Sunday, October 28, 2007

Moving Back (to the old blog space)

I liked the "Sanford and Sons" idea for the blog. With moving my wife and three sons to Sanford, NC, it seemed that Guru-level blogger Esbee from Life in Forsyth had given me a great start with a recommendation for a new blog name.

But, I struggled with the idea of giving up my original blog, joejon.blogspot.com. It is where many/most of you come to see what we are doing. And it is where I have been posting intermittently since 2003.

In short, I like that place much better. Come see me there sometime.

Joe Jon

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Moooo! Or, Moooove on!

There was a huge black cow in our backyard last night. Oh, no, I don't mean the ones in the fence on the farm behind us. I mean a cow. In.Our.Back.Yard.

And we loved every minute of it. The dogs were not too excited about it. Every night we go out and the cows are lying up against the fence right beside the dog lot. At least 25-30 of them. I think they like our dogs, so they sleep next to them. So this cow, who got out somewhere, follows the herd along the fence line wherever they go, which means the stray comes to sleep in our backyard. So far he hasn't damaged anything. He has kept the grass down, though, which means less mowing for me. I just hope he doesn't leave any "surprises" for us in the yard!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

They loved the pumpkins


They loved the pumpkins
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
The Dixie Classic Fair (held this past week) is always a great day of fun for the boys. When we went last week the boys said they wanted to see two things: 1. Every ride in the park. 2. The huge pumpkins. They weren't disappointed.

I hear Lee County has a fair that starts tomorrow. Rumor has it that it is going to be a bit bigger this year with a regional emphasis. We may have to check it out since Sanford Herald editor Billy Liggett is giving everybody a buck off Wednesday night.

Not much excites me more than good festival or fair. It's just too bad this October is seeing highs in the 80's and maybe even 94 this week! Where has my favorite season gone???

Stacie at Broadway by the Aquarium


Caden Outside the Aquarium


Caden Outside the Aquarium
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!

Caden Strollin'


Caden Strollin'
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
Surfside Beach, SC

Caden walking like he owns the world.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

We just got back from a weekend at the beach. I'll try to put up a pic or two soon.

The 10-day weather forecast calls for highs in the mid-to-upper 80's all week with even a day hitting 90 here in sunny, Sanford, NC.

This is October, isn't it?

Will we see highs in the 70's by Christmas???

Still unpacking.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Saturday Something To Do

Brush & Palette Show - All Day Event

The Sanford Brush and Palette Club hosts its anniversary Fall Show and Sale at the Hales Center (Sanford's old Armory at 147 McIver Street). More than 120 members feature their paintings in watercolor, oil and acrylics, as well as three-dimensional media, including woodcarvings and sculpture. Exhibition open to public. Guided educational tours will be scheduled throughout the show and will be published in the Herald.

For more information, please call (919) 774-8723 or (919) 774-8873.

From the Downtown Sanford events calendar.

Monday, September 24, 2007

That was fast!

Time spent assembling five dollar hummingbird feeder: 2 minutes.

Time spent mixing hummingbird nectar mix: 1 minute, 30 seconds

Time spent hanging hummingbird feeder outside kitchen window: 1 minute (6:05 PM)

(Cost of white shirt with red hummingbird nectar spilled on it: About 4 bucks)

Time until first hummingbird showed up: 11 minutes (6:16 PM)

Level of amazement considering we didn't even know if any hummingbirds were around: 10 out of 10

Friday, September 21, 2007

Craig and His List

Well, I was going to play a little golf this afternoon at Quail Ridge, but I have apparently badly strained my achilles tendon. I was playing basketball last night in a Men's Open league in Cary, and it was our first game. It started feeling pretty sore toward the end of the game and I awoke in the middle of the night with it throbbing. I guess I'm not 25 anymore.

