Thursday, June 30, 2011

Start Organizing Your Fourth of July Parade!

If this Harvard study is accurate, I certainly hope we're all planning Fourth of July parades this year:

A new Harvard University study finds that July 4th parades energize only Republicans, turn kids into Republicans, and help to boost the GOP turnout of adults on Election Day.
Who knew that's all it took?

A Storm in a Teacup

So the most talked about government agency today is probably The National Weather Service thanks to Obama's shout out during his *screed* yesterday.

Bride of Rove got charged up about it in a hilariously ranting post:

Holy shit! The weather doesn’t just screw up our lives here in the Keys, it’s a freaking WEAPON in the infowars. HIDE THE DECLINE!!! HIDE THE DECLINE!!! That Obama shout out was a strafing of the foot soldiers of the revolution. They were put on notice to get out the AGW message double quick and in spectacular disaster blaster frequency to … is this defcon orange we’re talking here? Is there no disaster to take advantage of to get the Obama budget through so we need that distraction on the Weather Channel (Which I watch during hurricane season religiously, btw … with Drambuie)...

And over at NRO's The Corner, Andrew Stiles points out just how important the NWS really is:

Ah yes, the National Weather Service, an agency that consumes roughly $1 billion in taxpayers funds every year. Obviously, every penny of that goes toward essential programs, right? Here’s a look at just a few of the things you have been paying for at the NWS:
  • A $220,000 grant to the Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Development to "educate the Arab region on climate change.” 
  • A $50,000 grant to the Ocean Conservancy for the purpose of “enhancing the capacity to inform effective management decisions” at the East End Marine Park in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • A $15,000 grant to the Oregon TsuTube channel to create tsunamai awareness clips on YouTube.
  • A $193,000 grant to the International Environmental Data Rescue Organization for “hydrometeorological services” in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, Dominican Republic, Chile, and Uruguay.
  • A $300 annual gym membership reimbursement program, a benefit that few private sector employees enjoy, at a total cost of up to $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars per year.
We're educating the Arab region on climate change?  Seriously?  Paying for gym memberships?

CNBC reports:

A bill in the House of Representatives is proposing to cut the National Weather Service's 2011 budget by reportedly 30 percent or about $126 million. The proposal is part of the Full Year Continuing Resolution Act.

The potential for budget cuts has the forecasters in a tizzy worrying about radar maintenance systems and so on.  There's even a Facebook page:

Just four days ago, a movement to fight the cuts was mobilized on Facebook. A page called "Protect the National Weather Service" was started by a National Hurricane Center employee. It has since been taken over by the National Weather Service's union. It already has about 2200 "likes." 

I've got nothing against the NWS, to be sure; but, if Obama is going to screech about taking on the "sacred cow," if everybody's got to have "some skin in the game," maybe we can start with gym memberships for the National Weather Service.

Mark Halperin Was Right

I've been in a state of disbelief for the past 24 hours over that Obama press conference yesterday, thus the blog silence.  I mean, what do you say to something like that?  Can you imagine Ronald Reagan ever giving such a petulant, angry, nasty speech pitting Americans against Americans like that?  Good grief.

Pundette did a great analysis of the speech here and here:

There's something wrong with his attitude below, as if governing the United States of America is some kind of game:
They’re in one week, they’re out one week.  And then they’re saying, Obama has got to step in.  You need to be here.  I’ve been here.  I’ve been doing Afghanistan and bin Laden and the Greek crisis.  You stay here.  Let’s get it done. 
"Doing Afghanistan"? That's a disturbingly casual way to refer to a war in which Americans are risking and losing their lives. (And what, pray tell, is he "doing" about the Greek crisis?)

Victor Davis Hanson was equally horrified and wonders...

But one thing seems unclear: How does an attack on private jet travel square with his present efforts to wow Wall Street fat cats and the junkets to Vail, Martha’s Vineyard, and Costa del Sol? Or for that matter with the once tax-exempt Kerry yacht, the private-jet networking of green capitalist Al Gore, and Nancy Pelosi’s government-paid-for jet flights back to the Bay Area?

What I'm trying to square is how Obama can chide Congress and boast about how hard he's working on things yet he's off at this moment on another fundraiser (two of them today) and he refused the Republican's invitation to Capitol Hill today to work on the issues:

Jay Carney told the media earlier today that McConnell’s invitation was “not a conversation worth having.”  Sounds a lot like Obama’s own press conference.  It also highlights a particularly Democratic approach to bipartisanship, which is usually defined as Republicans agreeing to Democratic demands, which is more or less how Obama defined the supposedly bipartisan process that produced ObamaCare and Porkulus, both of which were written by Democrats without Republican input.

