Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pigeon Forge, TN Week 3

Week 3 in Pigeon Forge found us thoroughly enjoying the fall season with football games (watched on TV and played in the RV park), lots of hot chocolate, and hikes.  Yay, OSU Buckeyes won this week!  The boys were very happy :)

We attended another local church, Covent Community Church of Wears Valley in Wears Valley.  You can learn about them here:  http://www.cccwearsvalley.org  What is special about this church???  It is family integrated, a style near and dear to our hearts.  I will be sharing more about what this means and our time at this church in a separate post.  There is so much that God is showing us through the time that we’re spending there and I want to do the testimony justice.  It is a very special gem in the valley of the Smokies.

On our way home from church, we treated ourselves to another stop at the Apple Barn  :) (http://www.applebarncidermill.com)   Those fried apple pies and cider are just too yummy!  I could live in the Apple Barn shop and cider bar!

The week was full of schooling, errands, chores, and finally being able to blog.  We got new neighbors on our front yard side, a large motorhome.  While our desire is to meet new people, our desire is not to be 5 feet away from them!  (The lots here are very close together, but when the park isn’t full, you have plenty of room.)  Since they are so close, their sewer is in our picnic area/front yard.  (Sewers are on the left of RVs and the main entrance doors are on the right.)  Gross, right?  Especially when they have just a plain hose that they stuck in the sewer pipe without a fitted “doughnut” (required in TN)…. Meaning the air has a wonderful port-a-potty smell.  (I should’ve taken a picture, but I didn’t think I was going to blog about it :) )

The RV park staff took care of this issue the next day and had him fix the problem.  Well, that evening our new neighbor from Indiana came over with his arms full of tomatoes from his garden!  He felt so bad that we had to endure the stench, that he spent the week bringing us arm loads of green tomatoes, red tomatoes, green peppers, and jalepenos to make up for not having the correct equipment the first day.  He was a very nice man and we kept telling him it was ok and he didn’t have to feel bad.  But he did, so we got lots of wonderful organic, fresh veggies from an Indiana farm all week!  Yum!!!

Our week had two big activities… a trip to the GSMNP and another trip to the Smoky Mountain Knifeworks.

First up… hiking Clingman’s Dome, the Appalachian Trail, and the kids earning their Jr. Ranger badges!

We decided to take advantage of the last warm day for a couple of days and tackle Clingman's Dome.  The drive up the mountain was spectacular and I tried to capture the beauty of the golds, oranges, and reds through the windshield... but um, the camera mainly focused on the dead bugs on the windshield!  But I keep trying :)

And trying...
And trying...

Ah, the summit... (and no more windshield)

Time to tackle Clingman's Dome Trail...

The tippy top:

Thanks to kind strangers, we have a family photo from the top!  (And I'm deeply regretting not tying my jacket around my waist OVER my flannel shirt instead of under it!)

Faith taking pictures for her blog....whenever Mom gives her a chance to get on the computer!

When we got back to the base of the trail (the parking lot), we discovered this:

I can't tell you how glad we didn't drive THAT thing up the mountain!

Time for a picnic lunch with an amazing view!  (It was clearer than my photos reflect.)

But before leaving this trailhead, the kids begged to climb more rocks:

Ok...climb on down now....it's time to hit the Appalachian Trail!!!!

We were once again so thankful for such a perfect day of weather because last time.... we FROZE!

October 24, 2006

October 17, 2011 

Hiking the Appalachian Trail!!

Hold tight and make lots of memories while they're young because:

Faith and Kellie October 2006 on the AT.

 this is what happens in 5 years when you aren't looking...

Faith and Kellie October 2011 at the AT.

On the way back down the mountain, I tried taking more passenger seat photos.  These came out better because I was hanging out my window and didn't have the dirty windshield in my way. :)  Glad I kept trying!

Final stop of the day was at the Sugarlands Visitor Center so the kids could turn in their Junior Ranger books.  They worked hard and did 10 activities to earn the badges.  The ranger was very impressed with their work and this encouraged the kids greatly.  

