Local Tourism: Historic Carter House in Franklin, Tennessee

The front of Carter House. The room on the left was Fountain Branch Carter’s bedroom, and the room on the right was the parlor. Upstairs are two children’s bedrooms. The home’s dining room was in the basement (under the bedroom). An addition to the home behind the parlor contained two more bedrooms. The Carters raised eight children in this home. (Photo credit: The Battle of Franklin Trust)

When we decided to visit the Carter House in nearby Franklin we thought we’d be taking a quick stroll through the grounds, checking out the house’s exterior, learning a little bit of Civil War history, and leaving with enough time left to walk through downtown Franklin to check out the shops and restaurants located there. Little did we know that we’d end up spending a fascinating afternoon learning about a short but decisive Civil War battle and a family that unexpectedly ended up in the middle of it. Our visit to Carter House turned out to be one of the most informative and enjoyable historic tours we’ve ever taken.

The Carter House was home to the extended Carter family, built by Fountain Branch Carter in 1830. A farmer and businessman, Carter owned 28 slaves, and not only owned a large farm but also owned and operated the largest cotton gin in the area (located just across the road from his home). He ran a third successful business in the city of Franklin as well.

Outbuildings at the Carter home, clockwise from the upper left: original slave quarter house which was moved to its present location from another part of the property: slave quarter interior (which probably didn’t look as cozy and comfortable back in the day); kitchen interior; kitchen exterior – the building sits just outside the house in back; bullet holes in the south-facing back wall of the farm office; the bullet-riddled south-facing back wall of the smokehouse; the hand-hewn brining trough in the smokehouse.

On November 30, 1864, Carter House ended up in the middle of the Second Battle of Franklin, perhaps the shortest battle in the Civil War (only five hours long), and maybe the bloodiest as well, with heavy casualties on both sides but more so on the Confederate side. The family had been given a small window of time to leave the area before the fighting began but decided to stay and ended up barricaded in a basement room as the battle raged outside. The house and outbuildings are said to have more bullet holes than any other surviving buildings from the war, with every one still standing on the site – house, farm office, kitchen, and smokehouse – riddled with holes and scars, mostly on the outside but some inside as well, including the main house. The 28-member Carter family, ranging in age from three to sixty-seven, survived the battle.

The parlor, the dining room (located in the basement), and our wonderful guide telling about life in the Carter home. Many of the furniture pieces in the house were owned by the Carters and were in the home at the time of the battle. The interior has been authentically restored.

Because we had brought our puppy along with us for the day and he was not allowed inside the house, Brett chose to walk him through the grounds where the fighting took place. The property is well-marked with informational plaques about the Second Battle of Franklin and what happened in different places on the property that day. I went on the home tour to learn about the Carter family, the house, and what happened on that day in 1864. I can honestly say I’ve never had a better guide anywhere! A natural storyteller, he brought the history of Carter House and the Battle of Franklin to life in a clear and engaging way. The more I learned as we went along, the more I wanted to know.

The south side of Carter House shows the large covered porch at the rear of the house. Bullet holes are visible up and down the side of the house.

Fountain Branch Carter lived in the house into the late 19th century and was its original tour guide as veterans of the battle and their families returned to visit the site. He eventually sold the house to private owners but when they put the house up for sale in 1951 it was purchased by the state of Tennessee as a historical site. It is now operated by the Battle of Franklin Trust who maintain and manage the site along with two other mansions involved with the battle that also survived, Carnton and Rippavilla.

Our guide took my picture through one of the bullet holes on the north side of the farm office. The number of bullet holes visible on the property was truly shocking.

Carnton, also located in Franklin, will be our next visit. The area around Franklin is loaded with historic sites and markers, and we’re making it our mission to get to as many as we can while we’re here. Carter House though was the ideal place to start!

Eating & Exercise: Getting the Ship Turned Back Around

A tasty, healthy dinner, courtesy of Trader Joe’s: air-fried vegetable spring rolls, steamed chicken shu mai, and organic coleslaw.

