Friends in the Mountains

I think it was Marie at Blue Ridge Blog that first pointed me to the Hillbilly Savants Blog. Since her tag line is…”All I need is an outhouse and a dream….” I thought this link back would be appropriate.

The shack out back

Tennesseans called it the “la-la.” Elsewhere known as the john, the shanty, the shack, the throne, the shed, the relief office—it was the humble outhouse. The little buildings “out back” were as important as any building built before indoor plumbing. This was the building you located as soon as possible when you came to visit, and if your guest was the preacher, you invited him outside on some pretext so he could spot “the necessary room” without asking.

Take a minute and wander over and sit a spell…They serve up some interesting storytelling.

Source: Hillbilly Savants: The shack out back

I want to apologize for the fact I seem to be letting this blog slide a little as I post my daily muses at Coffee Muses these mornings. I’ll try and figure out a better method of keeping track of where I need to be spending some time soonest…

Valle Crucis, NC

Part of the serendipity that carried us into the mountains of North Carolina can be found in the following description I discovered so long ago.

Nestled high in the mountains of North Carolina is a little known corner of the world called Valle Crucis (pronounced valley crew’ sis). First settled over 200 years ago, the Vale of the Cross is a place that historians and visitors alike have called “uncommon.”

At the time I first read those words I wasn’t aware of the personal ancestral tie I had to those early settlers. It was only a couple of years ago that I became aware that the Linville’s of Linville Creek out of Villas just down the road from Valle Crucis were the very same Linville’s I descended from. If I am correct in my map skills, one of the open green areas I can see from the top of Nettle’s Knob above Clarks Creek is the Linville Creek watershed to the north.

Visit what Charles Kuralt called “a destination,” the original Mast General Store.

Sit and play a game of checkers by the pot bellied stove or treat yourself to a bottle of the spicy ginger beer. Don’t forget to pick up a calendar for the wall back home…

Located in Watauga County near Boone, only hours from the hustle and bustle of the big city, day and weekend getaways are possible, but we are sure you’ll return eventually for a much longer stay.

And so the “Dream” began. And grows here on the web until the day it grows in the Mountains that gave it birth.

Source: Valle Crucis, North Carolina’s First Rural Historic District

First White Settlers of Watauga.– A letter from Lafayette Tucker, of Ashland, Ashe County, states that the descendants of the original Lewis who settled in that neighborhood claim that he came as early as 1730. Thomas Hodged, the first, came during the Revolutionary War and settled in what is now called Hodges Gap, two miles west of Boone, and Samuel Hix and James D. Holtsclaw, his son-in-law, settled at or near Valle Crucis at that time or before.

It is a matter of record that a family by the name of Linvil—probably an economic way of spelling Linville—were members of Three Forks Baptist Church and lived on what is now known as Dog Skin Creek, or branch, but which stream used to be called Linville Creek. The membership of that church shows that Abraham, Catharine and Margaret Linvil were members between 1790 and 1800, while the minutes show that on the second Saturday in June, 1799, when the Three Forks Church were holding a meeting at Cove Creek, just prior to giving that community a church o its own, Abraham Linvil was received by experience, and in July following, at the same place, Catharine and Margaret Linvil also were so received. Several of the older residents of Dog Skin, Brushy Fork and cove Creeks confirm the reality of the residence of the Linville family in that community. In September, 1799, Brother Vanderpool’s petition for a constitution at Cove Creek was granted, Catherine Linvil having been granted her letter of dismission the previous August.

Source: Watauga County, NC by J P Arthur

More to follow…

Serendipity in the Mountains

When I first started blogging I posted some photos from my North Carolina trips over my Photo Blog. One of the photos has consistently pulled in search engine hits. This is that photo..

Brinegar Cabin on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Built circa 1875 by Martin Brinegar. He and his wife, Caroline, raised 3 children, hogs and cows and chickens, bees for honey, corn and flax, and a vegetable garden for 50 years. Caroline sold out to the government in 1935, ten years after Martin died of pneumonia.

Martin and I share kin with some kin. Martin’s grandfather was Jacob Brinegar. Jacob’s brother, John Brinegar, married Lucretia Linville. Lucretia was the daughter of William Linville and Eleanor Bryan. William, for whom the Linville River was named, was the brother of my 5th great-grandfather Thomas Linville…Small world isn’t it.

The serendipity of another connection to the Blue Ridge Mountains…

Saturday Morning Web Wandering

I slept in a bit today and I have to go in to work this afternoon to take care of a project we ship tomorrow, but this morning after reading my email I went link wandering. Here are some of the things I found I feel I should pass along…

Somehow I didn’t keep up with the schedule for the return of Bill Moyers to PBS so I missed his documentary on “The Buying of the War”. Somehow the regular schedule for his new show on Friday had permeated what I call my brain, and the fact that the special would be on Wednesday didn’t…Oh well, I’m sure it will be replayed at some point.