So the line yesterday was all about how we have to work together and get things done but today?  Well, today it's not worth talking to Republicans about anything. 

I think Mark Halperin was right.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Adventures in Yard Sales - Part I

My phone rang yesterday morning:  "Pat, we're going to have a garage sale this weekend.  Get your stuff out."  The dread in Gena's voice voice was palpable.


My next door neighbors have decided it's time for us to bite the bullet and have another garage sale, so Steve and I have been busy digging out, cleaning out, sorting, pricing, washing, and organizing all the junk we want to get rid of.  Between the combining of our two households, we have a lot of junk and duplicate items.

I like to go to estate sales and the occasional yard sale, as regular readers know, but having one is something I so hate to do.  It's not the work involved, or the prep.  Let me give you an example of how our luck runs with yard sales.

My neighbors, Donny & Gena (you remember them - Taz's parents), and I joined together about ten years ago for a yard sale.  We worked all week long dragging stuff out of closets and cabinets.  I sat on the living room floor for hours pricing clothes.  We set up as much as we could the night before - got clothes racks ready and tables.  Donny even mowed the grass so it all looked nice.  We put our signs out and I think we even put an ad in the paper.  We were to start at 6 a.m.

On the big day I set my alarm for 4:30 so I could shower and get my junk hauled outside and set up.  When I looked outside at 5 a.m., there were people poking around outside with flashlights.  There wasn't anything out there yet, but there they were, looking around the side of the houses and in the backyard to see where we'd stashed our stuff.  I called Gena and we got a move on.

Buyers come in waves at these things.  You either have nobody looking through your junk or you have twenty people at once.

We were doing pretty good early on.  Lots of customers and everyone was pretty nice.  Donny & Gena had some high ticket items and did really well; they had an oriental folding screen that he got $300 for.  I was jealous.  All my junk was $1.00, $0.50;  I think my highest priced thing was $5.00 and I got haggled down from that. 

As the morning goes on you get the lags between customers and then they all want to haggle.  I realize that's part of the deal, but when you're asking $5.00 for a lined, suede coat in great condition, and someone says, "Will you take $1.00?", you've got to wonder..."is this even worth it?"

About 10:30 a battered, rusted out car pulled up and two adults and a child got out.  The woman was in shorts and the man was in cut-off overalls with no shirt underneath.  The child was about eight and had nothing on but a diaper.  They all were covered in scabs and had dirt in the folds of their skin.  They browsed, visited a little, and seemed in no rush to go anywhere.  They bought a coffee mug.

By this time, not quite 11, it was already hot and humid outside.  I had refolded, straightened merchandise, rearranged things for the umpeenth time.  Gena and I got sidewalk chalk and drew arrows in the street pointing to our sale to drum up more customers.

A car with seven people pulled up, grazed through the stuff, complained because we didn't have drinks, and wanted a $0.25 ashtray for $0.10 because it had a chip in it. 

Then the lady drove up who wanted to know if we had any S&M items.

That's when Gena and I started drinking.

She bought an entire box of Donny's old Playboy magazines.  

By that time, the hagglers didn't bother me.  "Will you take $0.50 for this stack of albums?"

"Sure.  No problem."

In the end I think I made about $50.00, barely enough to cover my part of the newspaper ad.  Donny and Gena did much better at about $800. I think there's an art to pricing that I haven't figured out yet. 

Whatever we had left Donny just set out nice and neat on the curb with a sign that said "Free!" and we went inside.  By the end of the day it was all gone.  All of it.

Anyway, we're going to give it another go.  It took both of us about ten years to get over that last experience and we might be crazy to do it again, but here we go. 

Stay tuned for Part II Saturday.

The Permitorium in the Gulf Persists

In case you missed it, there was a great editorial at NOLA yesterday about the Obama administration's permitorium and the need to open drilling in the Gulf:

The best way to protect consumers against price spikes in the long run is to continue expanding oil exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. President Obama in May announced his goal to increase domestic oil production. But producers in the Gulf are still complaining that a de facto moratorium imposed after the BP oil spill last year hasn't been fully lifted. 

And for more background on how we got to this point, be sure to read Adam White's piece at The Weekly Standard which explains the attempts in Congress to compel the administration to handle the permit applications that are now just stacking up. 

