Disaster struck neighboring Sevier County on Monday, when high winds blew embers from a wildfire at Chimney Tops all over the county. Three people are dead, many others are injured and the loss of property is devastating. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge were both evacuated, although Pigeon Forge rescinded its evacuation order yesterday. At a press conference yesterday afternoon Governor Haslam said it is the worst fire in the state in 100 years.
As of yesterday, Laura and Stew had word that their cabins Cozy Creek and Sunset Ridge were still standing, but have no information on Mountain Springs Chalet and Buckberry Chalet. They are both in Gatlinburg's Chalet Village, which suffered damage due to the fires. The fires were still burning last night, but we have had heavy rain overnight and today. Our thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors in Sevier County.
On November 29, 1864, the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Lt. General John Bell Hood attacked Union troops commanded by Major General John M. Schofield at Spring Hill, Tennessee. The Confederate forces were unable to prevent Schofield from reaching fortifications at Franklin.
Grams and Joey came in Wednesday afternoon from Nashville, and they accompanied Sherry to Asheville Thanksgiving Day to see Jake. We're having our Thanksgiving meal today, and I put the turkey in the oven at 4:30 a.m. so that it will be ready to serve at midday. We're going also going to make mashed potatoes, cheese peas and deviled eggs, and Sherry's going to make her raspberry jello salad and possibly pecan pie. Laura and Leslie are going to work around that. For dessert, we got a gluten-free carrot cake from Lambert's Pie Shop to accommodate Mom, and we have ice cream and whipped cream to top it with. The food coma awaits us with open arms.
Our friends Tom and Denise recently bought some piglets for their farm. My response to this news was "Yum!" We live in the Hogs and Hominy State, after all. Sherry assumed they were intended to be pets and reprimanded me accordingly, but after visiting the farm this weekend she learned that they will only be pets until such time as they weigh 250 pounds, at which time they will be converted into barbecue, bacon and other tasty pork dishes. Tom has a couple of big cookers on the property, so I suspect a pig pickin' is in their future. I've named this one Chris P. Bacon.
We have a mountain wildfire burning in nearby Walland, and it has grown to over 1,100 acres, although firefighters have it 75% contained. Sherry texted me last Thursday afternoon, when it first started, and told me to look outside. I had to go check our slot in the mail room at the courthouse anyway, so I walked outside to see this pillar of smoke. We may get a little rain today or tonight to help the firefighters out some.
I woke up this morning to the sound of rain for the first time in weeks, and it was good to have, although it didn't last long. We have a mountain fire burning wild in nearby Walland, and I imagined the firefighters and homeowners cheering when the rain started pouring down. The Daily Times reported this morning that the fire covers 500 acres, and WBIR said it is only 25% contained, so they have a lot more work to do.
We had a gathering yesterday to celebrate Laura and Leslie's birthday over at La and Stew's place, and we're having another one today to celebrate Sarah's. She's having three guests sleep over tonight, and we expect Joey and Abby sometime today. I plan to cook Santa Fe soup today, and we're going to cook cupcakes and hamburgers and hot dogs for Sarah's birthday party this afternoon. We're going to let the kids decorate the cupcakes.
For today's throwback Thursday picture we have Sarah riding a tricycle up in the Smokies at the Look Rock picnic shelter, which has since closed, along with the campground, both of which are a loss to the community.
Here are a few more pictures from our recent trip to Estill Springs. The glider sofa on the screened porch got lots of use last weekend.
Although this year's drought definitely muted the colors of the fall foliage, it was still very pretty out in the woods.
La and me
For supper Saturday afternoon we had barbecued drumsticks. I really like this little grill we bought to replace our old one. This one is small enough to store inside the screened porch, so it won't weather as bad.
Sarah spent some time sketching on the cot in the bedroom.
Sherry came back from Nashville a couple of months ago with a big box of various candles, so I replenished the supply at the Camp, which was getting low.
On November 15, 1777, the Second Continental Congress approved the final draft of the Articles of Confederation for ratification by the thirteen original States. The Articles created a toothless national government that suffered from many weaknesses, which led to the adoption of the United States Constitution in 1787.
