Merry Christmas

All ovvvver, the world!

It's already Christmas Day in New Zealand, the east coast of Australia and dawn is breaking on the west coast of Aus.

It's Christmas Eve here and the stockings were hung with not much care…..I should have ironed them but Jack probably still hasn't noticed so I'm not changing it now. Lol!

 

There are a few pressies under the tree, good enough for me. (OMG it's rhyme time, look out)

There's a pavlova in the oven, floors yet to clean, but I thought I'd take a moment and set the scene.

 

It's been an adventurous week, with some sewing to tweak. Had a range practice day, for a moments delay. Made a sticky date cheesecake, Jack pleaded to bake. My chauffeur he drove me, around to lights I could see.

 

We had snow on the ground, such beauty all round.

 

A club shoot today, just a few came to play.

 

By this arvo there'll be a stiff drink in my hand, while I sit here with Jack and talk of days planned.

But before I wish a Merry Christmas and all, I thought I'd leave off, with a song for you all. (Must be sung now to Have A Holly Jolly Christmas)

Have a holly, jolly Christmas

It's the best time of the year,

Family, friends and those you know

Let's all gather, have a beer

 

Have a holly, jolly Christmas

When they are near or far,

You are always in our thoughts

Whether it be by plane or car

 

Oh, ho, crackers and cheese

With wine if you need to

Nuts, choc's and candy canes

Did you bring the trifle Sue?

 

Have a holly, jolly Christmas

hope Santa was good to you

Don't forget the reason though

Christmas came to you

 

Oh, ho the mistletoe

Hung where you can see

Hugs, laughter, kisses too

Make it special for thee

 

Have a holly, jolly Christmas

And in case you didn't hear

Oh by golly have a holly jolly Christmas

This year!!

 

Brought to you by Kat's warped mind.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Wih love and hugs from Jack and I

Kat xo

 

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Tennessee

Moonshine, whiskey, cowboy boots and more.(cue singing)'…..rocky top, you'll always be, home sweet home to me….good Ol' rocky top, rocky top Tennessee….'

Through Sevierville we had to stop at Dolly Parton's statue, this was her home town and as we had decided to forego the Dollywood theme park, I just had to have a picture with Dolly! (Singing with Dolly).'..in my coat of many colours, my mama made for me…'

 

We got into Pigeon Forge yesterday, acquired some boots, went to the Christmas Place!…..wow, think this one beats the Leavenworth one, even the Denny's diner next door is Christmasfied! Yes I just made up that word, well it is!…(with eyes wide and sing)'….jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock….'

 

Found the same decorations as last year, now we can update one with Miss Chelsea on it and what the heck, got one done up with the grandkids names on it, in the order they came! Lol!

 

…..found a place to stay and headed down to 'The Island'.

(Singing again)'….wasting away again in Margaritaville, searching for my lost shaker of salt…..' oh yeah! Well actually before we got to Margaritaville we went to the Ole Smokey Moonshine distillery and marvelled at all the different flavours before doing some taste testing. Lucky they only give it to you in small thimble sized cups.

 

We were started off with the Blue Flame 128 proof! Woah, doesn't that catch in your throat! Wash it away with the Margarita moonshine and continue with all sorts of delectable flavours!

 

Now to Margaritaville for dinner and beer, talked with some people from here and Memphis. One on a work trip to Sydney later this year.

 

From there we headed to the Smoky Mountain Wheel and took a ride to see the light show from above.

 

Today we headed down to Gatlinburg, walked around the street and little shops, took the Sky Lift up the hill to check out the view.

 

Into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, winding our way through 17 miles of gorgeous trees and running streams. Didn't get to see any bears though.

 

Soon Mother Nature will wave her wand and all of this will be a spectacular winter wonderland.

Kicking back West towards Tullahoma.

Kat xo

Annnnd I've still got Rocky Top stuck in my head!

 

Good End To A Great Day

This morning we set out to the Territorial Marshal's club match, 3 posses, 45 cowboy's and cowgirls in total with a few onlookers/newbies including an Aussie and her husband would you believe!?!

We had a ball, 6 stages, trying out a new shotgun and using Jacks pistols all went well. Finished 3rd overall, Jack 5th.

My pistols have been handed over to Roy's Creek Dan for a total rebuild. They were second hand to start with, had an absolute flogging over the past 10 years (in particular the last 3-5years), looking forward to the next 10 with them!

 

This afternoon it was rest time, do a bit of computer work, cool down and then this evening we headed down to Bricktown, OK City and went to Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill. A celebration in between both our birthdays as we often do. (Me on the 4th and Jack on the 18th)

 

We sat at the bar area, had big mugs of beer, chips and salsa and then an excellent ribs and chicken with coleslaw and fried okra – yes, we decided we would share – a damn good decision as they are big meals, all the while watching NASCAR in Kentucky. Yee haa!

