this warning will not apply to you. 

One of my contacts has made me aware of a malware issue that is linked to an email I sent to him.  His IT Department at Zurich Insurance verified that it was indeed malware and an attempt to infect the recipient's computer.

The email refers to a decisive response to the Covid-19 pandemic and then it provides a fake link to my blog site.  That fake site is the malicious area.  Should you receive an email that is purportedly from me and it refers you to a 'blog site', DO NOT CLICK ON THAT LINK!  Simply delete the email and all will be well...

Stay Well and Take Care, Dave (AKA Big Daddy Dave)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Sequestration/Self-Isolation (II)

As I write this post, we’re in our eleventh day of self-isolation due to the Covid-19/corona virus pandemic.  For us at least, we are so far so good… However, we are amazed at the numbers of folks, even in our age group, who chose to ignore the warnings and precautions ordered by or recommended by the government and medical authorities.

To date, unlike many other parts of the USA, neither Tennessee nor specifically our county, have been completely shut down.  However, as of Monday restaurants  are not providing inside seating, but rather are offering curbside pickup and/or delivery.

The fact that some restaurants are still operating is good news for us although admittedly there is some risk of contagion from any package, bag or other item that has been touched or handled by others.  Don’t touch your face until you’ve disposed of the food packaging and have washed your hands thoroughly!

So we ordered dinner from nearby Thai Bistro at Tellico Village the other night and then drove by to pick it up…

Since this was a big break from our home cooking as well as a taste treat in these times of self-isolation, Laurie couldn’t skip her favorite Thai appetizer, the Crab Rangoon. (6 for $6.00) Thai Bistro makes the best Crab Rangoon and I was pleased that Laurie shared her special treat by giving me one too…

We also like the Fresh Rolls, basically vegetables wrapped in thin rice paper wrapped around lettuce, carrots, cilantro and basil. ($4.00) Dunk them in the accompanying spicy peanut sauce and you have a real fresh tasting treat! 

For my entrée, I ordered something new for me.  This was the Param Chicken. ($13.00) The chicken came with lightly braised carrots, broccoli, baby corn, cabbage and snow peas in a peanut sauce.  I had them kick it up to a Thai Hot spice level.  I ordered Brown Rice instead of the usual white rice and the up-charge was $2.50. 

It was really good and I enjoyed my meal although I think that the kitchen was too cautious with the heat level.  It seemed to me to just be a level 3 instead of the Thai Hot which is a level 5.   

Laurie’s entrée was a huge pile of food!  This was a new taste experience for her too.  This was her Pad Woonsen with chicken, glass bean threads stir fried with baby corn, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, snow peas, scallions, egg and onions. (12.00) Laurie asked for her heat level to be a 3…and it was about right.  She thought that her meal was alright but I don’t think she’d order it again.  She couldn’t finish it so I ‘had to’ help her out…and I agreed that it was OK but not great.  

Thai Bistro is located at 222 Lakeside Plaza in Loudon Tennessee.  Phone: 865-657-6440.  They are still open for take-out only and they are on Facebook at Website:

Its census time in the USA!  Everyone should have received this form letter in the mail.  You are requested to participate via the Internet at  The blocked out portion to the right of the website in the center of the form letter is where your personal census ID is located.  Laurie and I completed our input 2 days ago.  It’s important that we all participate as the census is what the government uses to apportion Federal funds to State and Local governments as well as to Schools.

Also…as they say, “Git ‘er done!  If not, a census worker will have to come knocking on your door…

Ending on a positive note… This is yet another view from our home looking out toward Tellico Lake.  Everything is greening up.  Hope springs eternal…and spring provides hope for rebirth.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

Stay Well and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, March 23, 2020

Sequestration/Self-Isolation (I)

As I write this post, we’re in our ninth day of self-isolation.  We are part of the perfect age group for serious complications from the Covid-19 virus.  Fortunately, we like each other because we’ll probably be confined to home, a short neighborhood walk or a drive in the country for some weeks to come.  So, no whining permitted…we’re making the most of it!

