Adventures in Geocaching: HMGT #14 Dils Cemetery aka McCoy Gravesite


Dils Cemetery is our stop in this installment of the Hatfield McCoy GeoTrail Adventure.

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McCoy Gravesite Sign

Dils-Cemetery-stairs-climb-HMGT

See our white van way down there?

I had read about the uphill, mountainous hikes to the graves; I was a bit concerned.

Rightfully so, as it turns out. Good gracious—turns out all these mountain folks are buried, of all places, on mountains. Imagine that.

Dils-Cemetery-HMGT-stairs

Dils/McCoy Gravesite

Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. In Alabama, we have nice, flat cemeteries. Drive up. Get out of your car. Stroll to grave. Easy. No fitness required.

Not so in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Dils Cemetery was our first introduction to vertical burials. This uphill climb graveyard visit took us to the graves of Randal and Sarah McCoy, their daughter Roseanna of the Johnse romance fame, and various McCoy and Hatfield graves.

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McCoy Headstone

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Original Headstones

Also of interest is that Dils Cemetery is the first integrated cemetery in Eastern Kentucky.  Seems Colonel John Dils wasn’t a big fan of slavery, so he employed freed slaves and later provided burial spaces for them and their descendents.

Dils-Cemetery-Markers-HMGTFreed Slaves’ Graves

We walked about the graveyard, found the cache, and steeply descended the stairs to our car.

On a side note, when we arrived and got out of the car, a fireman and his daughter stopped us because we are from Alabama—I guess the Alabama plates and the Back-to-Back Championship magnet on the car tipped them off. His daughter wants to play softball at The University of Alabama, so we told them that would be a great choice. Roll Tide!

He also said that before the documentary came on TV, hardly anybody ever went “to that old man’s grave.” Now he said there are days he sees as many as 70 go see him in a day.

He helped an old woman go up there one day and spent “the most interesting three hours of my life with her.” She told him that Perry Cline could not have been involved as the lawyer because he was only 13 years old at the time. She also told him that Randal McCoy died after getting drunk and falling into a burning fire in the fireplace of a house that then burned down.

We heard various stories, and who knows what is fact or fiction at this point. All I know is that the whole deal is fascinating.

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Sarah Syck’s Grave—what an interesting name.

Ready to go yet?

You can find more info here:

http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC3QE8B_hmgt-14-dils-cemetery?guid=3919e2b3-65d0-472b-873a-07e99cf3c077

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Don’t Miss the Little Very Important Things This Christmas


We celebrated Christmas on December 16th this year due to a variety of reasons. It was wonderful for many different reasons including no pressure for anyone to have to be celebrating with anyone else on that particular day. You know how it is—go here—go there—go everywhere—and have a hard time enjoying any of it. We’ve all been there.

So, this year, no pressure. Just a day, albeit early, to enjoy Christmas.

We did all the usual things—ate too much, bustled about, and then settled down to open the ridiculous number of presents. We start out rather organized with each one opening a gift at a time, and then descend into a kind of anarchy where there ensues a bit of pell-mell opening of gifts. Chaos. Lovely.

After all the presents were opened and the adult children with our grandchildren were heading home, I hear a small voice.

“Aren’t you going to open this present?”

“What, Little Baby?”

“Are you going to open this one?”

She pointed to the one lone remaining gift.

GG#3 Gift

“Is this for me?”

“Yes.”

Now, I had thought this gift just had candy that she had confiscated from a stash I had in the kitchen, so I didn’t think it was very important.

Boy, was I wrong.

Grandgirl #3 looked at me with her big brown eyes, and I could see that I had committed a grievous error.

I had overlooked her gift that she had made just for me.

This child had spent hours painstakingly sticking pins through sequins and beads making an Alabama ornament just for me.

GG#3 Ornament

And I had just left it sitting there.

When I opened it, tears sprang to my eyes. I’ve never received such a gift.

This child never ceases to amaze me. She will work hours on end on a project and then hand it to you like it took her two minutes to complete.

This one took the cake, and I almost missed it.

Please don’t miss the little important things coming your way this Christmas.

Scissor Happy


Do you see that? That is what I pulled out of the dishwasher today. Five pairs of scissors.

Count ’em. 5. F. I. V. E. Five.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and bet that most of you have never ever had cause to run that many pairs of scissors through your dishwasher. In fact, I’ll bet some of you have never even run one single pair of scissors ever through your dishwasher.

What can I say? We are scissor happy here.

I can’t even remember what we used all the scissors for yesterday, but here’s a guess.

From left to right:

The snub-nosed red pair is the pair of choice for cutting herbs, but I’m pretty sure DH used them for deadheading the knock-out roses.

The orange-handled pair has been in this household forever. They may have been used for cutting open a package or trimming meat.

The black pair in the middle got the honor of hacking up chicken wings that DH cooked us for supper.

The kiddie scissors got the herb honors as I used them to cut sage for DH to put in hash he was cooking.

