Monday, June 5, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend in Estill Springs

Here are some of the photographs I took at the Camp when Sarah and I were out there Memorial Day weekend with my friend Johnny and his kids, Natalie and Teddy. We stayed out there three nights, which is the longest stay I've had there in years.
Sarah and I arrive before Johnny and his kids, and we quietly enjoyed the woods and the creek. As usual, Sarah contented herself with her sketch pad.
As you would expect on a hot spring weekend, we spent a lot of down by and in the creek, which was very healthy. We saw a lot of crawdads and periwinkles, the latter being small, black snails that live on the river bottom.
Other that to relax, play with the kiddos and have fun, our only other mission was to put up the railings on the new front porch we built for the place last month.
Sarah and Natalie enjoy some quiet time on the screened porch.
You can't really tell from this picture, but we built a dam that brought the water up about five inches. An earlier flood had piled up a bunch of rocks, mud and leaves on the rock shelf we use to access the creek. We used the rocks for the dam, and when the water came up it got rid of most of the rest.
We had hauled the remains of the old porch down to the fire pit for later burning last month, and we burned about half of it up.
In addition to the railing, we also rehung the screened door, replaced the threshold and put Old Glory back in her place.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Old Stone Fort

Sarah and I met my friend Johnny and his kids in Estill Springs last weekend to enjoy some time in the woods and creek at my grandparents' cabin there. On the way we stopped in Manchester so I could show Sarah Old Stone Fort, a Native American archaeological site that was build during the Middle Woodland period, some 1,500 to 2,000 years ago.
To the best modern science can surmise, Old Stone Fort was a ceremonial meeting place, not a permanent habitation site. It is bounded on one side by the Little Duck River and on the other side by the Duck River.
This field is where ancient people gathered. There is an feature they built at the entrance to the site that lines up with where the sun rises on the summer solstice. This picture is taken looking in that general direction.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Andrew Johnson Acquitted

On May 26, 1868, the United States Senate acquitted President Andrew Johnson of the charges the House of Representatives impeached him on. Johnson was the last Tennessean, and the only East Tennessean, to have ever held the office of the Presidency.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Throwback Thursday

Since we just recently visited the Tennessee Medieval Faire in Harriman, for today's throwback Thursday picture, here are Sherry and Sarah back in 2004 at the Nashville Renfest.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

El Gato

This is another piece of her artwork that Sarah brought home at the end of the school year. Her art teacher had dubbed it El Gato.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Food Truck Review -- Mamma Gallina's

The latest food truck to visit the Blount County Justice Center is Mamma Gallina's, and their colorful truck is pictured above. They serve delicious hot Italian sandwiches and desserts, although I don't see how someone could eat one of those big sandwiches and still want dessert. Lunch runs from $9.00 to $12.00 and includes chips. You can check their Facebook page, linked above, to see where to find them.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Book Review -- On the Road by Jack Kerouac

I've been on a kick recently to try and read some classic novels, and I pulled On the Road by Jack Kerouac off of my bookshelf, where it has languished unread for a couple of decades. As its title implies, it is a story about the protagonist's travels back and forth across the United States with friends and acquaintances. It is known as one of the important books of the beat generation, and it actually has dialog that includes phrases like "real gone cat" to describe someone enjoying jazz. It was a short read, but enjoyable.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Visit to the Tennessee Medieval Faire in Harriman

Yesterday Sherry and I took Sarah and her friend Grace to the Tennessee Medieval Faire in Harriman. I've been to other such events, which I generically call Renfests, near Nashville, Charlotte and Atlanta, and Harriman's is relatively new. I think they've been there for three years or so. They do a good job of it, but their village watchman is kind of tough.
We got there just in time for jousting, and after the performance they invited the crowd up to pet the horses.

Fortunately, we got some of the seating in the shade, because it was around 85 degrees out. A nice breeze made it better.
I tried my hand at jousting while I was there. It did not go well. Fortunately, there was a high level cleric on hand to revive me.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fort Jefferson

I would have liked to visit Fort Jefferson when we visited Key West. Unfortunately, the way the trip came together, but the time I thought about it, all the slots were booked for the time we were down there. That will be something to look forward to the next time we're down there. (Via Phils Phun)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Throwback Thursday

For today's throwback Thursday picture, here are Jake and Joey. This was taken when they were about eleven.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sarah's Batik Flowers

