Monday, Chicago Meg and I headed out to Montgomery Bell State Park. Before you ask me the burning question, here's who the hell Montgomery Bell was. He was the "Iron Master of Middle Tennessee" which is, coincidentally a pageant you can enter to win, I think, and also one of the levels Dungeons and Dragons nerds aspire to. ANYWAY. We were itching for a longer hike than we had managed to do the previous week at Big South Fork, and MBSP was just the place. We hiked the Northeast Loop of the Montgomery Bell Trail; six miles total. Pretty hike across a ridge, then down into a hollow and next to a creek for a while, then down a logging road and circling back past Creech Hollow Lake and back to the start. I won't bore you with the details; this guy describes it pretty perfectly, including the confusion about that sign. It rained on us the last two or three miles but that wasn't as irritating as you might imagine. Cooling off was a welcome relief. Chicago Meg was having allergy problems, so I think it was tough on her, though. Six miles might have been pushing it.
Then we went to visit Crazy Suzy and her daughters, one of whom is my goddaughter. We had a lovely vegetarian lunch (seriously, Suzy whips up vegetarian stuff that almost convinces me it isn't insane - oh and keep your veggie-propaganda out of the comments! I'll just delete them!) and then were, um, "treated" to a talent show that seemed to involve Alvin and the Chipmunks, High School Musical, and, hmmm, perhaps the Manson Family. That's really the only explanation for what we witnessed, which I can't really even begin to explain, though I will give them some serious credit for writing a song called "I Like Pie" on the spur of the moment which was not the worst song I have ever heard about pie, not by a long-shot. We sat on a screened-in porch and drank some wine and watched a raccoon eat all the cat food they keep in the playhouse. They're freaky little things, aren't they? Fact of the Day: they are the Official Wild Animal of Tennessee. A raccoon is also the mascot of the Tennessee Titans, for some damned reason I can never figure out. So stuff that in your trivia hat.
I forgot to bring my camera, so you'll have to imagine it all with your pointy head but here are some pictures from my garden. It's all perennials; I don't think I've put in a single thing this year except that fern and the herbs. I love not having to do anything and still getting all this lush reward. Things are a little weedy right now, but not too bad. If you don't like it, you can come weed a little.