Monday, September 15, 2014

The Grand Teton and Friends

This is a view of the Teton Mountain Range in Wyoming from earlier this month.  The image was captured by a National Park Service webcam.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Winding Down the Weekend

Sarah's school had spirit week last week, and the kids got to dress in a different fun way each day.  They had school color (blue) day, hat day, western day (pictured here), pajama day and house color (purple for Sarah's house) day.  She wore my Resistol cowboy hat well.

Aside for our typical Saturday errands, we stayed around the house yesterday reading and watching movies.  The girls went down to our neighbors' house for something akin to a Tupperware party but involving soaking your feet in some concoction that was being marketed.  Guys would never do this.

I suspect today will be another quiet day.  We have some chicken to cook, and I mean to grill it if the weather will cooperate.  We'll also help Sarah make some blueberry muffins, which she can have for her breakfasts next week.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Battle of Baltimore

Today is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore, during which attorney Francis Scott Key wrote our national anthem. 

Home From Montgomery Bell State Park

I traveled this week to Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns, Tennessee, which is about forty-five minutes west of where we used to live in the Bellevue community in Nashville.  I was there to attend the fall meeting of the Tennessee Court Clerks Conference, but I was able to hike a bit of the park in the mornings before class.  This view is Lake Acorn from the back yard of the inn, where I stayed.
 I hiked part of the Wildcat Trail as it follows the creek downstream from the earthen dam that created Lake Acorn.  It appeared that some quarrying was done in this area.
I saw a lot of yellow flowers along the interstate on my way to and from the conference, but these purple berries on bushes in front of the inn especially caught my eye.
This was another creek on the Wildcat Trail.  This view made me think of the creek at the Camp.
I had a ground level room during this conference, and had this beautiful view outside my back door.
Before I conclude this post, I want to plug Donna's Place, a small restaurant in Burns that I wrote about four years ago.  Usually at conference I just grab a biscuit for breakfast at the local McDonalds, but this time I ate breakfast at Donna's one morning.  I had a sausage and cheese omelet, hash browns with cheese, onion and tomato, and a biscuit and gravy.  The portions were so big I couldn't finish, and didn't eat again until late that day.  I also had lasagna for lunch there, and it was also delicious.  I'll look forward to trying some of their other dishes at next fall's conference.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Restaurant Review -- Coyote Kitchen, Jefferson, North Carolina

When we were at the Yankee John Church reunion earlier this month in West Jefferson, North Carolina, we met our cousins Cara and John for lunch at the Coyote Kitchen, 327 East Main Street, Jefferson, North Carolina.  I was interested in trying Caribbean food and ordered the Barbados Bowl.  I couldn't eat again until lunch the next day.  It was delicious, if a bit pricey.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Happy Birthday, AJ's

One of our favorite places to eat in Destin is AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar, seen here from Destin Harbor.  We had lunch there when we visited in June after a dolphin cruise.  The establishment is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year, and they plan a celebration in October when the Destin Fishing Rodeo is underway.  We're hoping return for a fall trip this year, and Sarah's fall break falls in October.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


One of the many unexpected joys of having a child is when she goes out into the world and comes back with something cool that I was unaware of.  Sarah learned to play an ancient game called Mancala at school.  Sarah found it at my sister Laura's house when La took care of her during the last week of the child's summer vacation, and Laura bought one for her.  It is a pretty cool game, and is played in many places all over the world.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Funnel Cake Burger

Behold the Funnel Cake Burger!  I can feel my arteries hardening just looking at it.  (Via Neatorama)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Weekend in Elkmont

