Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve

We come at last to the end of 2015, in many ways a strange year with way too much death and nonsensical politics. May 2016 be somewhat more sane.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Shepherd Inn

As part of the Christmas celebration this year I attended a very nice brunch at Shepherd Inn in Dandridge, pictured above. Built around 1820 by Shadrach Inman, it has hosted all three of Tennessee's Presidents, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Wharton's Beach

As we face the cold winter months, a little dose of the beach is nice to see. This one, Wharton's Beach, is in Western Australia. (Via Phils Phun)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Mountains and Plains of Pluto

The New Horizons spacecraft, now heading into the most distant reaches of our solar system, has continued to send information from Pluto back to Earth, including this high-resolution image showing frozen mountains and plains.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Aftermath

Here are the only two pictures I took of our Christmas morning. We were so busy last week I really didn't think much about taking pictures. Our friends Craig and Lucile came in from Virginia and stayed a long weekend with us last weekend, and Jake and Joey were in town for a couple of days for Christmas. We usually take down our decorations immediately after Christmas, and we have most everything in boxes except for our outdoor Christmas lights, which I'll probably take down this morning. Tomorrow Sherry and I go back to work, and Sarah goes to Adventure Club, where Sarah and her friends can compare notes over Christmas gifts.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Battle of Trenton

On December 26, 1776, American forces commanded by George Washington defeated Hessian mercenaries at the Battle of Trenton on the day after Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware River.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

When we were kids visiting Grandmother and Granddaddy Ogle for Christmas, one of them like to read "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore to us as we sat around the Christmas tree in their living room on Christmas Eve. Like almost everything else these days, it is available online.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wreath of Khan

The first Christmas decoration I usually put up is the wreath on the screened door to our sun porch, which is the way most people enter our house when visiting. Although I first saw the idea last year, this is the first time I have ever decked my halls with the Wreath of Khan.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Winter Solstice

Today is the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. While we still have many cold weeks and short days ahead of us, the days will start becoming longer instead of shorter each day.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth

On December 21, 1620, the English separatists we know today as the Pilgrims arrived at what would become Plymouth in what is now Massachusetts.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


This image of the brightest spot on the dwarf planet Ceres, named for the Roman goddess of agriculture and motherhood, was taken by the Dawn spacecraft. (Via NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Nutcracker

On December 18, 1892, Tchaikovsy's The Nutcracker was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  The photograph is from the original production.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Monkey Claus

Today's throwback Thursday photograph is from 2005. The now defunct Bellevue Center Mall in Nashville was still in its heyday, and a guy had his monkey dressed up as Santa Claus and would let you take a picture with him for a few bucks. We joked that for the first few years of her life, Sarah thought Santa Claus was a monkey.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Battle of Nashville

The Battle of Nashville was concluded on December 16, 1864, resulting in the defeat of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, commanded by Lieutenant General John Bell Hood, by Federal forces under the command of Major General George H. Thomas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Early Christmas Celebration at Mom's

Here are a few pictures my sister Leslie took of our early Christmas gathering at Mom's on Sunday. As I noted earlier, Laura, Stewart and Grace will spend much of the holidays in Canada visiting with Stewart's family. Here, Sarah and Les pose on Mom's sofa.
Mom and I pose by her front door.
Laura and Leslie hard at work on our first feast of the Christmas season. Chicken Duxelle is one of those affairs where you pound chicken breasts flat and roll them around a filling, in this case mushrooms and Gruyere cheese. They used toothpicks to hold them together, which worked, but we all agreed some kitchen twine would answer much better.
Sarah unfathomably uses her cousin as a leaning post. Fortunately, the amiable Gracie didn't seem to mind.
Cousins clowning around at Christmas celebrations is an old tradition in our family, and the present generation keeps hamming it up like we did at their age.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Gay Street Christmas Tree in Knoxville

Sherry, Sarah and I were in downtown Knoxville last weekend, where we had pizza for breakfast at the Tomato Head restaurant on Market Square, although we still haven't forgiven them for leaving Maryville. We stopped for a couple of pictures with this big Christmas tree on Gay Street.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Gets Underway

Sherry went by Home Depot Friday and picked up our Christmas tree, which we decorated Friday evening. As you can see, Molly the cat promptly took up residence beneath among our gifts. Laura, Stewart and Grace are traveling to Canada for the holidays, and so we are opening Christmas gifts with them over at Mom's house in Knoxville this afternoon. La is making Chicken Duxelle with Dijon Cream sauce to feast upon.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Maryville-Alcoa Christmas Parade

We had a busy day beginning with breakfast at Midland Restaurant, where we fueled up and then marched in the Maryville-Alcoa Christmas Parade with Sarah's theater group, Primary Players.
Sarah poses with Mr. Bee from Knoxville's B-97.5, which provided music for the kids to sing to. Thanks to Brad of Ashley and Brad in the Morning for the fun and the tunes!
And finally, a country lawyer poses with one of his favorite clients.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Martian Landscape

This is an image of Mars from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day website asserts that the dark places are sand cascading downhill due to melting carbon dioxide on the planet's surface.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday

For today's throwback Thursday photo, this is Sarah, aged two, posing for Christmas pictures in a studio in Nashville.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Apricot Nectar Cake

I've written here before about Apricot Nectar cake, which we called Gladys cake as kids because Grandmother and Granddaddy Ogle's neighbor Gladys made them for us when we visited them in Winchester, but I have failed over the years to post the recipe. I shall correct that oversight forthwith.




