'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Douglas Lake Dam

We made a quick stop by Douglas Lake Dam recently when we went to the Bush's Beans place with our company. The Dam is a hydroelectric facility with four generating units. It was one of the many dams built by the TVA during WWII to meet the emergency energy demands. Today the 43 mile reservoir is an integral part of water control in Tennessee and a much loved recreation spot!

It's a lovely spot and we look forward to having picnics there!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park and Fort Watauga

The Overmountain Men story is one of the greatest in American history. The fight for freedom during the Revolutionary War was in doubt, an untrained volunteer militia of 'backwater' men from the Appalachian backcountry marched 330 miles over rugged mountains and waded through raging rivers to confront the world's most feared and powerful army. The Overmountain Men's defeat of the British at Kings Mountain, South Carolina on October 7, 1780 was a turning point in the Revolutionary War. These men mustered at Sycamore Shoals to march to King's Mountain. Over a thousand men met here on September 25, 1780 to march. I love standing on sites like this, where history happened! Sycamore Shoals was part of the earliest settlement outside the 13 original English colonies. It was here that the Watauga Association, the first majority-rule system of American democratic government, was formed in 1772.

It's also the site of the Transylvania Purchase of 1775 which included Daniel Boone as one of the negotiators. This was a private real estate transaction between Richard Henderson, a North Carolina land speculator and the Cherokee Indians. The Cherokee signed a treaty and transferred 20 million acres over, which included the narrow tract of land through the Cumberland Gap that became The Wilderness Road. This transaction divided the Cherokees who were devoted to protecting their lands. The British Army began providing guns and ammunition to these Cherokees and a powder keg waswaiting to explode! Knowing it was only a matter of time a fort had to built for protection.

Fort Watagua was very near the Shoals and has been re-constructed in the park with careful attention to details found when the remains were uncovered about a mile down river. It was not built to be a permanent outpost. Mathew Talbot's farm homestead was chosen to be the site of the fort. He operated the first gristmill  and his location was well known. The settlers hastily constructed a palisade wall between the closely grouped buildings on Talbot's farm and created the fort. On July 21, 1776 nearly 300 Cherokee warriors attacked Fort Watauga. The attack was fierce and lasted about three hours with random attacks losing about two weeks. 150 people took shelter inside the fort. The fort was successfully defended with minimal casualties among the settlers. The defeated Cherokee fled further south. The last written record of the fort was in 1777. In the mid 1780's Talbot and his family moved to Georgia.

We visited here recently. The fort isn't open to go inside on a daily basis but there are lots of events and re-enactments going on at Sycamore Shoals all year. There's a really nice museum to walk through too. Nearby Carter Mansion is also a park of the Park. It's the oldest frame house in Tennessee. We didn't get there yet. Thats for another day! Here are the pictures I took during our visit. Click the links in the post to learn more and to see whats going on at the park through the year.

This is a shot of the inside of the fort I took through a crack in the fence.

this is the field where the Overmountain men assembled

over 2 miles of lovely walking paths through the park

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My Mountain and Birds

We've got some exceptional photos of the mountain lately, thought I'd share them with you.

The sunrises have been lovely lately. When I get up the house is bathed in golden light coming in from the sunrise. I find myself getting up early just to see it. On this morning there were lots of clouds to make it really spectacular!

And the mockingbirds are back so the air is filled with their songs in the morning!

And the Pileated woodpecker was around again and I got a great shot of him!

and a cardinal...

check out this sunset! My company was still here and all four of us were out in the front taking pictures. The pic doesn't do the color of blue behind the clouds justice. It was unbelievable!

The bright hunter's moon the other night was reflecting off the metal roof of my neighbor's house...

and finally we are starting to get color on the mountain! The last two weeks of October, first week of November are suppose to be the peak here from what I've heard. I used the vivid setting on the camera because it never catches the real color I see.

Driving home from Johnson City at dusk the other night was absolutely magical. The sky was bathed in gold, I was driving towards the west and it felt like I was driving into a mythical land. No pictures though. I love this place!