As we both feared and somewhat expected, the eating and exercise regime Brett and I created in Hawaii fell apart when we started traveling again, and we were never any place long enough to set a consistent routine and stick with it. Restaurant meals, airport food, and delicious and affordable local cuisine in Mexico changed how we we ate the past four months. Hot and/or humid weather, dealing with San Miguel de Allende’s higher altitude, and sometimes uncomfortable walking venues kept exercise opportunities inconsistent or impossible at times. We did our best, but always knew we could do better.

Surprisingly, we gained very little to no weight. We had learned to keep our portion sizes small, so large lunches or brunches in Mexico meant we would skip dinner. I thought all the delicious bakery items we enjoyed in San Miguel de Allende would do us in, but they came with less sugar and fat than they would have in the U.S,, and that seemed to help keep things on an even keel. We’re both out of shape though when it comes to walking and moving around. My hips are stiff again, and the heat and humidity knock me out in short time. There are no refreshing ocean breezes here to keep us going like they did in Hawaii but I can and will acclimate.

It’s time for both Brett and I to get serious again with our health. We’re settled now, we have an abundance of sources to supply us with fresh, healthy food, and a dog that needs to be walked a few times a day. Our apartment complex has an air-conditioned gym with treadmills we can use on super hot, humid or bad weather days, so we have no excuses for not exercising every day.

I am once again keeping a daily food diary. We’ve added meat back into our diet, but only occasionally and in small portions. For the most part our diet is still mostly vegetarian/vegan. We’re eating more fresh fruits and vegetables again, drinking several big glasses of water each day, and we’ve stopped buying sweets other than something small to enjoy after dinner each evening. Both of us have new walking shoes on our shopping list. Brett walks Kaipo several times a day, and I go with them for a long walk every evening. As time goes on, the distance we walk will increase.

Beginning next week I’m going to start the weekly eating and exercise posts back up again – they were a big help to me before and will be again. Brett’s and my efforts in Hawaii made a genuine difference in our health before and it’s important we get this ship turned around and heading in the right direction again. We can do this!

Moving In, Getting Settled

A short update from my phone . . .

All is going well in Tennessee although we still don’t have an Internet connection. A technician is scheduled to come on Saturday to see if he can figure out what’s wrong. Data through my phone is all I’ve got right now.

We are almost completely unpacked and the furniture we’ve ordered has been arriving daily. Brett and his trusty tool kit have been busy every day assembling things (the bed came without instructions but he had it together in three hours), and so far we’re happy with everything we’ve bought. We currently have a sofa & loveseat, dining table & chairs, a very comfortable bed (I’ve been sleeping like a log), and bedside tables & lamps. Oh, and a lamp in the living room that about broke my hand when I made the lampshade. Brett said it was easier to assemble the bed without instructions than put one piece of the lampshade together (and there were over 75 pieces to assemble). Our coffee table arrives tomorrow, a console table and small desk for Brett on Saturday, the credenza for the TV on Tuesday, and a rug for the living room on Wednesday and then we’re done!! The apartment is very, very nice but lacks storage somewhat so organizing has been a challenge at times but we’ve made good progress and found a place for everything.

We’re having a terrific time with our son and family. K is sleeping next to me as I write this – her first sleepover at Grandma & Grandpa’s. Brett will fix her breakfast tomorrow and take her to school as our son will be on his way to pick up our grandson from camp. They’ll be back here on Saturday for another week before returning to Japan. Our son just received a major promotion at his company so we’re all celebrating that and M’s work is going well too.

Fingers are crossed that we’re back online on Saturday, but no guarantees. If all goes well I’ll post a giveaway next week! In the meantime, thanks for hanging in there with me. It’s been an exhausting week, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel . . .

. . . when we’ll be adding a small, very energetic puppy to the mix! I think (hope) we’re ready.

