Sunday, April 8, 2018

April Snow in the Smokies

We celebrated Mom's birthday in the mountains yesterday, and we had a bit of snow overnight in Gatlinburg. La and Stew generously let us stay in Buckberry Chalet on Ski Mountain Road. This is the view of it from the driveway as I slipped out just before dawn to let the girls sleep in.

These are a couple of pictures from a pull-off as you head through the national park on the way from Gatlinburg to Townsend.
As you can see, the higher elevations got snow, while the lower evelavations got little or none. The ground was covered on Ski Mountain Road, except for the roads, but the parkway down in Gatlinburg was just wet. So it was as I traveled through the park. Sugarlands had a lot of pretty snow on the ground, but a couple of miles later, Elkmont did not. Likewise, Metcalf Bottoms had more snow than the Sinks, just a few miles closer to Townsend.
We had a lot of family and friends come up to our mountains this weekend to celebrate Mom's big day. It was great to see everyone, and I hope everyone enjoyed an April snow in East Tennessee!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Introducing Curtis the Cat

The girls went to the animal shelter shortly after we had to put Emma down, and they came back with the newest member of our family, Curtis, pictured above. He is two years old and has a lot of energy. Curtis has made himself comfortable in his new home, but our other cat, Molly, is still adjusting to her new, much younger feline companion.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Hawaiian Chicken

Sherry found a recipe for Hawaiian chicken somewhere on the internet, and I adapted it a bit for our use.


1 c. pineapple juice (or crushed pineapple)
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. soy sauce
8 chicken thighs

Mix liquid ingredients in crock pot, and then add chicken. Cook on low for five to seven hours and serve over white rice.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

R.I.P. Emma the Cat

When we returned from a trip last Saturday, we found our 18-year-old cat Emma in an impaired state. She was obviously having problems, could barely walk and was unable to go downstairs to use the litter box. We took her to the emergency vet Sunday morning, where she was diagnosed with kidney failure. We had her euthanized, and she is to be cremated and her ashes returned to us. It was a sad end to our Spring Break.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Cajun Turkey, Andouille and Ham Stew

Another recipe that I recently adapted from our local newspaper, this Cajun Turkey, Andouille and Ham Stew was billed as being a way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey, although that usually isn't a problem for us. The recipe calls for Tasso, a type of Cajun ham, but I used a honey baked ham and added Cajun seasonings since I couldn't find Tasso in my local market. I'll order some the next time I make it to see if it makes a difference.


Olive oil
8 oz. Tasso ham in 3/4 inch pieces
12 oz. andouille sausage
1 finely chopped green bell pepper
1 finely chopped medium onion
4 finely chopped cloves of garlic
4 finely chopped stalks celery
2 oz. tomato paste
1 1/2 cup beer
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. red pepper
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 cups shredded turkey
4 cups rice

Brown ham and andouille in olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion and celery (the "Holy Trinity" according to folks in New Orleans) and cook down. Add garlic during this process. Add enough tomato paste to stir in and coat the contents of the skillet. Cook until tomato paste darkens. Deglaze skillet by pouring beer and broth in. Add spices and seasonings and stir. Simmer covered for half an hour. The recipe calls for serving it over rice, but I cooked the rice and added it into the stew itself. Like a lot of recipes I cooked, I portioned this out into single servings and froze them for lunches, and it reheats well. (It is also good with sour cream.)

BONUS FACT:  According to Wikipedia, andouille is a mild insult in French, like calling someone an idiot.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Old Family Photo

Mom sent me and my sisters this picture over the weekend. From left to right the people pictured are Fred (Frederick Leroy York) and Mayme (Mamie Yarborough Powell) York, and Eula (Eula Elvira Powell), Wanette and Harvey Isenhour. I've heard story's about Mom's Aunt Mayme, but I unfortunately have no memory of her or Uncle Fred, although I think I must have met them as a child at some family function or another. This would have been taken in the 1950's.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Marseilles Beef Stew with Vegetables

I reactivate the blog from its recent dormancy to post my adaptation of one of several recipes I've found in our local newspaper in the past several months. It was more than nine years ago that I started making Daube of Beef Provencal, which has become my favorite beef stew, so when I saw a recipe for a beef stew from Marseilles, I had to give it a try. I disagreed with the preparation instructions, so I prepared it the same way I do the other stew, and I changed the ingredient list a bit.


2 1/2 lbs. beef stew cubes
3 medium onions
1 1/2 cups red wine
6 slices of chopped up bacon
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 to 3 cups carrots, cut into a bit bigger than bite-sized
3 to 4 stalks celery finely chopped
1 lb. white mushrooms sliced
6 cloves garlic
1 cup beef broth
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves

Marinate beef cubes in wine from one to twenty-four hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and heat dutch oven to medium on stove. Cook bacon, adding the paprika for the last minute or so until fragrant. Add garlic, onions and celery and saute in the bacon grease, and when they are cooked down, add the beef cubes after removing from marinade and brown on all sides. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the wine used to marinate the beef, and if the liquid does not cover the meat add enough wine, broth or water to do so. Place in oven and cook for 2 to 4 hours, removing the lid for the last 30 minutes to reduce liquid if needed. I like to really cook the beef down, so I like to cook it the full four hours. It serves about 8 people and screams to be served with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable like asparagus or broccoli.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Editor's Note

I am obviously not posting daily as I did for many years. I do not plan at present to resume daily posts, but will occasionally post as time permits and circumstances warrant.

