Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park, NYC

Saturday, September 14, 2019 0
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park, NYC
The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, also known to many as the Central Park Reservoir, is a reservoir that is no longer in use as a water supply. It was 'retired' back in 1993 after it was determined that it was vulnerable to contamination and was also made obsolete by superior methods of supplying some of the water supply for the city. The reservoir was still considered a part of the city's water supply, for emergency use during droughts, until 1999. As for being renamed, that happened in 1994 to honor Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Related: 131-Year-Old Reservoir Is Deemed Obsolete

The street view panorama below was taken during the January 2016 blizzard

Other quick facts about the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir:

The reservoir comprises an area of 106 acres.
Starting in 1858, Irish immigrants were the main workers working on the reservoir.
The reservoir was initially known as the Croton Reservoir prior to its subsequent names.

Video from 2013:

More information about the reservoir and Central Park:
The Early History Of New York City’s Central Park
12 HIDDEN SECRETS in Central Park | New York City
Central Park Conservancy - Reservoir
The Central Park Reservoir

More Street Views of Central Park locations in Winter
Minton Tiles at Bethesda Arcade
The Mall and Literary Walk
Skater's Road

Tulip Poplar - Quick Facts and Pictures

Wednesday, September 04, 2019 0
Tulip Poplar - Quick Facts and Pictures
The tulip poplar goes by a few names, including yellow poplar, tulip tree, saddle-leaf tree, and its scientific name, Liriodendron tulipifera. There is also a similar species in China and Vietnam that has the scientific name, Liriodendron chinense. The tulip poplar, related to the magnolia tree, is a hardwood tree native to the eastern regions of the United States, except for the Northwest United States. It also grows in a few regions of Ontario, Canada, including from the Southern shores of Lake Huron, the Northern shores of Lake Erie, and the Niagara Peninsula region.

Given the right conditions, a tulip poplar can grow 150 feet in height or taller. There are records of tulip poplars reaching upwards and above 190 feet in height. On average though, a tulip poplar will be anywhere from 70 to 100 feet in height. Being a quick growing tree, you'll have a good beginning of a shade tree within a few years. What's also good about tulip poplars is that they are long-living and can live for a couple hundred years.

As for the flowers of the tulip poplar, they won't appear until the tree is around fifteen years old. From then on, the flowers will develop in the spring in southern areas and in late spring in northern areas. The flowers are typically yellow but can also be a pale green. The tulip-shaped flowers of the tree are good for attracting bees and if provide an abundance of nectar for bees' production of poplar honey.

Read More:
Tulip Poplar Tree Facts, Uses, and Planting Tipsand-Planting-Tips

Tulip Poplar Seeds
Tulip Poplar Leaf in Autumn
Tulip Poplar Flower
Tulip Poplar Leaves

Protecting the Night of a Nation - International Dark Sky Association

Friday, August 23, 2019 0
Protecting the Night of a Nation - International Dark Sky Association
Protecting the Night of a Nation 
International Dark Sky Association
Leo Smith, IDA’s Northeast Regional Director and Chair of the Connecticut Chapter, is a strategic leader working to build momentum for dark sky protection across the United States. As a long time dark sky advocate well-versed in public policy and lighting regulations, Smith is equipped with the tools and experience to make a meaningful impact.

According to the article, Leo Smith became personally involved in protecting the night sky from light pollution when, in 1999, a large patch of land was sold to a developer for the development of what I'm guessing were cookie-cutter homes (McMansions) practically in his backyard. He became concerned about how the lighting from the development, especially street lighting, would lead to an amount of light pollution that would obscure the night sky. So he began to speak with the developer and they came up with a plan for the light fixtures that would shield the glare from the lights. It was at this time that he learned of the International Dark Sky Association. Soon enough, he joined the network.

The Dirty Thirties - The Dust Bowl

Saturday, July 06, 2019 0
The Dirty Thirties - The Dust Bowl
As anyone who has lived through a tragedy knows, severe circumstances tend to bring out the best in some and the worst in others. This phenomenon can be seen in the history of the region which became known in the 1930s as the dust bowl. While the location of the dust bowl was not static during that trying decade, the term generally refers to the southern portion of the Great Plains. It includes, but is not limited to the northern Texas Panhandle, northeastern New Mexico, southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas, and the Oklahoma Panhandle. One historian describes the severity of life in this area during the 1930s this way:

"The history of the heartland of the dust bowl is a story of extremes. The depression drove farm prices to devastatingly low levels while the weather tormented the residents of the region. Severe depression and extremes in weather were accompanied by plagues of rodents and insects. Although the period is known for its dust storms, the era began with a flood." (Bonnifield pg.61)

Dust storm approaching Spearman, Texas - April 14, 1935 - See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Indeed in September of 1930 heavy rains descended on the area with devastating effects. Homes were wrecked, businesses destroyed, equipment washed away, and the decade known as the "dirty thirties" began on the Great Plains. Of all the destructive forces that would be endured by the plains people during the next ten years - tornadoes, hail storms, plagues of insects - the most inescapable and pervasively destructive force of all was the wind. Once fertile land which had fed the livestock, produced abundant gardens and paid the bills was dried and pummelled into a fine dust, swept up 40 feet into the air, and deposited on floors, in cupboards, on food, between bedclothes, and in every nook and cranny of life. In this way, the wind and sun robbed a people of their livelihood, wore down their resolve, and relentlessly imposed on their very sanity.

