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Editor’s note: This column first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in April 2004. These days my wife, Elizabeth, and…

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Editor’s note: This article first appeared in a March 2006 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. I frequently hear from people…

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Editor’s note: This article first appeared in a January 2005 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. “If it form the…

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Galax is an evergreen groundcover found throughout the Blue Ridge. The plant can thrive in various settings, but the ideal…

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“Seen for the first time amid the snows of winter and against a background of darkling pines these strange and…

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Strap-shaped honey locust pods can be up to 2-inches wide and a foot or more in length. Hanging in abundance along…

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Editor’s note: This article first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in September 2004. The cool and humid forests and…

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Editor’s note: This George Ellison column first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in August 2016. The comeback of the…

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The recent heavy rains here in the Smokies region have been a blessing, especially to those of us who like…

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It’s late July and before long summer will be slip-sliding toward autumn. The gap between now and then is often overlooked…

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I write this down in the country again ... seated on a log in the woods, warm, sunny midday. Have…

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Despite the boosterism (and alliteration) that permeated a front page layout (perhaps instigated by the ever-energetic Jack Coburn, who is…

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 Editor’s note: This column first appeared in a May 2009 issue of The Smoky Mountain News. In the opaque early-morning…

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Editor’s note: This column first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in May 2008.  O Cuckoo! Shall I call thee…

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Editor’s note: This column first appeared in an April 2003 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. Bears have always held…

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Throughout spring the pendent catkins of sweet birch (Betula lenta) will be dangling gracefully in the wind in rich woodland…

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Old-time dentistry as practiced here in the Smokies region wasn’t pretty. All of the descriptions I have found make it…

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While walking stream banks or low-lying wetlands, you have perhaps had the memorable experience of flushing a woodcock — that…

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A chimney standing all alone where a fire burned a house down long ago … a crumbling stone wall overgrown…

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Editor’s note: This Back Then column by George Ellison first appeared in the Feb. 15, 2012, edition of The Smoky Mountain…

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(Editor’s Note: Readers should be cautioned that several of the descriptions of scalping and related practices presented in this column…

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Note: This is the second of a two-part series about Christian Priber, an utopian socialist whose beliefs — including free…

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Christianus Gottlieb Priber was born in Zittau, Germany, where he was the son of a beerhouse owner. In October 1722,…

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Everyone knows what a blue jay looks and sounds like in a general sort of way. Their incandescent blue plumage…

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People sometimes wonder if the prehistoric Cherokees used any sort of poisons on their blowgun darts. These darts (slivers of…

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The books have once again piled up in stacks up to three feet high in many corners of the house.…

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High-elevation overlooks are one of our finest natural resources. These vantage points allow us to rise above our everyday humdrum…

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Late summer has slid into early autumn. The end of summer officially arrived with the autumnal equinox of Sept. 23,…

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In the June 14, 2004, issue of The New Yorker magazine, there was an essay titled “Blocked! Why Do Writers…

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Steam and water-powered sawmills were established here in the Smokies region during the 1870s and 1880s. But full-fledged industrialized logging…

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[Before moving on to the primary subject of this column (yard gardens), I’d like to share some impressions with you…

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For the ancient Cherokees and other southeastern Indian tribes, the greatest causes of illness were the spirits of vengeful animals.…

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Trying to answer that question, the first source I resorted to was, of course, the Oxford English Dictionary. Therein I…

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Those who read this column regularly are aware of my interest in the early descriptive literature of Western North Carolina.…

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How many naturalized plants do you recognize from your vehicle this time of year as you drive around taking care…

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I bless my lucky stars that I’m a columnist assigned the pleasant task of writing about this region’s natural and…

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Systems of mature trees and shrubs are covered with blemishes that signal age: cankers, seams, burls, butt scars, sterile conks,…

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On one level, the natural history of a region consists of its terrain, habitats, plants, animals and how they interrelate.…

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All this spring, golden birch catkins were dangling throughout the woodlands of the Smokies region. These are the male, pollen-carrying…

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In the natural world here in the Blue Ridge, there are certain visual images that rivet the attention of human…

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One never tires of discovering special places here in the southern mountains. Through the years, such places readily become old…

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I have files in my computer containing articles I’ve forgotten that I wrote until, by chance, I run across them…

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“The line runs down the meander of the ridge to where Bossy dropped her first calf.”  “The line runs to where…

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The worldwide annual production of “high conductivity copper” had by 1899 risen to 470,000 tons, of which 300,000 tons were…

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The setting for Horace Kephart’s posthumous novel Smoky Mountain Magic (2009) is the Cherokee Indian Reservation, Bryson City and Deep…

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Editor’s note: This article was first published in The Smoky Mountain News in December 2003. Tuckaseigee, Oconaluftee, Heintooga, Wayah, Cullasaja,…

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Essays and columns are difficult to categorize. Dividing them into the formal and informal is about all anyone can agree…

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The first frost serves as a given year’s most distinctive dividing line. It’s hard to pinpoint just when winter becomes…

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Like an old man’s face, mature hardwood tree trunks are covered with blemishes that signal age: cankers, seams, burls, butt…

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