Sunday Morning 8/7/2022: A Quick Update

Sunset and blue hour on the way to Boston

We are on our way to Nashville today! We were up early this morning, enjoyed a wonderful free breakfast at the hotel (sausage gravy and biscuits for me!), have loaded up the van once again and will hit the road in a few minutes. Our drive today should only take around three hours (versus the eight hours we’ve driven the past two days).

Our first stop once we arrive in Nashville will be at the car dealer to pick up our new car! Once that piece of business is taken care of we’ll head to our hotel for the night and get checked in, unload the van once more, then head over to see our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. I’m so excited about that I can barely stand it!

We had a long day last Tuesday getting out of San Miguel de Allende and up to Boston, but our flights were comfortable and we actually arrived on time with WenYu and Meiling waiting for us. After we got home to WenYu’s we spent a couple of hours catching up with the girls, and then Brett and I fell into a deep sleep. I honestly did not sleep well the entire time we were in Mexico and it was wonderful to sleep so deeply again without waking up several times during the night or super early in the morning (like between 4:00 and 6:00 a.m.). I couldn’t get over the difference in how good I felt the next morning.

Good times in Massachusetts

Our two days in Massachusetts went by too quickly. On Wednesday, WenYu and I went to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things for Brett and I to carry along on our journey. Afterwards she took us on a walk around their property (the house sits on 10 wooded acres) – such a lovely place to live! Meiling had found a box of oil paints in a free box on her street, and brought them along with her along with a couple of canvasses, so we had fun watching the girls both try oil painting for the first time. In the evening we had dinner over at WenYu’s partner’s parent’s home. We enjoyed our time with them immensely and it was obvious they adore WenYu and look out for her. Early Thursday afternoon WenYu took us over to pick up our rental van, which turned out to be not only brand new but much, much bigger than we expected. Brett loaded it with all our stuff when we got back to the house, then he and I went with the girls to a concert being held at WenYu’s workplace. The band was great, and we had a very good time at the event (WenYu had recently worked with the band to design their logo). WenYu picked up sushi for everyone on the way home for a late dinner.

If there was a downside to our stay it was that WenYu’s partner wasn’t feeling well most of the time. He has long Covid (although currently disease free) and has no energy most of the time. It’s made it very difficult for him to work or do other things. He did show us around his work spaces (some in his home, some in his parents’ home), and provided us with gifts (a t-shirt for Brett and some of his product adorned with Meiling’s and WenYu’s artwork for me, to which I will add necessary accoutrement for a Christmas gift for our grandson). We left with a much better understanding of his product and the process that goes into designing, fabrication, and then getting it to customers.

We set off early Friday morning, and made our way through five states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, stopping in Chambersburg for the night). We were up early again yesterday morning, enjoyed a delicious free breakfast at the hotel, reloaded the van, and traveled through another five states – Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, a long drive through Virginia, and finally Tennessee – stopping for the night in Knoxville. We have spent over $100 less than expected on gas, and less than $10 for food and drink while we’ve been on the road (WenYu gave us sandwiches to bring along). Breakfasts have been free at both hotels, and the hotel in Knoxville (Drury Inn) provided a free dinner as well.

There was lots of road work in MA, CT, and NY that added about an hour to our drive on Friday, but we also endured an awful rain storm in Pennsylvania for nearly an hour – we could barely see the road in front of us! Thankfully almost all the other cars and trucks put on their emergency flashers so we could see them. The roads were better yesterday but we had to drive through not one but two even worse storms, one in Virginia and one as we approached Knoxville. Both of these storms were frightening, with even heavier rain than Friday and loads of thunder and lightening, but very few put on their flashers and some didn’t even turn on their lights. Thankfully Brett is a good driver who remained calm and just kept going although we had a near miss during the final storm when a car pulling a trailer without any lights on stopped for some reason in the middle of the Interstate versus pulling over and we almost ran right into him. Thankfully Brett was able to swerve around him at the last second.