Does anyone use Craig's List? I have known about it for years, but we would normally use eBay for selling things on the Internet. We have just recently listed a couple of things (moving boxes, an old bicycle) in the FREE section and have had people come pick them up here in Sanford. But it appears while browsing through many of the sections of both the Raleigh section and the Fayetteville section that there are not too many people in Lee County using the site. We have tried to buy a couple of things we have found, but we weren't quick enough. Things of decent value that many people might need apparently get snatched up rather quickly. And i imagine that there are resellers out there who find things on the cheap and buy them low while trying to resell them for a good profit.

Things I am looking for on Craig's List in the region:

1. A travel trailer or larger pop-up camper. Toilet must be separate from the shower for the wife's sake! Used but in good shape. (Just window shopping now. Maybe after Christmas we'll get serious.)
2. Dog kennel fencing - 10x10x6. We are trying to give the dogs more room.
3. A set of patio furniture for our back deck.
4. An entertainment center. Large enough to hold our 36" TV. Prefer darker stained wood and nothing contemporary looking.
5. A simple table and 2-4 chairs for our homeschool room. Not too high for the boys to work comfortably.
6. A simple coffee table for the play room couch.

Possible dangers of using Craig's List versus eBay, etc.: No financial guarentees if you get ripped off like those offered on trusted sites. The anonymity disappears. Weird people will email you. Yes, they will. Parts of the site are unfortunately for adult eyes only. Don't let the kids wander around on it. (Or your eyes either!)

Bonuses of using Craig's List: It's free (except for a tiny handful of cities where they charge a small fee for job listing (seven cities) or real estate ads (New York only, I believe). You can go out and look at the thing you are buying if it is local/regional. You can always back out of a raw deal. Currently no ads. It is a simple text based site that is not out to make money, believe it or not. More than 20 million people are using it each month. Lots of exposure.

We are still "experiementing" with it now, but we hope we might be able to find a good deal here or there with the site. Who knows?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

We just got back from our first walk through our new neighborhood and only made it maybe half-way through. Neighbors were actually coming out to meet us. Amazing how friendly everyone is in a small town. The boys met a few kids, too. I think we are going to like this neighborhood just fine.

Check out our back yard (well, the farm behind us) from these pictures taken earlier this evening:

Walmart Opens

The new Super-Duper Walmart is opening today here in Sanford. The old, smaller version up the street has closed.

The little guy in me hates to see the giant come in and take over.

The poor man in me loves to save money by shopping here so I can feed my children.

8:16 PM Update: We bought milk from The Scotchman on Horner Blvd. at 15/501 last night for 3.99 a gallon. PET milk, too. Walmart had PET milk today for (are you sitting down?) $6.19!

My wife reports that most everything else was cheaper than Lowe's and comparable or just lower than Food Lion. And the Walmart was p-a-c-k-e-d today.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Come On, Herald!

The New York Times will soon stop charging a fee to access parts of its web site.

I am hoping small town newspapers such as our own Sanford Herald will get on board with this. Advertising, though shaky at times, is still the best way to generate revenue according to many experts. If you are in online newspaper ad sales, do you want to go to a possible advertiser and say, "I have (insert small number here) paid subscribers to the online edition?" Or do you want to say, "I have (insert larger number here) reading the online edition?"

“But our projections for growth on that paid subscriber base were low, compared to the growth of online advertising,” said Vivian L. Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of the site, NYTimes.com.

And...

What changed, The Times said, was that many more readers started coming to the site from search engines and links on other sites instead of coming directly to NYTimes.com.

Was this a new revelation or have then been stewing on this epiphany for some time?

Whatever the case, I know that I for one would be accessing the online edition of The Herald 6-days a week rather than my current low rate of access were it to become free. All the while subscribing to the nice, shiny, new printed edition.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Eep!

This is one nasty storm!

Spooky!

Nice to have the rain, though. My grass was crunching under my feet!

Finally Back Online!

We’ve accomplished quite a bit the last few days, including finally getting our high speed Internet connection up and running. So, I am back to posting again, and thought I would give a quick update.

