I was just beginning to think that we would never get any snow this winter. Normally, we would have at least one or two rounds by now, but somehow this year we made it through mid February without any trace of the magical white fluffiness! Granted, it had been very unseasonably warm, but I have never seen an NC winter with no snow ever since I moved here.
Finally, on Thursday night, we were blessed with a whopping 2 inches of snow! 😆Having grown up in a tropical climate, I can’t help getting excited every time I see snow. 😊One thing I love about living here in North Carolina is that we do have the change of seasons, and I get to enjoy that without having to endure the harsh winter. For me, a few rounds of snow per year is just the perfect amount. I was getting worried that the inevitable effects of climate changes from global warming had robbed that from us forever, but I’m glad to report that’s not the case, not just yet anyhow!
We had an interesting Saturday volunteering as part of this weekend’s bottling crew at Mystic Farm & Distillery in Durham. We took a tour there a few months ago and Joel loved it so much that he thought it would be fun to sign up for the task. We got an offer earlier in the week and decided this would be the perfect way to start off our weekend! 😆
We woke up early and reported for duty promptly at 9 am. Once there, while waiting for the guys to finish setting up the bottling line, we got to enjoy shots of sweet and aromatic Mystic Bourbon Liqueur in their cozy lounge – such a great way to warm up for the arduous task ahead! 🤪
My main task was to catch bottles coming out of the heat shrink machine, inspect them to ensure they were properly sealed, then set them on a table ready to be labeled by Joel. I thought I got an easy job, then quickly realized that it was no joke, when shrunk-wrapped bottles started to come flying out and one almost fell from the conveyor belt before I could catch it! 😳 In the end, another lady stepped in to help when we realized there was simply no way I could transfer bottles and inspect them fast enough at the rate they were coming out!
Joel’s job was to man Martha, the labeling machine. He would take a bottle I set out on the table, lay it on a mold, first on its back, pump the foot pedal to apply the back label, then flip over to the front to apply the front label. Towards the end, I decided catching bottles was a bit too stressful for me 😣, so I switched over to grab the readily-labeled bottle and smooth them on to get rid of air bubbles before passing it over to the boxing team instead!
After a hard day of work, we were rewarded with the fruits of our labor 😉 – a bottle each of the Heart of Mystic single-barrel bourbon whiskey, from the batch we just finished!
หลังจากที่ตรากตรำทำงานมากว่าครึ่งค่อนวัน ท้ายที่สุดเราก็ได้รับค่าเหนื่อยเป็นเหล้าเบอร์เบินวิสกี้ Heart of Mystic คนละขวด แกะกล่องมาจากที่เราเพิ่งแพ๊คเสร็จไปหมาดๆนี่เอง 😉
All in all, we had a lot of fun. Mystic seems like a really great place. These people truly love what they do and are serious about their products. They only make a few things and make them extremely well. You can really taste the quality in every sip 🥃.
They also have a beautiful farm 👨🌾 where they grow their own wheat and corn for the distillery. They even keep their own bee hives 🐝 for the honey they use to blend into their bourbon. Speak about dedication, that’s it, right there!
I never thought I would have another Christmas lights post up again so soon ☺️! We had a late Christmas get-together with Joel’s family at his brother’s house in Charlotte this past weekend. One of the many activities accomplished was a visit to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Belmont, which is just a little over half an hour drive from Charlotte.
แหม นึกว่าจะต้องรอถึงปีหน้าถึงจะได้มีโอกาสได้ไปดูไฟคริสต์มาสอีกที ☺️ ปรากฎว่าเมื่อสุดสัปดาห์ที่ผ่านมาไปฉลองคริสต์มาสย้อนหลังกันที่บ้านพี่ชาย Joel ที่เมือง Charlotte เค้าชวนไปดูสวน Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens ซึ่งตั้งอยู่ที่เมือง Belmont ใช้เวลาขับรถจาก Charlotte แค่ครึ่งชั่วโมงกว่าๆเท่านั้น
From the weekend after Thanksgiving to the weekend after New Year, they have an annual event called ‘Holidays at the Garden’ where they put up colorful LED lights to brighten up the entire garden. Inside the main building, they also have Christmas displays featured. The highlight was this Christmas tree made entirely from these beautiful white orchid stems, located right in the middle of the lobby.
ที่สวนนี้เค้ามีจัดรายการ ‘Holidays at the Garden’ เปิดให้เข้าชมกันได้ตั้งแต่หลังวัน Thanksgiving ไปจนถึงหลังวันปีใหม่ เค้าเอาไฟมาตกแต่งประดับประดาจนสว่างไสวไปทั่ว แถมในตัวตึกยังมีของตกแต่งเข้ากับบรรยากาศคริสต์มาสอีกด้วย ไฮไลต์ก็คือต้นคริสต์มาสต้นใหญ่กลางล๊อบบี้ที่ทำขึ้นมาจากดอกกล้วยไม้ล้วนๆ ชอบไอเดียมาก ดอกไม้สีขาวบริสุทธิ์ตัดกับใบสีเขียวขจีดูเก๋ไม่ซ้ำใคร
We were there late on a Saturday night, right after a burst of rain, so there wasn’t that many people there. The place looked magical! 😍 It was a great way to get enjoy the last of the holiday spirits!
