Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Town Too Beautiful to Burn

Located almost halfway between Natchez and Vicksburg, Port Gibson is the third oldest incorporated town in Mississippi. It is best remembered from the legendary Civil War story in which General Grant reportedly declared the town "too beautiful to burn."

I visited Port Gibson recently, and captured with my camera traces of that beauty still lingering in some of the old homes lining Church Street.

Some of the houses have been restored and are well maintained, while others have fallen into disrepair. It always saddens me to see the toll time takes on these old homes, constructed mostly of wood, but I can certainly understand how costly it must be to maintain them.

My first stop on my tour was the Drake House, ca 1900, a lovely example of the Queen Anne style of architecture prevalent around the turn of the century.

Here is a close up view of the beautiful old stained glass window transom which is characteristic of Queen Anne architecture. I love those lace curtains, too!

My next stop was at the Disharoon Home, ca. 1830s, one of the finest Federal-style houses in Claiborne County.

This Greek Revival house is the Presbyterian Manse, ca. 1830-31, the first building to house the First Presbyterian Church.

And speaking of the Presbyterian church, its steeple is probably the most photographed landmark in Port Gibson. Built in 1859, the church's steeple features a gilt hand pointing to Heaven.

Another fine example of Queen Anne architecture is the Schillig House, ca 1896 ...

Gage House, ca 1830

One of the things I love most about old houses is the lagniappe you find in unexpected places. Like this pretty design almost hidden under the eave of this house.

Here are a few more houses that caught my eye. The first one is McDougall House, ca 1820 (think about that for a second -- that's 41 years before the Civil War started!).

I love the flag hanging on this house, and just look at those magnificent swan planters waiting to welcome guests.

Spencer House, ca 1840. The rocking chairs on the porch caught my eye.

Be sure and click on this picture to see the details on the rocker, plus the beautiful stained glass hanging in the window.

I love the wide brick sidewalk leading to the Tuscan Columns Bed and Breakfast, ca 1904.

I hated to see the remains of this old home place on Church Street. What a waste ...

But next door, this cute little cow mailbox made me smile. Don't you know the postman loves to put mail in that.I wonder if it moos when you open it!

I wanted to get some pictures of the downtown historic district, but traffic was heavy and I had had enough walking for the day (especially with the humidity at 97%!). I did manage to get a shot of the old Trace movie theater, though ...

And this old Red Goose Shoes sign brought back some memories. Isn't it neat!

If you're ever in Natchez or Vicksburg, I hope you will take the time to visit Port Gibson. And while you're there, I highly recommend you take a side trip to see the Windsor Ruins.

You can find out more about Windsor here: The Story of the Ruins of Windsor).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fields of Gold

Fall is slowly, but surely, making an appearance along the roadsides around Vicksburg. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post called The Colors of Indian Summer, which featured photos of leaves turning and a few close up shots of goldenrod, which was just beginning to bloom.

This past weekend, I visited some fields of goldenrod and captured its beauty at its peak (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you'd like).

Dewdrops ...

I did a little research on Goldenrod and discovered that it is the state flower of Kentucky and Nebraska, and used to be the state flower of Alabama, but was later rejected in favor of the camellia. Goldenrod was recently named the state wildflower for South Carolina.

A lot of folks suffer from hay fever this time of year and I discovered that goldenrod is often unfairly blamed for causing it. Actually, the pollen causing these allergy problems is mainly produced by Ragweed which blooms at the same time as goldenrod, but is wind-pollinated. Goldenrod pollen is too heavy and sticky to be blown far from the flowers, and is mainly pollinated by insects. If that is true, I think I will go back and pick a large bouquet for my patio table. It would make an absolutely gorgeous arrangement!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fresh from the Oven

I made a second batch of my Sourdough Bread yesterday and baked it last night. It tasted even better than my first two loaves,*** and was so pretty I couldn't resist taking a picture of it.

I wish I could send a loaf to all of you, my sweet blogging friends. Thank you for taking the time to visit me. I sincerely appreciate the kind and gracious comments you leave for me.

***If you missed my earlier posts about my bread-making adventure and would like to read them, you can click here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Butterfly Lagniappe

In anticipation of Fall's arrival, we have had an abundance of Gulf Fritillary Butterflies literally swarming around our lantana plants.