Good day, great night, now for a cuppa and Cinge Tequila!

Night peeps!

Kat xo

http://tobykeithsbar.com/menu/

 

Bundaberg – Beer, Rum and Friends

It would be remiss of us to visit Bundy (slang for Bundaberg) without making a trip to the Bundaberg Distilling Company, home to Bundy Bear and Australia's famous Bundaberg Rum.

 

We are staying at my good friends Tania and Stephen and whilst they were working on the Friday I took Jack to the Distillery, past the site of a house fire (hmmm was in Wyoming the next one I was near……I promise I had nothing to do with them, just spotted them both times!!), Bargara to the beach and lastly, the Bundaberg Ginger Beer factory.

 

The distillery was great and the interactive self guided tour we took was sensational. When I last visited in 2010 this didn't exist!

The Bundaberg Rum story actually starts in 1888 when a surplus of molasses was turned into rum. We saw the beginnings of the immigrant Chemist, George Hurt's application, initially to CSR Sugar, ended up landing on managements desk at Milliquin Sugar Refinery. How fortunate they were and in 1949 he gained employment with the company.

 

George Hurt's work – of course along with many others since – was instrumental in the manufacturing of and improving the flavour of the famous Bundy Rum.

 

Did you know? That in World War II it was our American friends that decided Bundy rum was good with cola, and so began the Rum and Coke as a pre mixed drink.

 

I was so impressed with the 'Recovery Road' rum bottles, an initiative dreamed up by the BDC marketing team after the floods in 2013. Rum bottles labelled to honour 171 flood affected streets and a bottle given to every resident in those streets, the rest? sold to consumers and funds raised went back into the community.

 

Exceptional work!

 

Next, we made a brief visit to the Brewhouse aka Bargara Brewing Company and did the usual tasting pallet. They also do some great little pizzas here and is going to be a good spot for weekend lunches.

 

Paid a visit to Bert Hinkler's house in the botanical gardens. An avid aviator, Bert made a few world records, was a Sqn Leader and his English home was eventually moved from Southhampton, England – piece by piece – and reconstructed in its current location in the Bundaberg botanical gardens in honour and recognition of his time in the aviation industry.

 

Then came the rains, sampling of beers, trying to take selfies and enjoying great company.

Bundy it was good seeing ya again!

Kat xo

13 Dec

….it's been a hectic and interesting week and a half since this weekend. Thanks for being patient. Xo

 

Toby Keith and Trace Adkins

OMG! I can't believe in last nights blog post that I forgot to put in the photos of Toby Keith and Trace Adkins concert.

As a quick reminder we saw them perform at Cheyenne Frontier Days on Friday, July 24th. Amazing!

Singing along, crowd goes wild! Freakin' awesome!

So here are some of the happy snaps from the concert! Enjoy!

 

'….girl you drank all my beer, and my whiskey's all gone………it's time to get it on!…you got me thinkin' you won't, you got me thinkin' you might…' Hee hee hee.

Actually he didn't sing that one – it's a family show! Red Solo Cup and a stack of others though!

Cheers!

Kat xo

 

Lynchburg, TN

We arrived in Lynchburg at lunchtime, we are in Jack Daniels country. Moore County …….a dry county! No drinking where Jack lives!

We went to the Visitors Centre and grabbed some info and headed on up to the Jack Daniels Distillery and booked in for a “Tasting Tour”. This place is gorgeous in itself, sitting amongst trees and creeks.

A short walk back to the town square so we could grab lunch at The BBQ Caboose Cafe before walking back and viewing museum type displays before getting on the tour.

Whilst in the square we checked out the old Moore County Jail. Probably the last and most infamous dealings in the jail was the last Sheriff, Ronald Cunningam had to leave as attempts on his life were carried out as he was hot on the trail of runners of drugs and smuggled guns.

The men's jail cells are upstairs and later cells were added downstairs for women. In 1856 The Pauly Jail Building Co commenced and made jail cells and thought to get patents out on their designs. They still make components for detention centres now.

On to THE Tour. So much history and interesting facts about the Jack Daniels distillery and I hope I was listening attentatively.

We started with the learning of how they get the coal for the mellowing process. Enter the Rickyard, using Sugar Maple trees, they create these stacks and put them under the hoods. Spraying them down with Jack Daniels – because you don't want to use anything else that can distort the flavour or adds petroleum products etc. – the rick's are then burnt for 1 – 11/2 hrs to create charcoal.

