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8/10/2021

Salve and buna ziua, all, it’s me again.

I hope you’re as pumped as I am for the upcoming open house. We’re eight days out right now, so I’m figuratively marking off days on a metaphorical calendar. This is because I do not own a physical calendar.

Subversion of cartoon tropes aside, I will confirm that we will have brownies, cider, candied popcorn, and big sales. If you’d like a kitten, they are also available. Please take as many as you’d like.

Maryanne and Vince (grandma and grandpa) are coming back this upcoming week, so if any of you would like to mess with Cindy, feel free to say that the potato salad is tasting better than it did last week.

I suppose I’ve already mentioned them, but I’ll tell the whole story now to close out this week’s update.

This week, in our traps, we caught three kittens and their mother. This would have been a perfectly salvageable operation for us. We’ve taken care of kittens and cats before, and having the mother would make things easy.

The next day, we caught six kittens without their mother.

Suffice to say things have been hectic. We’ll survive, but if any of you would like a kitten, feel free to call us up on the business number. They’re in the process of getting dewormed and they aren’t big enough to be fixed, yet, but we don’t have a problem holding them for you until then or letting you take care of that stuff yourself if you desire to.

Happy Jewish New Year, and stay free.

9/3/21

Privyet and benvenuto, everyone. Clayton here.

I’ve made a unilateral decision. The Fall Open House is a bit more than two weeks out. I’ve told mom I’m going to be doing the sale come September 18th, so clear your schedules. There’ll be snacks and cider free for the sale.

As a special bonus, I’ll be the one making them this year, so I hope I knock your socks off.

That all being said, our fall items are already out and ready to be sold, so if you want to undercut everyone looking to save a few dollars here in 15 days, then you can come in now for the selection.

With my business news out of the way, important though it is, I can now get around to what I really wanted to whinge about this week.

Now, several of you have seen my cousin, Alec, coming in to eat on the back deck with his Basset hound, Oats. Alec and his wife have gone on a vacation from yesterday to monday, leaving Oats and his other dog, Tarbin, with us to watch for the duration.

Now, Oats, being a Basset, is adorable, and Tarbin is like a mix between a Husky and a Lab, with the coat of the former and the build of the latter. They are, indeed, very cute dogs, however, Oats is only a few inches tall when she wants to be, and our other dogs are easily large enough for her to fit between their legs.

This would usually be cute.

Except it isn’t when you’re trying to take the rest of the dogs out and she keeps slipping under the other dogs to make a break for the door. Tarbin’s constant anxiety, in contrast, is a dream to deal with, since its cure is, in essence, “just keep petting.”

Still, I’d rather watch them than worry about them, though, so if you see us with bags under our eyes in the next few days, just remember that we’ve asked for it, even after we whine.

8/28/2021

Well, it’s been a hell of a week elsewhere on the planet, so hopefully my more mundane news can be a pleasant diversion for you folks.

With the coming end of August, we’ve been planning out our Fall open house, though I will admit to having to remind mom of it. Suffice to say it will not be in the first week of September, as Maryanne and Vince (Grandma and Grandpa) will be going on an Alaskan cruise then, leaving the rest of us behind. The second week is looking increasingly likely, so I’ll see you around then.

I’m sure Grandma will enjoy returning from her leisure to work a day in the store, and if she doesn’t, then that’s just a shame, because she’s going to. If any of you want to prank Cindy or Cece, I’d recommend voicing doubts about Grandma’s potato salad a few days into September. I’m sure it’ll be fine, but they’ll get huffy about Grandma not passing on the recipe.

On a related note to the upcoming open house, we’ve also recently purchased several new large items at an auction nearby and are setting them up in the store today. I’d appreciate it if you brought a few strong men with you if you plan to come in and purchase them, since they are not the most pleasant things to haul around, I will do it if I have to, but I’ll give you the stink eye while you drive off.

