Saturday, December 29, 2012

Birthday of Kristiano Rafael Yelverton

My brother's son Kris became a dad at 3:31am this Saturday morning.  

The big healthy boy was 9 lbs and 10 oz.  

My dad and Great-grandson

My mom and Great-grandson

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winter hike photos

Photos from a 'snow hike' today in snowy upstate NY.   We got 8 - 9" of snow last night.  It's cold, in the teens tonight.

Canadian geese on the river

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Late night walk in the snow...

In a steady snow tonight, a walk to the river.

Several inches of light and powdery snow down and a steady fine snow coming down like a fog.  My brother created a little winter wonderland with Christmas lights in the back yard. The night sky had just enough light to produce a photo of the river that appears like an impressionistic canvas.

The scene was serene, silent, beautiful.

Today is my parent's 53rd Anniversary and our family awaits the birth of my brother's grandson, Kristiano Rafael.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas in snowy NY - 2012

Christmas photos of the Yelverton clan.   

Yelverton clan - Christmas 2012

Tom's reconstruction of the Conklin house is amazing, and the old family room's woodburning fireplace was restored.  The floor is now heated with pipes as well.  Pretty cozy.  

We're bracing for a major winter storm on Wednesday night.  We could get a foot or more of snow.

Kris and Sabrina are expecting their new son any moment... Kristiano Rafael Yelverton.

I spent some of my Christmas morning on the track at my old highschool (after sweeping a lane clear of snow).

Too many presents!

Sweeping a path to sprint on

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cold on the bluff - Winter Solstice

Very windy and cold on the bluff this weekend before Christmas.  Some gusts reached 50 mph yesterday and there was an occasional snow flurry last night.  The combination of wind and rushing water from recent rains sounded like a roaring train coming from below the bluff last night.   It was truly ominous.

Below is a photo of my first Sewanee Xmas tree, complete with decorations, thoughtfully brought from FL by my Mom.   What would I do with out her?  I love her dearly.

Icicles on my bluff

My first Christmas tree in Sewanee, thanks to my Mom!

Beginning of the longest night of the year

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tribute: Saudade

Tribute to the victims and families in CT.  When I saw the President cry, I cried.  Upon hearing the news, I immediately thought of a young boy I once knew.

Back in the 'Boro from out of town.   Saudade?  It's a Brazilian thing...

Saudade: a unique Portuguese word that has no immediate translation in English. Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return.  Saudade was once described as "the love that remains" after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone or something that should be there in a particular moment but is missing.


 I like this tune... but I really should stop recording pieces the same day I learn them!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shakerag in winter

Ok, it's not quite winter yet... and it sure didn't feel like it this past weekend with temperatures in the upper 60sÂș.   A great day for a hike with John, Nancy, and the Nelsons.

Looking up to Green's View from the Shakerag trail...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Quintessentially Dixie...

Two photos from Franklin, Co. TN...

First is from Cowan, and the second... which I found amusing, from the Franklin Co. Courthouse.

A pleasure to register my vehicles in Franklin Co.  Cheaper, no waiting in line.

Please do not spit in this water fountain!!  No tabacca juice please...

6:55 am

An exceptionally warm Dec. morning, I was in bare feet on the bluff taking this photo of sunrise alpenglow on the ridge and fog in Lost Cove.  

From my deck...

There were 3 pileated woodpeckers in my tree this morning.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Birthday hike

Nancy turned 60 today.
We celebrated with an impromptu hike ... the 2 1/2+ hour hike took us from KA Point to Morgan Steep ... and them some.  Probably about 8 miles.  Pretty hard to do for me after a long track workout and a sore ankle.

I asked John yesterday if he wanted to hike today.

He said no.

Favorite tree

Nancy and John on the bluff

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My furniture-making bent

I got a load of heavy oak barn wood from my  neighbor, Hans.  This stuff is old... at least 150 years, judging by the 19th c. vintage square nails in it.  There were 4"x 6"s, 2"x 8"s, and a 1" x 14".

