Saturday, October 31, 2015

Apples and pumpkins in Ellijay, Georgia

October is over.  It went by so fast.  We have been very busy again this month and spent many days away from the house.  After our week spent in Tennessee there were two weddings in the family.  Unfortunately they were on the same day and in different states.  My husband's nephew was married by a lake, in Georgia, and a member of our younger daughter husband's family was married in Texas.  We went to the wedding in Georgia with our older daughter, fiance, son-in-law and two grandchildren.  Our younger daughter attended the wedding in Texas with the other two grandchildren (the sister of my daughter's brother-in-law was married that day.)  Here are three pictures of each wedding: by the lake, and my daughter and granddaughter wearing Indian saris in the Texas wedding.  In another picture they are with her parents-in-law.

This year again we went to take a look at the Chalkfest festival on the Marietta Square.  I took many pictures and will have them in a post shortly.  As I mentioned in my last post my main desktop computer broke down.  I did not buy another desktop computer, just a large size monitor to go with my laptop computer.  While we were away I took my other small notebook computer with me but it never let me access anything online, so it has to go for repair, too.  I rarely opened a computer and I am way behind again visiting my friends' blogs.  When I wrote my last post the leaves were still green here, but now some of the trees are starting to show beautiful fall colors.  I took these photos below yesterday in our yard.  The fallen leaves keep my husband busy sweeping.

My husband and I also spent about a week in the western North Carolina Mountains and the North Georgia Mountains.  It was a relaxing week - no telephone, no computer and no television.  While driving these very narrow and curvy roads in the mountains we listened to satellite radio in our car.  I took many pictures but they have not been downloaded yet.  We did see the waterfall below (photo courtesy Dave Allen.)

When we came back home we briefly tuned into our television and the Republican debate was being shown.  Although after I heard presidential candidate Jeb Bush's comments, I turned the television off.  For my friends out of the country - previous US President George W. Bush's younger brother Jeb is running for president this time.  And, just as the rest of the Bush family, Jeb likes to bash France.  Jeb, while attacking another candidate, Marco Rubio, told Marco that he needed to show up for work - and added it wasn't that difficult, given the Senate's "French 3-day work week." However, the French Ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, did not appreciate the comment and replied, via social media "A French work week of 3 days? No, but a pregnancy paid leave of 16 weeks yes! And proud of it."  It does not seem an intelligent diplomatic move for Jeb Bush to try becoming a US President by alienating and insulting a friend and ally.  I guess Jeb feels bashing the French is OK in the US, and a family tradition since he must have heard many similar racist comments from his brother, George (because French President Jacques Chirac did not want France, just like Germany, to join the US-led invasion of Iraq.)  Chirac had said "whenever there were difficult circumstances the French were side by side with the Americans.  The French don't either forget what America and Americans did for us in both world wars.  It is in our minds and also deep down in our hearts ..."  "But if I see my friend or somebody I dearly love going down the wrong path, then I owe it to him to warn him be careful ..."  Chirac thought it was an unnecessary war that would destabilize the region.

We had just finished traveling in beautiful autumnal landscape and this television program was a sad way to return to daily life.  Below are the mountains in the evening sun glow in North Carolina.

The next afternoon we reached Ellijay in the North Georgia Mountains.  I already wrote a post on the Apple Festival in Ellijay, an important event for the town.  See my post of October 18, 2011 "The Apple Festival in Ellijay."  This time we only stopped at the Panorama Orchards - a family run fruit farm established in the 1920's.  They offer more than 20 varieties of apples, as well as other fruits and vegetables.  They are located off the highway in front of another apple producer, Penland's Apple House.  The day we stopped the large Panorama Orchards market was full of patrons.  You can see in my picture below that some people came from Ringgold, GA, which is about 55 miles away (88 km.)

There were also colorful pumpkins for sale in the parking lot.  The market is on a hill and the mountains can be seen in the background.  On the other side you can see the railroad tracks and kudzu vines that will die out upon the first frost.

We started by looking at the bakery.  I placed some sourdough apple bread and a large apple pie in my basket.  We also stopped by the fudge counter.  We sampled some of the jams, spreads, barbecue sauces, etc., and I picked up a jar of sorghum syrup, and one of apricot-ginger teriyaki sauce for stir-fries.  (Click on collage to enlarge.)

Then we walked along the shelves that bear a multitude of preserves, jars, sauces, pickles and more.

Since it was almost 2:00 pm, we stopped and bought some ice cream as a small lunch meal ...  We also bought, to take home, some fried apple pies.

I then took pictures of the fried apple pie bakers and staff - some stopped their work to smile at me.

The market has an "old timey" style.  Antiques are used to hold merchandise and notes are written on blackboards.  You can also watch where cider is being made.

Before leaving we went towards the fresh apple stands.

First, we tasted samples of all the apples for sale and selected one half peck of the Pink Lady and Cameo varieties.

Back home I took my apples outdoor and placed them on the table in a still-life type arrangement, such as in the painting of Paul Cezanne below.

Pommes et biscuits - Paul Cezanne, French, 1839-1906

Of course my apples are a photographic still-life.  I am not sure which picture I like the best - I did take 20 pictures of the apples, here are some of them below.

