Friday, September 30, 2011

A Rare Treat

Saturday morning, September 24, 2011 was a rare treat for me.  Frances went with me to the Cabin for the day!  Here are a few pictures of what we did.

Frances sitting in the swing on the front porch. 

Frances asked me to collect these little flowers for her as we rode along in the 4-wheeler.

So delicate and fragile, just like my wife.
These golden colored mushrooms were so unusual...We did not try to eat them, but they sure looked edible
Our Prize For The Day - Ginseng!
Ginseng Berries

Here she is turning her water bottle into a flower vase!
More Flowers - with seeds - can anyone identify these for us?

A Toadstool

More Ginseng...note the yellowing leaves and red berries.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall Is In The Air

A Serene View Near The Cabin Just Off Duckett Ridge Road
Showing the beginning of fall's beautiful colors!

This Shows Dead Leaves Created By Our Unusually Hot Summer
I'm sure you have heard that a few times this week.  "Fall Is In The Air" seems to be on everyone's lips around our neighborhood.  As for me, I love this time of year!  With temperatures dropping into the mid-50s and up to the high 70s I can now get up early and sit outside by the firepit.  I look forward to the display of variegated color that will manifest itself in our forests for the next several weeks before cold weather sets in for the winter.  I can now squirrel hunt in earnest without sweating and having to fan the gnats and "no-see-ums" that plague our woods during the last few weeks. 

So far I have not shot the first squirrel and have hunted twice already.  I should have 20 by now.  It seems they have fled the country.  One mountain boy told me he saw a squirrel the other day but it had a pack on it's back...indicating that this one was only hiking through and not a native of these parts.  ☻ ☻ ☻

Thought one of my friends (maybe you?) would enjoy seeing this picture of me putting the finishing touches on ye old outhouse?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

First Squirrel Hunt of 2011

Saturday, August 27 was the first day of Squirrel season for the 2011/2012 hunting year.  I had a most wonderful time roaming the woods looking for squirrels.  Only saw one, but he saw me first, so no meat for the frying pan yet.  I did find that the squirrels are "cutting" on pine cones at this particular time of year.  There was ample evidence that they squirrels are in abundance, but my skills seem to have failed me yesterday.  Eyesight, agility, hearing, are all diminishing as I raced past 73 last month.  Ha.  But - there'll be another day, and I have lots of patience. 

It was also "Free-Hunting" Day in Tennessee.  Any resident could hunt squirrels that day with or without a license.  I don't know that this brought many hunters into the field.  If our game and fish commission are really interested in a way to entice more hunters afield, they should consider lowering the price of the annual license and also lightening up on the required hunter safety class requirements.  Note, I did not say "do away with" hunter safety, but I do believe it could be made easier and more affordable. 
Can Anyone identify this plant for me?

Here's a slightly better shot.
The berries are about the size of marbles.  I did not taste them, because Ginny of "Let Your Light Shine" had posted about the Castor Bean plant and I thought they could be poison.

Do you recognize this plant?  Poison Ivy?
Yes, that's my rifle underneath, which I had laid on the ground.

Yes!  That's a Wild Turkey Feather!

Time for Lunch!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Barney Creek

Last week a great and good friend that Frances and I met in Nairobi, Kenya came to spend time with my wife.  She is one of those kind of friends that feels a lot like family.  Since the girls wanted to shop, clean house (including painting one room) and cooking, I thought it best to get myself out of the way - so I headed for the mountains!  Ha.  The Cabin is my escape.  There is not much to do here, so I spend a good bit of time reading the good book (the Bible) and wandering through the mountains.  Occasionally I will help out with a church project or church "work day".  In a manner of speaking - this was not a work day but a day to play.  Day before yesterday, I went to Barney Creek to the site of the beginning of the Church of God with International Headquarters in Cleveland, Tennessee.  Today (August 19, 2011) we celebrate 125 years since the church was begun here in the mountains.  Now there are churches in more than 170 countries of the world.  To stand at this site and reflect on the humble beginnings of this group and realizing what great strides have been taken in those years is awesome.  Only 8 people with a determination to take the Bible as their only rule for faith and discipline banded together on August 19, 1886 and formed "The Christian Union" in the Grist Mill of Elder R.G. Spurling.  That was 125 years ago.  The church moved from here to the home of W.F. Bryant near Murphy, NC - and then on to Cleveland, TN.  Today there will be numerous vehicles in a caravan who will visit this site to pray and give thanks to God for the outpouring of the Spirit of the Holy on this small group of believers.  This site is only about 8 miles from me when I'm here at the Cabin.