The movers brought our stuff last Friday. Everything arrived like we thought it would and we have unpacked a good 30 of the 100+ boxes so far, and partially unpacked another 30-40. I am guessing we will still be unpacking for a good while, but we have the essentials down, such as the kitchen, the master bath, the master closet, and the office. Maybe by Christmas we will have the place the way we want it.

All of the rooms are painted except the master bedroom. We also need to wallpaper above the chair rail in the dining room. Stacie wants the kitchen painted, too, but that can wait a bit. I just have a few small areas to touch up throughout the rest of the first floor and we can decide then what to do with the playroom and upstairs bedroom.

A couple of things I discovered this week about our new home/area:

Fire ants! Ouch. I was attaching a hose and put my hand down to steady myself. The next thing you know I feel a stinging pain in a couple of places on that hand. I look down and there are several small ants locked on to me in a crouching position. I decide to take a quick revenge on these little knuckle biters and throw them in to a garden spider web next to the spigot. But then, quite suddenly, I get that same burning and stinging sensation on my feet. I look down and discover another dozen ants biting anywhere my flip-flops didn’t cover. Ouch! About the same time I discover they have taken a good hold of 6-year old Ethan’s feet, as well. So, being the good and protective Dad that I am I … no wait… I got them suckers off of my own feet first, and then helped out poor Ethan, who was clawing at his own feet. I told him to step away from the little dirt area and run and get me the ultimate revenge maker. That can of sprayed death… RAID! And took our revenge we did. Hearty these suckers were. We sprayed the entire area, and came back an hour later and discovered that they were making a mad yet valiant attempt to crawl up the wall of our house. Splash! I hit them again and sprayed a good five feet in diameter (being careful not to hit or affect the aforementioned garden spider) and gave them a sense of shock-and-awe. The carnage was displayed quickly as more and more ants piled out from the hill to meet their doom. Soon there was nothing but a patch of ant bodies, three and four ants deep. As we walked up the steps of the deck, madly scratching our hands and feet, we felt a sense of pride in killing off our new found enemy.

The cows! There is a cattle farm behind our house. We moved our two labs up over the weekend and they had a difficult first night. The cows only come up to the pasture behind our house at night, so when they dogs began barking like crazy at midnight I knew that had to be the problem. I grabbed my flashlight and went out and discovered two of the cows sitting right up on the fence as if they were taunting the dogs. I walked over toward the cows and they took off running. I think it was good for the dogs to see that I wasn’t afraid of these large beasts, as they have barked very, very little since then. I like having the farm out back. It reminds me of the country, and with a couple of horse farms at the beginning of our street we do feel like we are out there a bit. It is nice out here, even when the breeze brings the very faint smell of cow-patties into the back yard.

We like Sanford. It has some issues like any big city or small town, but we like what we have seen so far. I am especially glad that Stacie and the boys are happy to be here. That makes a big difference, and allows me to focus on some other things. We’ll be seeing you around town!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Much To Do, Little Time To Do It

Sorry I have been quiet for a few days.

Painting. Painting. Painting.

Fixing this. Repairing that. Replacing something else.

We are fixing up the "fixer upper" that we bought. Great house, but it needs a little love. So much to do the next 4 days. Then the wife and kids arrive at their new Sanford home. I want it to look nice for them!

I'll be back shortly.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Let's Play Ball!

video

Gabe went all season (2006) without a basket. He had missed a few, but he didn't understand much of the game in his first year, so getting in to position for an easy bucket didn't always click. So we preached the offensive rebound his last game of the season. And, wa-la! His first ever hoop, recorded by his grandma for all to see.

Now they call Gabe "Dikembe" and he stands a good head -and sometimes shoulders, too - above all the other kids his age. At 8 years and 3 months he stands at 5'1" and is a shot blocking monster. So we are excited about the possibilities of the new sports complex being built here in Sanford by Chris Palme and Craig Sturdivant. We would have the boys right over!

Here's to hoping they make it a success.