Anyway, it’s been quite the journey so far but we are ready to finally be in Nashville and start unpacking and settling in. We will meet with the property manager tomorrow morning to get the keys to our place, then will unload the van for the last time and head to Costco to purchase a mattress and TV. The van will be returned on Tuesday, and after that’s taken care of we’ll go food shopping. Our furniture will arrive on Thursday and we should be nearly settled by next weekend!

San Miguel de Allende: City of Fountains

San Miguel de Allende is a city of fountains. They come in all shapes and sizes, with some still providing water while others are dry. All are a delight to stop and admire, and it’s been exciting to discover new ones.

Though often dry today, the fountains have lost none of their history and charms.  They provided, of course, the water the town was founded around but also locations to provide an opportunity to gossip.  Some of that gossip rippled into international consequences with the notion of gaining freedom from Spain – San Miguel Times.

Below are seven fountains we’ve come across so far (in no particular order), but we’ve learned there are more than 30 fountains all together in the city, so there are many more to discover and we’re actively looking now!

Rethinking Some Things

We had everything planned out: Leave Mexico. Fly to Boston. Pick up stored items. Drive to Nashville. Rent an apartment. Buy a car. Buy furniture. Live there with our little dog for two years and enjoy the company of our daughter-in-law and granddaughter. After that, either road trip around the U.S. or settle in New England.

We honestly were never very excited about either of those post-Nashville options, but we knew with a car, furniture, and a dog any other future travel options would be limited.

While I was once again looking at cars the other day I noticed that Subaru offered a two-year lease option; everything I’d seen up to then only offered 36-month terms. Two year leases can be difficult to find, and although the monthly payment for a 24-month lease is higher than for 36 months, it’s still affordable (and far less than a car payment if purchasing). Leasing while we’re in Nashville would give us the opportunity and freedom to ditch the car at the end of our two-year stay if we want. And, while leasing is normally not the wisest financial choice, our short time in Nashville would be one of those occasions where leasing, at least initially, makes more sense than buying.

Leasing a car also got us thinking again about whether it might make more sense to lease furniture while we’re in Nashville versus purchasing. I’ve had a lot of fun these past few months looking online at furniture and deciding what to buy, but realized if we leased we could return the furniture at the end of two years and not be tied to having to find a place to settle elsewhere or storing the furniture if we decide to return to our nomadic lifestyle. Leasing became a serious consideration for a few days until we crunched numbers again and figured out it would be less expensive to purchase a few things from IKEA when we arrive and then sell them when we leave rather than getting tied down to either expensive furniture purchases or a monthly rental payment.

Leasing a car, and buying a few pieces from IKEA still leaves us with the responsibility of owning a dog, but I’ve been reading about traveling internationally with a dog, and while it does require a bit more effort it’s not all that difficult to bring your pet along to many countries. Our little guy will be small enough to travel in the cabin with us on flights, and while entry into several countries with a dog, including Japan, Mexico, Great Britain, and the E.U., requires some paperwork and keeping up with vaccinations and tests, it’s not overwhelming and would mean no quarantine. With our preference for longer stays, a little upfront effort would mean our dog could accompany us on future travels. Having him along would of course change the nature of travel and somewhat limit where we can go, but would not curb it entirely.

Brett and I still would very much like to travel as much as possible before we can’t any more. We like the nomadic lifestyle, and it’s a good fit for us. At first living in Nashville seemed like a complete game-changer, but we look back and realize our last two years on Kaua’i passed in what now seems the blink of an eye. Treating our time in Nashville like the temporary stay it will be is a more sensible frame of mind for us to be in, and one that better seems to fit our needs, dreams, and desires for the time being.

We’re in Mexico! (in spite of another wretched travel day)

The view from our front door: palm tree, flowers, and an orange tree again!

