Saturday, May 31, 2014

Trip to the Lake

We're expecting some friends from North Carolina to come camping here at the end of June, and we plan to camp on one of the islands on Louisville Lake where I used to camp a lot when I lived in Louisville.  My friend Terry and I made a plan to go out there this morning to do whatever work might be needed to make an area to pitch tents.  We loaded up our implements of destruction, put the canoe on the roof and drove out to Louisville Landing Marina, where I took this picture.  We got the boat off the car, loaded our gear into it and were ready to put the boat on the water when I realized we'd forgotten the paddles.

I knocked on Harbor Master Mike Fenton's office door, and he invited me in.  I admitted our predicament and asked if he had any paddles we could borrow.  Unfortunately, he didn't have any, but he remembered me from my Louisville Lake days because he said, "Don't you live around here?"  He was right.  If I still lived in my old house I could've walked over and had the paddles to the marina in ten minutes.  Of course, that wouldn't have been a problem back in those days because I always paddled to the marina.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Death of Charles Dickinson


On May 30, 1806, Andrew Jackson killed Charles Dickinson in a duel.  Mr. Dickinson made the unfortunate decision to accuse Jackson's wife of bigamy.  There was also a dispute over a Nashville horse race that led to the duel.  Dickinson actually fired first and hit Jackson in the chest.  After being hit, Jackson took his shot, which killed Dickinson.  Jackson carried the bullet in his chest for the rest of his life.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Audiobook Review -- We Have the War Upon Us, by William J. Cooper

I recently enjoyed We Have the War Upon Us:  The Onset of the Civil War, November 1860-April 1861 in audiobook form.  It was interesting in its narrow focus on the few months of the secession crisis and the outbreak of hostilities at Fort Sumpter, South Carolina, at the beginning of the Civil War.  Lincoln is portrayed as uncompromising in his refusal to negotiate an end to the crisis by agreeing to at least some slavery in the territories, although there were several different attempts at compromise along those lines by various politicians.  There is more about the book at the link.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

More From the Camp

Here are some more snapshots of our recent family gathering in Estill Springs, Tennessee.  Leslie joined the children for mediocreminton shortly after she arrived.  This view is looking upstream from our property.
It has become a rite of passage in our family to submerge oneself in the cool waters of Taylor Creek in order to fully enjoy the mineral springs from which Estill Springs got her name.  Sarah is just coming out of the water in this picture, with cousin Grace afloat on the pink raft.
There aren't many people who have been enjoying the Camp and the creek longer than I have, but Fran and Jimbo and my dad romped here as children, too.
We found this salamander in the creek, and had a photo op before we sent him about his business.
After a while the beach ball replaced the badminton rackets for creek play.
Sister Leslie enjoys the conversation creekside.
I kept a big bonfire burning most of the weekend, which helped discourage mosquitoes and gave us a place to warm up after getting out of the creek.
Here is a snapshot of everyone relaxing on the river bank in the sunshine.
The intersection of Highway 41A and Rock Creek Road, where our cabin is, is now equipped with traffic lights.  For many years there was a flashing yellow light as you approached Rock Creek Road, which was helpful when giving people directions to the Camp, but they took them down years ago.  Now Estill Springs has two intersections with full traffic lights.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cousins Congregate Creekside

