Hello Friends and Family,

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Georgia On My Mind, Part 4

Another improvement to the Jones estate is this small windmill. As most of you know, windmills were employed on farms, before the widespread use of electricity, to pump underground water for livestock. Most of such windmills still standing are for aesthetic or nostalgia purposes — such is the reason for this miniature one. When I first looked at the photo on my computer, I decided it was a bit boring because the wind was not blowing and the blades were just sitting there. So I confess that I did a small Photoshop trick to give the blades a bit of circular motion blur as if the wind were blowing and thus the blades turning. Could you tell that it was Photoshop?

Which brings up an interesting general question — "Is it real or is it Photoshop". I received such a challenge recently — a collection of 25 photos for which the challenge was to decide if each image was authentic or if it had been significantly altered in Photoshop. There are some very talented "Photoshop artists" out there who can make nearly anything look real. Even though I use Photoshop every week, I was only able to get 17 of 25 correct. Two other friends who are photographers got 21 and 22 correct respectively — I was impressed. If you would like to try your hand at the challenge, go to http://landing.adobe.com/en/na/products/creative-cloud/69308-real-or-photoshop/.

The big improvement to the Jones estate is Danny's new workshop. It is about 2,000 square feet (bigger than my house) and he built the whole thing — although admittedly he had a bit of help with some of the more challenging tasks such as installing trusses.

The interior is well-lit and very neatly organized. As you may recall from previous LAHP issues, professionally Danny was a partner in a sign business in Fort Lauderdale during his working years. As such, he learned the value of keeping his workspace well organized — and that practice is continued here.

Danny has lots of interesting stories about the building and organization of his workshop but the one that really stood out to me concerns the workbench in the foreground. He designed and built it himself. He wanted it to be quite sturdy but also mobile. Therefore the frame was constructed of hollow metal bar stock welded together. However, it was almost impossible to find this material in his new "out in the country" home of Northern Georgia. And what he did find was quite expensive compared to his costs in South Florida.

If I recall correctly, he waited until a scheduled trip to visit family in Florida and brought back what he needed in his pickup truck. That's the kind of thing you have to do when you live far from the central urban centers.

Speaking of organization, Danny's workshop seems more well-stocked than my local Ace Hardware — well, almost. It is hard to tell in the photo but the shelves are labeled with what goes where — and the drawers at the bottom contain most of the common size nuts, screws, bolts and washers.

There are two roll-type garage doors to open for items such as his estate-size lawn mower which doubles as a tractor. Just to show how complete his workshop is, note that just beyond the mower is a plywood sheet cutting saw. I've seen them at Lowe's or Home Depot but Danny is the only individual who I know has one. They are incredibly handy as anyone will attest who has tried to cut a piece of plywood on a table saw.

Just for fun, Danny has a small collection of signs on the walls hearkening back to his long-time profession. He surprised me when he told me that many of these signs are considered collector items and can be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Check it out on eBay.

A small extension to the workshop is this drive-thru where they keep a modest camping trailer. Janie and Danny love touring and plan to take some extended trips to explore North America. The camper is perfect for two people and even can become an emergency shelter if they lose power in their country home and have to live a few days "off the grid". I know they are going to have a lot of fun with this.

Another significant change since my previous visit is the new staircase and landing attached to their main-level deck. it has added great access to the back yard as well as a small covered area for BBQ and other necessities of life.

A bit further out in the yard is their new firepit — which is perfect for those cool nights when you might enjoy a hot drink while looking at the stars (lots of them are visible once you escape the haze and lights of the city). Near the end of my visit, we loaded it up with wood and cooked hot dogs and marshmallows for s'mores. Love it!

And I expect to love it even more on my next visit because Danny poured a concrete pad (just beyond the left chair) where he is going to build a pizza oven. Janie loves to bake bread — and pizza is just a flatbread, n'est-pas?

The Jones estate has undergone quite a transformation in the year and a half since my previous visit. Once of the dangers of retirement is that the retirees have nothing to keep them busy. Janie and Danny definitely are not going to fall in that trap.

Just for grins, you might compare this shot to the one a took on my previous visit — go to http://www.bdavidcathell.com/LAHP/Archives/2015/LAHP_150427/09_Jones_House.jpg.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com