Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunset Beach "Kamping" Excursion

RNH and I decided half-way through last week that we'd go to the beach this weekend since our weekends coming up are going to be pretty busy. I started researching the hotels at various beaches throughout North Carolina. I'm pretty familiar with all of the beaches in NC because my mom and I took two years, a week each year, and divided up the NC coast. We started at the northernmost beach in NC and worked our way 1/2 way down, visiting all of the light houses. The next year we picked up where we left off and finished off the coast. It was one of the best trips I've ever taken. Unfortunately I was fresh out of college and jobless, thus making my mom pay for the entire trip (she knew this ahead of time and didn't mind!). As we travelled down the coast, we didn't make any plans and "hotel hopped." As we reached each new town, we'd stay wherever we thought would be best, and usually cheapest. All of this being said, I have a lot of knowledge on the cheapest areas, and the areas that are "hidden gems." Unfortunately, I might not know as much as I'd like to think. We couldn't find any hotel rooms that were less than $200 a night. I was bummed. We hadn't saved up money for this spur-of-the-moment trip, so it would all be coming out of the monthly budget.

Then I thought of something. Last month we had camped at Carolina Beach State Park for $15 a day. That wasn't bad, I really enjoyed it. But RNH wasn't quite as thrilled- he likes to have air conditioning at the beach. Taking this into account, I came across "Kamping" at the KOA Kampgrounds!!! I've never been, but seen them advertised everywhere and I knew that my mom's family always camped at them growing up. As I did more and more research, we decided to hit the road and make the KOA our destination, the KOA of Brunswick County, NC. The total cost of accomodations for 2 nights: $130!!!
I actually looked into the KOA's that are closer to our home, however the sites were filled. We settled for the KOA of the Shallotte area and hit the road. It took about 3 hours to get there, not too bad, but a little longer than we'd hoped. Next time we'll try to plan ahead and possibly stay at the KOA in Wilmington or Cape Hatteras. Once there we immediately checked out our digs for the weekend. We were staying in a "Kabin" that holds up to 4 people. I was excited! We got the keys from the friendly staff and went around to the area of the "kabins." I got uuber excited just looking at the place because of the cute little porch and porch swing. Once I unlocked the door I was really surprised! The Kabin was huge and it smelled SO good- of wood! There was a nice-size queen bed and bunkbeds. I fell in love immediately. RNH immediately turned on the window-unit A/C!
After a quick un-packing we took one glance at the sky and decided it wouldn't be a beach day. We decided to check out the area and go to the grocery store. I had already done a little bit of research on the area and knew there was a winery about 2 miles away from our campground. I suggested it and surprisingly, RNH was all for it! We took off down the road and visited the Silver Coast Winery. I'll blog about it later when I open up a bottle of Calabash White we bought. It was a TON of fun! RNH and I did our first (EVER!) official wine tasting. I was kinda nervous at first but I told the wine host that it was my first time and he made us feel real relaxed... Especially after a few shots of wine! I can't even remember the old man's name, but he was really sweet. Turns out RNH knows the guy from somewhere. They both know the same people from Lexington and Southern Pines area, but can't really place a finger on how they know each other. Small world. But we really enjoyed the wine. We did a full tasting of the reds and whites for $10 and got to keep the Silver Coast Winery wine glass! Like I said, I'll tell more about that when I pop the cork on a bottle we bought. Oh- and I let the wine go straight to my head and ended up blabbing my loose lips to some local high school football coach and his wife. RNH talks to him about coaching high school football (since RNH used to do that) and the coach has a Pitt t-shirt on. I begin to blab about how my dad played for Penn State for a "hot minute" until he broke his finger. And how my cousin is a current pitcher for them, oh except it doesn't really matter because I don't know my cousins because we don't talk to them because my dad isn't a good person, blah, blah BLAH. Yeah. RNH kinda stares at me with an open fishy-mouth like Did you really just say all that? On that note he says a quick goodbye and leads me to his truck. Oooopsy!We end up going to the grocery store, changing into something a bit nicer and taking off for our most favorite seafood restaurant EVER. EVER. Dockside in Calabash, NC. Calabash is not only a sea-side town in North Carolina, on the border of South Carolina, it is also a style of seafood. Calabash means that it is lightly breaded and fried, and delicious! If we're staying within 30 minutes of this place, we try to go. The fun thing about this restaurant too, is the docks and boats you can admire while waiting for your name to be called. And believe me- there will be a wait. No matter what. But it is totally worth it!

