From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Visit to the Adsmore Museum

Living history in Princeton, KY


Last Friday afternoon, I captured Isaac and took him on an excursion to Princeton, KY. Princeton is the county seat of Caldwell County, about 30 miles northwest of Hopkinsville. Our destination was the Adsmore Museum, a few blocks east of the Caldwell Courthouse square in Princeton.

It was our first visit to the Adsmore, and we didn't research the museum beforehand. On the drive over, we speculated that we might see an exhibit about the Night Riders and the Black Patch tobacco wars. We were wrong.

The Adsmore house, we soon learned, is a living history museum. It recreates a specific time and place in history. Currently, Adsmore is celebrating Easter and little Katharine Garrett's 6th birthday. Inside the house, the year is 1907, and everything is ready for the holiday and for a birthday party. The museum staff is dressed in costumes of the period.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday Night Scrabble

New and old words



Keely and Taurus came for pizza on Saturday night, and after supper, Keely, Isaac, and I played a game of Scrabble on Keely's extra-large board.

Isaac played "LEET" and said it was an alternative internet language. It wasn't in the dictionaries we were using, and I had never heard of it. With some indignation and a bit of scorn, Isaac produced an Urban Dictionary definition of leet on his laptop and educated me.

Today, I looked up leet at www.dict.org and learned that it has some traditional meanings as well. It's another name for a pollack (a type of fish), and it also has some legal meanings.  If you don't see LEET on the gameboard, that's because someone added an F and made it "FLEET."

"POO" was also one of Isaac's words. Isaac thought I was picking on him when I checked to see if poo was in the dictionary. He shouldn't have worried. According to the yellowed pages of a 1961 Funk & Wagnalls dictionary that we had on the table, poo is a verb of Scottish derivation that means "pull".

I played "PENT" and the kids questioned it because it's usually heard as "pent-up". Of course, it's in the dictionary. Pent is an old variant of "penned", meaning "confined or caged". Really, would I try to invent a word, children? (Don't answer that question, please. It's strictly rhetorical.)

We didn't reach many of the quadruple word squares at the edges of the board. I think it was because Keely was hoarding all the good letters. (Just kidding, Keely!). Below, her letters at one point in the game -- nary a vowel amongst them. If she had known about the Scrabble Solver, she would have been wanting to use it!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Flea Market in Clarksville, TN

Rainy afternoon at the junk store




This Old Place is located on College Street in Clarksville, TN. The large brick building with full-front dock looks like it was once a feed and seed store.

An amusing summary of the flea market biz is posted near the door:  "We buy junk & sell antiques." It's amazing how junk is improved by a price sticker!

After Isaac and I looked at the antiques, collectibles, and junk on the first floor, we climbed the stairs to the loft and wandered through even more booths. The photo at the end of this post was taken from the loft, looking down onto the first floor.

While we were upstairs, the skies opened, and rain pounded down onto the building's metal roof. It reminded me of being in a barn. It was a pleasant place to wait out the storm .

I didn't find anything to buy, though. Knick-knacks and dust-catchers don't really tempt me. I don't need any more of them -- I have plenty already. My main weakness is books, but I didn't happen to find any that I liked, despite searching high and low.

Isaac is on spring break from college this week, so I have been running around with him. This was just one of our stops on Thursday afternoon. We visited several flea markets, thrifts, and antique shops in Clarksville and then went to the mall. I did find a good old book at another antique shop -- a history of Cairo, Illinois.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Picking and Stealing

Collectors compared


Isaac and I visited Hopkinsville's recently re-opened Peddler's Mall this afternoon. It's an indoor flea market, located in part of the old WalMart building. I've shopped there several times in the last couple of months, and I've purchased something each time. I'm trying to help the Peddler's Mall vendors and owners pay their rent.

Today, Isaac found a movie and a cache of Harry Turtledove hardbacks, and I found a little concrete statue for my flowerbed.

Soon I was standing in line behind a talkative, 60-ish woman at the checkout. She mentioned that she was paying $8 for a little glass candelabra that was worth quite a bit more. "What's it worth?" I asked her. "Twenty dollars?"

"More like fifty or sixty," she opined.

I asked if she watches the "American Pickers" show on History Channel. (In this show, Mike and Frank drive across the U.S., visiting people's hordes of old junk and collectible stuff. Whenever they like some object, they try to buy it at a cheap price.)