Island Camp Out

The last time I camped out on one of my Louisville islands was the fall of 2001 while Sherry and I were dating. We returned at long last to the scene of that memorable camping adventure this week. My friend Tom, known as Brush, came in Tuesday evening and camped on the island until this morning. Our friend Terry and I came out Saturday morning, and we had a wonderful day on the island.
Brush cleaned the place up a lot before Terry and I got out there, but we cleared it out more during the day yesterday. We made good progress without wearing ourselves out.
The tree to the right has long been out landmark for our landing place on this island. At its base there now dwells a hive of bees. We aggravated them upon arrival by tossing gear on top of their colony and by chopping privet hedge with a machete. Once they got our attention we became better neighbors, thankfully without the lesson of anyone getting stung.
Brush and Terry pose for the camera with the lake in the background.
My canoe, the Enterprise, once red, is now a pinkish grey with age, but the old girl served us well and will still cross the lake at a good clip with two people paddling. May she carry us to more adventures in the near future.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Last of this Summer's Beach Pictures

Here are the last few pictures from this summer's beach trip. Sherry took the kids into Seaside for a visit.
There is a wonderful toy store in Seaside. How does a kid get out of this chicken outfit?
Joey and Abby pose in front of the Seaside church.
With only two days during which we could swim in the gulf, the kids occupied a lot of their time excavation the sand. I have an army surplus trenching shovel I bring every year, and they put it to good use.
Of the two boys, Joey tends to be the straight man and Jake the joker, but Joey never could resist a funny hat.
Joey, Sarah and Jake pose at the purple wall in Seaside.
Sarah and Sherry pose on the back porch at Beachcrest.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day


Today is Independence Day in the United States, and citizens here celebrate it as our nation's birthday with a day off work, fireworks, patriotic music and ceremony and, of course, food.

Monday, July 3, 2017

More Snapshots from the Beach

Lest I leave the impression that we didn't get to spend any time on the beach due to the weather, I will post some pictures taken on the sunny days we had. The last two days were sunny, but the surf was to high to allow swimming.
Sarah poses with my beachcomber hat. I had a hat like this for years during my Louisville Lake days, but it fell apart due to wear and exposure to the elements. I finally found a place where I can order them for about five dollars each, so I bought five. I get a lot of compliments on it at the beach.
The brothers Ferrelli contemplate the surf.
We spent a lot of time, as usual, hanging out on the patio at Mom and Laura and Leslie's condo. Sherry poses for a selfie with Joey and Abby.
Sherry takes pictures of the kids in front of this purple wall in Seaside every year she can.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Seagrove Beach 2017 -- Tropical Storm Cindy

Here are a few pictures from our summer vacation week down in Seagrove Beach, Florida, this year. It coincided with Tropical Storm Cindy, which dumped constant rain on the coast for two days and nights before relenting. Even then, the beach was closed to swimmers every day we were down there except the first two. As you can see from the surf in the picture posted above, it was a smart decision by local authorities.
This is a shot of the flooded courtyard of Beachwood Villas taken from the condo unit we rented this year.
Sherry was thrilled at the rare occasion of having all three of her kiddoes together for a week. On one of the rainy days they went to Panama City, and these two pictures were taken there.
I hated to miss a trip to the Panama City Margaritaville restaurant, but I knew traffic would be awful. After ten hours getting down there Saturday due to congested traffic, I didn't fancy any more time in an automobile until I had to drive back home.
Laura and Grace flew in from a wedding in Canada, so Mom rode with us this year. Mark and Leslie drove up from Delray Beach, which is about the same mileage as we traveled from Tennessee. Jake rode from Nashville with Joey and Abby.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend in Estill Springs

Here are some of the photographs I took at the Camp when Sarah and I were out there Memorial Day weekend with my friend Johnny and his kids, Natalie and Teddy. We stayed out there three nights, which is the longest stay I've had there in years.
Sarah and I arrive before Johnny and his kids, and we quietly enjoyed the woods and the creek. As usual, Sarah contented herself with her sketch pad.
As you would expect on a hot spring weekend, we spent a lot of down by and in the creek, which was very healthy. We saw a lot of crawdads and periwinkles, the latter being small, black snails that live on the river bottom.
Other that to relax, play with the kiddos and have fun, our only other mission was to put up the railings on the new front porch we built for the place last month.
Sarah and Natalie enjoy some quiet time on the screened porch.
You can't really tell from this picture, but we built a dam that brought the water up about five inches. An earlier flood had piled up a bunch of rocks, mud and leaves on the rock shelf we use to access the creek. We used the rocks for the dam, and when the water came up it got rid of most of the rest.
We had hauled the remains of the old porch down to the fire pit for later burning last month, and we burned about half of it up.
In addition to the railing, we also rehung the screened door, replaced the threshold and put Old Glory back in her place.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Old Stone Fort

Sarah and I met my friend Johnny and his kids in Estill Springs last weekend to enjoy some time in the woods and creek at my grandparents' cabin there. On the way we stopped in Manchester so I could show Sarah Old Stone Fort, a Native American archaeological site that was build during the Middle Woodland period, some 1,500 to 2,000 years ago.
To the best modern science can surmise, Old Stone Fort was a ceremonial meeting place, not a permanent habitation site. It is bounded on one side by the Little Duck River and on the other side by the Duck River.
This field is where ancient people gathered. There is an feature they built at the entrance to the site that lines up with where the sun rises on the summer solstice. This picture is taken looking in that general direction.