I made 3 end tables, a long table/bench, a king bed frame, and the most labor intensive thing - a solid oak cutting board/kitchen island.   The kitchen island was a serious project I could not have done without Joe Smith's joiner and wood clamps.   I laminated four 2x8s together to make the surface.  I ripped the 4x6s in half to make super stout 4x3 legs.   This wood is so hard, I broke 3 lag bolts assembling it.  After sanding, I finished it with food grade mineral oil.

The big 1"x14"x12' made four tables.   Even though the table tops are sanded silky smooth, you can see the sawmill blade marks and an interesting green color.  

The king bed is actually situated the long way against the wall, so it is extra wide.  I fashioned smooth wide arms on both sides with sanded pine so it looks like a giant chair.  I left verticle wood on each side so I can add an integrated bookcase on each if I want to.

The view from this bed is tremendous, no need for a headboard.  The fireplace at the foot of the bed is idyllic.

I think this rustic barn wood funiture fits my Sewanee house perfectly.   Now, I can give my hands a rest and play some guitar.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I love maps

I've been wanting to order a custom topo map from and was looking at this preview.  Here's a small piece of it.   Cool to see my house on it's promontory point on the map - easy to see why the Feasters picked this spot.

What a view.  Thomas, my insurance agent was just here for some photos, he was awestruck.  He stood on the bluff for a few minutes in silence.

What's in a name?

A friend was alway saying my place of residence was appropriately named since he thinks I "live the life of Riley"... and in Murfreesboro, I live on "Riley Rd."

Here in Sewanee, I live at the head of Champion Cove.


Living in the trees ... fog still thick on the bluff at 10am.  Can't see Stapleton's ridge.  Plants are enjoying some moist weather.   Well, off to the track...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mom and Dad visit Sewanee

Mom and Dad liked my new place in Sewanee.  We enjoyed a wonderful sunset on their last night here.

Mom brought me my first Sewanee Xmas tree and Dad treated us to some nice meals.  We enjoyed hanging by the fire and reading the history of my house in the collected letters and photos of the Feasters loaned to me by Patti Posen.  We also enjoyed touring Sewanee and hanging with the Princes.  I think my parents like it here and will want to return.

Dad agrees, photos of this view can't prepare you for how grandiose it truly is.  Dad also agrees, a hot tub on the deck is essential!  My parents unceremoniously fled town at 2:15 am Sunday morning to escape holiday traffic.  (Dad's sleep disorder comes in handy!)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday afternoon, bliss on the bluff

After a long hard workout on the Sewanee track (6x800), I returned to the bluff.

Sitting in my Adirondack chair, it was so peaceful and quiet, warm with a light breeze. Not a cloud in the sky.

I hear the pileated woodpecker, hawks, and the rushing waterfalls down below in the gorge. So quiet I can hear the crinkling sound of amber leaves as they blow off the trees and float through the air down the bluff below.

By sunset, guitar and tea.

UPDATED: Two more diverse bluff views below, from an everchanging sky - Nov 12.

3 of my photos were showcased in Nashville Arts Magazine this month.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Falls and moon

After a nice hike today with Andrew and Nancy, we were joined by Lynn to watch the sunset at my place.   The fall and winter sun sets exactly in the center of my bluff view.  It's awesome every time... so, sunsets here on the bluff have become a ritual.   After the sunset, I enjoyed the setting the crescent moon.

The awesomeness of Earth and sky.

