Saturday, September 26, 2009

Of Flood and Birthdays

Our trip to Canada ended last Wednesday 23rd September and we came back home around 10:30 pm not too sure as to what to expect as we had heard that there had been some hard rain and flooding. As we drove home we saw the above sign shining in the dark on the road just outside our house. Our house is on a hill but as soon as we opened the door we knew something had happened because of the bad wet carpet smell and the musty odor. The den/family room which is on the lower level and has a large sliding door to the garden had the carpet all wet. There was no standing water then as the storm was most severe on Monday 21st but the carpet was soaked and mold was starting to grow. Unfortunately before we left we started to clean our garage and placed many boxes and books on the floor in the den. Many books are a loss. I spent a long time sprinkling corn starch between the pages of some of my new cookbooks hoping that it will help. We have been working on this flooded den since then – our suitcases are still unpacked and it is raining hard right now.

These are the pictures, below, showing why our road is closed ahead – the Allatoona Creeek overflowed, less than ½ mile away. This is a dormant little creek which turned into a torrent.

Click on pictures to enlarge them

I called our home insurance company, but unfortunately this water damage is not covered. We cannot complain because apart from removing the carpet and installing new tiles on the floor as well as discarding wet books and other wet items it could have been much worse. Many family homes very close to us sustained major damage. Vice-President Joseph Biden came to our town yesterday then toured metro Atlanta by helicopter to look at some portions of the area still under water. At least 11 deaths were blamed on the storms. I have some pictures obtained from the City of Atlanta I can show you below. I shall indicate the roads for family and friends who know the neighborhood.

The following pictures were taken in our county, Cobb County.

Unfortunately many pets were left in flooded houses and barns. Below is the Fox Hollow Barn, but some horses were stranded inside.

Fox Hollow Barn

In my post of July 1, 2009, called Trails along the Chattahoochee River you can see how pretty this river is and how large and muddy it is now in the pictures below.

Houses close to small creeks or ponds were flooded - some to the roof tops, as you can see below.

Some parts of major highways in Atlanta were under water and closed for several days, as pictured below.

On Thursday morning when it was light we saw that instead of finding our outdoor plant dead it had grown beyond its little pot. The seeds in the bird feeders had sprouted and some unknown mushrooms had grown amongst the weeds. An empty bucket outside is now full of water, about 21 inches high. It is dark outside even though it is only 3:30 pm now, rain is pounding the roof and we are expecting another 6 inches before tomorrow.

Upon our return, we had planned to go out and eat at Canoe – a restaurant close to the Chattahoochee River. One of my blogging friends had recommended this restaurant to me not long ago and my husband and I were going to celebrate our daughters’ birthdays there. Our daughters are in California fortunately (floodwise) but we were going to celebrate anyway. Our celebration has been watered down (excuse the pun) to a TV dinner at home. Below is a picture of the restaurant.

Hopefully the river will soon be back resting in its bed and may look like the serene painting of Norwegian painter Fritz Thaulow (1847-1906.)

Today, September 26 is our daughter Jessica’s birthday. On September 29 it will be our daughter Céline’s birthday.

Below is a painting by Sir Thomas A. Kennington, English (1856-1916) called Mother’s Love.

I shall not post current pictures of Céline and Jessica as I did not clear this with them, but I have some pictures of when they were little girls. Below is a picture showing Céline with her long dark hair and Jessica with her blond hair.

Below are pictures in front of our former house in Decatur, Ga, in the Fall and during a rare snow day.

Three pictures below are showing them with their pet Bantam chickens, at the beach in Florida and in front of a wagon loaded with a cotton bale.

They could spend hours playing with their dolls. I do not have a picture of them then but here is a painting by Russian painter Alexei Alexeivich Harlamoff ( 1848-1925) entitled “Sisters” 1888.

We wish them a happy birthday time together with much happiness the whole year long.

Here is a vintage birthday card for Jessica’s birthday, today 26 September –

Here is a vintage birthday card for Céline’s birthday, for Tuesday 29 September -

I hope they will be taking many photographs but in the meantime below is a representative "sister" picture painted by English painter Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1823-1903.)

