Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thoughts & Collections

I did forget to mention, in the last posting, about fudge. The best fudge I have had in a long time came from Stearns KY. But, I must say I have not developed a liking for grits - no matter how much I doctor them up, I still eat only a bite or two.

As you know, the South has been experiencing lots of different weather - rain, tornadoes, wind damage, etc. The next morning, we woke up to the creek behind Bonnie’s house over it’s banks, way over it’s banks. As I said earlier, her house is up on a hill and was a far way from the swollen creek, but neighbors behind her at a lower elevation were getting their backyards flooded. We later learned that the Lexington area had received 5 inches overnight. In driving around the Paris area over the next couple of days, we encountered flooded roadways. (Read the sign in the picture to right)

Friday, we visited Indian Creek Farms, where she is in partnership with several other investors, on a couple of brood mares who just had had foals, drove around the various roads on the Farm with me oooohing and awwwwwing at the beauty, many new foals and just taking it all in. We went to Keeneland Race Track, saw some horses working out, walked around the Track. It is really a beautifully landscaped place with everything where it is and what it is with safety of the horses in mind. An owner, or owners, have lots of $$$$$ invested or spent on those beautiful animals. It’s a business to them, just like raising dogs, cats, mules, or a race car is to a racing owner or a speed boat is to a speed boat owner.

Around the Paris area, I noticed these beautiful limestone fences. Here is a good website with pictures. All very neatly made with horizontal slabs placed on the top. The highway between Paris and Lexington has a lot of big name Farms along the way and all with this type of limestone fencing along the highway. Bonnie explained that when they put the highway in, the State Transportation Dept. had to replace all the fencing it had to tear down in the process of building the 2-lane “parkway”. In addition, in the new limestone fencing, there had to be “critter holes” at ground level for all those small creatures to get thru - didn’t matter they didn’t have them in the old fencing as guess they knew where to get thru those. Also, anytime the fencing is destroyed - falling trees, vehicle accident, etc., the Transportation Dept. has to repair the fence to it’s original state. They have trained prisoners to do this work and had crews out almost every day I was there. The picture I have included here for you to see the beautiful fencing, is at the entrance to a farm owned by Gains dog food .

I did get to tour another famous horse farm and that was Claiborne Farms. A beautiful place that I was told by Bonnie and the tour guide, likes to continue doing horse raising and breeding the old tried and proven way. It is a very relaxed environment around there. Bonnie is having a mare of hers bred to Political Force and he is a beautiful gray. We got to see Eddington, who earned over $1 mil in his career on the tracks. I got to pat and stand next to Pulpit, who has sired many winners in his career and because of that he has an $80,000 stud fee. Another stallion I saw but didn’t get close to as he wasn’t getting his peppermint candy and became a bit irritated, was Seeking the Gold, who earned over $2 mil in his racing career. His stud fee is $125,000. See why it takes bucoo bucks. I also saw the grounds of Calumet Farms, located next to Keeneland Race Track. Bonnie briefly told me the rise and fall of the Farms history and suggested reading the book: Wild Ride, The Rise and Tragic Fall of Calumet Farm, Inc. Everything is red and white, even the tulips blooming at the entrances.

I did get to see horses working out before the weekly racing started on Wednesday, Curlin, War Pass and Pyro, strong Kentucky Derby winner hopefuls, are stabled at Keeneland and I did get to see War Pass run. There are other hopefuls I saw too stabled at Keeneland.

On Sunday, we picked up Grandma Pearl (no relation), who is 95 years young and is quite capable of getting around good, and went to Blue Licks State Park Lodge for their Sunday Buffet. Oh my, oh my was it ever good, really good. Grandma Pearl is from Johnson County KY and it seems like everyone in TN and KY are from a county, not a town. (Picture at right is Grandma Pearl and my friend Bonnie.)

After eating, we drove up to a little town of Washington. This is a pre-Revolutionary War
town. The US Post Office is an original log cabin and this building was on a portion of the original National Pike and the building served as a mail stop for the area. This is on a branch that went from Zanesville, through Lexington to New Orleans. Other buildings date back to the same period. There are some quaint shops in the town worth looking through, if you are in the area. We continued our drive up to Maysville, on the Ohio River - another old town worth exploring. There is a dike along the Ohio on the KY side to protect the town, which had been flooded many times years ago. In fact, we could see evidence of the Ohio flooding up to the bottom of the dike just in the last few days. On the other side there wasn’t any sign of a dike so they probably experienced flooding along the River’s edge. Another interesting town we went to was Midway KY.

We also visited a historic sight near Lexington. This is a famous bourbon distillery nestled in a valley between hills that has an interesting history over the years. It is set in, again, the beautiful Bluegrass country. Woodford Reserve, Well worth a visit. The tour is about an hour and half, and there is a gift shop and museum if you don’t wish to take the tour. In fact, there are a number of distillery tours around the area and the State has a Distillery Tour mapped out. I still like my Black Jack, even if it is a Tennessee Whiskey.

On Wednesday, the day before my departure I fell down some stairs at Bonnie’s house due to my own carelessness. I turned my ankle and bummed up my left knee. Did the usual things - ice, elevate it but I still wanted to got to the races on Wednesday. Which we did. Thursday morning I headed out westward towards western KY and who knows where I would be stopping.

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