With the school year drawing to a close, Sarah brought home some of the art she's done at school during the last few months. I like these batik flowers.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Battle of Alamance

On May 16, 1771, the Battle of Alamance was fought between a force of about 2,000 Regulators from the western parts of North Carolina, against militia forces similarly strong under Royal Governor Willian Tryon. The Regulators formed to oppose what they regarded as unfair policies of the colonial government, which was largely controlled by interests in the eastern part of the North Carolina. While the opposing forces were similar in size, the Regulators were disorganized and defeated by the militia, which had more ammunition and artillery.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lost Dog in East Maryville

In hyperlocal news, this flier about a lost dog appeared on our mailbox a few days ago. I do not know the owner(s), but thought I'd share the flier in case one of my neighbors sees the pooch.

Restaurant Review -- Two Friends Patio Restaurant, Key West, Florida

During our spring break trip to Key West, Florida, we stopped in for breakfast at Two Friends Patio Restaurant at 512 Front Street. As you can see from the picture, it is one of those places with all sorts of photographs, posters and other memorabilia all over all the walls. I had the crab cake Benedict, which was delightful. Breakfast for three was just over $60.00. Like everything else in Key West, it was pricey, but the food was great and so was the service.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Nashville Clerks Conference

I attended the spring clerks conference in Nashville this week, and this was the view from my hotel room in the Metro Center area of Nashville, where my office was during the last three years we lived there. I made a plan to eat at Kebab Gyros, one of our favorite Nashville restaurants, and it was wonderful, as it always is. I also had a meal at the Gerst Haus, which I only visited once before. I had the Black Forest schweine schnitzel, which is fun to say and even better to eat. Frankly, I could have made two meals out of what they served me, but instead I went to the conference filled with schnitzel.

As far as the conference itself, as usual they imparted a lot of useful information aimed at helping us all run our offices well. I always enjoy the fellowship with my fellow clerks from all across the state. I always see some of our East Tennessee clerks when I am at conference, but over the years I've gotten to know a lot more clerks from all across the state. I had an enjoyable conference, but it is nice to be home!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Book Review -- Boone: A Biography, by Robert Morgan

I recently enjoyed the audiobook version of Boone: A Biography, by Robert Morgan. This is one of two lengthy biographies of Daniel Boone available at our local library, and I found this one to be the better of the two. It portrays Boone as a man at his best on the edge of the frontier, blazing new paths and exploring new places, in contrast to his many business failings. As an attorney, I couldn't help but think as I read this book that Boone should have put himself in the hands of a good lawyer, especially as title to land in early Kentucky was confusing. Because I am interested in the period of history in which Boone lived, I really liked this book.

I long ago recognized that having a blog does not make one a critic, so if you want that, here's a real book review. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Throwback Thursday

Today's throwback Thursday picture takes us to 2007 at the Thirty-A Cafe in beautiful Seagrove Beach, Florida. We cook at our condos at the beach, so I'm sad to say that was the last time I've dined there.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

UT Conference Center

I had a County Technical Assistance Service class over in Knoxville last week at the University of Tennessee Conference Center. I took these pictures from the Locust Street Garage elevator tower on the corner of Locust Street and Clinch Avenue. The other side of the conference center fronts Henley Street. When I was a kid it was a Miller's Department Store.
This view of the Sunsphere is looking west down Clinch Avenue.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Restaurant Review -- SnoKno Taco Cantina, Knoxville, Tennessee

I recently dined at SoKno Taco, which is located at 3701 Sevierville Pike in South Knoxville. I had the carnitas taco platter, which was served with chips and salsa, beans and rice. The two tacos were soft shell, and the pork was all cheesed up with queso and delicious. With iced tea and a tip, I spent twenty bucks. Yum! (For a real review, see the Knoxville Mercury.)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Charro Beans

We recently had lunch at El Sazon, one of our favorite local Mexican restaurants, and they had a new item, Charro beans, on the menu. I had some with my meal and looked up the recipe online. I found one on a website called My Latina Table, where I suspect I can find other good food to try to make.



1 regular bag of uncooked pinto beans
5 pieces of bacon, cut into smaller pieces
3 beef franks, cut into cubes
1 cup of ham, cut into cubes
1 pound of Mexican chorizo
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
jalapeƱo, if desired
1 or more chipotle peppers depending on how spicy you want it
1 clove of garlic, chopped
pepper, oregano, paprika, cumin, and salt to taste.