The official moratorium has been lifted, yes, but drilling permits are not happening.  To date, only one well permit has been approved:

According to the House Oversight Committee’s recent report, the administration’s official moratorium “was replaced by a ‘permitorium’—whereby drilling activity remained at a standstill not by operation of law—but because of inaction on the part of [Interior].” As proof of the “permitorium,” the House report noted that before the Deepwater Horizon spill, Interior had “processed and issued permits to drill in two weeks”; since the moratorium ended last year, only one new well had been approved. In the words of Judge Feldman, “Where there should be a queue” of applications receiving orderly review, “there is instead an untended pile.”

Obama's decision to release oil from the strategic oil reserves was purely a political move.  White's piece makes the case that the current situation is not so dire that such a move needed to be made. 

Obama's poll numbers were/are plummeting and he's in campaign mode (when did he ever get out of it?), so he releases the oil reserves hoping for a bounce.  It didn't work.

If Obama wants a bounce in poll numbers, he needs to open drilling in the Gulf.  End the nonsense.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Judge Sides With ACLU in Georgia

As a follow-up to my post last week about the controversial immigration bill in Georgia, it is to be noted that federal judge Thomas Thrash, a Clinton appointee, has sided with the ACLU in striking down major parts of that bill:

Judge Thomas Thrash granted a request to block parts of the law that penalize people who knowingly and willingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants while committing another crime. He also blocked provisions that authorize officers to verify the immigration status of someone who can't provide proper identification.  Thrash wrote that under parts of the law, the state is enforcing immigration law that should be left to the federal government.

It's that "left to the federal government" part that just kills me.

Note to ACLU and Judge Thrash:  the states are trying to do the job the federal government WON'T do.  Get out of the way and let them.

Because There Are No REAL Problems in San Francisco...

Not content with just banning sales of dogs and cats, San Francisco recently expanded that proposed legislation to include fish.  I tried and tried to ignore the story and wrote it off.  I mean, if they'll elect Nancy Pelosi over and over again, this is par for the course. 

I actually get their initial logic behind the thing - puppy mills are awful.  However, now the proposed legislation that began with puppy mills, then went to "anything with fur or feathers," now includes all pets.  Fish, turtles, snakes, all of it.  I suppose it is still legal to own one of these creatures, you just won't be able to buy one in San Francisco.  (So what's the point?)

There are arguments on both sides:  some criticize the law for putting small businesses, like pet shops, out of work.  Others argue for the animals.

But when we get to statements like this...

"Why fish? Why not fish?" said Philip Gerrie, a member of the city's Commission of Animal Control and Welfare and a coauthor of the proposal. "From Descartes on up, in the Western mindset, fish and other nonhuman animals don't have feelings, they don't have emotions, we can do whatever we want to them. If we considered them living beings, we would deal with them differently.… Our culture sanctions this, treating them as commodities and expendable."

...I must disagree.

There's no way on earth you'll convince me that my dogs "don't have feelings" or emotions.

The argument over the legislation at the SF Commission meeting got rather heated as they debated the humane aspect of selling live rodents as snake food:

"If a snake is caught with a rodent in a box, the rodent can scratch its eye and cause an infection," said Hemphill, who noted that reptiles on display at the California Academy of Sciences eat dead, frozen prey. "The snake can't escape, and the rodent might be stuck for one or two days in the box with the snake because the snake's not hungry right then.
Good grief. 

I'm glad they don't have any other real problems in California to worry about.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The White House is About to "Punk" Your Doctor's Office

Did I fall asleep and wake up in Cuba or the Soviet Union?

Not having enough on their plates already with the tanking economy, rising unemployment, rising energy prices, a bottomed out housing market and skyrocketing national debt, the Obama administration is assembling a team of prank callers to harass the few remaining doctors we still have willing to practice medicine in this looming quagmire that is Obamacare.

Straight from the New York Times:

Alarmed by a shortage of primary care doctors, Obama administration officials are recruiting a team of “mystery shoppers” to pose as patients, call doctors’ offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for people to get care when they need it. 

That's right.  You've been Punk'd!   Imagine the poor receptionists in doctors offices all over America.   "What?  You don't really want that appointment after all?  Well thanks for wasting my time and keeping me from attending to someone who actually does need medical care.  Have a nice day."

It seems the Obama administration is suddenly alarmed by the shortage of doctors.  Now, I wonder why there's a shortage? 

