And, at this point, I think I can begin to see the end point. I think we have about 2 more weeks, maybe 2 1/2 left here. Then it will be back to L.A., via a slightly more circuitous route than brought us here.
These past few days have seen a few minor, but fun, adventures.
Ms. Client and I went tile shopping at Tile Time. Yes, Tile Time. What time is it? Tile Time!
It was pretty cool to go tile shopping in a quonset hut, although there were few signs of the building's true self visible from the inside, apart from the slightly slanted walls. If I ever live in one of these, which is not out of the question, I will nest one inside the other with insulation in between, in order to get the full visual & spatial effect on the inside.
You know you're in the sticks when they're using 7 digits
to give you their phone number.
They had a surprisingly good selection of tile. We actually found some that we really liked.
On our way there, we stopped by a little junk store. It was just like a thrift store only it was for-profit, as opposed to being operated by a charity. They had a couple of interesting things, but the coolest thing in the place was this wrench:
I also thought the ball peen hammer was pretty neat, with its shortened handle, but I really fell in love with that wrench. At first it looks completely weird, but if you grab the two short ends in your two fists, you immediately realize that you could apply a great amount of leverage and rotate it around really quickly because of the shape. I think it was originally for loosening or tightening the lug nuts on a vehicle wheel, probably as part of the spare tire kit of a car. I think I will have to go back and get it. It was only $3.
We also stopped by this nondescript building on our big day out:
It turns out that the Vienna Coffee Company isn't located in Vienna after all, they're right there in Maryville, Tennessee! (And, FYI, Maryville is pronounced locally MER-vul. Just so you know.)
They have 2 roasters inside, the smaller one on the right can roast up to 20 lbs, and the larger on the left can roast up to 75 lbs. The smaller one was roasting while we were there.
Here you can see the beans inside. They roast for about 20 minutes.
Here is one of the burlap sacks of raw beans. They are greenish-grey in color.
They have lots of bags of raw beans on hand, from all over the world.
Here is part of their retail display. They have a lot of roasts and flavors available. It smelled absolutely heavenly inside. Everything they sell was roasted less than a week ago. Almost all coffee you buy in a store was roasted months ago. That makes a big difference in the quality.
And, they have won lots of awards! Hardly surprising.
Cristi, the Operations Manager, showed us around, explained the roasting process, and was extremely friendly and helpful in general. I bought a package of their french roast, which is my favorite, and I have to say it was absolutely superb when I made it this morning.
Also, on our way out, there was a fellow working there, doing something with the beans by the door. He was probably in his late 20s, and Farmer Jo was talking with him as I came away from the register with my change. He was saying something about having goats, and they were talking (like a couple of farmers) about the general lack of rain lately.
At a pause in the conversation, I asked him, "did you say you have goats?"
"Yes," he answered, "only 2 of them. They're blah-blah-blah-special-sounding-name-exotic-dairy goats. But they don't have milk yet because they're just little still. They will have milk when they grow up, and I hook them up with a boy goat."
"Wow, that's cool!" I enthused, because what could be better than homemade yogurt? How about homemade yogurt from your own goat milk. That would definitely be better. I wondered how many acres it would take to keep a goat. "How big is your place?"
"Oh, its small. Only about 14 acres." Only 14 acres. Only.
Then the conversation went into a whole thing about capturing your rain in cisterns and using it to irrigate, and how you filter it and deal with things like freezing rain in the winter and excessive pollen in the spring. He wants to start a business setting up those types of systems for people. We were interested in his experiences with it, because we are looking into installing this type of system on the new house.
The other thing about this that amazes me is that practically everyone around here is a farmer with a day job. Its just part of the way of life, and it really appeals to me.
For example, Bob the Builder has about 20 head of cattle, plus a dozen chickens on his place, and a horse to ride. One of the other guys on the job was talking about mowing his hay the other day. I think that might have been the heating and A/C guy, I'm not sure. But they all have some acreage and put it to good use, and they also go out and do their 'regular' job, too.
I think if I had 15 or 20 acres, and a couple of milk goats, and a dozen chickens or so, and also design a half dozen or so houses a year, I could be pretty happy.
Just food for thought.