Wednesday, January 30, 2013

We Keurig. Do You?

Nothing like a great cup of least that's what people always tell me, but unfortunately, brewing that perfect cup of coffee always seemed to allude me. First I experimented with the percolator. After tasting just a cup or two of my percolated coffee, Mr. B announced that he would prefer that I not make the coffee.

Undeterred, I tried Mr. Coffee. The brew was better, but still a long way from perfect. Then my family gave me an beautiful stainless Braun coffee maker, complete with bean grinder. The coffee improved, but still wasn't on any coffee lover's Hit Parade.

Four years ago, when a friend brewed me a cup of coffee in his Keurig 'single serve' machine, I was smitten with the new coffee technology. The coffee was perfect...perfect every time. Finally, after dropping several hundred hints, this Christmas Santa Claus brought me a Keurig (along with several varieties of coffee.)

Making that perfect up of coffee at our coffee station
And at last, I've mastered the art of the perfect cup of coffee...and it's so easy. Instead of bean grinding, measuring, etc., it's just insert a coffee pod and push a button. We are in coffee heaven!

In fact, our kitchen has The Coffee Station, complete with a tray of coffee pods (hot chocolate and tea pods too), several different types of sugars, spoons, and, of course, the station's star - the Keurig.

Time to go brew a cup of coffee. With the Keurig, I'm sure the coffee is going to be perfect.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fresh n' Frugal Comes to Dahlonega

Some say that the male of the D&B duo is a penny-pincher, aka 'frugal,' when he shops. So, you can imagine his excitement when he heard that a frugal-oriented grocery was opening in downtown Dahlonega.

Off we went today to check out the bargains at the grand opening of  Dahlonega's newest grocery store - Fresh n' Frugal.

Oh did Mr. B find the bargains...fresh tomatoes for 28 cents a pound and Campbell's soup for 68 cents a can. "Why the prices here are better here than Walmart," said Mr. B, a true Walmart aficionado, as he loaded granola bars into his cart. Watch out Walmart. You've got some competition in Dahlonega and Beyond!

Fresh n Frugal Lives Up to Its Name
The concept of Fresh n Frugal is to offer products at cost or below plus 10%. The store is able to maintain low prices because of a low advertising budget. Instead of mailing out flyers, Fresh n' Frugal takes  advantage of social media and the web, advertising their specials and weekly ads on  Facebook or on their web site.

The store, itself, is fresh looking, brightly lit and filled with the store's signature green color. Another plus is a staff that is exceptionally polite...smiles seemed to be everywhere....which is a nice-to-see when you're spending money.

The new Dahlonega grocery store is the first Fresh n' Frugal store - not just in Georgia - but anywhere. If the bargain hunting enthusiasm we saw is any indication of success and if the store can maintain its deep discounted prices, then it won't be long before Fresh n' Frugal opens other locations.

Fresh n' Frugal is located at 406 E. Main St., Dahlonega, Ga.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pit Bull Owners Are Vicious

Today's blog is not about pit bulls, but instead about how vicious the owners of pit bulls can be.

Last year, pit bull attacks were the subject of two different Dahlonega and Beyond blogs. The result of those blogs was a flurry - and I do mean a flurry - of vicious, hateful comments from 'loving' pit bull owners.

The pit bull posters did a lot of name calling - referring to me as a racist, stupid, idiot, brainless, and more. While none of the comments actually were the death-kind of threats that would result in a call to the police, a couple posters did wish that this blogger would die. (For obvious reasons, those comments weren't always posted on this blog.)

What this writer learned from the pit bull owners' discussion is that they do not take kindly to any criticism of their breed. Here is just a sample of some of the more vicious, not so kind comments from pit bull owners:
  1. I'm not even going to waste time PROVING you wrong because it seems your immature brain won't be able to process it.
  2. Your just being as racist, just using a different species than humans.  
  3. You are an extremely pigheaded woman. (Looks like this poster has been talking to D&B's friends and family.)
  4. How do sleep at night? You are a horrible person. 
  5. She (this blogger) is a horrible person. she killing a wonderful breed. just go take your bullsxxx somewhere else.
  6. Couldn't even get halfway down the page without feeling frustration and anger for this Diane Bates.....people like her make the bullsxxx in society what it is. 
  7. Do not try to shove your stupidity and ignorance down intelligent individuals throats just because you are not equipped with a brain that is large enough to understand a persons responsibility in dog ownership.
And here is my favorite, quite eloquent, post from a pit bull owner -  The author (that would be me) clearly has the IQ of burnt cheese, and should not be allowed to procreate and spread their stupidity.

As a Scottie dog owner, I've been thinking about writing a post on the bad habits of Scottie dogs. Wonder if such a blog would generate as much hate mail from viciously protective Scottie owners? 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

If you like Dawsonville Moonshine....

If you like Dawsonville Moonshine, the distillers at The Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery are hoping that you'll like their next 'rumored' product.

Now admittedly, we don't have absolute confirmation regarding the new product, but word on the street is that the local distillery will soon market another new region-oriented - Apple Brandy.