Last year the Wall Street Journal wrote about the looming shortage of primary care physicians:

The U.S. has 352,908 primary-care doctors now, and the college association estimates that 45,000 more will be needed by 2020. But the number of medical-school students entering family medicine fell more than a quarter between 2002 and 2007.
The numbers tell the story, yet Team Obama wants to call and harass your doctor's receptionist just to be sure.  This snoopy survey is redundant; the WSJ article has the numbers:

Back to the NYT (emphasis mine):

The administration says the survey will address a “critical public policy problem”: the increasing shortage of primary care doctors, including specialists in internal medicine and family practice. It will also try to discover whether doctors are accepting patients with private insurance while turning away those in government health programs that pay lower reimbursement rates.
What is this "will address" part of the equation?  What are the consequences if you're busted not accepting new patients?

It will also "try to discover" if your doctor isn't accepting Medicaid patients.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but is there some law that says a doctor MUST accept Medicaid patients?  Aren't we still in a free market economy where a doctor can treat whomever he wishes?  Doesn't the Hippocratic Oath bind the doctor to ethical practices?

Needless to say, doctors aren't thrilled by this new snoop scheme.  The government snoops won't be identifying themselves as snoops, of course; if you're attempting to entrap someone, you don't blow your cover right off the bat.

Here's one of the scripts they'll be using:

Mystery shopper: “Hi, my name is Alexis Jackson, and I’m calling to schedule the next available appointment with Dr. Michael Krane. I am a new patient with a P.P.O. from Aetna. I just moved to the area and don’t yet have a primary doctor, but I need to be seen as soon as possible.”

Doctor’s office: “What type of problem are you experiencing?”

Mystery shopper: “I’ve had a cough for the last two weeks, and now I’m running a fever. I’ve been coughing up thick greenish mucus that has some blood in it, and I’m a little short of breath.” 

Seriously.   And they'll be blocking their phone number so they won't be detected through caller ID.  The offices of over 4,000 doctors in nine states will be called at least twice.  Eleven percent of those will be called a third time; this time the caller will identify himself as part of the HHS, ask if the doctor accepts new, Medicare or Medicaid patients and check for discrepancies in the story.

And guess who has been contracted to do the survey?  National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.  Shocker.

What are the consequences for these doctors who refuse to accept Medicare, Medicaid, or don't feel they can take on additional patients?  Is there something in Obamacare that says they must?  Remember, you've got to pass the bill to find out what's in it.  Where does all this lead?

This all reminds me of the White House Fishy campaign of 2009 which turned out to be full of legal problems.

Call me paranoid, but it seems like a huge waste of government dollars and a whole lot like Big Brother.

Update:  There is now a Memeorandum thread on this story.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around: The Recovery Edition

I'm dubbing this week's FMJRA the "Recovery Edition" because I've spent the day recovering from our whirlwind 36 hour trip to Natchitoches this weekend.  I got up and did the yard this morning before the heat got up, did laundry, and just tended to things around here that needed to be done.  Threw steaks on the grill for dinner and that's about the extent of it.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll be up and kickin' again, but for today, well, I've been slow motion.  Getting too old I guess!  I'll spread some more Natchitoches pictures throughout this post.

While I was touring plantations, drinking beer in pubs, and strolling up and down historic Front Street, however, the world has continued to turn and Obama has continued to stun even me.  Let's check out the links:

Let's start out with Doug Ross this week who gets the "most chilling" headline award for the week.

Wyblog reports on the shortcomings of green power as it relates to your electric clocks.

At Pirate's Cove, the House is attempting to hogtie Obama's dreams of amnesty.

The Conservatory covers Obama's flub on the Medal of Honor recipient.  Pundette covers this story as well and as usual, absolutely nails it.

Ed Driscoll has an excellent juxtaposition for you.

Professor Jacobson offers his take on the NY gay marriage bill; Bob Belvedere offers his own take.

Paco has found a field of study cut out exactly for me.  "Dr. Pat" indeed!

The Other McCain has a "Why I'm a Democrat" video you have to see to believe.

The Lonely Conservative calls out Timmy "Tax Cheat" Geithner for suggesting that Obama's move to release oil from our reserve isn't politically motivated.  Ridiculous.

Texas is launching license plates to commemorate the Confederacy and Bungalow Bill goes ballistic on idiots who act idiotic about the Confederate flag. 

Fuzzy Logic has had it with the "Obama is a genius" meme and has a roundup to contradict it.  It's great; I'd forgotten about some of those.

Jimmie Bise at The Sundries Shack has had it with Hillary Clinton and her definition of what is and is not patriotism.

Via Saberpoint, you may not be allowed to photograph or video tape public meetings depending on where you are.  Absurd.

