Thursday, July 28, 2011

If By Whiskey

'If you mean whiskey, the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean that evil drink that topples Christian men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.

However, if by whiskey you mean the lubricant of conversation, the philosophic juice, the elixir of life, the liquid that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; if you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy, and to forget life's great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into Texas treasuries untold millions of dollars each year, that provides tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this nation, then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favor of it.

This is my position, and as always, I refuse to compromise on matters of principle.'


if-by-whiskey, a 1952 speech by Mississippi politician  Noah S. "Soggy" Sweat, Jr.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer in the Hill Country

North Mississippi Hill Country Counties (in dark green)

It is insanely hot in the hill country right now.  I tend to hibernate when the heat and humidity reaches this level.  Because of the heat, the traffic at the bird bath in the back yard is heavy and the all the creatures queue up for a drink.  Deer, red wasps, squirrels, all sorts of birds, and others, I have observed out there of late.  I do the all a kindness by putting in clean water each morning.

The Mississippi Hill Country is the end of the Appalachian Mountains in geography.  The original settlers were primarily Scots-Irish.  A few settled very early in the late 1700s, however, when Andrew Jackson removed the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians in the 1830s, Scots-Irish from north Alabama and Tennessee flooded into the area.  That is when the McCains settled in the Hill Country.  The soil here is not rich like it is in the Delta and rather than large plantations, smaller farms were the norm.  One of the legacies of the Scots-Irish was music and Old Time music at a very high level is still played here.  Elvis Presley was of Scots-Irish ancestry and part of that legacy. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rabbit Back On The Menu Boys

I think it was Annie Dillard who described Mother Nature as 'the big chomp.'  Her point was Mother Nature is brutal and death is everywhere.  It is not a bunch of tree huggers and Indians playing love flutes, with rainbows over head; it is war, creatures trying to eat other creatures.  It is Man that brings order and protects beauty.  Anyroad, this is not about that, this post is about my cat Piscín, one of my Manx lads.  He bagged Big Game today; Rabbit is back on the menu boys.   He shared it with his brother too; for a cat, he is a gentleman (when it suits him, i.e. he was full).

Piscín and his kill this morning

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mississippi Kites


Mississippi Kite


I see a pair Mississippi Kites on my property often this days; amazing birds, very beautiful with incredible flying abilities. I watched one fold his wings and dive for prey yesterday.  It was impressive. The kites here in north Mississippi nest in woodland.  I often see them flying to wood edges and patrolling my large front lawn. 

I am told they eat a lot of large insects, but also take amphibians, reptiles, bats and host of other small mammals. They must take squirrels as I notice the many grey squirrels around my house make themselves very scare when the kites are on the wing.

Last year I had a pair of Peregrine falcons around, have not seen them this year though.