Still, feel free to come in and check them out. There’s a two-piece cabinet/bookcase that I’ve taken a picture of which I rather like. It’d certainly be better storage for my myriad books at home than the precarious pyramid of penned pleasantries I’ve presently placed parallel my place of rest.

Thank you, I’m here all week.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone. We survived last year, we’ll make it through the next few. God bless and good luck.

8/21/2021

Welcome back. It’s a day late and a dollar short, but that’s government work for you.

I’m forced to open with bad news, mostly because that’s half the news I have for this post, and I prefer happy endings.

Donna, whom many of you have seen cleaning the cabins, serving food on the café side, and mopping the store, has resigned from our little family here. Now, to allay any fears, she was not fired; she was not under duress; and we’ll survive as a business without her labor. She’s retiring so she can help take care of her grandchildren.

All-in-all, this means she can still drop by for food and to pet Sugar, but that she won’t be on a schedule anymore. That’s right, she’s joined the plebs. Seriously, though, we wish her luck and congratulations on the grandkids.

Now for the happy news.

As of four days ago as of the day of this piece, a pregnant cat we captured gave birth to three precious kittens. They’re not going to be given away any time this month and probably not by next one, but, come October, I assume, we’ll be looking for homes for the, by-then, fixed kittens. They are very cute, and anyone is free to see them on request.

We’re a month and a day away from the ushering in of Fall, so everyone enjoy that summer weather while it’s still here. I, for one, will be petting kittens and waiting eagerly for the day I can sleep with my window open without dying of humidity,

Good luck and God bless, everyone.

8/13/2021

Another week gone by, and here I am, again. We have a couple pieces of news this time around, rather than me having to deploy more cute dog pictures to get through a relatively uneventful week.

Firstly, We’re apparently going to be hosting a charity breakfast for Paul Curtis, Loudon County Sheriff hopeful. It’ll be tomorrow, Saturday the 14th, from 8 A.M. to 10 A.M in our barn next door at 270 Hickman Street. Also, hey, it’s Friday the 13th. Spooky. Anyway, we’re hosting the breakfast, so expect good food and an irritable Cece at lunchtime. I kid, mostly.

Beyond that, and more personally important for those of us who prefer politics to only ever be said in a disparaging tone, we’re going to try and steal the recipe for the Potato Salad from Grandma. Jared, my older brother, has come up with a plan involving locking her in a room with a bundle of pre-measured ingredients and filming her process. Afterwards, presumably, we’ll re-weigh all the ingredients and work out a recipe from there.

Now, don’t go spreading this information around. I’m aware that this is on the internet and thus literally available for the entire world to see, but at least don’t tell any of you lot’s grandparents about this lest Maryanne find out through the global grandmother network and subvert our efforts.

Vigilo Confido

8/6/2021

Guten tag, konbanwa, and good afternoon to everyone. It’s your boy, Clayton, back at it with relatively mundane news. Speaking of, everything’s going well for us, I’d say. Days pass, life goes on, and Country Kinfolk makes lunch.

Granted, of course, that there is more to us than just the food side of things.

Speaking of, today I’ll have the pleasure of introducing you all to someone I’ve been keeping something of a secret on here.

I’d like to introduce my dog, Sugar.

She’s going on six years old at this point and, as of about thirteen months ago, is my companion here on the store side. She’s just about the nicest dog to strangers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, so long as those strangers are humans. I didn’t train her to be like that, and her companion mutts back at our house are most certainly not like that, so I have to assume it’s just her temperament.

She’s a fairly heavy ~30 pounds, and is very fond of bolting through the house and flying, paws first, into your pelvic bone. She nearly took down Steve a couple of days ago, doing that. Still, when she’s not super excited, her next favorite position is to walk up to you and hop up onto you, wrapping her paws around you as well as she can. That’s what she’s doing in the picture.

She’s just about the light of my life right now, I’d say. And I’m far from living in darkness otherwise.

If you’d like to come in and see her or pet her, feel free. She’s here to be loved and love in return, so you’re doing her and yourself a favor.