Pecan Corner is feeling the love for Rick Perry.

And that will wrap up this week's FMJRA.  If you linked me and I missed you, send me an email and knock me on the head.  I'm not working at full speed just yet.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Take a Trip to Natchitoches and to Melrose Plantation

We have returned from our latest trek to Nachitoches.  Each time we go we try to do something we haven't done before and this time was no exception.  Of course, there are the things that we must always do every time we go, but we try to add something new now and then.

Last summer we went to Oakland plantation which we loved.  We learned a lot about history and plantation life on that tour.  Lots of folks suggested we go to Melrose this time, so we did.

The Historic District is beautiful and I've posted lots and lots of pictures in the past.  I'll try to avoid the repeats.

We arrived on Thursday and parked at The Church Street Inn where we always stay.  The price is right and we don't have to get back in the car if we don't want to because most everything is within walking distance.

We started out at Lasyone's for lunch where I had my usual meat pie platter.  It came with salad, dirty rice and okra and tomatoes.  After lunch we decided to walk around for a bit.

Here is the rectory across from The Church Street Inn:

I like it because it's sort of unusual; that's the Bishop's House to the left going back.  All manicured and immaculate all the time.  Directly across the street is the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception:

We usually go inside but skipped it this time; they were cleaning when we walked by.

We did, however, go inside the Trinity Episcopal Church this time.  We've never done that before.  It's not nearly as ornate as the Basilica, of course, but I loved the wood floors and the simplicity of it.  The stained glass windows were gorgeous and then, of course, I loved the bell tower:

This is not my picture; it came from the Trinity link above:

That round window in the front is gorgeous.  I took a picture from the inside but it came out blurry.  The church was the first non-Catholic church in Natchitoches and building began in 1857.  Read this link for the history.  Fascinating.  The church was also shown in the movie Steel Magnolias - it was Truvy's church.

From there we went to The Information Center to replenish our tourism brochures and see what was new:

And from there on to Kaffie-Frederick General Store so Steve could restock his Nakatosh coffee.  The store is the oldest general store in Louisiana and has everything under the sun.  Steve got a key made and bought coffee while I looked over the classic toys:

We went to The American Cemetery after a bit.  It is considered by many to be the oldest cemetery in the Louisiana Purchase and it's quite beautiful.  Last time we went there Steve discovered this grave of Dr. John Sibley who fought in the Revolutionary War, among other things.  Many of the old graves are crumbling and decaying, many lost to time, but the cemetery is fascinating.  There's lots of iron fences marking off plots, huge shady trees, some of which have roots that have disrupted grave sites, iron crosses and beautiful monuments throughout:

I guess we were on a Steel Magnolias theme this time because part of the movie was filmed in this cemetery, not far from this scene:

I thought this old tree was cool:

We left the cemetery, went back to Front Street and stopped in The Book Merchant.  I can never skip a stop at The Book Merchant; independent booksellers are becoming so scarce and J. Michael Kenny keeps a huge selection of local fiction, non-fiction and resources.  I always buy something from him and Steve always pets the shop cats.  This time I bought a mystery from a local writer, Michael Henry, called Three Bad Years.  I'm told it's like "early Grisham."  Here is shop cat Princess about to get some water:

Well by this time it must be time for The Pioneer Pub to open so we headed down to the other end of Front Street for some refreshment.  It was getting close to dinner time too, so I had a mushroom cheeseburger which was wonderful.   Steve had a burger with jalapenos or something - hot and spicy.  He loved it.  We sat there for a long time enjoying the atmosphere, visiting with some folks and buying t-shirts.

Thursday is live band night at The Pub and the band this night was local favorite Hardrick Rivers.  They started at 10.  Well, by this time the place was quite loud and lots of folks were having a really good time.  As it happens, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are taking place this weekend and a lot of people involved in those festivities wandered into The Pub.  Both Morten Anderson and Todd Walker were in there and their large group was celebrating someone's birthday right behind us.

We stayed until around 11 or so and then we headed out for a walk along the river before going back to the hotel.  Once there we sat on the balcony, watched traffic on Church street for a bit and let the noise clear out of our heads.

Before I go on, let me just say, this new Sports Hall of Fame building that is going up on Front Street has apparently been the cause of some controversy in Natchitoches.  It's right in the Historic District yet they've made no attempt to stay with the architecture and style of the rest of the district.  The ultra-modern design of the building has ruffled feathers of many locals:

You see that little shadow of a building on the right?  That's The Pub.  The building is under construction right now:

This morning we got up with no real plan except we knew we wanted to drive down the river road.  I think it's actually highway 494, but everyone just calls it the river road.  It winds along Cane River (which used to be the main channel of the Red River way back in the day.)  Check out this National Geographic link on the whole trek.  It's a beautiful drive.

