Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A cool, but nearly unreadable map!

This is more how I wanted the map to look, but this version is nearly unreadable in places. But here it is for when you want to look at something nifty!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

At the Catawba Trading Post

Kennia took some empty burlap sacks and went to stock-up on supplies. “Toby, you come along and help me fetch some things. You’ve eaten plenty of our food so now you can do some chores.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” he whined. “I help out plenty.”
“Yeah, you put up an entire tarp in front of the cargo area the other day. Must have been exhausting. Now you have another chance to help-out by helping me. Grab some of those sacks from the pile in the corner and follow me to the Trading Post.”

Lurleen, a frizzy-haired woman of indeterminate age, ran the Catawba Trading Post. She was short and round and wrapped in so many shawls that Kennia was never certain how much was fabric and how much was Lurleen.

“Howdy! Ain’t seen you in a month of sundays! What can I do for you today, honey?”
“Just the usual supplies. Nothing special. How’s your fella and Josie doin’?”
“Just the same as usual, runnin’, playin’, gettin’ into mischief, both of them!”
Kennia laughed.
“Josie and his pa are out on a hunting trip. He’ll be real sorry that he missed his Aunty Kennia.
“Sorry to hear that. Yes, you be sure to tell him hello from me. ‘Fraid we won’t be here very long, just getting some supplies and such. We need monarda, sassafras, ginseng, just a bit of each. And some venison if you have any.”
“‘Fraid not, hon.”
“Have any of your hunting parties noticed anything peculiar goin’ on round here?”
“Like what? I see all kinds of folks all the time. Been fairly quiet lately though.” Lurleen narrowed her eyes. “You expecting trouble?”
“Now you know I can’t talk about that”
“Well then, miss, what on earth makes you think I can talk about my stuff either?” Lurleen pouted as she spoke but she had a sparkle in her eyes at the same time.
“Nobody knows news like you do Miss Lurleen.”
“You sure do know how to flatter a gal, don’t ya? 'Fraid I really don’t have any news for you.”
“Let’s count that as a plus. How about some salt pickles?”
“Got some right here! Good and salty just like you like ‘em.”
"Gotta have me some of those!"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Colonialism in a nutshell

From Youtube: "A short clip of Atta kul kulla's talk at Fort Dobbs in North Carolina--talking about his trip to England and meeting the King and how the Yamasee War and the taking of native slaves sparked the alliance between the Cherokees and the English until the late 1750s. Robert Rambo presented an engaging and interesting talk which gives a peek into the Cherokee warrior and the home life of Cherokee natives."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A MAP!!!

Major towns are RED
Indian Nations are BROWN
Rivers are BLUE
Geographical Regions are GREEN
The rivers look different here than on a modern map because this story takes place approximately 80-90 years before the rivers were dammed for hydroelectric plants. Those large lakes you can see on modern maps are artificial in other words.

I've tried to strike a balance between "vintage" looking and readability. Please, if you have trouble reading this, email me (arkiv2001 at gmail.com) and I'll upload a cleaner version! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011


A few hours later with the Sandflea at a safe height above the trees and out of the Blue Ridge Mountains proper, her crew gathered round their captain to discuss their next move.
“Time for a confabulation, y’all! Thanks to all this mysterious nonsense goin’ on, we need a new plan.”
“What was our plan to begin with?” asked Harry.
Kennia snorted. “Try staying awake during briefings!”
“I just pilot this bird, I don’t decide where to take her. Just go whichever direction y’all point to.”
“Check-in with the Catawbas, then east to contact the Cheraws and a longer stopover when we come to Tuscarora territory. After that due south till we hit Charleston,” answered Tira.
Captain Willie responded, “First we continue to Catawba territory as scheduled. Maybe they’ve heard something.”
“Sometime soon we’ve got to stop for maintenance. Wouldn’t do to fall out of the sky at the wrong moment,” said Harry.
“What would be the right moment?” snickered Kennia.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Headin' on out

(note Gentle Reader that this is actually July's story post so you can expect another one for August as well)

Several hours later,  the crew heard their captain hollering for them as he headed back up the trail. Finally! They were more than glad to head southeast and out of the mountains with their treacherous gusts and eddies.