As the years of wind and drought wore on, the inhabitants, many whose families had settled the area in the 1800s, were helpless to rejuvenate their land. Instead, they were forced to stand by as livestock starved in the pasture, crops literally burned in the fields, and plans for the future were carried away in the wind with the topsoil. Savings, meant to send a son or daughter to college, or to build up a herd of cattle to support a growing family, dwindled away as year after year the harvest failed to come through.

One of the greatest tragedies of the time was the fact that as mortgages were called in one by one by banks, the government with its 'Resettlement Administration' stepped in to buy up land for pennies. As the government consequently changed the landscape; experimentally building work camps, damming water sources, and trying out different fire prevention methods, many long-time residents who owed nothing on their land were forced to move.

While it is true that farming methods of the time contributed to the extent of the dust storms and land erosion, that fact is only a part of the story. Another part of the story is told by the survivors whose families called the land home for decades. They tell of mismanaged government programs and homes and land destroyed by prairie fires set by inexperienced government workers in the name of progress.

In the end, people who had relied on nature for their livelihood and who were all too familiar with the whims of weather and cycles of abundance and scarcity met the challenge in the way they had met so many before - with perseverance and most of all with hope. Hope for a better time next year. Called "America's Next Year People", these resilient families fought for their lives against unbelievable forces. They hung wet sheets on walls and ceilings to catch the dust. They ate meals under tablecloths to cut down on the amount of dirt ingested. After the worst storms, they literally shoveled the dirt from their rooms. And in the midst of the drought, they gathered tumbleweeds and soapweed to feed the livestock.

In her book, Dust Bowl Diary, Anne Marie Low describes the constant struggle to keep livestock alive, "Teaching a calf to drink from a bucket is a messy job. Nature tells him nourishment comes from above, like manna from Heaven." (Low pg.54)

Like the calf, the plains people were betrayed by the very lessons they had learned from nature. Dry spells are followed by wet spells, and rain eventually does fall, or so they thought. Lured to the area decades before with promises of abundance and government offers of bargain land, now they watched in what must have been awful amazement as nature turned its back.

In 1932 as the trials were just beginning, Anne Low writes of the beauty of her homeland:

"This evening I picked chokecherries in the Big Pasture, starting home just at sunset. Ducks were feeding quietly along the river. Behind me, the hills were turning lavender. In front of me, the fields were a golden mist. My country." (Low pg. 69)

Who could imagine the good times would not return? Just two years later she writes, "This country doesn't look pretty anymore; it is too barren. I'm herding the milk cows on what is left of the grain fields. We replanted the corn and garden...If it doesn't rain, the corn is out of luck." (Low pg. 99)

The story of the dust bowl is a complex story of failure and hope, furious weather and furious human effort, and most of all it is a story of the unending human capacity for faith in a better tomorrow.

Map of regions that were affected by the Dust Bowl.

Dust Bowl Era Photos Prints on ebay


Works Cited:

Bonnifield, Paul. The Dust Bowl: Men, Dirt, and Depression (Albequerque 1979)Low, Anne Marie. Dust Bowl Diary (Nebraska 1984)

Article mirrored from: 

Mass Mortality Events, Strandings of 260+ Dolphins Since February Along Gulf Coast

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 0
Mass Mortality Events, Strandings of 260+ Dolphins Since February Along Gulf Coast
Mass deaths of dolphins have occurred along the coastal regions of the Gulf of Mexico. Not just any region though. The main regions where the dolphins have been stranded and died are areas that were affected the most by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Other factors, including an excess of freshwater from the Mississippi, are also said to have contributed to the event.

Detailed coverage: Stranding of 261 dolphins, possibly linked to high Mississippi River, declared ‘unusual mortality event’ - NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune

The stranding of more than 261 bottlenose dolphins along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle since Feb. 1, with 98 percent of the dolphins being found dead, prompted NOAA Fisheries to declare an unusual mortality event on Friday.

More regarding the Unusual Mortality Event, declared by the NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service - Southeast Region: https://wwl.radio.com/articles/more-260-dead-dolphins-found-along-gulf-coast

This declaration allows an investigative team to look into the high number of dolphin deaths stretching from Louisiana through the Florida panhandle.

Dr. Terri Rowles, NOAA Fisheries Coordinator, has issued a statement informing the public what to do if they come into contact with any stranded mammals.

There's a number of factors that well be looking at as part of this investigation, but its too early at this point to say what may be causing the mortalities, said Dr. Erin Fougeres with NOAA Fisheries Southeast Region.

