Charity’s Blog


Charity’s Adventures on the Appalachian Trail 2022

Day 1: Arrival in Damascus 

What a wonderful day for a journey!  The weather was beautiful & warm. I turned on my audio book, rolled down my windows, & enjoyed my long trip alone to Damascus, VA. There was very little traffic and the scenery was something I can never get enough of. 

Damascus isn’t a big town, but it is a bustling one. Being a town that the Appalachian trail goes right through, means there are lots of hikers. Not only that, it’s called “Trail town, USA” because there are many more trails connecting here. 

I’m staying at Crazy Larry’s cottage. It’s right next door to his hostel. Hostels are like big bunkhouses. Multiple people, you may or may not know, staying in the same rooms.  I opted for the cottage with a private room & bath. My room has a beautiful, cherry 4 poster tall bed, just like my Aunt Zanny used to have in the hills of Kentucky. The cottage is clean & well kept. The hostel, on the other hand, is made for hikers on a budget. Crazy Larry has free food on the porch for any hikers needing it. A stack of clothes by the door in case they need to borrow something while they do their laundry. You see, most hikers only have two sets of clothes with them: hiking clothes & sleeping clothes. Inside, Crazy L’s filing system was covering his kitchen table with his laptop but he seemed organized enough. He had my reservation so that’s all that mattered to me. As he walked me over to the cottage, he fired up a joint. “Hope you don’t mind the weed,” he says. “I smoke this shit all the time now. It’s no worse than a beer.”  I shrugged & told him it was his house, I’m just a guest. (It’s legal in VA)I guess what I didn’t see inside the hostel, according to a new friend I made, was the pile of pot on the counter!   Anyhow, Larry is cool. Older guy, used to hike & raise hell.  Now he runs this business, doesn’t raise much hell anymore but doesn’t put up with any crap either. 

I met three thru hikers right after getting settled in: Alley Cat, Tunes, & Twister. We had a great dinner together and swapped hiking stories. They are zeroing tomorrow and headed out Monday NOBO (north bound). I leave tomorrow, shuttling up trail and hiking SOBO (south bound) back to Damascus. I should pass my new friends Monday sometime. 

One other lady I met was Firewalker. She earned her  name in a unique way. She was about to walk through a portion of the Smokies when she came upon a group doing a controlled burn. She was told she couldn’t pass for 24-48 hours. She wasn’t having that and insisted she would go through. After much persistence, they finally called ahead to tell the others of the very stubborn woman. They told her to give them a couple hours and they’d let her through. As she finally made her way through, she walked among the charred, burning ground cover. The only thing not sizzling was the trail. Her biggest worry was how to tell her husband she earned the name Firewalker 

Girl Camper on the go!
Twister, Tunes, Alley Cat
Crazy Larry: the man, the myth, the legend
Crazy Larry’s

Day 2: Leaving Damascus: into the woods I go, to loose my mind and find my soul

I awoke from a decent night sleep early, as I tend to do. There was a cafe down the way that opened at 7:00 am and I wanted to beat the crowd. Such a cute place with local art work on the walls and tables made of old sewing machine bases. 

This bustling town of an evening is definitely sleepy at 7am. So peaceful in its valley, surrounded by mountains. As I enjoyed my breakfast sandwich & dirty chai from the Main Street Coffee & Cream, I watched the sun rise up over the mountains and shine on the sleepy town. The warmth awakened one hiker at a time as they started to emerge from their different hostels and sleeping rooms. 

When I arrived back at my cottage kitchen, I ran into Alley Cat where we talked hiking gear and hiking stories. Such a unique community to walk into. They’re such an accepting group. Live and let live all the way. 

I talked with Crazy Larry before leaving. It was his birthday today and hikers called best wishes to him as they passed. I sat on his comfortable, cluttered, welcoming front porch waiting for my ride. 

Gypsy pulled up in her little SUV to shuttle me to Massie Gap where I’d begin the hike. It’s the second time she’s shuttled me and such a nice lady. She and her other half, Lone Wolf,  thru hiked years ago and now shuttle other hikers. I told her how I couldn’t find a hiking mate this time around. She insisted that next I call her!  She’s always looking for a reason to get out and hike. Nice offer, and I might, but she’d probably hike circles around me!  I’m not the fastest hiker you’ll ever meet!

