Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Final Few Shots of the Mountain Trip

These are just a few unrelated shots that have interest to me:

A large bellwort growing in the woods at Foxfire, that stumped even the local “experts” to identify it.  B found it in a book.


We saw violets in four different color combinations at Foxfire. This one was new to me.


Phlox spilling over the walkway on top of Blackrock Mountain.


I call this one “Still Life at Blackrock.”


This unknown (bare) vine has been growing around this sturdy shepherd’s pole for some time.


I love the face and wings on this barn.


This scarecrow was outside a former general store that has become a restaurant. Read the tag to know why I was interested in it.



In case you are new here, I teach kindergarten, too.

Art furniture gets my attention, whether or not I would want to own it. This swing had a checkerboard painted on the seat.


This left-handed writing chair had snakes coming out of the back. Most readers know that last year was the the year of the snake at our house. (We have now seen two already this spring.) And what about that psychedelic grain painting?? Grain and blue!


These pictures are reminders of one great trip!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Goats on the Roof

Right on U.S. Highway 441 in Tiger, near Clayton, Georgia is  a crazy little attraction that goes by the name of Goats on the Roof. Here’s their sign:



Guess you gotta have a gimmick!


The goats hang out on the roof and can walk from one building to the next by means of this swinging bridge.

Kids of all ages feed the goats by means of various simple machines.





There is also an indoor, air-conditioned gem mine. There was lots of merchandise, which was much nicer stuff than you might expect. Think Cracker Barrel and then maybe take it up a few notches. The Amish-produced furniture was quite pricy and of beautiful quality. There was a selection of wines and local cheeses and a fudge shop. It was an interesting little place: newish and spotlessly clean.

As we were getting in the car to leave, we noticed a large rabbit in the parking lot. It looked too large to be a native rabbit, so I think it must be someone’s wandering pet.



He’s found a funky place, for sure.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rock Eagle

Many times, we have driven past the entrance to Rock Eagle in north central Georgia, near Eatonton,  as we come and go from the mountains. This trip, we finally stopped to see the place for ourselves.


From the parking lot, you walk a very rough stone walk to the tower. Climb the wooden stairs to the fourth floor.





This is a really big, really old rock pile.

Very cool.

Go see it!

it is on the grounds of the 4-H camp by the same name. The camp was awesome, too. They currently do a Sunday buffet for limited hours and we just missed it, but it has a good reputation with the locals.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Another Remarkable Man At Foxfire

I mentioned in a previous post that one summer we had taken B’s Boy Scouts to camp for a week at Blackrock Mountain State Park in Mountain City, Georgia.

We watched the Fourth of July fireworks from at least 3 different communities exploding simultaneously while sitting out on these rocks. It is different looking out and down on fireworks, rather than up.


It was at that time that we made our first visit to the Foxfire Museum. They did not know we were coming. We were met at the visitors’ center by a man named Robert Murray, who said he was a jack of all trades at the museum. He stopped what he was doing and gave us a tour. He taught us skills of rope making, fire starting, bullwhip cracking, plant use and identification, and how to make a drinking cup out of a poplar leaf.

Robert murray

robert murray3

robert murray2

The Scouts and adults alike ate it up, and came away very impressed with Robert Murray.

Quite by chance, we learned last fall of Robert’s death to cancer. It was only then that we learned he was the curator of the museum. With his friendly manner, I’m sure he is missed by many. A memorial stone has been placed in front of the visitors’ center at the very place where we first met him.


The newest building has been dedicated to him and there is a nice tribute to  him with pictures showing him doing what he loved and what he did so very well.

No doubt during his years at Foxfire, he taught hundreds of people to value the skills from the past.  His legacy is the impact he had on those of us who were fortunate enough to have been  his student for a few hours.

Rest in peace, Robert. Your work continues.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Woodwright At Foxfire


This is probably my favorite picture of the trip. He called himself a woodwright.

He was the second exhibit we stopped at at the Foxfire museum and the one where we spent the most time and where we learned the most.

There was a sign that said he is deaf, but reads lips. He told us that he read the Foxfire books but other than that, is completely self-taught.  