Now, to keep this at least nominally business-related, I’d also like to say that Fall stuff is getting put out now, so there’s an excuse to come out here if you don’t want to just say “I’d like to pet the dog,” to yourself.

7/30/2021

Welcome back, everyone. It’s been a fair bit. I’ve been successfully reminded that this is “a part of your job” and something “you promised to do”. Thus, allow me to once more fascinate and awe you all with my tales of the Kinfolk.

I suppose I ought to first bring everyone up to date with how things have been going over the last month. Simply put, things have been very good for us. Business has been steadily busier than it’s ever been, even on my side of things over in the store. The cabins have been booming, and we’ve set up another rental property for longer term rentals over in Madisonville. And thank God we got that done now, what with how property values are going.

I’m not going to say you should have anyone you know in New York or California stay with us while they look for a house or have one built, but I’m also not not saying that.

On the animal front, we just recently got another pair of rabbits, and our pig, Bacon, has finally gotten some company back in his pen. On an opposite but also good note, we haven’t seen any evidence of any more kittens on the property, so it’s looking like we’ve fixed nearly every stray cat that hangs around.

I suppose I’ll close this little update with what’s coming up. Namely, the Fall Open House. It should be rolling in near abouts the end of August, so we’re roughly a month out. For those of you who’ve been curious about how she’s been, Maryanne, Grandma, should be back in the store for that. I’ll make sure of it, even if she wines and moans.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all there, and here’s to a happy and healthy upcoming holiday season.

6/19/2021

Welcome back, everyone. It’s been a fair bit, but I’d like to open by thanking everyone for our performance at the Craft Festival. Tradition managed to hold up and it rained on Sunday, but we still managed quite the profit from our excursion. My friend, Jacob Rhyne’s, mother is one of the event organizers, so I’m always happy to see the event be busy. And holy crap was it busy this year. It was, apparently, the busiest they’ve ever had.

My Grandpa’s kind of regretting building the chair swing, since we have several orders for more now, but I’m just happy for him to be working on something in his garage rather than trying to kill himself with labor under the sun.

With that formality out of the way, I’ll skip to my actual news for this week. Come next Sunday, June 27th, we will be leaving for our summer vacation after work closes for that day. So we won’t be around to give you your lunch until the 5th of July. We’ll be in Florida, but don’t try to find us. I will be cooking, so there won’t be food for you.

With the major points being covered, I’d like to close off by thanking all of you for helping my family to lead a pretty blessed life at this point. Dad used to have to work at Chuck E Cheese’s as well as us run ther store, but our success over the years means he doesn’t have to work anymore beyond what he does here. You guys have helped us be self-sufficient in income for at least 6 members of our family and I’m, personally, thankful to you for that.

That all being said, I’m disappointed none of you brought me a Funnel Cake the Saturday of the Craft Fair.

5/22/2021

Good Afternoon, everyone. Preparations for the Craft Festival are continuing apace, including the traditional rain on one of the days, so I figure I’ll use today’s blog post as a PSA for those of you who have seen the cats around our store.

There are a few friendly cats like Morris- the large orange cat that likes to hang out under the furniture on the front porch- or Malcolm- the Tabby that tends to linger in the copse of trees between the kitchen and Hardee’s, but the vast majority of the cats on our property are ferals that only live around here because they get regular feeding by some ladies nearly every night.

Now, I’m not one to tell people to starve any animal, nor am I going to say the cat’s haven’t been helpful in clearing out any potential pests, but I would like to say that I also do not recommend this behavior. Our feral cats are basically grandfathered into the property, but, if you see a feral cat hanging around your house, do not feed them. For one thing, if it is already an adult, then it likely already knows how to get by, and all you’re doing is making it dependent, rather than ‘saving’ it. If it’s a kitten, still, then you’re better off catching it so it doesn’t become feral and can acclimate to humans.