After some sad goodbyes to the girls throughout the day, Brett and I were packed and ready to leave Pennsylvania last Sunday night. We got a good night’s sleep, and woke up at 6:00 a.m. on Monday, ready to head back to Baltimore to turn in our car and get checked in for our afternoon flight to Toronto. The drive back to Baltimore was lovely this time, the complete opposite of our trip up to Philadelphia. There was little to no traffic, the scenery through Pennsylvania bucolic, and we arrived at the car rental return right on schedule. We had time for a leisurely lunch at the airport and were checked in for our flight approximately two hours before boarding. Heavy storms had been expected to pass through Baltimore, but although it was cloudy when we arrived a couple of hours later the sky was clear and there were nothing but blue skies as far as the eye could see. What could go wrong?

Plenty as it turns out. At 3:30, less than an hour before boarding, we received a notice that our flight had been delayed by an hour because of “technical” problems up in Toronto. Soon after, a second message arrived that the flight had been delayed for a second time and would now be departing two hours after the original flight time. Over the next five and a half hours we receive eight messages, each announcing a further delay, caused as it turned out by staffing issues in Toronto and a very inexperienced ground staff in Baltimore. We were finally boarded around 7:00 p.m. but sat on the plane for another hour while the staff tried to fix the tickets of six passengers they had screwed up earlier (they failed). We eventually arrived in Toronto at 10:20 p.m., more than six hours later than our scheduled arrival.

Our room at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel was beautiful and comfortable, and conveniently located to the airport, but we spent less than four hours there.

We had been told to expect possible long delays at Toronto airport both for arrivals (two to three hour waits to get through customs) and departures (two to three hour waits to get through security), but we sailed through immigration and were welcomed to Canada. Brett’s suitcase appeared quickly on the baggage carousel but mine was nowhere to be found. We eventually learned that was because the staff at Baltimore had checked my bag all the way to Mexico City but Brett’s only to Toronto! All I can say is thank goodness we went to look or Brett’s bag never would have made it to Mexico. We then headed the short distance to the Sheraton hotel only to find ourselves at the end of a line of over 50 people, all waiting to get a room for the night. After standing in line for over a half hour the manager came out and announced going forward only those with a reservation would be given a room. The line suddenly got very small and we were soon handed our key. We walked into our gorgeous room just after 1:00 a.m., the room where we had planned to get a good night’s sleep before heading to Mexico. We instead got a two-hour nap and a hot shower before leaving before 4:00 a.m. to recheck Brett’s suitcase and beat the long lines at security.

When we set out yesterday though our fortunes had changed, thank goodness, because we were now flying Business Class. We had a special check-in line and a special line through security so no waiting. We ate a light breakfast at the airport (bagels and coffee, purchased with the dining voucher we had been given at Baltimore by Air Canada), boarded on time, and had a very comfortable flight to Mexico City, which arrived on time. I got to watch my all-time favorite travel movie during the flight, Crazy Rich Asians (I’ve so far watched it 12 times on different trips), and we both got a little sleep. The line to get through immigration in Mexico City was long, but before long we were through and on our way up to San Miguel de Allende in a private van with a great driver. We were delivered to the door of our charming apartment by our driver and lovely host, then unpacked our pajamas, fell into bed, and slept for another 14 hours!

We awoke this morning to birdsong and a lovely view from our front doors, almost like the view from the apartment in Kaua’i! I’m enjoying my second cup of coffee, the washing machine is taking care of our first load of dirty travel clothes, and all is well. We’re heading out in a little while to check out our neighborhood and have some breakfast, as well as find a grocery store to stock up. But otherwise, today will be a day of rest and recuperation as we begin our time in San Miguel de Allende. We’re so happy to be here!

Just Plain Nuts

The title of this post is the only description you need to understand what’s going on with real estate on Kaua’i these days. There is a real estate bubble pretty much everywhere in the U.S., and mortgage rates are rising, but prices on our little island have now left the stratosphere and entered unknown territory.

