Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase Treaty was signed on April 30, 1803 in Paris, France.  James Monroe and Robert Livingston signed the document on behalf of the United States, and BarbĂ© Marbois signed for the Republic of France.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


This bronze statue of Edgar Allen Poe in the company of a great raven will be unveiled in Boston later this year.  I loved ghost stories as a kid, and read Poe then.  I have a book I got when I was a child, and I pull it out from time to time around Halloween hoping to inspire our kids to read it, so far to no avail.  If I ever go back to Boston, I will make a point to see the statue.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Civil War Reenactment

On Saturday, Sarah and I visited the Thompson Brown House and Blount County Historical Museum, where there was a Civil War reenactment in progress.  Sarah has been studying the Civil War at school, and despite her protests, I compelled her to accompany me.  She had fun in spite of herself.

The iron pot the tripod holds is full of beans being cooked over the fire.  There was another cool display of the various dried foods that would have been used to feed Civil War troops.
A bluegrass band entertained visitors from the front porch.  It reminded me of tales my Grandmother Ogle told me about her uncles breaking out the fiddles and guitars on the front porch of the home where she grew up in Lois, Tennessee.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Some Easter Pictures

I killed my camera by leaving it out in the rain overnight at the Camp the weekend before Easter, and so I have no pictures of our Easter celebration here in Maryville.  Fortunately, Laura shared some of her Easter snapshots of my niece Grace enjoying the holiday.  They went up to their Buckberry Creek A-Frame on Ski Mountain Road in Gatlinburg, and La got a nice shot of Grace rock-hopping along the aforementioned creek.

As you can see, Laura and Stewart have plenty of spring flowers blooming at their house, and La got Grace to pose in her Easter finery for many pretty pictures.

Easter at our house was about what you'd expect.  Sarah likes a treasure hunt, and so I hid a bunch of plastic eggs in the yard filled with candy and change.  I also hid her Easter basket outside, and we boiled and colored Easter eggs, which Sherry has made good use of in tuna fish salad.  I am happy that spring has finally really arrived in East Tennessee.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sybil Ludington's Ride

On April 26, 1777, New York heroine Sybil Ludington road her horse, Star, to warn American townspeople and farmers of the approach of British forces.  She was but sixteen years of age, and she more than doubled the distance traveled by Paul Revere before his arrest by the British.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Thornton Affair

On April 25, 1846, a skirmish known as the Thornton Affair between Mexican and American military forces prompted President James K. Polk of Tennessee to call upon Congress to declare war on Mexico.  On May13, 1846, Congress complied and the Mexican-American War officially began.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

La at the Book Fair

My sister Laura is a woman of many talents -- urban planner, Geographic Information System whiz, lessor, ice skater, painter, bullfighter, astronaut and author.  Here she is at a book fair over the river in Knoxville recently promoting her children's book No-No Nona and No-No Nita.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter 1969

Mom recently sent me this picture of my sisters and I with our Grandmother Isenhour and older cousin, Julie, during Easter in Hickory, North Carolina.  I look to be about six in the picture, so I estimate it to be 1969.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mom's Birthday Supper

We celebrated Mom's birthday earlier this month at a local restaurant, and these are a few snapshots from that gathering.  Mom's a fiend for carrot cake with cream cheese icing.
Cousins Sarah and Grace always enjoy dining with one another.  This establishment serves complementary peanuts, and allows patrons to cast the shells upon the floor.  This permissive unruly behavior delights the children.
Grace gives her grandmother some love.
Sarah gets into the act . . .,
and then there's a hugfest!
My child and I pose for a picture.
 Happy birthday, Mom!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter, Pilgrim!

Joey Goes to the Prom

Last weekend while Leslie, Sarah and I were out at the Camp, Sherry went to Nashville to meet Joey's girlfriend and to take some photographs of them dressed up for their senior prom.  I love this picture showing Joey's look of confident studliness.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spring Cleaning at the Camp

Sarah and I went out to the Camp last weekend while Sherry went to Nashville.  Leslie joined us around lunch time on Saturday, and we did a respectable amount of spring cleaning, which the old place really needed.  As usual, we allowed for some time in the sun at the creek.
After we discovered the raccoon invasion last time we visited Estill Springs, I stopped by our local farmer's Co-op here in Maryville and purchased a trap, which I baited on Friday night with this piece of apple.  The raccoon took the bait without triggering the trap.  On Saturday evening, I upped the ante by baiting the trap with a slice of apple and a piece of doughnut, but the beast didn't touch it, perhaps because we had a bonfire going all day.
 I didn't get many pictures on this trip because I left my camera outside Friday night, and it rained (despite a forecast of 0% chance of rain).  This is the last picture the camera took, which makes two cameras I've killed this year, a record even for me.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Trip to Cades Cove

