A poet of the mountains

This past weekend was given over to reorganizing the books in my home library. In the process, I relocated a…
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Real deal boardinghouses don’t exist anymore

Are there boardinghouses still operating here in the Smokies region? There are, of course, hotels, inns, bed-and-breakfasts, and motels galore.…
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Possums are the ultimate survivalist

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in a January 2005 issue of The Smoky Mountain News | I became acquainted…
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Start planning the gardens now

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in a January 2006 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. | Have you started making…
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Etowah Mound largest in the Southeast

When I’m in the Atlanta area, I often set aside a few hours to visit the Etowah Indian Mounds State…
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Horse Cove is worth a visit

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in a November 2003 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. Horse Cove is one…
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It’s time for hog jowls and greens

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in a November 2003 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. When I was a boy,…
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Kephart Prong Trail has a unique story

I like visiting those sites here in the Smokies region where there is what I think of as an “overlay.”…
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Money was a motivator for botanical exploration
 

Money was a motivator for botanical exploration

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in an October 2003 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. The economic considerations behind the…
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Cherokee had high regard for owls

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in September 2002 in The Smoky Mountain News The ancient Cherokees were astute observers…
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Ancient Cherokees found protection from the cold

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in a September 2002 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. It’s only late summer…
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Buzzards have a beauty and power all their own

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in August 2003. The recent heavy rains here in…
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Horsemint is a fascinating, useful plant

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in a July 2010 edition of The Smoky Mountain News Each July since 1991, I’ve…
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Jackson County cabin built from one poplar tree

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in July 2004. I recently read about a log…
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Why are the mountains so alluring?

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in a July 2004 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. “To myself, mountains are…
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A rare look into Swain County's past

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in a June 2005 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. Several weeks ago I…
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WNC was once home to marble mines

(Editor’s note: This article first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in June 2004) The destiny of a given region…
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Pain was the norm with old-time dentistry

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News on May 14, 2003. Old-time dentistry as practiced here…
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The first truly showy woodland flower

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in May 2005. Hepatica doesn’t display the earliest flowers…
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Blackgum tree trunks have many uses

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in March 2002. Some months ago I wrote about…
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Birch stills were more common than moonshine stills

Editor’s note: This was first published in 2003. All this spring, golden birch catkins were dangling throughout the woodlands of…
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Junaluska’s story as told through historians

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in a February 2002 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. Every reader of this column…
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Finding the balance between good and evil

The Cherokees believed that they must keep the world in balance, in a state of equilibrium …. that if they…
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‘Ironfoot,’ the hermit of Island Park

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in a September 2014 issue of The Smoky Mountain News. I generally enjoy working in…
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Bracken among the world’s most common plants

 “Here and elsewhere, bracken is such an aggressive plant that one wonders why it has not taken over the world.”…
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Zeke’s gone, but leaves us a blank verse sonnet

Two German shorthaired pointers named Maggie and Zeke were our constant companions for years. When we went bird watching along…
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Witch-hazel has adapted as a late flowering plant

Editor’s note: this article first appeared in a November 2003 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. If you take a…
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A unique old time reporter
 

A unique old time reporter

Many characters surface in stories related to Horace Kephart, regional author and one of the founders of the Great Smoky…
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The secretive, intelligent and prolific crow
 

The secretive, intelligent and prolific crow

Like most commonly observed objects, crows flit across our field of vision unheeded. Caw-caw-cawing unmusically … flap-flap-flapping over the fields…
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Blooms in the southern mountains
 

Blooms in the southern mountains

Each July since 1991, I’ve led field trips along the Blue Ridge Parkway offered as part of the Native Plants…
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Rekindling memories of High Rocks
 

Rekindling memories of High Rocks

This is about a place, High Rocks, a lookout situated at just over 5,000 feet on Welch Ridge in the…
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Secret poems of the Cherokee
 

Secret poems of the Cherokee

I have always been struck by the sacred formulas (chants or incantations) that the Cherokee medicine men used to create…
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Beekeeping in the mountains
 

Beekeeping in the mountains

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in June 2003. Honey was a primary sweetening agent…
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An ongoing preservation
 

An ongoing preservation

This past week, we took our 11-year-old granddaughter, Daisy, who is visiting from Colorado, to the Cherokee Indian Village. She…
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 Rediscovering inspiration
 

Rediscovering inspiration

In the mid-1970s my primary writing interest was poetry. I was consumed night and day by poetry for perhaps five…
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A place called home
 

A place called home

One doesn’t tire of certain places. Even though they inevitably change through the years, they become more than friends. The…
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Do you know where you live?
 

Do you know where you live?

One of the handouts I use during natural history workshops is headed “Southern Blue Ridge Province: Geographic Location and Influences.”…
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The cuckoo, both elusive and beautiful
 

The cuckoo, both elusive and beautiful

This past weekend marked the 26th annual Great Smokies Birding Expedition, a gathering of onrnithologically-inclined friends. On Saturdays, to get…
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Celebrating Kephart, and his teacup
 

Celebrating Kephart, and his teacup

This past weekend marked the second annual Horace Kephart celebration in Bryson City. There was a terrific presentation of newly…
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Admiration, maybe, but no love for the boar
 

Admiration, maybe, but no love for the boar

Numerous non-native plants have been introduced into the southern mountains during the last century or so. Many are now classified…
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Kephart’s persona was well crafted
 

Kephart’s persona was well crafted

Our consideration of “books and all things related” continues with a look at an instance when a well-known author (and…
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Remembering when books were magic
 

Remembering when books were magic

We’re still at it—considering books and related matters like shelving strategies, bookplates, home libraries, favorite books, and “How do we…
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Iconic drugstore to interesting bookstore
 

Iconic drugstore to interesting bookstore

We’re been considering books and related matters like shelving, bookplates, home libraries, favorite books, and (last week’s topic) — “How…
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The art of choosing the next book
 

The art of choosing the next book

Of late, we’ve been considering books. The feedback (mostly email) from readers to recent columns regarding books in general, book…
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Imagining a one-book library
 

Imagining a one-book library

The feedback (mostly email) from readers to recent columns regarding books in general, book shelving strategies, and bookplates has been…
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Book lovers and our new bookplates
 

Book lovers and our new bookplates

Several weeks ago, I devoted a column to the complicated science of book shelving. Not a few readers responded —…
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‘Robinson Kephart,’ editor of adventure books
 

‘Robinson Kephart,’ editor of adventure books

My weekly deadline is looming. I’m not sure how this is going to turn out. But I’ve been thinking about…
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The calm of a winter’s night
 

The calm of a winter’s night

It’s Saturday night as I write this .... going on toward midnight. I read the thermometer mounted outside the kitchen…
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Perfecting the art of shelving books
 

Perfecting the art of shelving books

Some readers might recall that three weeks ago — in a column about relocating my long lost inscribed copy of…
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Topography and language
 

Topography and language

I enjoy using variants on the phrase “lay of the land.” One can “get the lay of the land” in…
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