Pat C. saw my post on House Mountain Natural Area and immediately suggested that I must hike to Sand Cave on Cumberland Gap’s Ewing Trail. I looked it up on Google and it looks fantastic! (see photos) (see map) White Rocks and Sand Cave are described as “two of the loveliest natural features to be found in any Southeastern national park.” in a Knoxville News article. It’s 45 miles from Sharps Chapel (just over the VA border). It reminds me of Old Man’s Cave in Hocking State Park south of Columbus Ohio. It definitely is on my list for a hike this summer. Round trip is 9 miles.
Life is an Adventure.
Directions from Sharps Chapel
Take St Rt. 33 to U.S. Highway 25E, and take a right onto U.S. Highway 58 East at Cumberland Gap.
Follow Highway 58 for 12 miles to Ewing, Va., and take a left onto State Route 724. The Ewing Trail starts at the end of Route 724, which is also marked as Sand Cave Road.
Last Saturday, Jim and I decided to do a little exploring in the car. It’s always helpful to have a destination and we saw a state natural area called House Mountain on the map. It was only 30 miles from Sharps Chapel. It was a beautiful day and we headed out.
To us, the drive to anywhere from Sharps Chapel is scenic. We just love the mountains and the country roads. We were particularly enjoying watching all the farmers who were hurrying to rake, bail, and transport their hay to shelter before the rain that was due the next day. It was as if they put out an all-points-bulletin to synchronize this over the last five days which were hot and sunny and perfect for this.
House Mountain, it turns out, is only 10 miles from Knoxville and is the highest elevation in Knox County.
When we got there, we saw several families and what appeared to be high school or college students hiking the trail. The trail map showed a couple of options (short or long hikes) and we chose a loop that would take us to the ridge for a nice view. We went up Mountain Trail, across Crest Trail, then down West Overlook Trail. It took us about 2 hours.
It was a strenuous hike, due to the elevation and the condition of the trails. There were lots of rocks on the path, so do not try to hike this in sandals. The trail boasted huge rocks and cliffs that were very picturesque, all along the way. Poison Ivy was plentiful. I can just see it covering the trail in some spots as the summer progresses.
At the top, we were expecting to see a formal outlook, similar to what they have at Cumberland Gap, but it was all rustic. You had to scramble off the trail a bit to get the good views, but well worth the hike.
We came across a young family from Knoxville with their newest addition only 2 months old! The older children were in good spirits, although ready for a break at the top, and I made sure I complimented them on their accomplishment thus far.
There are a lot of local artists in Union County (see Union Co. Arts Cooperative) but Pat and Bill Clapsaddle are two that I particularly admire. Some of you may already know Pat as an accomplished ceramic artist, but may not be familiar with Bill’s talents. These fish drawer pulls are all Bill’s creative genius. Bill, a retired historic home restorer / custom builder, crafted them in clay and painted them himself, using glazes. Pat helped by giving advice on how to cast and use her glazes to get the effects he wanted — Bill actually made all the casts and applied the glazes.
I don’t claim to be able to identify fish, other than, perhaps, blue gill. I would bet that these are accurate and could be easily identified by people who know fish. Pat and Bill are also accomplished fisher-people — I’ve seen photos of them holding their catches and you can tell they enjoy it immensely from the looks on their faces.
If you are interested in purchasing these, they will be available for sale at the Foothills Craft Show in November at the Jacobs Building in Pat’s booth. They are signed and dated by Bill.
But you’ll be able to see Pat earlier than that and purchase her ceramics this coming Saturday, where she will be giving an art demo at ”Art in the Park” in Maynardville on June 1st. Please stop by her booth and tell her that you saw these drawer pulls. Pat Clapsaddle Pottery has a Facebook page, also, so
please ”like” it to see new photos of her work and find out where she will be exhibiting next. She is quite active!
Carpenter Bees – How to Identify If You Have a Problem
Carpenter Bee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you have any wood on the exterior of your home, deck, or barn, you probably also have carpenter bees. And you don’t even have to be in the country or have a log cabin to experience this. I’ve seen carpenter bees drill their distinctive hole right in the middle of the wooden front door of our neighbor’s home when we lived in the suburbs. It looked like someone shot a bullet through the door – it was so perfectly round.