She dropped me off at my starting point, which had a pit toilet, score!  Massie Gap is in the Grayson Highlands State Park. The land of the wild ponies. I happened upon 3 of them as they grazed on the grass. They walked close but they weren’t rude or pushy, as I hear they get further into hiking season. Like any other wild animal, they’ll figure out where the treats come from even if feeding them is frowned on. 

The views in the highlands were more than I could have wished for. I could see mountains on top of mountains on top of mountains. Simply breathtaking.  I didn’t think I’d get out of that section just because I kept stopping to enjoy the view. I passed tons of thru hikers, some day hikers, a trail runner passed me. The age limit here is, well, kind of like a board game: from 0-99. Not sure the oldest hiker’s age but I know he was in his 80’s and still going strong!

I found a campsite after hiking 9 hours, 29,000 steps & 10 miles. Set up my tent, cooked dinner, made some hot tea, built a fire, and…….. realized I forgot my spoon!!  My meal of mushrooms, spinach, chicken, & rice was delicious!  I ate it with the lid of my coffee cup. A girl has to eat and I was NOT wasting that grub just because of no spoon!

As my fire dies down, it’s almost hiker midnight, 8:30, and it’s about time for bed.  I’m pleased with my journey and progress so far. Tomorrow should be a little easier. I have a lot of downhill ahead of me. However, downhill has its own set of issues too. 

So goodnight peaches. I’m off to dream of ponies and hills. 

me & the ponies
My lid/spoon

My first night fire

Day 3: Just keep hiking, just keep hiking

Last night was my first night ever to sleep completely alone in the woods. I’ve been alone in my tent but with hiking companions a stone throw away. Last night, no one close enough to throw rocks at but close enough to hear me yell if I needed something. 

I slept well. Typical night in a bear taco(sleeping bag). I woke every hour to turn, then go back to sleep. Nothing weird or scary happened. Nothing to freak me out. Such a nice night. In fact, about 5am nature came calling and I had to get out of my tent. Since there wasn’t anyone close to me, I didn’t have to travel far into the woods to find the perfect tree. When I looked up to return to my tent, I was in utter awe at the sky. It was a clear midnight blue with a million stars shining down. They were so close, and so big, I felt I could touch them. The Big Dipper was to the north hanging there as if waiting for God to grab the handle and scoop all the other stars up. If you ever have the chance to look at a clear star filled night at 5100ft, seize the moment. 

Finally around 6, I decided to emerge from my tent, retrieve my food, & make some well deserved coffee. I sat in my tent facing East and watched the sun crest over the mountains. What a fantastic way to start the day!  I’ve done some yoga stretches (thank you Allison Crim) and now time to pack up and hike on!

It was an easy(ish) hike out. I stopped at a spring to refill my water bottles and ran into my shuttle driver, Gypsy!  She was shuttling someone else & decided to do a hike if her own up to Buzzard rocks. Gorgeous view. She was there when I made it to the top and took some photos for me. 

I passed so many hikers today and I’d say half were solo women. Lots of dogs, including one little Yorke who’d walked almost the whole 500 miles! 

As the trail neared the Virginia Creeper Trail, I walked along a river until I came to a foot bridge. I crossed the river by using that bridge but at that point, I lost my white blazes! (White blazes mark the route of the AT. They are placed on trees at eye level along the trail). I could see a parking area under the bridge and people so I decided to go down. It was such a steep decent, I had to scoot on my bottom 1/2 the way. I got down there to realize it was not where I was supposed to be. Then came the tricky part, getting back up the hill. I made it & stayed on 2 feet the whole time. I’m just glad no one was watching!  Graceful, it was not. I found the trail again and passed Alley cat. On up further I saw Tunes & Twister. I passed a man and woman  the man had his pack and hers, probably 30# each, and she followed behind. By the look of her, I hope they were just shooting for the next road crossing and a ride someplace. I think the hills got the best of her today. 

The last push of my day was tough. Very steep mountains but the bright spot was I’d be at my next camp spot soon. 

