Here I sit in Kingsport Tennessee

 

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I’m spending time on the blog today, something I have neglected terribly.  I’ll backtrack later on my 2018 travel season.  But for now, I would like to tell you a little about Kingsport, Tennessee and the surrounding area known as the Tri-Cities.

I arrived Sunday to see my brother Scott and sis-in-law Stacy.  They picked me up in Charlotte, North Carolina which is 3 hours and 17 minutes away!  I fly into Charlotte because I try and refuse to fly any airline but Southwest Airlines.  They must like me or really need a dog sitter.  We drove back and stopped for dinner at a groovy place in Johnson City, Tennessee called White Duck Taco Shop.  We all had different tacos.  I recommend the Thai Peanut Chicken or the Shrimp Diablo (have water handy!).  The restaurant is located in the historic and newly fancied-up Tweetsie Railroad Depot; adjoining the Yee-Haw Brewing Taproom.  The Duck offers skee ball, bocce ball, and plenty of outdoor seating with a fire-pit.

My brother Scott gets wound up once a week at the prospect of beer and whiskey night at Stir Fry Cafe where on Tuesday they have craft drafts starting at $2 for a pint and whiskey shots starting at $5.  Wednesdays and Saturdays feature half-price sushi!  Yummers!

Lunch specials can be had any day at The Main Street Pizza Company where we had a small salad and a slice for a very reasonable price and it was mighty tasty.

We had to walk off all of that food so my brother and I took the pup Jazz to the The Kingsport Green Belt for a nice and reasonably easy morning hike.  Lot’s of Eastern Bluebirds, woodpeckers and waterfalls.

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My journey here continues for many more weeks.  Looking forward to telling you all about it!

Wishing you a Happy New Year from Free and Roaming.

Blarney

Just a quick post today to tell you about some secret gems.

When you plan your time at Blarney Castle…

Remember to visit the cave.

And the gardens…

And walk beside the river…

Free and Roaming wishing you a blessed day from the Blarney Banks.

Birds of Costa Rica (no Polly parrot jokes allowed)

Click photo to visit gallery

When I first moved to Costa Rica a few months ago I was astonished at the sheer number of little parakeets flying around town.  They wake me every morning with their silly chatter, they fly in large flocks, the drop nuts and mangos on my head and in my pool.

See pictures and learn more about this pranksters…click here.

 

 
Image result for macaw images freeMy friend Camilla and I headed south for adventure last week.  We were shocked at how many Scarlet Macaws we saw flying, usually in pairs.  Nineteen in all in 2 days!  A pair was even flying along side the car.

Learn more and see pictures on the Costa Rica Guide.

 

 

 

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One of the most interesting birds we saw was a Swallow Tailed Kite.  Check out the Wikipedia page here

 

 

 

 

Cherrie's Tanager

 

In Costa Rica we have an abundance of Tanagers including the Cherrie’s Tanager, the Blue Grey Tanager and many more!  Perhaps you would like to take a bird tour.  Check out tours here.

 

 

I’ve only seen Grey-headed Chachalaca in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  Check out this interesting video and notice the parakeets cannot keep their chatter even out of a video highlighting the Chachalaca!  Great video of a couple of Chachalacas.

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My friends…this is just a tiny sampling of what my beautiful home, Costa Rica, has to offer.  I highly recommend a visit.  If you need help with a glorious itinerary please feel free to contact me.

I head out tomorrow to fund my Costa Rica life with my wonderful job that I truly love.  The rest of this year I will have the fortune to travel to Alaska, Ireland, The Carolinas, New England, to the beautiful Sierras in California, New York’s stunning Hudson Valley, Nashville and the Smokey Mountains, and will spend the New Year at the Rose Parade!  I don’t take a minute of this for granted and I know that I have been blessed greatly.

Blessings to my readers and please subscribe.

Polly

Figs in Heaven

The world lost a magnificent creature a few months ago.  I have been unable to face it, write it, talk about it but rather pushed it away.  It’s time now to honor him with a little remembrance.