The photo above shows the distinctive round hole that they make. They then proceed to drill tunnels, often turning a sharp right angle from the entrance of the hole, that can weaken the wood deep within the log or board. In the tunnels, they lay eggs that hatch into larvae. The larvae turn into carpenter bees that eventually emerge through the same hole.
TIP: Do not plug up / repair carpenter bee holes until late fall so that all the larvae have hatched and the young bees have exited. Young bees exit by looking for the nearest light. If you plug up the hole and eliminate the light, they will just drill another hole to exit.
English: CARPENTER BEE IN BACKYARD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Carpenter bees like the warm side of a structure. Ours like to drill holes behind the gutter that is against the fascia board on the west side of the house. The gutter retains the warmth of the sun and protects them from the rain.They are active in the spring and nest in the tunnels the rest of the year. Right now, they out and about. They like to hover right in front of me and stare me down – like they are little remote control drones. You can’t help but think they are little aliens scrutinizing our intelligence.
Two Great Carpenter Bee Solutions
Jim and I were out-and-about and came upon a log home manufacturer that had model log homes to tour. We asked them their advice on log cabin maintenance, just to see if there were any new tips we need to incorporate. Boy, were we glad we asked.
They mentioned carpenter bees as being the only real problem and they had two solutions: a trap that does not use any pesticide and a product called Brian’s Bee Butter that does.
Carpenter Bee Trap
Watch this video to see an effective carpenter bee trap that is engineered to do the job right the first time. They explain all the reasons that carpenter bees are attracted to their trap to make it so effective – it is really quite interesting.
I called to ask them some additional questions and learned that when the first couple of bees find your trap and die, they release a pheromone that attracts other bees. If you don’t want to wait for the bees to find the trap, you can speed this up by killing a bee with a tennis racket and putting it into the bee trap.
The chemical solution to exterminate carpenter bees is a product called Brian’s Bee Butter that contains permethrin — the same product used to dip dogs & treat head lice in children. I’ve written about permethrin before as a good tick repellent / defense against ticks and I regularly spray it on my clothes before I go on a hike.
The video below shows you exactly how to use it. It comes with a syringe and you simply inject some into the individual carpenter bee holes. The permethrin is carried in a grease, according to the video, that not only protects the permethrin from breaking down prematurely (it normally only has a short life) but also keeps it from dripping so that it stays in the hole to continue to work as baby bees emerge throughout the year.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, I just learned that they are no longer able to sell the Bee Butter. They had been selling it for five years without any problem, but the EPA, in their ultimate wisdom, decided that they need to resubmit it for review since they were mixing already approved ingredients. It would cost $40,000 PER STATE! Another government intervention that is limiting small business.
May 10. My mother’s birthday is today. She would have been 88. She died at the age of 49 in 1974 when I was 17.
Here she is in a photo with my two younger brothers, Tom and Steve, when she was probably 43. Learn more about my mom, the dress designer.
I have a ritual every year. I sing “Happy Birthday” to her when I am alone. I think about all the fun times we had as children growing up. She was at the center of it all.
Girl Scouts (Photo credit: The Library of Virginia)
She was my Girl Scout leader (that’s not us in the photo, but we both wore uniforms exactly like this). She taught me to love flowers. She was my role model for loving to experience the out-of-doors and learn new things.
You would have liked it here in Sharps Chapel. Away from the lake, it’s not glamorous. Time has stood still in many ways, so depending upon where you look, it is not that different from the 1960′s we spent on the farm in Ohio. There are still narrow gravel roads, white-washed barns with paint peeling, chickens running free in the yard, dogs chasing cars, people living in trailers and modest homes, grocery stores 20-30 minutes away by car, people working hard to make a living…
What would my life have been like otherwise? We all adapt to our situations. I am lucky to have had you as a mother. You are forever young in my heart. I love you.