We spent the night in Nashville Thursday night after Joey and Jake's graduation ceremony, and we got up the next morning and drove to Grandmother and Granddaddy Ogle's cabin, which we call The Camp, in Estill Springs, Tennessee.  Laura and Grace arrived at the same time we did, and we saw each other on Highway 41A in Tullahoma on the way to Estill.  Once we loaded in we went down to enjoy the creek.
When we met my sister Leslie at the Camp several weekends ago, she and Sarah improvised a badminton game in the creek.  My friend Dave Myers refers to this as medicreminton.  Sarah remembered it from last time, and she and Grace had fun hitting the birdie back and forth to each other over a low tree branch.
This enormous moth took up residence on my fire-tending stick.  I let him keep his roost and found me another stick.
We enjoyed a gathering of Spencer cousins on Saturday, with Fran and Kinsey arriving around lunch time and Jim and Debbie arriving a bit later in the afternoon.
La bought a new float to the creek, and the kids and I got some good use of it.  Sarah and I took turns hauling each other upstream.
My Grandmother Ogle was born Willie J. Spencer, and Jim's and Fran's mothers, my Aunt Fay and Aunt Lucy, respectively, were two of Grandmother's sisters.  There's more about the Spencer girls here.  My dad and Jim and Fran grew up playing in this creek, and so did my generation.  Now Sarah and Grace are playing there, too.  This creek has seen a lot of family in a lot of lawn chairs.  Note the watermelon on bank.
Sherry found this turtle, and we named him Sheldon since Sherry's a fan of The Big Bang Theory.
Here's our group shot.  On Memorial Day weekend many years ago, we were enjoying a similar Spencer family reunion when a truck came roaring down the road on the opposite side of the creek from us and slammed into a tree.  A man got out of the truck and a shouting match in front of a house a bit downstream from us ensued.  Law enforcement officers arrived on the scene, and the man escaped into the woods on our side of the creek downstream from us carrying a pistol, at which time most of us, with the exception of my cousin Kinsey, decided discretion is the better part of valor and retreated into the cabin.  By the time it was all over there were fourteen law enforcement vehicles from every jurisdiction in Franklin County.  They caught the bad guy, and we cheered as they marched him to a cruiser in handcuffs.  We always said we were going to have T-shirts made with a bullseye that said, "Sorry we missed you at the family reunion."  Maybe next year.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day


Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day set aside to honor service members who perished in the service of their country.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Brothers Ferrelli Graduate High School

On Thursday my stepsons, Joey and Jake, graduated from Hillwood High School in Nashville.  We met them for lunch that afternoon, and they got decked out for their ceremony at Grams' house.  I was pleased to be able to assist them with their ties, though my ability is limited to the Single Windsor.
Hillwood students mounted a successful campaign to bring Brian Williams of NBC News to Hillwood High to deliver the commencement address.  The veteran newscaster interviewed Edward Snowden in Russia, and then flew back to Nashville to keep his commitment to these students.  Of course, the man had to take care of his day job and anchor NBC Nightly News on the lawn outside the graduation venue at Lipscomb University before dashing in to address the graduating class.  All in a day's work.
The boys' graduating class was around 230 students, and there was a crush of people outside after the ceremony.  Sarah and I managed to catch Jake as he made his way out of the building, and I took this photograph of him with his diploma.
Sherry rounded up Joey, and she and her boys posed for this snapshot on the lawn.  Both Jake and Joey are enrolled for the Fall term at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.  To them I say, congratulations, and in my best impression of Captain Jean-Luc Picard I also say, "Your adventures are just beginning. -- You will be missed."  Finally, as Lieutenant Worf, I say "Kaplah!" (Klingon for "Success!")

Edict of Worms

On May 25, 1521, Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire issued the Edict of Worms condemning Martin Luther for heresy.  (Worms is a town in Germany and has nothing to do with fish bait.)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Restaurant Review -- Lamp Post Restaurant, Madisonville, Tennessee

On our way back home from our adventure in the Cherokee National Forest recently, we stopped for breakfast at the Lamp Post Restaurant at 4218 Highway 411 in Madisonville.  We were quite a sight, having slept on the ground in a tent overnight, but the staff was friendly and fed us a good, country breakfast to fuel the remainder of our trip north on Highway 411 back to Maryville.  The tab was $30.00, including the tip.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Grand Canyon of Mars

This image of Mars, compiled by images taken by the Viking orbiters during the 1970's, shows Valles Marineris, known as the Grand Canyon of Mars.  It is almost four times as large as Earth's Grand Canyon.  (Via NASA)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Reese Withoutherspoon