His name was Marley.  He came to us by accident as most of them do.  We got a call and Dan said, “hey why don’t y’all come over and take a look at this little puppy we found before we take it to The Animal Defense League”. Click here for information or to donate

Under a bar stool was a smooshy little sleeping yella baby.  Too much skin, big baggy eyes and a broken toe, he already had my heart.  There was no way this little seven pound bundle of sweetness was going anywhere but home with us.  The first few hours were pure bliss.  We watched him as he slept (he was cutest when asleep) and waited for him to wake so we could watch his floppy little ears when he ran around the yard doing his bunny hop.  This is the beginning of the story of the ten thousand dollar free puppy.

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“Baby Marley”

A check up at the vet was first on the list.  The vet said, “Wow!  Did you see the size of these paws?” (later to be known as Marley’s “big ‘ol bunny feet” equal in size to my 7.5 women shoe size).  Over the next 60 days he gained a half pound a day, every day and it did not stop there.  At his heaviest he topped off at one hundred six pounds but that was after the consumption of an entire seven pound bag of cat food and the bloat that followed ($3000)…I digress.

God made Marley so cute so that nobody would kill him.   They say a dog will not defecate where they live.  After nights of no sleep we conceded and bought a crate.  The next battle was at two a.m. each morning which one of us would hose out the crate and who would hose off the puppy.  These horrible sleepless smelly nights lasted until our buddy Redneck Jack said, “I’ll show ya how to put a puppy to sleep” and threw him out the back door.

Bubby (my favorite nick name for Marley) managed over the next several years to rack up an enormous amount of vet bills.  He commonly would get things stuck in his big baggy eyes.  One time he had to see a specialist (doggy opthomologist…cha ching!).  After about $1500 worth of tests it was time for the diagnosis and treatment.  The Doctor said, “Marley has……..big baggy eyes and gets things stuck in them”.  Well thank goodness we paid for that.

One of the many good things about Bubs was that he was very trainable.  Obviously driven by food he would do almost anything for a bite of kibble.  I was even able to train him to be a great protector of the chicken flock although he still loved a romp right through the middle of them causing them to fly and cackle.  He watched over them, ate almost all their eggs before I could get them, and learned to smell their vents and predict when they would lay an egg.  No, I’m not kidding.

I spent many years in the demonstration business and had lots of “product” around the house.  I represented a company called Honey Stinger.  Marley managed to get hold of a box of chocolate bars…he ate them all then went for three bags of energy chews.  It was a long night pumping him full of huge amounts of hydrogen peroxide at the vets urging.  He finally blew and it was a cacophony of chocolate, foil packages, peanut butter, minty something and plain ‘ol bubbly puke!  Disgusting.  He felt like a million bucks and wanted dinner shortly there after.

Marley was gross!  Commonly had floor length drool out of both sides of his mouth with various stuff in it.  He would sit under the dining table at dinner and fart.  He cleared rooms at large parties with his gaseous explosions.  He regularly smelled of things you could not even explain and his belches seemed to come from somewhere other worldly, like maybe the depths of hell.  Having said all that, he was one of the great loves of my life and brought me more laughter and joy than just about anyone or anything.  His sweetness was overwhelming.

Seems to me this post is getting a little long so I will bullet point a few of Marley’s other brushes with death.

  • Cat food incident
  • Ate a water bucket and hose
  • Ate his weight in chicken poop
  • Ate a few raw not so fresh dead animals
  • Ate a LOT of chicken feed
  • Got a crab caught between his toes
  • Fell in the bay over the sea wall
  • Got kicked in the head and knocked completely out by my horse, Friggy
  • Got ran over by a golf cart (not just once)

It wasn’t all bad you see.  One of the things we most enjoyed doing together was standing by our beautiful fig tree, me with a glass of wine and him snuffleupagosing under the fig tree for ripe fruit.

Sweet Marley with the “cuuuurrrrrly hairs” left us at age 10 or so.  He lived a wonderful life and gave us so much joy.  My prayer is that they have Figs in Heaven.

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Doesn’t know he has peanuts on his head.