Friday, December 31, 2021



Greetings from East Tennessee USA!

Laurie and I wish everyone a very happy and much heathier New Year!  2021 has been yet another year designed to try one's patience, that's for sure.  Consider the positive things that happened around you and around the world during what was a tough year for many...and for the world.  As we begin 2022, we hope that more folks stress the good things in life as well as the positive acts of others, both in the USA and around the world!  It may not seem like it, but we are all in this together...

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave and Laurie

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

“Home Cooking” -- Sort of --

Given Laurie’s immobility with her broken ankle…subsequent surgery…and sciatica, I’ve been the chief chef and bottle washer for about 2 months.  The good news is that she should be mobile again by New Year’s Eve!  We have our fingers crossed.  She is not good at sitting and not doing…and I am not an amazing chef!

As a matter of fact, as I reviewed our more recent food photos, I noted that I didn’t often take photos of the meals I ‘prepared’ unless I count our ‘take out’ menu items.  Who takes photos of soup and a ham sandwich for dinner?  What the heck!  I did call in those take-out orders and then I picked them up… That has to count for something.

Yes, I am starting this post with a take-out meal… I called in an order to our local Italian Restaurant, Little Italy in Loudon Tennessee.  Laurie had one of my favorites, the Sausage Alfredo Skillet. ($15.95) This offering consists of penne pasta, grape tomatoes, Italian sausage and Cajun seasoning cooked in an Alfredo sauce with grated parmesan.  Excellent…especially since she couldn’t finish it and I ‘had’ to have it for brunch later in the week!

As for myself, I opted for the Chicken Romano. ($17.95) With this dish, slices of chicken breast are encrusted with asiago and Romano cheese and they are served over a bed of linguini with Alfredo sauce.  Both dishes came with garlic bread knots and a salad…

If I do say so myself, this was another fine example of yours truly delivering a fine meal at home…

We actually went out to eat once during this past 3 weeks.  Of course, this adventure followed another doctor’s appointment so it was convenient and the late afternoon timing was perfect.  No crowds and quick service… As you can see, we opted for a Texas Roadhouse Restaurant as they are large and spacious, easy to get around with a wheelchair.  This particular restaurant is located in the Turkey Creek shopping area in Knoxville – Farragut Tennessee.

If you’ve never been in a Texas Roadhouse, they tend to blend wood with the industrial look and they are very casual.  The staff seems to wear whatever they feel like, within reason of course.  The restaurant was moderately busy for roughly 4 PM on a weekday.

Warm rolls come with the meals and they’re pretty decent too.  I don’t care for the honey butter that accompanies them but I didn’t think to order regular butter until it was too late.  We both had Caesar salads and we agreed that salads in restaurants always seem to taste better than ones we make at home.  Of course, giving my dietary restrictions, any salad with leafy greens has to be a rare treat.  I didn’t finish mine as I didn’t want to push my luck with my meds.

Laurie ordered the 3 Piece Fried Catfish Dinner with steak fries. ($13.99) She didn’t much care for the corn meal breading but the fish itself was fine.  Fortunately for me, she couldn’t finish all that fish.  The left overs served me well in another ‘home cooked’ meal where I used them for a nice sandwich.

As for myself, I went for the 12 oz. Fort Worth Ribeye Steak with a side of applesauce. ($19.99) The steak was cooked correctly…medium rare…and it was a decent steak overall. 

Service was spotty and we felt like the restaurant was a bit disorganized…perhaps due to staffing/training issues.  There wasn’t any pepper on the table, (got up and got it from another table), asked for lemon with our water and iced tea…and had to ask twice, plus Laurie never did get that extra tartar sauce she requested.  Also, $2.99 for iced tea is why we normally just ask for water…

This Texas Roadhouse Restaurant is located at 11001 Turkey Creek Drive in Knoxville Tennessee.  Phone: 865-392-9150.  Texas Roadhouse has over 650 restaurants in 49 states and 10 countries.  Website: Homepage | Texas Roadhouse.

Yet another recent ‘home cooked’ meal was a large pepperoni and sausage pizza that I picked up from Little Italy in Loudon Tennessee.  I figure that if I have to call in an order and then go pick it up, I should count that as a Big Daddy Dave initiated ‘home cooked’ dinner…  These pizzas aren’t equal to New York style quality, but it is for sure a good substitute here in East Tennessee. 

FYI, Little Italy is located at 316 Lakeside Plaza in Loudon Tennessee.  Phone: 865-657-6224.  Their on-line menu can be found at  

Finally, a real home cooked meal!  I had determined that we were having a prime rib roast for our big meal on Christmas Day.  It was a single rib roast weighing 2.61 lbs. and it cost $44.00 at Fresh Market...$16.86 per pound.  This was my plate before attacking the meal!

