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.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Back in July, the New Horizons spacecraft captured this image of Charon, the largest moon of Pluto.

Friday, November 27, 2015

First Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade took place in New York City on November 27, 1924. Wikipedia has a nice history of the parade, with several tables detailing the balloons and performers. Watching the parade on television is one of the rituals of Thanksgiving in America.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, a day set aside to give thanks for our many blessings and customarily spent feasting in the company of family and friends. Enjoy the long holiday weekend!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Evacuation Day

On November 25, 1783, the British evacuated New York City. After troops under the command of General Henry Knox had secured the city, George Washington entered the city and, with Governor George Clinton, reclaimed Fort Washington, from which Continental forces were driven in August 1776. Washington spent the rest of the war plotting to retake the city, but never accomplished it. Evacuation Day was celebrated for many years, but President Lincoln's establishment of the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving displaced Evacuation Day, which declined in popularity over the years.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pecan Pie Recipe

The holidays aren't complete in our family without pecan pie, a Southern specialty. As kids, we always looked forward to Grandmother Ogle's pecan pies. As an adult I adroitly married a woman who can turn out wonderful pecan pies for the holidays. Here's the recipe we use:



1 cup white corn syrup (like Karo syrup)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup melted butter
3 eggs
1 heaping cup pecan halves
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix syrup, brown sugar, salt, butter and vanilla. Mix in slightly beaten eggs. Pour into 9 inch unbaked pie shell. Place pecan halves inside down on top of filling. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. You will have leftover filling, and it is wonderful hot over vanilla ice cream.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Terry Hill

An article I read recently in the Knoxville Mercury mentioned Terry Hill, who was my guitar teacher when I was a teenager. He taught guitar in a house behind Pick and Grin, which I learned from this website was known to Terry and his friends as the Camel House, named for one of his songs. He was one hell of a guitar player, and told me to bring any song I wanted to play, and he'd show me how to play it. I still have a song folder where I wrote in the lyrics to a song I knew, and then Terry wrote in the chords and riffs that went with them. I also still have his album Balboa, though I haven't played it in years, and my turntable is in a box in the garage. Fortunately, the website also has links to his music.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Busy Saturday

There were no posts yesterday because we were busy hosting Sarah's birthday party, kid version. The theme was video game characters, and as you can see, we had quite a variety of them. We fed them pizza and cake, and Sarah and Sherry produced a game of charades based on video game characters, which was more successful than I thought it would be. We had a surprise visit late last night by Joey and two of his college friends who came to Knoxville for a formal dance. We fixed a big country breakfast for them this morning before they hit the road back to Clarksville.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Day at the Beach

This is a beach in Cape La Grande National Park in Western Australia. (Via Phils Phun)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday

For this weeks throwback Thursday picture here are Sarah, Joey and Jake playing in the leaves in the back yard of our house in Nashville in 2006.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Happy Birthday, Leslie, Laura, and Sarah (et al.)

Today is my sisters' 50th birthday and my daughter's 12th birthday. It is also the birthday of my former law partner and one of my other erstwhile employers. Happy birthday everybody!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Victoria Falls

This image of Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River in Africa was taken from a helicopter in 2008. It was named in honor of England's Queen Victoria by the famous explorer David Livingstone. He first saw it November 17, 1855, becoming the first European to have done so.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Gatlinburg Birthday Weekend