After dinner we decided to take a night-time walk on the beach. I completely forgot to warn RNH that Sunset beach has a one-lane bridge that you have to cross to get to the ocean. The bridge actually opens quite often for boats to pass through. So of course we get to the bridge and it takes about 15 minutes for it to be our turn to cross. This drives RNH insane. Once across and over to the ocean finally, we take a wonderful walk in the sand. Loved every minute of it! Then back home where we slept peacefully in our Kabin. That is until RNH wakes up in the middle of the night to barf up his $16 dinner. At first he wants to blame it on the fish- and realizes that we ate at Dockside. Nope- can't blame it on our most favorite restaurant EVER!!! So we decided that it was the multiple flavors of wine we had earlier in the day, and then topping it with a bunch of fried food- not good! I wasn't feeling too hot either, but drank some water before bed (instead of beer like he did!) The next day we woke up feeling pretty good, despite the mixture of drinks and seafood from the night before, and decided to go on a bike ride. We ended up crossing the street from the KOA and found ourselves riding through a multi-million dollar retirement golf community. It was a very cute, very nice place. We got worried someone would call us in to the police. We did a ride-through and made it out safely.

In the neighborhood there were speed limit signs posted and then a sign telling you to brake for Fox Squirrels. I'd heard of them, but didn't really know much about them. I came across one and had to hit my handlebar brakes because the darn thing skipped out in front of me. I tried to snap a few pictures of it because it was the weirded looking thing I've ever seen! It looked like a miniature panda bear in the "heat of the moment." But once the excitement died down, and I look back at the pictures, it just looks like a black squirrel. Maybe the previous day's wine was still in my system...
After getting home and doing a little "googling," I find out that this monkey-looking thing is really just a regular Fox Squirrel, like the one you'd find in your backyard, they just "come in black" in some locations. Haha.
After the bike ride we took off for the beach. We spent several hours out there and really enjoyed ourselves. Sunset is a beautiful beach. Near the pier, it looks like a crowded California-type beach (I'm only guessing here, since I've never been to Cali!) but you can walk a while down and then feel like you're the only ones in the world. RNH and I parked our rear-ends in the shallow water of the secluded section of the beach and sat there forever. It was wonderful.

After we were fried to a crisp, we went back to our Kabin and enjoyed the pool there. Later we decided to go to Sunset beach and have dinner. We ate at a place called "Crabby Oddwaters." It looked like a neat little restaurant, sitting on the Intracoastal Waterway. The restaurant was located above a fresh seafood market. That means the food has to be great, right? Well, it was. The only problem was our waiter. He made the food not seem so great. He was a Yankee and obviously didn't know a damn thing about seafood. We had to ask for hushpuppies that we saw everyone else getting, ask for butter for our hushpuppies and got some really good cinnamon butter. But let me ask you this- any good southerner would know that the flavors of cinnamon and hushpuppies do not belong together!!! Why would you put cinnamon on a piece of fried bread that has onion flakes inside? Ugh. This was such a disgrace. We also had to ask for several other items that are a given if you've ever eaten seafood. We chalked it up to it being the guy's first day on the job. At least I hope. Either way, the food was delish. That is unless you're being interrupted mid-dinner being asked by the waiter if you want some key-lime pie. Really? Let me swallow my dinner first puh-lease!
Afterwards, ice cream on the beach and then back to the Kabin to drink beers on the porch swing. The next morning we slept in and then headed back to Calabash to eat at Sunrise Pancake place. Delish. We decided to stop at the "Butcher of Brunswick," Randy's Meat Center. No preservatives in the meat and RNH picked up some fillets for dinner tonight. It was insanely good and we wish we lived closer!
On a sad note- we had so much fun at the Silver Coast Winery, we decided to stop in Rose Hill, to check out the Duplin Winery on the way home. It was closed. Of course we should have known this, since it was Sunday, but we just couldn't help and hope it was open! Oh well!
Needless to say it was a wonderful weekend getaway and I wish I was still there!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Totally Random Note

The following things are random:

I decided that in the colder months, possibly November- December, I am going to blog about my wedding. I loved my wedding and it was seriously the best day of my life. But I hate wedding stuff. All-things-wedding, I hate. Seriously. So it's going to take me some time to "get over it" and move on. Not really- I mean I was done with it the next day, but ya know, sometimes you just need a break from the stressful things in life. And I'm thinking in the winter months, there won't be a garden, canning, fun baseball games, random trips to the beach, quite as much wine, sitting on the back deck, etc etc to talk about, which might give me the opportunity to blog about the wedding. And when I say blog, I mean blog. As in, the nitty-gritty. How much I spent on what, what the things were that pissed me off, and most importantly, my hatred towards the venue where our wedding was held. I'm going to be thinking of a logical way to break it up into several different posts, as not to overwhelm readers. Otherwise, I could go on and on, and on and on, about the big day. Enough of that!