He was working on the bucket seen on the porch. He was very articulate as he patiently explained what he was doing and how to make and assemble a bucket, beginning with an oak tree.


Most of his tools, he had made himself, including the shaving horse on which he was working.


A shaving horse is an ancient tool that allows him to have his hands free, while using a foot to operate a clamp that holds the wood block secure. He used a draw knife and a hand plane (that he had fashioned from a car spring) to shape the staves. So while he calls himself a woodwright, he is also a blacksmith.

These twin sticks he had measured off and marked by a pencil. They are used to make sure the bucket staves are beveled just right to fit together.


The tool below, he made to cut a groove for the bottom of the bucket to fit in. It is called a croze.


The metal bands on the bucket are temporary until the wooden ones are applied.

The finished products were beautiful.


He was a man with amazing skills and we were fascinated by his lesson.

Credit is due to B for his extensive help in filling in the gaps of my knowledge of this subject. I took pictures and listened. He listened with both ears and already had background knowledge.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Foxfire Museum


Remember the collection of books called the Foxfire books? Well, there is a museum in Mountain City, Georgia, just down the mountain from Black Rock Mountain State Park.  This area is the birthplace of the Foxfire books. The museum is a collection of log buildings and antiques collected from across Appalachia.

One such building is this mill.100_6875

I was not familiar with a pegboard being used for accounting.


(The above picture I took on a summer trip: note the greeness!)

This stained glass window was inside the church/school.


We hit it just right on our visit last Saturday morning. Only once a year, they do an extensive living history exhibit by local craftsmen/women and the local homeschoolers. It was wonderful.

This family was boiling peanuts to share. They were some of the best I have ever eaten.


The conversation was going something like this:

“Son, where are your pants?”

“I’m not gonna wear pants.”

“Well, I wouldn’t either if I didn’t have to. You just enjoy it as long as you can.”

Below is the blacksmith’s apprentice, and the apprentice to the apprentice, who operated the blower by turning a crank.


There were many exhibits and tomorrow’s entry will feature our favorite.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mark of the Potter

In an old mill near Clarkesville, Georgia is the pottery shop and studio that goes by the name of:





It is a popular little place that has quite a variety of items.  B found a cookbook to buy.

I was interested to see this operational Coke machine.


(We later found this Pepsi box at Tallulah Falls. It was icing down Ne-Hi’s.)


One of the attractions of Mark of the Potter is its trout. For a quarter, people buy a small handful of fish food and throw it off the top deck to the well-fed monsters below. Some of those trout are 2.5 feet long.


You see, the potter family has for generations owned both sides of the river for a section and kept fishing to themselves, as indicated by this old sign tacked to a tree:


---Though they maintained a sense of humor.


and in case you were wondering, it is pronounced So-Kwee River.

It was a cool place and though it was our first time there, it will not likely be our last.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lake Burton Fish Hatchery


While we were in the north Georgia mountains, we visited the Lake Burton fish hatchery where tons of trout are raised from fingerlings and then released locally. They raise brown, brook and rainbow trout.

This gives you an idea of the set-up.



I loved the official screwdriver that held the handle together on the valve.


This is a feeder that “auto-magically” feeds the fish, by a timer.


Trout require highly oxygenated water and cool temperatures, which is why they are not Florida fish. Pumps were bringing in water from the river and then sending it through the tanks and back into the river.


Some of the fingerlings were trying to  swim upstream. The five dark things in the foam are fish. I won’t tell you how many pictures of foam I took to get some with fish in them!


Some of the adult trout must have been in mullet training: they were practicing their high-jumping.

All of the black spots in the water in the picture below are fins.


Photographing thousands of fish turned out to be harder than I expected. Our eyes work around the reflections better than the camera does.



A few years back we had taken B’s Boy Scouts for a week of camping at Blackrock Mountain State Park in the youth camping area. During the week, we had visited the fish hatchery at Lake Burton. While we were eating at the picnic table, a large group of motorcyclists rode by on noisy bikes. Those facing the lake continued eating. Those facing the road, dropped their jaws as an older biker chick rode by, topless. Oh, my. I was facing the lake and missed that view, but the view of their faces was a memorable one.