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“Jimson Weed is featured in a set of mystic books recently popular, Carlos Castaneda’s tales of mind expansion with the…

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I’m no expert on regional linguistics, but through the years I’ve delighted in the dialect English still spoken here in…

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“The first large, successful American business run by a woman was said to be the Lydia E. Pinkham Medical Company,…

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Five turtle species reside in Western North Carolina: snapping, musk, and painted turtles are primarily found in streams, lakes, and…

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Those who’ve participated in my natural history workshops know that that I’m not a very good source for information regarding…

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Two weeks ago, we reviewed current theories about the uplift of the Appalachian Mountains about 250 million years ago, as…

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Last week, we reviewed current theories concerning the uplift of the Appalachian Mountains about 250 million years ago. And we…

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The inter-related geologic and geographic heritage of the Blue Ridge Province is a complex but fascinating and rewarding subject to…

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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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Nothing is fairer, if as fair, as the first flower, the hepatica. I find I have never admired this little…

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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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Hopefully, any encounter you have with a skunk will be a sighting, not a spraying. Neither my wife nor I…

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It seems to me that the general reputation of squirrels has declined within my own lifetime. I don’t recall hearing…

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The gardening season is upon us. Many gardeners here in the Smokies region are familiar with mole bean plant, also…

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Whenever I’m conducting a native plant identification workshop, I try to note several regional plants — one each in the…

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I’ve never been to Asia, but ever since I was a youngster I have, from time to time, fantasized about…

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I frequently hear from people who have spotted a mountain lion in Western North Carolina. Or at least they think…

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A hunter was in the woods one day in winter when suddenly he saw a panther coming toward him and…

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Have you ever been walking one of the wind-swept, sun-bitten, high-elevation rock outcrops in the Smokies region when you suddenly…

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Several weeks ago I was perusing the used bookstores in Asheville, where there are, somewhat surprisingly, at least four excellent…

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Andre and Francois Michaux, and John Fraser, and soon to be followed by Thomas Nuttall, Asa Gray, and Moses Ashley…

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The war in the Smokies proved to be an intensely personal conflict. A curious conjunction of terrain, history, politics and…

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Last week’s Back Then column described a deer hunt conducted by Quill Rose and his relatives and neighbors in the…

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Through the years, I’ve written at every opportunity about Aquilla (Quill) Rose — Civil War veteran, fiddle player, storyteller, moonshiner,…

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I’m fairly good at the identification of deciduous trees during the flowering and fruiting seasons, when one can observe bark,…

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From time to time, I’ve contemplated compiling an anthology of travel writing from Western North Carolina. Such a volume would…

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Have you started making your 2006 gardening plans yet? It’s time. The garden catalogs started arriving in the mail several…

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For 36 years, from the time he launched his career with the Bureau of American Ethnology in 1885 until his…

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I’m sure you’ve noticed it’s the little things that, in the long run, mean the most in life? That’s a…

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“Woven goods—baskets and mats—document what women did, when, and how. They illuminate the work of women who transformed the environments…

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When one thinks about navigation in regard to the rivers here in the Smokies region, its old-time ferries and modern-day…

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Christmas greenery is a Southern Appalachian specialty. This region has been furnishing the eastern United States with quantities of various…

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When the Cherokees emerged as a distinctive culture more than a thousand years ago, they situated themselves so as to…

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The eastern hemlock has long been one of my favorite trees. Like many people reading this column, my wife, Elizabeth,…

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Accounts of events always vary, especially when one is supposedly factual and one is admittedly fictional. Here's an instance.

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Every regular reader of this column has an interest in this region’s history. But most of us are, more or…

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