That, in turn, brings me to my final point. Trapping feral or (if they are friendly) ‘community’ cats. Nearly all of the cats we have on the premises have been trapped at one point, spayed or neutered, and then released back outside. This helps to reduce the aggression in our cats (shortening or preventing life-threatening fights) and also means that we are forced to try and save kittens far less often. Why might we need to save kittens in the wild? Well, most of the time, a wild cat is not exactly the pinnacle of health, and it is rare for even most of a litter of wild cats to reach adulthood. That’s not the kind of ‘clean-up’ we’d like to have to perform on the property at any point.

With all that said, if you manage to trap or capture a feral or community cat, Ppaws clinic in Greenback has grants to provide spaying and neutering for free to wild cats. They also have resources to help if you are looking to help stabilize the wild cat population in your area.

P.S. We happen to have this pair of lovelies if any of you are looking to adopt. There’s a couple of weeks left before they can be fixed, but we’ll hold them for you until then if you don’t want to do it yourself.

5/5/2021

Hello, all y’all. It’s been a short bit, so I’d like to tell you what we did over last weekend.

Now, I’d be the first to tell you that I’m not a fan of the State of Georgia. Beyond them wanting 70 miles of Tennessee land on our current border, which would give their greedy mitts plentiful access to our river, which I’d rather not be drained like the Colorado and Lake Mead is for Vegas, they also have the gaul of being between Tennessee and Florida.

I’m not one for disliking a state for its position, so I’ll clarify. Georgia has the perfect mix of Floridian swamps with the near-total lack of wind of the Tennessee River Valley to make it a muggy hellhole every summer we drive through it to get to a nice rented house for a week in summer. Then there is the fact of the existence of Atlanta, a city that does it’s level best to make us avoid it every time we drive.

Now, I could forgive all of that. After all, Missouri served a similar role whenever we visited Nebraska. However, I am forced every half-year to go with Cindy, Cece, and Steve to America Mart in Atlanta to shop for roughly seven hours straight. During which time, it is rare indeed that I get to pick out an item for purchase myself or for a present, so inundated with goods are we.

So Georgia, for me, is a state where I’m either attacked by mosquitos on a near-constant basis or forced to haul a fair few hundred pounds of merchandise up and down roughly 20 different floors across three buildings.

The Braves are alright, though.

4/25/2021

Greetings and salutations once again, everyone. It’s been a busy few weeks for us, so, while I’ve been unable to update you all over the course of it, I’d like to now. 

I don’t know how many of you are aware, but the Lenoir City Arts and Crafts Festival is coming up soon. Every year we pretty easily recoup the price of buying a plot at the festival, so we’ve been busy these last few weeks building and preparing items to set up at the park. Grandpa Vince and Grandma Maryanne have been going at it in the workshop building, sanding, and staining a menagerie of furniture and decorations.

As a side note, my personal favorite item is the log bear that Grandpa has put together.

Still, we’re well aware that most of you guys only come for the food, so, as a bit of encouragement, I’m pretty sure Dad’ll be giving out coupons for the restaurant at our festival booth with every purchase, so you’re probably better off stopping off there first before you mosey on over to the rest of us. As an aside, for the first one of you to bring us some funnel cake, I’ll get your meal.

It’s the first weekend in June, so I’ll look forward to seeing all of you, hopefully divested of most of your money, then.

3/27/2021

Greetings and salutations, all. I’m back.

We’re relatively lucky this week. There are no special events or anything that needs to be brought to your attention lest great misfortune befall you. Instead, I figure I might as well talk to your guys about something pretty normal for once. By which I mean I’ll talk about our family’s first dog, Buster.

Buster passed away in late 2017, at the age of 14. He was a Rhodesian ridgeback mix with some kind of coon hound. You wouldn’t be able to tell outside of his coloring, though, since he was a very lazy bum almost all the time. Very far from his hunting ancestors- whether they were trying racoons or hounding lions. We got him around Halloween in 2003 and he died just before christmas in 2017.