We've had a busy weekend.  On Friday the members of the East Division of the Tennessee State Court Clerks Conference convened at Louisville Point Park here in Blount County for our fall meeting.  The weather held for us, and there was enough breeze to keep the temperatures comfortable.  I was humbled and honored to be elected President for the coming year.
As you can see, we had a lot of clerks turn out for barbecue, fellowship and legislative updates.  Bread of Heaven catered the event, and no one went home hungry.  Jake and Joey and a friend came to town this weekend, and we got to bring home some leftovers to feed some hungry college boys.
After the clerks meeting, I headed up to Elkmont campground for the weekend.  My friends Angelyn and Chris celebrated their wedding there Saturday, and Angelyn's brother John, known by many names but most commonly as J.P., brought his family up from Florida for the festivities.  John and I went to Rocky Hill Elementary School together, and don't see one another often enough, so it was fun to get a chance to camp out together.  As you can see, the mountains were beautiful this weekend.
On Saturday morning, I went into Gatlinburg for a biscuit, and after breakfast, I drove up to see the Noah "Bud" Ogle homeplace.  I suspected that the work crews would be finished with the new roof, and it looks really nice on the old place.  Here's what it looked like with the project partially completed in July.
Sherry, Jake and Sarah came up for wedding on Saturday, and we spent some time hanging out at the campground before the ceremony.  The satellite dish behind Sherry made a horrible high-pitched whine, and we were all perplexed at someone wanting to watch television in the mountains in the first place. 
Jake and Sarah explored the Little River, and we all three ended up dunking ourselves in the water to cool down.
Here's J.P. and me.  He's no different than he was when we were kids, a fun, happy guy.
This is the Appalachian Clubhouse, where the main celebration took place.  I enjoyed reading about the history of Elkmont, which was a summer retreat for Knoxvillians and other East Tennesseans before the days of air conditioning.
We had a lot of conversation and mingling on the front porch, as I am sure people have been doing up there for many decades.
My friend Doug, pictured here with my sister Laura, is another person I've known since childhood.  He and his brothers are very handy to have around when you are moving.
This is the interior of the clubhouse.  We had another barbecue feast after the ceremony.

J.P. and I recalled spending a couple of weekends in one of these cabins during our teenage years.  The parents of one of our friends had access to one of them, and they were foolish enough to let a bunch of teenagers loose upon their mountain retreat.  The National Park Service is allowing these cabins to fall into disrepair.  I would love to know how and why that decision was made.  I think it is kind of sad.  More on Elkmont here.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Tennessee State Park Sites Make National Register of Historic Places

The Tennessee Historical Commission recently announced five new sites in Tennessee that were added to the National Register of Historic Places, one of which is the Miller Farmstead located within what is now Roan Mountain State Park.  Here are Sherry and Sarah with the Miller home in the background during our visit there last autumn.
Another East Tennessee historic treasure on that list was the group of rustic cabins at Norris Dam State Park.  They were built in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  My family once celebrated Christmas in a cabin at Norris Dam State Park when my sisters and I were kids, and Sarah and I camped up there a few years ago.  Perhaps we can work in a weekend up there sometime this fall.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Prepare to Be Boarded!

This wonder of science is a salmon cannon, used to propel the great fish upstream when water is low.  This is the weapon we needed when we were assaulted with a tater cannon on Mad Goose Island out on Louisville Lake.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Village Inn Pizza

When Mom and my sisters lived in Hickory, North Carolina, where Leslie and Laura graduated from high school, the home town pizza restaurant was Village Inn Pizza.  During our recent family reunion in West Jefferson, North Carolina, we discovered that there is a Village Inn there at 432 Second Street.  They do not deliver, but they still serve some good pie, just like I remembered.  The picture above is the Viewmont location in Hickory at 1021 Second Street Northeast, which was the one we used to go to the most.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

The bracket that used to hold our flag pole on the front of our house is so old and rusted it can no longer hold the flag up.  I bought a couple of flag pole kits last weekend, and I put them on the deck yesterday morning.  It is the first time I've been able to display the Tennessee flag in a long time, camping trips excepted.  I'm very pleased.

We lunched at Flaherty's yesterday in celebration of my birthday, and then had a good group come over to the house afterward, so we got to show off our newly stained deck.  Sherry has a new card game she's been wanting to play, and she had a big group playing in the living room while others enjoyed the sunshine outside.  We capped off the day watching the Vols put up an impressive showing against Utah State, beating them 38-7.  Sarah even came in and showed an interest in football.  I was amazed.

Today is Labor Day here in the United States, and it is a day we celebrate work by taking a day off.   That's just how we roll here.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Busy Saturday in Maryville

We've been busy today, but are winding down with rain falling outside here on Everett Hill in Maryville.  We had breakfast at Gracie's, did our grocery shopping, and then Sherry helped me put up some light fixtures in our basement.  Sarah has a friend over for a sleepover, and they've been having a good time while Sherry and I have done some household cleaning chores.  We've also cooked a turkey and put together some Turkey and White Bean Chili with some of the meat.  We'll use some for sandwiches, and I've put away about four pounds of it in the freezer in anticipation of making Turkey Tetrazzini at some later date.