Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bessie the Cat

I've been scanning some old photographs recently, and I ran across these from 1996 showing my cat Bessie making a kill.  Our cats Molly and Emma like to look at birds out the windows of our house, and I commented that Bessie would have gone to the door and started meowing to go outside.  I submit photographic proof of her hunting prowess.

I acquired Bessie from my sister Laura, who offered me the cat on a test drive basis.  La was moving, and asked me to keep Bessie while she moved.  If I wanted to give her back once Laura got moved, I could do so, or I could keep the cat.  As soon as the cat arrived at my house she went into the back yard and caught a mole that had been digging up my vegetable garden.  She then tortured it to death so that all the moles in the neighborhood knew there was now a cat at Steve's house.  The cat got to stay.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tennessee's Black Cowboy

I recently read an article about Nat Love, an African-American cowboy who was born in Tennessee in 1854.  He escaped the plantation he was born on when he was fifteen and became a noted cowboy on western cattle drives.  Curiously, there is no mention of him in the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Winding Down the Weekend

Sherry and Sarah just left for Sarah's final theatrical performance of Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr. After they break down and load out the set, they have a cast party, and thereafter I will be a theater widower no longer.  They both really enjoy it, and Sherry's had fun with her first experience as stage manager. I know they'll miss it, especially since Sarah will miss the next production because it goes to stage during our family reunion in August. I suspect they'll volunteer some time to the production as needed.

I put on my boots this morning and toted all a big pile of fallen branches up to the street. There was one big branch that I had to move a few feet at a time, but I eventually got it to the curb. I got most of it to the street, except for some smaller stuff that I'll collect after the snow has melted and the weather has warmed up some.

The death of Leonard Nimoy sent a wave through popular culture. He's been all over the internet, and Saturday Night Live did a Star Trek bit last night that concluded with an image of Spock with his famous line, "Live long, and prosper." Sarah's theater group even got into the act by displaying the Vulcan salute at the end of "Interplanet Janet."  At first I thought that it was only my overly geekified child that did it, but it turns out it everyone did it, and it was planned, a nice touch. For my part, I checked out the second season of the original Star Trek series a couple of weeks ago, and I've been working my way through the episodes. I've watched several this weekend while the girls have been at the theater.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Busy Weekend

Yesterday Sarah's theater group, Primary Players, performed Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr. twice for local schoolchildren and once in the evening for the general public.  Sherry's mom, also known as Grams, drove in from Nashville to attend the evening performance, and they're all still sleeping downstairs.

Mom and Laura and Leslie are coming to today's matinee, and we're all going to eat out afterward in celebration of Grams' birthday. Sherry and Sarah will then return to the Clayton Center for this evening's performance.  They have another performance tomorrow, and then the cast party, so they have a busy weekend ahead of them. I probably need to haul the branches that the ice brought down up to the curb this weekend because next week is when the city picks up that sort of thing.  Hopefully it will get warm enough today to melt most of the snow.

Friday, February 27, 2015

R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek series, died today from lung disease at age 83. I suspect I'm not the only Trek fan who came home from work today and watched Spock's death scene in Wrath of Khan.

Lincoln's Cooper Union Speech

On February 27, 1860, Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Cooper Union speech against the spread of slavery.  The speech is credited with propelling him toward the Presidency.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snowman and Sledding

Sarah and I went outside to play in the snow for a while this morning. Although sledding down our driveway earned the child a fractured tibia last February, we was at it again today, this time without injure, thankfully.  I only made one run down the driveway, but she made several.
This snow was also perfect for making a snowman. He won't last long, but he looks very cheerful now.  His eyes and nose are pieces of coal we found up in the woods in Tellico last spring, and his mouth is a pipe cleaner, which is appropriate because he has one of my father's pipes.

Another Snow Day

I was just out on the sun porch to feed a cat, and it looks like we got another two or three inches of snow overnight, which was what meteorologists were predicting.  I haven't been out to walk around in it yet, but Forest Avenue has a good coat of snow on it.  Our offices and Sarah's school are closed, so we will be at home today, except to the extent that we might get out into the neighborhood to play in the snow.

Three Sisters Stew

I've been enjoying different homemade soups this winter, including Senate bean soup, white bean Turkey chili, standard chili and Santa Fe soup.  The New York Times has a recipe for Three Sisters Stew that sounds good.  It has pork loin, corn, beans, green chilis, onion, garlic and squash.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Latest Conditions on Everett Hill

I'm ready to be posting pictures of daffodils and crocuses coming up, but here are some more snow pictures. Sherry's office is open, and I took these photographs as I was sweeping the snow off of her car and warming it up for her so she could drive to work.
As you can see from this picture of the roof of Sherry's car, we got three to four inches of snow here on Everett Hill in Maryville.
This view is looking east on Forest Avenue from our house toward Everett Alternative School. Sherry's car was parked pointed in the opposite direction, so she headed out that way, but traffic had worn a couple of good tracks to drive in, as you can see here.  She texted me to let me know she'd reached her office without difficulty.
Our back yard is a winter wonderland.
It is discouraging to see our driveway covered in snow again after working so hard Sunday morning to clear it off enough to get the cars to the street.  Since there was no freezing rain forecast with this system, we parked on the street last night. There would have been no way either of our cars would have gone up that hill this morning if we'd parked in back of the house like we normally do.

More Snow!

Here we go again.  We've got a couple of inches of snow already this morning, and it is supposed to continue through midday. All three county school systems are closed, and the justice center and courthouse are, too. We haven't heard from Sherry's office yet, but I suspect they'll close as well.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Von Steuben Arrives at Valley Forge

On February 23, 1778, Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben arrived at the American Continental Army winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  General George Washington appointed von Steuben Inspector General, and the German general went to work organizing the camp, training and drilling the troops, and cursing spectacularly.  He is credited with greatly improving the health and effectiveness of the Continental Army.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Slowly Thawing Out

Our cars have been stuck in the ice and snow at the bottom of our driveway since February 16, and I finally liberated them this morning.  We celebrated by going out to breakfast and to the grocery store. I love my house, but I was ready to escape it after being confined for so long.
Our driveway had from a half inch to an inch of ice covered with about a half inch of frozen snow and sleet. It took me about an hour and a half this morning to clear enough of it away to get the cars to the street.  Lacking salt, I attacked it with a garden rake, a hose and buckets of hot water.
The area where we park our cars in back of the house is still covered in ice and snow, so we'll be parking at the top of the driveway until it thaws, which may be several days with cold temperatures forecast for next week.
As you can see, we have a bunch of locust branches down in the back of the driveway, and some of it hit the Enterprise, my red Mohawk canoe.  I thought the rather large branch (five inches diameter) that landed near it might have hit it and breached the hull. On closer inspection, I'm not so sure.  I'll get a better look at it when it warms up and I can move all the branches away.
This is wild stonecrop, a wildflower, encased in ice.  This one grew from seed spread by the wind from its parent plant into an empty container of soil.  I expect it will do just fine after it thaws.