After climbing up the rope ladder and entering through the hatch, Captain Willie was not a happy man. Clearly the intelligence he’d received from Captain Chavis had not pleased him.
“Harry? Harry! I need that damn navigator now!” snapped the captain. Where is that sorry-ass fellow? Ain’t seen hardly hide nor hair of him this entire trip!”
“In the cockpit taking a nap. Old Toby is sitting in his favourite hammock. I’ll prod him awake.” Kennia headed towards the small cockpit. 
“What’s the plan now, Captain?”
“The plan is that we ain’t nosing around any more, that’s the plan! We’re gonna pick-up some speed and head back to Charleston, that’s the plan. And we’ve gotta keep both eyes open the whole time while we’re at it. I am awful tired of being pinned in and I want open sky as soon as possible, understand?”

“What about the little, smelly man?”
“Eh, what the hell are you talking about?”
“Our passenger. The one taking up space and contributing nothing.”
“He is a right pain, Captain”
“Oh, yeah, right. Guess we got to set him down somewhere. Can’t just chuck him out the hatch. Reckon he’ll be ok if we leave him at the next Trading Post. He can go on by foot from there to where ever. I ‘m all for gettin’ the hell outa these mountains before we break something!”

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Carolina Foodways: Okra Gumbo


2 tbl corn oil (or other cooking oil without a strong flavor)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup chicken stock (or from bouillon cubes)
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or use 1 can crushed tomatoes)
½ lb sliced okra (I have to use canned because okra is scarce in Sweden!)
2 or 3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 good shakes Worchestershire sauce
1-2 bay leaves
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste

Saute the vegetables in the corn oil until soft (about 3 minutes) and then add the chicken stock, okra, seasonings and tomatoes. Lower the heat and simmer with the lid askew.  Serve with long-grain rice.

*** I usually add chopped chicken meat to the stew while it is simmering. This is a good way to use left-over  chicken but you can use seafood or fish instead. Or you can use vegetable broth and leave-out the meat for a vegetarian version. Sharwood makes a Worcestershire sauce that does NOT include fish. ***

And look what they are eating in Ghana: 
Light Okra Soup with Chicken

And for more information buy, beg or borrow In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World by Judith Carney and Richard Nicholas Rosomoff

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Meanwhile. . .

Back at the Sandflea, Old Toby was getting crankier (not to mention smellier) by the minute. Unfortunately for him, neither Kennia nor Tira were particularly sympathetic to his complaints.

“I’m gettin’ mighty tired of your moaning and groaning. Stuff it or you can walk back”
“I’m hungry” he whined. “And I don’t have no place to walk back to anyways.”
“Then you’d best not be too much of an aggravation to us, wouldn’t you say?”
“All I want is to get outa this airship and go someplace civilized. And I ain’t had a smoke in days practically.”
“Or a bath in years” snorted Tira. In all fairness she managed to remain impeccably groomed no matter the crisis. “You are awful demanding for a man who has nothing going for him.” She turned and walked away, not easily since the Sandflea’s interior was anything but spacious.

Kennia followed  her crewmate until they had walked as far away as possible and then whispered, “You know we can’t keep him stashed in that hammock for all eternity. We’ve gotta let him go before he stinks up the whole airship.”
“Too late if you ask me,” snickered Tira. “Fix him up some stew. At least he can’t say that we are starving him.”
“Captain should be back soon and  I say we pressure him for answers.” Kennia shrugged and headed towards the Sandflea’s tiny excuse for a galley while Tira turned back to Old Toby.

“Say, what’ve you got against Indians anyway?”
“I ain’t got nothin’ against ‘em. I just try to stay away from them.”
“Yeah, cause you don’t like ‘em.”
He shrugged. “You think what you wanna. Matter ain’t got nothin’ to do with you. Now leave me in peace. I got no quarrel with you least ways.”