Hoops Reality

This is actually pretty funny. The 11 Guys You Always Find at Pick-Up Basketball.

Basketball paid my way to college, and I have played in 30+ states and in Europe.

Been there. Seen that.

Warning: A little bit lof language here and there. It would probably be funny even with the volume turned down.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Things Are "Moving" Right Along

Home/Relocation Update: We are getting some traffic on our home in Winston-Salem this weekend. One couple said they are anxious to get moved and are visiting just three homes with the plan to make an offer on one before Monday. Let's hope ours is the one! We really don't want to carry two house payments very long. There is another couple that has expressed interest and might be coming during the week.

Here in Sanford everything is on track. We will be officially official in two weeks from today as Sanford residents. There is much to do.

If you have a recommendation on the following, please let us know!

1. Home security system.
2. Propane service.

I think we have the phone, cable TV and High Speed Internet figured out. We also are buying carpet from a locally owned business and will hopefully make some decisions on furniture this weekend. All that is left is our closing next week, a little painting, having the carpet installed, and the moving company to pick up our stuff and move it down here. Hopefully all of that will go smoothly.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mrs. Wenger's


Mrs. Wenger's
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
I have had a few lunches at this little cozy country corner type of place. I haven't walked out hungry yet. The sign in the front is all new and modern and everything, but I wanted to get a shot of the old sign on the side of the building. The place has been around a good while, apparently. And from what I hear the food has always been this good.

All Fancy and New

The Sanford Herald has a whole new look today in its print edition. Be sure to grab a copy.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tap Your Toes and Slap Your Knees

There's bluegrass playing at Depot Park tonight. 7:00 PM. It's part of the 2007 summer concert series "Function at the Junction." Maybe I'll see you there.

A Family Swim


A Family Swim
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
The boys love swimming when they come to visit me at the hotel. It's a highlight of their trip. Yesterday Stacie joined us and I was able to snap a pic of them all enjoying their time in the pool. Gabe is swimming very well now. Ethan is still a bit hesitant but he is getting more comfortable each time. Caden ... Well, Caden could have fun at an insurance seminar.

Update on the termite inspection: Garrick was right. One call to Sandhills Pest Control did the trick. They will have it done today! One step closer to closing on the house!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Carpet and Such!

We went and got some pricing on our carpet today. 1900 Sq. ft. of carpet ain't cheap, let me tell ya! On top of that we are putting a wood floor in the dining room instead of carpet. Eep. Major bonus: We have a 2-year same as cash deal to pay for it, which will help ease the pain. That's what we get for buying a house at a great price and fixing up a few things ourselves.

Now, if we can just keep three boys aged 20-months to 8-years from spilling all sorts of various food items on this carpet, we'll be good-to-go!

Stacie and the boys just headed up the road after a visit. The misery. I can't wait to get them all down here. The boys are more fun than a sack of confused weasels. And having Stacie around... Well, that is what life and love are all about!

We'll be homeschooling again this year. Gabe will be in the second grade and Ethan will be starting the first grade. Little Caden will just be tagging along for the ride. He loves to sit and listen to mommy read to him. Amazing what those little goobers can learn when you pay attention to them!

Once we close on the house there is plenty to do in that area. Stacie has the bulk of her homeschool stuff packed up for the move, so the first week or two could get interesting while we are in transition. It will be neat to have a whole spare bedroom to turn into the homeschool room. We can actually have a dining room again! How weird is that? Though, I imagine we will still hunker down at the breakfast table for most of our meals. Sitting all close to each other and enjoying that family time each evening is a bonus. Touching elbows can be a good thing! Plus, it's easier for me to swipe bits of Stacie's good cooking from everyone else's plate.

Oh - Stacie and the boys finally got to spend some time in the library downtown this morning. She had to pry them out of there and when they picked me up for lunch the conversation was all about spiders and adventure. Caden just walked around and said, "Hello!" to everybody within 25 feet of Stacie. He likes to point and his mommy and announce that she is, "Mama!" to anyone who will listen. Stacie says they have a nice collection of books for the kids. I can't wait until I can take them over there.