What an appropriate adult beverage to come from the Dawsonville distillery. After all, quite a few apple orchards can be found in a 20 mile radius of the Moonshine Distillery, so the distillery won't have to go far to apple pick.

We're sure that the Dawsonville Distillery has their own apple brandy recipe, but just in case they don't, here's  one from Taste of Home.



  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 pounds apples, sliced
  • 1 liter brandy
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
  • Additional whole cloves and cinnamon sticks


  • Combine sugar and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat.
  • Place apples in a large glass or plastic container; add the sugar mixture, brandy, cloves and cinnamon stick. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least two weeks, stirring once a week.
  • Strain brandy mixture; discard apples and spices. Pour into glass bottles. Place an additional three cloves and one cinnamon stick in each bottle. Yield: 2 quarts.
(FYI...we haven't ever made our own brandy, apple or plain.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Flu and You

It's flu season and unfortunately, that nasty flu bug is stinging folks right here in North Georgia. In fact, a friend spent four days in Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville with the flu and pneumonia. What makes her story even more interesting is that she had the flu shot. (Like so many flu victims are reporting.)

What are we doing to stay flu-free? Wearing a garlic necklace was our first thought, but we weren't sure if garlic worked as well against germs as it does vampires. So in lieu of garlic, here is D&B's battle plan against the Flu of 2013:
  1. Use lots of hands sanitizer. We keep sanitizer in the cars and carry a container for our out-of-car adventures.
  2. Use Clorox Wipes. Yes, hand sanitizer works wonders but does it really kill the germs on the grocery cart or your cell phone or even that restaurant table? That's what Clorox Wipes are for.
  3. Take Vitamin C. Lots of Vitamin C. If one Vitamin C tablet is good, why shouldn't 4 tablets at a time be even better?
  4. Drink water. Lots of water. Not sure if this has any effect against the flu, but health experts are always saying Drink Water.
  5. Forget about Hello Hugs. Now when we meet friends, we just say, "We think we're coming down with a cold." That deters anyone and everyone (even close family members) from hugging. Sometimes the old elbow shake works too.
  6. Wear a mask. Now this might be a bit drastic for a trip to Walmart, but if we're going to visit anyone in a hospital, a mask would be a must-do. In fact, a number of hospitals are requiring masks or limiting visitors.
  7. Use HALO. A pharmacist family member recommended HALO. Two squirts of spray just may keep the flu bug away.
  8. And most importantly of all....Wash our hands. Wash our hands. Wash our hands with lots of soap and warm water, too.
Hopefully, with a few safeguards, D&B will stay flu free and not spend our oh-too-hard-earned dollars on bottles of Nyquil and Mucinex.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bigfoot Is Real

Bigfoot is the topic of a Dahlonega conference.
Bigfoot is real, so real that the mysterious wooly character is the topic of a two day conference being held this weekend in Dahlonega.

Experts from far and wide - including a Sasquatch linguist and a world famous animal tracker - will be at R-Ranch in the Mountains, Jan. 12 &13, sharing their Bigfoot knowledge. An estimated 400 Bigfoot info seekers are expected to attend the conference, one of many "Let's Talk About Bigfoot" events held each year in the U.S.

Lumpkin County is a logical spot for a Bigfoot conference. After all, a number of Bigfoot sightings have been recorded over the years, including one recently by a Lumpkin County Sheriff's deputy who caught the creature on his dashboard camera.

For those of us who can't make the Sasquatch Study event, here's a list of the experts and what their topic discussions:
  1. Former U.S. Navy crypto-linguist and Bigfoot language expert R. Scott Nelson will talk Bigfoot ABC's and reveal an official version of the Sasquatch alphabet.
  2. Famed Bigfoot hunter Alex "Midnight Walker" Tomas, a blog radio host specialist in Sasquatch interactions, will discuss the field techniques for establishing relationships with the Sasquatches.
  3. Author Ron Morehead, who has spent 40 years researching Bigfoot, will speak on Bigfoot encounters and speech.
  4. Professional tracker and Master Naturalist, Leigh Culver will on how-to distinguish Sasquatch tracks from human and animal tracks.
  5. Discussing Bigfoot habitation will be Yale graduate and college literature teacher Chris Noel, who has also written two books on Sasquatch.
  6. Jim Vera, a Bigfoot expert and recent guest on the after-hours radio show, Coast-to-Coast, will speak on the history of Bigfoot.
  7. Arla Williams, one of the event coordinators, will discuss relationship building with the Sasquatch clan. (Arla, according to her bio, encountered her first Bigfoot when she was just six years old.)
If you'd like more information on the Bigfoot conference, or want to check if there might be tickets still available, visit www.

And who knows, maybe a Bigfoot will make a guest appearance.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sad Day for Ga. Wine Lovers

Blackstock Vineyards, the oldest winery in Georgia, is closing. In an email to customers and winery friends, owner and founder David Harris announced that the Dahlonega winery was shuttering its doors.

"Exceptionally warm winters and early bug-break" were among the reasons he attributed to the winery's closing. And the rough economy North Georgia has experienced definitely didn't help either.