Now I’ve gotten my water for the morning, had my dinner, and I’m once again tucked into my bear taco. I might sleep all the way through tonight. I hope. Rain is coming about 2am. Which means by last 4 miles will be wet ones. 

Today was 32,000 steps, 12.2 miles, & 11 hours of hiking. 

Sleep well, peaches. I know I will. 


Buzzard Rocks

Part of the trail

Day 4: Walking in the rain

Luckily the weather man was off a little so I awoke to a nice day with no rain. I could feel it was coming though. So I packed and left camp about 8. It was a down hill trek for most of it. Then about 9:45 it started to rain. 

I got out my map, because in my mind I was only 4 miles from the end. What I didn’t realize is when I plotted this trip last year, I had planned on ending before Damascus, not IN Damascus. As I fixed my mistake, I now had an additional 5 miles to walk in the rain before my hot shower and my reward Diet Coke. Which is funny because I don’t even really drink soda anymore!  That’s a total of 9 miles for the day and I wasn’t sure what terrain I was in store for on the AT. No service to call a shuttle. Dwindling energy to do many more climbs. Then I remembered the Virginia Creeper trail. I’d been walking above it for sometime. I found a way to cross to it and walked my remaining 5 miles in to town on a down sloped trail instead of the ups and downs I was sure to be ahead of me on the AT. I was afraid of what time I’d arrive back in town if I took that route!

The scenery was beautiful despite the rain. I crossed many pretty foot bridges and hiked along the river the whole time. It was too wet to get any pictures so I’ll just have to rely on my memory. 

I did pass a few hikers today but I think a lot are holed up in hostels waiting for tomorrow’s clear day. When almost to town, a lady shuttle driver stopped to see if I needed a ride. I was less than a 1/2 mile away at that point so I declined. I was soaked anyhow and her van was really nice. 

I got to Crazy Larry’s and found my room. This one even nicer than the first one. An immediate hot shower, hot tea, and a sit down were in order. 

So to sum up this trip, I’m sunburned, sore in places you didn’t think could be sore, don’t know if my feet will ever fit back into my shoes, and so empowered and happy that I did it!  I didn’t know if I could hike solo. Part of the downfall is not having anyone to share in the ups & downs (literal and figurative) or the gorgeous views or funny trips & falls. Sometimes it’s enough to be the only one to see these things. I’ll treasure this time and my first solo hike. 

I always say my parents raised me to be fearless, so fearless is what I’ll be. 

See you soon, Peaches. Hike on. 


9 miles & 22400 steps

water source

From Strangers to Friends

Think back to when you met your dearest friends. Was it easy? Was it hard? I met one of my dearest friends when she moved in down the road. I took her a pie to welcome her and she thought I was crazy. We’ve been inseparable ever since!

They say it is easier when you are a kid. As a kid you just start with a question like, “What’s your favorite dinosaur?” and you are in! As an adult, its a little tougher. If you ask someone about their favorite dinosaur, they might think you’re a little strange.

One of the things I love about my little café, is how it brings people together. We have regular customers who come in and have gotten to know other regulars. I love to hear them calling their greetings to each other from across the room. Sometimes they’ll even pull up a chair or share a table.

Earlier this week, I was privileged to watch a new friendship bloom. The dining room was full and finally a table opened up. The next party in line was a single lady but the table could seat 4 people. She went to the two ladies behind her in line and offered to share her table. They agreed and by the end of the meal they all exchanged phone numbers!

I have such a great group of people who dine with us and I’m honored to call them my friends. Thank you for your kindness to others as you walk through my doors.

Below is the recipe for what my family had for dinner tonight. I hope you enjoy!

Stay Peachy, friends!


*** Cafe update: The patio hasn’t been open lately due to weather. I do have heaters out there but it can be a loosing battle if the wind is too cold. We’ll open it back up as soon as we can.