At the far end of the garden, they have a little kiosk set up where you can buy snacks and hot drinks. We got some s’mores kit and were able to grill the marshmallows right on this fire pit they have set up nearby. Perfect treats for the chilly night!
Another special exhibit they had on display was this Stickwork sculpture by NC artist Patrick Dougherty called the ‘Magnificent Seven’. Joel and I had seen another one of these at the Riverwalk in Hillsborough during our hike at the Mountains-to-Sea Trail there so we recognized it immediately! 😊
One of my most favorite things to enjoy 😍 during the holiday season is the colorful 🎄Christmas lights display. We have made it our annual tradition for the past few years to set aside a night for Christmas lights hunting. This year, my dearest husband decided to jump on the bandwagon and started decorating our house for the first time ever! We happened to have a pair of built-in Christmas trees, right in front of our house, which serves as the perfect vessel for Joel’s beginner artistic outlet. 🤣 We shall see what next Christmas will bring, in terms of creative expansion.
Now on to the tour. This first house, or shall we say mansion, at 1012 Holt Road in Apex, made the headline on the local news channel just the night before, about their traffic squabble with law enforcement 🙄. Fortunately they were able to work it out with the police and resumed their light show for us general public. The traffic was still brutal 😓 but that became understandable once we had witnessed the sheer amount of lights they had put on on their 12-acre piece of property. Unfortunately, due to said traffic, I wasn’t able to get many good pictures to demonstrate the monstrosity of the display 😐, but it was one of the largest we had seen on a private property!
This house, at 700 Bay Bouquet Lane, also in Apex, and the next few, are one of the ones with the synchronized Christmas songs on the radio, which is always fun to watch. The most popular song this year appears to still be the theme song from Disney movie Frozen!
บ้านหลังนี้ซึ่งตั้งอยู่ที่ 700 Bay Bouquet Lane ในเมือง Apex กับหลังถัดๆไปเป็นสไตล์ที่เค้าเปิดไฟเข้าจังหวะกับเพลงคริสมาสต์ที่ออกอากาศทางวิทยุ หน้าบ้านจะมีป้ายปักบอกไว้ว่าให้เปิดวิทยุไปที่สถานีไหน สรุปแล้วปีนี้เพลงประกอบหนังดิสนีย์เรื่อง Frozen ยังคงครองตำแหน่งเพลงยอดฮิตประจำปีไม่ต่างไปจากปีที่แล้ว
This one is located at 203 Billingrath Turn Lane in Cary. Wishing those cars weren’t there in the driveway to obstruct our view, but oh well it is their house 😆!
หลังถัดไปตั้งอยู่ที่ 203 Billingrath Turn Lane ในเมือง Cary เสียดายหน้าบ้านมีรถจอดบังวิวอยู่หลายคันมาก แต่จะว่าไปมันก็บ้านเค้าอ่ะเนอะ 😆
This one, at 101 Chestone Court in Cary, we have seen many many times on our way to H Mart, and always told each other we had to check it out. And we finally did!
หลังนี้ตั้งอยู่ที่ 101 Chestone Court ในเมือง Cary บ้านนี้เราขับรถผ่านอยู่หลายครั้งมาก เพราะอยู่ระหว่างทางไปซุปเปอร์มาร์เก็ตเกาหลี H Mart ผ่านทีไรก็ว่าจะต้องแวะมาดูตอนเค้าเปิดไฟ (เพราะปรกติไปตอนมันยังไม่มืด ไฟเค้าเลยยังไม่เปิด) สุดท้ายก็ได้มาเห็นจนได้
This one, at 1033 Hortons Creek Road in Cary, was also very well-done.
หลังนี้ที่ 1033 Hortons Creek Road ในเมือง Cary เรียบหรูแต่ดูดี
We arrived at this one, at 416 Waverly Hills Drive in Cary, just as they were turning the radio synchronization off 😆, but we did still enjoy their cute display anyway!
This one, at 2932 Green Level West Road in Cary, was a little different than the rest of the bunch – no music, but tons of lights and inflatables!
หลังนี้อยู่ที่ 2932 Green Level West Road ในเมือง Cary อันนี้ไม่มีเพลงให้ฟัง แต่ไฟตรึมมาก เห็นสะดุดตามาแต่ไกลเชียว
This next to last one was located at 1001 Hemby Ridge Lane in Morrisville, where every square inch of the little yard was packed full of inflatables – what a sight to behold!
หลังนี้ตั้งอยู่ที่ 1001 Hemby Ridge Lane ในเมือง Morrisville ซึ่งจัดหุ่นยางสูบลมมาอัดแน่นกันให้ชมเต็มสนาม ดูกันละลานตามาก
This very last one was right around the corner from our house. These little colorful Christmas trees brought a smile to my face every time we drove past it. Finally, we stopped by to take a picture, which did not seem to do it justice. And that concludes our Christmas lights excursion this year – looking forward to finding more holiday creativity next year!