Have patience, have patience... (Do you know the tune?)

I'm guessing that there is a huge, huge rush on termite inspections in the greater Sanford area, and here's why:

1. Thursday - I called local Termite Inspection Company A. They took a message. I never heard back.
2. Friday - I called local Termite Inspection Company B. They took a message. I never heard back.
3. Monday - I called local Termite Inspection Company C. They took a message. I never heard back.

Oh, my phone works. It's my office phone, and people get through to me - All. The. Time.

So, I must believe that these people are absolutely slammed with business. And so closing on my house is getting more frustrating by the minute. I think the next company I call I am just going to tell the receptionist to go ahead and set an appointment, and that I don't need anyone to "call me back."

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Getting to Know You

As I noted in my regular (old?) blog my wife and I have finally purchased a home in Sanford. It is close to work and offers us plenty of space for the boys at nearly 3,000SF. We are pushing to close in the next 3 weeks, which means I will be able to get the family down here and we will all be able to start spending some time getting to know the Sanford area.

Here are some things we are planning to do in our first 2-3 months in the city and greater central Carolina area:

1. Get to know the public library!
2. Subscribe to the Sanford Herald. I will be posting in the future as to why I believe their online subscription actually hurts them, but that can come later...
3. Visit Raven Rock State Park!
4. Join the local Christian homeschool group.
5. Transfer my boys to the local Boy Scouts troop.
6. Check out the Kendale Bowling Lanes.
7. Catch a show at Temple Theater.
8. Get lost in the Corn Maze and pick a pumpkin in the patch at Gross Farms.

On a side note: I am also wondering if we will venture up to Raleigh/Cary much. Apparently the greater Raleigh area is only 40 minutes away, where Greensboro is just over an hour. From what I have seen most people in the area relate more to Raleigh, and the newspaper I see most often other than the Sanford Herald is the Raleigh News and Observer. I have even been watching the Raleigh TV news station. Maybe we will get to know some things about the area a little further up US Highway 1 soon enough.

A little hint: My wife knows the area pretty well, already. She graduated from Meredith College. But that was about 14 years ago! So, I'm sure there is plenty more to see up there.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Wi-Fi in Sanford

I was never expecting Sanford to be a hotbed of technology, being a small town and all, and I am guessing that it isn't when considering several factors. The first being the local Wi-Fi hotspots. I did a search for them (knowing how much I enjoy wireless Internet access in my own home) and discovered 8 spots on jiwire.com. It was interesting to see McDonald's listed (for a small monthly fee - does anyone actually pay for it?). And the coffee shop downtown might be worth checking out (free access!).

I also learned from another source that the local branch of the public library at 103 Hawkins Ave. has free wireless Internet inside during business hours. That sounds like a great opportunity to take the kids over and see what the place is like. I see they have a children's program that might be fun.

So after thinking about it a bit I decided that the number of hotspots listed isn't too shabby. I wonder if there are any initiatives or groups committed to increasing the technological prowess of the community and helping citizens to grow in this area? It might be fun to join in on the effort.

I also wonder if there are any other places with free Wi-Fi not listed?

Update: An anonymous user left a comment about Mr. Bean Coffee house on Jefferson Davis Highway/Rt. 1. They are open until 5:00 PM on weekdays and the service is FREE!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rainbow in Sanford


Rainbow in Sanford
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
I saw this rainbow after the storm on Monday and took a picture outside of my hotel. It's the first one I have seen in a good while.

Hopefully there will some promise in my time and future in Sanford!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

An Offer Has Been Made!

Well, we narrowed it down to one house and made an offer on it today. I imagine it being Saturday and all we won't hear back until sometime on Monday. The home we are looking at has 2900 square feet, 4 bedrooms and 3 baths, and sits on about 7/10 of an acre. It's a bit of a fixer-upper, but in a nice neighborhood. I met some of the neighbors Tuesday night and found them all very nice. Middle class merriment, indeed.