Sarah and I met Laura and Grace for a weekend at Grandmother and Granddaddy's cabin, the Camp, in Estill Springs. It was a perfect fall day on Saturday, and we listened to Tennessee beat Kentucky on the radio.
Laura poses at the top of the metal stairs going down to the creek. The stairs need a couple of coats of paint soon.
We have some new neighbors across the street, and they worked on the dam some, although I'm not sure about their engineering. I guess I should cut them some slack. I've got about fifty years worth of experience on them.
We've allowed the property to grow up quite a bit, mainly because the people who used to live across the creek were tearing our property up riding dirt bikes and four-wheelers on it. We need to get some bids from some landscapers about clearing away some of the brush.
Sarah and I posed for a picture on the deck.
I called Estill Springs town hall before we left home and learned that there was a ban on outdoor fires in effect, so we couldn't use the fire pit down by the creek on this trip. We did have nice fires in the fireplace both nights, and we supplemented that with heaters to stay warm overnight.
I try to cover items of historical interest on this blog, so today let us remember the story of the exploding whale in Florence, Oregon. On November 12, 1970, a sperm whale beached itself on a beach in Florence, Oregon. The state officials in charge of dealing with the situation decided to blow it up with half a ton of dynamite. The explosion threw chunks of whale carcass up to 800 feet. One piece flattened a car.
On this Veterans Day I want to write briefly about my Uncle Bob, who served aboard the U.S.S. Maryland in World War II in the Pacific theater. I interviewed his widow, my Aunt Iris, about him at the family reunion a couple of years ago. I remember visiting them a couple of times as a child, but I never knew either of them well. Mom has related stories about his suffering from what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, imagining Japanese attacking in the middle of the night at their parents' home in Hickory, North Carolina, and stuffing Mom under a bed to hide her from the enemy. She has also told me that he related stories to her about seeing blood washing back and forth on the deck of the Maryland. Aunt Iris said he was the only one of eighteen gunners on the Maryland that survived one of its battles.
From my notes from my talk with Aunt Iris I know that Uncle Bob was 16 when he left Hickory to join the Navy, and he entered the war shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S.S. Maryland was at Pearl Harbor at the time, but she was only slightly damaged by the bombs that hit her. Uncle Bob was assigned to her at some time after she was repaired and sent back into action.
Aunt Iris said that Uncle Bob sang and played guitar, and when I asked her what kind of music he liked, she said he was a big fan of Elvis Presley. He liked tacos, steak and beer, and drove an eighteen-wheeler after the war. She described him as having light brown hair. He was Mom's half brother, born to their mother by her first marriage.
Today is Veterans Day in the United States. It is the day set aside to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces, and it began as Armistice Day, which commemorates the Armistice with Germany during World War I, which went into effect at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1911.
During our recent visit to Asheville to visit Jake he recommended that we have lunch at the White Duck Taco Shop. There are two locations, and we ate at the one at One Roberts Street in the River Arts District. The other one is downtown. They have a menu with a lot of different and interesting gourmet taco offerings, I went for a Thai peanut chicken taco and a Korean Bulgogi beef taco, and both were delicious. If I lived in Asheville, I would be a regular at that place.
When I was a toddler, around two, my parents bought me this pair of red cowboy boots. Mom saved them as a keepsake and gave them to me for Sarah to wear when she was that age, and the child continues to like wearing cowboy boots. I like a good pair of hiking or work boots, but I don't think I've worn cowboy boots since I wore that red pair in the picture. The feet, of course, belong to the wearers of the boots.
·Garnish with cilantro, sour cream, avocado and
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Boil pasta until al dente and rinse with cold water in colander to stop
cooking. Set aside.
As pasta cooks, brown ground chuck over medium heat. As it browns, add onion and bell pepper to
sauté and stir in spices. After this
mixture cooks down, add jalapenos, pimientos and tomatoes.
Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for about ten minutes. Remove from heat and add Mexicorn and cream
or evaporated milk.
Stir pasta and sauté mixture together. Put one-half in greased casserole dish and
cover with Monterey Jack cheese. Add the
other half and cover with cheddar cheese.
Bake for thirty minutes and garnish as desired.
Editor's Note: I posted about this dish, which I have altered slightly, before.