Friday, August 31, 2012

Kayak Kid

Here are a couple of photographs Laura took of Sarah on the Little River last weekend.  The kayaking lesson Johnny gave her on the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta a few weekends ago really paid off.

Blue Moon On My Birthday

Today is my birthday, and according to Mental Floss the heavens will display a blue moon this evening, weather permitting, of course.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Beware the Basilisk!

Smithsonian Magazine has far more information than modern humans will ever need about basilisks, pesky creatures.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Here's Lookin' At You, Kid

This is a giant squid eye.  (Via Neatorma)  I hope I didn't ruin breakfast for anyone.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Henry Hudson Discovers Delaware Bay -- Ogles Invade Shortly Thereafter

On August 28, 1609, Henry Hudson sailed the Half Moon, a replica of which is pictured above, into Delaware Bay.  It didn't take long for more Europeans to arrive.  My ancestor, John Ogle, an Englishman from Northumberland, settled in New Castle, Delaware, in 1664.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Second Cousins Once Removed

Sarah and Kinsey are second cousins once removed on the Spencer side of the family.  We just bake a pie and go.

Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina

Here is a nice shot from the Grandfather Mountain webcam taken a couple of weeks ago.  The mountain is supposed to look like an old man's profile.  My sister used to live on nearby Seven Devils Mountain.  Both mountains are in western North Carolina.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Fort Loudon Lake Monster

I have heard dark rumors over the years of a monster, not unlike the fabled creature of Loch Ness in Scotland, that inhabits the Tennessee River at Fort Loudon Lake.  My sister, Laura, invited us over yesterday for some sun and swimming at her place on the Little River, which empties into the Tennessee River and Fort Loudon Lake just below her house.  As you can see, we were enjoying La's floats.
They're going to need a bigger boat.
This is a picture of the monster just before it lunged for that low-hanging tree branch.  It was all I could do to get the womenfolk out of the water and up the hill before it came for the dock.
We came back later and fed him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some popcorn.  He is really quite friendly, and now we call him "Flipper."

I Can't Wait To Do This To One Of the Trees At the Camp

I know that there's a lot of real work to be done at The Camp in Estill Springs, but there are plenty of trees we could do this to out there without killing any living trees.  Where's my little red hatchet?  (Via Neatorama)

Death of a Modern Pioneer

Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on Earth's moon, died yesterday.  Knoxville's News Sentinel has more.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

In Which I Dance With a Chicken

My wife told me about a dream she had recently in which the ladies at my office called her to tell her she needed to come and pick me up because I had left the engine in my car running until the car ran out of gas.  In her dream Sherry came to pick me up and found that I had let my car run out of gas because I was out in the middle of the street in my business suit, necktie and tasselled loafers dancing with a chicken.

I inquired of my spouse if the chicken was a real chicken or someone dressed in a chicken suit, and she replied that it was a real chicken.  Now, I have never danced with a chicken, but I did a quick Google search and located a dancing chicken, just in case.

Second Cousins

This has been a summer of second cousins for me.  First, we visited my cousin Jon in Hickory, North Carolina, though we sadly missed his brother, Scott, and their mom, Barbara.  She and Mom are first cousins, and Jon and Scott and I have grandparents who were brother and sister.  As usual, Jon was the consummate host, and he fed us hamburgers Hickory-style, which is with chili, slaw, onion and mustard.

Shortly after that trip, Cara, a second cousin I didn't even know I had, contacted me from Florida after seeing a post here about our great grandparents.  Jon and Scott are great grandchildren of the same grandparents, Francis Marion Powell and Emaline Church.  The Powell side of my family has been burning up the Internet exchanging photographs and memories. 

Today, Kinsey, another second cousin, will be in Knoxville for a wedding.  His mom and my dad are first cousins, and our common great grandparents were Ira Lorenzo Spencer and Lily Ann Tripp of Lois, and later Tullahoma, Tennessee.  We're going to head over to my sister Laura's later today to visit and to lean on Kinsey to come visit us at the Camp when we next travel to Estill Springs.

