Category Archives: places

Catching Up

The Holidays
     We’re already more than a week into the New Year and while 2010 seemed to come and go much too quickly, 2011 doesn’t appear to be slowing down either. I’ve noticed a byproduct of increasing age is that time becomes a precious commodity there never seems to be enough of. The same amount of sand is in the old hourglass but I believe the hole in the middle gets larger each year. I’m not meaning to be morbid here, there’s still 24 hours in a day, I just realize now more than ever their worth. 
Ola amigo
     The holidays were great this year. I appreciate spending time with my family more and more these days and it’s an amazing experience to witness our newest members filling out the family tree. There were a few lean years with just us adults that were special in their own right, but nothing can compare to a house full of kids on Christmas. We had 3 running around and exploring with 3 more on the way for next year including a set of twins. Good stuff. 
Farm in Guthrie
     I also had the pleasure of spending my first Christmas with my girlfriend Melissa’s family in good old Guthrie, Kentucky. I was invited to one of their family traditions, Christmas breakfast (pronounced brack-fast) and not only was the food amazing, which it always is up there, but they were incredibly gracious hosts. They’re wonderful people and I’m enjoying the new relationships we’re building. 
     It’s good to be around for the new year and I have so much to share about the new things happening in 2011. It looks to be jam packed and I’m ready for it. I’ll be posting updates here and on Facebook about some of the new developments on the horizon that I don’t think you’ll want to miss. It’s going to be a good year.

Dog’s Life LLC (And Cat’s Too!)

Diane

     Dog’s Life LLC (And Cats Too!) is a boarding, daycare and grooming business located in Goodlettesville, TN. The brainchild of owner/operator Diane Towson (pictured above), Dog’s Life LLC opened in May of this year and has been steadily building their client base ever since. That’s not surprising once you get a tour of the facility and, of course, once you meet Diane.

     I found out about Diane from a friend. We were talking one night after dinner and I told her I was thinking about doing some blog posts on local businesses. She told me I needed to check out this grooming business a friend of hers owned. I found them online and, after a little research, I decided to just show up one day and see things for myself.

     I arrived on a gorgeous fall day in Tennessee. A bit warm in the sunshine but the breeze let you know that wouldn’t last much longer. The gravel driveway pops and crunches as it leads up to the main building. A long wooden fence runs next to most of the drive, one side of a large outdoor play area. The trees had lost most of their leaves save a few stragglers.

     The first thing I noticed was how calming the environment was. When you reach the end of the driveway you’re surrounded on almost all sides by trees. I guess I was expecting a more industrial park feel, but I was wrong. The vibe they’ve created is more like visiting friends in the country, complete with a park bench in the front if you’d like to sit and talk a while.

     I opened the door and entered the front desk/receiving area and there was Diane sitting behind the counter. I introduced myself, explained why I was there and we talked a while about animals and their personalities. She talked about subtle signs in the behavior of dogs and what they meant, and how to act around them to establish the proper relationship. She spoke of small indications of stress to look for and how to make them feel more comfortable. It didn’t take long to realize that all my collected knowledge of dogs could easily be stored in her little finger.

     Diane gave me a tour of the place and described all the work they had done. There are specially made units to accommodate single dogs or families of dogs. She showed me how the units are designed in a way that no sharp or rough edges are able to come in contact with the animals. We went through the spacious grooming area and the lounge.

     Through the back door is an outdoor play area. I took the photo above at the top of the steps that lead down to the back yard. You can see the view from back there. It’s not as big as the play yard in the front, but it has its own charm about it.

     The front play area is huge with lots of room to run around. The two soft-backed lawn chairs sitting out let me know that Diane and her crew don’t just put the dogs in the yard and go on to other things, they’re with them and interacting.

     It was remarkable how clean this place was. I know caring and grooming for animals can be a messy business, but that doesn’t stop Diane from running a clean ship. This was a sanitary and safe environment and I must reiterate that I showed up unannounced.

     As much as the facilities impressed me, it was the knowledge and attention to detail that Diane possesses that impressed me more. While we were talking, she mentioned how she had written an email, in the voice of a dog she was boarding, describing what went on that day to the owner. She even sent pictures of them playing that day.

     Little things like that go a long way in my opinion, and I know my dog owning friends would eat that up. It speaks to the fact that Diane loves animals and genuinely understands the relationships with their owners. She is good at what she does because she loves what she does.

     If you’d like to hear what other people are saying about Dog’s Life, or to see tons of pictures of their clients, check out their Facebook Fan Page.
  
 

The Fiery Gizzard

     Last Friday, I went on a hiking trip to the South Cumberland Recreation Area. The goal was to capture some of the fall foliage before it was gone and to get a little exercise. My friend Barry had been talking about how beautiful the pictures he had seen of the area were, so we set a date and headed out with another friend of ours.

     The trail we hiked started at the north end of the Fiery Gizzard, up to Raven Point, then looped back along the plateau to where we began. We set off from the trailhead and the grandeur of this place is evident right from the beginning. The descent into the gorge starts immediately. It was a chilly morning and the temperature dropped quickly the further down we went. It was a good motivator to get the blood flowing and make some headway. 

     There was just so much to take in. There is a stream running along side most of the trail. It was mostly a trickle due to the dry weather we’ve had, but the waterline on the rocks showed at some points it would be about twenty feet across at times. The trees are thick, with much of the trail being covered by a web of roots that are hard as rock. 

     And, of course, there’s the rocks. Everywhere.

     Huge rockslides are everywhere in the Fiery Gizzard trail. I’m guessing that’s where the name came from. The Devil’s gall bladder might have been more appropriate. It’s an amazing sight to behold. The landscape is just striped with them. These aren’t Disney rocks all carefully and securely placed, many of them move when you step on them. If you’re thinking of going, make sure you’ve got some good boots. Wearing tennis shoes is asking for an ankle injury, and that’s not good in a place where no vehicles can get to you. 

     It is a completely different world down there. The hike was rough, the scenery was incredible, and I was reminded again how small I am in the universe. There is just something remarkably humbling about being immersed in nature like that. I spent a lot of the day thinking about when I was younger and got out into nature more often, and the people I went there with. Some of them I haven’t seen in a very long time and some of them are just gone. 

     The still of the forest brings back lots of memories. There’s no click or buzz or hum to  distract the mind from opening up places that have gone unnoticed amongst the noise. Places that are always there and always will be. The purity of their makeup doesn’t allow them to compete for attention. Instead, the environment must be just right, and I must be quiet and ready for them to return. Like morning light filtering through the trees, they slowly grow brighter, and the path I need to be on is clearer.