I was stopped Thursday night by one of Sanford's finest. It really took me by surprise as I knew for sure I wasn't speeding, and I was just going up the block from the hotel for a Subway sub and chips. Well, turns out that the car I have been borrowing from a friend - for gas purposes as my Ford F-150 is killing me - had a headlamp out. The officer put that bright side-mounted spot light right on my rear view mirror and walked up to my car. He took my license and called it and the tag in, let me know about my light, and let me go on my way. He was professional about it all, but acted much like I did when I was a cop in the 90's. I am guessing he was looking for bigger fish to fry than my headlight, like a drunk driver or a dope dealer, and wanted to get me on up the road.

Hopefully we'll get that house and I'll be back in my truck in the next week or so. That should save me a little of the trouble of that headlamp, and keep the SPD on more important things!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another Local Blog!


Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter has a weblog. Thumbing through it today I found it had a lot of good information. I particularly enjoy the times where he toots the horn of his department in some great busts of various types and where he discusses his department's involvement in the community. What a great tool to keep the community "in the know" about what is happening with local law enforcement. Sheriff Carter updates the blog pretty regularly, too. It looks like some great stuff is going on with the LCSO! I'll be checking back often!

On another note, I discovered the LCSO has another blog on deadbeat parents. Whoa!

Friday, July 20, 2007

More at the Function

Thursday's "Function at the Junction" brought out three things: good music, a decent sized crowd, and a great deal of heat!
Roger Hester & The High Country Men picked and grinned (more like 'grin and bear it' with the 95 degree temps) for a couple of hundred bluegrass fans at The Depot. I think a few more would have come out, but it was pretty hot out there in the sun. Winston-Salem has a number of events centered around music. I'm glad Sanford, though very small in population numbers, makes an effort to have an event where people can come together. I have met no less than a dozen people and had good conversations with them just in the last two weeks. It was a great deal of fun to see some of them back this week.
These guys were pretty good! It's great to know there is a little bluegrass - my personal favorite - to be found in Sanford.
The crowd pushed back into the shade for the most part. When the sun set behind the downtown buildings things cooled off quickly. That cool breeze felt great at 8:40, when the band was winding down. I wish they played another hour or two, but they were kind enough to go beyond their 8:30 stop time.
It didn't cool quickly enough for Caden, who threw off his shirt and hit the fountain with his brothers and several other kids seeking some cool relief. I can see this fountain is a great
attraction in the summer afternoons. My three sons loved it and are already begging to go back.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What To Do, What To Do

We looked at homes in Carolina Trace, Cameron, and northern Sanford today. The relocation effort is stalling a bit, but we remain hopeful that we will choose a home soon. Amazing how nothing seems to come together in our search for a new home. We really like three of the houses we visited tonight but there was something wrong with each one.

Home 1 has the best house but the worst lot.

Home 2 has the best lot but the worst house.

Home 3 finished in second place in the house and lot categories.

Note that by "worst" I mean least acceptable.

The best house was very large, but required a bit of work on the inside. Oh, and that 421 bypass is only about 150 feet behind the house. Eep. But we loved the size and set-up of the home itself. Loved it. But who wants big rigs buzzing through the back yard (thus the worst lot)?

The other home had a m-o-n-s-t-e-r back yard with privacy fence and play set, but it was the smallest house of the three. We need another bedroom (or bonus room). It was very nice, and we could make do, but the space is a critical part of living with three little boys.

The home in second place had a very nice house but smallish yard. The house wasn't as big as the one in first place in that category, but it would need very, very little done to it to move in, and it had that much needed bonus room (we homeschool, so the bonus room makes for a good classroom).