Bridal veil falls

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sewanee social, meetings, odd events

I was happy to volunteer on Friday for Sally and Christi to play at the local Arts Council potluck dinner and meeting ... held in a nondescript building behind the water plant in Tracy City... as Sally put it, a situation that could elicit 'culture shock.'  But, no ... it wasn't bad, not exactly the perfect first impression for Sarah of the mountain.   But... after Julia's fish tacos, a campus tour, a visit with the Princes, and a nice fire back on the bluff... it was a wonderful evening.   Our Saturday morning hike, coffee with Pete at the Blue Chair, and tour of the Rung's cool new construction, capped off a nice visit.
Joe, Geoff, Andrew, Clayton, Sally, Nancy

After Sarah left to attend a function with her daughter, I had a few hours to sit and relax before my party ... then it happened.  I felt my house move.  WTF was that?   A wind gust?  No, it was definitely a freakin' earthquake!!   Sure enough, after checking the USGS list, at 12:08pm, there was a 4.3 earthquake centered in the KY mountains.  Wow.  If I hadn't been sitting still, quietly relaxing in my new loveseat futon/chaise lounge, I probably would not have even noticed.  It was really weird.

At my party, I was happy to meet Dick and Ann Posen whose mom lived in this house.  They had photos of the construction of this place ('72) and interesting stories.  Vic, Andrew, and Joe came up from the 'Boro, and Sally, Maggie, Geoff, John, Nancy, Clayton, and Linda came by.

I had no idea of the connection that was about to be made.

Andrew Lytle Nelson, long time friend of the Princes, is a first cousin of the famed Sewanee writer/professor, Andrew Nelson Lytle.   When I introduced Geoff Roehm casually as "the coffin maker," it didn't quite click with Andrew.  Then, John explained that Geoff was the maker of Andrew Lytle's casket, an episode memorialized in Sullivan's highly acclaimed book Pulphead.  Andrew stood up and hugged Geoff.  It was a great moment.

We all watched the sunset.  Sally said, "thanks for buying us a house on the bluff, Bill."

Hangin' on the bluff...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A nice place to wake up

The view from my bed, on Election Day morning... 7:30 am.  
I love the fireplace at the foot of my bed.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The land beneath

 If there is anything wild or rare in this area, it's in Champion Cove.

I made my first venture down the bluff from my place in Sewanee this weekend.  It required an extension ladder to scale the initial bluff.  Once I got down there, I realized that this was true wilderness.  No trails, no sign of humanity whatsoever...  and some very steep rugged hiking.  This is not a place for old men (or women).  One has to be very sure-footed and in top physical condition to hike down and back up this bluff.   Next time, I'll take water!

I followed the Laurel Branch creek down where it joined a second creek.  The second creek had a waterfall and an awesome rock overhang 3' high that went behind the falls - a stunning natural feature probably few have seen.   Where the creeks joined, they formed another waterfall that fell into a sink and disappeared.   There was a huge old growth oak at that spot.  I continued down until I reached the flat part of the cove.  

I started back up and got to the rock wall and walked left.   I was disoriented and followed some deer paths I hadn't seen before.  I finally came to the top and saw an unfamiliar road.   I checked a sign and found that I had wandered out at Myers Point, near the Stapleton land.   I had no idea where I was so I  flagged down the next car who was Sarah, a professor at UTC.  She drove me to Maggie's house and Maggie drove me home.   It was probably less than a mile to my house as the crow flies... but a staggering 4 to 5 miles by road.

That evening, we watched one helluva sunset.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

the magic hour

Just before sunset, when the trees catch that golden fire light...

Looking out over the Champion Cove Land Trust, there is not ever a single light at night to be seen in that great valley. The full moon this weekend was spectacular. Tales of mountain lions around here are a buzz. If there ever were any around here, they'd be down there, in that wilderness.

Just doing a little work on the deck in this photo, and now, just finished. It's as solid as rock. Thanks to Evan for helping with the verticle pillar replacement. A 6x6x16 is the single biggest and heaviest piece of lumber you can buy from Home Depot, it must weigh about 180 lbs. Hard to handle. 

I love how my tree hangs over and shades my deck.   Feels like a treehouse.  I love the Sewanee stone dodecagon, like a stout little castle.   I love the big windows and sliding glass doors facing the bluff, and the two fireplaces upstairs, and downstairs in the bedroom.

Still astonished at the view from my bed every morning... and every sunset.