The Great Leiper’s Fork Flower Caper Christeson writes of crime and justice
Doing it Well Meg Hilly’s artistry knows many forms
The Walls of Jericho
Our author makes a difficult hike to find unique Tennessee spot
Flex Your Mussels
Tender, delicious and too often overlooked
A GREAT GOLF COURSE CLOSE TO HOME A True Masterpiece By Architect Arthur Hills
A new private club that offers a core golf experience celebrating the traditional art of course design …. with no homes on the course. A challenging course nestled conveniently in the beautiful rolling hills of Franklin, the Westhaven Golf Club is steeped in the great traditions of golf and a love of the game. Private memberships still available. Contact Matt Magallanes at 615-778-3939. W E S T H AV E N G O L F C L U B 2140 BOYD MILL PIKE FRANKLIN, TN 37064
WGC H&H Ad.indd 1
To p I n s t r u c t o r s a n d F i t t e r We have assembled the top PGA Golf Instructors, Best Technology, Clubfitting, Equipment Selection and Practice Facilities in the Region. We will Improve Your Game WE WORK WITH GOLFERS OF ALL AGES AND ALL SKILL LEVELS Pro to Beginner Golf 101 and Fun Junior Program Clinics and Group Events NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED PGA TEACHING PROFESSIONAL VIRGIL HERRING AND MASTER CLUBFITTER TIM SYGERYCH LEAD OUR TALENTED TEAM OF 6 INSTRUCTORS.
Best Overall Facilities We Now Teach Over 50 NCAA Scholarship Golfers and PGA Tour Pros: Students do NOT need to be Members of The Westhaven Golf Club to take lessons PREMIER PRACTICE FACILITY Indoor and Outdoor facilities Trackman Radar System V-1 Video Technology Exclusive AIM-point Certified --Putting Instruction System-Trackman Gaming System TPI Fitness Certified Instructors Natural Grass Range Tees
2150 OLD BOYD MILL PIKE, FRANKLIN, TN
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6/23/10 3:51:09 PM
BRAND-INDEPENDENT MASTER CLUB FITTER TIM SYGERYCH We call Tim the “Secret Weapon” Armed with the amazing Trackman Pro Radar System Tim can achieve results simply not possible at other fitting shops.
ACADEMY/RANGE MEMBERSHIPS NOW AVAILABLE 615-599-4420
WWW.WESTHAVEN GOLF ACADEMY.COM
w w w. h i l l s N h a m l e t s . c o m
No No One One Knows Knows the the Country Country Like LikeWe We Do! Do!
4151 Old Hillsboro Road, Franklin (In the Heart of Leiper’s Fork)
Each ofﬁce is independently owned and operated.
Private & Peaceful!
Gorgeous Victorian with 3,824 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 full and 3 half baths. This home was built with modern amenities, lots of little extras & old-fashioned style! Nestled in the woods on 10.68 acres - this property is ready for your horses with a 3 stall horse barn, 2 separate pastures, creek, riding arena & all board fenced. 3 car garage is detached but has a covered walkway to home. Minutes from Leipers Fork & Historic Franklin. $825,000
Large Country Home on 15 Acres
Perfect country home on 15 acres, no more than 5 mins from Leipers Fork Village. This 3 BR, 2.5 BA home has a contemporary style w/many other amenities. The master bath suite features a whirlpool & an in-ground pool, as well as tennis court, are adjacent to the home. Located mid-way down Southall Road, 15 minutes from historic Franklin & 45 minutes from downtown Nashville. $699,900
Wanda Beard 615-438-1361
Hayes Gibson 615-418-7732
Bill Butler 615-394-8444
Linda Earwood 615-519-7165
Cindy Garvey 615-202-9515
Abbie Grifﬁth 615-479-7118
R0n Smith 615-791-3534
Olivia Stelter 615-668-0877
Brand New Ready 4 Your Finishing Touch 42.5 Acre Farm near Franklin City Limits
Brand new home with about $50,000 more to ﬁnish. Approx. 2500 sq. feet - 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath. Custom ﬁr doors with antique hardware. Custom built kitchen with ﬂush frame doors on all cabinets. Windows are double glass panesLow-E and Argon ﬁlled for energy efﬁciency. Freestanding curved staircase. $380,360
Approx. 32 acres of pasture, 10.5 in hard woods - all fenced and cross fenced. Barn and stud barn have water and electric. Creek on property. Restore existing 1900’s cottage for your guest house and build your dream home on the perfect, little rise toward the back of the property for a great view. Your drive could meander through woods near the creek. $1,499,900
Luxurious & Secluded Country Living! Peaceful Setting with Incredible Views
Immaculate 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath home on 27 gorgeous acres. This home features a top of the line kitchen with ﬁreplace, master on the main with his and her walk-in, custom closets; 4 bedrooms up with walkin closets, & jack & jill; an in-ground pool; a pond & creek. A 4 car detached garage includes a 4 stall barn. $849,900
Impeccable William Powell built home on 39.26 beautiful, rolling acres. House sits high on the land with great, accessible creeks. This 4,538 square foot farmhouse features an over the top kitchen with antique built-ins, antique doors & red wood ﬂoors throughout, the master & guest suite downstairs, 4 bedrooms upstairs and 5 full baths. Amazing views of the countryside from the relaxing front & back porches. $1,598,000
20 Wooded Acres with Beautiful Creek!
Conveniently located in Southwest Williamson County, minutes from Leipers Fork Village and Historic downtown Franklin. Approximately 20 acres with large creek on property. This land will be a wonderful asset to any buyer.
Extremely Unique Log Home
5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths on 3 acres but privately nestled amongst 200 acres with common area, 2 stocked lakes & hunting allowed. Relaxing screened-in gazebo and heated & cooled barn. $599,000
615.599.3676 w w w. h i l l s N h a m l e t s . c o m
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DEPARTMENTS, COLUMNS AND STORIES DEPARTMENTS, COLUMNS & STORIES THINGS TO DO Ap³il.....................................................................5 ANA'S Corner Ma²te³ Ga³dene³²............................................6 Robin's Remedies Natu³al Weed & Bug Cont³ol².................7 HORSE SENSE Doing It Well.............................................................8 around&about.....................................................................10 Nature Guide Wall² of Je³icho..............................................11 opportunities...........................................................................11 From the archives The Ho³²e & Mule Mu²eum..........13 recount .....................................................................................14 Good Food Flex You³ Mu²²el²..................................................16 ORIGINS By Sue Hen³y.............................................................17 wayfaring Unde³ the Hill........................................................18 Poem Ever Sp³ing........................................................................18 MORE CALENDARS, STORIES & PHOTOS hill²Nhamlet².com FOLLOW US ON TWITTER Twitte³.com/hill²Nhamlet² BECOME A FAN ON FACEBOOK Facebook.com/hill²Nhamlet²
C ELEBRATING THE ART AND C ULTURE OF RURAL LIFE Publisher/ Editor Catherine T. Anderson email@example.com Assistant Jane Rigsby firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Director Shea Williams email@example.com Contribu tors Marty Bell, Ana Christensen, Wayne Christeson, Nathan Collie, Bob Duncan, Anne Goetze, Sue Henry, Mimi Johnston, Larry Kane, Robin Lockwood, Rachael McCampbell, Stuart Moore, Sherry Paige, Sherlene Spicer Ad vert ising/M arketing ADVERTISE@hillsnhamlets.com 615.790.9036 so ci al m edia d irector Lavana Deal firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thief Amongst Flowers by The Eye Wellington Montage by Meg Hilly Dutchman’s Breeches by Sherlene Spicer Mussel Dish provided Published monthly 4208 OLD HILLSBORO ROAD, SUITE EIGHT Franklin, TN 37064 PHONE: (615) 790.9036 ALT: (615) 799.8586 Fax: (615) 595.0060 Hills & Hamlets™, Copyright ©2011. All rights reserved, no duplication without express written permission of Hills & Hamlets, its editor and staff. This publication is owned and copyrighted by Hills & Hamlets and its pages may not be used on Web sites or digitally copied without express permission of the publisher.