Oh, the agony of trying to decide. Weighing the factors, including homeowner association/recreation fees and what to do with our two Labrador Retrievers, is tough. Hopefully we can have a sense of peace and get into a house very soon.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Farmer's Market


Farmer's Market
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
This past Wednesday I dropped in on the local Farmer's Market. There were actually three vehicles involved, though this photo shows just two. One gentleman packed up his baskets and other goods as a storm loomed ominously overhead.

Sue Buie is shown in the foreground. She sells at markets seven days a week, and was doing a pretty decent business on this day.

Menu
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
Her prices were comparable to many supermarket prices, but you can't get the freshness there. She picked these items from her garden that morning. These veggies didn't sit on a truck from California all week. Her field peas ran out in the first few minutes. The watermelons and okra looked terrific.

Sue Buie
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
In the 15 minutes I was with her this was a part of about 30 seconds she had no one to sell to. Buie farms several acres each year, which is enough to keep her moving those seven days a week. I enjoyed talking to her. Just another of the friendly folks in this region.

Sue Mashburn
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!


The other Sue at the market sits with her freshly picked goods. Sue Mashburn said she didn't have enough in her garden to go to the larger markets. This farmer's market suited her just fine. She had a few peppers and some green beans among her freshly picked items.

Between Buie and Mashburn there was enough to get your fresh vegetables and put something fresh in the pot for a few nights. They'll be back every Wednesday and Saturday, so come ready to get farm fresh goodness right from our local farmers.

Get more info on the Sanford Farmer's Market.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fairview Dairy Bar


Fairview Dairy Bar
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
The Fairview Dairy Bar is a nice place to get a home cooked meal. I have eaten there thrice now - twice alone and once with the wife and kids - and have discovered that the food is tasty and the atmosphere is pleasant.

Oh, I could argue over the portion size a bit, I suppose. My kids eat like they know there is a widespread famine just around the corner. So, they were understandably disappointed to get served a plate where only about 1/3 of it was actually covered with food. But it held them over until the ice cream came, which seemed plentiful enough. I liked the liver and onions with the fried okra cooked just like my mom used to make it. And my wife enjoyed a nice vegetable plate and a little sundae.

They say you always see someone you know there, so being a new guy in town I was skeptical. But, alas, a co-worker walked over as she was leaving and said hello and met the family.

The wait staff was very pleasant in that "welcome to our country diner" kind of way. I love it when they call you "honey" and "sugar" and "sweetie" and what not. Can it get any more cozy than that?

The customers seem friendly here, too. When our 19-month old screamed out once like he had just been attacked by toddler-snatching zombies under the table the little old ladies next to us just gave us a pleasant smile and made several ,"Aw, isn't he a cutie," type comments. Go figure!

I discovered that the lunch crowd packs the place out between 11:30 and 1:00, so I have stuck to evening meals, thus far. But I hope to go by one night around 10:00 PM (they're open 'til 11:00!) and get a little treat before bed time.

In the immortal words of Terminator I: "I'll be back!"

Monday, July 9, 2007

When I started telling folks I was headed to Sanford with the family the one response I seemed to get the most was, "It sure is hot down there."

It sure is.

Current conditions in:

West Jefferson, NC: 82 degrees on the river at our mountain getaway.
Winston-Salem, NC: 89 degrees at our current residence.
Sanford, NC: 94 degrees in our future home.

It's very hot here today. It's a good thing my dear wife's favorite season is summer!

*On another note, I added links to some local blogs to the left side of the web page. Be sure to check them out! If you are reading this and have a local blog, please be sure to drop me an email and let me know!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Local Blog Off To A Great Start

I discovered that The Sanford Herald has a blog linked from its front page online that is written by the editor, Billy Liggett. This got me pretty excited as I have my own personal blog, and I also started the one you are reading now.

During the recent Winston-Salem annexation, in which we were swept up, I wrote a piece on a reporter coming to my home to interview me on the annexation. Ken Ottenbourg, the Managing Editor for the Winston-Salem Journal, wrote a bit on his blog about that interaction with the reporter, and the whole idea behind "citizen journalism" in the new media age. It was fun to get a mention in Ken's blog. It was even more fun to learn of the local editor having a blog in Winston-Salem. And now I discover the local Sanford editor has a blog, which is even more, more fun.