***Valentine’s Day is fast approaching! Our dinner will be Friday, February 11, 2022. Reservations are booking up fast! Call soon to put your name on the list. 317-825-0669

Crack Chicken Pasta One-Pot-Meal

  • 1.5 – 2 pounds Chicken
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 package of Ranch Mix
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 pound pasta (I use bow tie)
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheddar
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 1 cup Spinach (or more if you really like spinach!)
  • 6 pieces crumbled, cooked, bacon

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Use a 12-14″ covered skillet, pour a drizzle of olive oil in the pan, and heat on medium. Cook the chicken till done. To skip this step, buy a bag of diced cooked chicken or a rotisserie chicken.

After chicken is done, add Ranch mix, broth, and pasta. Cover and cook until pasta is done. Add cheese, cream cheese, bacon, and spinach. Stir till cheeses are melted.

Thank you for being a friend!

The season of teeny-tiny socks

Oh my! It has been a hot minute since I have posted anything! Life has been quite the roller coaster and I’ve been enjoying the ride!

Most recently, my husband and I have been remodeling our bedroom. When we got married in 2003, we bought a beautiful cherry bedroom suite. It is big, sturdy, heavy, and exactly what I wanted. So we have had this set for over 18 years. We have moved into three houses with this set and it always feels like home. This weekend we broke it down and changed it out for a perfect farmhouse-style mismatched set that goes with our old farmhouse. I’m so excited about the new look but it was such a shock to wake up not surrounded by my cherry bedroom suite!! Then to make matters more interesting, while cleaning out the dresser, I found teeny, tiny little boy socks that have to be 15 years old. My boys are now 15(almost) and 17 and teeny, tiny, cute socks are a thing of the distant past. Yet, here they were. The memories and nostalgia that came with this weekend were a roller coaster in themselves.

I’m so thankful for that beautiful bedroom set that represents the first 18 years of our marriage. The years of my boys running to jump on the bed and wake us up or them falling asleep between us. The little clothes that filled the drawers before they warmed their feet. The piles of coats during holiday dinners or nieces and nephews taking their naps.

There is a season for everything and as our lives together move forward so do the memories we make. It’s ok to transition into the next phase. I love thinking of those tiny socks but I’m so proud of the men in progress who fill the big stinky ones now.

I’ll try to not let another 8 months pass between posts!

Stay Peachy, Friends!


Maybe 2010? Ma, Gavin, Cole (nephew), & Garrett****** Days of teeny-tiny socks

2021 Elliott Brothers (Gavin & Garrett) ****Tiny socks are long gone!

Grandma Elzada’s Recipe

Lovin’ life!

You can’t feed them from an empty cupboard. Make sure to replenish yours every once in awhile!

Stay Peachy, Friends!


Campfire Garlic Butter Steak & Potatoes

  • Strip steak (sliced into strips, marinated in oil, 1 clove of pressed garlic, salt & pepper over night)
  • Mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 stick butter (NOT MARGARINE!)
  • 1/2 Onion (sliced)
  • Red Potatoes (diced into bite sized pieces)

Make fire in fire ring & place cast iron skillet on grate over fire. Add butter, onions, potatoes, & mushrooms. Cook until tender stirring often. Once tender, push veggies to side (or remove) add steak. Don’t over cook. Once done, add veggies back in. Pull off fire, toss, together & serve!

Stepping out of that comfort zone isn’t for the weak…

It has been a busy and exciting week at Just Peachy Cafe! When I first opened, I had the opportunity to use a computer system or old fashioned pen and paper. I opted for pen and paper. It made me feel more in control and well. let’s be honest, when starting a business you have to count every penny! BUT, after a successful first year, we were able to install a new system and you’ll be seeing the changes when you come in! The new computer system will help us be more efficient in serving you.

Business is constantly changing and evolving. It can be exciting and scary all at the same time. Transitioning from such a tried and true, simple method to such a complex program was a bit nerve wracking. Apparently, the saying isn’t true though, you CAN teach old dogs new tricks! We just had to be brave enough to get out of our comfort zone to try it.

So next time you come in and the server is taking your order with a small computer, please be patient and speak slowly!

Stay Peachy, Friends


Let’s do a recipe that really gets you out of your comfort zone from a woman who knew a lot about being out of her comfort zone…..