The Chessmen by Peter May

from back cover...
Now permanently resettled on the island of his birth in the Outer Hebrides, ex-detective Inspector fin Macleod has been employed by a local landowner to oversee security on a sizable estate. His security detail at the Red River Estate brings Fin into contact with elusive local poacher and former school friend Whistler Macaskill.
  As Fin pursues Whistler across the moors, they are forced into temporary shelter by a massive storm. When they emerge the next morning, they are greeted by the aftermath of a free natural phenomenon - a 'bog burst' - that has drained an entire loch of its water, revealing a mud-encased light aircraft in its wake. Struggling through the muck, Fin and Whistler are appalled by what they find inside: the body of their friend and former bandmate Roddy Mackenzie, whose single-prop plane disappeared in the area more than seventeen years earlier-just as Roddy was becoming an international rock star. Worse, the condition of the skeletal remains makes it clear Roddy was murdered rather than killed in the crash.
  As he closes in on the truth behind the death of Roddy Mackenzie, Fin is confronted by the ghosts of his youth-and by the painful and unexpected ways in which the events of the past have warped the contours of the present.

Another great read by Peter May! His characters are so well drawn and the settings are so real. I always have trouble putting one of his books down. I especially liked the unveiling of the deep friendship and connection between Fin and Whistler in this one. Several very sad things happen in this one. I'm sorry this is the last in the series with Fin. I enjoy 'visiting' him!

Picked up coffin Road while in Scotland this summer though so I have that to look forward to and Entry Island is waiting on the shelf too!

This makes number 19 for Read Scotland 2016. Two more to go to meet my level.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

When I was young we went to Pinnacle Point at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Middlesboro Kentucky, just over the Tennessee border. The Gap is the where Daniel Boone, in 1775, forged the Wilderness Road and took folks over the Appalachians to Kentucky, Ohio and beyond. For thirty years upwards of 300,000 people migrated west through this narrow natural gap in the great mountain range.

We took Shelley and her dad up a couple weeks ago. It's changed so much since I was last there! We use to go on highway 25E through the gap. When the park was opened in 1955 it was envisioned that that highway would be removed and the Gap and the Wilderness Road would be restored to a 1700's appearance. They completed that vision in 1996. Everything looked so different than I remember except the Pinnacle overlook. There is a place you can stand in three states at once and we have pics of us standing there and it was a concrete path with white lines drawn and the states names on it. We parked in the pinnacle overlook and it was somewhere right there. Now we had to walk almost 2 miles in on a rough path through the woods, the Wilderness Road, to it and it was totally different. I didn't walk it, but Bossman and Tom did and their pics were totally different. There's a beautiful tunnel through the mountain now instead of going over it. I guess there were lots of wrecks on 25E over the years. It was a very windy mountain road. But the steep, windy road to Pinnacle Point hasn't changed! I was terrified on it as a kid!

It's a fascinating part of history and I'm really interested in it as my folks were part of this region and time period although they probably never went over the Gap as they settled in TN.

I'm going to share a few photo's we took and some excellent links you can follow to see more pics and read about this time period of history if your so inclined!

The Gap was utilized by both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War

Fern Lake off in the distance, in Kentucky

Kentucky to my right looking from Pinnacle Point Overlook

Virginia to my left

Tennessee in the middle. The section circled in red is the road that took us straight
through the mountain via the new tunnel.

Wilderness Road

Check out more...

Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association

Tennessee History for Kids

and of course the two links in the opening paragraph. There is a lot to do here, hiking, history, caves and they do festivals and re-enactments. A nice place for a family vacation!

Peggy Ann

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Fantastic Find!

Look what I found today at Book Warehouse! I'm so pumped! Lovely Dover editions of nearly impossible to find (according to Dover) mysteries by R.T. Campbell. Campbell is the pen name of Scottish author Ruthven (pronounced riven) Campbell Todd. Born in Edinburgh in 1914 he was a poet, art critic, scholar and novelist of children's books and science fiction. He wrote eight mysteries in 1945 and 1946 but abandoned detective writing for other literary projects. $2.99 each! Fantastic find! Can't wait to finish The Chessmen to dig into one of these!

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