On another note: it rained. And rained some more. We needed it desperately. It really stinks driving by farms that you've admired in the area, only to see them till it up because the plants have died due to a lack of rain.

RNH and I are thinking about purchasing a tiller. That will save me a ton of back-breaking work. (Since I tilled the ENTIRE garden up by hand this year. Don't worry- it was therapeutic for me- I was able to vent-out wedding stress!)

The blackberry jam I made is DELISH. The only problem, which I knew would be a problem when I started the dang thing- is that I really didn't have enough berries. That's what I get for being impatient! So, in turn, I had too much pectin, resulting in a jam that is literally stuck inside the mason jars. Thankfully it is delicious enough to be eaten by the spoon-full, and sucked on like a lolipop! I also figured out that I can dump some on a toasted piece of bread, zap it in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften it, and voila! is a delicious piece of blackberry toast!

I went to a house, it was work-related, and the couple at the home had the most bad-ass chicken coup I've ever seen!!! It was pretty much something like this:

Only way more spectacular because it was a "cottage" and it was painted the colors that I chose for our wedding. It even had flower boxes for the windows like the above picture. The lady and her husband told me about (which I've done a TON of research on!) where the couple did their own research, and built the coop. It was so neat. Now I'm dying for Fall to come so that RNH and I can start on the coop-building project. Our coop is not going to look like the city-dweller's "fancy" coops. It is going to be made of scrap wood and it will be special if it even gets painted! But either way, I was silly-excited to see such a neat coop!

But I have to go watch Urban Cowboy with RNH because he wants to "educate" me since I've never seen it!

Hinnant Vineyards- Magnolia

Who knew that dentists make such good wine??? Tonight I'm tasting the Hinnant Family Vineyard's Magnolia wine. I got real excited about this one because it was in a blue bottle, and of course, because it was named Magnolia. I'm sure we've all got enough memories about Magnolia trees here in North Carolina. Honestly one of my favorite memories about the tree has nothing to do with the smell of them, or the shade they might have given me while reading my favorite classic tale, etc. (I'm being sarcastic there!) Instead it's about my 3rd great Art teacher, Mrs. Newton, at Reedy Creek Elementary. One of her assignments for us was to draw a picture of a magnolia leaf, seed pod and flower. I loved the assignment and it was probably one of my favorite "works" I did all year. I'm sure my mom still has it. Anyways...
I picked this bottle up at the Harry Peeter. AKA: Harris Teeter for $8.99. As previously stated, I was immediately drawn to it because of its blue bottle and name "Magnolia." I wonder if that would make a good girl's name? Ok, sorry.
The wine is delicious, as expected. The name speaks for itself. One sip and it is obviously a derivative of the Muscadine family. It smells of a sweet musk that the scuppernong grapes give, and the taste is full-bodied and full of fruit flavor. If you take in its sweet scent and taste long enough, it will definitely take you back to a time when you were sitting under a Magnolia tree, driving by a tree with your windows down on a beautiful spring day, or that mini-field trip you took in 3rd grade to pick the "perfect" magnolia tree leaf, seed pod, and blossom to draw in the classroom!
On anther note, I am dying to go to the Hinnant Family Vineyards. It is only 30 miles east from Raleigh, meaning probably a 60 mile drive for us. Maybe we could stop by on the way to the beach! The neat thing about the Hinnant Family's story is that the gentlemen that own the vineyards, Willard and Bob, are actually in the "teeth" industry. Willard is a dentist, and Bob owns a dental lab... I wonder if I can stop by and have a few glasses of wine before having my teeth worked on... That would make going to the dentist not so bad!!!
As you can imagine, I let out a squeal when I popped the cork on this one and saw the (919) area code. I got uuber excited about the possibility of one of these vineyards being close to me!!!
The Hinnant Family first planted their grapes in 1971 and have taken pride in creating the largest muscadine vineyard in North Carolina. Eventually, in 2002, they began to make wine commercially- thank goodness! I'm glad I can stop in to the "HT" and get me some wine!!! (Sorry, that was RNH rubbing off on me again!)
I highly recommend this wine and can't WAIT to taste the Pomegranate I also bought!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blanching and Hosting