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon

  • 6 slices bacon, cut into lardons
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds stewing beef, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • 1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups red wine, like a chianti
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves smashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 crumbled bay leaf
  • 18 to 24 small pearl onions
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 herb bouquet (4 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf)
  • 1 pound fresh white mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 Simmer bacon lardons in 4 cups water for 10 minutes (Lardon is the French culinary term referring to thin strips of bacon, cut approximately 1/4-inch thick). Drain and pat dry.
  • 2 Preheat oven to 450°F. In a large Dutch oven, sauté the bacon in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 3 minutes, until it starts to lightly brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • 3 Dry the beef with a few paper towels for better browning. In batches, sear the beef on all sides in the Dutch oven. Set aside with the bacon.
  • 4 Back in the pot, add the sliced carrots and onions; sauté in fat until browned, about 3 minutes. If there’s any excess fat, drain it now.
  • 5 Add the bacon and beef back to the pot. Season with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Toss. Sprinkle with flour and toss once more. Place in the center of the oven for 4 minutes.
  • 6 Remove pot from oven; toss beef and place back in the oven for 4 more minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and reduce the heat to 325°F.
  • 7 To the pot, add the wine and stock. The liquid should barely cover the meat and vegetables. Add the tomato paste, garlic and thyme. Bring to a light simmer on the stove, then cover and simmer in the lower part of the oven for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat is easily pierced.
  • 8 In the last hour of cooking, bring 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and 2 teaspoons oil to a medium heat in a sauté pan. Add the pearl onions and toss around in the fat until they’ve browned, 10 minutes. Then stir in 1/2 cup beef stock, a small pinch of salt and pepper and the herb bouquet. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the onions for about 40 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated, and the onions are tender.
  • 9 Remove the onions and set aside. Discard the herb bouquet and wipe out the skillet. Add the remaining butter and oil and bring to a medium heat.
  • 10 Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan to coat with the butter.
  • 11 Place a colander over a large pot. Drain the beef stew through the colander and into the pot. Place the pot with the sauce over a medium heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, skimming any fat on top. Pour the beef and vegetables back into the Dutch oven. Add the pearl onions and mushrooms to the pot. Pour the sauce over the beef mix and simmer an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
Julia Child’s kitchen at the Smithsonian.
An amazing opportunity to visit the Smithsonian while in Washington D.C. with the Indiana School Nutrition Association in 2019

A year of trials & blessings

March 16, 2020…. The restaurant was packed. Every seat was full. I think I even gave a customer a hug when she came in. Then our Governor dropped the bomb on us. Every restaurant in Indiana was required to shut their dining room doors and function on carry out only starting the next day. Just Peachy was 2 days shy of celebrating 4 months of business. When opening, I just kept saying if I could make it through winter, I’d be good. Then COVID gets thrown in there too? Restaurants that had been in business for years were falling. It was terrifying. I had only been open 4 months.

My staff went home to not return until May. My mom, best friend, her kids, and my kids all ran the restaurant for the next 2 months on carry out only. Prices of supplies sky rocketed, while other items just couldn’t be ordered. BUT.. the support from our community was amazing. We even had one faithful customer come in and lay down a $100 bill. Said he hadn’t been able to make it in lately because his office was closed too but he wanted to help. Small town Shelbyville made a HUGE difference to us little mom and pop places.

This week marks one year since this happened to Just Peachy and my brother and sisters in the industry. We do what we do because we want to serve you. We love seeing your faces and hearing the ‘mmmms’ as you take that first bite. We love celebrating with you and meeting every new person that comes to visit us. Without you, we have no business doing what we do. We missed you during the shut down. We have missed you during this last year as everyone is distancing themselves from one another. Some of you have been trickling back in, and I’m so excited to see you! I CANNOT WAIT for the rest of you to come back too!

I have a sign by my register that says ‘Too Blessed to be Stressed’. That is what we are here at Just Peachy. We might be finishing up a year of trials but there are always trials. There will be more, the restaurant business isn’t easy! How you handle the trials will determine your success or your demise.

Stay Just Peachy, Friends.


Grandma Elzada’s Pickle Recipe
Our faithful pandemic workers during carry out only.
E-learning in the morning and curbside deliveries during lunch!

