Monday, March 31, 2014

"I Hope You Don't Get Sucked Into the Void, Mom"

After some discussion about horror movies at breakfast Saturday, we borrowed Poltergeist from our local library.  The 1982 Spielberg flick holds up well over time for the most part, and it spooked our ten-year-old daughter.  As her mother was tucking her in last night, she said, "I hope you don't get sucked into the void, Mom."  This kind of thing can only happen in my house.  Needless to say, all of our televisions are now in our neighbor's yard.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

At Home On Sunday

Our weather has been improving here in Maryville over the past couple of weeks, although cold weather continues to linger about more than we'd like.  We've had a few days where it was warm enough after work to go out on the deck and enjoy some time outdoors.
Sherry and Sarah have gone to lunch and the Muppets Most Wanted movie with our neighbors Anita and Jamie.  I usually elect to remain at home for the theater screening of such flicks inasmuch as I know I am certain to see them hundreds of times after they can be purchased for ready viewing at home.  I traveled the past two weekends, so I am enjoying being at home and puttering around the house, as my mom likes to say.  She came over for breakfast and conversation this morning before heading over to Laura's house to visit, and Les and Fraz came by yesterday for a bit.  Spring is upon us, and the family is getting out and about.

When the girls return from their movie, we're going to cook some barbecued cat chicken on the grill.
This is Sarah proving that she is indeed her father's child.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Some More Snapshots From Estill Springs

Here are some more pictures from our trip last weekend to Grandmother and Granddaddy Ogle's cabin in Estill Springs, Tennessee.  This old place holds many happy memories, and it is one of my favorite places to get out in the country to recharge my batteries.  It is such a joy to watch my child and niece grow up playing in the creek and on the top bunk of the bunk beds the way Leslie and Laura and I did when we were growing up.
This is the foam rubber padding the raccoon shredded.  Sherry and I cleaned up this mess, but the whole place needs a good, old-fashioned spring cleaning.  My sisters and I have agreed to a weekend in April to clean the house for the warm season.  Bring your dungarees and cleaning supplies, girls!
Shortly after we finished cleaning up after the raccoons, I went down to the fire pit by the creek and started breaking up fallen wood to build a bonfire, at which time it began sprinkling.  We decided it would be a better idea to focus on building a fire in the fireplace inside, and Sarah and I gathered firewood for Sherry, whom we elected firebuilder.
Even with a roaring blaze, it takes a while to build up heat in the cabin when it has been cold, and so it was last weekend.  Sherry pulled her coat over her to keep warm while the fire and heaters warmed the house.
While the sprinkles drove our firebuilding indoors, we spent a little bit of time stomping around the property and the creek.  It looks so barren out there when the leaves are off of the trees, but green will soon return to our little place on Taylor Creek.

Friday, March 28, 2014

1952 Chevrolet Sedan

When I was a lad, my Grandpa Isenhour kept an old, blue automobile at the end of his driveway, and he kept feed for his chickens in it.  It was always unlocked, and so as kids we could climb into it and pretend to drive.  I still remember the smell of the interior and the feel of the seats.  I recently asked Mom about it, and she consulted my Uncle Mack, who said the automobile was a 1952 Chevy Sedan.  He provided this photograph of that make and model, and it sure looks familiar.  Vrrroooom!  Vrroooom!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bicentennial of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend

Two Hundred years ago today, on March 27, 1814, Andrew Jackson and a force of Tennessee volunteers, United States Army regulars and native warriors of the Cherokee and Lower Creek defeated Red Stick warriors of the Upper Creek tribe at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.  The bend, pictured above, is a feature of the Tallapoosa River in what is now Alabama.

After the battle, which was in retaliation for an Indian assault on Fort Mims, Andrew Jackson of Tennessee rose to national prominence, which was greatly enhanced by his victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans less than a year later. 

NOTE:  The Creek warriors who fought Jackson are those referred to in the expression, "the Good Lord willing and the Creek don't rise."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rocky Raccoon Visits the Camp

For the first time in our stewardship of the Camp, a raccoon (or raccoons) got into the house.  Most of the damage was on the screened porch, where they managed to break in through the screen, to open two cans of exterior paint and to dump a half of a gallon of white paint onto the indoor-outdoor carpet.
After dancing in the paint, Rocky left some footprints across the floor before he exited.
We found these muddy tracks on the deck, which is just off of the screened porch.  We also found a few footprints in the house itself, and the only way I can figure that a raccoon could get in there is by climbing down the chimney, which is made of river rock that a raccoon would not find difficult to navigate.  The beast also shredded some foam rubber padding that we used to use for bedding.  It was a mess.  Of course you realize, this means war.
When nature attacks, it is a pain, but after we cleaned up the worst of the raccoon party Sarah and I made our way down to the creek to wade.  I honored my annual tradition of submerging myself in cold water before the end of March, and then quickly headed inside to warm up by the fire.