The area where the dolphins have shown an increase of deaths includes the area where the Deepwater Horizon Explosion impacted the gulf in 2010.

Camping Light Bulbs for Tents and Campsites

Monday, June 03, 2019 0
Camping Light Bulbs for Tents and Campsites
For those of us who enjoy camping seasonally, there's only a minimal amount of 'gear' that we need for our temporary outings with family and/or friends. Besides the obvious, tents, sleeping bags, food and drinks, matches, and such, portable lighting is also a convenient item to have. Even when you're camping in your backyard. There are lanterns, light strings, flashlights and the like.

But one of the most useful camp lighting, besides a flashlight, are camping light bulbs. Being LED bulbs, most brands do last a good while running off of battery power. Using new batteries, the charge from the batteries can keep the LED bulbs powered for at least a few hours but usually not overnight. In addition to being able to hang these bulbs within a tent or over a campsite, you can also take them with you when needed in the dark.

Of course, what's important is getting the best light for your money. You wouldn't want to purchase camping light bulb only to find out it doesn't last as long as you thought it off of one charge or, even worse, doesn't work at all. Besides testing the bulb, and having additional batteries instead of included manufacturer batteries, it's good to have a quality item with overwhelmingly positive reviews. Below are some of the best camping light bulbs.

The Best Camping Light Bulb

These lightweight bulbs are a little bigger than most people's palms but they're plenty bright for your needs. They're also durable enough to withstand an accidental drop. Especially when compared to regular glass bulbs. Of course, being LED bulbs, they definitely last longer than old incandescent flashlights and incandescent lanterns. While these bulbs aren't super bright, and not able to light up a large area, they will light up a tent or the immediate area of a camp site. Each bulb has three modes: high, low, and strobe. 

As for placing the bulbs in a convenient place you can hang the bulbs, using the d-clip attached to the base of each individual bulb, in the center of your tent, near the back or front of a tent, on a branch, or tied off with clothesline rope or fishing line if needed. Included in each pack are four individual LED bulbs and three AAA alkaline batteries for each bulb. For those who want more convenience, it's best to also get rechargeable batteries for these bulbs. These bulbs are water-resistant but you should avoid dropping them in water or exposing them to heavy rains since it will most likely damage them. 

• Bright, soft lighting for illuminating your tent or anywhere you need the light.

• Lightweight bulb that can be placed nearly anywhere.

• Very portable and durable enough for regular use.

• Can last for up to ten hours – powered by three AAA alkaline batteries.

• Also works with rechargeable batteries. Note: the lighting may not last as long as when using alkaline batteries but rechargeable batteries may be more convenient in some situations.

• 3 AAA Batteries not included.

Similar brands of LED camping light bulbs:
Follow the links to learn more about the bulbs, including questions by customers and customer reviews.

Myths about Osceola of the Seminole

Monday, May 27, 2019 0
Myths about Osceola of the Seminole

Osceola, the Man and the Myths

The most famous painting of Osceola by George Catlin. 
George Catlin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Over the last few years of doing the educational programs and living history, I have been trying to put to rest some of the myths surrounding our favorite Seminole, Osceola. Problem is, there has been so much written about him from the very beginning that is just not true. Other people read these things, and not knowing any better, copy them down, and the myths are perpetuated. Without doing any further study, people just don't know any better. So what I will do here is try and expose some of these widely believed falsehoods. Keep in mind that even some of these are debatable, and you may have a different opinion.

If looking for facts, avoid novels that are nothing more than historical fiction. Even before he died, newspapers were writing fictional accounts of Osceola. The problem is that many people read these fictional accounts and believe them as fact.

The absolute worst book that you should avoid is "War Chief of the Seminoles" by May McNeer. Her book claims to be from true stories in her family history, but 80 percent of it can be easily proved false by historical documentation. It is a children's book, and easy to read. Problem is that people read this book and assume it is true without checking other historical sources. McNeer is descended from Indian Agent Wiley Thompson, who we know was made Indian agent for the single purpose of removing the Seminoles from Florida. Thompson treated the Seminoles very badly and told them that they were nothing more than ignorant children. When a white man would have a grievance against an Indian, Thompson would usually side with the white man even when the evidence favored the Indian. Osceola finally executed Thompson for revenge of Thompson's bad treatment of Osceola and the Seminoles.

False: Osceola was born in Georgia near the Chattahoochee River.
What the Facts Show: Osceola was born of the Upper Creek Town of Tallassee, in southeast Alabama, in 1804. A prominent early Alabama statesman, Thomas Woodward, was himself part Creek, and intimately knew many of the Creek families. Woodward described the exact location Osceola was born. Osceola was of a band started by James McQueen. McQueen jumped ship in Charleston in the late 1690s and became a well-respected trader among the Creeks, and lived to be 128 years old. McQueen had many children, and was practically the Father Abraham of the Creeks, known as "the soft-shelled turtle."