Pastor Paul Fritts and Me
Paul Fritts is the pastor of the Tellico Plains, TN Church of God, where I teach a young adult Sunday School class.  He had asked me to come and help him make the Barney Creek site easier for visitors to access.  William Wright brought his Bobcat.  I met them at Hardees for lunch, then on to Coker Creek to the site on Barney Creek for a day of play.
This wooden sign covers his initials carved by R.G. Spurling
and the date when he built his home and Grist Mill

Your's truly, getting ready to play

William Wright, a third generation COG member
and Pastor Paul Fritts of the Tellico Plains Church

Here is a picture of an old fashioned Altar Call during
Revival at the Tellico Plains Church

Pastor Fritts rests on the stage after much praying

This is one of the youth choirs of the Tellico Plains Church
and the Future Of The Church of God
I pastored this church from March 1, 1961-February 1966 when my wife and two babies headed off to the missions field in Georgetown, Guyana, South America.  I was there when the current sanctuary was built and dedicated in November 1965.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harvest Time Again!

Laurel has bloomed!

Maintenance on the Weed-Eater is a MUST
Especially when you use OLD gas from last year!

Can you see the bear track  just above the hog tracks?

Bear "Scat", a term I learned from friends up North
Ol Bigfoot?


A Home Across The Valley

The Rubbing Tree

And What Tracks Are These?
Pumzika Acres has some potential harvest this year!  From the looks of things we are going to have a very good hunt for deer, bear, and boar.  My friend Ed, and I have used the Kawasaki Mule to scour and search the whole 700 acre farm and have located promising signs of big game.  Here are a few pictures we snapped from the top of the mountain.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Memorial Day

At the cabin we honored the fallen on this Memorial Day by having our children here at the cabin for a day of relaxation.  We were sorry to learn that most either had to work or had other plans or were living too far away to come.  However, we had son-in-law Curtis who grilled hot-dogs, Frances and Ruthie prepared grillin' beans, chopped onions and sweet relish, (with all the other trimmings) for a feast.  We set everything up on the porch.  Our solar system ran the oscillating fan!  I had succeeded in getting rid of the rats and in cleaning out the mess they had made - and no one even noticed the three inch hole in the wall they had chewed.  We had a wonderful time with those who were present, playing in the creek, teaching the kids about butterflies, sassafras tea, and polk salat.  After lunch we went for rides in the Kawasaki Mule.  Riding finished, we had a great big seed-less watermelon to split open.  I almost (almost?) ate too much!  What a wonderful day. 


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sassafras Tea, Polk Salat, a Hog Wallow and RATS!

This is Polk Salat!

More Polk Salat

This is Sassafras.  Note the leaves.

More Sassafras to dig.  You only use the roots.

This year's turkey hunt proved to be a very interesting time.  Twice I drove through Tellico Plains and up the mountain to a friends far near a place called Rafter.  No luck on the hunt, but did manage to rescue my friend's barrell of fish food which the bear had rolled off the dock and down into the creek.  Then I've been to the cabin three or four times - mostly to ride the Kawasaki Mule.  Three trips back, I spotted so much polk salat that I just decided to take a "mess" of it home for Frances to cook.  I was not sure she would want to cook it because it is quite a process to make sure that you don't get poisoned on the stuff.  She WAS DELIGHTED and made enough from the first picking to serve us four meals of those delicious greens. 
In addition, I spotted some sassafras growing right beside the trail and decided I would like some tea.  Again, Frances WAS DELIGHTED.  I dug enough roots that she made about 3 gallons of tea.  For those who may not know, it tastes a LOT like Root Beer without the carbonated water.  Today I dug more sassafras and brought home for her to boil and make tea with.  Just in case you don't know, it's delicious hot or cold. 