ACCOUN TS David Green 615.495.8812
On The Cover: “Dogwood Day” is a 24- by 24inch oil on canvas painted en plein air by Kim Barrik; it is currently available at Loblolly Interiors Market in Columbia, Tennessee. Barrik is the founder of The Chestnut Group “Plein Air Painters for the Land” a non-profit group of over 150 artists dedicated to preserving open spaces.
• Sustained Living By STUART MOORE • More Mussels Recipes by LARRY KANE
Distrib u tion David Green 615.495.8812
• From the Hammock by ROBIN LOCKWOOD
FOR AD RATES & INFO CALL 615.790.9036 or
615.799.8586 OR EMAIL ad v ertise @ h ills N h amlets . com
Hillsboro United Methodist Church
DREAMING UP THE IDEAL RETIREMENT
Sunday School (all ages) 10 a.m. • Family Worship 11 a.m.
To see why it makes sense to get ready for retirement now, call today.
A Church For The Community; All For The Cause Of Christ
Professionally Staffed Nursery Provided Youth meet at 4:30 p.m. on Sundays & 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays
April 23rd Community Easter Hunt ∙ 10 a.m. April 24th Easter Sunrise Service ∙ 6:30 a.m. Easter Celebration Worship ∙ 11 a.m. Reverend Tom Herring, Pastor
Leipersforkchurch.com • Leipersforkpastor@gmail.com 5313 Old Highway 96 in the village of Leiper’s Fork • 615.595.0155 4 HILLS & HAMLETS
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IS YOUR JOB. HELPING YOU GET THERE IS OURS.
Subscriptions Will Tenpenny Financial Advisor
2023 Wall Street Suite 4 Spring Hill, TN 37174 615-302-4598 www.edwardjones.com Member SIPC
To subscribe to Hills & Hamlets for one year, mail $24.99 or $44.99 for two years, to:
4208 Old Hillsboro Road, No. Eight Franklin, TN 37064 or go online to hillsNhamlets.com to pay with Visa or MasterCard. You may also call 615.790.9036 to order with Visa or MasterCard. w w w. h i l l s N h a m l e t s . c o m
T H I N G S
Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary Wildflower Hikes held from 1 to 3 p.m. Adults are guided through a tour of spring wildflowers. Binoculars and cameras welcome. $7 admission in advance or $10 at the gate. 545 Beech Creek Road in Brentwood. www.owlshill.org or 615.370.4672
Music City Roots WSM’s two-hour live radio show broadcast from the Loveless Barn, 8400 Highway 100. Doors open at 6 p.m., show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. Drinks, food and concessions available. 615.646.0067 or www. MusicCityRoots.com
Creole Shrimp & Open Mic Night at Puckett’s in Leiper’s Fork, 4142 Old Hillsboro Road, from 6 to 8 p.m. 615.794.1308 or www.puckettsgrocery.com/ leipersfork
College Grove Country/ Bluegrass held at the College Grove Community Center, 8601 Horton Highway from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Every Friday night enjoy a variety of local musicians and a spacious dance floor. 615.330.8757 Live Music at Puckett’s in Leiper’s Fork, 4142 Old Hillsboro Road. A variety of songwriters, musicians and bands; Cover charge is usually $10; reservations required. Dinner begins at 6 p.m., music begins at 8 p.m. 615.794.1308 or www. puckettsgrocery.com/leipersfork Square Market & Café Free Live Music on the square in Columbia. Dinner begins at 5 p.m. and entertainment is from 6 to 9 p.m. 931.840.3636 or www. squaremarketcafe.com
Vance Smith’s Grand Old Hatchery Live Music & Dancing at 113 South Main Street in Dickson. Doors open around 4, music begins at 7 for a family friendly evening of dancing and fun. No alcohol or smoking; concessions available. w w w. h i l l s N h a m l e t s . c o m
615.797.3204 Live Music at Puckett’s in Leiper’s Fork, 4142 Old Hillsboro Road. A variety of songwriters, musicians and bands; Cover charge is usually $10; reservations required. Dinner begins at 6 p.m., music begins at 8 p.m. 615.794.1308 or www. puckettsgrocery.com/leipersfork Square Market & Café Free Live Music on the square in Columbia. Dinner begins at 5 p.m. and entertainment is from 6 to 9 p.m. 931.840.3636 or www. squaremarketcafe.com
The Bloom’n’ Garden Expo This eighth annual lawn and garden show is one-stop-shop for a variety of plants and gardening products from hundreds of prominent vendors. Speakers and educational workshops are scheduled throughout the three-day event at the Williamson County AG/Expo Park, 4215 Long Lane in Franklin, TN. 615.973.2112 or www.bloomngarden.com.
Tradition—Tennessee Lives & Legacies artist’s reception is held from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Renaissance Center, 855 Highway 46 South, Dickson. The touring exhibition and companion book are funded and developed by the Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife Program and feature the images of Dean Dixon. The Nashville photographer traveled the state for over 18 months to capture unique residents who preserve arts and culture distinctive to their families and communities. The admission-free exhibition opened on March 21st and continues through April 30 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, Monday – Saturday. www.rcenter.org. 615.740.5600
Trashercise Treasure Hunt returns for its collective concept in healthy living at 8:30 a.m. The trash cleaning effort takes place along the 84 miles of the Old Tennessee Trail in Williamson and Maury Counties. Participants gather at one of nine locations to receive their assigned route, team partner, instructions and materials for safety, bagging and recycling. Among the candy wrappers and soft drink cans special numbers are hidden that match up to fabulous prizes. Pickers reassemble at 1 p.m. at the Leiper’s Fork Lawn Chair Theater and the Mt. Pleasant Grille for more fun and to exchange their numbers for those fabulous prizes. 615.500.1234 or 913.379.9837
See these listings and more at hillsNhamlets.coM
Bluegrass and Gospel Concert presented by Good Shepherd’s Childrens Home and Spring Creek Farm from 6 to 8 p.m. is free and open to the public. Held at Spring Creek Farm, 5023 Carters Creek Pike, Franklin the special guests are Carroll Robersonn and The Peytonsville Boys Band. Concessions by Cool Café. 615.595.0353
C h a r l e s Brindley Landscape & Drawing Workshop held at Owls’ Hill Nature Sanctuary on Friday from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Open to artists of all levels of development the cost is $165. Limited reservations. www. owlshill.org or 615.370.4672
Laurel Leaf Gallery’s Spring Arts and Crafts Fair celebrates the gallery’s first anniversary by hosting its artists and artisans on the lawn of the Leipers Fork Galleria, 4208 Old Hillsboro Road, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Concessions will be available by Puckett’s of Leiper’s Fork. Rain date is
April 23rd. 615.861.0569 The Art of the Horse presented by The Old Natchez House Gallery, 4158 Old Hillsboro Road in Leiper’s Fork, features an exhibition of the bronze equine sculpture of Janel Maher from noon to 4 pm. Meet the artist and see her process as she demonstrates her clay sculpting technique. 615.491.3668
Bowie Park Plant Swap held at Joann’s Classroom in the park, 7211 Bowie Lake Road, Fairview, beginning at 9 a.m. Arrive with your spare plants and seeds with names and directions labeled and in containers. First time gardeners are welcome and may sway in exchange for a donations to the Friends of Bowie Nature Park. 615.516.5989Y
To place a calendar listing, send e-mail to catherine.anderson@hillsNhamlets. com by the 15th of the month preceding your event.