So far we have cleared only about 1/3 of the family room. There is a lot more to do before the carpet can be removed. I had planned to write a nice post, but the unforeseen rain event took precedence. Tomorrow the sun is scheduled to be back and the rain will go away.

Painting by John LaFarge, American (1835-1910) Wild Roses and Iris, 1887, watercolor and gouache.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bears on the Cherokee Reservation

We are continuing with our stay at the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina. Please see my earlier posts listed on the right side of my blog under “Native Americans.” In my last two posts on this subject entitled “In and Around the Cherokee Indian Reservation” of 11 Sept-09 which followed “The Oconaluftee Mountain Farm Museum” of 13-Aug-2009 I related our visits to the farmstead and the Mingus Mill. The next morning we were ready for more adventures. It was a lovely morning, clear crisp and sunny. We could hear the soft sound of moving water near our motel and walked down closer to the riverfront. (click on pictures to enlarge them.)

After leaving the river we were ready to go on our bear hunt. Below are two pages from the Cherokee guide book showing the bears and explaining the Cherokee Bear Project. Since the introduction text is quite small and may be too difficult to read here it is: “The idea for the Bears Project began in 2005, as (the town of) Cherokee wanted to showcase the variety of talented artists within the Qualla Boundary. Twenty-five artists were commissioned to individualize the bears and promote the visual expansion of downtown Cherokee .” A map was provided to find all the bears on the Reservation. Currently 15 bears are on view in and around downtown Cherokee.

First came Legendary Sunrise by Helen Martin Brings Plenty to welcome us and get us started on our tracking of the Cherokee bears.

Below is Patriot Bear honoring the veterans of the Armed Forces. The artist is William Harris, Jr.

The bears are very large, life-like in fiberglass and painted by artists from the Eastern Band of Cherokee. This bear had just been put on display and did not have a title yet.

Now if I could read and understand the Cherokee language I might have been able to read the name of the bear above. Around 1809 Sequoyah, a Cherokee silversmith, started to work on the creation of a Cherokee alphabet. By the 1820s his alphabet was adopted by the Cherokee Nation. Sequoyah’s syllabary has a system of 86 characters and it introduced the Cherokee Nation to literacy. Sequoyah’s invention was used for printing a newspaper, in education, communication and religious publication. It was an enormous contribution to the systems of writing of the world. There is a very large sculpture of Sequoyah in the center of Cherokee –

And a bear decorated by Charles Saunooke in his honor

Here is another bear without a title and not in the guide book. I wonder what the symbols mean? I do like the frog on his “derrière” though –

Below is “Harmony of Life” by Nikki Nations

Our map shows that one bear was on the other side of the Oconalutfee River which runs through town. So we took a small wooden bridge to cross the river and we saw it by the bank.

On the grass, close to a family of ducks, was the Fish Bear crafted by Faren Sanders Crew.

Don't forget to click on the pictures to enlarge them.

We stopped bear hunting for a while to rest along the river and observe the mama duck with her dozen ducklings.

They were swimming towards the bank

But should they cross the road, we knew they would be safe

The Cherokee culture recognizes Seven Clan Spirits: Bird, Blue, Deer, Hair, Paint, Wild Potato and Wolf. It is believed that, many moons ago, an eighth clan was recognized, and that was the Bear Clan. Below is “Our Forefathers” bear decorated by Tim Chilttoskie.

My husband especially liked Winter Bear, by Jenean Hornbuckle. From a distance it looks as if it were made of marble. But when you stand close to it you can distinguish a very fine winter landscape on its back, as if it were painted with a Chinese brush. Click on the pictures below to observe the winter scene.

These bears do tell a story – a Tribal story. Here is Cherokee Sunset by Joel Queen.

Although all the bears are the same size, each one is quite unique highlighting the individual artist’s vision. Below is Pottery Bear by Melissa Maney

We kept seeing bears along the way

Bears, bears everywhere. We needed to slow down and let the bears hibernate. But instead here is one below called Out of Hiber-Nation by Nikki Nations.

Well since Nikki plays with words, we’ll have to admit that we can’t “bear-ly” walk anymore and need a rest along the river.