Last month Sarah had to do a project on a famous Tennessean.  I tried to persuade her to do her project on an historical figure, like Rachel Donelson Jackson or Anne Robertson Johnston Cockrill, but she chose Reese Witherspoon, who grew up in Nashville.  I was aware of this meme, and printed it out for her.
Here's Sarah on the morning of her report as Resse Witherspoon portraying Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

American Red Cross

On May 21, 1881, Clara Barton established the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C.  This is its historic headquarters, which I visited when I was chair of the Blount County Chapter of the American Red Cross in the early Nineties.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Flowers and Hush Puppies

Here are some of the irises that bloomed in our yard last month.  The iris is the Tennessee state flower.
Sarah recently had some hushpuppies at Buddy's Bar-B-Q, and we thought we'd try making some at home.  They turned out pretty good, but they do not keep for long at all.  They are best enjoyed as soon as they are cool enough to eat.
We had our azalea cut back quite a bit last fall because it was encroaching on our front porch.  It produced some pretty blooms for us, though.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Death of Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, was beheaded at the Tower of London on May 19, 1536.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Off the Road

I was in Franklin, Tennessee, last week for a clerks conference.  It was an interesting and beneficial conference, but I missed my family while I was out of town.  After grocery shopping, the library and breakfast yesterday we worked with friends for a couple of hours in the John Weston, Sr., Community Garden.  Sarah was excited to get to pick a couple of carrots, and Sherry came home with some lettuce for salad.  After gardening, we watched a movie based upon a book Sarah and her classmates read in school.  It was the first time she has ever read a book before seeing the movie based on it, and she enjoyed the experience, sharing with Sherry and me how the movie differed from the book.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Battle of Alamance


On May 16, 1771, the Battle of Alamance took place in what is now Alamance County, North Carolina.  It was part of an early rebellion, the War of Regulation, against taxation and British authority.  Those opposed to government practices were known as the Regulators.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Green Dragon Public House, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

I recently learned that a pub inspired by the Lord of the Rings stories has opened in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  It is called The Green Dragon Public House.  I'll have to ask my Murfreesboro kinfolk about it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mothers Day Lunch

Mom and Leslie and Laura and Grace came over for Mothers Day on Sunday.  I grilled chicken and, and L&L made cheese peas and mashed potatoes.  Grace took this snapshot of Mom and her brood.
 This was taken using the timer on the camera so Grace could be in the picture, too.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Cheeseburger Quiche

I will have to try and make this cheeseburger quiche from the recipe at the Nobel Pig.  It seems like a good recipe to try at the beach, when we will have teenagers to feed.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mothers Day!

Today is Mothers Day in the United States.  It is a day set aside for the appreciation of our mothers.  Here's my mom at her birthday supper last month (hence the ribbons in her hair).

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Last Round of Spivey Cove Snapshots

As a parent, I love to get work out of my children, and Sarah takes great pride in her prowess at gathering firewood.  We found a bunch of dead wood on the hill across Spivey Creek from our campsite.  In this picture the child is working a small tree down the mountain toward the creek.
When we set up the tent, I could not find the rain fly, so I used the emergency poncho in my car to cover up the roof screen.  We didn't expect rain, but I thought it might keep a little heat in overnight.  It was still chilly enough to keep us buried in our sleeping bags and blankets.

This is Squawroot, a plant that needs no chlorophyll inasmuch as it sucks its food out of the roots of oak trees.

My sister Laura and I enjoy being able to have our daughters growing up living near one another, and since we're both outdoorsy, it is especially fun to watch them explore the woods together.  They really enjoyed the creek, and the little bridge was their special spot to hang out together.
This is the entrance to our wing of the campground, which we had to ourselves.  La and Graces's tent is in the foreground to the left, and our campsite is at the end of the road where you see my car and our tent.
I snapped this shot of Bald River Falls on our way out of the Cherokee National Forest Sunday morning.