Vegetables don't all grow at the same time, making harvesting a J.O.B. That means I can't go out, pick a few pounds of beans, and then come in and can them. Some recommend staggering the weeks you plant the beans (or other veggies) so that you have enough harvest to can right away. That seems like too much thought and work to do. Instead there is a technique called "blanching." This process stops the growth enzymes of the vegetable, and preserves the flavor and texture of the veggie. To blanch veggies, you drop them in to boiling water, let them boil for about 5 minutes, and then immediately remove them from the boiling water and put them into an ice bath. Once the veggies are completely cool, you can place them into a freezer-safe container.
Yesterday I blanched the okra I picked. With okra, you have to cut off the tops of the okra, without exposing the seed pod.
Then you drop them into the boiling water and boil for about 3 to 5 minutes. When the time is up, immediately ladle the veggies into a ice and water bath. Once the okra is completely cooled, strain the water off of it and place it into a freezer bag. I like to lay the okra flat, squish the majority of the air out with my hands, and then place a straw inside the bag at one end of the ziploc. Zip the bag shut until you reach the straw, take the area around the bag in between your fingertips and suck the rest of the air out of the bag with the straw! It is almost like having a vacum sealed freezer bag!!! Very cool.
I also made blackberry jam with this year's harvest. I should have waited until the berry harvest was over, but I just couldn't contain my excitement. That led to me having probably a cup less of squashed berries than I was supposed to. Which in turn led to too much sugar (although you can never have too much sugar!) and too much pectin. I put it into the jars anyways, and boiled them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. The amount of berries I had only yielded 3 jars. One isn't even completely full, so I'll probably eat that one soon. I wanted to take pictures of my progress, but making jam was more difficult than I thought it would be! The jam concoction needed to boil, but I was terrified I would burn the berries, hence wasting all of that harvest. So I had to stay nearby the entire time. Then when I was filling up the jars, the sticky mess ended up all over my hands, arms, fingers, and face. I even burned my finger real bad on who knows what! It was a mess. But I think (and hope!) the outcome will be ever-so delicious!

At Least I'm Skinny came over to the house (finally!) for the first time. (It's all my fault because I've never invited her over- which I'll get to in a second.) And she tried my homemade applesauce. She agreed that it was slightly over-powering in the cloves-area. (If you can re-call, I dumped a TON of cloves into the sauce while I was trying to season it!) But she said she liked it and even took a jar home with her. It gave me a little more self-esteem about my applesauce project. Hopefully if I do it again, I won't make the same mistake!

About inviting people over: I'm terrified to do it. Mainly because we live so far away from everyone. I hate that people have to spend a bunch of time and gas driving to us. So when they get here I feel that the pressure is on to make sure they have a good time. I also like to offer to people that they are more-than-welcome to spend the night. That way the drive doesn't seem too bad, and we can fully indulge in some alcohol! Haha! But even if we didn't live far out here, I would still have a little bit of nervousness about inviting people over. I feel that people may find my house boring, and then they'd regret making the drive over, and even regret being friends with me! When RNH has guys up to the house, which he does quite often, they do something. They go hunting or fishing. When I have girlfriends up, what are we supposed to do? Scrapbook? Knit? Can or Blanch?
All of this is actually really silly. (Oh, and don't think that Skinny puts "pressure" on me to be a great host, and that is why I've never invited her. That's not the case!) I just have these silly fears. Actually us girls can just hang out, talk and chit-chat about the latest gossip, and what TV shows we're currently watching. There really is no need for "entertaining." You just hang out. Skinny and I actually walked around the yard and picked some blackberries. I wanted to show her how crazy the fish are in our pond, but the bugs were pretty bad so we went back inside. It was a ton of fun and I'm glad she came up! I'll have to ask her later if my house was "boring." Haha! I think the more RNH and I have people up to the house, the more I will get over my silly fear of having a boring house. I would actually LOVE LOVE LOVE to have a big cookout at our house and build a bonfire. I also bought horseshoes, specifically for having a cookout. But then the pressure will REALLY be on. Good food, a non-boring house, and fun. Will I be able to do it?!?!?