Buster hated fireworks with a passion the likes of which the world has never seen. He would bark loudly and often whenever we set them off from inside the house. The first time he experienced Fourth of July we had him outside with us. This soon proved to be a mistake when he pulled free from his collar and rushed towards a lit fountain, which he proceeded to pick up in his mouth and run around with as it shots sparks everywhere. We were lucky that nothing got set on fire

Of all of us, he was Mom’s dog the most. He slept in her room, went out with her in the morning, and laid down near her at the dinner table. She was hit the hardest when he passed, but I think the fact that we had three other dogs at the time and the soon addition of two cats kept her busy enough that she was able to mourn and move on, rather than overthink it and blame herself.

He was the best dog I’ve ever had. Sugar’s pretty close for me, though.

3/20/2021

Welcome back, you’uns.

Things have been (thankfully) quiet this week, without any of you complaining too hard about the price shifts. Let me tell you, I appreciate that. Still, I figure I ought to switch topics to something a little less business-centric for this week. With that in mind, Saint Patrick’s Day did make me give a little thought to my own ancestry.

There’s a little bit of a hint towards it in my name, though. Both “Clayton” and “Riggs” are vaguely English, though Riggs leans a bit more heavily north than Clayton does. Speaking of, as both my names are last names (my first name is my maternal grandfather’s last), they both have actual meanings that you expect out of old English surnames, i.e. location (Rivers, Townsend, ect) or job (Taylor, Smith, etc.). As an aside before I get into the real meat of things, “Clayton” refers to people living within a clay fortification or on top of a hill while “Riggs” means the same for people living on a ridge.

That all being said, I am, very much so, English in origin. Oh there’s a sprinkling of Scotch-Irish in there like basically every American, but the real surprise for everyone is just how East European we are as well. They’re mostly drowned out by just how overwhelmingly Anglo I am, but my maternal grandfather brings a metric ton of Germano-Polish with him. You might think he was also English, what with the Clayton last name, but his grandparents has last names like Frei, Frahm, Feurhoff, and Moderetski. We can’t find any documents from before the late 1800’s (apparently a church fire destroyed our old baptismal records), but nothing says East German quite like those names. 

We may, possibly, have Cherokee in us by way of Mary Ann, but we’re all pretty sure that’s a lie to make us forget that she’s from a pretty rich southern family that’s been around since before the Civil War.

(That’s a joke, by the way)

3/13/2021

Hello, everyone. I know I just recently said that I wouldn’t be giving big news on here, but I find myself in the unenviable position of informing all of you about an upcoming price hike for the restaurant.

I mean, we’re sitting at seven years of our prices not changing, so I suppose we can be forgiven this one time, but I can’t help but think this is what we get for letting dad sit around without anything to keep him busy for too long. Alas, I’ll run through everything now, so if dry money talk isn’t your cup of tea, I won’t blame you for skipping this week’s update.

Our specials, french dips, frito pies, etc ad nauseum, are getting split up into a few categories. Things that come with two sides like the pork chop or the meatloaf are going up to $7.79. Meanwhile, things that only come with one side, like the chicken & dumplings or basically every sandwich special, are going to $7.49. Lastly, specials that don’t come with any sides like the spaghetti or frito pie are staying at $6.99 along with our 4-side plate. All of them still come with a drink, though, so that still not something either of us- you ordering and me checking you out- need to worry about

Speaking of drinks, though, I’ll start with them from our regular menu. Most drink are going up 10 cents to $1.85, though the special flavor teas and lemonades (blackberry or raspberry flavored) are going all the way up to $2.50. Desserts, unfortunately, are also going up in price, though only to $2.25. Considering how good they are, I still think they’re worth it. Hopefully you feel the same. Soups just barely edge them out, though, going up 26 cents to $4.25. Then, Lastly, we have our regular sandwiches. Back when we first opened, these were all we were going to sell. That’s changed, as has their price. The regular sandwiches- turkey, ham, pastrami, chicken or tuna salad, or pimento cheese sandwiches- are going up 50 cents to $5.49.