The ranger checking their workbooks and signing their certificates.

They were so excited to receive their badges!  :)  (Look closely, the badges are pinned to their shirts. )

On Friday, we took another field trip to the Smoky Mountain Knifeworks (http://www.smkw.com) store again.  Why, oh why would we do this you ask?  Because in front of the store was a neat 250 year old brick building and inside was a treasure.  It was a custom knife making shop!  They teach the art of edged tools right in this tiny shop.

Knife making shop with the Knifeworks store behind it.
You can learn more about the man who runs the co-op and more about the co-op itself here:  http://kelgin.com/about-the-co-op  The founder and his wife have full timed in an RV for the last 4 years, touring the country sharing the history of edged tools and teaching the basics of how to do the craft.

Inside the volunteers at the co-op were eager to share about the history of edged tools, as well as their  knowledge on how to make them.  And they shared this all with great humor. :)  They are definitely passionate about this ancient skill.

Kids learning about conch shell knives from Florida!
The kids were eager to try their hand at make their own knife!!  So they each selected what one they wanted to do and away they went!  (They have knives that can even be made by preschoolers!)

Jolie chose to make one out of a horseshoe nail.  Daniel made his out of a mini-railroad spike.  Faith chose to make hers out of a pony shoe (a small horseshoe.)

They started with a short lesson about how to forge their knives safely.  They all got to forge their knives out of 2,500 degree steel on an anvil!  They all did a GREAT job.  They forged their steel with enthusiasm :)  It was hard work, too!  Robby (the man with the black hat in the photos--their teacher) heated up the steel for them, and they got about 8-10 strikes in before the steel cooled too much and it had to get warmed back up to temperature.  Their steel needed about 5-8 turns through this process to get properly shaped.

Everyone forging their knife!
If you look closely, you can see her concentration---her tongue is sticking out :)
My wee one working HARD!

Great form Daniel...hitting the nail squarely on the anvil!

Jolie's hard work was done.  She forged hers into shape, then Robby buffed it.  Hers was not sharpened :)  Then Ken add a sinew decoration around the handle.

Ken explained where sinew comes from while decorating her knife... and Jolie started crying.  :(
Final steps to Daniel's knife was twisting the spike head end.  It was so cool!  Robby put the heated knife in a vice and Daniel twisted while it was hot!
Look at how HOT DT's knife is!!!
DT putting a few twists in the handle.
Robby then took Daniel's knife a buffed it.  The handle butt end is SHINEY!  It's a very cool knife...also without a sharp edge.

Faith's knife needed to have an sharp edge put on with a grinder.  I was so happy to find out that Robby was going to be doing this step for her!

Lesson about grinding...

Looky at those sparks!  So, so glad Faith was just watching!

All the knives were buffed and polished.  Robby demonstrating how sharp Faith's pony shoe is now that it's a knife!
Cuts through paper like butter. 
Thanks Robby!  We learned so much and we LOVE our new knives!!!
The each picked out leather sheaths to wear their knives around as necklaces.  As we were walking back to the truck parked in front of the Knifeworks store, we discovered that it was rep weekend!  That means that there were representatives from all the knife manufacturers.  We found one that we got excited about... the Daisy representative!!!  They had a shooting range set up, so we all took our turns shooting the Daisy BB gun :)

My leftie---she's never intimidated by a challenge.

Turns out, we have a few marksmen in our family....

Sharp shooters.... Faith's bullseye was barely hanging in the center, as she almost shot out the entire center! 
I'm not gonna let the kids have all the fun!    

Big boys still love to play, too :)

It was a wonderful week of looking back on old memories from our last trip here in 2006 and seeing how our family has grown.  We got to end the week learning new skills to preserve the old craft of knife making.  What skills do you have that you can teach your children today?


1 comment:

  1. Hi Team Monty! I just found your blog and LOVE it! Would you mind sharing what campground you stayed at in Pigeon Forge? We are hoping to go this year. :) Thanks so much!