Childress Vineyards- Scupperdine

I bought this wine from Food Dawg, aka Food Lion for $7.99. I've had it before, even been to their vineyards, and let me tell you- it is the most delicious wine I've ever had. Seriously.

Childress makes several different varieties of the Scupperdine wine, in Blush, White and Red. I've had all three, I'm pretty sure. But honestly can't remember the big difference in taste between the three. This time I picked up a bottle of blush.

The wine is ultra-sweet. It has a wonderful flavor that bursts with a hint fruit. It is a perfect dessert wine!
The reason the wine is called "Scupperdine" is because it is made from the Scuppernong and Muscadine grapes. Scuppernong grapes originate in North Carolina and were named such because they grow along the Scuppernong river in the coastal regions of NC. The Scuppernong grape is also known as the "white grape." Sir Walter's explorers that first came to NC wrote Sir Walter a letter in 1584 speaking of the abundance of such a great grape, stating "grapes of such greatness, yet wild, as France, Spain, nor Italy hath no greater." The Scuppernong grape is even mentioned in the official North Carolina toast! The oldest Scuppernong vine, "The Mother Vine," is 400 years old and grows on Roanoke Island. And the Scuppernong is the official State Fruit! Who knew!??!

The winter will be short, the summer long,
The autumn amber-hued, sunny and hot,
Tasting of cider and of scuppernong
~Elinor Wylie
(Yes, I got all this information from Wikipedia, but I found it all very interesting being a native North Carolinian!)

RNH has a jeweler in Lexington, NC and we ended up purchasing my wedding band from there. When we went ring-looking, we decided to make a "trip" of it and see what Lexington, NC has to offer! That is when we stumbled across Childress Vineyards.

It really is a beautiful place! A perfect setting for a wedding! Unfortunately we were there in the Fall and the vines did not have leaves or fruit on them. However you could easily see the vines in the dormant stages across the acreage. I would love to go back during the season!Childress is a wonderful place to visit because you can take wine tours and do wine tastings, as well as eat in their quaint Bistro. Just stop in! Tours are offered daily. RNH and I stopped in while on the way to pick up a diamond, so unfortunately we didn't care to take the time to do the winery thing, I just really wanted to see that ring! We figured we would come back at another time and do a wine tour and tasting. It looked like tons of fun! I did, however, do a quick run-through of the gift shop. I already knew that I was obsessed with the Scupperdine wine, and therefore had to pick up some memorabilia! I grabbed a Childress Vineyards wine glass!

And just a side note about Lexington, NC if you ever decide to take the trip: I highly recommend going into the downtown area and going this candy store:

And of course visiting our jeweler, Hayes, the Diamond King of the East Coast!
As well as picking up some BBQ from Speedy's. They've been featured on Food Network and have won TONS of awards... And you can't go to Lexington without eating BBQ anyways... Its the mecca of NC BBQ!

Seriously, the best BBQ I've EVER had. EVER!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sly as a Fox

It seems like every single summer night that we've had off, we've spent it on our back deck. Besides the noise of the air conditioner, its perfect. Nothing but bugs, frogs, and an occasional car, can be heard. But there are tons of bats, spiders, and shadows to be nervous about!

We recently have had a few sightings of a fox, usually in the morning or at night. This fox looks more to me like a coyote or some huge dog. It is a very, very large fox. And of course, I'm terrified of it. I saw it the first time right as I got up at 5am to go to work. The night before I had emptied a box of stale Special K under the pear tree to feed the birds. The next morning, the fox was eating Special K! Who knew fox like cereal!??! RNH also saw it- as he was walking out the door to work one morning. The fox was in the neighbor's yard and just stared at RNH. Then the fox walked up to the roadway and just went about its business. It wasn't scared at all. Which then scares the crap out of me! This thing should fear us humans!!!

