Friday, April 17, 2015

red clay day

The sun came out for one day! The dirt here in OK looks just like GA, red clay. The first challenge on a job is the soil. It can be rocky or swampy or boggy or sandy, this time it is clay. 

The graders know what to do in any case, although it seems they are never happy, the dirt is either too wet from the rain or too dry. It is never just right. When it doesn't rain they have to add water to the dirt, hence the two huge water containers. 

Just another day in paradise according to Buddy. If you are traveling out this way in about 8 months or so, stop by and get your gas at the new Love's Travel Stop in Guthrie, OK!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

land rush

The Oklahoma Land Rush - April 22, 1889 - the anniversary to be soon celebrated here in Guthrie, Oklahoma during 89ers Days
The land run started at high noon on April 22, 1889, with an estimated 50,000 people lined up for their piece of the available two million acres. Due to the Homestead Act of 1862, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, legal settlers could claim lots up to 160 acres in size. Provided a settler lived on the land and improved it, the settler could then receive the title to the land.

Just what is a Sooner anyway?
A number of the people who participated in the above mentioned Land Rush entered the unoccupied land early and hid there until the legal time of entry to lay quick claim to some of the most choice homesteads. These people came to be identified as "Sooners."

Last week we arrived to stake our own claim on a piece of land here in Oklahoma, and here it is:

For a mere $400 a month we get a water spigot, concrete pad, some mud, a sewer hole, slow WiFi. Electricity is extra, metered out. Oh and a tornado siren. 

No picnic table, no cable TV, a few small trees. It is quiet, it is packed full of worker types like us, just making a living on the road. This is home sweet home for a few months. 

~top photo - "The Oklahoma Land Rush, April 22, 1889." John Steuart Curry, artist. Painting depicting race involving people in wagons, on horseback, and a bike to stake claims on land plots. One of the wagon canvas's says "Oklahoma or Bust." ~Wikipedia

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

patchwork and politics

I usually stay out of politics, but this story caught my attention. While typing away I was halfway listening to the Today Show in the background. It was Monday morning after Hillary Clinton announced her run for presidency on Sunday.

They were discussing the logo being used for her campaign, the tweets that went out about how it looked like different things, from the symbol for Hospital to flags of different nations. Then I heard the word 'quilt' and stopped typing to watch the story. Someone had used Hillary's logo to make a picture of a virtual quilt, very creative.  (pictured at top)

I googled Hillary Clinton quilt and found another recent story about her and a quilt, this one from Huffington Post about an excerpt from her book, where she is talking about the gift of a quilt she received at the birth of her granddaughter:

"Among all the gifts and cards that arrived not long after Charlotte did was a package … [where] inside I found a red, white, and black patchwork that included panels with inspiring inscriptions and famous photos of Chelsea through the years. I held it up to the light and had to smile at the familiar images. A 'memory quilt' was a good name for it," she writes.
"I wondered for a moment what a quilt of my own life would look like. There were so many people who had taught me so much. And now I had one more. In just a few months, Charlotte had already helped me see the world in new ways. There was so much more to do. So many more panels waiting to be filled in. I folded up the quilt and got back to work.”

I went to Hillary's twitter page just to see it, and found her profile description amusing:

LOL hair icon, pantsuit aficionado.

Not an endorsement, just interesting at this point. Maybe one of the other candidates will talk about quilts, if so I will let you know! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

rain in OK

Oklahoma you are welcome.

Yes, I know you have been in severe drought up until now, but not to worry, Buddy is here now and that will soon change. 

The weather and news folks on local TV are ecstatic with all the 'much-needed rain' in the forecast.

The crops will thrive, the spring flowers will bloom.

The dry red clay job site will turn into a sloppy mess, filling the silt fences and testing the mud cops.

Once again he is earning his company nickname - Muddy Buddy!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

vacation 2015 - hiking

Little River Trail at Elkmont



Elkmont cabin

Vacation 2015

Day 3

Quest for wildflowers. We drove out to our favorite trail, at Elkmont, the Little River Trail. It follows the river for miles, very scenic and peaceful. We found a few trillium, checked out the old cabins there, and of course as we got out about 2 miles the rain started. I had rummaged around in the basement before our trip and found these old Dollywood rain ponchos, which we took hiking. As the rain started, I put on one which came to my knees and did a good job covering my camera and me, then I looked over at Buddy - he obviously got the kid-sized one from our trip with the grandkids many years ago :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

vacation 2015 - Dollywood

Vacation 2015

Days 2 and 4 at Dollywood

Vacation means R&R for most folks, for us it means rain and rollercoasters. We tried out the newest coasters at Dollywood, the Wild Eagle and the Firechaser. And of course the old favorite Thunderhead. On Monday it was cloudy and rainy, the park was not too crowded. But on Wednesday the sun was out and we soon discovered that it was Spring Break and half the country decided to go to Dollywood.