I love me some family!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dad's 75th Birthday

My dad, Phillip Ellis Ogle, would have been 75 today if he were still living.  Alas, he died in 1993 at the young age of 55.  He sure would have loved his granddaughters!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Atlanta Trip

Sherry, Sarah and I traveled to Atlanta last weekend to visit friends and for the girls to take in a concert at Chastain Park Amphitheater.  Our friends Glenn and Cheryl were kind enough to put us up for the weekend at their place in Snellville.  Pictured above, from left to right, are Johnny, Sherry, Me (in back), Cheryl and Glenn.  Sarah was our photographer, so she is not pictured here.
We got down there Saturday around lunch time, and Johnny arrived with his kayak strapped to the top of his car shortly thereafter.  A little later in the afternoon Rob, in the foreground here, showed up.  It had been more than ten years since I'd seen him, and it was fun catching up with everyone.

Sunday all of us but Rob floated the Chattahoochee River, which runs through Atlanta.  We had Johnny's two-person kayak and two-person rubber raft and a couple of tubes.  Sarah started out with Johnny in the kayak, and he gave her some paddling lessons.  The smile on the child's face was priceless as she got the hang of propelling the little boat through the water.  For the most part, we just floated along, though, and ate sandwiches for lunch as we went downstream.  When we got to the take out point, which is at a park, we could hear mariachi music coming from above.

After our river adventure, the girls primped and got on Eighties gear for their concert, while the guys barbecued chicken and watched football.  It was a fun weekend.

Gatlinburg Margaritaville

We like the Nashville Margaritaville, but I was thrilled to learn from the Mountain Press that plans are moving forward to locate a Margaritaville operation in Gatlinburg, right here in East Tennessee. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I Bet He Said It Was "Bully"

On August 22, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt became the first President to make a public appearance in a car.

Seagrove Villas Motel Demolished

According to the Walton Sun, Seagrove Villas Motel in Seagrove Beach, Florida, was demolished last Wednesday, August 15, 2012.  Sherry and I like to stay in nearby Beachwood Villas, but have been tempted to try out Seagrove Villas because of its quaint, retro appearance.  According to the Sun, the land has been split up into three parcels, which will be sold, and the article also has a history of the property, which includes guests being terrorized by wild hogs.  Yikes!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Abrams Falls

I've been thinking that Sarah is about old enough now to take her on a real hike in the mountains.  She's done some short walks around Look Rock and Abrams Creek campgrounds, but has never really been in the backcountry.  A hike to Abrams Falls strikes me as a good way to start.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Missing the Camp

We haven't been to our family cabin in Estill Springs in months, and the season is getting old.  I have this photograph of our creek looking downstream from our property as my desktop background on my computer at the office.  I'm ready to put my feet in that cold water and hear the sound of it flowing toward Tims Ford Reservoir.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Big Ol' Cheeseburger

This delicious looking cheeseburger is served at Magnolia Gastropub in San Francisco, served here via Serious Eats.  I worked at a McDonalds as a teenager, for the first year or so as a grill man, so I can appreciate a good burger.

Magnolia also serves the appetizer shown below, which is dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon.  I've made a similar appetizer, but I used Gorgonzola instead of goat cheese.  Feta would also work well.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Davy Crockett!

David Crockett was born in Greene County, here in East Tennessee, on August 17, 1783.  Because of a television show in the 1950's, much of what people know about Crockett is myth, but Crockett encouraged such mythmaking during his lifetime.  He famously died defending the Alamo in Texas in 1836.

First Day Of Kindergarten

Here is my niece, Grace, heading out the door for her first day of kindergarten.  It seems like yesterday we dropped Sarah off for the first day of kindergarten, and here she is in third grade.  The next generation is growing up fast!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another Shameless Plug For My Sister's Book

I wrote here a couple of months ago about my sister, Laura, and her first children's book, No-No Nona and No-No Nita, pictured above.  Laura, a woman of many interests and talents, grew up in Knoxville and wrote and illustrated the book right here in East Tennessee with the assistance of her daughter, Grace.