“No” is not a bad word

I am a terrible juggler. Like in literally juggling. I cannot keep all 3 balls in the air at one time. I am not sure if it is hand eye coordination or lack of focus, but it is not my thing. Good thing too, since there hasn’t been much work around for clowns lately!

Now when you talk about metaphorical juggling (home, work, volunteering, side work, helping friends, running kids, and on and on), I’ve got that down. I became a professional metaphorical juggler years ago. I was really proud of that for a while. Then, you know what I figured out? I was tired. Too many balls in the air and it is exhausting keeping them all going. When the kids were little, I was the room mom, on the PTO, sold cooking items for a direct selling company, ran fundraisers, and worked full time. I am not complaining because I loved it all, but I hadn’t mastered the word ‘no’ yet.

Life isn’t a race to see who is the busiest. No one wins in that race. By filling every minute of our days with ‘stuff’ we miss the important things. I love sitting and listening to my boys tell me about their days. My oldest, who is 16, will sit and talk to me for hours. My youngest, 14 years old, talks about his future and college. If I never say ‘no’ to more duties and more commitments, I’d loose that time with them. A balanced life requires prioritizing. That is the reason I’m writing this blog at 5am on a Monday morning instead of Sunday like I usually do. I said ‘no’ to the blog yesterday, and ‘yes’ to the family.

Don’t get me wrong. We still need to help our fellow man, be kind to one another, and step up when we can. We also, for our own sanity and well being, need to know when we just can’t. Know when too much is just too much. I always feel like I’m most productive when I am busy, BUT when things get too much then everything I’m working on suffers. You’ve heard “Jack of all trades, master of none”? Yeah, that is a hard lesson to learn.

So don’t be afraid to say ‘no’. Keep that priority list in your head and know your limits. I don’t want to win the ‘Busiest woman in Shelby county’ award. Someone else can have it. I’d rather win the ‘Happiest woman in Shelby county’ award. I hear there are multiple spots for first place in that category.

In the spirit of PTO and Room Moms, here is my favorite party punch recipe.

Keep it Peachy, Friends!


Party Punch

  • 1 carton Orange Sherbet (or another solid color. DO NOT use rainbow, it is ugly)
  • 1 Pineapple juice (tall can)
  • 2 – 2 Liters of Sprite, 7UP, or Ginger ale

Put sherbet in punch bowl, Pour 1/2 pineapple juice in and 1-2 liter. Let sherbet melt some. Taste. Add more pineapple juice and Sprite as needed.

Behold, the beauty of the mountain

Writing a blog is not as easy as some might think. I spend the week trying to figure out what might possibly be interesting enough to write about that people would want to read. Some of you know me well. Some of you are new friends brought on from the cafe. Some of you might have just stumbled on this blog looking for a good recipe. No matter your reason for being here, thank you for reading.

As the weather warms up, my attention starts to drift to the woods a lot. I’m a hiker. Love everything about it. I love the challenge of the climb, the quietness of the surroundings, the hiker chit-chat, the weight of all my belongings on my back, and I even love the mud. I have a very particular place that I enjoy the most though: The Appalachian Trail. I discovered the beauty of the trail 5 years ago and I have been hooked ever since. I try to make it to a section of the trail once or twice a year. “A section?”, you might ask. The whole trail runs from Georgia to Maine, it crosses 14 states, and is 2190 miles total. Some people hike the whole thing in one swoop, which takes about 6 months. Others split it up into sections and complete it over multiple years. I am a section hiker. 6 months away from my family is a little much for me. I think the most amazing thing for me is the scenery from the top. Knowing that the same God who could make such beauty, chose to make me as well, is very humbling. It is a good reminder that we all have a purpose here or we wouldn’t be here.

I learn something new with each hike. Not necessarily about hiking but about myself. What I can do, where my limits are, and who I can be when things get challenging. Our last hike was 3 straight days and 2 nights in complete rain. I mean all rain, all the time. I learned that (1) I don’t like hiking in the rain and (2) everyone gets to the top in their own time. I realized I have to set my own pace, that I cannot achieve my goals on someone else’s timeline. Sometimes the things I learn are things I already know, they just hit you in the face when you are out in the middle of nowhere.

