Tuesday, April 30, 2013


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The visitors center for the Civil War battlefield at Shiloh is located near Savannah, Tennessee. We stopped there and saw a 45 minute, excellent film re-enactment of this important, strategic battle before venturing into the park. The U.S. National Military Cemetery is close to the Visitors Center.
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A sad but meaningful walk among those who gave all dots the landscape.
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It is a reminder that every state was involved in the Civil War when you see Iowa, Ohio, and Michigan on the tombstones.
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Markers like this, of the unidentified soldier outnumber those identified of the 3500 men buried here.
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Cannon balls and barrels mark this spot where once a huge tree sheltered General Grant.
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Positioned cannon are located and pointed in the direction of the battle. The battle ground covers an area of three miles and we drove from stop to stop.  There are many tombstones along the route that  indicate where the bodies fell. The Confederate bodies were buried in two mass graves.
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The visitors center has pictures of idealistic young men going off to stand for their country. The youngest soldier in this battle according to historians was 16. Most were aged 21 to 30. The youngest person in the battle was not a soldier.
10 year old Drummer
It is hard to believe this ten-year old boy served as a drummer and marched to war, most likely along with his father. Each regiment had a young drummer as part of the corp, most of them were 12 to 15 years old. Incomprehensible to me.
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Visiting the battlefield was meaningful after the film which explained the importance and the strategies both failed and successful of both sides. It re-enacts those people who witnessed, who wrote letters, who survived to tell the tale; and a sad tale of unimaginable carnage is told here. It also makes one remember the word unity that Lincoln spoke so eloquently about at the close of the war. Unfortunately, with his assassination, that unity did not come about and that same problem resonates to this day. History’s lessons are soon forgotten. If you travel along this major waterway, the Tennessee River, make Shiloh a place to stop and remember.

Monday, April 29, 2013


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It’s hard to leave this peaceful, beautiful spot. But, adventure calls. The woodpile and fire pit are ready for summer evening programs.
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A couple of Mallards have made Cherokee Landing home. They don’t mingle with the bigger geese, we notice.
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From the bridge I saw underwater movement.  A whole school of fish were under me and a couple shots turned out.
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The ranger told me there is  bass, sunfish and catfish, maybe more types of fish in the lake. All good eating and bass a real challenge for fishermen.
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The dogwood are almost finished blooming, here. This branch survived the hard rains.
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Beautiful new growth on a type of oak is drenched with raindrops. (enlarge by clicking on photo).
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What looks like blossoms in this evergreen tree is debris from above caught in wet globs in the needles. DSC05081 (Copy)
If you find yourself traveling near Saulsbury, Cherokee Landing is a pleasant stop at any time of year.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


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It rained all day yesterday with brief interludes of clearing. We stayed close to the motor home and caught up with computer tasks, watched part of Downton Abby Season three from a disk, and walked out for short periods between squalls. Joyful geese enjoyed the puddles.
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I know geese like snails,bugs,and worms, but we’ve seen them eat nothing but grasses,  weeds and pond plantsDSC05050 (Copy)

Momma and poppa goose are very protective of their four goslings and he crooks his neck and points it forward and continues to bob if he thinks we are getting too close. One can’t blame him. Four goslings is a small flock. Normally geese hatch nine, to thirteen eggs. They may have lost part of this hatch.
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The goslings still have remnants of their yellow fluff around the neck and rear. It won’t be long and they’ll be full feathered and on their own.
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About 4p.m. the sun broke through and we wandered farther afield to a different part of the lake.DSC05058 (Copy)

One of the rangers told me it had rained 16 hours straight the day before we arrived. For them it was a worrisome to see the lake dangerously low. But, as you can see, the recent storms have filled the lake above its normal level and into the tree line.
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Ground mosses bright and healthy.
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Cherokee Landing rents rustic log cabins, that are duplexes. They hold two families. Nice for family reunions when you can share space.
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I call them rustic because they are unpainted;  left to weather naturally. The antenna and electric lights tell you it isn’t terribly rustic. I met a couple who love it here at this time of year because the park is so quiet and peaceful and pretty. Out of a couple hundred sites, probably seven of them are occupied.

The sun soon disappeared and more rain fell along with a rain forecast for today. We decided to pop popcorn and enjoy a movie again after supper.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


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I don’t know why, but everyone seems to love a bird house. They can be varied and interesting to be sure. In fact in my neck of the woods, Larry Bird had a real estate office in the shape of  giant bird house. I wish I had taken a picture of it at the time. It was torn down to make way for a highway widening several years ago.
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Here at Cherokee Landing, birds are very lucky. They have many choices, like this square hole for a bigger bird. I saw a small bird with babies in one like this, only smaller with a round hole.
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Since this is a campground, a bird house painted to look like a log cabin fits the scene. A medium sized hole allows just about any bird.
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Along with the camping theme,  a travel trailer fits right in.
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This one is a “false front’ for a knothole in the back providing  shelter for a small bird.
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Not all birdhouses were meant to be occupied. They are more often used as yard or patio decorations. I run into them in gift shops all the time. They are fun and interesting. I own a couple myself and enjoy them.
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And, I enjoy photographing them.
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It’s a stay-in rainy day at Cherokee Landing, and I have a renewed interest in bird houses since my carpenter son has begun building them for friends from his scrap pile. He’s sold a few as well. Kind of a fun hobby. A rest day after a day of chores yesterday, laundry and maintenance fix-ups on the Bronco and Motorhome.