I almost destroyed this pricy piece of beef as well as the complete meal all by myself.  I’m not used to operating our oven so I managed to turn it off at the point where I was supposed to just lower the temperature for slow roasting… Not a good thing!  Fortunately, after receiving instruction from Laurie, the roast came out OK despite my errors…medium to medium rare.  The potatoes, which were roasted with the prime rib, were another matter.  Some were cooked and edible while the others will turn into fried potatoes for breakfast in the near future.

I’m counting on my returning soon to the role of ‘sous chef in training’ when Laurie is back on her feet and has once again assumed her position in our home as master chef!

I thought that it would be appropriate to end this post with a moon shot…faint and fuzzy through the branches of life…much like my earnest and well-intended efforts in the kitchen and on-line. 

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, December 24, 2021



Laurie and I hope that everyone enjoys a happy and peaceful Holiday Season!  There is no doubt that after what we've all experienced throughout this past year, we do deserve some fun time...some close and warm times with family and friends.  Enough with illness and politics!  We all need love and understanding...

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave and Laurie  

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Kentucky Road Trip in October 2021 (1)

Following our road trip to Omaha, western Nebraska and St. Louis back in July, we stayed around our home in East Tennessee for about 3 months.  Then we got restless and decided to drive north up US I-75 to the area around Lexington Kentucky, stay for a couple of nights and check out some local attractions.

When Laurie mentioned to her sister Bonnie that we were going on this short adventure, a quick decision was made for Bonnie and her husband Bill to drive over from the St. Louis area and join us…

During our drive north up I-75, we encountered a lot of heavy fog… We took lots of fog photos but it turns out that fog is hard to photograph while in motion.  The first photo gives you an idea of how thick the fog was and of course, driving along at 70 – 75 miles per hour with limited visibility is a bit nerve wracking…

In the second photo, as we moved north and the fog thinned out, we spotted a fast flowing stream of fog coming right across the highway.  It was very much like a river and, while I’ve seen fog come across the coastal ranges of northern California, this bit of foggy action was quite different.

…and then we were in the clear!  There was some color in the fall leafs but for the third week in October, there was more green than usual.  It had been warmer and dryer than usual.

Laurie and I had timed our drive so we could arrive at the Kentucky Horse Park at about the same time as Bonnie and Bill.  Laurie and I last visited the Kentucky Horse Park ca. 1987…and it sure has changed…expanded since our last visit.

On our previous visit, Secretariat (1970 – 1989) was still alive and we had a chance to see this beautiful champion Thoroughbred race horse in person.  He not only won the American Triple Crown, he still holds the fastest time record for all three races.  The Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.  He actually won the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths!

Our first stop after buying our tickets and looking around the Vistor’s Center and displays at the Kentucky Horse Park was the International Museum of the Horse.  This museum occupies over 60,000 square feet and it is the largest museum in the world that is dedicated to understanding the history of all horses and their impact on civilization.

Among the first exhibits we viewed were recreated scenes of early ancestors of Equus, which includes today’s horses, asses and zebras.  ‘Dinohippus’ is thought to be the last direct ancestor of today’s members of the Equus family.  It lived in North America from about 13,000,000 to 5,000,000 years ago.  Dinohippus had the ‘stay’ apparatus, a safety feature that helped the horse to stand for long periods of time with little expenditure of energy… Consequently, it was one of the first horses that could sleep while standing, a valuable ability when it comes to evading predators.

A number of early horse drawn conveyances are exhibited in the museum, including this full size reproduction of a 2-horse Egyptian chariot that was found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun. (1320 BCE) Another exhibit featured a heavy and comparatively crude Sumerian Battle Wagon modeled after pictographs from tombs dated back to 2600 – 2450 BCE.  Both of these horse drawn war machines were effective in assisting their respective armies in conquering neighboring kingdoms…

I love dioramas!  The International Museum of the Horse features many dioramas showing the use and impact of horses through various periods of history.  The first diorama shown above depicts Attila’s cavalry attacking the town of Constantia near the Danube River.  This event took place in 441 A.D. because the Romans neglected to pay their agreed upon tribute which had heretofore caused Attila to refrain from attacking Roman settlements.  FYI, the tribute amounted to over a ton of gold each year…

Among the many other dioramas there was this detailed ‘picture’ of life in the winter here in the USA along the frontier.  This is just half of the diorama but it shows horses being used on a small homestead as well as a 6 horse hitch pulling a Conestoga wagon across a crude log bridge.

Other dioramas included Knights jousting, early frontier horse races, and a very large city scene.  The latter showed horses pulling farm wagons, carriages, a stagecoach, freight wagons, delivery carts, and a horse drawn bus as well as a horse drawn trolley. 