Oppo∑tunities Farmers Fresh Market Orientation
Columbia Farmers Fresh Market’s 19th season approaches so returning and prospective vendors are encouraged to attend an orientation on Tuesday, April 12 at First Farmers and Merchants Bank, 816 S. Garden Street in Columbia at 9 a.m. Speakers for the event include representatives from the Center for Profitable Agriculture, Pick TN Products, TN Farm Fresh, and Gleaning America’s Fields. Seasonally, the open-air market features locally grown produce, baked goods, locally raised meats and eggs, honey, cut flowers, handcrafted soaps and candles, and other items grown or hand-crafted. 931.388.3647 or email@example.com
Old Timers Day Festival
Beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday, May 6th Historic Downtown Dickson pulls out all stops for the town’s 53rd annual celebration of all things good and old fashioned. It doesn’t wind down until Saturday, May 7th when the last song is performed come 9:30 p.m. at Vance Smith’s Grand Old Hatchery. This year’s schedule of events is packed to the brim with contests, exhibitions, food,—one amazing parade—and music, music, music. It’s all done in the homey traditions of rural and small town Tennessee and doesn’t require a time capsule. info@ dicksoncountyoldtimersday.com
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pring is blasting off with a terrific garden show courtesy of the Williamson County Master Gardeners Association. The WCMGA is a non-profit organization that is incredibly active in several horticulture projects throughout the county and is dedicated to educating young and old about all things gardening. The last three months I have had the great pleasure of attending the current University of Tennessee Master Gardeners Program which concludes with the Bloom ‘n’ Garden Expo. One hundred people attended this year’s course and we experienced an array of expert guest lecturers who shared their knowledge each week. Each class included a gourmet supper during our break. It was put on by volunteer members of the association
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and it certainly was a highlight of my week seeing their friendly faces and enjoying some great food. Local organic farmers Hank and Cindy Delvin of Delvin Farms were among the lecturers one Dogwood Winter evening in March. They’re pictured here with Mike Smith (left) the UT extension agent who directs Williamson County’s Master Gardener Program. All the volunteers from the WCMGA do a great job for the county. Some of their projects include a sensory garden for the blind, Habitat for Humanity landscapes, tours, garden camps for kids and big shows—it’s a great local organization dedicated to horticulture and education.Y Ana Christensen is a writer/ photographer/singer/songwriter who lives in College Grove. Originally from the United States, she grew up in Australia and Papua, New Guinea.
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By ROBIN LOCKWOOD
Natural Methods for Weeds and Bugs
pring officially begans March 20, 2011 this year. Now folks are out cleaning and clearing, transplanting, cutting trees, turning gardens, fertilizing, mulching and generally getting ready for the impending growing season. This is the time of year when pesticides and herbicides begin to be used in order to avoid bugs and weeds. Thus begins the vicious cycle of poisons and nitrites into our water systems. To be fair, our culture has been disconnected from their relationship to the environment since the discovery of penicillin after World War II. Thus began the advance of the big pharmaceutical companies, then the pesticide/herbicide industry became mainstream, along with the marketing that promoted nature as the enemy. It’s been “till it and kill it” ever since. If we live uphill from our neighbors and spray our yards with pesticides and herbicides, the rains wash all our poisons downhill into our neighbor’s yards. The rain also pummels them down into the soil and eventually back into our creeks and streams where we destroy the flora and fauna that live in and around our waterways. When we use anti-bacterial soaps and other products that go down our sinks, we kill the bacterial cycle that causes our septic systems to work properly. Thus we have increased our need to pump our septic systems on a regular basis. We always have a direct influence upon everything around us. Indigenous cultures describe this as the web of life. A great reference book for this purpose is “Great Garden Formulas: The Ultimate Book of Mix-It-Yourself Concoctions for Your Garden” by Joan Benjamin and Deborah L. Martin. Here are a few items of note from the book.
Boiling Water for Driveways and Sidewalks Pouring boiling water on weeds will kill them almost instantly without any permanent ramifications on the soil. Replacement Recipe for Roundup® 1 gal. vinegar 1 c. salt 1 tbsp. liquid dish soap Great results for within concrete cracks. Over time, salt will sterilize the soil so use only directly where needed. w w w. h i l l s N h a m l e t s . c o m
Weed Killer for Localized Usage in Lawn or Bed Areas 1 gal. vinegar 1 tbsp. liquid dish soap This recipe can be sprayed directly on young weeds with results within 24-48 hours. Older weeds with large taproots may need a second application Insecticidal Soap or “Safer” soap Found at hardware stores; it is in concentrated form, so dilute before use. Economically, this is very affordable. Corn Gluten vs Tilling Although turning the soil is necessary to initially plant gardens, repeated tilling actually damages the soil. Tilling breaks up the roots of weeds and grasses, scattering them profusely, causing thicker patches of weeds. Using a tiller to replace weeding is not a good practice. Corn gluten spread at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet acts as both a weed seed killer and a fertilizer.
Greg Greenhow Interior & Exterior Finish Carpentry
VETERINARY SERVICES, Dr. Jeffrey C. Abelt Dr. Susan Abelt
Full Service Mobile Clinic
Dogs, Cats, Horses, Avian & Exotics Phone 615.595.8545 www.leipersforkvets.com
ottom line, we are so removed from the cycles of nature that we no longer understand the relationship between ants and peonies, ants and pollination, American ladybugs and aphids, or the work that the dreaded wasp does for us in the garden. What kills an ant kills a honey bee. Nature has provided us with a perfect working system, that if we take the time to understand it, we can work with her and lessen our impact upon the natural world around us. Although we have distorted this system through our use of chemicals, we can work to restore it by turning to natural cleaning products, beneficial insects and restoration of the soils around us. We are ultimately responsible for our impact upon the natural world. Let’s work together to make our neighborhoods a safe, healthy place to be. Y Robin Lockwood is a Master Herbalist, a Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner and a Dagantu (weather worker) in the Cherokee tradition.
