Saturday, July 16, 2011

Paddling Spring Creek

With 18 kayaks and canoes, our group of nearly 30 individuals enthusiastically prepared for launch on Spring Creek.  Coolers, sunscreen, life jackets, and kids scattered across the landing.  Hot July temperatures and ever-present gnats encouraged everyone to load vessels with a purpose.  Three sets of Registers, the Hornsbys, and the Smiths were ready for our Spring Creek paddle!    

Since 2001, we have traveled to see Angie and Payne Hornsby at their Lake Seminole cabin during the Independence Day holiday.  We have watched our kids fish, swim, play, laugh, and grow in this beautiful outdoor setting.  In recent years, we kayak and canoe Southwest Georgia’s Spring Creek, which flows into the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers at Lake Seminole.  The trip down the spring-fed creek is fun for all ages!

Shelly Marshall Schmidt, of Oh Schmidt Productions, snapped this happy photo of the girls.

Originating from natural springs, Spring Creek travels through Clay, Calhoun, Early, Miller, Decatur, and Seminole Counties.  Covering 530,000 acres of land in Southwest Georgia, the free-flowing Spring Creek watershed is part of the Flint River watershed.  The creek waters run clear because of the limestone bottoms and cool because it is spring-fed.  Longleaf pines, cypress, and various hardwood trees grow and shade the banks of the creek.

Paddling Spring Creek

Through the crystal clear waters, we saw bream, bass, and gizzard shad.  In some places, large trees lay strewn across the limestone bottom; they are visible reminders of the old sawmill located up the creek.  Many years ago, timber was hauled to the mill on the creek.  Add the rope swings, 20 foot wooden docks, and gorgeous springs; there are lots of things to see and do along the way.

Benjamin readies himself for the jump into the cold spring.  We could see clear to the bottom of the hole, at least 30 feet or more deep!  Thanks, Shelly, for the photo.
By the time we stopped for lunch, everyone was starving!  Lunch turned out to be a trip highlight.  The single sandwich I fixed early that morning went too quickly.  What really looked appetizing was the corn on the cob.  Yep, corn on the cob, still in the shucks!  While some of us fixed sandwiches, Brinson Register was up early boiling an entire crate of just picked, locally grown sweet corn.  Several hours later, the corn was still warm; it looked and smelled delicious.  Brinson and his sweet wife Libby even remembered butter and salt, as if it needed anything to make it taste better!    

Aww shucks!  Aren't these corn eaters cute?

Brinson’s Spring Creek Paddle Sweet Corn
Get a big pot of water; set stovetop temperature to high.  Once water comes to a rolling boil, drop in fresh ears of corn, still in the shucks.  Allow corn to boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from water.  Pack together in cooler to keep warm.  Shuck and eat when ready.  Serve with butter and salt on the side. 
Packaging is environmentally friendly! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy Birthday, America!  We have much for which to be thankful on Independence Day.  In celebration of this special day, we visited with family and friends across the land – well, at least parts of south Georgia and our corner of Alabama!

Our patriotic weekend began at the Fort Mitchell National Cemetery.  The cemetery reminds visitors that many individuals serve our country during their lifetime; it is a visible and meaningful representation of service to our country.  During our visit on Friday, July 1, 2011, we paid last respects to my uncle, Peter Soukup.  Uncle Pete was married to my dad’s oldest sister Frances Parkman Soukup for more than 50 years and was father to five of my first cousins.  He served the United States of America with his military service, retiring as Colonel.  The site of the American flag draped over this former soldier’s casket was poignant.  In spite of temperatures in the upper 90s, chill bumps covered my arms during the 21-gun salute and playing of Taps.

Going on now for a decade, an annual Independence Day tradition includes a trip to see the Hornsbys in South Georgia.  Angie and Payne Hornsby host us at their comfortable lake house on the Spring Creek branch of Lake Seminole.  Look for an upcoming post dedicated to our kayak trip down Spring Creek.

Hornsby and Smith kids at Lake Seminole

After leaving Lake Seminole, we drove to Lake Eufaula to see Mammy.  Of course, we miss Papa being there.  He sure loved all the food and fixings that comes along with the 4th of July – barbeque, corn, potato salad, Brunswick stew, and more!  We visited with Mammy and ate lots of delicious food.

Mammy, Ben, and the kids at Lake Eufaula
We wrapped up our weekend in Parkmanville at Mama Ann’s house.  She fixed a family favorite – homemade ice cream!  So cool and creamy, we were all ready to enjoy a big bowl.  The ice cream recipe originated from my mom's mom, Georgia Pharris Dudley; we called her Mama Georgia.  The ice cream is easy to prepare and is a staple recipe for summer get-togethers.

Mama Georgia’s Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 2 cans condensed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 T vanilla
  • milk, 2% or whole (Mama Georgia used whole milk; Ann uses 2%.)
Beat eggs.  Add condensed milk.  Stir in vanilla.  Pour into ice cream canister; add milk to the “fill line" of ice cream canister.  Place in ice cream maker; pack with ice cream salt and ice.  Ice cream is ready when motor stops turning ice cream canister. 

Mama Ann enjoys homemade ice cream with the kids.