"Oh, yes!" she cried. "I love that show!"

Then she told me that when she was younger, she guessed she had done some picking. Back then, she said, farmers didn't care if you went into an abandoned house or barn and took what you liked. Nowadays, farmers were likely to shoot you if they caught you.

I was reminded of a yard sale I attended some years ago. Dozens of old wooden and cast iron tools, horseshoes, and other odd pieces were arrayed on the walls of the patio. When I commented on the collection,  the owner told me where it came from. When her kids were little, she drove out to the countryside with them on Sunday afternoons, and they went into old barns. The display on her wall was what they brought home from their raids.

I cringe when the "American Pickers" get great deals from people who don't know the value of their own junk. However, I give Mike and Frank (and their producer) credit for finding the owner, asking permission to look, and then making a cash offer. They are paragons of virtue, compared to the old heifer I met today and her kindred spirit with the cast iron collection. 

There's picking and there's stealing, and it's not hard to tell the difference.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Seen at Golconda, IL

Historic Ohio River town



Last Friday, I took a road trip with my daughter Keely and her fiance Taurus. One of our destinations was Golconda, the little town in southern Illinois where Taurus grew up. Golconda is located on the Ohio River, about 20 miles across the map (36 highway miles) northeast from Paducah, KY.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

13 Reasons I'm Sure It's Spring

The power of positive thinking :)



1. The high temperature today in Hopkinsville, KY, was 70°. The skies were blue, and the sun was shining.

2. Farmers are spreading lime on their fields.

3. I saw a dozen buzzards swarming over a high hill.

4. The neighbor's horses were kicking up their heels in the pasture, pretending to buck and fight.

5. The animal control officer in Hopkinsville was called to remove five or six garter snakes from someone's back yard.

6. Our cats Casper and Skittles spent the entire day outside.

7. Rain, not snow, is in the forecast for the next few days.

8. Tiny buds of future blossoms are forming on the forsythias.

9. A single clump of daffodils is blooming on the south bank above the old road.

10. I put away my winter gloves today.

11. We have too many blankets on the bed.

12. It occurred to me that I could plant some lettuce, and light frost probably wouldn't hurt it.

13. I noticed that the windows and many other things around here could use a spring cleaning!

Find more Thursday Thirteens listed on the homepage.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Sandhill Crane Webcam, 2010

Crane Cam at Rowe Sanctuary


Carolyn Hall of Bassett, Nebraska, sent the following link for this year's Sandhill Crane Webcam at the Rowe Sanctuary.

http://www.rowesanctuary.org/crane%20cam.htm

I'm writing this at about 9:30 p.m with the webcam running in another window of my browser. It is dark on the river, but I can see the moon and hear an occasional bird sound over the gurgle of the water.

Sanctuary volunteers run the camera in the morning and evening during the hours the cranes are active on the river.  The rest of the time, the camera is stationary. The Crane Cam will be running through April 10, 2010. 

The Rowe Sanctuary is located on the Platte River at Gibbon, Nebraska (southeast of Kearney, Nebraska). The Platte River is an important staging ground for Sandhill cranes on their migration north. The birds spend their days in the fields and marshes near the river. At night, they return to the sandbars of the Platte River, where they are safe from coyotes and other predators.

According to the Rowe Sanctuary website,
In the morning, cranes shuffle up and down the river waiting for the sun to pop up over the horizon. As the sun rises, cranes head out to feed and loaf in the surrounding fields.  During the day, cranes "dance" to relieve the stress of migration and strengthen pair bonds.  Cranes are very "social" birds and in the evening, congregate in wet meadows before heading back to the river for the night. (Source)


More:
► The Rowe Sanctuary has a Facebook page where you can post questions and comments and read the responses of volunteers.
► YouTube has several videos of Sandhill Cranes at Rowe Sanctuary. This one shows hundreds of cranes arriving at the river at sunset.

Credit:
Sandhill crane image from pdphoto.org.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Eddyville: River Town

How Eddyville, KY, got its name


I came across some interesting information about the little town of Eddyville, KY, recently. To give this historic trivia some context, I must explain that Eddyville was a village on the Cumberland River. I use the past tense because the Cumberland River at Eddyville is now Lake Barkley. Most of old Eddyville-on-the-river is now underwater. Some of the concrete foundations and streets are still visible under the water and at the edge of the lake.