One truly positive factor is that it is spring!  Spring represents a rebirth and that is always uplifting.  Think about how much worse it would feel if we were all isolated in mid-winter.  Our plants are sprouting and bushes, plants and trees are blooming!  It gives us hope! (Both photos were taken from our deck)

Just a couple of days ago, Laurie and I went for a drive in the country.  Our goal was to get out of the house and to wander around the area to better appreciate the earth’s rebirth.  It was a positive change of pace!

Remember though… If you have to fuel up you vehicle, be sure and sanitize your hands before and after pumping gas!

We are both eating less and I’ve definitely lost a few pounds.  Still…food and regular meals are one of the reassuring constants during these times. 

The other day Laurie made up one of my favorite chicken dishes.  It involves chicken thighs or thigh meat cooked slowly in ‘enhanced’ cream of chicken soup.  The enhanced soup includes half and half milk and lots of spices.  We usually have a small bowl of rice on the side but we skipped the extra calories and just sided the chicken with some canned Italian green beans.

Another thought… Thinking about all those folks who are out of work with no income, we’ve doubled down on our monthly contribution to the local food bank.  Even if you’re not leaving your home, you can write a check or contribute on-line.

One of our purchases during our latest grocery foray were 2 zucchini pizza crusts.  Why not try something new that is perhaps a little bit healthy!  I forgot to buy pepperoni but we did have some spicy Italian sausage on hand along with shredded mozzarella and Italian pizza spices.  It was a simple meal and it was quite tasty.  I now have some pepperoni when we’re ready for the second pizza crust. 

Other meals have included mahi-mahi from Costco plus a long time favorite for most folks…Kraft Macaroni and Cheese!  Of course we added our own touch to this favorite, with extra cheese, a small can of baby peas, spices and hot dogs.  This is true comfort food!

Our neighbor Sherry stopped by this morning with a basket of warm blueberry muffins.  The hand off was at arms-length and the hands were sanitized after handling the basket.  The muffins look great don’t they!  We already had breakfast, so we now have a treat for later in the day.  Thanks neighbor!

We also had another visitor.  Laurie took this photo of a tiny frog on one of the breezeway windows looking out the front of the house.  He or she may have just been trying to keep warm.  Life goes on!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, March 20, 2020

Electrical Issues Continued…

My last post was all about our electrical issues and the ‘visit’ to our home by the Tellico Village Fire Department.  We’d called them because we wanted to be sure that nothing was burning in the walls and just to find out what had caused our problem… As per their conclusion, it was all about the coffee maker which was definitely fried.  

But…about 2 days later, Laurie looked at the thermostat that controls our dual fuel (electric and propane) HVAC unit for the main part of the house.  As you can see, it was blank…out of commission!  It is mounted on the wall closest to the coffee maker.

The next step was to call the electrician.  Laurie asked him to check everything out and to install a GFI outlet in place of the standard one that the coffee maker had been plugged into.  When he did that, he checked the wiring and it was all OK.  So were all of our electrical panels.

So we contacted our HVAC service provider.  A few days passed before they managed to stop by to check out the problem… The technician noted a brown smudge and a slightly burnt smell on the inside of the unit.  He changed out the thermostat…not an inexpensive item!  The system still didn’t work.

So he and his assistant opened up the unit beside the house.  The photo above shows what they found.  Note the ‘fried’ or burnt area near the center of the panel!  It was definitely toast!

Two days later, the assistant came and went to work outdoors to install the new board.  It didn’t take very long…

This was the new board that was installed.  Complex looking little bugger isn’t it?  Expensive too!

Then he came inside to show us how to work the new thermostat.  The first problem was that he’d never seen one like this before.  He had to call the company’s owner and have him tell him step by step what to do.  Then he and Laurie worked together to figure it out and set it up.  We concluded that the new thermostat has many more functions or ‘capabilities’ than we’ll ever use.  

The good news is that everything is now operational…

The best news in the midst of the world chaos is that it is spring!  Its official here as of 11:50 pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time on 3/19/20.  With the spring season comes a ‘rebirth’ of nature, something we really look forward to every year.  This photo shows our new and forsythia bush blooming for the first time.  Then just beyond the forsythia there are the blooms on one of our favorite bushes…the quince next to the driveway.  This cheerful bush blooms early and lasts for quite a while.

