Category Archives: nature

Visit to Morristown, Tennessee

American Press travel News–July 9th, Bob & Barb “On The Road Again”-Once in the city of Morristown, we had visited with Anne G. Ross, Director of Tourism at the Area Chamber of Commerce Office. Anne sent us on a very informative itinerary that covered just a bit of the great things Morristown is all about.

We checked out part of the Lake way Area that included a visit to Cherokee Lake. The fishy lake has over 700-miles of shoreline. The ubiquitous largemouth and smallmouth bass are king here. We visited with shoreline angler’s cat fishing, and looking for brim and crappie. Everyone was having a great time, as the water was clean and clear and the temperatures were warm, but mitigated by a nice shore side breeze. We visited with Sam & Delores Phillips owners of Morristown Marine. Sam discussed the seven bass tournaments he runs each year on Lake Norris, Cherokee, South Holston, Watts Bar and Douglas Lake. He has 910 members of his invitational only events. They draw 220-230 boats for each event. Winners take home big bucks per event, ongoing for over 11-years. https://www.morristownmarine.com

Always interested in history, we headed over to the General Longstreet Museum. The historic home was used by General James Longstreet as his Civil War Confederate headquarters in the winter of 1863-64. The site includes a replica of an 1860’s tailor shop where Director Kelly Ford makes period military uniforms. We met up with “Dewey” a very serious Civil War buff, and he regaled us with a blow-by-blow of various Civil War skirmishes, dressed in a Confederate military outfit, he laid out everything he knew about General Longstreet’s life and times. Dewey is a very serious historian and really knows the full history of “everything” Civil war https://facebook.com/generallongstreetmuseum

We spent some time at the Rose Center of the Arts with Executive Director Beccy Hamm. The arts center is housed in an 1890’s Victorian school house. The center is the cultural arts hub of the Lake way Area. Gallery exhibits, performance spaces, meeting places and a sales gallery. We also met up with representatives from the Morristown Theatre Guild and Theatrical Company where we learned of the many shows slated for the coming months. Go:  https//:www.rosecenter.org

Panther Creek State Park was quite spectacular, Jason Chadwell, Park Manager showed us the incredible sites including an overlook of Lake Cherokee. We also met Craig Price who discussed the newest and most challenging 18-hole Disc golf course. No clubs, just special Frisbee discs thrown into basket-catch hoops.

Hillbilly’s Cabin Restaurant was a fine breakfast spot. We enjoyed Spanish Omelets’ and real coffee! Then we were off to the Meeting Place Country Store & Antiques, and did some shopping for fun oldies but goodies!

Yes, Davey Crockett grew up here and since that time so long ago, so did generations of other families and pioneers in business, industry, medicine, the arts and sports!  For more info go: facebook:Visit Morristown or facebook: retire Hamblen County, TN.

Next week take a peek at The Whitestone Inn on Watts Bar Lake!

 

 

Baxter Tennessee Catfish Fee to Fish Pond

American Press Travel News–June 26th, Bob & Barb Stopping to Smell the Roses and the catfish–Cats for a Fee On another planet (or so it seemed as I spent two years in the Congo) I fished nearly every day in creeks, ponds and even the deepest river in the world at 1290-feet deep.  I had catfish take my baits and lures along with all manner of other actual game fish that jumped, put on a great acrobatic show and had teeth, such as the tiger fish made of nightmares in this striped biter and slasher.  But the catfish dove, pulled and bulldozed their way towards the bottom.  On a dock at the Congo, I saw a 600-pounder being cut up for the pot. These wild-ones put up a fine fight, and smaller ones that didn’t break my line or rod, roasted over bamboo coals, were excellent fare.

There are nearly 3,000 known species of catfish in the world, but it is thought that the actual number of catfish species could be as high as 4,500, as many species of catfish are found in areas where there is little or no human contact. I counted about 30-different catfish species that I caught during my time in Africa.

Here in the states there are many varieties, but the ones most of us like to catch and eat are Channel Cats. Twin Lakes Catfish Farm is your spot!  They have Channel Cats, Blue Cats, Flatheads, and farm fed fish as well. They stock 10-15-thousand of them and they are ready to catch and keep, or catch and release for a fee.

It’s the first week of summer, and that’s what fishing is all about; togetherness sharing quality time in the summer outdoors. What we witnessed during our visit were families enjoying time together fishing.  The catfish farm has an RV park, a stage for events, a restaurant, a tackle shop where you can buy or rent gear if you forgot yours and a bait shop too! The Pippin Family, Greta Hurst, Greg Pippin and Lesette Pippin all work and manage what started in 1946 by J. Fred and Evelyn Pippin who purchased the first part of the farm. In 2000 the rest of the family moved onto the property and decided to take the idea of a catfish pay lake and make it a reality. They did!

April through October each Saturday they run a tournament where participants can win a trophy and some cash too! They also host special tourneys for kids and veterans, ladies and special partner’s tournaments.  Greg told me that once in awhile, someone hooks up catfish to 90-pounds in his lakes, and then its pandemonium of fun for the angler, and everyone watching, as well.

Yes, catfish is on the menu at their restaurant, but so is all other non-catfish fare as well!

You pay one fee for all day catch and release, and another fee for catch and keep as well as paying by the pound for your fresh caught catfish. Open Thursday through Sunday, and they’re located at Exit 280 off of I-40, go north 2.5 miles on highway 56 to 580 Gainesboro Hwy. This is fun for you and pals, or for the whole family. Call 931-858-2333 for any additional information.