False: Osceola's name means "Rising Sun."
What the Facts Show: The correct name would be Asi-Yaholo. It is from the words Asi, referring to the Black Drink, and Yaholo, as one who sings out. So it roughly translates to "Black Drink Singer." Yaholo is a title. Many of the Seminole names are their title in society. It is not uncommon for Creeks and Seminoles to have four different names. A title, a personal name, a name as a child, and a private name. Thomas Woodward calls Osceola, "Ussa Yoholo." At the same time, Woodward also mentions a warrior named "Hossa Yoholo," who was with Peter McQueen (son of James McQueen who became leader of the band after his father.) Both Peter McQueen and Hossa Yoholo fought against Jackson. Hossa Yoholo was known as "Singing Sun," and also had a father named Powell, but would have been about 15 or 20 years older than Osceola. The Muskogee word for sun is HvsE (Hus-E'), and the word for "Sun Rise" is Hvseaossv (Hus'-E-aos'-suh.) It is easy to see where the confusion has come from. To complicate things even more, I have found reference to four different people named William Powell who lived during that time. One is buried in the national military cemetery at Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.

Asseola, A Seminole Leader. (11088226445)
Osceola from the McKenney-Hall prints.
SMU Central University Libraries [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons
False: An Englishman named Powell was Osceola's father.
What the Facts Show: This is probably the most debatable of my points on this page. It is well accepted that Osceola was of mixed English and Creek race. But how much of each different ancestry is debatable. Lt. M.M. Cohen wrote in 1836 that Osceola had a Creek Indian father who died soon after Osceola's birth and that William Powell married Osceola's mother soon after. Many claimed that Osceola did not speak English, further proving that he was not Powell's biological son. (But that is a point that is debatable as well.) George Catlin who painted Osceola quoted him as claiming that, "No foreign blood runs in my veins; I am a pure-blood Muscogee." Genetic tests done on what is thought to be Osceola's hair did not answer the question either but pointed to someone of mixed race. Whoever Osceola was, from Indian, white, or even black ancestry, he was 100 percent Seminole.

False: Osceola was a chief.
What the Facts Show: He was not a hereditary chief. He led by his own charisma, bravery in battle, and outspoken views against removal. He commanded at most 100 warriors. Many officers have stated that Osceola only led a small group. In Seminole society, Osceola was a war leader, not a political leader. Much like a general or sheriff. He gained recognition during the 1834 treaty talks as having great influence over Chief Micanopy. The Florida Seminoles and Miccosukees credit Medicineman Sam Jones (Abiaka) for carrying the cause against removal. There was no one "Head Chief" of the Indians in Florida. In fact, the largest single faction of Seminoles at the beginning of the war fled to Fort Brooke and accepted removal over fighting.

False: Osceola fought against Andrew Jackson.
What the Facts Show: Jackson's major campaign against the Creeks and Seminoles were in 1813, 1814, and 1818. Osceola would have been too young to be a warrior at this time. There is a possibility that Osceola and the people of his village did meet or were briefly captured by Jackson in 1814 and 1818. Most likely people confuse Osceola with Hossa Yoholo, who also had a father named Powell and fought with Peter McQueen.

False: Osceola's Black wife was captured by a slave hunter.
What the Facts Show: There is no written eyewitness account of this ever happening. Indian Agent Wiley Thompson makes no mention of it in his letters. If it did happen, I am sure the war would have started much earlier. The story became popular long after Osceola's death when it appeared in a questionable abolitionist pamphlet. Osceola himself said that he had no slaves. And at Osceola's capture, the question posed to him is "Why have you not surrendered any escaped slaves?" There was another Indian, Econchatti Micco in north Florida, who did have a wife captured by slave hunters, and whom had a son known as Oceola Nikkanochee.

Sketch of Osceola from Dr. Andrew Welch's 1841 book: http://www.johnhorse.com/highlights/keyimgs/details/05.8_r.htm

False: Osceola thrust his knife in a treaty.
What the Facts Show: This is our favorite story, but even this might not have happened. After searching through many eyewitness accounts and government documents, I find nobody who says this ever happened. Indian Agent Wiley Thompson makes no mention of it, and he detailed much of what happened at the talks. It is only logical that he would have written about it since he makes a big fuss over the Seminoles leaders who did not even approach the table to sign the treaty. The closest thing we have to an eyewitness account is an anonymous letter written to a newspaper, which says Osceola made threatening looks and flashed his knife outside the window of the building during the talks. Those who first make mention of the knife in the treaty are those who were not even in Florida during the time. Dr. Andrew Welch first mentions it in his 1841 romantically written book, but his book is full of historical errors. There is a sketch in the book of the event, but this was printed in England. John Sprague mentions it in a footnote in his 1848, making it look like he was not sure of the incident. A book written in 1931 has a copy of what is claimed to be a copy of the treaty, but on closer examination, it is only a small rip and not something made by a knife being thrust strongly into the paper. One thing we can conclude is that this story is a symbol of the resistance and struggle to stay in Florida. It is an image that represents an ideal. It is a story much like George Washington and the cherry tree, which is well loved but does not have any historical basis. Even now knowing this, it is still one of our favorite stories.