Yesterday, I noticed a new visitor and grabbed my camera and captured a close up shot of this Swallowtail (you can click on the picture to enlarge it, if you'd like) ...

I hope your day is filled with lagniappe ... like this butterfly.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thrift Shop Lamp Makeover

This is a follow up post on a European boudoir-style lamp I bought at a thrift shop while we were on vacation in Blue Ridge, Georgia. The shop was in the little mountain town of Hiawassee, and if you would like to read about our day trip to Hiawassee, and about how I found the lamp, you can click here.

The first two pictures are of the lamp as it was when I bought it. The shade was tattered and stained, and the porcelain flowers on the base were covered with dust and lint.

After returning home from vacation, I took the lamp to a lamp shop in Jackson, and bought a new shade and finial for it, and had it cleaned and the wiring checked and updated.

I picked it up from the lamp shop yesterday and was very pleased with its new look.

I want to get some 25-watt bulbs for it so it will cast a softer glow, and I think it will be perfect. I had to put 40-watt bulbs in it for the picture and they were too bright.

Don't you just love finding little treasures like this one when you least expect it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Kentucky Fried Rooster Story

I recently heard a cute story about a little rooster who is a regular drive-through "customer" at one of the Kentucky Fried Chicken places here in Vicksburg.

It seems that "Otis" had been a well-kept secret for quite a while until a recent customer at KFC captured a picture of him and sent it to one of the television stations in Jackson.He has since become a local celebrity of sorts, and has even been featured in a video and newscast by the television station [you can click here to see the video if you'd like].

Yesterday, I decided to try to get some pictures of Otis, and, before I left home, I spoke with a lady at the KFC, and asked if there was a particular time when he made his visits. She said he has been coming almost every day for about two years, but not at any particular time of day. He comes from some nearby woods behind the KFC, and just "shows up." The employees of the KFC think of Otis as their "pet," and sometimes throw biscuit crumbs to him.

An article in yesterday's Vicksburg Post revealed that the newspaper knew about Otis, but refrained from running a story about him for fear of him being "chicken-napped." But now that the story's out, I couldn't resist driving by KFC yesterday morning to see if Otis was there -- and I wasn't disappointed! It was before KFC opened, and when I drove up, he was in the drive-through area.

He was very camera-shy and ran away when I tried to get closer to him, but a few minutes later, I saw him next door at a convenience store and I managed to get a few pictures of him there.

Awwwww, Otis ... don't get your feathers ruffled.
I'm not going to hurt you.

And he's off and running ...

Around the corner he goes!

Oh, well ... he's a beautiful rooster, and I was pleased that I at least got to see him and get a few pictures. I hope Otis won't become too "people-shy" after all the publicity and quit coming to the drive-through. Perhaps his love for those KFC biscuit crumbs will prevail over his shyness.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Making Bread -- The Rest of the Story

This is the final chapter of my bread-making story. (You can click here and here to read the first two posts, which include the recipes for the starter and the Sourdough Bread.)

My last post described how I fed the starter and had to let it sit for 8 to 12 hours. I not-so-patiently waited for eight hours to pass, then I mixed up my first batch of bread.

After I finished making the dough, I put it in a greased bowl, covered it with wax paper, and let it sit overnight.

I woke up early Sunday morning and couldn't wait to see if the dough had risen during the night. This is what I saw when I lifted the wax paper ...

Needless to say, I was pleased and excited!

Then came the fun part -- it was time to turn the dough out into the loaf pans. The recipe said to divide it into three equal parts, but I have only two large loaf pans, so I divided my dough between them (one had a little more than the other one).

Next, I brushed the tops of the dough with corn oil and let them stand for four hours before baking. The smell of my own loaves of bread baking in the oven was heavenly, and, even though they were kind of small, I was happy with the way they turned out ...

We had company for Sunday lunch and ate the largest loaf, and it was delicious. I loved the whole process of making bread -- from making the starter to cutting that first slice -- and I'm looking forward to the next time I make it. I won't have to make the starter again and won't be so apprehensive about it "working," so it should get easier and easier each time.