But it is Halloween night, so I should show pumpkins instead of apples.  Here are three of my grandchildren below with pumpkins and some vintage postcards.

and I'll finish this post with a worked-up picture of one of my apples style-life.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Rippavilla Plantation in Tennessee

It was raining most of the time last week while we were in Tennessee.  We drove to our daughter Jessica's house in Brentwood, near Nashville, on September 26, 2015, to celebrate her birthday.  We did celebrate it on Sunday evening, eating barbecue in the backyard, the only time the weather was mild and dry.  The barbecue came from "Corky's Ribs and Barbecue."  Our other daughter, Celine, had taken us to the oiriginal Corky's restaurant in Memphis, TN, when we visited her there several years ago while she lived in Memphis. (Memphis restaurant shown below.)

As we were finishing our meal I observed the stunning sunset behind the trees.  This was the only sunset we saw while we were in Tennessee as it rained daily.

While we were in Tennessee my son-in-law made an appointment for me to see one of his friends, a knee doctor.  We drove to this doctor in Columbia, TN.  After the x-rays were taken, the doctor said that all the cartilage in my knees is gone and I need knee replacement.  He said that walking must be very painful - it is.  The doctor recommended that I see another specialist for my left foot which is also painful.  That doctor recommended surgery for my foot.  I have not been sick often but I have had several injuries at work in my knees and foot and arthritis has set in the joins.  Anyhow, while driving through the town of Spring Hill, TN, we saw an old mansion.  Since we were early for the doctor's appointment we stopped.  The name of the house was "Rippavilla Plantation."  (Click on collage to enlarge.)

There was a large open field with an historic marker.  It indicated that this was the site of a Civil War battle, the Battle of Spring Hill which took place on November 29, 1864.

Last year the Battle of Spring Hill sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) was commemorated with hundreds of re-enactors, cannons and gunfire. (Photos courtesy Rippavilla.)

 The Rippavilla Plantation leaflet indicates that "..during the Civil War, troops of both armies camped and fought battles on and near the plantation.  Both Union and Confederate generals used Rippavilla as their headquarters.  In the dining room on November 30, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood outlined plans for the Battle of Franklin."  Thousands of Union and Confederate troops lost their lives in the Rippavilla fields but now the fields look peaceful and quiet.  However, paranormal investigations are hosted periodically at Rippavilla.  People have heard footsteps in the basement, banging doors, seen shadows, heard voices in some empty rooms and witnessed a doll and craddle moving on its own in the nursery ... The investigations are called "Whispers from the Past."

I think the old building below must have been a slave cabin, but it was sprinkling, the grass was wet and not easy for me to walk on, so I did not get close to read the sign.  I understand that before the Civil War 75 slaves resided at the plantation.

We drove close to the museum gift shop housed in the old carriage house, parked the car and went in.  There we read information about the plantation.  It has been restored to its 1860s appearance and contains many original period family antique pieces, family heirlooms and genuine Civil War artifacts.  However we were pressed for time, so we will visit the house interior in the future.  Rippavilla Plantation does not receive local, state or federal money for its expenses or upkeep, so I bought several souvenirs including postcards, a hand-made box containing a calligraphy pen (pictured on top and bottom of this post) and a small disk of wood.  A 400 years old oak tree fell during a heavy storm and small disks from it are offered for sale to benefit the plantation.  Here is my disk below (the initials SH mean Spring Hill.)  It must have been cut from a fallen branch.  Pictures of the tree courtesy Rippavilla Plantation.

The rain had stopped so we walked through the back patio to view the front of the house.

After passing through a wrought iron gate we saw another fountain and workers trimming a tree.

There certainly were some large old trees around the house.

Then we saw the front of the mansion.  This house was built in the 1850s by Nathaniel Cheairs for his family - his wife Susan McKissack Cheairs and their children.  Nathaniel was a Major in the Confederate Army.  He had voted against Secession during the Tennessee Referendum of 1861 but went ahead and joined his neighbors going to war (he was made prisoner twice) while his wife and children stayed home.  Below is a portrait of Nathaniel Cheairs and one of Susan and her daughter Sara.

The house was not destroyed during the war as it was used as a headquarters building.  Nathaniel Cheairs died in 1893 and his wife Susan in 1914, but the mansion stayed in the family until 1920.  This Greek revival plantation home still sits on its original 1,100 acres (445.15 ha.)

I wish we could have visited the interior of the house but we had an appointment to keep.  We walked around the house and I took several pictures - but it started sprinkling again, so we returned to our car in the back.

The plantation brochure states that their mission is to preserve, restore and interpret the buildings and grounds of the Cheairs' family in order to create a site to be used as an education institution.  During the year Rippavilla Plantation entertains several festivals, re-enactments, car shows, and can also be rented for weddings and special events.  (The following photos courtesy the plantation - remember to click twice on the collage to see better.)

Rippavilla Plantation is decorated at Christmas time.

It must be very pretty under the snow.

Below are some of the postcards I purchased and additional interior photos from the plantation as well as a photo of one of the docents who conduct tours.

Here is an interesting note that I found out - In the 1850s, William McKissack, a brickyard owner in Spring Hill, offered free bricks and free slave labor to build Rippavilla Plantation as a wedding gift to his son-in-law Nathaniel Cheairs.  Brothers Moses and Calvin McKissack, descendants of a former McKissack slave who had been a trained builder, formed one of Nashville's earliest architectural and engineering partnerships, McKissack and McKissack.  The firm was based in Nashville, TN, and is now based in New York City and Washington, DC.  It was the first African-American owned architectural firm in the US and is the oldest minority-owned architecture and engineering firm in the country.  Below is Moses McKissack, a photo of Sam Bond among children - a former slave then the plantation overseer after he gained his freedom, and an old photo in front of the house.

We did not stay long at this historic plantation, but we enjoyed learning about its past and were glad we had stopped.

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