False: While in captivity, Osceola went to Washington and New York. 
What the Facts Show: This is one of the most ridiculous stories that I have heard. Osceola never traveled further north than Charleston, South Carolina.

False: Osceola attended theater productions while in St. Augustine or Charleston, S.C.
What the Facts Show: There is no record of this. Osceola was captured in October 1837. He was ill from the time of his capture and only got worse until he died. He was too ill to escape from the fort in St. Augustine when 20 Seminoles escaped in November. At the end of December around New Year's Day, the prisoners in St. Augustine were moved to Fort Moultrie, outside Charleston, South Carolina. Osceola was very ill at this time and died in late January 1838.

Seizure of Osceola
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Marker at site of Osceola's capture
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Read more archived articles at http://web.archive.org/web/20010720080931/http://www.geocities.com:80/CollegePark/Stadium/1528/. Especially under the section: "Stray articles not in the tour book".

Sources Used (good and bad ones):
The Complete Story of Osceola, a reprint by the St. Augustine Historical Society of the Florida Historical Quarterly Osceola Double Issue, Vol. XXXIII, Jan.-Apr. 1955, No. 3 & 4.
Seminole Hostilities, U.S. House Doc. No. 271, 24th Congress, 1st Session, June 3, 1836.
Woodward's Reminiscences by Thomas S. Woodward, 1859.
Osceola's Legacy by Patricia R. Wickman, 1991.
Army and Navy Chronicles, journal published 1835-1842.
New American State Papers, Military Affairs, 1979, 19 Vol. Set.
New American State Papers, Indian Affairs, 1972, 13 Vol. Set.
Notices of Florida and the Campaigns, by M.M. Cohen, 1836.
The Origin, Progress, and Conclusion of the Florida War by John T. Sprague, 1848.
A Narrative of the Early Days and Remembrances of Oceola Nikkanochee, Prince of Econchatti by Andrew Welch, 1841.
The Exiles of Florida by Joshua Giddings, 1858.
Osceola; Florida's Seminole War Chieftain by Minnie Moore-Wilson, 1931.
War Chief of the Seminoles by May McNeer, 1954.

Paeonia Tenuifolia - Intense Crimson Fernleaf Peony

Sunday, April 14, 2019 0
Paeonia Tenuifolia - Intense Crimson Fernleaf Peony
Paeonia tenuifolia is a perennial flower that is better known as the fern leaf peony. This variety of peony has a crimson color to it that is similar to what you'd see with heirloom red roses. It is a plant that will typically be one to two feet tall early in the growing season. Paeonia tenuifolia blooms earlier than other varieties of peonies and can flower all summer, into autumn, but will sometimes go dormant in mid-summer.

Paeonia tenuifolia can be grown in zones 4 through 7 and will begin blooming in June.

Paeonia tenuifolia prg1
Flower Paeonia tenuifolia in Prague botanic garden, Czech Republic - Karelj [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Paeonia tenuifolia is the perfect ornamental flower

Paeonia tenuifolia has a few flowers that are excellent for growing as a companion. These flowers include similarly intense colored rose varieties and colors (per your choice), Jackman's Clematis, Carnations, and Chrysanthemums. Even other Paeonia tenuifolia, such as the pink shades of Rosea and Rosea Plena, are good too The choice is up to you though. Many perennials that enjoy full sun to partial shade, like the fern leaf peony does, make for a great companion flower.

Paeonia tenuifolia care

In early spring you should start watering the flowers if there isn't enough rainfall to do the watering for you. In late spring it's best to remove flower heads that are dead or look like they are dying. You should also remove fallen petals and flower heads from around the flowering plant. In the summer, it is also best to keep the flowers watered if need be.

When the flower has died back in the fall it is best to cut back the foliage of the plant and remove from the flower bed. This is to prevent pests from surviving over the winter. It may sound extreme but you should cut them back to ground level.

Very useful, detailed pages about Paeonia tenuifolia can be found at http://www.peonies.org/P_tenuifolia.html and https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/62914/

Other varieties of peonies can be seen at these pages:

Activated Bamboo Charcoal - Natural Air Freshener For Odors

Sunday, March 24, 2019 0
Activated Bamboo Charcoal - Natural Air Freshener For Odors
Activated bamboo charcoal has been around for a long time but natural air fresheners made from the charcoal have been rising in use in recent times. The activated bamboo charcoal deodorizers outlined here have 200 grams of activated bamboo charcoal per bag. There are 5 bags per order available at a very affordable price when each bag can last up to two years when following the instructions. Each bag has a durable metal grommet in the corner. So you'll be able to place them on a hook or hang them the deodorizing bag anywhere you need it.