Since hiking season is just starting, I’m sure I’ll bore you with more hiking/backpacking stories as the year goes on. My first trip out was a doozy and will make a great story some day! Until then, happy trails to you (whether you are on foot, wheels, or hooves)

Stay Just Peachy, Friends!


Campfire Bananas

  • Bananas
  • Mini Marshmellows
  • Chocolate chips
  • Any other toppings you might like (strawberries, peanut butter chips, carmel)
  • Foil

Cut banana peel long ways down the middle to make a banana pocket. Fill with toppings of your choice. Double wrap it in foil.

*If you are camping, put the foil wrapped bananas in the hot coals until the chocolate is melted.

*If you are at home, put the foil wrapped bananas on a baking sheet and heat at 350° for about 10 minutes or until chocolate is melted. If putting in the over, a single layer of foil will be enough.

Eat right out of the foil and banana peel!

The AT is marked with these white blazes to keep you on the trail.
The Great Smokey Mountains sunset view

Positive Thoughts, Positive Outcomes

I found myself at Hobby Lobby this week. It is one of my favorite stores. If I want to make something, I find the components there. If I don’t have time to make it, I can usually find a finished product there. Best store ever, in my opinion. So here I was, walking through the aisles that were all decked out for spring and I couldn’t stop smiling under my mask. All the spring things, the bright colors, and the upbeat music was really helping my mood. I’m not saying I was in a bad mood exactly, just the winter blues mood. Know what I’m talking about? So much snow, so cold, so much negativity on the internet – it all just weighs on a person.

Then today, the weather got up to a balmy 45° and sunny! Oh. My. Goodness. It was amazing. This sunshine girl was LOVING it! Not only that, someone started a ‘Say something positive about a local business’ thread on the big ol’ FB and it was flooded with positive vibes!

Here is the thing. The snow is going to come. The cold is going to come. The gloomy days are going to come. Good news though, it doesn’t last forever. So be kind to your fellow man. Be the sunshine in their day if they can’t find it somewhere else. Say hello, hold a door, put someone’s cart up for them. It is the little things that can make someone else smile under their mask. We all need a little mask smiling during our day.

I don’t have any mask smiling related recipes but I do have one from a lady who knew how to smile through it all. My great grandma Rose. I hope you enjoy her Dumpling recipe.

Stay Peachy, friends! -Charity

Great Grandma Rose’s Dumplings

  • 3 c flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Chicken broth to mix

Put a pot of broth on the stove top over med/med-high heat to prepare to cook the dumplings. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add enough chicken broth to make a sticky dough. Mix well. Then add extra flour to be able to roll out dumplings. Cut into dumplings and drop into hot broth. Cook till tender.

**My Great Aunt Do (Dorothy Henderson), put this recipe in a family cookbook one year. It was a collection of recipes from different family members across the generations. She said that Great Grandma Rose (her mom) never measured anything. One day Grandma was going to teach her to make the dumplings. Every time Grandma Rose would put an ingredient in the bowl, Aunt Do would have to take it out and measure it. And that is how we were able to get a recipe from someone who never measured anything!

Great Grandma Rose & Great Grandpa Cooper

Robert Frost (and Mr. Swift) said it best….

These woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost

I read the passage above and envision a white canvas of snow that coats the trees. The carpet of white untouched and silence that comes with that blanket will still the world.

This terrain, in my mind, is best conquered with a sturdy pair of boots vs 4 wheels. When the temperature is just right and the sun is warming you as you hike, the silence is calming and gloreous.

Hiking not your thing. Bundle up and head out to your driveway before the rest of the world awakens. Just stand there for a moment. Take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and just BE for a minute.

Now get your behind INSIDE! It is January in INDIANA! Are you crazy?!?!

Now down to the nitty gritty – SNOW ICE CREAM

Stay Just Peachy, Friends!



Find a patch of clean snow (unless you thought to set your bowl out before the snow hit). Get about a gallon of clean snow, 1 cup or so of sugar, then add milk till it becomes melty and ice cream consistency. Then add a splash of vanilla, stir, & serve!

Big Blue River at peace
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