In my wandering this morning I did stumble on a site that is new to me, COA News. This led to a link to an Amy Goodman interview with Bill Moyers on Democracy Now this week, which led me to this quote…

Bill Moyers – “I would like to be nice about it. I would like to be diplomatic about it. But the fact of the matter is there’s a cancer eating at the heart of democracy, and it’s money in politics. If free speech means you have to buy it, then only those who can afford it have free speech. And that’s contemptible.”

If you have the time the video is very good.

Source: Independent News Portal COAnews: coanews.org : How the U.S. News Media Helped the Bush Admin Sell the Case for War

The link that led me to CAO News was an article about Local Foods by Brita Belli of The Environmental Magazine.

Local is the New Organic

It used to be that organic was enough. That organic label told consumers their food was safer, fresher and more likely to have come from a small, reliable farm than a mega-farm-factory. Then, last year, Wal-Mart started selling organic products. Suddenly, organic didn’t seem so special.

Last fall, an outbreak of E. coli bacteria in California- grown organic spinach that left three dead and hundreds sick shone the national spotlight on the question of where food comes from. Most produce people eat, organic or not, travels thousands of miles to reach the shelves of their local supermarket. The journey exacts a huge toll on the environment as refrigerated tractor-trailers packed with green tomatoes and bananas crisscross the country, burning diesel and spewing pollution and greenhouse gas. And the potential for unsanitary handling and nutrient depletion exists at every stop along the way.

I have been linking to posts like this for some time. It appears that the local food “movement” is on the verge of reaching viral status around the country and the world. If we have many more food disaster’s like the ones from the last year where we are beginning to understand that the people we once thought were protecting the safety of our food aren’t, for whatever reason, we will have to protect ourselves. You can’t do that if the food you are buying come from across the country or around the world.

Source: Independent News Portal COAnews: coanews.org : Local is the New Organic

Last day of February – 2007

The last full month of winter is ending and here where I call home, its ending like spring. The morning temperature is already 65 degrees outside. Windows are thrown wide and doors are open in hopes of a breeze…None blows. The winter bird residents are talking outside my door this morning. Mockingbirds in the distance, robins up closer to the house. There is even a undertone of finch-i-ness in the morning air here under the leafing oaks. I really hope this isn’t a sign of things to come this summer…

I saw a report yesterday that El Nina is rearing her head in the Pacific. That usually means (so they said) that hurricanes are more prevalent on the Atlantic side (which I assume includes the Gulf) of America with a lessening of Pacific storms. Happy news to start the new Hurricane season.

The morning forecast email is foretelling a beautiful day in the mountains of the Blue Ridge. Wish I were there to enjoy it…Some day in the not to distant future. All ya’ll with the chance, get out and enjoy that sun today, it’s a sure cure for the mid-winter blahs.

The squirrels have joined the chorus outside. They must be scolding one of our cats…

History Lesson

It was on this day in 1854 that about 50 opponents of slavery gathered in Ripon, Wisconsin, to found the Republican Party. The group was made up of Northern Democrats, Whigs, and a small antislavery party called the Free Soil Party. And they were remarkably successful for a brand-new party. In 1856, after just two years in existence, they elected 92 representatives and 20 senators, and they came close to capturing the presidency with their candidate John C. Freemont. And just four years after that, they did win the presidency with their candidate Abraham Lincoln. No new political party since then has won the presidency of the United Sates.

You really have to wonder at the changes time has wrought in the party of Lincoln…

Source: The Writer’s Almanac

Looks like it’s time to move…catch you down the road…

On this day in 1963…

It was about 12:30 p.m. on this day in 1963 that President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. It was the only successful assassination of an American president carried out in the last hundred years, and the only presidential assassination ever caught on film. Almost every American alive at the time remembers where they were when they heard the news. Walter Cronkite cried when he made the announcement that the president was dead.

I was in 3rd Grade Music Class when they made the announcement on the PA. Almost everyone in the class cried. I can still remember the name of the boy who cheered. The music teacher would, down the road, become a friend when I became a Boy Scout in her husbands Scout Troop.

Where were you on that day when you heard?

It’s a good thing JFK was president in the ’60’s because in today’s world he would be in as much trouble as Bill.

Thanks Garrison, for the reminder…

Source: The Writer’s Almanac from American Public Media

Bankruptcy closes doors of historic Pig Stands | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Another page turns in the local history books…

It’s reputed to be the world’s first drive-through restaurant chain and the place where the onion ring was invented, the result of a cooking accident. In 82 years at the corner of Washington and Sawyer, the last remaining Houston location has been a hut, a collection of stalls served by carhops and a sit-down restaurant.

But now, the Pig Stand’s past looks rosier than its present. The city’s longest-running restaurant sat empty Monday, a victim of bankruptcy and back taxes that threaten to add it to the ever-growing list of bygone Houston institutions.

I can remember eating at the one in South Houston on a number of occasions before it closed back about the mid ’80’s.