The charcoal is useful for absorbing odors, including smoke, from enclosed places. Which includes cars, closets, pantries, bathrooms, laundry rooms, even your refrigerator. They're good for anywhere that builds up moisture and odors. The activated bamboo charcoal could also prevent the growth of mold by preventing an abundance of moisture. They can also help in lowering or even wiping out allergens within your home.

activated bamboo charcoal
Activated bamboo charcoal
The best thing about activated bamboo charcoal, compared to chemical air fresheners, is that it is non-toxic. Also, chemical air fresheners are horrible for the environment and for you and your pets' respiratory systems over the long term. Chemical air fresheners also contain toxic ingredients and most people don't even recycle the containers. Which means that the containers end up at landfills, harming the environment. These activated bamboo charcoal bags are environmentally-friendly and non-toxic.

With bamboo charcoal, you can be sure that there won't be any toxic ingredients in them. They're even safe to use in contact with clothes or near your pets. They can be used near or in laundry hampers. They can be used in luggage, gym bags, book bags, reusable grocery bags, near litter boxes, and elsewhere.

To keep your activated bamboo charcoal working at its best, and allowing it to keep absorbing odors and moisture, you'll have 'revitalize' them in sunlight for two hours every month. This is so that any small amount of moisture that may be in the bag is dried out by the sun. Doing this will give you the maximum time of use of the freshener bags, for up two years.

When the activated bamboo charcoal is no longer viable, you can cut open the bags and use the charcoal in your garden. The charcoal will help improve soil health and plant growth in your garden.

Want to learn more before purchasing?

Sequoyah Caverns - Valley Head, Alabama

Monday, March 18, 2019 0
Sequoyah Caverns - Valley Head, Alabama
Sequoyah Caverns and Ellis Homestead, closed since 2013, was a popular destination in DeKalb County, Alabama. The cave was named for Sequoyah in 1963. There is no evidence that he visited the caves but they were home to some of the Creek and Cherokee since archaeological evidence was found in the caves beginning in the 1840s. Some of these artifacts were on display in the main building.

They held seasonal events such as Nativity performances called Winter of Glory from December 21st-24th. Other events they held included Fall into the Past, a Civil War re-enactment that took place in November, a Spring Festival, and Summer Blast on the 4th of July, with fireworks and bluegrass music.

Better descriptions of the events that they held:

Fall into the Past
Relive history at our spectacular Civil War
re-enactments that take place for several days every November.

Winter of Glory
Join us for our live nativity scene event December 21st through the 24th every year.

Spring Festival
Come witness the powerful world of tractors, engines & machinery every Spring. Also, enjoy great music & crafts.

Summer Blast 
Let the excitement of fireworks & bluegrass music warm your soul every 4th of July.

History of the Sequoyah Caverns and the Ellis Homestead

James Ellis moved his family to Valley Head, Alabama from Tennessee back in 1841. He and his family built a log cabin and later a frame house where the campground is today. The cabin was 
later moved and used for another home 
on the farm.

In these pioneer days, the Ellis Family had to be tough and worked hard to cut farmland out of a wilderness. This hard work allowed the family to accumulate hundreds of acres of land, including what is today Sequoyah Caverns.

During The War Between the States, the Ellis family was divided, just like the nation itself.  James, a 2nd Lt. in the Union army, died from a camp disease in 1863. He is buried at the Chickamauga Battlefield. Four of his sons also served in the war. Three of his sons fought for the Union and one fought for the Confederacy. Only two of the sons survived the war. Mrs. Ellis had one son, Abner, who was too young to fight. 

Although times were hard after the war, the farm began to prosper again. By the turn of the century, the Ellis family was relatively well off. They were growing corn, cotton, wheat, and oats, making sorghum, and raising sheep and cattle.

Today, the direct descendants of James Ellis still live here welcoming visitors from all over the world who come to explore the Ellis Homestead and see Sequoyah Caverns.

Original Settler: James Ellis, 
Born 1806, moved here in 1841, died 1863

Son: Abner Jackson Ellis, 
Born here 1847-1900

Granddaughter: Harriet Saphronia Ellis, 
Lived here 1870-1935, married John Humble

Great Granddaughter: Abbie Jane Humble, 
Lived here 1904-1977, married Roy Lee Jones

G. Great Grandson: John David Jones, 
1933- Present, Owner of the farm, working with 
his son, Roy

G.G. Great Grandson: Roy Lee Jones II, 
1964- Present Running day-to-day operations

G.G.G. Great Granddaughter: Rebecca Jones, 
1989- Works today as a tour guide

G.G.G. Great Grandson: John Paul Jones, 
1991- Works today on the farm

Legacy of the Mound Builders - Short Documentary

Sunday, February 24, 2019 0
Legacy of the Mound Builders - Short Documentary
This 17-minute documentary was filmed in Ohio and covers the subject of the mounds located in the Ohio River Valley. Mounds which were built up by the Hopewell culture from around 200 BC until 500 AD. The Hopewell were preceded by the Adena culture. (Cultures that succeeded the Hopewell)

Thousands of mounds were built between these two cultures. Sadly, many of which have been damaged or destroyed due to carelessness while researching them, damaged for the use as materials for building foundations for homes, and in 2009, damaged to provide for fill for Sam's Club in Oxford, Alabama.