Eddyville today is located on higher ground near the lake. You can read a short history of the relocation of this Lyon County village at the "Explore Kentucky Lake" website. To this day, many in this part of Kentucky harbor hard feelings about the land the Federal government confiscated to make Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, and Land Between the Lakes.  And there were other Federal land grabs around here too -- but that's another post.

Long before Lake Barkley came to be, Eddyville was a village beside the Cumberland River, at the mouth of Eddy Creek, two days downstream from Nashville, Tennessee. Eddyville was the last important river port of the Cumberland. From Eddyville, it was only 45 river miles to Smithland where the Cumberland flowed into the Ohio River.  It was established in 1798, and by 1800, it already had a population of 69.

And now at last, I'm ready to pass along the bit of historic trivia that I promised -- the reason for the town's name. This would have been clearly evident at one time, but the lake has changed everything.

The Cumberland River, when it took its natural course, had two large eddies near the little settlement named Eddyville. Eddies are strong currents in the river that flow backwards or in a whirlpool. One of the eddies was below the town  and the other eddy was two miles above the town. A French traveler, Michaux, wrote in his journal in 1795: "Rowed about seven leagues and slept at the Great Eddy, which is considered to be a distance of 45 miles from the mouth (of the Cumberland)." (Source)

I wonder if the eddies would still be there if the lake were drained.

Eddyville was a boat-building village. Matthew Lyon (father of Chittenden Lyon for whom Lyon County was named) was the first of several notable boat-builders. Besides the several gunboats that he built for the U.S. Government, he built a large number of barges and other river craft.  A traveler of the Cumberland River in the early 1800s could stop in Eddyville and buy a boat that was sturdy enough for a trip down the Mississippi River all the way to New Orleans.

Location of Eddyville, KY (map courtesy of Wikipedia)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Why Prairie Bluestem Has a Short Feed Again

Genevieve vs. the thieves


I'm reluctantly reverting to a "short feed" for Prairie Bluestem. Subscribers will see that this post is cut short. To read the rest, you'll have to click back to the blog. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Let me explain. Just in the last few days, I found an Australian website that is republishing every Prairie Bluestem article I write. It's going to be a duplicate of my blog if they carry on. I also found a Russian website that was translating my Tree Notes blog feed to Russian and using the articles as their own.

I think the German web host of the Russian website has taken down the stolen Tree Notes articles -- possibly the entire website. (I get an error message when I try to go there.) I sent the web host a detailed, formal complaint about copyright infringement after getting no response from the Russian website. Investigating the theft, finding the web host, and compiling the complaints took five or six hours over a couple of nights.

I've spent nearly that much time trying to get the Australian website to take down the Prairie Bluestem articles they have posted. So far, no success. They are "investigating". I've written to their web host who is also "investigating." So, until the Prairie Bluestem feed is removed from their site, the feed will be truncated. They may publish it, but they'll only get an excerpt.

I wish I could say these are unusual incidents, but they're not. These are just the latest skirmishes in a long war with content thieves. Honestly, it makes me wonder if the "full feed" is worth the time and effort it takes to retain ownership of the content. I am interested in the thoughts of others on this topic -- both bloggers and readers. What do you think?

It really makes the smoke come out of my ears when I see my photographs and articles republished on another website. Invariably, every article is surrounded with ads. Thieves are jerks who don't want to work, and internet thieves are no different than the rest of the sorry lot. They steal content to bring search-engine users to their ad-heavy pages, because they don't want to do the work to create their own content.

How do I detect thefts like these?

A copyright statement is inserted automatically at the end of every blog post as it goes into the feed. (In Blogger, go to Settings >> Site Feed.) The copyright statement contains some distinctive words -- my name, the blog name, the blog address, and my e-mail address. I have a Google Alert set for each of these distinctive words. When they appear somewhere on the web, Google sends me an e-mail with the URL.

And now, something to balance the yin and yang of this post--


Isn't that a beautiful place? It's Eagle Falls, at Cumberland Falls State Park in southeastern Kentucky. Eagle Falls is about a mile from Cumberland Falls. Isaac didn't have any trouble with the climb up the hillside, but it was a fairly strenuous hike for me. He and I went camping at Cumberland Falls several years ago, when Dennis was still in Iraq. We really enjoyed that little excursion.
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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.