Prepare beans according to instructions or by your favorite method. (Pressure cooker for me) 
Add the bacon to a large pot and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the chorizo and continue cooking until cooked through.
After about 5 minutes, add the ham, the beef franks, and the seasonings (including the garlic).
Next, add the tomatoes, the cilantro, the onion, the jalapeno, and the chipotle pepper and cook for 5 additional minutes.
Finally, add the cooked pinto beans and the water that they were cooked in and let boil for about 15 minutes so that all of the flavors can combine.
If you want to thicken your charro beans, you can combine 2 tablespoons of corn starch with 1/4 cup of cold water and mix well before adding it to the pot.

Serve hot as a side dish or on its own.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rainy Saturday

Because I traveled to Estill Springs last weekend for the porch project, I set aside this weekend to be at home and enjoyed the rainy Saturday in domestic comfort. Sherry had to work part of the day, and Mom came over for a visit shortly after Sherry left. We had some leftover barbecue sauce from some barbecue Sherry brought home for dinner earlier in the week, so I bought some chicken to grill out for supper last night. Our grill is under our deck, so I was able to man the grill without getting terribly wet, while the girls cooked broccoli and made cornbread. It made for a nice evening meal.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo, the fifth day of May, on which the Battle of Puebla was fought in 1862. The battle was won by Mexican troops under Commander General Ignacio Zaragoza. They defeated occupying French forces commanded by General Charles de Lorencez. In the United States, it has become a celebration of Mexican culture, and, of course, an excuse to eat some good food.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

New Front Porch at the Camp

My friend Johnny and I met up at my grandparents' cabin in Estill Springs last weekend on a mission to talk to contractors and to rebuild the front porch out there, seen above in better days. It had deteriorated quite badly since that picture was taken.
The first order of business, of course, was demolition of the existing porch. Its remains are now down the hill by the fire pit for fall bonfires.
This is a view of the front door with the porch removed.
My cousin Kinsey lives in nearby Murfreesboro and drives a delivery truck in the surrounding area. He passed by the Camp on the way to make a delivery down the road and was curious about all the cars in the driveway, as we had contractors visiting when he drove by. Also, I neglected to let him know we'd be out there. Since we had contractors out all day and he was wearing his uniform when he walked up, I at first thought he was the next contractor. It was a pleasant surprise!
This project took no less than four trips to the Decherd Home Depot, the last time to replace my circular saw, which gave up the fight toward the end of the project. We ended up pouring concrete footers, although we thought at first we'd avoid it. It was a bit more work, but makes for a better foundation for the porch.
Johnny finishes up the last bit of detail work around the 4 x 4's.
This is how we left the project. We still plan to go back and build railing. We have materials to replace the lattice work, if we decide we want to do the extra work to restore the original look as Grandmother and Granddaddy always had it.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017

Law Day

On May 1 each year we celebrate Law Day in the United States. President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed Law Day in 1958 as an annual celebration of the rule of law.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Steve in the Sky

Canadian aurora spotters in Alberta recently photographed this unusual aurora, which they thoughtfully named Steve. I noted here five years ago that the internet does not like Steve. (E.g. Scumbag Steve) It is nice to see my given name get some positive press for a change. (More from USA Today)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Somewhere by the Sea

I'm not sure where this is, but I want to go there. (Via Phils Phun)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Throwback Thursday

Sherry had this picture enlarged to poster size, and it still hangs in our living room. This throwback Thursday picture is from the Sandestin resort in Destin, Florida, from nine years ago.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Restaurant Review -- Another Broken Egg, Delray Beach, Florida

It has been many years since we ate at the Another Broken Egg restaurant in Destin, Florida. We loved the place, but when we are on our summer vacation down there we like to cook at the condo for the most part. On the morning we left Les and Mark in Delray Beach; however, we stopped in at the Another Broken Egg restaurant at 430 East Linton Drive, which is just down the street from their condo. It was a delightful breakfast.

I had the lobster and brie omelet, which was decadent, and Sarah had a sinister stack of pancakes. Sherry had a Cuban breakfast sandwich that she let me taste, and it was also very tasty. The service was prompt and friendly. It is pricey, but worth it.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Henry VIII Becomes King

On April 21, 1509, Henry VII died, making his seventeen-year-old son king of England. Henry VIII is probably most famous for killing off wives who failed to produce him a male heir and for splitting England from the Catholic church over a spat with the pope caused by Henry's demand for an annulment of his first marriage for the same reason.