Always do your best,
Never let it rest,
Until the best is better,
And the better best.
Some ditty that came floating into my mind from the past. Better get back to my book.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Cherokee Landing is the name of the park we’re camped in near Soulsbyville, Tennessee. It is green and beautiful in this part of the country as we follow the lush area along the banks of the Tennessee River.

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The Park has a small lake we visited on a mid-morning stroll. Placid and pretty.
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We inadvertently frightened  geese feeding on a shaded bank of the lake.
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Which then gave us the added pleasure of watching them swim toward the opposite bank.
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They made fast for an area with a nesting box, though we have seen no goslings-yet!
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The lake so still it made a perfect mirror.
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After dinner, we took a second stroll by the lake. The drake above set apart from the flock, perhaps ostracized because he has a dead foot. He must have been injured some time ago. A determined survivor.DSC05029 (Copy)
The evening shadows long and milky.
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A welcome wildflower patch that looks to be related to violets.
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A pine bow, ripe with pollinating catkins. Soon cones will grow. My intention is to rest and slow the pace and heal while I’m here so I can again regain strength enough to keep up with Jim. (It is tough to limit oneself when I’m used to doing anything I want.) But, life is good.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Some days it doesn’t pay to get up. Yesterday, after returning from an acupuncture treatment for me, we had a note on the motorhome door. The City of Southhaven, (an extension of Memphis) ordered us to move, forthwith, that day, or subject the VFW to fines.  We were supposed to leave today, but we hurried off yesterday. Kind of embarrassing, like we're bums.

Our new location gave us difficulties, signal and otherwise. So, we are evicted and hunkering down to take care of the little annoying stuff, like Jim’s approximately 2 hours on the phone and more time tinkering with Verison’s lack of signal. He is replacing the windshield wipers; fixing a leak, and so it goes. I had to get paperwork ready for mediation over the accident. But, we're on the right side of the grass and life is good.
Like they say, you never know what’s around the bend.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


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A place not to miss when you travel to Memphis is the river walk on Mud Island. The best way to do it is park your car at the Visitors Center, walk across the street and take the tram across to Mud Island, so-called because it was at one time a natural sandbar. Dredging mud to deepen the channel made it big enough to turn into a great park.
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Enjoy the views from the gondola ,or you can walk over on the walking bridge above the tram. We enjoyed very  much the John Grisham movie The Firm much of which was filmed in Memphis. Particularly memorable was a tense scene from this gondola and the mezzinine where you disembark near the escalators. We decided to re-watch the movie just to see it again.
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From the mezzanine, you peer down on a miniature replica of the Mississippi River and its environs as it passes through every state, from its source in Minnesota, to its ending in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve been here previously and I love this park. Unique, educational, beautiful and stimulating.
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The cement floor of the river bed details every little elevation and bank and floodplain. It features the rivers, levees, bridges  and  places where the river has dramatically changed course and no longer flows. The park is only a half mile long. The scale is every 30 inches, one step, is a mile.
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When you cross from one state to the next, the border is clearly marked.
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All the major cities along the way are plotted in grey slate with their bridges both rail and car built across the river.
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An oxbow is a section where the river once flowed and was then cut off and now contains a lake or a dry bed.
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At this spot, you can see the miniature river along with the real Mississippi rolling along beside the park and a real bridge in the background. The park offers many places to sit and watch. One couple I talked to had chosen to follow a leaf and watch it make the entire trip just for the fun of it.
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Jim enjoyed cities he has visited. Here he stands in Natchez, across from Vidalia, Louisiana. Kids here love to take off their shoes and play in the water or float little boats. There are picnic tables and lawn aplenty.
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As you pass from state to state, the plantings along the miniature river match the flora and fauna of that state. Story boards identify the plant life as you pass through each state.
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If you’ve ever viewed a major river from the air, you know it resembles this curving, snake-like path. The  river has carved the earth and given life to humans and animals for thousands of years. Some people walk down one side and back on the other. We often stepped over the river to see both sides because it is so easy to do.
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Here we are at the sprawling contours of New Orleans. To the right is a cafe where you can lunch before heading back. To the left a small lake with a fountain. But the Mississippi doesn’t actually end here.
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We chose to follow it to the small deltas where the river is building islands that will one day be one solid piece. We found 1/B, a spot of one of our unique adventures, our trip to Pilots Island.
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We hired a boat to take us to Pilottown in 2010.  There isn’t much there, but we enjoyed the  adventure for many reasons.  It was fun to see it designated at the very tip of the Gulf of Mexico where the river meets ocean.  A ticket for seniors at $9 includes the tram, the river walk and the museum.
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The museum is very thorough. It gives early Native American History, which we skipped because we’ve seen so much of it. Here is riverboat history. Above are boat builders tools.
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Steamboat whistles.
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Inside a typical passengers berth on a steam-powered paddle wheeler. The river is dangerous. Awful accidents killed many. There was a film about disasters on the river. The saddest, the sinking of the Sultana.
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A  section on slavery and sharecroppers that built the south. And, another section on how the blues developed from the black churches and field hollers from slave days. It gives very interesting lyrics and clips of old-time music. Lyrics and music that Scott Joplin put on paper and saved. His own tragic story is here as well. Ragtime piano, opera, one of his that failed during his lifetime has been produced and put on stage to great acclaim.
I’m still struggling to walk a half-mile even with plenty of rest stops. We go this morning for a second  acupuncture treatment. But, I see signs of wellness and hope.