Saturday, December 11, 2010

Stamps Baxter--Build Me A Cabin In Gloryland.

I found this delightful old song this morning posted on youtube by Nexar. It has suffered some criticism by folks over the years who said they did not want "a cabin" but were going to claim their "mansion". Yes, Jesus promised that He was going away to prepare a place for us and that in His Father's house there are many mansions. That's O.K. I suppose. However, who could ask for better than a cabin along the banks of the river of life? Do you think the Lord would let me bring my mule to this Heavenly Cabin so I could ride along the mountain ridges there?

My brother Wil and I came out here to Pumzika Acres and rode the mule for awhile. Then back at the cabin I cooked us an 8oz deer-burger for lunch, topped with mustard, pickles, pickle relish and washed down with hot coffee! And I must not forget the tasty dessert we had by dipping a knife into the jar of Sand Mountain Sorghum Molasses and licking the knife clean. (Don't worry - they were plastic knives.) We had a very good and restful day.

It was so cold that we had to put ski-masks over our faces, and several layers of clothes to stay warm. Here is Wil in the Driver's seat on top of a ridge in the hunting woods. We had not brought a big game rifle because I had forgotten that the bear hunting was going on. Now the hunters send out their dogs, with GPS collars, and they watch the receivers from the warmth of their pick-up trucks until the bear gets close to a road! We learned this by talking to a bear hunter.

This is my Brother Wil, who does NOT like the cold weather! There is a story behind that statement that may be the subject of another blog later.

We found this Holly tree on a ridge-top. The bright red berries caught our eye.

On the way home, it had warmed up to 30 when we stopped here to take pictures of icicles hanging alongside Highway 30 near Webb's store at Reliance, TN.

As we drove south on Hwy 411 toward Benton, TN we saw this special rainbow just over the tree-tops! Since I had a leak in my metal roof at the cabin we had also attempted to repair it with a small can of roofing tar. This rainbow reminded me of the promise of God to us that he would not destroy the earth again with water! Does that include my cabin too? Well...maybe if I take care of it when I first notice the leaks, huh?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Fridg/Freezer Is Filled

Frances' smile says she is proud of her harvester husband!

Entire top shelf is full of deer burgers, roasts, tenderloins and deer steaks! The price of processing? $46.00 only!

Bottom shelf is full of the previous purchase I made of seafood and beef.

Yessir! I'm one happy harvester (Thanks Mel) who is learning to live green!

Today I drove to Vonore to Keith's Butcher Shop to collect the bountiful harvest I gathered in last Saturday. My wife seemed so proud to have this fresh meat. I had bought $700 dollars worth of steaks and seafood just a few weeks ago and filled up both refrigerator freezers here at home - plus put quite a few steaks in the little freezer here at the cabin. What a THANKSGIVING and soon we'll have deer meat on the table at home for CHRISTMAS. Of course I'll be back here to the cabin for New Year's Day and hopefully will be able to use some of this meat then to feed the great bunch of guys that come for our day out. We'll cook and serve breakfast food, sit around the campfire, play music and sing and also eat until we are stuffed! That's the way to break in a New Year. I'm told that whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you enjoy on New Year's Day - you will do that all year long. That's the way we started 2010 and it must have worked because we've had a wonderful year.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm No Longer A Hunter

What a wonderful day November 27 turned out to be! Cold (25 degrees) when we started out, but warmed up to 52 if I remember correctly. We took a break at 9:30 by going to my friends house (who owns the farmland where we hunt) to make a pot of coffee in his electric percolator, while sitting by the gas heater. That was quite comfortable! Then our host decided he needed to go somewhere on business and left three of us to hunt. When we had been on our stands about 40 minutes I shot the little two point buck seen below! NOW I AM A KILLER! [Not to be confused with Jerry Lee Lewis, the original "killer". He called himself "the killer" because he thought he was the ladies man!!! He did have a few falling all over him in his younger days.]

I bought a new mule for the hunt. Kawasaki Mule, 610XC!

Now, I'm ready to go get 'em!

Three of the friends who joined me!

The trail leading into the hunting area.

It has been at least 25 years since I last killed a deer. It's a bit dis-heartening to a person who is so serious about hunting to go year after year after year and keep coming home with nothing to show for their efforts except a few scratches from the briars and a thousand beggar lice hanging on their clothes. Why do you think we call this thing "hunting"? 'Cause that's what we do! We hunt. And hunt. And hunt again! I've often said to my friends, "I'm not a killer. I'm just a hunter." But from yesterday at 12:35p, right after lunch, I became a killer. The .270 Ruger is a deadly weapon. A nice clean shot high on the shoulder and this buck was on the ground. he kicked for about five minutes while my heart ran at break-neck speed. By the time my blood slowed back to normal the deer was not moving and was waiting for me to prepare him for the journey to our Christmas table - via the butcher shop!!! Boys and Girls, I WAS EXCITED! No, I'm Not a Hunter ... I am a KILLER!

