Thursday, March 31, 2016

Throwback Thursday

We take a little trip up to Abrams Creek on this Throwback Thursday in order to see Sarah at about age 6 floating in the cool mountain water.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Florida Territory Established

On March 30, 1822, the Florida Territory was established with Andrew Jackson as its military governor. It existed until 1845, when the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Florida. William Pope Duval, for whom Duval Street in Key West is named, was the state's second governor, and its first civilian governor. John Eaton, a prominent Tennessean and friend of Jackson's, served as the third governor.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Last Tellico Camping Photos

Sarah killed a lot of time during our camping trip finger weaving rubber band bracelets for family and friends. This picnic table was her weaving spot.
Because it is so early in the season and because Tellico is rather remote, firewood was easy to come by, and we had a good blaze both nights we were in the woods.

While gathering firewood, I encountered this notice warning about the possibility of prescribed burning in the area, which we witnessed upon our departure.
Both of these pictures show the North River in relation to our campsite. As you can see, all you had to do was to walk down to the water, and there was a good beach area from which to access it for wading or to gather water for camp. There is no drinking water available at the North River campground, but it is available at the checking station about a mile away. We used river water for cleaning hands and dishes, and we had drinking water from home.

This is the first time I have encountered this creature, a Ruffed Grouse. Two of them were sauntering down the road until the proximity of my car sent them flying into the woods. They are prized game birds.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Camping on North River

We established our camp at the North River campground, fittingly located on the North River, a tributary to the Tellico River. It is about the same width as the creek at our family cabin in Estill Springs, but it is a bit deeper. The facilities are a tent pad, fire ring, picnic tables (Our site had two!), a lantern post, bear-proof garbage cans and vault toilets (glorified outhouses). The campground met our needs quite nicely, and there was plenty of firewood easily available.
This is a good view of our camping area. North River is at the far end of this shot.
Sarah wanted to do some tubing, but her tube failed her, losing air far too quickly to enjoy tubing. We will replace it forthwith.
We didn't see a lot in the way of wildflowers, but I recognized this flower and identified it as a Halberd-Leaved Violet using my Audubon field guide.
We survived on typical camping fare, hamburgers and hotdogs and assorted snack food. This picnic table served as our camp kitchen. Sarah covered the other one with our sleeping bags during the daytime and perched on it to do her finger weaving.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Battle of Horseshoe Bend

On March 27, 1814, Major General Andrew Jackson commanded American forces and Indian allies in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in what is now Alabama, defeating Red Stick Creek Indian forces and ending the Creek War. Sam Houston was wounded in the battle, and General John Coffee, for whom Coffee County, Tennessee, is named, also served with distinction during the battle.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Trip to Tellico

Our spring break camping trip was to the Tellico River district of the Cherokee National Forest. We had originally planned to camp at Cades Cove, but got as far as the Wye in Townsend to discover the Park Service sign indicating its campground was full. Tellico was beautiful, and campsites were plentiful. This is the Tellico River at the Wildcat Overlook, as is the picture below.

This is the Tellico Ranger station, and the rangers there were quite helpful both on the telephone and when we visited the office. They told us there might be some prescribed burning going on during our stay, and we saw smoke come through our campsite during our last evening there. The next morning we encountered detours that took us over roads where you could see fires still burning along the ridges of the mountains. It was pretty, if a bit spooky.
This is the spectacular Bald River Falls, which was really flowing fast.

This is a view of the Tellico River just below were the Bald River joins the Tellico right below the falls.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Lost Sea Spelunking

As part of Sarah's spring break we visited our neighbors in Monroe County for some spelunking and some camping. We brought Sarah to visit the Lost Sea when she was three, but she had no memories of it. She really enjoyed it this time.
These are anthodites, or cave flowers. They are rather rare. The white growth shows that these are still being formed.
Our last visit was in 2007, in the midst of a drought, and the Lost Sea lake was so low that the boat dock was on the cavern floor. The lake is back up to normal level now, but I could not get a picture of it.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

McClung Museum and the Torchbearer

Sarah and I recently visited the McClung Museum on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Circle Park. We paid a respectful visit to the Torchbearer statue, pictured here.
This dinosaur skeleton replica sits at the entrance to the museum. You can see McClung Tower in the background. During my time at UT it housed professors' offices, and I crammed a year of Russian language classes into one summer semester on the tenth floor of that building.
There was an interesting exhibit on the Maya. I was more interested in this than Sarah was, perhaps because I have visited the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Chichen Itza.
The museum has a permanent exhibit of Egyptian artifacts and replicas. Sarah was impressed by the mummified cats. She enjoyed this exhibit because she has been studying ancient cultures, including the Egyptians.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Solar Halo

This image of a solar halo was captured over Elk Park, Illinois. (Via Earth Science Picture of the Day)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Jamestown Indian Massacre