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B y S H ERRY PA I G E | P hotog r a ph b y f r a nk a g u i r r e
The Touch in Hilly’s Hands
If you’re going to do it, do it well…do it all the way.
orn Margaret Susan Hilly in Scarsdale, New York to a mother ranked top 10 in downhill Olympic level skiing and a father, entertainment lawyer to both the “Today” and the “Tonight” shows, Meg Hilly says it was not unusual to answer the phone and hear someone like Joan Rivers calling. Accomplishment may have been in the genes, but Hilly came into this world with her own artistic eye and a love of horses. Her life achievements to date bear witness to an innate ability to see potential around her—especially in horses and those who love them. It was Hilly who got her father interested in equestrian sports. So interested, in fact, that he later became the head of the U.S. Intercollegiate Polo Association. The family moved to Vermont, where Hilly continued to pursue her passions of riding, art, and snow skiing. She excelled quickly at each and it wasn’t long before she became an instructor. In the process of teaching, she learned more about her own talent and realized she had a gift for training horses. She admits, “I was always able to take a common horse and improve him to be the best horse he could be.” European riders who came to the U.S. to train became mentors for Hilly, starting with Michael Handler while she was still in high school. Later influences were Americans who trained in Europe, including
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Olympians Carol Lavall, Jane Savoie and George Williams, current president of the United States Dressage Federation (USDF). Jumping, foxhunting, dressage and eventing all served to develop Hilly’s abilities. And before she knew it, she had become a real contender at Wellington in dressage, headed for level three. Her own mare, Birgitte, and a gelding named Koty are two of the finest examples of what Hilly’s bond with a horse can accomplish. One of her Wellington regulars entrusted Koty to her, and watched Hilly take him from second level dressage on to the Prix St. George. (Not only that, but little kids could also ride him!) Nashville is home now and the line is growing for this riding instructor/trainer with a magic touch in her hands. You can find her at Green Pastures, Old Hillsboro Manor, or ask her to come to your home. Hilly’s well rounded approach touches everything from the fit of the saddle, proper nutrition, and identifying physical problems to helping the horse and rider be the best pair possible together. Things she learned from the old-timers like “Dressage starts in the stall,” are hallmarks of her teaching style. And though, she still has big goals for herself like completing her scores for the silver medal and one day, the Grand Prix, ribbons are not the main focus of her teaching. Helping the rider ride well for the sake of the horse and the joy of the sport—that’s what Hilly is doing. You can find out more about her at www.meghilly.com. Then like a drawing or watercolor with the loveliest of lines, you too will be doing it well…doing it all the way. Whether riders, horses, pens or brushes, all excel from the touch in Hilly’s hands. Writer/producer/equestrian Sherry Paige can be reached at spaige@ penpointproductions.com. Hilly captures equestrian images through pen and ink, watercolor and acrylic; her work is regularly found in the Wellington magazine Sidelines. w w w. h i l l s N h a m l e t s . c o m
A few miles and two centuries ago.
Sip teas from around the world. Drink in Civil War History. Savor Old South luncheons. And plantation dinners. All served with gracious hospitality... in a grand manor.
TEA ROOM • RESTAURANT • EVENTS • GIFTS 4683 Columbia Pike • Thompson’s Station, Tennessee 37179 www.homesteadmanor.com • 615.790.2309 Open Tuesday - Saturday, Lunch and Tea– 11-3 and Dinner Friday and Saturday nights– 6-9
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legant Country Estate
Spectacular gated estate on 35 acres just 10 minutes from Leiper’s Fork! Gorgeous 4800 square foot one-level brick & stone custom home with a three-car detached garage below a fantastic 1200 square foot guest suite! Truly immaculate, this home features ash and cherry hardwood floors throughout, five fireplaces, extensive moldings with no detail missed. The chef ’s kitchen offers cherry cabinets, granite countertops and stainless appliances. Fantastic master wing includes main bedroom with a sitting area with fireplace, separate office, two HUGE walk-in closets, elegant bathroom with over-sized Jacuzzi tub and its own private, covered patio! Offering four bedrooms and four & one-half baths, each bedroom is a suite. The guest suite above the garage offers hardwood floors, full kitchen with granite countertops and large bathroom! This wonderful gated home offers the privacy of country living but is only 10 minutes to Leiper’s Fork and 40 minutes to downtown Nashville! — $1,499,000
7127 Crossroads Blvd, Suite 102 Brentwood, TN 37027 615.371.1544 phone 615.371.6310 fax www.benchmarkrealtyTN.com
Dena Willis, Realtor 615.371.1544 office 615.491.4913 direct email@example.com
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See more photographs at hillsNhamlets.com.
Tennessee’s Jack Trail launched last month at Oaklands Historic House in Murfreesboro with a ceremony that included (L to R) Kix Brooks, Mona Herring of Rutherford County CVB, TDOT Commissioner John Schroer, TDET Commissioner Susan Whitaker and Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess. The latest Discover Tennessee trail features 328 sites spanning several counties over nearly 350 miles and its opening day included a stop for barbecue at Martin’s restaurant with (L to R) Susan Whitaker, Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson and Nolensville Mayor Jimmy Alexander. Photographs by Renuka Christoph
Three pilot episodes were taped at Green’s Grocery in Leiper’s Fork for A Guitar and a Pen Old Time Radio Hour with Robert Hicks with the intention to broadcast it as a weekly live radio show from the historic Franklin Theatre. Each of the evenings packed the house to the brim including the night shown here that featured author Paul Dolman and musical guests Sarah Siskind and the Kenny Vaughn Trio. Photographs by Rachael McCampbell
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Farmer Jason rocked the stage at Dickson’s Renaissance Center in March with back-to-back concerts. The Bon Aqua resident and PBS personality—who also goes by Jason Ringenberg— made certain to have some meet and greet time with his fans. His performances helped raise money for Nashville Public Television. Photographs by Ferris Becker
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Adventures of a NATURE Guide S to r y a nd photog r a phs b y S H ERLE N E S P I CER
Discovering the Walls of Jericho M
arch winds, April showers, May flowers. . . . We had it all in the past month. Unusually warm and rainy weather has our trees and flowers bursting into bloom. Red bud trees with their heartwarming pink blossoms bordered our roadsides while maples and dogwoods began to show signs of color throughout the hillsides. Serviceberry, a white flowering tree, is a native tree and one of our earliest bloomers. My weekends were spent hiking to see the wildflowers that were, like magic, carpeting our forests. Early in the season, I traveled south to see trout lilies, toothwort and hepatica. Often I missed the bloodroot and trailing arbutus, both of which bloomed early to mid-March. Some of my favorite wildflower viewing locations include Shakerag Hollow, part of the perimeter trail at Sewanee, Short Springs out of Tullahoma.Closer to home Warner Park had very nice sections of wildflowers and of course Radnor Lake. Dutchman’s britches, spring beauties and short larkspur covered the hillside at Radnor. The trail from Garrison Creek to theTennessee Divide along the Natchez Trace has very interesting native plants; try Falls Hollow and Devil’s Backbone further down the Trace for the ferns and native azaleas. his year I finally made a new location. I joined the Clarksville Chapter of Tennessee Trails on a hike into the Walls of Jericho. Considered “difficult,” 14 of us marched across a plateau and dropped, dropped, dropped down into a very unique section of the Tennessee/Alabama border. The weather was perfect. Sunny and 60s, it was a great day for a hike. All along the trail, I enjoyed hints of future plants
that I enjoy seeing bloom. Once into the bottom of the plateau, we delighted in a surprising groundcover of hepatica, twinleaf and Virginia bluebells. I had never seen so much hepatica or twinleaf. A wonderful stream tumbled alongside our rolling trail. The stream’s bottom was white rather than the usual dark slate bottoms found around my part of the state. The trail wandered on for a couple of miles and I still did not know exactly what the Walls of Jericho would look like. The stream widened and limestone bluffs increased. Pretty soon I find myself in the streambed boulder hopping which led to wall climbing. Waterfalls poured out of the hillsides from different directions. The landscape widened out. The white limestone walls that we had to climb had a sort of moonscape appearance. We walked narrow, foot-wide terraces that led to more narrow toe- and hand-hold openings up to the next wide open space. The last spot we came to was a narrow opening that had a large amount of water falling from nowhere down into an open pit and then disappearing again. As I decided to go barefoot for the final descent, mist from the waterfall gently sprayed over me. At the bottom, we found a gravel bar and a deep green pool of cold water. After a long hard hike a wade in the edge of this pool was very welcomed. We hiked in the Tennessee-side and out the Alabama-side. The out consisted of a series of long switchbacks back up. Finally at the top, there were nine and a half miles of fascinating country that ended at a primitive campsite. Sometime in the future, I will do this trail again with a light pack over a couple of days.
