What a spring this has been! One day we had lovely warm air currents surrounding us with the promise of gentle breezes, light showers and beautiful trees and flowers. The next day we were in the middle of a summer heat wave and were counting the seconds to meltdown. Then, low and behold, we were back in the middle of winter with storm, hail, and tornado warnings coming at us.
We've always heard that if you don't like the weather in East Tennessee, all you have to do is stick around and it will change. How true that has been! As we write this it is a fantastic sunshine filled day; however, they tell us we may have frost tomorrow. We may be confused, but never bored!
The changing weather doesn't seem to be bothering our feathered friends one little bit. We have been blessed by having some most unusual events interspersed with our usual bird activities this spring (that is, unusual to us, we're sure the birds are quite at home with their actions). Those vacant signs we put out on the bluebird houses worked! They have chosen their homes and are starting families both in the Mallard Mire area and in the Christmas tree plantation. They are such beautiful birds and we think it's exciting to have them raise their families here.
Outside our bedroom window we have another bird raising a family. As far as we can remember, this is the first time we've had a Phoebe nest anywhere close to us, and awe are enjoying her and her offspring. The other Sunday during worship service out at the Dessert Barn our attention was drawn to the rafters by the flurry of a bird flying in and out. Thinking it would of course be a Wren we didn't pay all that much attention.
We were wrong as wrong could be. When we finally decided to take a look at the nest and young ones, we were amazed to find out it was a Robin's nest! Her time was taken up completely in finding and brining food to her three young ones. Bet she's glad when they leave home!
Of course it's not unusual at all to have baby ducks here at "The Cricket." Every year we are blessed with an abundance of them and enjoy their comical antics over and over. This year, however, we had a pair of Canada Geese decide to make this their home and raise a family. They built their nest at the beaver pond behind Mallard Mire. We really didn't know for sure they had been successful until they showed up with five goslings to introduce to us.
As parents they are fiercely protective of their young and will hiss and charge at anyone or anything they think could in any way be a possible threat. It's great fun to watch them (at a distance), and of course they grow up to be such beautiful geese ... but, five, count them, five babies! That's taking things a little too far.
In addition to their good qualities -- beauty is the only one we can think of after much concentration -- they also have some terrible qualities. They are horribly messy, they are mean, and they don't play well with other ducks or geese. Sound like they need to go to kindergarten. We are hoping and yes, praying that this was just a stopover on their way somewhere else and their parents will remember exactly where their home is very soon.
It's been planting time again at "The Cricket" and Bob, with occasional help from most of the outside workers, has been on his knees pulling up pansies and replanting flowers for you to enjoy this summer. Our gardens have been filled with a variety of new plants. We have several varieties of Impatiens -- New Guinea, Old-fashioned and Double Rose -- two types of Dianthus, also Trailing Vinca and the smaller upright variety, Coeus, Petunias, Verbena, Lantana, Bougainvillea, and pink, red and white Splash.
From last year we have the repeat plants of Hosta, our beautiful Wood Roses and the White Nancy variety of Lamium. Now for hose of you who are gardening and horticulture experts we are so sorry if we have murdered the language of flowers with any of our spellings or descriptions of varieties.
In addition to all our gardens, we of course have our Hybrid Tea Roses. They are starting to bloom now and their varied hues enhance our gardens beautifully. Most of those can be found around the pool area, but we have planted a few along the outside fence row. Be sure to take a walk and enjoy our flowers and the beauty God has provided here at "The Cricket" next time you're down for a visit.
This year has been a big year for employee graduations! It all began in December when Jordan Burris graduated from ETSU. After helping us out for a few months this spring (while he waited for the weather to warm up) he has now embarked on an adventure. He is hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.
Oh to be young and full of energy! The only thing is, when I was young, I never had that much energy! This spring, Martha Burris, his sister graduate from U.T. and is working in Virginia with PETA for a few months. David Yates got his Associates Degree from Roane State, and Christine Burwell, Tracey Cooper, Susan Downs, Bill Gibbons, Desiree Julian, and Josh Stevenson all graduated from various high schools.
We are very proud of all of these fine young people and continually pray that God will bless their lives and guide them in their future endeavors.
Sugar, the Cricket dog, loves the spring! That's when all the children come out on field trips. When the big yellow school bus rolls into the parking lot every weekday morning she comes running. While Jim and Ernie get on the buses to greet the children she patiently lies at the foot of the bus steps and waits for the first child to step off. She winds her way in and out of the groups, very willing to be petted, pulled on, rubbed down and in any form or fashion get attention. She delights in leading the groups to the hatchery, knowing that we would never be able to get there without her to show the way.
The kids love it when she jumps in the Trout lake to cool off -- and most of them don't even mind when she gets out and shakes all over them. She is a very well behaved dog and never tries to steal anyone's lunch -- but she is a master at lying within eyesight and looking very pitiful (just in case anyone has anything extra they would like to share).
Sugar loves people, and people love Sugar. Leading campers to their campsite, helping people fish, making the rounds at the restaurant to be sure things are in order are all in her job description -- but in her heart we believe the school kids are at the top of her list of favorite things.
It's time for two more openings here at "The Cricket" -- the opening of the swimming pool and hot tub in the campground and the opening of the Dessert Barn. Both open Memorial Day weekend, but as you can see, the Dessert Barn opening is the one on our mind. It will again be open on Fri. and Sat. evenings through Labor Day and will as usual be featuring all the delicious homemade pies and cobblers we always serve at the restaurant.
However, the Hummingbird Cake, Italian Cream Cake, Cricket Delight and Homemade Ice Cream can only be enjoyed when the Dessert Barn is open. Just mentioning the names can make my mouth water with anticipation!
We have made very few changes over the years, but one of the most appreciated has to be the addition of our new parking lot in front of the mill. More people have made comments on and compliments about it than just about anything we've ever done around here. The new lot with it's accompanying landscaping has really added a new look as well as making the walk to the restaurant a lot shorter! We are still working on the miller's house -- but it is definitely a work in progress!
Even though summer isn't really here yet, our thoughts have to start turning to fall. It will soon be time to trim the trees in our Christmas Tree Plantation and plans are already underway for our Fall Festival. You will be pleased to know that the 3rd Annual Clinch River Knapp-In will be held here on Oct. 18th, 19th, and 20th. More about those events later.
We need to make a correction from our last "Cricket Note." We gave you the wrong website address. It is actually www.thecrosseyedcricket.com. HONEST!! Check it out!
It's time to go for a while -- but we look forward to seeing you in person very soon. This year will be our 32nd anniversary of the opening of "The Crosseyed Cricket." We look forward to having you, your family and your friends come down to make some memories and help us celebrate. See you soon!