Harris was a seasoned vintner when he started developing Blackstock in 1994, way before any other award-winning Dahlonega winery ever opened. The winery and vineyard setting were picture perfect. Grape vines are planted on rolling hills for as far as the eyes can see...not quite Napa Valley, but definitely not what the average wine lover expects to see on his first trip to North Georgia.

Blackstock was on D&B's list of places to take family and friends. In fact, the winery was one of the first spots we visited when we began our home-hunting in the Dahlonega area. One of my favorite memories is a Labor Day barbecue at Blackstock where we listened to bluegrass music, drank wine, took in the gorgeous views, and vowed that we wanted to move to the mountains.

Closing of Blackstock is a loss...a loss of jobs for those who worked there, a loss of a dream for its owners, a loss for Georgia's agritourism, and definitely a loss to those who support and love Georgia wines.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Moonshine - It's Legal in Georgia

Want to try a little moonshine? Or perhaps see just how White Lightning is made? You can do just that in Dawsonville, Ga., at a legalized moonshine distillery that just happens to be next door to the Dawsonville City Hall. (Yes, I did say NEXT to the City Hall.)

The Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery opened in October 2012, just in time for the annual Dawsonville Moonshine Festival. But it wasn't until December that the distillery received the legal okay to sell the moonshine and to permit the actual onsite sampling of the local white lightning.

However, if you want to buy your own moonshine stash, you'll have to wait in line. The moonshine batches sold out fast, but the distillery is taking orders for its next batch.

Owner Cheryl Wood uses moonshine recipes that go back over 150 years, recipes handed down to her grandfather, Simmie Free. The distillery is a one-still operation with fourth generation distiller Dwight "Punch" Bearden overseeing the moonshine making. The brewery consists of a 250 gallon copper still, a 1,050 gallon and two 415 gallon mash tanks.

Of course, Dawsonville is the perfect spot for a public distillery. After all, the town is the Moonshine Capital of the World. Legend is that the corn farmers in Dawson and neighboring Appalachian mountain communities survived the great depression by making and selling moonshine to city slickers.

The brew was transported to Atlanta across curvy mountain roads and down Georgia Hwy. 9. Federal government revenuers often chased the moonshine drivers down Thunder Road (Hwy. 9), giving birth to a legion of skilled drivers and the start of NASCAR. 

You can tour and taste Dawsonville moonshine every Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. For directions and maybe to put your name on the "I need some moonshine" list, call 770-401-1211 or 706-344-1210.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Stealing from Old People?

Who would steal from old people? That's the question we asked when we saw the headline "Senior Center theft is under investigation" in the Dahlonega Nugget this week.

According to the front page story, over $1,000 in funds (and a quilt) are missing from the Lumpkin County Senior Center.

Now, we ask what happens to make someone suddenly go from caretaker of funds to thief? Does it start innocently? Does the culprit say,"Oh, I really need $100 to pay a bill. I'll just borrow the money and pay it back on payday." Or is it more sinister: "I'll take $100 and see if anyone notices." Or does he/she say, "They'll never miss this money and I really need it."

Whatever happens to turn a seemingly honest person into a thief is happening a lot more than one would expect. For instance, the Dawson County Clerk of Courts is in jail right now, serving four years of a ten year sentence for absconding with $140,000 in county money. Then there is the parent who stole $57,000 from an Atlanta PTA and the football booster club president in Walton County arrested for taking thousands of dollars in club funds.

Some will say that the poor economy is to blame for these thefts. Others will accuse the culprits of being greedy or moral compass deficient. Or maybe, as my grandmother used to say, "That person is just a bad seed."

In the case of the Lumpkin Senior Center theft, the lesson learned is simple: Thou Shalt Not Steal....especially from senior citizens.

Update: Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office is still investigating the theft from the Senior Center. The Director who resigned right after the second theft has been cleared by the Sheriff's office after she took and passed polygraph test.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dahlonega and Beyond: We're Back!

Dahlonega and Beyond went dark for a couple of months. A number of excuses for the blog silence, such as:
  1. We traveled a lot - three weeks in Venice and the Mediterranean and  a couple of trips to NashVegas.
  2. A rotten case of bronchitis which dulled the brain and writing creativity
  3. A busy work schedule that included lots of copy writing and Internet research, and
  4. The Christmas season and all the stress, drama, and shopping that the holidays bring.
You'll note that holiday cooking wasn't one of the list of No-Blog excuses. That's simply because years ago, I gave up serious Christmas season baking and cooking. And with that 'giving up', we find that we don't pack on as many holiday pounds and a lot less time is spent around the stove and kitchen mixer.

After all, Honey Baked ham is a heck of lot better than mine, and when we buy our turkey already baked, there's no fear of finding 'surprise' packages of turkey necks and gizzards inside. (Yes, this happened. Not once but twice in our turkey baking history.)

Now back to the blog, and I do mean Back to the Blog. My new year's resolution is more blogging, more writing that's pity, maybe controversial, and perhaps even enjoyable reading to others outside our immediate family. So, simply put: Dahlonega and Beyond is back!