Trees had to be cut to allow our machines to reach deeper into the forest.

We located tracks and other good signs of the presence of deer.

My good friend Ed Williams looking for more deer sign.

My Stand, overlooking a beautifully wooded area where there were abundant signs of deer activity.

My harvested deer! Although we had field dressed him on the spot, he felt like he weighed 250 pounds while we were dragging him out to the road. However when we put him on the scales at the butcher shop, only 71 pounds! What happened? ☻

Good friends William and Scott showing off "our" deer!

Ready to make the trip to the check-in station.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall Colors

A colorful shot across a field. I love the one hour drive that I make to the cabin. About thirty minutes of the time I'm in the Cherokee National Forest.

Red is visible alongside the road. Gold, green, yellow also abound.

The last three miles of my ride is on gravel road. This colorful limb hangs over-head.

The view leaving the cabin.

The creek at the cabin is moving ever so slowly.

This is the only tree at the cabin showing any color yet. Maybe there is so little color right at the cabin because the building is down in a low place between two mountains?

Why am I here? Because we have a friend who loves to do things for "Mama Frankie". Kathy came Monday to paint the den, kitchen and hallway of our house. I find that the best thing I can do to relieve stress for them and for me is for me to out to the cabin and stayed until about 3:30p when a meat truck passed through the mountains selling meat. I bought $1,400 worth of meat for only $706, including tax. I stuffed as much of the meat into my cabin freezer as the little thing would hold, then was forced to take the remaining meat home. I barely managed to get it all stuffed into the freezer. I won't have to buy meat for at least four months.

O.K. -- so the painting was still going on -- which meant that yesterday morning (Tuesday) I also got up and hurried out the door to escape to the mountains!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I have always loved company. It doesn't matter who they are, when they come, or what the circumstances. We had a saying at our house growing up that if we didn't have a bed we would "drive a nail in the wall to hang company on", meaning that we would make room for them to stay awhile. I can remember many times us three boys giving up our bed and sleeping on a quilt thrown on the floor to make room for guests. But it was always fun! Part of the fun was the good eats - cause Mama always cooked her best for visitors. Part of the joy was that sometimes the visitors had kids my age. Some were kinfolks - but not all. It didn't matter, we just enjoyed visiting with the folks.

And especially do I love company when it's someone I haven't seen in a long while - like this visit Sunday night and yesterday by my 1st cousin, Terry Junius Jones and his lovely wife Trish, who now reside in Alabama. In town, I was awakened from my afternoon nap by their knock on the kitchen door (all strange visitors come to the front door). After a good visit at the house in town on Sunday night - we laid out our plans for Monday by calling my Mom and starting the day at her apartment for breakfast of mullet roe with grits! Junius' career has been commercial fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico. He brought these fresh frozen fish roe up to Mom because he knows how much she enjoys them. And we made her day by visiting with her and allowing her to cook for us. She still loves visitors too.

Then we headed out to the cabin where I cooked deer steaks, baked potatoes, and had cake, cinnamon rolls and muscadines for dessert!

Of course I made a fresh pot of coffee which I poured into a thermos bottle to keep it warm.

Canned biscuits to go with our deer steak - unfortunately I left them in the oven just a minute too long but the visitors bragged on them anyway.

These venison steaks cooked up to perfection! They went down well with the baked Idaho potatoes.

These delicious cinnamon rolls were just part of dessert. A berry cake, made by daughter Ruthie - and muscadines - and scuppernongs topped it off.

Delightful Trish was offering to help clean up the dishes but I insisted that it was my job today.

Took them outside to the fire pit where we had a camp-fire going. We needed the fire as the weather was a cool 41 degrees this morning - and only up to 55 for a high.

Sitting here and re-hashing stories from our past times with Grandpa and Grandma Jones consumed a good portion of our day. We also took the vacuum cleaner apart and put it back together so I could vacuum the floor inside. The gas heater was not working properly so Junius helped me take it out of the fireplace box and into the truck to take to town for repairs. And finally, just as I was finished with the dishes - can you believe it? - the water-pump stopped working. Our last item of work was to remove it and place it in the truck to take to town for replacement. Yes, we had our inconveniences - But we had a GREAT time with our visitors!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


This morning I got up with one of my sick friends on my mind who is in St. Mary's Hospital in Knoxville. He had a need for gastric by-pass surgery. Twice I had been to the hospital to see him in the last three weeks and he was not aware of my presence...but after talking to his dad last Sunday and learning he was now getting up out of bed and able to talk, I decided I would go see him again. On the way I met a mutual friend and together we went to visit and pray with Gary. We had a good visit.