he birds are on their way. Rubythroated hummingbirds will probably arrive by mid-April. So out go my feeders. The sugar water that I extend to my weary travelers will be welcomed. Migrating warblers will be showing up also in the coming weeks. They are hard to see but well worth the trying. Their sounds are easy to identify. Hang out in the woods along a stream and listen to all the new birds. I enjoy the sounds of spring visitors almost as much as I enjoy seeing them. The butterflies may float by as you listen to the birds and wildflowers are everywhere. We will plant lady-in-red salvia, pineapple sage, penstemon, butterfly bushes, petunias, pentas, zinnias and lantanas to attract our hummingbird and butterfly visitors. Have a wonderful spring. Williamson County native Sherlene Spicer shares her travels in remote and nearby areas through her writing and photography. The deep green pool found at the end of a hike at The Walls of Jericho.
Write It Down Put It In Be Still & Wait
Place hopes ∙ Cast burdens ∙ Send blessings Request fulﬁllments ∙ Give thanks The God Box
is a sturdy receptacle carved with an Alpha and an Omega to remind its users of the Eternal Circle of Life. Placed in Leiper’s Fork on the front of the United Country building —4151 Old Hillsboro Road— the community and its visitors are invited to ANONYMOUSLY share their petitions, desires and gratitude. The written prayers of the people will be offered in quiet ﬁre ceremonies by the resident who follows a dream to provide this to her recently adopted community—Terri Hightower. Please call Terri at
if you would like to be part of this.
Dutchman’s breeches, a favorite among wildflower aficionados. w w w. h i l l s N h a m l e t s . c o m
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HILLS & HAMLETS
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F≈om the A∏CHIVES B y bob d u n c a n
Hindsight —The Horse and Mule Museum
any folks around here remember miserably hot days working in the fields taking up hay. The hay baler always seemed to go faster than you could and the bales became heavier with each round. The twine that held the bale together cut into your hands until they were raw at the end of the day. The dust and larger particles of hay would sift down your back, sticking to your sweaty body. Finally, the hay bales were wrestled into the hay loft where the temperatures were about three degrees cooler than Hades. The itching and the heat were only relieved by a dunk in the creek at the end of the day. Today farmers ride around comfortably in their air-conditioned luxury tractors listening to classical music and drinking tea from crystal goblets as their round balers spit out perfectly formed bundles that are just left laying around in the fields for the cows to find. Where is the justice? Never ones to leave well enough alone, John Robert Skillington and Elmer Rummage cooked up the idea to leap backwards in time. Somewhere in their ramblings for antique farm equipment they found the “Farmer’s Frankenstein” of implements. Apparently, no company would admit to its manufacture as there is no name plate. We are not exactly sure of what to call it. For the sake of conversation, let’s call it a “stationary, mule-powered, hand-fed, square-baling machine.” Out behind Rippavilla is the Maury County Horse and Mule Museum. Dr. Ralph Meece first had the notion of
rounding up all the old farm implements that were quickly disappearing from view. In all the years since then a dedicated group of old-timers have scoured the countryside. Harry Tyler and John Will Pigg would drive a hundred miles to rescue some old piece. Joe and David Skillington added pieces that they had found. Jack Craig, G.W. Miller, Carl Baker, Jerry Erwin and D.C. Neeley all hunted the fence rows for forgotten implements. Larry Tarkington, Allen Woody and Jim Hanson dug around to find the weird and unexplainable. Gerald Adkison and Joe Roberson have photographed big parts of the growing collection. Even the ladies take part. Both Mrs. Harry (Elizabeth) Tyler and Mrs. Elmer Rummage pitch in at every turn. It was bad enough that they were finding and saving all this stuff but then John Robert got a crazy notion to actually make some of it work. They set to cleaning and tinkering on the old baler. Martha the mule added the motive power while John Robert fed the hay into the hopper with a fork. At every one of Martha’s circular passes, the baler would go “ker-thump,” compressing the hay gradually into a bale. At the appropriate point, the process would halt while the bale was hand-tied and removed to the hayloft. Then the process started all over again to make a new bale. One might ask why farmers would go to all this extra work. Elmer explained that baling compressed the hay. In the past hay went into the hayloft loose. Baling meant that you could get much
more hay stored than before. The Horse and Mule Museum has a huge stock of farm equipment from years gone by and any number of things to make you scratch your head and wonder how it was used. Y Bob Duncan is the Maury County Historian, a Sunday feature columnist in the Columbia Daily Herald, and the author of eight books.
John Robert Skillington and friend. Photograph provided.
On February 6th John Robert Skillington passed at the age of 90. This article, which originally appeared in its entirety in the Columbia Daily Herald, is reprinted in his memory. Carter’s Creek Pk @ Bear Creek Pike – Franklin, TN (MLS # 1223483) 42+ acres w/good frontage on Carter’s Creek & Bear Creek Rd. close to downtown Franklin. This property includes a gorgeous building site with super views and overlooks a large pond. Terrain is rolling with excellent fenced pasture. There is a lovely year-round creek at the back; land is mostly open with some nice timber. Call today for additional information and to schedule an appointment to see this great property. 5439 Leiper’s Creek Rd – Santa Fe, TN (MLS #1249520) 176 panoramic & rolling acres joins the Natchez Trace. This farm includes a large complex which boasts a very nice 2BR 2BA home, guest house, super horse facility w/8 stalls, huge loft, work shop, storage shed and professional landscaping. Fully renovated tobacco barn completely converted into a working cattle barn. Large machine shed, numerous paddocks, springs, plank fencing, creeks, mature hardwood timber, great views, long road frontage and numerous building sites fully enhance the value of this property. See it to believe it. Check it out at www.5439LeipersCreekRd. com Call me today to schedule an appt to see this wonderful property.