This weekend, there is a special event in downtown Durham called ‘Bull Moon Rising‘ where an art piece called ‘Museum of the Moon‘ by UK artist Luke Jerram is being presented. This is a touring installation that has been traveling all over the world since 2016. According to their web site, ‘Measuring seven metres in diameter, the moon features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. At an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface*.’ Apart from celebrating Durham’s 150th Anniversary, the event also honors the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
สุดสัปดาห์นี้ที่เมือง Durham เค้ามีงานฉลองครบรอบ 150 ปีของเมือง ซึ่งประจวบเหมาะกับวันครบรอบ 50 ปีที่ยานอวกาศอพอลโล 11 ไปลงจอดที่ดวงจันทร์ เลยมีการจัดงานพิเศษ ‘Bull Moon Rising‘ เอางานศิลปะที่มีชื่อว่า ‘Museum of the Moon‘ มาแสดงให้ชมกัน ผลงานชิ้นนี้เป็นฝีมือของ Luke Jerram ศิลปินชาวอังกฤษที่จำลองดวงจันทร์ในมาตราส่วน 1:500,000 และใช้ภาพถ่ายจาก NASA ในการแสดงพื้นผิวของดวงจันทร์ มาเป็นผลงานประติมากรรมขนาดเส้นผ่านศูนย์กลาง 7 เมตร ส่องสว่างจากภายใน ขึงด้วยลวดสลิงลอยอยู่ใกล้แค่เอื้อมมือ
The moon was out in all its gloriousness. There was a lot of people out on this chilly night. We were happy to have made the trek to witness this weirdly wonderful art piece in person!
The night before Halloween, we went out to explore this infamous Halloween House in the Oakwood District of downtown Raleigh. We first stumbled upon it a few years ago, on our way out of Oakwood Cemetary, which is right down the street. We got to chat a bit with Mr. Jesse Jones, the owner of the house and the mastermind behind all this awesomeness. He is an attorney by day and a Halloween aficionado by October nights. This is truly a labor of love. The decorations get moved away at the end of the night, and put back again the next day. Mr Jones said he had to do that because somebody was stealing his props. 😣
We were lucky that night because they forecasted for rain so not that many people were around and we got to enjoy the many scary monsters, zombies, rabid animals, tombstones, skeletons, and other weirdly wonderful creepy ghouliness 👻 pretty much crowd-free.
I wanted to get this post up before Halloween, but unfortunately didn’t get a chance to. 😣 If any locals happen to read this and want to go check it out next year, the house is located at 504 Oakwood Avenue, at the intersection of Oakwood Avenue & N East Street, in Raleigh NC. Happy Belated Halloween!
ตอนแรกตั้งใจว่าจะขึ้น post นี้ก่อนวันฮัลโลวีน แต่ด้วยความที่งานยุ่งมากเลยไม่ทัน 😣 ถ้ามีใครอยากไปเยี่ยมชมกันปีหน้า บ้านนี้ตั้งอยู่ที่เลขที่ 504 ถนน Oakwood ตัดกับถนน N East ในตัวเมือง Raleigh นะคะ แฮปปี้ฮัลโลวีนย้อนหลังค่า
This past Monday, Joel and I decided to have a mini midday adventure with a long lunch date at the North Carolina State Fair. We found out that they had this thing called the Weekday Lunch Pass Program. Here is how it works. You need to pay $10 cash per person for a ticket to get in, after 11:30 am. As long as you return the pass by 1:30 pm, you’ll get your $10 back. So, we decided to give it a try! 🤔
I was running a little late and didn’t get to Joel’s office to pick him up until 11:35 am. By the time we found a parking spot, which was about 10 minute walk from the fair, it was already past noon! 😣 The crowd was a lot bigger than we anticipated. Fortunately, there was no line at the ticket counter, so we were able to pretty much just walk right in.
We had located the food items we had our hearts set on beforehand and had them readily marked on the map. We first headed for The Sloppy Pig at Bubba’s Bacon. This is a sloppy Joe on Texas Toast topped with cheese sauce and bacon. We liked it ok. I felt that it would taste better if it were warmer. The next one was a dessert, The Pineapple Dole Whip Float from Tropical Delights. This was good and refreshing but nothing to write home about, in my opinion. We then spent 15 minutes trying to find Woody’s Wing Wagon, so that we could try their Korean BBQ Pork Belly Eggroll. Unfortunately, we never located it and finally just gave up. 😔
It was already past 1:10 pm by the time Joel was done with his last ride. We thought we had enough time to squeeze in The Crack-n-Cheese Stuff Turkey Leg from Hickory Tree BBQ on the way out. There was only a few people in line when we got there, and it was really close to the exit, where we had to return our passes, so we decided to go for it and had our fingers crossed. As soon as we had our food in hand, we raced for the exit, forgetting to even snap a picture of the yummie looking dish! 😰 We made it to the ticket counter at exactly 1:29 pm, according to the clock on our phones, to find that they had already put the ‘CLOSED’ sign up at the Lunch Pass line. 😓 Joel knocked on the glass and was able to get the lady to give us back our money any way! Whew! 😅