This 320 square foot “studio” condo is priced at $315,000 ($984/square foot). There’s no kitchen, and the HOA is $1,372/month and covers electricity, cable, wireless Internet, water, and trash. The resort does have an amazing swimming pool and lovely beach, but it’s basically a hotel room for sale.

The lowest priced condos on the island are selling for around $250K right now. That’s for a one bedroom, one bath, 640 square feet place in a lovely resort setting. That sounds affordable . . . except the monthly HOA fee is $1,822! And, the condos are leasehold property, not fee simple, which means there’s a small monthly leasing fee to pay as well. The lowest HOA I could find on the island was $431/month, but that was for a 720 square foot condo (selling for $350K) in a complex with no amenities.

This 1100 square foot kit home in Hanalei, with no yard and in very close proximity to two other homes, has an asking price of $2,495,000.

Buying a home here versus a condo might save you a ridiculous monthly HOA fee, but the current median home price on Kaua’i is $1.3 million. The lowest priced home for sale on the island is $480K for a 1,100 square foot leasehold home in the Hawaiian Homelands (blood quantum requirements must be met). The home pictured below, 916 square feet on a 10,000 square foot lot (located a very short distance up the road from us), is priced at $675,000. Out of 307 homes currently for sale on the island, there are only ten houses selling for that price or less.

It’s just plain nuts. And yet, people are buying property on the island hand over fist, not only to live here permanently, but as vacation homes and investment properties as well. Purchasers are remodeling like crazy too. It’s frankly mind boggling the amount money being spent.

A home bought in the $500K range in 2014, the year we first arrived on Kaua’i, is now most likely worth a million or more, or at least very close to it. Locals who bought their homes back in the 80s or 90s in the $50K – $60K ballpark are now holding millions worth of value in their property. There is also a building boom happening on the island as land is sold and divided, some of it given to children to build their homes with other lots sold as people cash in. Our friends told us the other day of a “view lot” on their street that had recently sold, with about 30 feet of flat land from the street before dropping down a steep cliff. The sale price was $300,000.

It doesn’t take much imagination either to guess what rental prices are like these days. We know we were very, very fortunate to find this place when we did. The owner is asking nearly $200 more per month for our apartment than what we’ve been paying . . . and will easily get it.

Could it all go bust? Of course – a deep recession, a huge storm, or some other unforeseen issue could cause housing prices to plummet. But for now, property owners and home buyers with money to burn are riding high and it truly seems not even the sky’s the limit any more.

Beyond Plan Z

We did not see this coming. At all. It was not anywhere on our list of future or possible plans. But . . . life happens. And, family comes first.

As planned, we will be heading to Mexico after YaYu’s graduation, but in early July we will depart San Miguel de Allende for:

Our daughter-in-law works for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and toward the end of last month was offered a two-year posting at the consulate in Nashville. It’s a major promotion for her and, as she says, her “dream job.” However, our son cannot relocate because of his position and the nature of his work in Japan, so they asked if Brett and I would be willing to put our plans on hold and move to Nashville for the next two years as support for M and our granddaughter, K, who will accompany her.

We didn’t hesitate to say yes.

Our grandson, who is now in middle school, will stay in Japan with his dad. They plan to travel to Nashville 2-3 times a year, during our grandson’s school breaks, and our DIL and granddaughter will travel back to Japan at least once a year.

Everything is changing rapidly and plans are being drawn up, reworked, etc. We are being reimbursed by our son for our UK Airbnb deposits and our plane tickets to England. We’re starting the process of choosing and buying a car online to pick up once we arrive in Tennessee, and we’ll again be buying some basic pieces of furniture once we get there as well as other necessities. Instead of London, we’ll be flying from Mexico City to Boston to rent a minivan and pick up our stored things from WenYu to take along to Nashville. We don’t know yet whether we’ll be sharing housing with M and K or getting our own place. M will receive a housing stipend but it’s unknown at this time if she’ll be allowed to use that for shared housing with us or not. There are of course lots and lots of other unknowns as well but details are getting filled in as they come up.