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ustin Stelter works daily with the plants
he writes about; creating and maintaining gardens and landscapes throughout Williamson County, Tennessee. Specializing in: Historic Gardens Native Landscapes Lawn Restorations General Services Aerating Dethatching Drip Irrigation Systems Fertilizing Fungicide Hedge Trimming Insecticide Landscaping
Martha Skillington pulls the draw-pole in a circle as John Robert loads the hopper. Photograph provided. w w w. h i l l s N h a m l e t s . c o m
Lawn Mowing Mulching Overseeding Site Map & Design Soil Conditioning Stump Removal Tree Planting Weed Control
www.justinstelter.com | P.O. Box 565, Franklin, TN, 37065 | 615.596.1696
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The Great Leiper’s Fork Flower Caper: A True Story
everal summers ago, back in the 20th century, flowers began disappearing in Leiper’s Fork. Now, flowers don’t normally vanish into thin air, particularly if they’ve been potted, but they were disappearing nonetheless-geraniums, daisies, and impatiens, and all kinds of other pretty things. For the most part, they had been hanging in baskets in front of Puckett’s and Marty Hunt’s antique store and in some home-made window boxes in front of the Country Boy. When our loose group of village vigilantes finally got around to talking it over, we were faced with the somber and inescapable conclusion that plain old ordinary thievery, of a kind not normally seen in the Fork, was taking place right under our noses. We had waited too long to get vigilant, it seemed, and now we had to do something about it. We happened to have a good working relationship with the sheriff at that time because we delivered a lot of votes for him in the last election. He spent a lot of time around the Fork in those days and everybody knew him. So, the sheriff agreed to step up night patrols through town for a while to see if we might catch the thieves or at least scare them off. And, in fact, the thefts abated for a while, but after a couple of weeks the deputies discontinued the special patrols and the flowers began disappearing again. It was maddening. People would go to bed at night with beautiful arrangements of flowers adorning their porches, and wake up in the morning to find them peeled clean as plucked chickens. The thieves stole Gale Hay’s window boxes right out of the Country Boy and, worst of all, they took a coal scuttle that Claire and Alfred Rust had been using for a planter in their yard ever since they’d gotten married fifty years ago. Speculation about who 14 HILLS & HAMLETS
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might be responsible for the thefts started to get dead earnest. Bruce Hunt took to staying out all night in his pick-up to see if anybody came by. He hoped he might be lucky enough to catch somebody. He asked me, the only lawyer in town, if it was OK to shoot them if he caught them. I said no, and I fervently hoped that Bruce would never catch anyone because there was bound to be some kind of a fight and Bruce might wind up getting hurt. Well, right away, Bruce saw some rough-looking guys one night, and it looked to him like they were up to no good. It was just before dawn, he said, and they were driving slowly through town opening mailboxes. But they passed the flowers by without a glance. Bruce said he didn’t jump them because he didn’t want to spook them in case they were about to take some flowers. Then they rolled on out of town and nobody ever saw them again. Bruce didn’t get their license number, but he seemed to remember that they were driving an old white hatch-back of some kind. From the way he told it, it crossed my mind that maybe he’d dozed off for a minute and dreamed the whole thing, but he seemed dead certain about it. o, we figured that we ought to start casting around for other suspects. Bruce said he’d seen a number of other “night people” come through town, but he didn’t recognize anybody except for the man who came to Puckett’s before dawn every day to deliver the morning papers. We considered that man to be a likely suspect for a while, but Andy Marshall said he had talked to him a few times and that he couldn’t imagine the man being the thief. He and Andy shared certain Christian principles. Exasperation began to build. Cowardly thievery is hard to swallow to begin with, and this continuing brazen pattern of thefts was driving
us nuts. We mulled over a number of possible tricks and entrapments to catch the thief, but nobody could think of anything workable until Bruce came up with another idea. What about mounting a TV camera in the window of the antique store to see what it might pick up? It just so happened that Naomi Judd had donated a video camera to the local school and Bruce, like he does with everything else, had access to it. The camera had some kind of motion sensitive switch on it which would activate only if something started to happen. It seemed ideal. I liked the idea because I figured that the visible presence of the camera in the window would be enough to scare away the thieves. But Bruce had bigger plans: he intended to hide the camera from view and take some prisoners. Bruce didn’t do anything about disguising the camera right away, of course, since he has a way of thinking things through in his own due time. All the rest of us could do was wait in silent anticipation while Bruce meditated. Finally, when he emerged from thought, Bruce said he had decided to hide the camera in a giant birdhouse. Now, Bruce wouldn’t build an ordinary birdhouse like any normal person would. The one Bruce designed looked more like a tobacco barn crossed with the Taj Mahal. Nosing just slightly out of the bird hole, like the sharp dark eye of an owl, was the lens of the video camera. Bruce mounted the birdhouse in the antique store window like it was for sale, and then he baited the area around the porch with brand-new hanging baskets. Then everybody sat back and waited for a bite. It didn’t take long. Bruce caught the guy on tape on almost the first night. And there, his face filling the screen like Tom Brokaw’s, was Andy’s innocent newspaper man, peacefully lifting the baskets and putting them in his trunk. Bruce was so pleased
with his success that on succeeding nights he mounted the camera at the sites of several other thefts to get corroborating evidence. He was popping this guy like skeet. We showed the tapes to the sheriff and to the man’s manager at the newspaper-- who professed to be shocked-- and the man was fired from his job. hat might have been enough to satisfy people under ordinary circumstances, but now that we had tasted success we had blood in our teeth. This was a chance, we realized, -- one of those rare clean opportunities–- to strike back hard against thievery, lawlessness, and anything else that might threaten our peaceful lives in Leiper’s Fork. The man ought to stand trial as an example to others, we thought, so the aggrieved parties sallied into town and swore out warrants in General Sessions Court. As usual, the warrants lay around un-served for quite a while, but we finally prevailed upon the sheriff to send one of his deputies out for the specific purpose of effecting service on the man, which he did. When the deputy had finished his work that day, he stopped by the antique store to report, and he said that not only had he served the warrants on the defendant but that he had seen Gale’s window boxes sitting decoratively on the man’s patio. Everybody got a big laugh out of that except Gale, who started to simmer. But the deputy felt sorry for the man. The man had told him he had lost his job and now was about to lose his house. So the deputy had told the man to go up to the antique store and talk to Marty Hunt about whether the charges might be settled. My jaw dropped when he said that