1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup apricot nectar (We use Jumex brand, found in the international or juice aisle in the grocery.)

Mix above ingredients together, and bake in Bundt cake pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


Combine 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice with 4 tsp. apricot nectar. Sprinkle over cake while still hot. Leave cake in Bundt pan until cool. It comes out easier that way. Garnish cake with confectioner's sugar.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States Navy and its facilities at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. President Franklin D. Roosevelt requested a declaration of war from Congress the next day, calling December 7 "a day which will live in infamy." Congress obliged, and the United States entered World War II on the side of the Allied Powers.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Knoxville Mercury Article on Eagleton and East Maryville

I read a good article in the Knoxville Mercury this week featuring various businesses, mostly eateries, in the Eagleton and East Maryville areas along East Broadway between Pellissippi Parkway and Five Points. Five Points is two blocks down the hill from our house, so we're familiar with these businesses. One of the things I learned from the article, though, was that La Lupita, the nice new Mexican store near the ballfields, serves tacos. I thought they were just a small grocery store. Also, following the links in the article I learned that Jamaican Sunrise, pictured above, and Aroma Cafe, a Cuban restaurant have added some interesting new items to their menus since the last time I've been to either establishment, which admittedly has been quite a while.

I was sorry that the article didn't mention Margaritas Mexican Restaurant, which is in the strip mall anchored by Food City on East Broadway, and which we patronize from time to time. It did mention the old Kentucky Fried Chicken building that now houses a church, but did not comment that it also used to house a wonderful local butcher shop that was a favorite for loading up with fresh meat on the way to the mountains for camping trips when I was a kid. Now we have Mother Earth Meats, which opened just recently, to fill that niche.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds

In 1945 Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds of Knoxville, Tennessee, was a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany. The Germans demanded that all Jews identify themselves as such. Edmonds stated, "We are all Jews." The incredulous German officer put a pistol to his head, and Edmonds said, "If you shoot, you'll have to shoot us all." He has been honored as Righteous Among the Nations by Israel's Holocaust remembrance group Yad Vashem.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Throwback Thursday

For throwback Thursday here is a picture of my stepsons Joey and Jake, at age 10.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Lake Epecuen, Argentina

This beautiful sunset was captured at the end of September at Lake Epecuen in the Buenos Aries Province in Argentina. (Via Earth Science Picture of the Day)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

North Pole of Enceladus

In October the Cassini spacecraft flew past Saturn's moon Enceladus and captured this image of its north pole. The moon is named after a giant from Greek mythology.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Deer at the Park

Deer are abundant in Tims Ford State Park, and we saw these two deer around the cabins when we pulled in for the first time. They came through each morning, and on the morning we left the larger one made a sort of huffing whistling sound several times. I guessed it was the mama warning me away from her baby because it felt kind of aggressive. I kept a respectful distance. Deer may be pretty, but they can inflict serious damage to a human with their hooves if they want to.
This young buck was grazing by the roadside as we left the park Saturday morning for our journey home.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Franklin County Thanksgiving

We spent Thanksgiving, as we spent many of them in our younger days, in Franklin County, where my dad grew up, and where we visited Grandmother and Granddaddy Ogle several times a year as kids and young adults. In addition to lodging at our family cabin in Estill Springs, we rented a cabin at Tims Ford State Park in order to have the use of a modern kitchen for our turkey and fixin's.
This is beautiful Tims Ford Reservoir, where Granddaddy and his neighbor Robert Jones took me fishing as a lad. Robert had a little John boat, and we fished from the banks a lot, too. I learned a lot of fishing techniques from those two gentlemen, as well as an appreciation of the quiet camaraderie of a day of lake fishing.
Jake brought his fishing gear and tried his luck for a bit, but had no more than a bite. I started to bring my equipment, but Sherry didn't think Jake was going to bring his, so I put it back up.
I was surprised to see this wreck in the woods between the reservoir and the cabins, but Sherry took advantage of it for a photo op.
Sarah pops up from the den area to check on progress in the kitchen.
Joey, my cousin Kinsey and Jake watch some obligatory Thanksgiving day football.
Mom, Sherry, Frances Ann and Clint work to prepare our feast. Fran is my dad's first cousin, and Clint, Kinsey's dad, is her erstwhile spouse. I had not seen Clint in over twenty years, so it was nice to catch up with him. Fran was her usual entertaining self, and she came prepared with a couple of nice pieces to read in honor of Thanksgiving.
Although I am accustomed to carving the Thanksgiving turkey, I felt it appropriate to defer to Clint as the senior male present, and he wielded my electric knife with precision and skill, losing no fingers in the process.
Joey, ever health-conscious, tosses the salad while trying to ignore the starchy goodness of the vat of Fran's mashed potatoes nearby.
After our feast, we drove as a caravan through the countryside to the Camp, our little place on the Dry Branch of Taylor Creek, for a bonfire. Les, me, Kinsey, Fran and Laura pose for a cousin-rama picture. For the record, as Dad's first cousin, Fran is our first cousin once removed (by a generation). Kinsey and his sister, Kelly, are our second cousins.