So RNH and I are drinking (I had a very delicious NC wine that I'll blog about later!) and we start talking about this fox. I think we should name him. Anyways- RNH is mad because we live in Granville County, the county that has the highest population of turkeys in North Carolina. We have a ton of land that these turkeys should be living on. But they're not. We have tried several different things to lure the turkeys in, so we can hunt them. But they're nowhere to be found. We've actually seen a ton of turkey poo (even on our back deck!) and seen their feathers, and even breastbone (I think!), in the woods. But no turkeys. (Oh wait- last summer RNH chased a Tom through the woods just trying to get a better look at it! And there was a hen and a jake in the back yard once. But this is not a lot of turkey sightings in our area!) There was even a turkey dead on the road that had been hit by a car! Yet RNH and I would get up at 6am hunting these stupid birds that just aren't here. What is the deal???
RNH decides its the fox. The fox is eating everything. I think he may be right! So as we're sitting there at night talking (and drinking), and RNH spots the fox behind the shed. He goes and gets his flashlight and gun. He decided we're going fox hunting. I follow suit, why? I don't know. Maybe because I had been drinking? We walk back through the woods, staying on the trails, and there is no sign of the fox. Dangit. RNH thinks we should scare him, so he fires off a few rounds back at his target shooting area. That will teach that fox!
Needless to say, it has been a week and we have not seen the fox again. I was finding a strange scat in the garden, probably his, but not anymore. I'm not so sure that firing off a few rounds really scared the dang animal out of its regular habitat, but if it did, that fox is a scaredy cat! The only good thing about the fox- we don't have any rabbits. None. I'm thinking if that fox was gone, we'd have a million rabbits eating up the garden!
Speaking of turkey hunting, and being a newly wed, I just got excited when I came across this picture!!! The couple had their wedding in Jamaica and then did a honeymoon in Tennessee so they could turkey hunt. Totally sounds like something RNH and I would do!

Friday, July 10, 2009


I promised I'd blog about the Citronella plants, so here goes:
First of all, I'm intoxicated. And the only time I remembered to take pictures of the Citronella Plants was now. Oh well! I've asked (I swear) a million people about Citronella plants and everyone responds, "Oh, no way- I never knew there was a plant."
So apparently there is a plant, of which the citronella candles derive, and they "shoo" away bugs. I've got three so far, and I'll admit, they do work! Tonight I sat around them and the bugs that didn't seem to affected were gnats. The mosquitoes came, hovered for a bit, and left. No meal here with citronella around! So, anyways- I highly recommend them.
On another note- I kept telling people that the company "Burpee" grows all of the vegetables for you (from seed), and is the one that has the Citronella. Okay- turns out its "Bonnie" and I just read the label wrong. So go to your local Southern States, or heck- even Wally World has Bonnie stuff, and look in the Herb section for your own Citronella. Don' t ask me anything about growing it- I'm just learning myself! :)

*They make good gifts for first-time homeowners too!!!*

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My 4th of July

My 4th of July....
.... I spent working.
Yeah, that stinks. I love the Fourth, it is the one true holiday of the summer, my favorite season of the year! So I worked my 12 hours and 15 minutes and sped home in order to have a little bit of daylight left in my day. When I got home RNH had a frozen pizza cooked for me. I sat out on the deck for a bit and enjoyed the sun setting over the house. Once it was dark- it was time to make up for the fact that I could not see any fireworks this year. (This is only the second time of my life- the first time I was in a foreign country on July 4th- and of course they're not gonna celebrate our Independence!!!) RNH and I both had to work the next day (which means getting up at 4:30), so driving somewhere to see fireworks, and then waiting in traffic to drive home, was not a good idea!

So to make up for it I brought out the sparklers. I was surprised that RNH actually wanted to join in too. But little did I know the reason- he had popper-thingies stashed away that were loud and scary! We sat out on the front yard for about 20 minutes lighting these things and taking pictures. I guess the 4th wasn't too bad... I just hope next year I'm OFF!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Blast From the Past

I absolutely love going to drive-in movie theatres!!!
Tonight RNH and I (after much begging!) went to the "local" drive-in movie theatre. The local drive-in is only 30 minutes away from our house, which is better than the one I grew up going to. Going to that one was a special treat because it was an hour away, located in Badin, NC. This drive-in is AWESOME!
Raleigh Road Drive-In of Henderson, NC was opened on July 15, 1949. The newspaper article from The Henderson Daily, reads "patrons are invited to smoke if they wish, dress as they please, and to bring your snap beans or other vegetables to prepare for the next day's meal." Ahhhh! If only I had brought my snap beans (I actually did that before going to the movie!!!)