We have not been in many years, and kept seeing new things and missing old ones. The shop that used to make buggies is gone, now a pottery shop. The ropes course is gone to make way for a new roller coaster. The big round fountain that was in the middle is gone, more picnic tables. And of course before the fountain there was a stage there where Carrie clogged way back when.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

GSMNP quilt contest

At the Oconaluftee Visitor Center there is a quilt hanging over the fireplace, encased in glass, it was hard to get a good picture of it because of the glare.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the GSMNP, a quilt contest was held. The winner was Naomi Davis of Sevierville, Tennessee.

"My Smoky Mountain Memories" is the quilt, described in a handout at the desk. The following was copied verbatim, not sure if this was written by the quiltmaker, or if these typos are from the government agency who is handing it out:

Quilt block description .. starting at the left top coner...

(1) "Log Cabin" .. Remines us of all the folk that came and settled in these mountains. Some of the cabins these folk built still remain in the park today to let us see how they lived, and the places they choose for their homes.

(2) "Split Rail Fence" .. They split the logs to make fences to protect their homes, gardens and to show their boundary lines.

(3) "The Mill Wheel" .. There had to be mills built to grind their grains. They were built alone the creek banks to use the power of the water for the big stone wheels. Some of these mills are still in the park for visitors to see.

(4) "Peaceful Hours" .. In 1934 this land was set aside for a national park, therefore we can spend many peaceful hours relexing and enjoying all the beauty this "Great Smoky Mountain National Park" has to offer everybody that comes here to visit.

(5) "Stepping Stones" .. There are many, many hiking and motor trails to explore, one being the "Appalachian Trail" that runs the lenght of the park.

(6) "Hills and Valleys" .. From the trails, one can explore the hills and valleys. Cades Cove on the south end and Cataloochee on the north end of the park, with lots to see and enjoy in between.

(7) "Crossed Canoes" .. Before the settlers came to these mountains, the "Cherokee Indians" used canoes for travel on the waterways. Now visitors use them for recreation in the many streams in the park.

(8) "Turkey Tracks" .. Wild turkeys still roam the park in a lot of places. Keep a sharp eye as you go alone trails and the motor trails. You should be able to spot them in Cades Cove, on the Cherokee Orchard motor trail and many other locations in hte park.

(9) "Butterfly at the Crossroads" .. There are many butterflies to be seen in these mountains. Hope you can be here to see the Monarch as it migrates back to Mexico.

(10) "Flock of Geese" .. When they fly north, it is a reminder that spring is here. Then all the beautiful "Wild Flowers" peek out to welcome us. When they fly south it's time for the beautiful fall colors.

(11) "Maple Leaf" .. As fall comes, the maple tree shows it's colors so brite it can't be missed. With all the beautiful fall colors, then we know winter can't be far behind.

(12) "Bear's Paw" .. Of all the animals in the park, the "Black Bear" is the best known. And with winter coming on us, it's time for the bears to take their winter nap. Hope all that visit the park will be able to see one.

(13) The animals at the top of the quilt is only a sample of the ones that live her. The "Wild Flowers" at the bottom is a very small sample of the flowers that grow here. These are pictures I have taken, I have a collection of about (150) I have taken over the years here in the park.

Flowers... in center of quilt - Pink lady slipper and pink trillium. Bottom - left to right - May Apple, Showy Orchis, Indian Pink, Dogwood, Wild Geranium, Heal-All, Heart's-a-Burstin (spring), Heart's-a-Burstin (fall), Coreopsis, Vasey's Trillium, Yellow Lady Slipper, Sweet Shrub, Yellow Violet, Jack-in-the-Pulpit and the Thistle.

Monday, April 6, 2015

vacation 2015 - Gatlinburg

yellow trillium
Little Pigeon River

Vacation 2015

Day 1 continued

After leaving the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on the south side of the park, we drove over and through the mountains to the north side, where the Sugarland Visitor Center is located near Gatlinburg. We hiked the Gatlinburg trail along the Little Pigeon River, enjoying the wildflowers and remnants of the past. 

Finally we arrived at our destination, our hotel room with a view of the city and mountains:

view from our balcony Edgewater Hotel

balcony view looking down at river