The last records of these mounds being built were in the 1600s.

Watch: The Legacy of the Mound Builders

Why and How did Native Americans Build Mounds

Social Relations In Our Southern States - Chapter VII: Poor White Trash

Monday, February 04, 2019 0
Social Relations In Our Southern States - Chapter VII: Poor White Trash
This post contains an excerpt from the 1860 book "Social Relations In Our Southern States" by
Daniel Robinson Hundley. The title of the chapter that this text is from is titled, "Poor White Trash."

The chapter tells of how the slave owners, and the Southern elite, viewed poor whites in the Confederate south. Including being the views of the author himself. These Southern elites, the slave owners, the plantation owners, had a view that 'poor white trash' were worthless. They were looked down upon for living in rural areas instead of near plantations. They, the "white trash", wanted to be left alone. On the other hand, Southern elites wanted everything to be their business and for the benefit of their "business". These specific poor whites wanted no part of participating in slave ownership either since most of them were against it. All in all, If the Southern elite could have gotten away with it, they would've also enslaved poor whites.

The views of the Southern elite were purposeful in dehumanizing the poor white trash. They held such views to try and justify their own wickedness. To justify, in their own minds, their gains made off of slavery. That and their gains made from all sorts of atrocities against poor whites and especially slaves. It was this truth that Nat Turner understood during his slave rebellion. He spared poor whites from their actions. Turner and his fellow men saved their actions for those families who owned slaves.

Social Relations In Our Southern States Daniel Robinson Hundley

Book Excerpt:

Every where they are just alike, possess pretty much the same characteristics, the same vernacular, the same boorishness, and the same habits; although in different localities, they are known by different names. Thus, in the extreme South and South-west, they are usually called Squatters; in the Carolinas and Georgia Crackers or Sandhillers; in the Old Dominion, Rag Tag and Bob-tail; in Tennessee and some other States, People in the Barrens--but every where, Poor White Trash, a name said to have originated with the slaves, who look upon themselves as much better off than all "po' white folks" whatever.

To form any proper conception of the condition of the Poor White Trash, one should see them as they are. We do not remember ever to have seen in the New-England States a similar class; though, if what a citizen of Maine has told us be true, in portions of that State the Poor Whites are to be found in large numbers. In the State of New-York, however, in the rural districts, we will venture to assert that more of this class of paupers are to be met with than you will find in any single Southern State. For in examining the statistics of pauperism, as prepared by the Secretary of State for New-York, we learn that the number of her public paupers, permanent and temporary, is set down as 468,302--to support whom requires an annual outlay of one million and a half of dollars, which has to be raised by tax for the purpose. They are also found in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and all the States of the North-west, though in most of these last they came originally from the South.

But every where, North and South, in Maine or Texas, in Virginia or New-York, they are one and the same; and have undoubtedly had one and the same origin, namely, the poor-houses and prison-cells of Great Britain. Hence we again affirm, what we asserted only a moment ago, that there is a great deal more in blood than people in the United States are generally inclined to believe.

Now, the Poor White Trash are about the only paupers in our Southern States, and they are very rarely supported by either the State or parish in which they reside; nor have we ever known or heard of a single instance in the South, in which a pauper was farmed out by the year to the lowest or highest bidder, (whichever it be,) as is the custom in the enlightened States of New-England. Moreover, the Poor White Trash are wholly rural; hence, the South will ever remain secure against any species of agrarianism, since such mob violence always originates in towns and cities, wherein are herded together an unthinking rabble, whom Dryden fitly describes as,

                         "The scum
                         That rises up most, when the nation boils."

The Poor Whites of the South live altogether in the country, in hilly and mountainous regions generally, in communities by themselves, and far removed, from the wealthy and refined settlements. Why it is they always select the hilly, and consequently unproductive districts for their homes, we know not. It can not be, however, as urged by the abolitionists, because the slaveholders have seized on all the fertile lands; for it is well known, that some of the most inexhaustible soils in the South have never yet felt the touch of the ploughshare in their virgin bosoms, and are still to be had at government prices. Neither can it be pleaded in behalf of the Poor White Trash, that they object to labor by the side of slaves (see note 1); for, as we have already shown, the Southern Yeomanry, who, as a class, are poor, work habitually in company with negroes, and usually prefer to own a homestead in the neighborhood of wealthy planters. We apprehend, therefore, that it is a natural feeling with Messrs. Rag Tag and Bobtail--an idiosyncrasy for which they themselves can assign no good reason--why they delight to build their pine-pole cabins among the sterile sand hills, or in the very heart of the dismal solitude of the burr-oak or pine barrens. We remember to have heard an overseer who had spent some time among the Sandhillers, relate something like the following anecdote of a youthful Bobtail whom he persuaded to accompany him out of the hill-country into the nearest alluvial bottoms, where there was any number of extensive plantations in a high state of cultivation, which will aptly illustrate this peculiarity of the class. So soon as the juvenile Bobtail reached the open country, his eyes began to dilate, and his whole manner and expression indicated bewilderment and uneasiness. "Bedadseized!" exclaimed he at last, " ef this yere ked'ntry haint got nary sign ov er tree! How in thunder duz folks live down yere? By G-o-r-j! this beats all that Uncle Snipes tells about Carlina. Tell yer what, I'm goin' ter make tracks fur dad's--yer heer my horn toot!" And he did make tracks for dad's, sure enough.