After going through several owners, the current owners bought the theatre in 2004 off of E-bay. Yup... who thought you could sell an American past time on that crazy website?!?!? I also learned that there are actually 7 operating drive-ins in North Carolina, with Raleigh Road being the oldest!
Here is the scoop on the place:
First of all, it was only 30 minutes away. We drive 30 minutes to Raleigh to go see a movie anyway, so this was no biggie. (We've actually quit going to movies ever since we moved out here to the "boondocks.") RNH and I paid our $10 (that is $5 per person!) at the little drive-thru booth, before entering into a gated field. We picked out our spot on the front row and learned that there were only 12 vehicles that night. Sweet! We got there early so we immediately headed to the snack bar! $11 got us 1 large popcorn, 2 large drinks, 2 candies, and 2 hotdogs. REALLY!?!??! Its at least $25 at a regular movie theatre for two large drinks and a large popcorn. WOW! After grabbing our food we grabbed a radio for $1. You can listen to the movie on your vehicle's radio, but we were sitting in the bed of my truck and didn't want to have to bother with a dead battery!

We sat on my truck box for the first half of the movie, enjoying the Transformers, and munching on our food. We brought a blanket, chairs, and citronella plants (I'll blog about those later!) and ended up setting our camping chairs up in the bed of the truck and bundling up in the blanket. It was a chilly July night!

I must say- there is just something about watching a movie outside. I remember my teenage years in Charlotte when I just got my license, I'd go downtown with friends to see the movies that they'd play for free on the side of a building during the summer. Then when I was dating I'd make a trip with the (lucky!) current boyfriend out to Badin Lake for the Badin drive-in. Badin isn't 1/2 as nice as this drive-in theatre! Badin does show 3 movies instead of 2, starting the movies earlier in the night and beginning with a kid-friendly movie.

I just absolutely loved it. I felt like it was officially summer. And being able to share RNH's first drive-in experience with him was so awesome. I think he liked it, more than he'd admit. But that's fine! We talked about the money, the drive, etc. and decided we'll definitely go back! I can't wait!!!
(I forgot to mention- they play old movie trailers= awesome! And you can even rent out the movie theatre for $1,000!!! You could get married there!!! Hahahaha!)

My First Canning Attempt

I did what I said I was going to do! I made canned applesauce! I went to the store and bought 10 lbs of Golden Delicious apples. I wasn't really too sure which to pick, so I just bought my favorite ones. RNH suggested Granny Smith- but I actually did some research and found that making applesauce with Granny Smith means adding a lot of sugar at the end. I didn't want to worry about that.

I brought the apples home, washed and cored them.

Then I put them into a huge pot with a 1/2 cup of water. Covered and let it simmer until the apples were soft. I was scared of the apples burning at first, since it only adds about a 1/2 inch of water to the pot. I was surprised when instead, the apples just cooked themselves, and a few even slid off the peel!
Then I put them in the food mill. This was my first time using the food mill. My mother had given it to us and RNH had used it last year to make wine. He didn't know what he was doing, because when I asked him how it worked, he told me the darn thing was broken. Turns out I figured out the way your supposed to use it- scrape, mash and repeat. It wasn't that hard. But I was really upset (almost cried- YES I'm PMS-ing!!!) when I thought the darn thing was broken. Mainly because I had spent money at the store, had hot mushy apples, and didn't want to waste it all. So once I figured out how the darn thing works, I got to work. And got a work-out!!! It was a lot of apples and 10 lbs made a decent amount of sauce- 5 pints. Not as much as I thought it would make, but that's okay. Next year if the apples go on sale or I can get them cheap from a local farm, I'm going to do it!

After pushing the mush through the food mill, I added spices and brought the sauce to a boil. (I actually was putting a little bit of ground cloves in without the spice jar lid on, and dropped a TON in the sauce... good thing I like cloves!) I also added cinnamon and a tad bit of sugar to taste.

Once it was done, I packed the yumminess into jars that I had sitting in hot water in the sink. I filled them up, leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace and screwed on the lids. I put all wimpy 5 pints into the pressure cooker and they cooked for 5 minutes!!! I was surprised how little time it took!

Now the jars are sitting on the counter and I'm enjoying hearing the "ping" that everyone always talks about! Oh- and I'm completely covered in apple mush! Its all the way up my arms!!!

I also picked a few beans and am working on blanching those right now. I might raw pack them later.

I can't wait to open a jar of applesauce around the Thanksgiving dinner table and remember all of the hard work I put in! I am really hoping to be able to find a great recipe, or come up with something on my own, that people love, and be able to give it to them as gifts one year.

Also- I'm using my great-grandmother's jars. Some are hers, and some were my grandmas, and some are my moms! Here are a few pics!