On March 22, 1622, Powhatan warriors killed almost 350 English settlers at Jamestown in what is now Virginia, wiping out about a third of the colony.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Vernal Equinox


The vernal equinox occurred last night at 12:30 p.m. eastern time, making today the first day of spring in this part of the world. It is also Palm Sunday, commemorating the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spot the Space Station


Last summer my cousin Jon told me about NASA's Spot the Station website, where you can sign up for e-mail or text messages to alert you about when the International Space Station will be passing over your location so you can spot it in the night sky. It tells you when it will be passing over, for how long it will be visible and where to look for it in the sky. Jon also showed me an app, SkyView, that allows you to point your I-phone at the sky and see a map of what heavenly bodies, including the ISS, you are seeing. I've used the combination, along with the phone's compass, to spot the station several times, and it is very easy to see if you know when and where to look.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Northern Plutonian Canyons

This is an image of the northern hemisphere of Pluto, which features vast, icy canyons. (Via NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Today is Saint Patrick's Day. Being a celebration of the patron saint of Ireland, in the United States it has become a celebration of all things Irish, and there is a strange social custom that requires you to wear green in order to avoid being pinched. It is also a day of celebration for our family because we moved into our house on Saint Patrick's Day weekend of 2008, so we've been here on Everett Hill eight years.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Welcome, Englishmen! My name is Samoset."

On March 16, 1621, an Abenaki sagamore named Samoset strolled into the midst of the Plymouth Colony and greeted them in English, having learned the language from some English fishermen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ides of March

Today is March 15, known as the Ides of March, which the soothsayer warned Julius Caesar to beware of. He was murdered on that day in 44 B.C. I've always sort of thought of the date as sort of the unofficial beginning of spring, because our weather becomes more predictable springlike after March 15. If you're looking for reasons to beware the Ides of March, the Smithsonian magazine website has ten of them for you.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Audiobook Review -- When the United States Spoke French: Five Refugees Who Shaped a Nation


I recently finished the audiobook version of When the United States Spoke French: Five Refugees Who Shaped a Nation by Francois Furstenberg. As the title implies, the book follows the intertwined stories of five French aristocrats who fled Revolutionary France as the revolution devolved into terror, and it gives the reader an interesting view of early United States history from the perspective of these Frenchmen, who found Americans very welcoming at first and less so as the United States began to move out of France's orbit and back into England's.

Also interesting is the author's speculation about what might have happened if, rather than subduing the black slave rebellion in Haiti, Napoleon had recognized its leadership and spent those resources, supplemented by Hatian forces, to secure the territory the United States acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. American slavery might have been halted much earlier by armed uprising of slaves as French and Haitian troops occupied Louisiana, and American expansion to the Pacific Ocean might never have happened. (Washington Post review here.)


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Return of Boongablogger

My poor blog has been dormant for some time now, largely because my stepson Jake moved in with us a couple of weeks ago, and our upstairs bonus room that serves as our home office also serves as the boys' bedroom when one or both of them are here. The lad got a job recently working at the nearby Firehouse Subs store, and on Friday got a second job down the hill at Foothills Bakery at Five Points, so he's been working his tail off, which is good for him. He's pulling a 9 to 4 shift at Firehouse today.

Sherry spent several hours yesterday working on our metal patio furniture. She painted it a couple of years ago without primer, and the paint is coming off of it in tiny pieces that stick to you when you sit on the chairs. Upon the suggestion of a friend, we bought a wire brush that fits into our electric drill, and it does a good job of taking paint off and roughing up what it doesn't remove so that it will take paint better. She got the table done yesterday, and this time around she's using primer. Today it is raining, and that project is better done outdoors, so we're going to work on putting new contact paper in our cupboards.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Dorchester Heights


In early 1776 British forces held Boston. American General George Washington was in command of American troops besieging the city. At the suggestion of Colonel Henry Knox, the cannon Knox had transported to Boston from Fort Ticonderoga were positioned on Dorchester Heights during the night of March 4, 1776. Faced both with the armaments and a snow storm, the British abandoned the city. Pictured is the monument commemorating the event.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Throwback Thursday

In yesterday's post I commemorated the first time I met Sherry. For Throwback Thursday we will move forward in time a few years from there to about 2004, when we had this portrait made.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

First Meeting

Fifteen years ago today Sherry and I met in person for the first time at Bosco's, a restaurant in Nashville that recently closed. Her friend Elizabeth was dating my friend Scott, and they suggested that we go out. The rest, as they say, is history.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Articles of Confederation Ratified

The first government of the United States was created by the adoption of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, which was drafted by a committee of the Second Continental Congress. Ratification by the states was completed on March 1, 1781. The weak government created by the articles proved ineffective to meet the needs of a central federal government, which led to the adoption of our present Constitution in 1787.