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Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Alum Cave for a breath of fresh air

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I recently happened upon an interesting article that described an excursion made in 1860 to the Alum Cave on the…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Highlands plateau still a world of green hills

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Several years ago I wrote about Bradford Torrey’s A World of Green Hills, which was published in 1898 by Houghton…
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 00:00

Upper world guardians

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We are all fascinated by birds. In addition to being pretty (even buzzards are pretty in their own way), they…
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Dr. Elisha Mitchell

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While scanning the shelves of a rare bookstore in Asheville several months ago, I happened upon a regional volume by…
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

Right in the thick of it

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Our southern mountains are old and relatively sedate when compared with the Himalayas, Rockies, and other “young” mountain ranges. But…
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 00:00

It’s a dog’s life

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A new book has been published that will be of particular interest to area hunters, outdoorsmen, and dog lovers. It…
Wednesday, 16 January 2008 00:00

Sneaky snipe stamps scouts

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Until I started birding seriously as an adult, I didnÕt know that snipe actually existed. For years that bird was…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

In living colour

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Cedar waxwings and American holly are with us year round. The waxwings wander around a lot in extended family groups,…
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

Cherokee and their bird stories

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The second soul, that of physiological life, is located in the liver, and is of primary importance in doctoring and…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

A plant’s purpose

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There are more than 300,000 plant species in the world. Some are edible, some can be used for their medicinal…
Wednesday, 19 December 2007 00:00

A honey of a locust

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Every few years, there will be a bumper crop of long flat strap-shaped honey locust pods, many up to two…
Wednesday, 12 December 2007 00:00

Rocking out

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Here in the southern mountains there are magical habitats to be explored in every direction and at every elevation. Periglacial…
Wednesday, 28 November 2007 00:00

The essential nature of winter

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When late November finally arrives, my wife, Elizabeth, and I go into another mode. Her busy season in the gallery-studio…
Wednesday, 21 November 2007 00:00

Quiz time

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Naturalists are always being quizzed about this or that. Turn about is fair play. So, are you ready for a…
Wednesday, 14 November 2007 00:00

Winter preparation

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If you’ve been getting out in the woods at all lately, you’re aware that it’s been an especially good season…
Wednesday, 07 November 2007 00:00

When litter is good

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Due to the virtual absence of wind and rain, the fall color season is lingering with us. But winter weather…
Wednesday, 31 October 2007 00:00

Overnight hibernation

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As I write this on Monday morning, we’ve just had our initial hard frost of the year here in Swain…
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 00:00

The gall

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The various relationships that exist between plants and animals are fascinating. My view of wildflower ecology is dominated by the…
Wednesday, 17 October 2007 00:00

Uncovering winter’s delight

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Some trees that might be difficult to locate during the spring through fall foliage season become more apparent in winter.…
Wednesday, 10 October 2007 00:00

Beauty of the cardinal flower

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The fall wildflower season has arrived. Along roadsides and woodland edges some of our more robust native plants are now…
Wednesday, 03 October 2007 00:00

Shrills in the night

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When I was growing up in the tobacco-farming portion of the southern Virginia piedmont, there were many haunted outbuildings throughout…
Wednesday, 26 September 2007 00:00

Sweet bubby bush

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I recently received an email from a reader who asked, “Could you write about the sweet bubby bush? That’s the…
Wednesday, 19 September 2007 00:00

Saying farewell to summer

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It’s mid-September ... late summer is sliding toward early autumn. The end of summer officially arrives with the autumnal equinox…
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 00:00

Walnut toxicity

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The walnut trees along the creek where we live are exhibiting a bumper crop this year. At night we are…
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 00:00

Enchanting the summer evening

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No late summer wildflower is more widely recognized than evening primrose. The four broad yellow petals that open in the…
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 00:00

All in a day’s work

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One of the more interesting and entertaining early descriptive accounts of the southern mountains is contained in a diary kept…
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 00:00

Remarkable red cedar

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I sometimes have occasion to drive Interstate 81 up the Great Valley of Tennessee and Virginia to Washington, D.C. As…
Wednesday, 15 August 2007 00:00

Ginkgo — a living fossil

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When a street was being cut in front of the new county administration building here in Bryson City back in…
Wednesday, 08 August 2007 00:00

The golden season

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It’s starting to become the goldenrod time of the year. Goldenrods — like asters, thistles, cosmos, zinnias, daisies, coneflowers, dahlias,…
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 00:00

Hollyhocks and reminders of the past

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Sometimes it’s difficult to draw the line between the natural and cultivated plant worlds. As cultivated plants escape they often…
Wednesday, 25 July 2007 00:00

Sicklefin redhorse and the Cherokee

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An article by Jon Ostendorff headed “Rare fish released into Oconaluftee River” appeared in this past Monday’s edition of the…
Wednesday, 18 July 2007 00:00

The thrill of new discoveries

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I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time recently up on the Blue Ridge Parkway conducting natural history…
Wednesday, 11 July 2007 00:00

A man’s got to work and fish

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This past Sunday afternoon I decided to go for a walk along the Tuckasegee River west of Bryson City. If…
Wednesday, 04 July 2007 00:00

Thunder in the valley

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Last week a late evening thunderstorm with high winds and occasional flashes of lightning rolled out of the high Smokies…
Wednesday, 27 June 2007 00:00

The elusive hellbender

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Have you ever noticed that once you start thinking about something or someone you haven’t seen in awhile, it’s not…
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 00:00

Beware the leaves of three

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If you like native Appalachian plants that are variable and adaptive, have interesting natural histories with abundant associations in both…
Wednesday, 06 June 2007 00:00

Weed or wildflower?

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The status of a given plant as either a “noxious weed” or a “lovely wildflower” is pretty much a matter…
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 00:00

Just looking around

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I’m rediscovering that it’s good to just slip out of the office and amble around town for a few minutes.…
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 00:00

The mountain rhodo show

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Rhododendrons are a part of the heath family (Ericaceae), which includes such diverse members in regard to size and habitat…
Wednesday, 16 May 2007 00:00

Cherokee language and zoology

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Doctoral dissertations don’t usually make for exciting reading. There are, however, exceptions.
Wednesday, 09 May 2007 00:00

Flame on

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Flame azalea is one of our most magnificent common shrubs here in the Smokies region. From late spring into early…
Wednesday, 02 May 2007 00:00

Persecution of the dandelion

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It seems that every lawn care commercial on TV or radio these days is aimed at touting a product which…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 00:00

Bartram’s early accounts of Cowee

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The preservation of the Cowee mound and village site alongside the Little Tennessee River in Macon County is truly significant…
Wednesday, 18 April 2007 00:00

Guyot’s Smokies

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Paul Fink and Myron H. Avery were two of the foremost explorers of the Southern Appalachians — especially the Great…
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 00:00

The Tsali legend

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Since the mid-1980s, I’ve been researching and writing about events surrounding the Cherokee removal of 1838, especially those pertaining to…
Wednesday, 04 April 2007 00:00

Ash bats and the boys of summer

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Some essays get to their point or points right away. Others are discursive, beating around the bush before getting there.…
Wednesday, 28 March 2007 00:00

The storied bloodroot

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Bloodroot is surely one of most widely admired wildflowers in the eastern United States. Walk now through any rocky, deciduous…
Wednesday, 21 March 2007 00:00

Neufeld’s book on Appalachia

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There is a newly published collection of essays that deserves the full attention of any reader interested in this region’s…
Wednesday, 14 March 2007 00:00

Tradition of the cockfight

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As most everyone knows, a cockfight is a match between two specially trained roosters traditionally held in a ring called…