Full-time travel for the Occasional Nomads is off the table for the time being. Following our time in Tennessee, we think we’ll either move to a permanent location in New England or do one last long road trip around the U.S. interspersed with shorter international visits. In the meantime, our priority for the next two years will be to help and support our daughter-in law and granddaughter – travel can wait.

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (3/6 – 3/12)

In 1975 I read The Save Your Life Diet: High-Fiber Protection From Six of the Most Serious Diseases of Civilization by David Reuben, M.D. To say it was life changing would be an understatement. I have required surgery for conditions partially caused by a low-fiber diet and this book had a huge impact on how and what I ate going forward. I haven’t always followed it religiously, but since I read this book I am conscious about getting enough fiber every day from a variety of sources, and I’m convinced fiber is the unsung hero of a healthy body and a healthy life.

High fiber breakfasts: FiberOne cereal with blueberries and whole grain pancakes with a tablespoon of syrup.

The benefits of fiber in the diet are many. Adequate fiber helps prevent appendicitis and colon cancer. It can control diabetes as fiber slows down digestion and keeps blood sugar levels steady. Fiber can help lower cholesterol as fiber recycles cholesterol and produces a medicine-like substance that reduces the amount of cholesterol our bodies make. Getting enough fiber in your diet can help with weight loss and and weight maintenance because a fiber-rich diet makes you feel full longer. Fiber from whole grains also helps increase and maintain “good” bacteria in the colon, and crowd out the “bad” bacteria, keeping the digestive tract in balance.

Last week was all easy cooking for me with not a lot of preparation or time spent over the stove. In other words, we have pretty much moved to convenience foods most the time. We’re careful with our portions though, and stick with meatless and healthier options. I used up the last of my rice supply so the rice cooker has been packed up for storage (because I don’t want to buy another rice cooker ever again) and going forward we’ll be eating pre-cooked Japanese-style rice that’s reheated in the microwave.

Sunday: Margherita pizza

Monday: Chili shrimp; cilantro rice; stir fried peppers

Tuesday: Fried plant-based chick’n tenders; mashed potatoes; country gravy; green beans

Wednesday: Tofu burgers; rice; cucumber spears

Thursday: Stouffer’s macaroni & cheese; green beans

Friday: Mini pizzas with pepper & onions

Saturday: Vegan corn dogs; stir-fried green peppers; cucumber

Desserts this week have been Costco red velvet cupcakes (yum!), Pepperidge Farm coconut cake (which honestly has no right to taste as good as it does), and some more mochi ice cream.

Strawberry and mango mochi ice cream

We’re planning to pick up some sushi at Costco next week, and I’m going to make risotto once more in my InstantPot, but otherwise we’ll mostly use up what’s already in the freezer and refrigerator:

  • Sushi
  • Cacio e pepe
  • Zaru soba & hiyayakko
  • Chick’n pot pie
  • Mini pizzas
  • Tofu & pepper stir fry
  • Shrimp risotto

Ironwood (casuarina) trees line the Maha’ulepu trail and their roots stretch out into the trail, sometimes appearing as snakes slithering through the sand, but also creating “stairways” between different elevations.

We got in four great hikes together last week and Brett got in two more while I stayed on the beach with our stuff. Out and back on the trail to our turnaround point takes around 45 or so minutes, not counting short stops to check for sea creatures swimming by and to watch waves crash against the rocks. Total distance for our hike is 2.5 miles at a pace of three miles per hour. It’s a bit slower pace than we used to walk at the park but we’re walking on sand for the most part, climbing over rocks and roots, and up and down hills so it’s a bit more strenuous than walks ever were at the park. At the turnaround we hydrate and share a small snack before heading back. The reason for the early turnaround is that rest of the trail is very rocky and uneven and always causes my bursitis and foot to flare up – it just isn’t worth it.

Our view at the turnaround