Afterwards, I decided that I would go to the cabin and spend the night. Since this was on Wednesday, I decided to visit the little Baptist church pictured below - which is three miles from my cabin.

This is an old fashioned country church. The people are friendly and welcome all visitors. It was Prayer-Meeting night, so I knew they would be having church. I have now attended the place enough times that they will call on me to sing or testify or combination thereof.

See the two benches on the front of the church? That's where two or three of the men were sitting when I arrived. As I expected, the stood up and welcomed me. More deacons, arrived, the Pastor arrived. I learned that they were in Revival services. As we sat there and talked - all the deacons and the Pastor and the Evangelist took out their cigarettes and smoked. As a child I had been taught that smoking was a sin. I chuckled to myself about that when the Pastor said, "It's time to pray." Cigarettes extinguished, they invited me to join with them under the shed out front for prayer over the time of worship and preaching just ahead.

Under this shed there were 16 elders and deacons taking prayer requests and lifting them up to God in concert prayer. This is very normal in our area for our "holiness" churches but a little unusual for Baptist churches to have these "concert" prayers. Some things in the Baptist church are very different from the way we do things in our church, the Church of God. One of those things is that generally we preach against smoking, drinking, cursing, etc., and etc. while it has been reported to me that the Baptists do not. They even allow drinking (in moderation) among most members.

The preacher was a bit old fashioned in his approach and laid his coat down on the front seat. After he had read his text and prayed, he walked the aisle (as you can see in the picture above) while waxing warm in the old fashioned way of preaching. Wish you all could have heard him. I was surprised to hear the evangelist preaching against long hair on men. I loved it. There were "Amen's" coming from every corner.

I spent a very quiet, very pleasant night at the cabin and rose "a great while before day". I got the picture above as the sun sought me out on the back porch where I was reading my Bible and drinking my coffee. The smell of sausage and canned biscuits mixed with coffee had really permeated the air around the cabin and I could hear birds and see a squirrel playing in the trees. After cleaning some boards off the front porch I swept both porches and enjoyed the great weather! It was 62 degrees at 6:00a.m. and didn't start getting warm until almost 12:00.

After cleaning up the dishes I locked the cabin and went for some walk/ride/picture-taking moments. Above is Possum Grapes. The woods are full of them here this year.

When I saw what appeared to be beautiful fruit from the road, I had to get closer. I thought it might be a fig tree - or even some yellow apples. I stopped the truck and walked over to the tree only to discover that it was not fruit at all - but was what I was taught to call "buckeyes".

If you peel off the exterior hull, this is what you find. If you see "buckeyes" out of the shell and you don't know better, they look just like chestnuts. I need to find and take pictures of a chestnut tree so that you can see the chestnut is covered with sharp prickly outside covering whereas the "buckeye" has a smooth outer hull.

Just as I pulled up to a quiet place and took out my gun, I looked down and saw that someone had been here before me. I do not like to see litter on the forest floor. It's so easy to put that trash in your pocket and carry it home to the trash bag. Don't let me get started on that subject or this blog will not hold all of my words. ☻

Just a few steps further and I saw something I was looking for! See that huge acorn? The squirrels love them! I'll be back soon. Hopefully with squirrel meat for the freezer!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Lazy Hazy Day of Summer

On my way to the cabin today I was reminded of why these mountains are called "The Smokies". Many mornings, especially in the fall when the temperatures begin to cool down some, the fog makes the hills look as if they are covered in smoke. To me they are beautiful this morning and I know that soon the sun will rise and burn off the clouds to reveal a beautiful day.

Looking to the West, I take in the beauty of the Hiwassee River.

Shortly after arrival at the cabin today I made a pot of coffee, grabbed the peanut butter and jelly, a bottle of cold water from the fridge, and my Bible before stretching out in the new swing! What a wonderful day for relaxing... that is ...until it started to get so hot!

But today I had a solution to the heat! I put together the pedestal fan I had purchased at Big Lot's last week and plugged it into the power source (Five batteries in series with a 2000 watt inverter) and there was instant relief! I'm excited about this because I did not know if the fan would drain the batteries too quickly. To my utter delight the green light, indicating how much power I had remaining, stayed lit the entire six hours that I was there! This will be a pleasant surprise for Frances next time she comes with me to the place.

Here's a view from the other side of the fan!

While I was reading, I looked over into the truck and this beautiful butterfly was spreading his wings in a great display of natural beauty.

TODAY - As I had not taken the lawn mower, nor tried to repair anything, nor attemped to do any kind of work - I decided to drive down a different road instead of passing it by as usual. Oh - am I glad I did! I FOUND A PERSIMMON tree! Persimmons are a real treat for deer and other wild game. I'll be back to this tree in about six more weeks when the fruit begins to ripen! I've looked everywhere for one of these trees - and FINALLY!