Nov 5, 2007

Battlefields and Vineyards

November 5, 2007 -- York, SC

Gosh, it's been 4 days since I posted to this blog. Better get caught up.

Last week, I think it was Thursday, the four of us, Chris, Dar, Tim, and I, drove over to Kings Mountain State Park and the Kings Mountain National Military Park. It was a bright, sunny, but cool day -- the kind of weather I'm really growing to like. When I first heard that there's an old battlefield here I assumed it was from the Civil War. But my ignorance was soon apparent as I learned it's a piece of history from the Revolutionary War. It was a small battle but it was a decisive win for the patriots, who desperately needed a win, having had a loosing streak in the south up to that point. The time was October 1780. Only about 1000 men on each side. All were Americans except for one British officer, a Major Patrick Ferguson. The loyalists, who were fighting for the British, were recruited Americans who wanted to remain loyal to the British crown. The patriots were back-woodsmen, farmers, and frontiersmen largely from the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Kentucky. For that time, the tactics used by the patriots were unconventional, but effective. Rather than standing out in the open in lines and firing salvos from wildly inaccurate flint-lock muskets as the British and loyalists did, the patriots used a run-hide-shoot style -- and had more accurate 50 caliber black-powder rifles. Despite having the high ground, the loyalists were chewed up and lost decisively. It's said that this battle pumped new life and spirit into the patriot cause, and showed the British that fighting an unconventional war in a far-off country is a very difficult enterprise.

Readers of this blog probably know that visiting small local wineries is a favorite thing to do. On Saturday all four of us mounted up and headed into the Appalachian foothills to a place near Cleveland, SC. Just miles from the border with North Carolina and at the foot of a rock outcropping called Table Rock, Victoria Vineyards was out objective. Once again the day was sunny and crisp, the air was clear, the autumn colors vibrant -- one of those days I've dreamed about on dreary cold miserable winter days in the past. Besides tasting wine we also had lunch, outside, on the veranda, making sure we had a table in the sun -- just warm enough to enjoy. The winery was happy we came as I'm sure their sales and profits had a bump that day... and we thought it was worth every penny.

Daylight saving time is history, at least for 2007. Since we've embarked on this adventure, my body-clock has synch'd up with the sun. In the evening, when the sun sets, it doesn't take too long and I'm yawning and getting that dazed look that precedes the onset of sleep. In the morning, I awaken at first light. This schedule is great during the summer... 7 or 8 hours of good sleep and plenty of time to do all the day-stuff I want. But during late fall and winter, it's a problem. I can't sleep 12 or 13 hours! So I've been staying up well past sunset, but still getting up at sunrise -- which, where we've been the past few weeks, has been about 8am... 8am for heaven's sake! By the time I get up, coffee'd up, cleaned up, and dressed up it's nearly noon. The day's half gone. I, for one, am happy to see the sun rising at a more reasonable hour.

We've got about a week left here with Tim and Chris. The big event this week is the "pond project". I'll write more about it in the next few days, but, briefly, the pond behind Tim and Chris's house has a problem. The water level control system is failing. It's leaking water. It's lost about 2 or 3 feet of water this summer. Tim is managing the project to repair and replace the system for the pond-owners association. This is the week it's supposed to get fixed. More later.

That's it for today.


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