So far Liggett has done a couple of product reviews, covered the US Women's Open (golf) and spoken on a couple of local articles/issues. It's a pretty interesting read. I will encourage him to keep the focus on his mission statement from the first day or so of his blogs inception:

"Well, my focus will mostly be this newspaper. This will be my way of answering questions we receive, defending the choices we make and explaining the direction The Sanford Herald is going."

It keeps the discussion local, and might stir some discussion on the local issues first and foremost, state and regional issues second, and national/world issues third. I'll be sure to send him some questions when I get settled in!

I wish Billy the best with his blog. Heck, maybe he will offer me some free lance work sometime!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy 100th Lee County

I have been getting to know the Sanford area for just a few weeks now, mostly through the confines of my new job at Central Carolina Hospital. Getting to know my co-workers at CCH has led me to believe that the Sanford area is just plain full of nice people. So, it was good to have an event like the Lee County Centennial Celebration to confirm that this area is loaded with genuinely kind folks.
(Above: The Railroad House at Depot Park)



I approached the celebration with a good sense of small town euphoria, eager to see what this area is all about. The celebration was starting just as I arrived and already several hundred
people had gathered. I was instantly drawn to my favorite music - bluegrass - which was being played by The High Countrymen. These guys played some great tunes and had that older bluegrass style that I enjoy. Not too folksy, not too modern. I think Bill Monroe would have tapped his toes to the high country sounds.



There were lots of old cars on display, which was kind of neat as it added to the historical feel of the event.



Several of the old cars were lined up right by the train tracks by the park.



These old fellows took in a pair of vintage vehicles.



A good number of people dressed the part. Lee County was named for Robert E. Lee, so several came in Civil War attire. I spoke with these kind folks for a few minutes and they shared with me that they just dressed up for fun. Neither of them were affiliated with a reenactment group or historical society, they just enjoyed donning the fancy duds from time to time. I got to speak with at least a dozen folks. From the owners of WLHC 103.1, whose offices were just a block or two away (they invited me to stop by some time, which I will do), to a Lieutenant with the local Sheriff's office, everyone I spoke with was very accommodating and helpful.



There was a Robert E. Lee look alike contest. I bet this guy won it. Robert E. Lee is a historical figure I have always admired, even amidst all of the controversy.



My wife says I can never go anywhere without running in to someone I know. We have seen people we know in Atlanta, Orlando, on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, California, and Mexico. I bumped in to 21st District Superior Court Judge Ron Spivey just before he spoke at the celebration. We knew each other back in my hometown of Winston-Salem, and played on a summer league basketball team together a few years back. He has a pretty good jump shot. Spivey grew up in Sanford and spoke of how proud he was to still be considered part of the Sanford area. I think he has a good reason for that. Sanford strikes me as a neat little town.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Sanford (dash) and (dash) Sons

Welcome! This is the blog of the new guy in town, Joe Jon Bryant. I am in the process of relocating to the area after taking a job right here in sunny Sanford, North Carolina!

I don't know much about the Sanford area, but I aim to find out as much as I can and write about the whole relocation experience (to some extent or another) right here. Along the way I will put some things in here and there about what I have learned and what I like and dislike about the whole Sanford area. And I might tell you a little about me, too.

So peek in and check for updates here and there. I'll try to write at least a couple of times a week, especially once we get settled in!

I named the blog "Sanford and Sons" as I am happily married with three young sons and, well, moving to the Sanford, NC area. I tried to get the address sanfordandsons.blogspot.com, but it was already taken by a man with the last name of "Sanford" and his sons, so I just threw in the dashes. So be careful when typing the address to get here! It's http://sanford-and-sons.blogspot.com/ ! *Thanks to Esbee at Life in Forsyth for recommending the name!

See you real soon!