Sherry, Sarah and I just returned from a visit to Cades Cove.  Sarah is now reconnected to her technology, and Sherry is with quilt, cat and her latest Harry Potter book on the sofa in the living room below.  In Cades Cove we saw thirteen deer and a lone turkey, and paid a visit to the Methodist church, where we found a group of three young women, one of whom was playing hymns on the piano.  I was pleased to see Cable Mill operating, and they had the mill house open so you could go inside and see its inner workings.  After driving the loop road, we found a place to pull off near the creek on the way home to eat a modest picnic of sandwiches and a shared apple.  It was a nice outing for us.

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, which is the observance of the crucifixion of Christ.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci, 1494 to 1498

Today is Maundy Thursday, a day to remember the Last Supper of Christ with his disciples.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ogle Castle

When Mom and I visited England in 1993, we did not travel to the northern part of the country.  I would like to travel some day to visit Ogle Castle in Northumberland, from whence my family immigrated to North America.  Apparently, the castle is now a bed and breakfast establishment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax Day

Today is the day income tax returns and payments are due in the United States, and a day that many tax attorneys and accountants, not to mention taxpayers, are looking forward to putting behind them.  It is also about the time the Tennessee Valley Authority allows the water in our local lakes to come up for boating season.  We'll have to drive out to Louisville and have a look this weekend.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday

Today Christians celebrate Palm Sunday, which commemorates the Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Manatee Facts

The Smithsonian recently posted an article with fourteen fun facts about manatees.  Although my mom once lived in Florida, and we have been vacationing down there for many years, I have never seen one.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom!

"Happy birthday to our mommy, who is better than salami."  Only my sisters could think something like that up.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ogle County, Illinois

I recently enjoyed an audiobook biography of Abraham Lincoln (yes, another one), and it mentioned that there is an Ogle County in Illinois.  It was named for Joseph Ogle, a Revolutionary War veteran who is descended from my ancestor, John Ogle of New Castle, Delaware.  This is a picture of the Ogle County courthouse in Oregon, Illinois.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Why Isn't There a Wonder Man?

Sarah asked me not too long ago why there is not a Wonder Man, a counterpart to Wonder Woman analogous to Batman and Batgirl and Superman and Supergirl.  I knew that was sort of the point to Wonder Woman  I also knew that she was created as a strong heroine girls could relate to who wasn't just a female version of a male superhero, and that she is an Amazon.  I knew that the Amazons were a creation of Greek myth, but that was the extent of my knowledge.  Fortunately, the Smithsonian has an article that provides more insight, including reports of the graves of warrior women found on the Russian steppes.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Battle of Shiloh

The Battle of Shiloh ended in a Union victory on April 7, 1862.  The Civil War battle took place in what is now Hardin County in West Tennessee.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Ice Skating Performance

We just got back from watching Grace's first solo ice skating performance over in Knoxville at the Ice Chalet, and she did a wonderful job.  Sarah posed with her younger cousin just after her performance ended.  We don't have much planned for the rest of the day. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Family Stuff

Sarah's school periodically hosts family gatherings.  Family members are invited to have lunch at the school and take part in an assembly.  Sherry and I attended on Friday, and one of Sarah's schoolmates took this picture of us at lunch.
There is a beautiful flowerbed at the justice center, and it is dedicated to victims of domestic violence.  The phlox (or thrift, if you prefer) is blooming nicely.
This one requires a bit of explaining.  The brown, "white" and black stuffed animal behind the Nexus pad is Kitty Leeter, which Sarah has treasured since she was a tot.  She never has come up with a good explanation for the name.  I keep bracing myself for the day when Kitty Leeter suffers the ultimate fate of most toys, which is being outgrown.  Sarah still treasures Kitty Leeter, but the toy's status as a prop for an electronic device in this photograph is telling.
 I thought the afternoon sun on these oranges the other day was pretty.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Aurora Borealis Images

This photograph of the Aurora Borealis in February was taken over Scotland.  There are more at Laughing Squid.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Death of Jesse James

On April 3, 1882, American outlaw Jesse James was shot by an associate, Robert Ford, who betrayed his fellow bank robber for bounty money.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cats Came Over on the Mayflower

I was interested the other day about how cats got to North America.  This USA Today article asserts that they originated in the fertile crescent in the Middle East, and only arrived here by ship.  It seems the Pilgrims brought them along for rodent control.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014