And say “goodbye” to the gentle bears…


This post was scheduled to be published while I am away, but I’ll be back soon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

In and Around the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina

Mingus Mill

This is the continuation of the post called “Oconaluftee Mountain Farm Museum"of 13-August 2009 (earlier posts on the Cherokee Reservation can be found under “Native Americans” on the right side of my blog under the list of categories. ) After recounting our visit to the farmstead I ended the post by wondering whether we should keep exploring the area around the Oconaluftee River or go back to the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Cherokee, NC. Well we decided to stay around the river area and see what else we could find. Oconaluftee is the name of the river valley where, a long time ago, there was a Cherokee village and Appalachian community.

We drove down the road about ½ mile and saw a sign directing us to the “Mingus Mill, an 1886 Turbine Mill.” We parked and followed a trail to the site of the old mill.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

This historic grist mill, still on its original site, does not use a wooden water wheel to power all of the machinery of the building, but it uses a small working cast iron turbine instead. In the early 1900s this was still an operating mill grinding wheat and corn for the Appalachian community nearby. It stopped operation in the 1930s when the land, and the mill, was bought to be part of the newly created Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

John Mingus had the mill built in 1886 by Tennessean millwright S. Thomas Early and his assistant Aden Carver. It was completed in three months at a cost of $600. Until it was purchased by the Park Service in 1934 this mill operated at wholesale and retail levels. In 1937 when it was restored, Aden Carver was in his 90s and helped with the restoration. The mill was closed during World War II then reopened in 1968. In summer the mill is open and demonstrations are given showing how the mill originally operated.


Grinding cornmeal

Mingus Creek is the source of water for this mill. The water comes to the mill via a sluice (canal) and a wooden flume thus turning the turbine which provides power to the mill. See sketch below.

Starting at the mill we walked along the sluice canal

then I climbed a bit to look inside the sluice to take a picture.

We went up a trail to see where the creek emptied into the millrace. (Note: A sluice is a water channel that is controlled at its head by a gate (from Dutch word 'sluis'.) For example, a millrace is a sluice that channels water toward a water mill.)

We kept walking and looking at wild flowers

and mushrooms along the way

Then we arrived at Mingus Creek, where some of the water is diverted into the millrace ( which then flows down to the mill.)

It was so peaceful near this creek, just the birds chirping and the soft murmur of the water. We stayed there for a while, and then went back towards the mill to take pictures close to the wheel pit.

Don't forget to click on the pictures to enlarge them.

After a last look at the mill we left

We took a detour to drive back around the hills one more time

But it was getting late and we were a bit hungry so we decided to get back to the Reservation.

We stopped at a Cherokee restaurant to eat some authentic Cherokee fry bread with beans and a side of sweet potato fries.

….For a moment evening sun sits on a mountain top before he descends down;
And pretty soon native night creatures will be the only sounds;
Then the mountains become covered with a smoky mist;

As nature gives the land a good-night kiss;

Every star is lit as they sparkle throughout the night;
And treetops dance in the water with shadows by the moon light;

And soon the land of Cherokee becomes quiet;

Until morning, nature says goodnight.

-Frank Goss, 2006


Let me end by saying how grateful I am to all my blogging friends for leaving comments on my blog. I read them all and I thank you for your kind thoughts and encouragement. I especially enjoyed reading your comments about the French bashing subject I talked about in my last post. Unfortunately these anti French sentiments are still being passed around. Last Tuesday I received a copy of an anonymous email being forwarded at large about the ungratefulness of the French people towards the USA. It certainly would be bad if it was true but this email originated in 2003 and the facts in it are inaccurate. A good source for checking if an anonymous email is accurate or malicious, on any subject such as medicine, politics, religion, etc. is to go to the web site called Snopes, Urban Legends - it will show if the email is true or false. In the case of the French bashing showing how ungrateful the French were, it was false. Here is the site:

Thank you again for visiting my blog and writing comments on my posts – it is like having many new friends all over the country and new and nice connections all over the world. Having a circle of good friends in the blogosphere is something I appreciate.

I am going on a trip and the next one or two posts will be published while I am away. I won’t be able to go and comment on my readers’ posts either, but shall do so when I come back.

A vintage postcard you may like to thank you

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