September Song – Andrew & Lindsey

The year was 2010, and Athens musician Andrew Kimball had recently graduated from college. Returning to his hometown, he opted to play guitar in a local Arts Council program. Singing in the program was Lindsey Nunley, and magic between the two began – magic that led to Lindsey becoming Andrew’s future wife. They married in 2013 and regularly began appearing together, and with other musicians, at Arts Council events.

Soon, a musical group was born and took on the name September Song, a play-off of an Arts Council program called September Songs. Along with Andrew and Lindsey, her sister Jen, friend Liz Thigpen Schreck and bass player Joe Littleton, the band grew. Appearances continued at the local arts center and some other events.

Word about September Song soon spread, popularity was born and additional musicians were added to the group. Currently, the full band has become highly popular in East Tennessee.

September Song continued to appear at area events and at the local Arts Center, but changes were on the horizon. After the couple’s daughter Taylor Rae was born, Lindsey and Andrew began to write songs about their daughter.

“When Taylor Rea was born in 2015, it gave us new direction,” said Andrew. “We recorded a CD with those songs about her.” It was produced by the couple in a studio at their Athens home, with

Andrew playing all the instruments. The CD was mastered at a friend’s Pigeon Forge studio. All songs on the CD were written by Andrew, but Lindsey smiled and said, “We haven’t figured out how to co-write yet, but I’m open for a future of writing together.”

The husband and wife duo, still using the name of September Song, have become popular for weddings, wedding rehearsal parties, corporate events and other parties. Andrew said their song styles are uplifting, and easy to listen to. When they play live – just the two or with the full band – they incorporate their original songs with cover songs from the ‘60s to present day music.

As a duo, Lindsey is the primary melody singer, with Andrew providing harmony and occasional lead. Andrew said when they appear together, and everything “feels right, it is the greatest thing in the world. I’m getting to sing and create with my best friend and partner, the mother of my child and my love.”

In the future, the duo hopes to keep writing, produce another CD and continue playing more corporate events.“We are not looking at getting famous. We are looking to play as a duo, but if a larger band is needed, here we are,” said Andrew.

There are three ways to contact the duo or full band for bookings – @septembersongmusic on Facebook, on their website or email at Andrew added, “We are very reasonably priced and bring our own sound equipment. We would love to play for you.”

September Song will perform on the Market Park Pavilion Stage at Pumpkintown, October 14, 2017.

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Dog in the Garden

Dogs are a treat for gardeners — they don’t care if the yard is mowed, if your flower color scheme is lacking or whether your hedge is pruned. They are always happy to see you and never have mood swings or a hormonal imbalance. Pets add an extra dimension to your life, but are not always friendly toward your plants. Their “dog-mind” must see them as leafy playmates or enemies. New plantings can put up a pretty good fight, but the dog always wins even if mothballs are involved.

Magazines portray the lovely homeowner in the garden with three well-behaved dogs that even sit still for the photo session. I can only imagine that these dogs are brought out for the camera and then taken back into the house before they get dirty. My dog is an outside friend, and my garden always has traces of where my dog eats, sleeps, digs, plays and the most destructive activity of smelling out rabbits.

Having lived in one spot for many years and having had a plethora of new puppies, I have certain rules that have helped me to get along with “man’s best friend.” Dogs appear to be like cows in that they have paths, and each dog always runs in the same path, area around the house. Never try to fight the dog path. If your dog has made a path you need to enjoy your new walkway and make it appealing. Mine are pea graveled.

When you start a new bed ,remember all dogs like newly tilled soil. Once you disturb the soil, they want to help you plow it further, and then it’s a delightful place to lie down and sleep. Your dog doesn’t mind if you have just planted pansies in that newly tilled area. It may help if you keep the dog away while tilling and then watch for several days to make sure this new bed isn’t calling to him.

A way to protect plants is by installing a low decorative fence around beds and borders. If your dog is home alone a lot, you might have to consider a sturdy six-foot wood or iron fencing. I had a friend who tried to keep her pet out of a border garden located close to her front door. First she tried a small wire fence, then she put up a heavier post; she also tried tying ribbons of various colors on the wire. I’m not sure if this was for the dog or birds. Next, she installed a taller, heavier gauge wire braced haphazardly over her first fence. It looked terrible; the plants she was trying to save were unnoticed compared to the eyesore she had slowly developed trying to keep her pooch out of the flower bed.

If digging is the problem, you can try using light chicken wire or other light woven wire over bulb plantings. This can also work over emerging perennials or newly planted annuals so that your dog won’t tromp there. (I think it must hurt their paws). I have an area that I allow our dog to dig in beside the air conditioning unit behind the house. She is happy with the location, and so am I.

In an enclosed yard, urine and feces can be unsightly. Some pet owners have created a designated area where their dog can be tied while doing his business, using center a stake in a gravel area to prevent urine from leaving dead spots on the lawn. Others have trained their dog to go to a required area. I have never tried either of these methods but have noticed that a dog will go farther away from the house as she gets older, keeping the front yard clean, but my neighbor’s dogs don’t understand the clean front yard rule.

