Ozark Moonshine – Alive and Well in the Ozarks

Hillbilly and moonshine

The image of a lazy hillbilly in the shade of an old oak tree, barefoot and sippin from a corn whiskey jug, this is an image forever tied to moonshine in the Ozarks.  Long before the cartoonish image of hillbilly moonshine came along, our Scotch-Irish ancestors were just doing what they had always done, making whiskey. Corn grew well in the Ozarks and the same limestone rich water valued so highly by Kentucky’s bourbon makers, flowed in these hills also.  Corn would replace barley as the main ingredient, but the process would basically remain the same. The word “moonshine” is found in a lot Continue Reading →

The Elusive Morel Mushroom – Denizen of the Ozark Woods

Born in the light of the moon and raised in the deep hollers of the backwoods, these elusive creatures are the prized game of many hungry Ozarkians. But step lightly as you enter the woods in search of these fungi, those who claim to simply “pick” Morels mushrooms are naive.  These fungi we chase will not just sit there and wait for you.  Although lacking the traditional limbs of the bi-pedal human, these crafty mushrooms can dart under the leaves and be gone in a split second.  Make no mistake, this is a hunt. Although you may stumble across a Continue Reading →

The Cedar Tree – Missouri’s Next State Tree?

Driving down a two-lane byway South of Wasola, MO last week I noticed a cedar tree perched high up on a rocky ledge.  He looked to be balancing on one root and any sudden wind would have sent him toppling into the road and ditch below.  But, I don’t believe he will fall to his demise anytime soon, if ever.  It seems that cedar trees not only do well in those precarious situations, but they thrive. A staple of the Missouri scenery, I don’t think enough credit goes to this hardy Missourian.  As a matter of fact, I think Continue Reading →

Thomas Brown Cabin PIT Project – Part 4

The new logs were notched and ready. The old sill logs had been carted off and reused for other parts of the project. One crew had been out all day collecting rocks large enough to act as foundations. It was time to put everything back together. After the new sill logs were in place it was time to move the foundation rocks under them. With the sills in place it was time to move the log floor joists back into place. And finally….the last log! After all the logs were in place, the floor and porch went back rather Continue Reading →

Thomas Brown Cabin PIT Project – Part 3

The weather was perfect, the volunteers were motivated, and the setting was beautiful, everything was perfect. Everything except a certain Forest Service chainsaw that was assigned to our project (we’ll call him Husqvarna…although I have no idea if he was Swedish or not.) This particular chainsaw hated me and would go out of it’s way to make me look stupid by starting when I didn’t need it and then refusing to when everyone was waiting on me. I tried to have Husqvarna replaced. I heard of this guy named Stihl who was a great worker and I figured the Continue Reading →

Thomas Brown Cabin PIT Project – Part 2

The 25 foot U-Haul truck on a dirt road in the middle of the Mark Twain National Forest looked really out of place. But it was the three extra feet of huge pine logs sticking out the back that really caught my attention. The driver of the truck turned out to be Doug Stephens, a Director for Recreation Solutions, a historical restoration company from Colorado that works with the U. S. Forest Service. Doug had been brought in to coordinate this PIT project and explained that he had to drive the logs in from Colorado due to the difficulty Continue Reading →

Thomas Brown Cabin PIT Project – Part 1

After a two and a half hour drive, and one wrong turn (thanks Google Maps), here I was at the Winona Ranger Station looking for the “bunkhouse” that I would be staying in for the next week of my historic preservation adventure in the Mark Twain National Forest. What I didn’t know at that moment, was how much the next week would affect me personally.  I would meet some really great people that quietly take care of the historical places we all love.  I would also get to learn a lot about my own family history.  And as so often Continue Reading →

The Genealogy Bug

Last week while I was preoccupied with other projects and not paying attention, I once was again bitten by the “Genealogy Bug.” While not usually life-threatening, these bites can cause irritability, distraction, blurry vision (computer induced) and headaches. I also have reports from my wife that she has noticed a certain amount of hearing loss. As of right now the outlook is good and I should make a full recovery (some of the hearing loss may be permanent…ehhh!). As I mentioned in previous articles, I come from a long line of amateur genealogists, so much of the ground work was Continue Reading →

Old Photographs – Look Into the Past

A photograph is a glimpse at a specific moment in the past.  A moment that will never occur again.  A place that no one can ever go back to or change.  I am fascinated by old photographs and those brief moments that they capture. The first time I looked at this photograph (actually a Real Photo Postcard or RPPC), I looked at the intended subject just like the photographer wanted.  The subject of this photo is a Fourth of July wagon. This is the intended subject.  This is what the photographer wanted you to look at…but look closer.  There is a lot Continue Reading →