And the biggest reason that the materialistic Southern elites despised the "poor white trash":

Panics, financial pressures, and the like, are unknown amongst them, and about the only crisis of which they know any thing, is when a poor fellow is called upon to "shuffle off this mortal coil." Money, in truth, is almost a perfectly unknown commodity in their midst, and nearly all of their trafficking is carried on by means of barter alone. In their currency a cow is considered worth so much, a horse so much, a dog so much, a fat buck so much, a wild-turkey so much, a coon-skin so much, et cetera, et cetera; and by these values almost every thing else is rated. Dollars and dimes, or pounds, shillings and pence, they never bother their brains any great deal about.

This chapter, as well as the book, was openly pro-slavery propaganda. See this paragraph on how the author describes educated poor whites:

But if, after he has gained the knowledge and social position to which he so ardently aspires, and has thereby become the pride of his doting old mother and the boast of his hard-working father; he still continues to harbor in his bosom resentment against those whom fortune favored more than himself in the outset of life, and secretly entertains proposals from the deadliest enemies of his native land merely because of such personal spite, to gratify which he also lends himself to aid the schemes of Northern abolitionists; where is there an honest man who would not utterly loathe and despise his meanness of soul? We know he may delude himself into the belief, that the social position of his father as well as that of his mother's family connection is due mainly to the institution of slavery; but is this an excuse for treason? Is it any excuse for his wishing to deprive other men of their property, or for his aiding to stir up a servile insurrection, hoping to see the roofs of his supposed enemies blazing at midnight and tumbling in upon the devoted inmates, while the emancipated blacks are dancing savagely around the ruins in the delirium of a brutal joy?

This chapter above, much like the book, is an attempt to justify slavery. Furthermore, it also outlines the view that the Southern elite, including the author, held the view that "poor white trash" should be afforded the same human rights. Practically saying that they weren't "white" (aka the idea of whiteness) as it were, other than the tone of their skin. All because the majority of poor whites were against slavery.

By their acts and their views, most poor whites were anti-slavery. The lies of the classist author falsely states that the majority, if not all, poor whites were pro-slavery. When, in reality, it was the southern yeomen who were pro-slavery. Especially since they profited off of living near slave owners and their plantations. On the other hand, the "poor white trash" purposefully lived far from the slave owners to not play a part in their actions. 

This book was part of attempts by Southern elites who tried to turn poor whites and slaves against each other. Mainly to create a buffer for themselves (the elites). It was a defense of their inhuman practice as pressure mounted against slavery. Which, as history tells, the buffer failed. Slave rebellion leaders like Nat Turner didn't fall for it. Neither did the unknown numbers of poor whites, out of the ~100,000 Union Army southern whites total, who fought on behalf of the Union Army during the Civil War. 

If you want to read the whole chapter or the whole book: 
Full digital book available for free on Internet Archive (archive.org)

Biography on Daniel Hundley and a shorter biography here which says that his father was a slaveowner.and names family members. Another biographical entry, from an ebay listing, saying that Hundley married his first cousin. The biographical book is also available on Amazon.

Note 1: This is not because they were racist. Far from it since they were, by and far, opponents of slavery and southern secession. It was because they knew the game of the yeomen go-alongs and especially the slave owners. The wealthy slave owners saw the "poor white trash" as potential sources of a re-imagined, re-invented, and reintroduced indentured servitude. Which the "poor white trash" was wise to from hearing the stories of the older generations of their families that were indentured servants. 

Delta Blues Documentary: Willie Foster - Greenville, Mississippi (1994)

Sunday, January 06, 2019 0
Delta Blues Documentary: Willie Foster - Greenville, Mississippi (1994)
Blues singer Willie Foster in Greenville, Mississippi, interview from 1994 (possibly mid-September), sharing his experiences involving the beginnings of his blues career and other experiences.

Excerpted from the documentary, Delta Blues.

From IMDB: "Delta Blues is a one hour music/video documentary tracing the living history of the blues through the rich brown dirt of the Mississippi Delta, and through the lives of these traditional bluesmen."

The full documentary is 60 minutes long. Unfortunately, at this moment, there are no physical copies of this documentary for sale, as of this writing, just a "Currently unavailable." entry on Amazon. So these youtube videos are the only source as of now.

More about Willie Foster

Watch more excerpts from the Delta Blues documentary and similar blues videos/interviews from the RawBluesTV youtube channel

Katelyn Nicole Davis ♥ Forever Missed