I’m not a fan of being the bearer of bad news, so I hope you forgive me this once and come see us again in the coming days, hopefully with your wallets better prepared than they’d otherwise be.

3/5/2021:

It’s a bit late this week, but here we go, everyone. Today, I’d like to bring up one of our regulars. He’s been here for at least 4 years at this point.

His name is Morris, and he’s the orange cat that a lot of our customers have seen hanging around the place. He used to be the top cat around here, but he’s gotten older and slower ever since he got fixed without our input one day. Still, he’s definitely the nicest of the strays that hang around here, of which there are many.

We’re pretty sure he used to be a house cat, but those days are long past him. Still, that upbringing does make him the chillest of the strays. He enjoys getting rubs from my father, Steve, the most, but he’s not particularly picky in that department. Every once in a while, he’ll sneak his way into the store and we’ve got to shoo him out, but he has the good graces to at least stick to the store side when he does so, avoiding the restaurant (and the health department) when he comes in.

If you have the pleasure of seeing Morris whenever you drop by, feel free to give him a little hello, but do remember that he’s a stray. If he asks for you to pet him, then feel free, but don’t try to force some on him. That might have less to do with him being a stray and more of him just being a cat, though.

2/23/2021:

Hello again, everyone. I’m sure most of you are familiar with our little animal farm out behind the restaurant, but I thought I’d use this opportunity to introduce three of our newest barnyard animals. We bought two goats over the course of the summer and set up a decent sized pen right next to the pig. More recently, we’ve found a replacement rooster ever since some crazy woman stole our first rooster, Donald, way back when we first opened.

I’ll get to that story another day, though.

For now, I’ll talk about the goats, Malcolm (the greyish one) and Rudd (the black and white one). Steve, my father, named them after the AC/DC members. Considering we named our pig “Bacon”, I can’t say he did a bad job naming the goats. The cage we have them in is a good 200-ish square feet that we originally bought to try and bring our dogs to work. That ended up not working out (they bit at the fence until it deformed enough for them to crawl out), but it did leave us with a nicely sized chunk of tall fencing for the goats. The little house in there is built with pallets, five or six of them, I think. The only thing they like more than climbing on top of their house is climbing up any hay bales we put in their cage. Standing in their food bowl is a close third.

As for our newest addition, the rooster, he’s either named Yosemite or Foghorn, depending if I get my Looney Toons characters mixed up that day. We could have let the customers come up with a name, but I don’t trust any community to name something after the “Boaty McBoatface” debacle. Still, in spite of him looking good nowadays, Foghorn was rescued from an all-rooster farm by the people we got him from. Which means, when they got him, his crest had been pecked off, and he had been missing a ton of his feathers. You wouldn’t be able to tell now, with how much of a lady’s man he’s become, but it’s definitely been a heck of a step up in the world for our little guy.

2/16/2021:

Hello there, everyone. My name is Clayton Riggs, and I’ll be writing this blog for Country Kinfolk, my family’s business, until they grow tired of me. I’ve lasted twenty-six years at this point, though, so I’ll think you’ll have the pleasure of my eloquence for at least a few months.

To keep things relatively simple for you all and myself, I’ll be writing for this blog once a week, at least. I’ll be covering low level topics here at the store, so don’t expect big news to come from me, but I can relay some of the more minor tidbits we have going on around the place.

For this first blog, at least, that means telling you all about the “King Cake” Cindy (my mother) and I baked for the first time just this morning. It’s a relatively simple recipe, and, considering the results, one I recommend you all try out for yourself. The crescent roll shell along with the cinnamon flavoring in the cheesecake filling really made me think of cinnamon rolls, if, somehow, richer.

I cook a lot at home, so I’m pretty proud that I’m being brought in to help on the food side now, rather than just taking all of your money at the register. I’m more of a cooked meats guy, but I enjoyed branching out with Cindy this morning, and I hope you all get to try the cake before it’s gone.