The Zarb Homestead

Living natural and healthy on a simple budget

Circle G Ranch July 25, 2013

We took my parents to Circle G Ranch for the first time a few months ago and sadly I have been so busy I haven’t been able to blog about it yet. This place is starting to get pretty poplar to the locals and I think this is mainly due to it always being on Groupon for 50% off. We went on a pretty weekend day, and so did everyone else. There were a lot of people there thus meant all the animals were not that hungry and many didn’t even come up to your car. Some did near the middle and the end  of the drive and of course the stupid Emu that I can’t stand was hungry. It wasn’t good as it has been for me in the past but I’ll have to go again soon.

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Happy Campers: Defeated Creek Campground April 28, 2013

Last weekend, we took our new-to-us pop up camper to middle Tennessee to get away from it all. I reserved the campground on a few weeks prior hoping it would not rain us out again like it did a month earlier. Turned out to be a prefect weekend weather wise. The only downfall was the low at night got to be about 38 degrees. It was a bit chilly but we had a small space heater to help keep us warm and it did a great job plus we kept snuggled up near the  camp fire that was going all night. Once the sun came out and took the bitter chill off everything it turned into a bight warm day. We were able to go fishing on the lake and got to try out our blow up kayak for the first time. My mother-in-law got to join us one night and I think she enjoyed herself also. Hopefully this was just one of many camping trips to come this year.

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Horseback Riding in the Smoky Mountains February 19, 2013

Back in August of last year, I purchased a few vouchers off the website Half off Depot when they were having a great sale going on. You could get 50% off the already marked-down price, came out to be 75% off most of the deals. In the deals I purchased was an 1 hour, 5 mile, horseback riding for 2 in the mountains complements of Adventure Park in Pigeon Forge, TN. Being hectic around the holidays we did not have a chance to put them to good use but since they were going to expire on 2/25 of this month we decided to brace the cold weather and give it a go.

On Sunday, we layered up in our long underwear putting all our cold weather gear into good use and drove to the mountains. The high in Knoxville that day was 41 degrees and normally in the mountains it is about 10 degrees below that but the sun was shining and it made for a gorgeous day. We arrived about 30 minutes early because we were excepting traffic but there wasn’t any. Our group was to take off at 2:00 so we checked out the stables at 1:30 and walked around the place for 30 minutes until our group was called to meet up at the stables. I was pleased to see that the stables were newer and well kept. All the horses were in good health condition matter-of-fact many could cut back on the sugar cubes.


There were 8 of us total in the riding group and everyone had little to none when it came to riding experience. I was the most knowledgeable of the group and that was frightening because I have not been on a horse since high-school and then I was bucked off and could not walk for days. Thankfully, experience was not required because the horses knew the trail well and all you had to do was hold on their reins and they lead the way. Everyone got their horse handpicked to meet their needs by our trail guy. My horse was named Max and he was a black gelding male that was tame and eager to hit the trial. My husband rode old Josephine. She was slow and wide horse but very tame and super sweet. They were the the caboose of the 8 horse line and I rode just in front of them.

I am sure I was smiling the whole time because I really enjoyed myself. It was so serene and tranquil being outdoors in the mountains horseback. I did not even mind the cold weather. For my birthday my husband and I are planning to go horseback riding in Cades Cove. They have a nice horseback riding trails in the loop but sadly they do not open until March 10th, so I will have to wait a few more weeks.

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If anyone is interested about this trail and would like to try it you can find more information at


You + Me = Us Through The Years November 21, 2012

This Thanksgiving will be #9 for the hubby and I. It is strange how time flies by and gets away from you in a blink of an eye. It seems like yesterday we were going on our first date and being all bubbly eyed at each other. I was organizing my photos and thought it would be nice to put together a time-line of the “us.” A lot of has happened and changed since it all began in 2004. Hairstyles and colors gone bad along with different clothing styles. I giggles a bit at some of them. Well, here is a walk down memory lane.


Our first date after talking for 2 months 🙂 This was taken in the parking garage in West Town Mall. We went to see a movie but I couldn’t tell you what it was.


We both love the outdoors and here we are camping in the Smoky Mountains


After 2 years of dating we decided to get our own place together. This is us in downtown Knoxville watching Boomsday.


We were cruising to Mexico and the Cayman Island this year. This was my first time out of the country and my first cruise.


We had so much fun, we were off to Mexico, again! This was the year we purchased our first home together.


Here is my brother-in-law and us enjoying our “new” boat


Never skied before or been on a plane. I had a mild nervous break down on the plane and found out that I am not that coordinated to ski but we still had a great time.


7 years down the road we finally say “I do!”