Charcoal is used in the mellowing process and takes out acids and fusel oils allowing the whiskey to mellow and make it smooth. It even smells good in the charcoal bay! To get it even and ensure a precise filtration the charcoal goes through a grinder to get consistent 'pea gravel' size charcoal.

The building on the hill? 7 stories high and is one of 80 barrel houses. This building alone houses $13.5mil of whiskey. Local, state and federal taxes equate to approx $13 per gallon to get it out of the barrel. Australia ranks 5th biggest consumer of JD.

They have their own fire brigade in case of fire and have not lost any whiskey to fire yet!

Iron free, cold water from the spring to make whiskey. When Jack was 6 he move out of home and moved in with a neighbour who was a minister, preached on Sunday made whiskey through the week. Jack found Cave Springs running and all whiskey made from this water since 1866.

This is what ya call, Jack On The Rocks! Haa haa haa not my line but Josh the tour guide! And that IS the name of the statue.

The marble statue in the Visitor centre is correct in height but his shoes aren't correct he wore a size 4 men's shoe and it would have toppled over so they carved it with size 12's. The bronze statue foot is correct but height is 5'7″ 5″ taller than Jacks actual size but the sculptor liking Jack Daniel honoured him by making him taller.

The mash – A mixture of corn barley rye is brought in as whole grains, it's ground down on site and then mixed with cave water and yeast, set down for 5 days and then is run through the still to get the whiskey out.

Stills run constant and run 35-40gal of whiskey a minute. There are 64 mash tanks 40,000 gal mash per tank. that produce 8000gal of whiskey from one tank every 5 days. Takes 5gal of mash to produce 1gal of whiskey!

Spent mash is around 28% protein and is sold off as by product for cattle growers in the region.

Charcoal mellowing, 75 vats of 10ft of charcoal makes JD Tennessee sipping whiskey. The smell is sensational!! All JD starts the same, it is the ageing in the barrels that changes it.

(Side note here only some areas can you take photos, and could only type this stuff out when not in those buildings, any spark from phones camera flashes etc because of fumes could ignite!)

Barrels are made from white oak. A good/experienced cooper can raise 250 barrels a day. Then they are toasted to caramelise the flavours that come out of the wood. Vanilla, caramel, oak all comes from the toasted charred insides of the barrels. Hence giving those oak and vanilla tones to the whiskey.

53 gallons of whiskey in each barrel and are stored in barrel houses. None are climate controlled it's controlled by Mother Nature, hot, the oak expands and soaks up the whiskey as the weather turns cold it releases the whiskey again. The expanding and contracting allows the scents from the barrels to infuse into the whiskey.

Barrels are used once and then tested to see if they still have traces of liquor in them if they do, they will be sold off to other whiskey makers for their ageing process. If they don't make the cut, they are sold down town in the square for use as furniture, pot plants etc. and they do have some sensational items made from the barrels!

The traditional black label is done with around 170-200 barrels of whiskey mixed in together.

Single Select however will be one barrel, and bottled purely from the 1 barrel approx 240 bottles!! Each barrel can taste different as well. There is a single barrel society and for around $9000 you can buy your own barrel, the gold barrel tack means they have bought more than one, when they have bought 7 they change the badge to a gold barrel with a red 7 on it.

The revenue office (opposite the bottling plant) housed 2 officers up until 1986, when the liquor industry was deregulated they were removed from site and it was made into a nurses station, since 1988 it is now the sampling room and the black JAck Daniels flag flies on the day someone is tasting their own purchased barrel.

It was bottled in a square bottle “a square deal” as it became known – getting a square deal on his whiskey as they were used to clear moonshine or whiskey. The 7 still unknown, lucky number, his height 5'2″, 7 lovely ladies he supposedly had.

Select barrels are used for single barrel select and are stored in the very top floor of the barrel house. 90% are rejected even after being selected to be a “select”. There are of course 7 taste selectors in the distillery.

Sensational!!

All bottling is done in Lynchburg, no bottling is done anywhere else. All here and then exported all over the country and indeed all over the world.

During prohibition time Lem Motlow and his wife owned and ran the hardware store on the square. When prohibition ended Tennessee remained a dry state. Lem, not happy with this ran for election in legislature and was elected to office and managed to get prohibition raised for the state and could therefore start producing Whiskey again.

Aren't we lucky Jack Daniels nephew continued the tradition and pushed for this? We would be without some sensational whiskey that's for sure!

This was an awesome experience, thoroughly enjoyed visiting Lynchburg.

Cheers and here's to Jack! Bottoms Up!

Kat xo

PS more pics will be posted on Facebook, but you get the drift if you are a Jack Daniels fan or just want to see how things were back in the day and how some places, company's and people refuse to give up traditions!!

http://www.jackdaniels.com

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynchburg,_Tennessee