You can now buy this wonderful story at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  In fact, please do!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mount Doom

While this looks like Mount Doom, the site of the creation and destruction of the One Ring in the Lord of the Rings, it is actually a volcano in southern Iceland that erupted in 2010.  (Via NASA)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Molly and Sarah

In her enthusiasm, Sarah had a bit of a problem with manhandling the cats, particularly Molly, pictured here.  To solve this problem we banned her from touching the cats at all for a week.  Once she was able to keep her hands completely off the cats for a week, we allowed her only to pat the cats gently on the head for the next week.  After she did that, we started allowing her to stroke the fur on their backs, and finally to pet them at will.  She is still banned from picking the cats up, for which they are quite grateful.  Sarah has learned how to be more gentle with her pets.
Molly actually hangs out with the child now.
Or she hides in a drawer.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Coolest Picture From Last Week

Humans never cease to amaze me.  Here's an excerpt from Discover magazine:

The simple and sheer amazingness of this picture cannot be overstated. Here we have a picture taken by a camera on board a space probe that’s been orbiting Mars for six years, reset and re-aimed by programmers hundreds of millions of kilometers away using math and science pioneered centuries ago, so that it could catch the fleeting view of another machine we humans flung across space, traveling hundreds of million of kilometers to another world at mind-bending speeds, only to gently – and perfectly – touch down on the surface mere minutes later.

Very cool.

Quiet Saturday

I didn't do much of anything yesterday, but the girls were more active.  They went to John Sevier Pool for a school pool party and then came home and entertained company.  It was strictly girl stuff, and they sent me to my office.  When I was not in exile, I put together some lasagna using some leftover spaghetti sauce I had frozen and watched a couple of old Star Trek-The Next Generation episodes.

Sherry may take Sarah to see the latest Wimpy Kid flick today.  It is rare for me to see a movie in the theater these days, although I will certainly see The Hobbit when it comes out in December.  With kid movies I know I will see each of them hundreds of times when they come out on video, so I'll just wait until then.

The only other news of the weekend is the shaving of Molly the cat.  The poor beast, a long-haired calico, was shedding copious amounts of fur all over the house, and she was coughing up hair balls trying to clean herself.  I'm glad we had her groomed, but the cat was traumatized by the experience, as she usually is.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

On the Road Again

I picked my car up from the body shop yesterday, and it was fixed, shiny and clean.  Here are the last few photos from the shop.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cheesy Meatball Casserole

Stop into Smoky Mountain Cafe for the recipe to this cheesy Meatball Casserole.  I shall try this out on my teenagers at the first opportunity.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Let Him Fight Instead of Being Shot

In 1863 Abraham Lincoln pardoned a Union deserter in seven short words.  Lincoln wrote, "Let him fight instead of being shot."  More here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Greenbelt Work

Sarah and I took a walk along part of the Greenbelt Park last weekend to inspect the dredging work being performed on the Greenbelt Lake by the Army Corps of Engineers.  I took the above photo from the bridge between the Daily Times building and the library looking upstream toward Olympia.  Then I turned around and took the below picture facing downstream toward Los Amigos.
The upper image is under the road looking across at Los Amigos.  You can see how Pistol Creek would naturally flow without the dam, pictured below.
Most of the Greenbelt duck flock was below the dam, where the water looks pretty much the same as it did before the dredging project began.  According to the Daily Times piece linked above, the Corps hopes to be done in time for Foothills Fall Festival in October.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Hood

My car has a new hood today.

Spelunkin' With My Young-Un

Last weekend, I took Sarah spelunking in Cherokee Caverns, which only opens a few days a year.  The last time I visited the cave was when I was in my twenties one Halloween season.  Back then, they illuminated the cave with jack o'-lanterns for Halloween.  They will have a Haunted Cave this October which will allow the kids to trick-or-treat in the cave. 
The guide who took us through the cave told us about its history.  It was formed during the Upper Cambrian period approximately 500 million years ago, give or take a few years.  Native Americans used the cave, and the guide showed us charcoal marks she said they made while stoking their torches.  The first person of European heritage to discover the cave was Robert Crugdington around 1854.  His daughter, Margaret Gentry, opened the cave to tourists in 1929 as Gentry's Cave.  It has had nine such names over the years, and was named Cherokee Caverns in 1988 by Marshall Andy, "The Knoxville Cowboy."
Sarah's now been to Tuckaleechee Caverns here in Blount County, Forbidden Caverns in Sevier County and, of course, the Lost Sea, down in Sweetwater.  I once camped overnight in the Lost Sea cave, and they allowed us to crawl around some in the wild area of the cave.  I mentioned the idea to Sarah, and she wants to go sometime. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

In the Shop

Nationwide has a cool service that allows you to see the progress on your car's repairs.  Here's my poor automobile in the disassembly stage.  They're predicting they'll have it back to me Wednesday, which will be impressive considering the accident just happened a week ago today.