Well, we'd done Oakland before, as I said, and we loved it.  Melrose is a bit further down and we decided to go ahead and do that.  I mean, everyone around here has heard of Clementine Hunter.  Now, I'll be honest.  I'm not a fan.  Full disclosure:  to me, it looks like something a five year old could paint.  I've had lots of art history classes and the whole nine yards and I get what she was doing.  She was painting plantation life as she saw it, which is great - it's history.  I love that aspect of it.  But do I want it on my wall?  Nope.  Lots of people love her work; it's not my bag.   That said, I did want to see Melrose and learn more about Miss Hunter and I hoped to gain a better appreciation of her work.

So on down the river road we go.  I stopped to take a picture of Cherokee Plantation - it's not open to the public except by appointment and usually during the Heritage tours.  It's believed the house was built in 1839:

Love this church we passed along the way, just past Cherokee but before Oakland:

It's nestled right next to a cornfield.  As we set back out, this is our view:

We longingly passed Oakland and kept on going.  Melrose didn't open until 12:00 so we stopped nearby to photograph the Badin-Roque House:

This is the kitchen:

and this is the house:

There's more info at the link above which you should check out, especially if you don't know what bousillage is.

As I was walking away from the house, Steve honked the horn and I turned in alarm thinking a snake or some other noxious creature was after me, but it turned out to be this adorable young dog!  He just wanted to say hello and make friends.  We pet him, played a few minutes, then he started chasing grasshoppers and headed on back to his house which was nearby:

The dog was well fed, had been neutered and we knew he had loving owners, so we waved goodbye and headed over to Melrose.

On the way we stopped to see the St. Augustine Catholic Church which is believed to be the first Catholic church established by and for people of color in the U.S.  Keeping with our inadvertent Steel Magnolia's theme, it was used as the setting for Shelby's wedding:

Behind the church is the cemetery where some of the older graves are in French:

Okay so as I now know, Melrose is more renown now as the home of Clementine Hunter and as an artists colony of sorts that plantation wife Cammie Henry established after the turn of the century.  Melrose was initially established between 1794 and 1803 by Marie Therese Coincoin, a free woman of color who obtained the land after being freed by her owner, Thomas Pierre Metoyer.  The whole story is at the link but this is Yucca House - the original main house:

There was some restoration going on there so we didn't go inside that one.  Yucca House was built around 1796 and shortly after that was African House:

It was built around 1800.  It's two stories; the ground floor is brick:

and upstairs are Clementine Hunter murals:

From there, our tour guide let folks ring the plantation bell:

and I took a picture of the old fireplace from the original kitchen:

I love the old iron pots sitting there.

Steve admired the ferns in the old live oaks:

Next we were led inside the "big house" which was built around 1833:

This was, obviously, a dining room:

And behind it (and sharing a fireplace) is a sitting room where "Miss Cammie" had her books and did her famous scrapbooking:

I thought this was pretty:

We went on upstairs through the bedrooms:

And saw more Clementine Hunter paintings.  Note the huge chicken:

This is a "rolling pin" bed; the rolling pin lifts off to be used to flatten and straighten the hay mattress in the morning:

A back upstairs porch with built in bookshelves:

And a view from the front of the house toward the road:

That oak tree is well over 300 years old.

Down these back stairs and our tour was over:

We wandered the grounds a bit, I took some more pictures, then we stopped in the gift shop:

...where I bought a book about Melrose and we wrapped it all up.

Since it's taken me almost as long to write this as it took to do it all, I'm wrapping this up.  On down the road from Melrose is yet another plantation, Magnolia.  Who knows - maybe we'll do that one next!  It's supposedly quite large and equally historic.

I enjoyed seeing Melrose but Oakland gives a better picture of what plantation life was actually like as far as a real "working plantation."  It has so many of the original buildings and you can see how it was all spread out and how it all worked.  Melrose, as I said, was once a plantation in that they grew tobacco and indigo there, as well as lots and lots of pecan orchards, but it is more known now for the contribution to the arts that occurred there.

Did I gain any greater appreciation for Clementine Hunter works?  Well, yes, I did.  Do I want one?  Nope.

RelatedThe "Take a Trip" Series