Still happily together as we were in 2004


Stargazing in Cades Cove November 15, 2012

We, the husband and I, are members of the Smoky Mountain Astronomical Society and we held our annual star party and picnic in Cades Cove last Saturday. For non-local readers, Cades Cove is 6,800 acres nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains. Most people visit Cades Cove to observe the wildlife such as white-tailed deer, black bears, raccoons, turkeys, woodchucks, and other animals. This is a great place for a star party because people can gaze at the star-studded sky without the obstruction of artificial light as you would have in the city.

We set up our telescopes in the first field on the right as you enter loop. The parks rangers allow us drive our vehicles on to the field and unload our supplies and then park along the side. It is pretty neat because our club are the only ones the park ever allowed to drive on that field plus when we leave we are allowed to drive backwards in the loop, pretty neat. We arrived at 3:00 and setup about 3:30 pm. All the members brought food or items for the picnic. About 5:00 pm we finished our club things and calmly waited for the visitors to arrive. The sun set at 5:30 that day and that was when the visitors started gathering in the field.

There were a total of 9 telescopes, including mine, setup in a circle. We were all given an object to locate in the sky and explain to the people what they were looking at as they made their way around. I was assigned the double cluster. Great, right? I know what you’re thinking as well as I was. What and where is the double cluster. After some investigation, I found that these two clusters of stars are located at about the same distance from the sun, 7,000 light-years, and are about the same age, 10 million years. I still didn’t know where it was in the sky or how to find it. People were starting to line up to see my scope and I didn’t have anything to show them. I was getting a bit frustrated after 20 minutes with no luck. I went and got another more knowledgeable member to help me out. Finally, I could show and tell over 300 people what they were looking at. That was a bit stressful.

We really enjoyed ourselves but it was a bit cold once the sun went down. Thank goodness we took hand warmers with us. I think the rangers counted 355 visitors that night. Last year we had over 800 people but that star party was also earlier in the year and when the leaves were starting to change. I think I liked having the smaller crowd. I would have been more stressed if there were 800 people waiting on me 😉



Kayaking In a Lagoon November 5, 2012

I have been trying to blog about my vacation I took last month; however, my life seems to keep getting in the way of writing. So, here is a petite blog about us kayaking in Half Moon Cay.

We rented double kayaks along with a guide to lead us around the waters of the lagoon. What a tranquil and wonderful thing to do on an island. It was so nice to just get away and hear nothing but your paddle hitting the water along with the sounds of the calming ocean in background. It cost about $40/person but was well worth the money. You have a guide that will show you the best spots in the waters. He took us to a shallow area and there we saw some starfish and jellyfish. I even held a large jellyfish upside down; it was very slimy but didn’t sting me. We paddled our way around a large part of the lagoon for about an hour. Then, sadly we all had to return to land.

What a time we had. I would have to say the driving with the stingrays was an exciting adventure but kayaking a private lagoon in the Bahamas was peaceful adventure. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Here is a short video I took while making my husband paddle us both 😉


Boomsday 2012 September 3, 2012


As a staple for living in city of Knoxville, one must attend an annual Labor Day event called Boomsdays. For the people to whom do not live in Tennessee; Boomsday is the largest Labor Day fireworks show in the nation! This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Boomsday Festival in Knoxville. The festivities start at 1 pm, and the day ends with a 22-minute musically choreographed fireworks display of more than 20,000 shells at about 9:30 p.m. Over 400,000 people attend this show and it is always a fun time.

This year, like many other past years, they were calling for rain 😦 We normally spend the whole day on the boat relaxing on the river enjoying the day in the sun but not this year. Last year the same thing happen; it rained all day and we ended up watching from the South Knoxville side of the bridge. This year, raincoats and umbrellas in tow, we decided to go view the fireworks with the crowd on the city side on the bridge at Calhouns.


Finding a place to park wasn’t too bad. I think we paid $10 for a spot that was easy to exit and was close to the highway.  Just a short walk down the road from the car, we entered the Calhoun’s Beer Garden. It was $1 for a wristband and all the proceeds went to charity. This was the prime spot to be. They had food and beer and fireworks while overlooking the river and away from the huge crowd. The fireworks started just after the sun went down. So far so good, still no rain. Then, about 5 minutes before the grand finale, in came the monsoon. We ran and got undercover and waited it out for about 30 minutes. Once the light rain began we made our way to the car. It took a bit to get out of the traffic jam. Some people were in a hurry and didn’t want to let any other vehicles out, we solved that issue fast. One of us stood in front to the jerk car while the rest drove the car from the parking lot into the road. I know it made the other car mad but that is what you get for being a jerk.

All in all, we still a great time even with the rain. Hoping for better weather next year!