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and, as politely as I could, I told him that I didn’t think it was a good idea for an officer of the law to suggest that the perpetrator of a crime go over and talk to the victim, unescorted, especially right after he’d been served with a criminal warrant. Marty was shocked too and she said later, “What if I was here by myself?!” Sure enough, about an hour later the man arrived at the antique store. He was a tall man, portly and pale, who stood slumped in the doorway like a big sad mushroom. As incredible as it may seem, he began by telling us that he hadn’t taken the flowers. When that didn’t work, he said that somebody had told him that the flowers were free for anybody who wanted to take them- and on and on, until finally Bruce took him outside and said to him (in more vernacular terms), “Sir, you are telling us a falsehood.” Bruce was hot. The man had tears running down his face by this time, but his obvious con didn’t sway anyone: it only hardened our resolve to go to court. n the appointed day of trial, Bruce was pleased to learn that the presiding judge was an old friend of his. So the first thing Bruce said when we got to the courthouse was, “Let’s go back and see my old buddy and let him know what’s going on.” I allowed as how that would be bad form, which Bruce already knew, of course, just like he knew he couldn’t shoot anybody for stealing flowers. I said as soon as the judge saw the warrants and saw us sitting in the courtroom he would know all he needed to know. The problem, I said, would be the District Attorney. And I was right. The DA had a docket full of assaults and parole violations and drug dealings, and he looked at us in disbelief as we stood outside in the hall to tell him about the flower thefts. He made it clear that he did not want to prosecute the
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case, and he said we could not force him to. He tried to get us to agree to a plea bargain based on restitution by the defendant, but when the aggrieved parties, particularly Gale, said HELL NO! the DA realized that the prudent thing to do was to let the case take its course. When the judge entered the courtroom, we were all sitting in a group close to the bench, right there in plain view. The judge did not acknowledge our presence, but went ahead with a couple of preliminary matters to get the courtroom warmed up and get a feel for the lay of things. He could see that the courtroom was packed with a variety of sullen miscreants, and he decided, briskly, to call our case. Still not acknowledging our presence, he turned calmly to the DA and dead-panned, “General, what’s this case about?” The DA pretended to be studying his more important files and answered, off-handedly, “They say he stole a flower,” nodding in our general direction. Gale growled audibly and began fidgeting and biting her lip, so I whispered to her, “You’ve got a right to speak, Gale, so go ahead if you want to.” And she jumped to her feet and said, “Twasn’t just no flower, Judge. It was my window boxes and all kinda other stuff. And he stole from them too,” she said, gesturing toward everybody else. Now, I’ve watched a lot of judges in my life, and I’ve never seen one do this any better. The judge swung majestically around in his chair and looked down at us for the first time. His eyes lit up as if he had just recognized us. Then he swiveled back to the DA and leaned forward and said, “Do you mean to tell me that this man has been stealing from the good citizens out in Leiper’s Fork?” The DA continued to act preoccupied, so Marty stood up and said, “Yes, sir, Judge, and we’ve got the proof all written down right here.” She brandished several sheets of handwritten notes like she was ready to slap somebody. The judge looked down and said sweetly, “Well let me see it, Mrs. Hunt.” Marty stepped right up to the bench and leaned over with the judge and went over the list line by
line-- pot by pot-- with estimated values for everything. She and the judge must have spent ten minutes poring over her papers. The only problem Marty had was that she couldn’t say exactly who owned what, or how many separate thefts had taken place, except for Gale’s window boxes and the Rust’s coal scuttle. But the judge just eased on past that technicality and when he was ready, he turned sternly toward the defendant as he stood, slumped, alone in a sea of watchful faces. “Stand up there and look at me,” the judge barked. “And stand up straight! Get your hands out of your pockets! Now did you steal from these good folks in Leiper’s Fork?” The normally easy-going judge was showing the home folks how he could perform, and he laid it on thick. The man mumbled a little, and the judge cocked his ear theatrically and said, “What? What did you say?” And the man mumbled a little more and said “Yes,” staring at the floor in his drooping mushroom pose. The judge paused like he was sharpening his knife and deciding how deep to cut. Then he looked up and asked, “Well are you sorry about it?” The man sort of nodded, still staring at the floor. “No!” the judge said sharply. “I mean are you really sorry about it? Now stand up straight and turn around! Look those good people right in the eye and tell them you’re sorry.” The defendant heaved himself up and around and faced us for just an instant as he said, “I’m sorry,” and then he slumped back toward the floor. Gale glared at him with a look that could have frozen the bottom circle of Hell. The judge then took his time as he calculated the value of the stolen goods and then he said, “OK. I order you to pay full restitution and all court costs, and I hereby sentence you to 11 months and 29 days in jail, which is the most I can give you for a misdemeanor, and I am
suspending”-- and here everyone expected the judge to continue ‘suspending all of the sentence conditioned upon restitution,’ but instead he said-- “all of the sentence except for five days in the County Jail, to begin immediately.” The stunned defendant jerked out of his contrite mushroom pose and began stammering excuses for why he couldn’t go to jail. But the judge was unmoved. Then, rumbling like the voice of God, he intoned, “And don’t you ever go back to Leiper’s Fork again!” The deputies hand-cuffed the man and led him toward the dark door looming at the back of the courtroom, and I looked around in some amusement at the rest of the waiting crowd. As I’m sure the judge did, I imagined the waiting defendants squirming a little and thinking, “Five days in jail for stealing flowers?! Maybe I should take a guilty plea before this guy strings me up.” Even the DA looked shocked. I’m not sure anyone ever talked to the judge after the case was over, but even though he never cracked a smile I am sure he enjoyed doing justice for the folks from the Fork. This was General Sessions Court where justice tends to be kind of rough and tumble anyway, and the people in Leiper’s Fork’s idea of justice isn’t very complicated, so everyone felt the man got what he deserved. t turns out that the guy got out of jail after only three days, and he never paid a penny in restitution or court costs. We could have pursued him further for restitution, of course, and we might even have had his suspended sentence revoked, but everybody seemed satisfied that enough had been done. And one thing’s for sure: the man has never returned to Leiper’s Fork, and that may be the only part of the judge’s sentence that he will always comply with.
Wayne Christeson is a sometime writer and a longtime resident of Leiper’s Fork.
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Fle��our Mussels! good FOOD
most abundant and inexpensive seafood available to all is the fresh mussel. This small, black-shelled tidal rock hugger grows all over the world, and the meat inside this shellfish is tender and delicious. Easily farm-raised, a pound of mussels costs about three dollars and requires no special preparation. This seafood is available widely at local grocery stores. Check out my easy plan for bulging mussels. What can the uninitiated expect from a mussel? Since the shell of the mussel provides all of its protection, the meat inside is extremely delicate, mildly flavored and sweet. Mussels pair well with delicate cream reductions and spicy tomato sauces. Simmer this shellfish in white wine, strong beer, stock or cream—or any combination of these—along with your favorite seasonings. Steamed mussels topped with a savory bread stuffing make an excellent appetizer; the choice of presentations is limitless. This is where I could mimic Bubba Gump and recite an infinite litany of mussel dishes, but I will restrain my mussels and simply flex a few favorites. Mariniere is a very simple style that starts with a sauté pan and some chopped onion, garlic and white wine or beer. Add some mussels and five minutes later you have a very tasty dish. Just fish out the mussels with your fingers and use the shells like a spoon, slurping up the delicious broth. Include a crusty bread and I guarantee satisfaction.