These 2 photos show our Lenten roses in bloom…yet another early flowering plant.  FYI, Lenten roses are usually left alone by the neighborhood deer.  The leaves of the plant produce poisonous alkaloids, making them unpalatable to most critters.

Laurie just took this photo of our jonquils in their glory this morning!  All of these signs of spring are more than welcome given the world-wide disaster that is Covid-19!  Like the plants and flowers, we too will come back in full force once this plague upon us all has passed.  In the meantime, we can enjoy nature in all its glory!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Self-Isolation/Sequestration Readiness

Well, when this post is published, we will be on our 5th day of Covid-19 self-isolation or sequestration.  More and more of our friends have opted for this ‘solution’ to the world-wide pandemic as the virus expands its reach. 

This post is all about the food and supplies we stocked up on.  We avoided over stocking any single item including paper products.  As for hand sanitizer, we’ll have to rely on what we have on hand plus our stock of hand soap as sanitizer was not to be found during our shopping forays…

We normally have a couple of snacks and miscellaneous food items out on the counter but this was a bit over the top.  We will wish that we had more cookies and other sweets as time goes on… Fresh fruit and vegetables will also be a challenge but we’ll deal with that issue all in good time.

The pantry in the laundry room right off the kitchen is as full as it’s ever been!  We certainly have more canned goods on hand than usual.  Chili, soup, canned vegetables, Spam, chicken and tuna are ‘in stock’.   

Our refrigerator was also jammed with lots of variety.  Salad, tomatoes, juice, eggs and butter are among the staples.

This is our meat and cheese drawer.  It is packed, mostly with various types of cheese and cheese spread along with extra Amish butter.

The freezer isn’t very large but it too is packed.  In addition to the chilled bottle of vodka, there are vegetables, fruit, snacks, meat and bread.

Now this may look like a lot of paper products to many people.  The first picture is of the toilet paper for the upstairs bathroom and I will admit that there is one package more than usual on hand.

The second photo is of the paper products that we store in the garage store room.  It may look like a lot but other than the tissues, there is actually less on hand than we normally would have after a visit to Costco.

These are our cleaning supplies and storage/garbage bags that we store on shelving in the garage.  It looks the way it does most of the time with no extra effort to add to the on-hand product. 

This is our “second pantry” in the store room at the back of our garage.  We normally do have extra food items on these shelves but the shelves are a bit more crowded than usual.  The top of the shelving unit has paper plates and cups plus Keurig pods…all normal on hand products.

The second photo shows the rest of the shelves.  Among other items our stock includes vitamins, health supplements, mouthwash, juice, cereal, BBQ sauce, Heinz Tabasco ketchup (an essential!), peanut butter, mayonnaise, cooking oils plus a variety of nuts, fruit and tea.

As I mentioned previously, the freezer in the kitchen is relatively small so we’re happy that we kept (at Laurie’s insistence) our old refrigerator when we bought a new one years ago.  As you can see, this freezer is packed with frozen food.  Included are several fish entrees on hand as well as chicken, hamburger, pork chops, sausage, bacon, lasagna, sliced beef and turkey plus more of that Amish butter and a few other items.

I know!  We definitely ‘missed an opportunity’ as shown in this photo.  Other than some leftover pasta, a package of yogurt, more fruit juice and a carton of half and half milk, along with little used beer and other beverages, the lower portion of our garage based refrigerator is almost wasted space.

So…what are you doing to cope with the Covid-19/Corona Virus Pandemic?  We definitely fall into the high risk group so self-isolation was a “no-brainer”!

Laurie and I are fortunate to be able to purchase and store extra food in order to cope with this situation.  Many folks are not as fortunate.  We contribute to our local food pantry every month and I'm stepping up our donations during this crisis!  Can you help too?

Whatever our or your situation is, no one could predict this world wide disaster or the negative ramifications that are now taking place and the many more problems that will result from it…  Humanity will survive this ‘plague’ of sorts and will learn from it.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Stay Safe, Stay Well and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave