Jim Burton’s Chicken Salad

There were four widowers when I first met them, now there are three.  Jim, Bill and Don go out to eat every evening, and depending on which day of week it is, once you get to know them you know where to find them: Tuesday at Fatz, Wednesday at Pizza Inn,  Thursday at Beef O’Bradys, etc.  Just don’t look for them after 6:00 p.m. as they start arriving for dinner about 4:30 or 5:00.

Jim, who gave me this recipe, is still cooking and sharing his very delicious recipes with me and other friends as he doesn’t go out as often due to his health.


2             Cans chicken breast (Sam’s Club has good ones)
4             Hard boiled eggs
2             TBL Hellman’s mayonnaise (or more to taste)
2             TBL Duke brand sandwich relish
2             TBL JFG or other sandwich spread
2             TBL Mt. Olive sweet pickle cubes – chopped
Chopped green onions to taste

Drain chicken put into a bowl.  Chop well
Peel and chop eggs.  Add to bowl
Add other ingredients and mix well

Serves 4-6   people

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do,

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Doe Mountain Recreational Area in Johnson County, TN

View from Iron Mountain Inn B&B

Red sunset reflecting on Doe Mountain TN

The valley formed by the Watauga River was known for hundreds of years by the local Native Americans for its fertile soil and clear abundant water sources.  Legend has it when Daniel Boone stopped in this fertile valley he shot a doe for food and so named the valley Doe Valley and the creek where he quenched his thirst became Doe Creek.  Today it still provides water and fishing for the local inhabitants.

Reaching over 3000′ high on one side of the Watauga River was a mountain soon to be known as Doe Mountain. For many years this 8600 acre mountain was used as a wildlife management area as well as a place for the local hunters of Johnson County to hunt deer, turkey, and bear.  In about 2006 it was sold to a developer who planned to turn it into high end homes on secluded lots, build a large 20 acre pond for fishing and there was even talk about making a golf course on the mountain.

Then the recession arrived and the market fell out for second homes, especially high end ones and the developer went bankrupt.  Rumor had it that he had turned down $35M for the property a few months before the bottom dropped out.  Oops!
There the mountain sat.  Not bringing any tax income to the county which could have used it, not being used for hunting, hiking or anything else due to insurance concerns,  just sitting there waiting for someone to buy it from the bank.  Along came a timber company which offered the bank $1.5M with the intention of clear cutting the mountain.  ARGH!
Although this is a protected quarry, this is what the mountain might look like once all the trees were cut down and the stumps removed. Quarry shooting Luckily our county Mayor, Larry Potter, was not going to let this happen to an important natural resource right in the center of the county.
And so he began to search for funding to purchase the mountain and save it from destruction. Soon the Nature Conservancy became involved and agreed to purchase the mountain with the stipulation that the State of Tennessee would purchase the mountain from the Nature Conservancy and create a new entity, a Recreational Area which is not a state park to be run by a Board of Directors.
After many hours of hard work by many diverse groups of citizens working together, the mountain was saved. Now it is well on its way to becoming an area for outdoor enthusiasts from hiking to ATV riders; from mountain bikers to horseback riders; from recreational bike riders to walkers in a rehabilitation program.
Hard work by a dedicated group of volunteers, grant writers and the working together by a diverse group of people will soon bring the dream of those involved to reality.  This beautiful mountain has been saved for many future generations.
Come, share the magic of the mountain with us.  In every season a reason to visit Northeastern Tennessee.
Thank you volunteers!
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Summer has Begun…Lots Happening in the Butler Mountains this year

The Creekside Chalet is Imagejust waiting for you to come and explore the trails – one to the top of the mountain where you will find the Appalachian Trail; one circling the property for 2 miles and then how about making a new one!  We’ll supply chain saw and clippers!  There are also a couple which need some maintainence and you are welcome to work on those as well,

Gated wrap around deck contains large dogs and small children so mom and dad can enjoy relaxing and not having the chase either 2 or 4 footed children.  Good vacation!

Lots to do in the surrounding area: hike, bike the Virginia Creeper Trail, swim, fish and boat in beautiful Wataua Lake, take scenic drives, explore country stores and antique shops, learn about the early American history, follow Daniel Boone’s path and so much more.

Come share the magic of the mountains here in Butler, TN.  Book your stay right on line through our website: http://www.creeksidechalet.net

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Spring Birds in Northeastern Tennessee Mountains

After planting a large number of pansies in various window boxes, planters and pots, the swing beckoned and I sucomned to its siren call.  Am I glad I did!  What a wonderful few minutes to enjoy the gentle flowing of the stream from the waterfall to the pond;Koi Pond FINAL the chatter of birds in the trees, the soft sighing of the wind on the air and most wonderful of all…the first hummingbirds of the season!

I had put out food a few days ago knowing that they were due to arrive any time!  And I knew they would be very hungry!  So they were!  One made a dive bomb from a nearby tree straight for the feeder coming to a screeching halt a short distance from the feeder and then quickly changed direction to make a two point landing on the ring circling the feeder.  He drank without taking a breath for about 30 seconds!  Then he flew off to another tree.  Soon his mate came racing to the feeder too. There were about 3 of them so I’m hoping to have quite a few this year.  Time to hang the other two feeders to attract even more.

Love enjoying meals outside with the hummingbirds as they whiz by making such a racket for such a tiny bird.  And the chatter when they are vying for food…good thing they aren’t bigger or we’d have to be afraid of them!  LOL

Up in the nearby tree a goldfinch was singing his heart out.  Chattering away at the top of his lungs.  When I looked closer I noticed a female sitting nearby on the same branch completely ignoring the male.  He hopped down to be closer, but he turned his back while he told her why she should choose in and not that upstart in another tree.

The male kept up a multinote song and chatter but the female although she sat and listened to him, didn’t seem that interested.  After about 10 minutes she jumped down to a lower branch, the male followed still singing at the top of his voice.  A few minutes went by and the female jumped to another lower branch.  Again the male followed and stared straight into her face giving the full power of his song, but to no avail.  After a few minutes, the female flew rapidly to a far away tree leaving the male singing, but not so strongly or loudly.  He was heartbroken!

The turkeys are also being very busy with mating rituals.  There are two toms with a flock of about 30 hens in a field at the edge of the Iron Mountain Inn’s property and sometimes I will see a hen running down the driveway looking for the rest of the flock.  Turkeys certainly are awkward runners…..!Image

Last night was the first whip-poor-will.  Started his call right on time…9:00 p.m.!  But last night there were 3 of them calling to one another across the trees.,  It will be interesting to see if as time goes by we are down to one as last year.  I’d love to see them, but since they only come out at night and are very small I doubt if I’ll ever be able to see one in person,

The trees are rustling just outside the door.,.It sounds like a car is coming up the gravel driveway, but I’m not expecting anyone and the cats aren’t on high alert so it’s just the trees waving at the sun and enjoying this beautiful warm sunny day.

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Autumnal Beauty

Having lived in New England, I know about spectacular fall colors.  Now I live in the mountains of NE Tennessee and except for the sugar maples, the colors of fall are equal to those of New England….and we don’t have the traffic jams of Vermont and New Hampshire.

So, come,, share the magic of the mountains during the next 10 days and you may catch the peak!Image 

Rooms available at the Iron Mountain Inn B&B in Butler, TN and we even have on-line booking so even if you get the urge to travel in the middle of the night…go to our website and book your room!  Can’t wait to see you!mountains

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Naturalist’s Rally

Just down the road from the Iron Mountain Inn B&B, past Watauga Lake and up scenic highway 19E scenic is Roan Mountain State Park which encompasses 2,006 acres of southern Appalachian forest at the base of 6,285 foot Roan Mountain, Tennessee. Park elevation ranges from 3,000 feet in the valley to around 3,700 feet on surrounding ridges. Rich hardwood forests allow for a great diversity of life and a wide range of outdoor activities. Park guests have opportunities t, tour a century old farmhouse, join rangers and naturalists for educational programs, and enjoy mountain music concerts.

On February 16th, there is going to be a Naturalist’s Rally at the Park.  The following is the schedule:

 Join us for a winter celebration of the Roan Highlands: their grassy balds, balds of green alder–a relic shrub from the Pleistocene, their birds and rare & endangered wildlife. We’ll meet Saturday morning, February 16th at the Roan Mountain State Park conference center. Bring the kids!

Nora Schubert, the Roan’s expert conservation biologist, will present a program on her years of research on the highlands’ golden-winged warbler, rare faunal habitats, and easy tips on gathering location data. Heading up to the ‘Hump’ from 19E—and wishing you had a four-wheeler for part of the trip? Here’s the lady to tell you all about it.

Nora, whose life began in Missouri, brings a naturalist’s love to all she does.

Jamey Donaldson: We all associate that name with goats munching the Canada blackberry on the grassy balds. Yes, Jamey is creator of the Baatany Goat Project, but he is also ETSU’s much sought after botanist for the latest word on rare Appalachian flora. Aside from an update on the 2013 goat browsing season, Jamey will present his recent work on the Roan’s green alder with highlights of its botanical history.

During Lunch:

Foster Levy, ETSU’s Honors Director, will give a short status report on Hemlock trees in the Park area. Will they be shading the trout pools in the years to come?

Lisa Huff of the TN Natural Areas Program will give us a short update on invasive plants. These invaders have arrived at Carver’s Gap!

Nora Schubert approaching Grassy Ridge


Hike # 1

Richard Knight, author of The Birds of Northeast Tennessee, will lead a birding hike in Hampton Creek Cove.

Hike #2

Marty Silver, a Warriors’ State

Park legend with wildlife and children, will lead an animal tracking hike down near the Doe river. Marty is the expert on the habits and habitats of the Roan’s animals.

Hike# 3

Jerry Greer, acclaimed Blue Ridge photographer, will lead a photography hike through the beautiful winter woods west of Twin Springs. Copies of his recent Blue

Ridge Parkway will be available.

Hike # 4

Jamey Donaldson, will lead a hike to the alder balds on the Roan. Dress warm for this one!


Meet at Conference Center 9:15AM

Nora Schubert: Rare Fauna 9:30


Jamey Donaldson: Alders 11:00

Lunch: City Market goodies 12:00

Elizabethton’s City Market will present a sumptuous selection of sandwiches for everyone’s taste along with platters of cookies and brownies. Cost is $7.50 and must be reserved in advance.


1:PM Meet on lower field left of the Park’s cabins entrance; leaders will be at the car lineup.

More Info: David Hall

423-772 3500 davetree@charter.net

Wildflowers and wildlife inhabit the hollows and ridges of the Roan foothills in abundance. From Dutchman’s-breeches to deer, trillium to turkeys and bee balm to black bears there is always something to discover.  The Appalachian Trail and famous Rhododendron Gardens of Roan Mountain can be accessed at Carver’s Gap, an 8 mile drive from the park. A naturalist is on hand year round to provide programs for visitors to the park and special groups.

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Beautiful Day in the Mountains

After a rainy damp start to the day, the clouds are blowing off Iron Mountain and there is blue sky and sun casting shadows on my deck.  Hooray!  It’s going to be a great day and weekend.  

I feel sorry for those in the Northeast.  Having lived there through a number of super snow storms, I know what they are going through.  And that is one reason when I built the Iron Mountain Inn I put in a 15,000 watt generator which comes on automatically if the power is off for more than 30 seconds.  And it will run the entire Inn for 4 days or more!

But tomorrow February 9th is Charles Darwin Day at the Grey Fossil Site.  The following is the schedule for the day.  Sounds like some interesting lectures.

The schedule for Darwin Day includes:

 10:00 “Darwin, the Bible, and Public Response to Evolution: From the Scopes Trial to the 21st Century,” presented by Dr. Joseph Baker, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, ETSU.

• 11:30 “Lunchtime Evolution Discussion,” led by Drs. Blaine Schubert, Steven Wallace and Jim Mead, Dept. of Geosciences and Natural History Museum, ETSU. Topics include human evolution, transitional forms, scientific creationism, intelligent design, and more.

 1:30 “What’s in a Name? Fifty Fun Ways to Name a Fossil,” presented by Dr. Mick Whitelaw, Dept. of Geosciences and Natural History Museum, ETSU.

• 3:00 “Stellar Evolution and Its Impact on the Evolution of Life,” presented by Dr. Don Luttermoser, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, ETSU.

Activities for all ages will be held throughout the day, which includes lessons on the following topics, human evolution and why humans are primates, how natural selection works, and understanding geologic time and evidence from the fossil record.

For more information, call the ETSU Natural History Museum at (423) 439-3659 or email info@grayfossilsite.com.

And book a room at the Iron Mountain Inn B&B or Creekside Chalet so you can relax after your visit to the Museum.

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