There was a lot of attention paid to thoroughbred horses and their heritage.  The first photograph shows the 3 horses that are considered as the foundation stallions of today’s thoroughbred horses.  The horses across the top are the “Byerley Turk”, the “Darley Arabian” and the “Godolphin Arabian”. 

All 3 stallions have certain things in common.  They were all Arabian horses that were imported to England where they were bred with existing English stock.  The 3 horses at the bottom of the first photo are famous descendants of these 3 foundation stallions.  FYI, the Byerley Turk was captured in the late 1600s by Captain Byerley at the siege of Buda in Hungary and this stallion was the first of these elite horses to breed in England.

The Arabian horse originated on the Arabian Peninsula.  It has a distinctive head shape and holds its tail high.  One of the oldest horse breeds in the world, evidence of horses resembling modern Arabians has been found that dates back 4,500 years.  Arabian horses have been used to add speed, refinement, endurance and strong bone structure to other breeds and now Arabian bloodlines are found in almost every modern breed of riding horse.

I like transportation related vehicles include airplanes, trucks, automobiles, ships…and horse drawn conveyances.  Among the many horse drawn vehicles I noted was this full size Concord stagecoach and a model Sears, Roebuck delivery wagon.    

Other wheeled vehicles on display were a hearse, a skeleton wagon, (basically a light frame with light wheels and a seat), a Conestoga wagon and of course, a surrey with the fringe on top.

The museum pays tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers.  They originally were members of the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the US Army, formed in September of 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  The nickname was given to the Colored Cavalry by Native American tribes who fought in the Indian Wars.  The term “Buffalo Soldiers” caught on and became synonymous with all of the African-American regiments formed in that time period.  A little recognized fact is that 23 Buffalo Soldiers received the Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars…

Horse racing was the most popular sport throughout the early history of the United States.  Its popularity was concurrent with the institution of slavery.  It’s a fact that the care and training of race horses was largely the purview of enslaved men…

Laurie and I love these gentle giants…the draft horses!  The Shire, Percheron, Belgian, Clydesdale and the Suffolk Punch are the 5 largest horse breeds in the world.  All of these work horses can reach weights of over 2000 pounds.  A couple of these breeds are fairly rare.  They include the Percheron and the Suffolk Punch.  We’re all familiar with the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales and if you’ve never seen them up close and personal, it should be added to your things to do list!

If you are a true horse racing fan, there are many exhibits showing famous race horses, jockey’s, breeder’s colors, trophies, victory photos and much more.  Horse shows themselves are another major focus of the exhibits.  While we do enjoy an occasional horserace, with us it’s all about the horses themselves.  We prefer them in a field doing what horses do…

Back to transportation…by horse of course!  There even is a collection of sleighs.  The first photo includes at French Carousel Sleigh from 1780.  The sleigh next to it is a doctor’s sleigh from 1890.  The second photo is of a bob sleigh from 1905.  I never thought about it but it is probable that a sleigh or early sled was the first transport vehicle used by man…boughs or branches being towed across the ground with whatever was being transported on top of the branches.  

So…enough about this piece of the International Museum of the Horse.  There was much more to be seen at the Kentucky Horse Park!  To be continued...

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Merry Christmas to all!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave and Laurie

Friday, December 17, 2021

July Road Trip – St. Louis Family (2)

…coming to the end of our July road trip during which we visited our son and his family in Omaha, explored northern and western Nebraska and then stopped in St. Louis on the return trip to visit Laurie’s extended family.  The focus was on Laurie’s sisters and some of their family members…

One of our most important stops was at Friendship Village, a retirement community where Laurie’s oldest sister, Glenda, and her husband, Ken, reside.  After a very nice lunch and visit in the restaurant, we stopped in one of the lounges to take these photos. 

In the first picture, Ken and Glenda are seated with Glenda’s sisters, Bonnie, Karole and Laurie standing behind them.  The second photo of Ken and Glenda also includes their daughter Judy…

During our visit we also went out to eat with other family members.  In this case, sister Karole is with her husband Bob and the sister’s cousin Johnny is with his wife Rose.  No food photos as this meal was in a restaurant that I’ve written up several times before…

The family has a plethora of double cousins.  Laurie’s mother and one of her sisters, Laurie’s aunt Lois, married two brothers.  Between the two families, there were 9 children. 

One evening we decided to stop at Ted Drewes iconic Frozen Custard stand.  Ted Drewes Sr., a local tennis legend, opened his first frozen custard store in 1929.  This particular frozen custard stand was opened in 1941 at 6276 Chippewa Street…historic Route 66…in St. Louis Missouri.  There is almost always a line waiting for this frozen treat!

However, Laurie and Bonnie ‘let’ Bill and myself wait in the line while they watched the crowd.