Another solution for keeping your garden pretty might be using electronic fencing. This underground fencing can be laid out in any configuration. It forces the dog to one part of the landscape or paths. This fencing only works on your dog, not visiting canines. Also, we have radio-activated collars that shock your pet if he wanders so many feet away from the signal, say 40 feet in all directions. My daughter has a collar on her dog, and the neighbors have the same system, so the dogs can go back and forth between the two yards. Again, this only works on your pet wearing a collar and not on visiting pets.

Another suggestion would be clay pots or container gardening. This way you have your garden, and it is out of reach of your puppy. Container gardening is currently an “in thing”. If this does not deter him, you might try cayenne pepper or citronella oil on your plants.

In doing research for this article, I came across a book by Cheryl Smith titled Dog Friendly Gardens, Garden Friendly Dogs. This paperback book has 191 pages, and the book explains how to design your garden with your dog in mind and how to train your dog with your garden in mind. One of the keys is to observe your dog’s behavior. She includes a section on how the breed can affect behavior in the garden and how to avoid dog-garden conflict by good garden design. Ms. Smith’s book also includes a section on how to grow fruits and vegetables for the entire family – including the dog! My husband was excited about the aspect that a dog will actually eat vegetables. He enjoys feeding our dog table scraps but has never been able to get her to eat lettuce, green beans, carrots, broccoli or any other fruit or vegetable. (Of course I haven’t been able to get him to eat any vegetables either.) Our dog will occasionally chew on an apple or pear, but I don’t think she actually swallows.

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Smoky Mountain Service Dogs – Serving Veterans in East Tennessee and Surrounding Areas

Many see the needs around them but never put actions to their desire to help. In 2010, Mike and Suzy and a few other individuals saw a large need in their community and decided to help those who had nearly given their all to our country. With a vision and a strong desire to change lives, Smoky Mountain Service Dogs organization was established.

What started as two puppy labrador retrievers and a few volunteers has grown into the only 501(c)(3) nonprofit, accredited Assistance Dogs International organization headquartered in Tennessee and the surrounding 12 states that utilizes nearly 100 volunteers. Smoky Mountain Service Dogs is an organization dedicated to serving those who so bravely gave to our country and have sacrificed physically or psychologically that now need mobility assistance in their daily lives. SMSD is dedicated to one simple goal: “To enhance the physical and psychological quality of life for wounded Veterans by providing custom trained mobility assistance service dogs (at no cost to the Veteran).”

On July 20, 2017, the organization “Passed the Leash” to their 20th Veteran recipient and their second female Veteran to receive a canine companion. The process of training and receiving a dog from SMSD is a labor of love and quite a diligent process. Dogs are trained by world-renowned canine program manager, Heather Wilkerson. Her experience includes training police dogs and working extensively on search and rescue missions all over the world. Lead trainer, Susan Randall, and staff trainer, Cassie Krause, complete the list of the only paid employees in the organization. The SMSD business model allows 95% of all donations to go directly towards fulfilling the mission of enhancing lives of those they serve. In the 1800-2500 hours and $25,000 it takes to train a dog for service to a veteran, nearly 100 sets of hands will have worked with each dog to ensure they are ready to aid their new warrior. The extensive application process is open to any Veteran that qualifies for mobility assistance. SMSD founder, Mike Kitchens, said the organization is happy to have aided many Veterans in East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and Kentucky. “When we began this organization, I was amazed to see that there were so many Veterans who needed help right in our backyard.”

How can you be a part of this life-changing organization? SMSD is kicking off their campaign, “More Wags for Warriors,” in October at their Annual “Night for Patriots” fundraising event that will be held this year at The Venue in Lenoir City. This extremely patriotic night will include dinner, a silent auction and testimonials from those who have experienced firsthand the life-changing effects that are results of a mobility assistance service dog from SMSD. Special guests will be Wayne and Deby Kyle, parents of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle. They have recently presented the organization with a $225,000 donation as the 2017 recipient of the Chris Kyle Memorial Benefit. This money will be used to help jump-start the building of the new SMSD Veteran/Canine Training Center on the organization’s existing training grounds in Lenoir City located off of Highway 321. The new facility will include a state-of-the-art 18-dog kennel, grooming area, food prep area, medical/exam room and a 3500 sq. ft. Veteran Training area. This new facility will allow SMSD to double the number of severely wounded Veterans served annually. Volunteers are always needed for simple tasks such as raising funds or being a weekend helper with dogs in training.

Smoky Mountain Service Dogs organization is a reminder that dogs and desires to better our community can successfully go hand in hand. One dog and one Veteran at a time, lives and the legacy of them can be changed forever. For more information about SMSD, how to apply for a mobility assistance service dog, how to volunteer or how to buy tickets for this year’s Night of Patriots Annual Fundraiser, visit

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