Spring is showing itself at the Camp, but the trillium that adorns the walkway from the driveway to the house hasn't come up yet.  Perhaps it will show itself when we visit again in April
My city girl did a bang-up job of building us a roaring blaze using only a half-block of sawdust and wax firestarter.  The house warmed up quickly after that.
Sarah is proud of her firewood gathering skills, and as usual she was a good helper when we needed to fetch firewood into the house.  We got a good supply inside and settled in to watch the fire and listen to music.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Please Stop

We have a brisk snow shower here on Everett Hill at the moment.  Can we please be done with this for the season now?

A Visit to Middle Tennessee

I had a meeting Friday morning in downtown Nashville, and while we were in town we stopped by the Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson.  Sarah has been studying early Tennessee history, so it seemed like a good time to take her there.  A docent told us they are working on some plumbing issues in front of the house.
Above, my gorgeous womenfolk pose with the back of the Hermitage in the background, and below they rest beside the creek that runs through the property.

Before the brick mansion was built, Andrew and Rachel lived in this log home, known now as the first Hermitage.  After the mansion was built, this building was home to Jackson's slaves.
Jackson had this garden made for Rachel, and historical records document their love for each other and Rachel's love of this garden.
Here is the tomb of Andrew and Rachel Jackson.  Many of their family members are interred nearby.
We stayed in downtown Nashville after our visit to the Hermitage, and this was the view from our room as the sun set that evening.

I couldn't get Sarah to sit on the stool next to the statue of Chet Atkins.

We were entertained by the window washers on the building across from our hotel room window.

Founding of Venice

The city of Venice was founded on March 25, 421, which is the feast of Saint Mark, the city's patron saint.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Fall of Miss Murphy

I document here the fall of Miss Murphy, the outhouse at our family cabin, which we know as the Camp, in Estill Springs, Tennessee.  It has been some twenty-five years since the outhouse was last in regular use, and it has been in disrepair for a long time now.  I noticed the door had fallen off again, so I walked up the hill to inspect her.
I tested the floor, and my foot went through it like it was paper.  I suspected that it would take nothing more than a high wind to knock the outhouse over, and a slight push caused it to collapse like a house of cards.

I noticed these forsythia blooms on the hillside and considered them a funereal offering for the demise of an privy that served three generations of our family very well over the years.
Goodbye, old girl.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Henry V Becomes King

On March 21, 1413, Henry V became King of England upon the death of his father, Henry IV.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Begins!

Today is the vernal equinox and the day winter ends and spring officially begins.  We've had plenty of winter this year in East Tennessee, and I'm happy it is over.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

President Grover Cleveland

March 18, 1837, was the birthday of President Grover Cleveland, the only President of the United States to serve two non-consecutive terms in office.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mountain Men

I spent last weekend with three old friends at Roan Mountain State Park, where Sherry, Sarah and I went for fall break.  As you can see, there was still a bit of snow on the ground when I got up there.
After six months of winter, the fawns the gals and I saw last fall have grown.  They were about ten feet from our window, much closer than in the fall.
I met these guys in the '80's, and we've been friends ever since.  I'm on the far left, and from left to right are Tom, Gregg and Rock with the Doe River in the background.

Gregg, now in a second career as a chef, made some killer Smores.
Rock is the most avid outdoorsman of the group.  The rest of us were inclined to be lazy around the cabin, but Rock led us out into the woods to hike around the park a bit.

We call our friend Tom "Brush," because when I first knew him he was studying cosmetology.  He gave the cheapest haircuts around during our poor college days.  He grew up in the mountains of North Carolina not far from the cabin we stayed in last weekend.

We visited the Miller farmstead on the grounds of the park, but they have the main house locked up.  Fortunately, you could explore inside the barn and other outbuildings.  Hey, Grandpa!  What's for supper?
Our weekend for the most part consisted of what you might expect of a bunch of guys at 50.  We cooked sixteen hamburgers as soon as we got there, and bought a huge bunch of pork ribs on top of that.  Stories were told, and I brought a guitar along, so songs were poorly sung.  Breakfast was two pounds of bacon on bread with cheese.  It was a fun gathering!