The last, fifth, pair of black scissors had a mystery purpose. Neither of us can remember just what they were used for yesterday.

So tell me–have you ever sent that many scissors through your dishwasher at once? What did you use them for?

We surely can’t be the only scissor happy couple on the planet!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today


A funny thing happened on the journey of doing the weekly photo challenge.

I lost my focus.

Not the focus on my camera–the focus of what I thought I was supposed to be doing.

See, I thought the challenge was like an assignment–something to pick up my camera and go do once I got the much anticipated challenge in my inbox on Friday.

I would give myself until Thursday to complete the challenge because I thought that I should be looking around my world for opportunities to complete said challenge.

Somewhere along the way I lost my way.

I noticed that folks were immediately posting photos.

What?

How?

Oh. I’m slow to pick up on things sometimes, but it eventually dawned on me that lots of you were not going out with fresh eyes, but you were searching through your old photos and posting immediately.

I ignored that for awhile, but then I felt pressure to get a photo up immediately lest no one would look at it. Humph.

I guess that’s why I haven’t posted a photo the last few weeks. Somehow the purpose of the challenge was lost for me.

Then, today, we got the Today Challenge. YES. Instruction to not look through photo archives.

Instruction to pick up our cameras and record TODAY.

I love it, and here is my record from TODAY.

GG#3 twirling a marshmallow in yellow sugar sprinkles. She likes pink the best.

GG#4 twirling a marshmallow in orange sugar sprinkles. She picked red for me.

Some of the final sparkly marshmallow products in pink (the overall fav), purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow.

TODAY was a good day.

Adventures in Geocaching: A High Memories Day


As a geocacher, I love high numbers days. Mostly though, I don’t have those. What I really like is the kind of day I had today.

A high memories day.

Really, there was nothing overly special about today. It started out sunny and a little warm, but as the sun sank it got a little cold.

The caches were mostly easy finds, but I had a most outstanding caching partner.

Anytime a grandgirl comes caching with me, the day becomes a high memories day rather than a numbers day. It doesn’t matter if the caches are at spectacular locations or not.

It doesn’t even matter too much if we find all the caches or not, but finding is always better than DNFing.

It matters more to her if we find something other than a log in the cache, and happily, today she got to score a smiley face pin for her shirt. And that was from a micro cache.

Looking for the Cache

What matters more to me is seeing the smiling face of a grandgirl finding something she didn’t expect and getting to spend time with her that I wouldn’t have missed for anything.

Now that is a high memories day. Thanks, geocaching. You have given me that with all five grandgirls.

And for the record, we found 4 and DNF’d 2.

How To Cook a Big Ole Ham


Now I’ve cooked hams more or less successfully for years, but last year my sister hauled her leftover ham to the beach after Christmas, and DH loved it. We enjoyed this ham because we were staying together at a beach house just after Christmas.

Since he liked it so much, he had me ask her how she made it. Here is her professional recipe:

Rub the ham with a mixture of mustard and brown sugar.

Cover the ham with pineapple slices.

Put cherries in the pineapple slices.

Stick cloves in the ham.

I asked her how long to cook it.

Start it at 450 for an hour; then, turn it down to about 225.

“So, how long do I cook it?”

“Until it smells done.”

Until it smells done?

And that is how to cook a big ole ham.

Here is my overcooked version this year.

Almost Done


We are in the final stretch, heading for the the big day which for us is tomorrow. The presents are wrapped and bagged just waiting for the correct recipients to open them.

Elf Yourself is done, and now we are hoping the download comes through in time for the grandgirls.

Neighbor gifts have been delivered and received. I love them all.

Stockings need to be stuffed, food needs to be cooked, and then the cornucopia of fun, food, and gift opening can commence.

Even as I write, DH is working on his almost famous 7-layer yummy dip. We do not believe in a calorically-challenged food fest for this holiday.

Tomorrow’s food lineup will include meat wrapped cheese, aforementioned 7-layer dip, neighbor provided cream cheese and jalapeño raspberry mix served up on a Santa plate, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, baked ham, English peas, green bean casserole, cheese ball, and the pièce de résistance–dressing.

Seriously, all the other menu items pale in comparison to the dressing. Oh. My. Gosh. Cornbread, biscuits, sausage, onions, sage, broth=awesomeness. What makes it even better? My daughter makes it now instead of me. Oh yeah.

Before the tearing into the presents, DH will read from Luke 2 about the birth of Jesus, the absolute reason for the season.

After the gift opening frenzy, the cleanup of the gift debris must take place. We are not neat present openers. We are rip-the-paper-off-and-throw-it-on-the-floor openers.

I always try to instigate some vestige of control in the opening of the gifts, but it always falls into a mêlée of paper ripping frenzy. *sigh* 😀

In the end, it really doesn’t matter how the day unfolds. Everyone is always happy and full.

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas. We certainly will.