My friend, Eddie W. has not been with me to the cabin for about three months, but was available today.  He has a great love for the outdoors too.  We first drove along the trail where I had collected polk salat before and where I had dug sassafras roots.  At the top of the mountain we got hung up on a high spot and had to rock the machine so the wheels would touch the ground.  He climbed into the bed of the Mule and jumped a few times while I backed off.  Then, do you believe I drove over the same hump in the trail?  Well, Yes.  And No - we did not get hung up again!  Just having a little fun with ya. 

After eating lunch we drove down a different trail in a different direction where we saw Polk Salat in abundance.  I decided not to pick anymore because it looks like it's about gone to seed.  I really don't know that much about it - but I don't think you are supposed to eat it after a certain stage of growth.  With my friend along I was a little more brave as we jumped brush and logs and went down trails I had not explored before.  What FUN!
Do you see the hog tracks in that mud?
 Then for our last trail we drove to the top of a knoll and looked down in front of the Mule and spied a muddy spot on the road with hog tracks in it!  It looks like there are tracks all over that section of the mountain.  I must go back again and get serious about harvesting a wild hog.

Back at the cabin - I'm having trouble with rats.  I'm not talking mice.  I'm talking rats.  The rats have eaten half a bar of Zest hand-soap; they have chewed up one of my bed-spreads; they have chewed on my recliner; they had started building a nest under the kitchen stove!  In the process they had chewed on one of my wicker chairs anc collected bambook to add to their pile of cotton behind the stove.  I had set mouse traps to no avail.  I finally bought some D-Con and some glue boards.  Caught four BIG rats on glue boards and took them out and put them out of their misery - plus four mice.  One mouse was found today, already dead.  So the D-Con is working.  I cannot imagine why, all of a sudden, the rats decided to invade the place.  Whew!  What a mess.  If you have any suggestions - I need help!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Trails, Briars, and Hangnails

I drove along this mountain trail which had been a logging road a year ago. Brush and briars are beginning to grow along the trail.

The farther I go, the thicker it gets!

Fortunately for me I remembered to put my cutlass into the bed of the mule. I purchased this "cane-cutting knife" in Guyana, S. America back in the late 1960's. It has served me well both there, in Africa, and now here in the Cherokee Forest!

I would have had to turn around just half-way through - but my trusty cutlass helped me hack this fallen log in two so that I could drive the mule over it!

Somewhere in between fighting with the briars and cutting the fallen log in two pieces, I broke a fingernail. As you can see by enlarging the picture here...the hands also became very rough and dry.

I stayed out in the forest as long as I dared, heading for home just as the sun put a glorious cap onto the end of my day!

What a WONDERFUL day here in the Cherokee Forest in East Tennessee! I arrived at the cabin about 11:00a.m. to the music of a beautiful spring-like day - temperature about 60 - with partly cloudy skies. I could hear the creek gurgling gently in the background, with crows cawing overhead. The sight of the beautiful red cardinal feeding along the lower limbs of brush near the back porch steps seemed to make my steps lighter. Instead of the usual routine of going inside and opening all doors and windows to allow things to air out, I decided it was a perfect time to just sit in the sun on the back porch (which faces south) and soak some rays while sipping a cup of black coffee. I had made this pot of brew at home and poured it into my steel thermos bottle in anticipation of a back country trail-ride on the Kawasaki Mule, so did not have to enter the kitchen to turn on the stove. While sipping the last few drops from my cup, my neighbor from down the creek stopped by to return the pick/mattock he had borrowed from my tools in order to free himself and his car from the grip of that last deep snow. We have a rule between my neighbor and I: He can borrow anything that's outside as long as he doesn't forget where it belongs and will return it as soon as he is finished with it. I think the snow was finished at least a week ago but he had either forgotten the rule or had been too pre-occupied with other things to bring the tool home earlier. ☻

I finally grabbed the trusty little .22 caliber rifle which I had brought along just in case I spotted a squirrel during the ride (we can harvest squirrels until February 28th) and headed out slowly to explore the country. I drove along slowly, dodging mud-puddles in the road, looking for deer, hog, bear, or any game tracks or other signs of the presence of animals available to harvest. After about 30 minutes I spotted hickory nuts covering the ground. In my heart I knew that the squirrels ought to frequently be here, eating gourmet meals - but the evidence of chewed hickory nuts was largely missing. Just as I was about to give up on the idea, one of the squirrels saw me first. I saw him - but it was too late. He quickly scampered across the forest floor and out of sight. Maybe next time!