The winter weather has been kind to those of us in East Tennessee this year and we are most thankful. Of course I'm writing this the 2nd week of February, so next week we'll probably get 2 feet of snow and sub-zero temperatures. It will still have been a nice winter and won't change the fact at all that in just a few more days it will be March 1 and time for us to reopen the restaurant and fishing here at The Crosseyed Cricket.
For some reason some of our friends out there have the idea that when we close the restaurant and fishing at the end of October we immediately leave for Florida and return on March 1. Keep those positive thoughts heading our way! That sounds like a wonderful idea--unfortunately, we haven't reached that place in our lives yet.
Instead, we have an opportunity to catch up on some of the work we've had to neglect during the rest of the year and work toward getting things ready for you to come back to see us in the year to come.
One of our projects this winter has been the work on the new property next door to the mill. For those of you who were not able to make it down last September or October, we have been able to buy the property adjacent to the mill and have increased our parking considerably. The new property has on it an old house that once was the home for the miller and his family when they ran the mill in the 1920's.
This winter Jim, Ernie, Toby, Bill, David, and Ben spent a part of their time repairing the damage termites, rot and powder post beetles had done over the years. This will still be a work in progress when you come down--so don't expect too much of the old place.
Bob, Jim, Ernie, Toby, and Bill are in the process of landscaping with trees, flowers and bushes as this is being written. As well as making a parking area of the front part of the property, there is a lot of work to be done on the back section so it will also be usable.
With the house restoration and the work on the land at least we won't have to wonder what we can find to do. The question is still open as to what we will do with the house when we finish repairing it -- some have suggested a Bed and Breakfast (NO WAY), others a gift shop, someone thought it would be good as an area for visiting artists to use, one friend says use it as a dining room for catered parties (of course, he neglected to say which day he could come work), and of course, it could be used as a waiting area for the restaurant.
We are interested in finding out your ideas also. Next time you come down let us have the benefit of your wisdom. Just remember, one of the rules around here is...if you think of it, you just may get to do it!
Recapping some events from last year--we had great fun with our Fall Festival in October. Some of our guests requested that we list the winners of our employee pumpkin painting contest in this issue of our notes. They are as follows: Most Original: Bill Gibbons (his was the elephant); Most Artistic: Jo Ann Silvis (hers was the lovely country scene), and the overall favorite was won by Kristan Simmons (you will remember the world map with the outstretched hand and the words "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands").
From last year also is the not so great memory of all the work they were doing on the road coming off of Hwy. 95 to The Cricket. Thankfully, that was complete in September and we now have a great 1/4 mile of newly paved and widened highway.
As you can see, we have our website up and running! During the year we always have some special events going on--such as opportunities to see craftsmen as work in their different fields. We plan to have some woodworking demonstrations, artists in the field of watercolor, some singing groups and who knows what else. On our website we can keep you up to date on what's happening and when.
By the way, starting with our next Cricket Note you will be able to receive it by e-mail if you so desire. Yes, we're trying to enter the 21st century, but it certainly has been a struggle.
We've had our computer about 10 years now and we still haven't made friends with it. However, we are trying. If you would like to receive and e-mail the Cricket Note, please give us your e-mail address as well as the mailing address we have you listed at now.
We have to take you off one list to put you on the other one. Nothing is ever easy! We need to receive this by the end of April in order to send out your summer note by e-mail.
We have some fantastic news! They say to save the best for last--and although this is only the next to last page, it just won't keep any longer! Most of you are acquainted with Toby Minton. He has been with us for almost 12 years now (sometimes part-time, most of the time full-time). Last year he was our kitchen manager and this year he has agreed to enlarge his responsibilities and will be our restaurant manager!
He has been a strong part of our endeavor here for years and we are so excited taking over the responsibility for the restaurant and Ernie continuing with his management of the outdoor operations it sounds like the old folks will be able to take it easy.
Not very likely! We still work a 10 to 12 hour day at least 5 days a week during the season, but it's so great to have such wonderful people to take some of the responsibility. You will still se us at the restaurant and fishout as well as the campground....only now we may have time to stop and visit with you as we go about our work.
Spring is such a wonderful time of the year! In fact, it's our favorite time -- until fall comes along. Spring brings with it so much promise. The sky seems bluer somehow and the clouds are fluffier and whiter and even come in better shapes in the winter.
Take a look, there are some really neat shapes up there! Then, of course, the bluebirds are out house hunting, and it's such a delight to see them winging from house to house to be sure they have the one that's perfect for them.
We make sure the vacant signs are out on all of them.
Spring flowers with their vibrant colors provide us with an ever- changing landscape. The jonquils and iris arrive -- some in crowds like people congregating for a chat, and some in solitary splendor. The yellow, purple and white crocus always seem to come and go almost before we know they've been around. There's something about their brief appearance that seems to lift the spirits and give us hope that change is on the way.
Spring is such a wonderful season of renewal and reminds us of what takes place in our lives according to II Cor. 5:17 when we accept Christ as our Savior. "Therefore, if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
Sugar is really looking forward to seeing all her friends return in March. The Christmas Tree Plantation was a lot of fun for her (although she has starting cheating and only takes some of the haywagons part of the way up the hill and then waits to pick them up as they come back down).
She would come into the office huffing and puffing as if she had just made a long hard trip. Winter has given her time to recuperate, and she is now out overseeing the work being done in anticipation of your visit. She doesn't do real well planting flowers herself, but she knows exactly how it should be done....she is a great supervisor!
Celebrate spring with us as we begin our 32nd year of making memories. We want to help you add some photos to that internal album you carry in your heart and mind.
We look forward to all the good things that spring and summer bring: the beautiful multi-colored flowers, the swallows playfully gliding over the catfish lake, the butterflies gracefully riding the air currents, trees with their leaves gently waving to us in the breeze and clouds floating by in a lake of blue.
We would love to share these peaceful moments with you. Therefore, we hope your grass is slow to grow, your flowers bloom profusely and your weeds wither and die by themselves. That should leave plenty of time for some trips to "The Cricket." We'll be looking for you!