B Y LARRY K A N E
Fra Diavolo finds our melding mollusk simmered in marinara sauce to which a healthy dose of crushed red pepper has been added. Serve this spicy dish on a bed of linguini to make an entrée. Thai mussels are simmered with exotic flavors like coconut milk, curry and cilantro and should be served in the pot in which they have been cooked. Chilled steamed mussels served on the half-shell, topped with a seasoned sauce like aioli (garlic mayonnaise) and chopped fresh chives make an exquisite canapé. All of these dishes are extremely easy to prepare and equally inexpensive to serve. Add to this the panache of a largely ignored seafood, and you will turn heads among your friends who will view you as a very creative cook. The people of Belgium are definitely not neutral on mussels. They have declared them to be their national dish. Every restaurant in Belgium has mussels on the menu, usually served with Belgian Frites or what we call French fries—which Belgians take extremely seriously, as they are Belgium’s greatest contribution to world cuisine. ll of Europe loves mussels, and the demand for them exceeds the natural wild harvest, thus creating the need for farmed product. Mussels like cold water, a fluctuating tide and immobility. When mussels find themselves loose they shoot out polymer-like filaments called a beard that quickly fasten to solid objects, just like Spiderman (Musselman? Coming
soon to a theater near you! Maybe not…). Farms provide the shellfish with all of their needs. In Europe the seas surrounding Ireland provide some of the best farmed blue mussels. In America the chief provider is Prince Edward Island off Nova Scotia. Australia farms green lip mussels, which are larger, and can be found fresh or frozen in the U.S. Fresh mussels are sold as live shellfish, which means just that: they should still be moving when you buy and cook them. Portion-wise, figure one pound per person, minimum, and purchase a little extra, anticipating some loss. At rest mussel shells lie agape, revealing their pinkish innards. As with anything this fresh they should be slapped. Really. Slap or otherwise disturb these gaping mollusks to cause their shells to close. You should observe an immediate response, with some taking only as long as 60 seconds to close tightly. Those that do not react or remain unclosed should be discarded. Next, wash the shellfish with cool water and let drain in a colander. Examine each specimen for a beard—remove and discard. (Farm-raised mussels rarely have beards.) After cooking, if a mussel shell does not open, do not force it open but simply discard it. Since mussels are very cheap, do not hesitate to throw out any product that is questionable. Pitch anything that seems compromised without a second thought. Your tummy will thank you for your
When enjoying your own mussel feast, set an empty bowl nearby to collect the shells and dive in. Another source of mussels is the canned variety. Available cooked, shelled and smoked, tinned mussels are found between the sardines and smoked oysters on the grocery shelf. One can of smoked mussels will generate several dozen canapés, like a fancy cracker smeared with cream cheese or mustard, adorned with a smoked mussel. Easy, elegant and delicious. Smoked mussels make a great component of an antipasto presentation, a piquant garnish to a Caesar salad or an ingredient in bouillabaisse, cioppino or paella. We all have muscles that we do not use regularly, and when we do we ache. These mussels should be used more regularly by everyone, and when we do, we will all feel better afterward. Flex your mussels! Y Larry Kane received his chef training in Boston, Massachusetts. A 2001 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner, Kane can be found at the Publix at Bowie Commons in Fairview, Tennessee.
Mussels Fra Diavolo (serves two as an entrée) lb. linguini or spaghetti, cooked, 1 held warm 2 lbs. mussels, cleaned 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes ½ c. red wine (optional) 2 c. marinara sauce (from a jar) ¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Two of our author’s recipes for mussel appetizers—Mussels Mariniere and Mussels with Bacon & Cream—can be found in the Stories & More section of hillsNhamlets.com. 16 HILLS & HAMLETS
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In a medium sauté pan heated over medium heat for one minute, add oil, garlic, crushed red pepper and mussels. Cook for one minute and add red wine and tomato sauce. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes. Place warm pasta on warmed plates. Remove sauté pan from heat and uncover. Discard any unopened mussels. Distribute opened, cooked mussels around serving plates, arranging shells in a circle on the pasta. Pour remaining sauce evenly over mussels/pasta. Garnish with grated cheese and chopped parsley. w w w. h i l l s N h a m l e t s . c o m
B y S u e H e n ry
S e e Mo r e in th e g a l l e ry at hi l l s N h a m l e ts . c o m w w w. h i l l s N h a m l e t s . c o m
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Loblolly Interiors Market 810 Walker Street Columbia, TN 38401
Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.–3 p.m. or by Appointment
Ever Spring There’s a patch of grass on a knoll where a square of daffodils sway. February invites them to push through the snow, their golden faces asking, “Where are they?” But the children left for the city and the parents grew old and still. The house burned down at Easter and they moved into town for care. She passed first, and for six months he sat in silence, in front of the blue light of a flashing TV. Then he followed.
Antiques • Fine Art • Gifts Wayfaring STRANGER
Under the Hill
B y M a rt y B e l l
few weeks back during our spring break at Belmont, we travelled the Natchez Trace Parkway all the way to Natchez, Mississippi. I had wanted for a long time to travel the whole Trace. Natchez, Mississippi is a pretty fascinating place, particularly if you enjoy visiting antebellum mansions in the lower South. But I discovered that historically there were two sides to Natchez. There was, and still is, the beautiful Natchez of antebellum mansions and a rich social life with parties, dances, soirees and more gentility than you can pack into the four hours plus of Gone with the Wind. On the eve of the Civil War, there were more millionaires per capita in Natchez than anywhere else in the nation. Then there was, and still is, Natchez-underthe-Hill—the area below the bluff upon which Natchez sits where the flatboats, rafts, steamboats and anything else that floats landed. Old Natchez-under-the-Hill was a place of gambling, drinking, houses of ill repute, and lots of knife fights. Jim Bowie’s famous knife made its first appearance in the vicinity. Generally, Natchez-under-the18 HILLS & HAMLETS
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Hill was the roughest and meanest port on the Mississippi River. Yet, Natchez up on the bluff would have never have made history without that rough and tumble spot as a landing. That got me to thinking. We like to present our pretty side to the world, while hiding our dirty laundry as the expression goes. But we are who we are. We all have an “under-the-hill” spot in our lives that we try to keep hidden so that we will be considered respectable and desirable. However, trying to make ourselves look good while hiding our darker side usually backfires in the long run. Somehow Natchez has learned over the years to celebrate both the life on top of the bluff and the life under the hill as well. Y Marty Bell, Ph.D., is a professor, preacher and singer/songwriter. He teaches at Belmont University and ministers to three Methodist churches in rural Williamson County: Green’s Chapel, Garrison and Greenbrier. He can be reached at email@example.com.
A few old timers remember them. They kept bees and rescued cats. He fixed lawn mowers and sipped moonshine. She was a seamstress and a dancer once; she kept her hair in two great braids that hung down her back like snakes. All that remains now are the daffodils they planted when they were young, when they knew that after winter’s toil of dark nights and grey days, of frozen rains and ice, a joyful re-birth would come. Four, low walls and a crumbling chimney sit like gravestones marking where a home stood, where a family had lived, had cried and loved. The front porch steps lead to nowhere, and there’s no door to knock, “You home?” No porch to sit on and ponder winter’s leaving. Yet, striving, hugging the stone foundation, are the only remaining living things… bouncing, singing, satin-sheen, sun-bright daffodils their green wands waving buttercup smiles, offerings, a yearly guarantee, ever hopeful, ever eternal,
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