We spent the weekend in Gatlinburg to celebrate Laura and Leslie's 50th birthday and Sarah's 12th birthday. La rented the Owners' Club in Chalet Village, which is just up the road from her two A-Frame rental chalets on Ski Mountain Road. We stayed on the other end of town at Cozy Creek and had a nice blaze in the fire pit Friday night. As part of her birthday, Sarah invited her friend Grace to come with us.
This is a good view of the main room in the club house. 
Grace, Sarah and Grace quickly established the kids' room, which was very upscale.
The club house has a nicely furnished kitchen, although we had Buddy's cater the event. Rhonda and Laura made use of the kitchen to fix appetizers and snacks.
David Landeo provided entertainment, although I didn't get any good pictures of his performance. We've been going to see him in various venues around Knoxville for years, and he still puts on a great show. He's a heck of a nice guy, too.
Jake brought his girlfriend Ella to meet us. She was very nice, and they seem to enjoy each other's company.
Here are Sherry, Joey and Robert. Rob and his wife Jen came over the mountains from North Carolina for the festivities. It was the first time we met Jen, and she was a surprisingly rational and sane person.
Jane and Leslie, Dave Landeo groupies for many years, enjoy his most recent performance.
Angelyn and Chris, were in attendance as part of the Blount County contingent representing the fine municipality of Louisville.
Sarah takes advantage of some grandmother love.
Jen, Grace and Dana pose for a snapshot. Leslie and Laura and Dana went to high school together.
Dave is a solo act, but he handed out tambourines to encourage audience participation.
The Parkway just started their annual Winterfest lighting, and it was very pretty on the ride back to Cozy Creek from the club house.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Easy Peasy Skillet Dinner

This is a recipe my wife will not eat because it includes peas. I keep telling her that all I am saying is give peas a chance, but she will have none of it. I love peas, and the recipe also includes rice, mushrooms, cheese and cream of celery soup, which sounds like a good combination to me. I like to cook up recipes like this one, and freeze the leftovers in single-serving containers I can use for lunch at work. (Via The Nobel Pig)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Book Review -- Washington: A Life, by Ron Chernow

I just finished the audiobook version of Washington:  A Life, by Ron Chernow. It argues that modern readers view Washington as a mythological hero from the past, and the author gives examples of Washington's personal and emotional side throughout the biography in an effort to give readers a sense of what he was like as a person. The book also addresses Washington's status as a slaveholder from a modern perspective and is quite critical of both George and Martha Washington.

The book also explores Washington's relationships with women, including his youthful infatuation with Sally Fairfax, the wife of his friend, concluding that while it is apparent that Washington had strong feelings for her, there is no evidence of any physical relationship between the two. Also interesting was his close relationship with Elizabeth Powel, who was the wife of Samuel Powel, mayor of Philadelphia during the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

I appreciated the book's detailed coverage of Washington's part in the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War, but the story doesn't get bogged down by discussion of military minutia that would put off those, like me, who aren't all that interested in the fine details of battles.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Fantasia 75th Anniversary

Walt Disney's Fantasia premiered in New York City seventy-five years ago today, on November 13, 1940.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Varallo's Chili Parlor and Restaurant, Nashville, Tennessee

When I was in Nashville in September for a meeting, I stopped for breakfast at Varallo's Chili Parlor and Restaurant. They are downtown at 239 Fourth Avenue North. The place is a Nashville institution and has been in operation for nearly a hundred years, as evidenced by all of the old photographs and newspaper clippings displayed on the walls. It is relatively inexpensive for downtown Nashville, and the service is fast and courteous. Since chili is their signature menu item, I'll have to stop in a have lunch there someday.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sun Spot

Both of our cats love this spot in the sun on the back of our sofa.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fall in Knoxville

I took these snapshots of Knoxville and the Tennessee River from the eleventh floor of the University of Tennessee Medical Center a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Trip to Tallassee

Jake came to visit this weekend, and yesterday morning after breakfast we drove up to Chilhowee Lake, which has been drained so that work can be done on Chilhowee Dam. The mountains in the background are in Monroe County.
We saw a ruined car on the dry lake bed.
You can see how the Little Tennessee River used to flow before the dam was built.
We were fortunate to speak to two men who lived in Tallasee before the dam, and they told us most of the lake bed we were seeing was pasture land and farmland. They told us that these foundations were for a barn and corn crib. They also showed us the foundation of an old general store, but I didn't get a picture of it.
Old Abram, the Cherokee chief of the Chilhowee settlement, had a house on the other side of the Little Tennessee River from Abram's Creek, which was named for him. He and several other chiefs, including Corn Tassel, were beheaded there by John Kirk, Jr., as reprisal for the slaughter of his family at the hand of a party of Cherokee. More here.
We drove home via Happy Valley Road and passed this flock of Guinea hens.