They are the last vestiges of a chain that started in 1921 in Dallas as the first drive-through and grew into a dozens-strong regional empire that welcomed the age of fast food during a time when meals were handcrafted at home.

The stands evolved into drive-ins by the 1960s, when they dueled Prince’s in the Houston market. Both eventually became standard table-service restaurants as they ceded the fast food business to the large chains.

Over time, the Pig Stand has laid claim to a number of culinary firsts. Along with onion rings (said to have been invented in Dallas in the late 1920s when a cook accidentally dropped onions in batter and decided to fry them), chicken fried steak sandwiches and the barbecue pork mainstay known as the Pig Sandwich, owner Richard Hailey said Texas toast also was born at a Pig Stand.

Just wanted you folks to know we do make some history here in Texas. Onion Rings and Texas Toast…Culinary masterpieces.

Source: Bankruptcy closes doors of historic Pig Stands | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Bankruptcy closes doors of historic Pig Stands | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Another page turns in the local history books…

It’s reputed to be the world’s first drive-through restaurant chain and the place where the onion ring was invented, the result of a cooking accident. In 82 years at the corner of Washington and Sawyer, the last remaining Houston location has been a hut, a collection of stalls served by carhops and a sit-down restaurant.

But now, the Pig Stand’s past looks rosier than its present. The city’s longest-running restaurant sat empty Monday, a victim of bankruptcy and back taxes that threaten to add it to the ever-growing list of bygone Houston institutions.

I can remember eating at the one in South Houston on a number of occasions before it closed back about the mid ’80’s.

They are the last vestiges of a chain that started in 1921 in Dallas as the first drive-through and grew into a dozens-strong regional empire that welcomed the age of fast food during a time when meals were handcrafted at home.

The stands evolved into drive-ins by the 1960s, when they dueled Prince’s in the Houston market. Both eventually became standard table-service restaurants as they ceded the fast food business to the large chains.

Over time, the Pig Stand has laid claim to a number of culinary firsts. Along with onion rings (said to have been invented in Dallas in the late 1920s when a cook accidentally dropped onions in batter and decided to fry them), chicken fried steak sandwiches and the barbecue pork mainstay known as the Pig Sandwich, owner Richard Hailey said Texas toast also was born at a Pig Stand.

Just wanted you folks to know we do make some history here in Texas. Onion Rings and Texas Toast…Culinary masterpieces.

Source: Bankruptcy closes doors of historic Pig Stands | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

What were the virtues of borage? – Herbal Folklore

I started reading KillerPlants a long tme ago, and still I find the daily emails informative. I discovered Borage quite a while ago also, and the flavoe of the flowers is still a delight ever time I taste one…
What were the virtues of borage? – Herbal Folklore: “Cool-tankard is now commonly known as borage (Borago officinalis Linnaeus). In A Modern Herbal (1931), Mrs. Grieve explains the use, ‘When steeped in water, it imparts a coolness to it and a faint cucumber flavour, and compounded with lemon and sugar in wine,…it makes a refreshing and restorative summer drink. It was formerly always an ingredient in cool tankards of wine and cider.'”

Friday 13

My Grandpa Sewell always thought 13 was his lucky number. His place in Orchard, TX was 2.13 acres by deed. The “ranch” he bought before he retired was 213 acres…maybe 213 should have been his lucky number…
He would have considered Friday the 13 as a most auspicious day, and enjoyed it immensely. It would have tied in well with his favorite “holiday”, April Fools Day. My how he enjoyed catching you in an April Fools Day joke.
In his spare time he ran a nursery out back of the house. His specialty was Live Oak trees. Even the scar on his arm looked like the silhouette of a Live Oak. He always had a few hundred growing in 1 and 5 gallon paint cans he recycled from the highway department…They always had splatters of white and “highway yellow” around the rims. I can remember, as a young child, following him down the rows of trees as he drug a hose behind him splashing a couple of inches of water into each can. As a I grew up I thought how monotonous that job must be.
Now I envy him the meditative nature of the sameness. I understand the reason for the daily recording of rainfall. The monitoring of the windmill and the cement tank that held the water until it was needed for the trees (though at the time the cement tank was nothing but our private swimming pool). The slow but steady movement from tree to tree, the swing of the arm to move the stream of water from can to can. Filling each to the rim before moving to the next, up one row…down the next…back up again.
Another memory is of the small clay pots he filled with dirt and spread under the White Oak Tree that grew behind the old chicken house. Talk about taking the long view…Grandpa placed those pots to catch the acorns which would fall and sprout under the parent tree. You don’t get a lot of trees this way, but the ones you do get tend to grow on. Where this old white oak came from I don’t know, it was unusual for the area in which we live. I don’t know that I have ever seen another in this part of Texas. Grandpa always could grow things that were commonly not grown where he grew them. I think his thumb was green all the way to his shoulder.
Grandpa Sewell died on the 12th of January 1995 at the age of 88. I miss him.

Howard Eugene Sewell
7 Jan 1907 – 12 Nov 1995