Monday, May 31, 2010

Secret Spot

We camped with friends on the other end of the yard. This is actually in Rhea County and is not as serious a hike as we usually take but the destination is a sensory overload.

Our Memorial Day Weekend camp out was way cool. Actually the water in this spot was more than just cool. Grown men make noise like girl. Girls make noise like grown man. 

For our work project we hauled out 7 trash bags of bottles, beer cans, and things that are unmentionable on a family oriented blog. We cleaned up several campfire sites where folks had thrown bottles and cans into the fire, thinking somehow that would make them go away. We have barely made a scratch in the amount of trash that has been thrown out but the campsite, at least, no longer offends the sensibilities. 

I took a privy design from the LSU Ag Extension and created a kit for the privy that could be carried in to what we hope is will be a often visited campsite. We located it above the flood zone in a private spot with a nice view. In the process we found this installation in a laurel thicket, installed, no doubt, by one of the legions of atv'ers who are no longer allowed to ride into this private land. The plastic bucket lid carved into a toilet seat is a nice touch, don't you think?
More pictures as I get around to them.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Scary Saturday Factoid

Contemplate This!
Total value of the 10,149 U.S companies acquired since 2001 by foreign interests: $1,480,000,000,000.00
That would be another 1.5 trillion dollars in foreign owned US corporations that the Supreme Court recently gave personhood to in the worst decision ever. We have now witnessed the selling of our elected officials allegiance to foreigners rather than that totally outdated and disenfranchised loser group know as "We, The People".
WE continue to install that idiotic fence to keep Mexicans out of our asparagus fields... Where's the border fence that's going to keep the People's Republic of China out of our elections?  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Robin Hood Gets It

What would Robin do?

"Would he be political? Would he aim at certain figures and try to bring them down? Would his aim be economic? Would he be looking at Wall Street and the huge sums of money that people have been patting themselves on the back with, and the subprime mortgage collapse?
"Or would he be looking at what you guys do for a living and realizing that the true wealth lies in the dissemination of information? And my theory would be, if Robin Hood was alive today, he would be looking at the monopolization of media as the greatest enemy." 

Russell Crowe speaking on the hero he plays in the new movie.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bigger Than They Say

The BP oil gusher is growing at about 300 square miles a day, 4,683 square miles as of 3 days ago. Satellite photos are being examined by SkyTruth to get those numbers. They calculate the oil gusher to equal 25,000 barrels per day, five times the claims by BP. I swear there must be some law firm specializing in lies for disaster damage control because this is very similar to the flow of "worser" information as a more accurate picture of the TVA disaster unfolded.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thought for Today

One of the key people who alerted police to the failed Times Square car bomb was a street vendor, Aliou Niasse. He is a Senagalese immigrant. He is a Muslim. 

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day Hike

WE hiked by the wild turkey nest and found it empty. Looking around we found lots of empty egg shells that look like this. Here's hoping this is what the shells look like when the babies break through and that there's a happy turkey momma out there with eleven poults roaming around the gorge.

A Jack in the Pulpit sits in the middle of our trail. I put a rock next to it so folks won't step on it. Even so it is tough to see.

This is a carnivorous plant called Round Leaf Catch Fly that lives on the sandstone cliffs of the Cumberland Plateau. It's closely related to Fire Pink. The leaves have sticky hairs that catch midges and other small insects from which the plant gets its nitrogen. this lets it survive in really harsh environs like the sandstone cliffs of East Tennessee. All that said, it's a striking flower.

As we sat on the rock above the previously mentioned flower it comes to us that today was a stunningly beautiful Mother's day.

Off in the distance is Star Mountain and Gee Mountain, as the locals call it. Between them flows the Hiwassee River. Closer and more prominent is Whites Creek. The hills on the left and right are Walden's Ridge, ,cut clean through by White's Creek. There are two eagles in this picture, believe it or not. You should have been with us today. 

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Aliens Among Us

The Lady Slippers are in bloom at Whites Creek.

There are several wild orchids in East Tennessee but the Pink Lady Slipper is the largest and maybe the showiest of the bunch. They are symbiotic with pines and a certain fungus so they don't grow just everywhere. We feel honored that there are so many patches of them on Whites Creek. 

And so are the Sweet Shrub, but they aren't at their peak scent just yet.

Tree fern fossils don't need a season. Lepidodendrons grew to 150 feet high in the carboniferous age when all of Tennessee's coal was deposited. This is the fossil of the bark of this giant fern. We see the fossils of the fronds and roots all along Whites Creek.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Baby Blue

So I'm sitting here wondering why the blue birds are in a tizzy and then they start dive bombing this guy and I know why the blue birds are in a tizzy. It's all about protecting the babies! There's five I think.

So I grab the camera and go down there and see the babies start flying out of the nest box, only flying is not exactly what they did...More like falling out of the nest while flapping their little blue wings for all they're worth. It is a matter of life and death, after all.

Mom and Dad did an amazing job on the black rat snake and drove him out of the tree with such vigor that he dropped the last ten feet in a free fall to get away from them. With the snake dealt with they turned toward me. I tried to stand without flinching as they flew right at my head, blue missiles out of the sun. They came right at me without so much as veering an inch until they were literally two feet from my head and I flinched.

It's a dangerous world out there but here's hoping!

As the morning has progressed I've bashed the cat to make it turn loose of one baby and pried another baby out of a black racer's mouth. Both babies are still out there being fed even after the trauma. The racer got loose and disappeared under a rock. The cat will probably hate me until supper time when it hears the can being opened.

Here's hoping the parents move the babies away from the nest area which seems to have collected more than its fair share of predators. Other than my cat guilt, the only threat I really begrudge are the blue jays. They just kill other bird babies, for what reason I don't know.

This is the last straggler, which I nudged off the porch to get it to join the rest of its siblings. Stupid me, there was a snake waiting below and I had to run around and make up for my interference by transporting the serpent to the other end of the yard. This particular snake is one I've interacted with before so it was unperturbed even after being carried around until I poked it a little to make it hide.

It could be that I should have dealt with the cat and left nature to deal with the others. Five babies may be too many for a breeding pair to raise safely. I'll just watch from here on out.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Schermerhorn's Big Organ... Blower All Wet

Sorry...Fingers...can't stop..fingers from...typing....


Hey, it's a disaster. We cry, we laugh, we cry.

Everybody can help a little by going Here.

TVA Board Member to Head Karl Rove's Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

I have to renew my call for Mike Duncan to resign from the board of TVA. He is a political hack with no business making decisions for the people of Tennessee:
American Crossroads  — designed to counter spending by labor and progressive groups, including the AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Unit and — will focus on voter contact with the potential to move into ground game and turnout efforts. Organized under the tax code as a Section 527 organization, meaning it can spend directly on political activity, it’s set an ambitious budget of $52 million and says it’s already received commitments for $30 million of that. Its president and CEO is former top U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive Steven Law; its political director is veteran GOP operative Carl Forti. The chairman is Mike Duncan, former RNC chairman; the treasurer is Jo Ann Davidson, former RNC co-chairwoman; and the secretary is Jim Dyke, former RNC communications director.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Redstate Report on the Flood

From our "It's nice to be noticed" Department:

Socially and politically incorrect, but hey...

Red State Report