Great thing about fishing is “God does not deduct mans time on earth when he ( or she) is fishing!”

How Sweet It Is. Thank the Bee’s!

American Press Travel News–June 6th, Crossville, TN.-Bees; Oh How Sweet It Is!  When a wall in my “Man Cave”, writers cabin at the farm began vibrating and humming, I knew something strange and major was up.  I felt that it wasn’t a paranormal happening, so I stepped out back behind the cabin. I stood and watched (from a distance) honey bees flying to and from a small crack in my wood wall.  I looked up a professional Apiarist, and found Jeff Dayton from Rainbow Gold Apiary who promised to visit, assess exactly where he needed to open our interior wall to vacuum up the bees along with his 22-year old son, Tyler, after first finding the Queen.  They live-caught more than 50,000 bees with a painless vacuum (five pounds) and later transferred the Queen to a new hive box on his property to happily reunite the little fantastic critters with their leader. When the wall was opened, there was no honey left in the wax combs, as it was all eaten by the bees over the winter. They were getting ready to swarm again so in the coolness of early April, and without anyone getting stung, he successfully captured and relocated them to his bee field. My cabin was also not dripping with natures golden delight, and all I had to do was lots of cleaning, and redo the wall-case closed after closing up that outside crack.

Jeff has been at his bee business for the past 25-years, and now has 60-managed hives. He relocated about 10-outside hive colonies this year alone.  Jeff said about 80-percent of hundreds of colonies this past winter were lost in Tennessee.  Parasites like Varroa mites,  tracheal mites, poor bee nutrition , pesticides, and colony collapse disorder  were all known causes of bee losses. Dayton remarked that: “we all got to eat and everyone needs bee-power. Bees create our foods.”

Bees are fiercely protective of their Queen and their hive. Each of the hundreds of hexagonal wax pupae cells in the honey comb is constantly being attended to by worker bees.

In a way, Bees can be compared to the Trojan warriors of history. They take no prisoners and are inherently endowed against all odds, to fight till their death to protect their home and family. To me thinking about what Jeff Dayton told me about the number of bees it takes to make up 5-pounds, that takes 50,000 individuals was incredible. These bees alone (amongst other myriads of insects, and birds too, not to mention the other bee-billions around the world) assist in propagating thousands of fruit trees, vegetables, flowers, bushes and sundry field crops, fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, orchard cherry trees, peach, pear, apple, etc. The world would be a dead place if not for bees.

Jeff said that when he was a youngster he and his dad would raid old bee trees. They would “course” the bees flying to and fro, and follow their angles of flight. “We would triangulate where the hives were. I sure miss my dad, he got me into the Apiary profession, and I am what I am today due to his nurturing and teaching.” Jeff has passed his passion for the little liquid gold -makers in several ways. Besides teaching his son Tyler, he is a fixture at most outdoor special events.  This “sweet” guy teaches all who have interest, about the life of the bees and special nature they possess. He sets up a window case where people can watch the bees going about their daily lives supplying honey for their hives. Rainbow Gold Apiaries can be reached at (931) 484-9430. He can offer all hive products, offer his bees for pollination and does bee removal from anyone who needs this service at no charge!

 

Bob’s Reverie At The Farm

 

Barb loves to fish when she has an edge and doesn’t have the whole day to hopefully hook a neighbor with shoulders enough for us to spar with! 

APtravelnews-May 16th-Crossville, TN.—Goose Holler’ Farm—Bob’s reverie at the farm–I Woke up this morning to chirps from at least a dozen birds: Blue, red, black, gray, mottled, white, yellow, striped black and gray. Their songs and calls were sweet, some raucous, some sounding playful and a few staccato as in three different kinds of woodpeckers including a bright red headed one with a real attitude that come to our feeders and the older trees with lots of dead wood near the fence-line of Goose Holler Farm.

Today was especially auspicious, as the deer with and without antlers and testicles were feeding along a weed whacker line I made near the pond (the pond brings many varieties of ducks and geese over the year to rest and feed)  to keep our paths from growing wild and hiding some other unsavory visitors. These serpent critters such as water moccasins come looking for a red- eared, or blue-gilled sunfish, or a bass fish dish alongside the weedy shallows, along with some other potentially poisonous water snakes that we all prefer not to tread on, or brush by, by accident.  Sure, I have more squirrels and chipmunks per acre than probably anywhere in our area, as I have at least 150 trees per acre on our ten acre little farmstead, but until they get into our attic, I don’t shoot at them with anything more powerful than a stinging B-B gun to keep them from clearing the bird feeders within an hour or less.  

The trees are mostly big trees of nut and flower, oaks, black walnut, maples and almond, the billions of leaves- each one slightly different than the other, keep us shaded and cool in the summer. Together with the blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, gooseberry bushes and a sundry, seed bushes, not to mention our grown fresh veggies and herbs, we have a fine cornucopia. I guess that in the great profusion of wild plants, it would take a true horticulturist to be able to name them all.  I love waking and spending my day writing, looking out and on our land and up-keeping and gardening here.

 I guess the reason for this post is I really feel blessed to wake up to nature, and the honeysuckle, roses, peonies and lilac bushes blended a sweet natural aroma to a day full of promise that anyone could enjoy if they gave their I phone, laptop and TV a rest for a day or, two a week!