We took quite a few family photos at Bill and Bonnie’s house.  In this case, it was Bonnie with her granddaughter and star athlete Delany.  During this visit we didn’t get to see Kasey, Delany’s mom.

This could be considered a ‘classic’ photo… Bill and yours truly chilling in Bonnie and Bill’s living room.  We relax/chill better than most but it may have something to do with our age and stage in life.

Kyle, Bonnie and Bill’s son, stopped by for a visit while we were there.  Kyle and Melissa posed for this photo with their sons Collin and Keaton.  A nice looking family for sure…

Another visitor during our stay was Kevin, Kasey’s husband and proud papa of Charley Kate…the family’s ‘killer’ hockey player!  But in this case, she was happily playing with an antique china tea set that had belonged to my mother.  We’d given it to Bonnie for her youngest granddaughters to play with...our grandchildren are both boys.  The girls treat the set with great care…while having some great ‘tea’ parties.

At bit later, Elliot Jane, another of Kasey’s daughters, (there are 4 of them), was dropped off so Grandma Bonnie could babysit for a while.  She loves playing with some of my mother’s dolls that we’d given to Bonnie for just this purpose.  Nice to see some of my mom’s old collectables being appreciated by the girls!

We missed seeing Judy’s husband and their family, plus Karole and Bob’s sons and granddaughters as well as Kasey and her other daughter, Avery Eileen.  Next time for sure!  Laurie has more close relatives in St. Louis than I have all across the country…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

July Road Trip – St. Louis Family (1)

 …returning to our road trip from last July.  After visiting our son and his family in Omaha, followed by our exploration of northern and western Nebraska, our next stop was a visit to Laurie’s extended family in the St. Louis Missouri area…

Upon our arrival in St. Louis, Laurie’s sister Bonnie and her husband Bill had us over for a very nice dinner.  We started with a very nice caprese salad…mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, basil and a balsamic reduction.  As you can see, the main course included fresh bakery break, baked Hasselback potatoes, grilled asparagus and a fine top sirloin strip steak!  Excellent!

The next day, Laurie and I were treated to a couple of wineries that are located within an easy driving distance from the metropolitan area.  Our first stop was at the Sugar Creek Winery.

This winery was founded in 1994.  Their current on-line listing shows 14 different varieties of wine…from sweet to dry.  During our visit they were quite busy at the tasting bar.  I noted the brandy and vodka bar as well, but there isn’t anything on their website that describes it. 

Not only is the Sugar Creek Winery popular for its wine, but apparently they also provide a venue for weddings, receptions and other private parties or events.  There are a variety of areas, small and large, for such gatherings.

The vineyards themselves looked nice and lush don’t you think?  The views along this area in St. Charles County Missouri near the Missouri River are very appealing indeed!

Sugar Creek Winery is located at 125 Boone Country Road in Defiance Missouri.  It is right on the Katy trail through Missouri.  Phone: 636-987-2400.  Website:

Our next stop was the expansive Montelle Winery.  This area of Missouri was well known for its wine during the 1800s…but Prohibition stopped winemaking in this area for decades.  In the late 1960s and early 1970, several brave entrepreneurs began to attempt to revitalize the business.  Montelle Vineyards was founded in 1970. 

Wine tasting at Montelle’s expansive wine bar could keep you occupied for quite a while.  They produce about 21 different wines ranging from sweet holiday wines to wines made from fruit other than grapes.  Most of the wine however is of the ‘grape’ variety.  The winery also produces 4 types of brandy, apple, peach, cherry and grape or grappa.

We bought some wine and headed out to the terrace…a series of multi-level decks overlooking the stunning Missouri River Valley.  It was peaceful and relaxing.  Sadly, there is talk about housing developments in the valley… One can only hope that it doesn’t happen anytime soon.

The Montelle Winery also features food…always nice for someone like myself who doesn’t regularly partake of wine.  The Klondike CafĂ© offers wraps, sandwiches, salads, pizzas and snacks/appetizers.  In our case, we didn’t have to long to wait before dinner, so we just ordered their Jumbo Pretzel.  It comes packed with a variety of cheese cubes, slices of salami, a cheese spread, grapes and a nice mustard. ($20.00) Sunshine, family, wine and something to eat…hard to beat!

Of course, we just had to take photos of each other out on the terrace… It was a beautiful day, not too warm with a little breeze…and it was yet another opportunity to celebrate life!  Thanks to Bill and Bonnie for the great afternoon…

The Montelle Winery is located at 201 Montelle Drive in Augusta Missouri.  The location is hard to beat!  As you can imagine from the photos, the winery is a place where many weddings and corporate events are held.  Phone: 836-228-4464.  Their website can be found at

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave