Monday, October 12, 2015

Eulogy for Fancy

Fancy was dumped outside of Kosciusko, MS, and was about to be taken to the animal shelter before I rescued her in spring of 2006.  When I first saw her she was caked in mud, had chewed off much of her own fur because of the ticks and fleas and was skin and bones.

The picture above was taken the day after I got her, after she had been bathed.  Notice, no hair on her chest area, it was just skin.

A few months later and her fur/hair had grown back.  And she had put on a few pounds.  I think she was one happy puppy.  The vet estimated she was at least 2 years old, maybe as much as 4.

She got to travel around the country.  She probably got to see more of this country than most people.  And she loved the traveling.  It was always a new place to sniff and smell and explore.

Quietly curled up in her bed.

When I went to Costa Rica, my parents took care of her and when I returned they asked if she could stay with them.  So for the next year, she lived with my parents.  
My father loved this dog.  The hospital even let me bring her up to visit him when he was sick.  Fancy gave my parents so much joy in the last year of their lives.
But I did get her back after they could no longer take care of her.  So once again, she was a traveler.

The last couple of years she even got to kayak with me.  

She loved the beaches.  Here she is trying to figure out what a horseshoe crab is.

But her passion was chasing squirrels.  This past spring she got free reign to chase all the squirrels she wanted while down in Lousiana.

We took her hiking with us.

Usually she was pulling me up the trails and I couldn't keep up with her.

But I will remember her best as she sat in the window of the motorhome in the sun, looking out over her domain.  
While at Lexington, KY, this past summer, she became ill.  The vet said she was having kidney failure.  She had lost a lot of weight and couldn't hardly move.  I lost her in June 2015.  I will miss my little traveling buddy.  Goodbye Fancy.

Lexington, KY

Back in June, I was still following the Ohio River north, but strayed a little in Kentucky while doing the Bourbon Trail.  Lexington Horse Park is a convenient location while checking out things in the surrounding area.

I think Max makes a good hillbilly.

Whether I make a good hillbilly or not, I enjoyed playing the part for a weekend festival.

Adkins and Laudermilk.  If you missed them at one time, you can catch them later.  Almost all the bands played at least twice during the festival.
For three days, you could hear bluegrass music from 11am until midnight.  And if you wanted to wander around the horse park, you could listen to the jamming until 2-3 am.  (No, I never made it up that late)

Barefoot Movement

Holler Blend


New Town

Wildwood Valley

I hope I can attend again some day.

We didn't spend all our time at the festival, we had time to check out several distilleries in the area.

Buffalo Trace is one of my favorite distilleries, mainly because they have Creamed Bourbon, Yum.  And this year I bought several bottles since you usually can't find it anywhere else.  Notice Buffalo Trace uses brick warehouses.

Town Branch Distillery is more a small time craft distillery and they still use the old style copper kettles.

Just barreled and ready to head to the warehouse for aging.

Wild Turkey has my favorite, American Honey.  Above is a scaled version of their distillery.

This barrel is one of the select, single barrel bourbons, left to age to perfection.

Just one of many warehouses for Wild Turkey

In nearby Lawrenceburg, KY, is the home of T.B. Ripy, founder of Wild Turkey.  Built in 1888, it was in the family until 1965.  In 2010, descendents of T.B. Ripy repurchased the house with the intent of restoring it.

When I did the Bourbon Trail in 2009, Woodford Reserve had already closed for the summer (many distilleries don't operate year round because of the heat), so all I got to see was the visitor center and I did get a taste testing.  I was here earlier this season and they hadn't closed for the summer.  But they had completely redone the visitor center.

Even though they are a larger distillery, they are more select and are not about quantity, but quality.  They also still use the old style copper kettles.

Barreled and in storage

Taste testing this year included a bourbon ball.  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bardstown and Distilleries

Our next stop was Bardstown, KY, more commonly known as the home of Bourbon.  Since we were in the area, of course we had to do the Bourbon Trail again.  It's not the free t-shirt, it's the quest.  Most of our distilleries were nearby, but we did have to go into Louisville for 2 of the places required on the Bourbon Trail.  But anytime I am in Bardstown, I have to make it to The Old Talbott Tavern at least once.  Although the stone portion of the building dates before 1790, the first tavern license was issued in 1805.  Now it is a nice place to have lunch, and it is still an inn.

Wandering around town (trying to find one of the distilleries), I turned down the wrong road and found this home, built in 1815.  General Polk used this home as the Confederate Headquarters during his occupation of Bardstown during the Civil War.

But right next door was a home I liked even better, although there was no info on when the home was built.  It looked quite old and it seemed more friendly than the house next door.

This is the still for the Barton 1792 distillery. And no, it doesn't mean the distillery started in 1792.  It is named for the year Kentucky joined the United States since Kentucky is considered to be where good American whiskey started.  Just a note, when I was here in 2009, this distillery wasn't here, instead, it was a bottling operation for a large corporate alcohol distributor.

In 2009, I visited the distillery for Four Roses, which is located outside of Frankfort, KY.  But they now have a visitor center and warehousing operation with tours located outside of Bardstown.  I like their use of whiskey barrels.

Heavens Hill has the largest of the warehouses we saw.  They are not just one distillery, but they produce numerous brands of whiskey.  I wondered how they did this and found each brand has its own distinct recipe and yeast, which Heaven Hill bought up at some point over the years.  So each of their brands, really did start as individual distilleries, but now are owned by a big conglomerate.

I did think their museum and visitor center was better this time than in 2009.  I especially liked their reference to liquor being the reason for the American Revolution.

These are the high wine and low wine (moonshine) for Jim Beam.  In 2009, Jim Beam was remodeling and no tours were given.

And this is at Makers Mark.  I do have to say their facility is, for me, the most impressive.  Maybe it's all the brass.  And they let you stick your fingers into the mash while its fermenting!

And this is Willets, another new distillery on the Bourbon Tail.  This is their first year open and they are very small.  Below is their entire operation.

But they did have the coolest still.  They use the old style pot still.

Two of the required stops were in Louisville.  We drove out to Bulleit, but between the wait for a tour and their charge, we decided to just get the stamp and move on.  We didn't even get a taste.

And our other stop in Louisville was the Evan Williams Experience.  Now Evan Williams is one of Heaven Hill's brands, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  It was a tour of the underground speak easy's which sprang up during prohibition.  I just like the big glass.

This isn't all the distilleries we visited, more are in the Frankfort, KY, area, which is our next stop.

Owensboro, KY

We had orginally planned to go straight from LBL to Bardstown, but for reasons I don't remember, we decided to follow the Ohio River and ended up in Owensboro.  There they The International Bluegrass Music Museum.  They had lots of information on some of the early performers, like Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatts.

And a several displays of instruments commonly used in bluegrass music.

But most of the information was on Bill Monroe as the founder of bluegrass.  They say he took the music he had grown up with and remade it into something people had never heard before.  Of course, Bill Monroe was from a small community not far from Owensboro.  

The statistics below are from 1995, but I thought they were interesting.  Most people associate bluegrass and the people involved as being "hicks".  In other words, lower blue class and uneducated.  But the information below says quite a different story.

The banjo below belonged to Pete Seeger, who played it from the 1950s to the 1970s.  I always assocaited Pete Seeger with folk music, not bluegrass.

We arrived on a Friday, just in time for their Fridays at 5 celebration.  Venders, bands and lots of fun.

Held along the waterfront, where there are greenbelt areas, parks with children's play areas, fountains and two convention halls.  There were at least three different bands, playing totally different types of music, so you could wander until you found something you likes.

This young group caught our fancy.  They plays a type of modern folk.  You can't see it, but the keyboard player was barefoot.  None of the group looked over 20 years old and I believe one of the guitar players was underage and because they were playing in a location which sold alcohol, he had to have a parent present.  They were very good.

Every city has to have its claim to fame, even it other towns also claim the same.  For Owensboro, it is the Bar-B-Que Capital of the World.  He did have lunch at one of their noted BBQ places and it was good, but I don't think they deserved the Capital of the World.  Maybe I should have eaten at one of the other establishments, too.