A Rough and Tumble Woodsman

The ax bit hard. Red cedar chips scattered. Sweat spattered. The thud echoed. A quick upward jerk on the straight hickory handle dislodged the silver-edged blade. With a steady stroke, the single-bitted ax drew back, then for an instant, perched high above the woodman’s head, behind his right shoulder. In a blur, the axman’s hips… Continue reading A Rough and Tumble Woodsman

A Dubious Claim to Fame

The Northwest gun’s front sight found a British soldier’s neck. As the death messenger crossed the clearing it would drop, and if true, would strike the Redcoat mid-chest. The black flint lunged. Sparks streamed. Gunpowder flashed. A brilliant yellow tongue thundered from the trade gun’s muzzle. “Kla-whoosh-BOOM!” Thick, white, angry murk filled the window. There… Continue reading A Dubious Claim to Fame

“I Let the Deer Pick Them…”

Water gurgled in the gravelly cut. Two solid days of heavy, November rain filled the swamps. The thicker of the two, the south swamp, appeared higher than the sparser swale hole to the north. A thigh-deep cut crossed the mounded base of Fox Hill, connecting the two, and when the south swamp’s water grew deep,… Continue reading “I Let the Deer Pick Them…”

A Kentucky Barbecue…

The writings of John James Audubon, the great ornithologist, painter and writer, offer a unique view of early 19th-century backwoods society. In Delineations of American Society and Character, Audubon described in vivid detail the Fourth of July celebration at Beargrass Creek. In his words: “Beargrass Creek, which is one of the many beautiful streams of… Continue reading A Kentucky Barbecue…