Thursday, June 9, 2011


My initial plan was to post once a week, maybe a story chapter or maybe some history or ethnology, etc. Realistically, I seem to manage 1 story chapter a month so that's the plan from now on. At the same time I plan on posting one "other" type post a month as well.

BTW, feel free to comment!!! What would you like to see more of for example? And are the Swedes who come here just looking for my  Vänsterpartiblogg or do some of y'all stay and read about South Carolina?!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Uneasy times

He looked somewhat disdainfully at the them both and said, “Captain Chavis will meet with you now. Assuming of course that you two are finished with your sartorial discourse.” Captain Willie suspected he saw a slight smirk on the man’s face as he turned away but he could have been mistaken.

The wooden fort contained more of the same inside. Same log walls, log cabins, wooden benches made from sturdy hardwood. Captain Willie followed his guide into one of the larger cabins where Captain Chavis awaited them. He was somewhat stout and smoked a pipe but otherwise was dressed much the same as his men in tunic and leggings. He strode towards Captain Willie, hand extended.
“Ah, you must be the new courier we were told to expect.”
Captain Willie shrugged, “Courier, taxi service, postal service, conveyor of packages both large and small.”
“I see,” although Captain Chavis clearly didn’t. “Please join us and dine. Then we can discuss your business.” He gestured towards a fairly large table across the room from the open door.
“This is my lieutenant, Martin Turner,” mentioned Captain Chavis.
The tall indian then took a seat at the table as the two captains each settled into a chair.

First they ate a hearty meal of bean bread, apple cobbler and venison. Captain Willie knew from long experience that there was no point in trying to hurry the process. Besides, this was his second “home cooked” meal in two days!. The Sandflea had tinned and dried foods and not much variety in them. Why not make the most of the opportunity?

“That was real good, y’all. Now let’s down to some business. Maybe you can tell me if you Cherokee have seen some weird goings on?”
“Huh? What’s that? Somethin’ you’ve run-across in the woods?”
“Tsalagi is our name for ourselves. Cherokee is the name outsiders use.”
“You don’t say. Really? Somebody might of told me. Didn’t mean to be rude,” said Captain Willie.
“Yeah, we’ve seen a few things. And Captain Ross wouldn’t have taken her ship this far into the mountains without a damn good reason.”
“Funny, that’s what she said about the Virginian ship,” remarked Captain Willie.
Captain Chavis hmmphed his agreement but his companion was slightly more communicative.
“What do you think is goin’ on?”
“No notion and that’s what makes me twitchy. I don’t know what to expect. Don’t even know what to watch out for. We’re headin’ southeast down to the coast and then southwards to Charleston. And I aim to keep a real sharp eye on the border while I’m at it.”
“We’ve had reports from almost all our scouts that have noticed oddities. The remains of campfires where none of us have reason to build them. Abandoned hunting blinds where one of us would not normally be hunting. No signs of a sucessful hunt either. We patrol more often now and perhaps that has settled the matter. Even so, we caution all our folk to stay close to home and not to go alone to gather wild plants in the woods.”

Monday, April 25, 2011


The Captain waved at the two guards lounging at the Border Station compound as soon as he came into their line of vision. He knew they were suspicious of strangers and figured there was no point in putting them more on edge while they were already concerned about shady activities in the area.

“Hey y’all! I’m Willie James, captain of the Sandflea airship. I’m here to catch-up on news with y’all.”

Two men stood outside the fort’s front gate with the shorter one leaning against the left-side gatepost. Both men were dressed similarly in long cotton-print shirts belted at the waistline, bandoleers and gaiter-leggings. One wore red leggings and the other brown, each fastened with colourful woven bands.

As he came closer one of the guards looked at Captain Willie and then silently turned on his heel and entered the compound . The other, shorter man continued standing where he was without offering any particular greeting as Captain Willie approached.

“We’ve been expecting you, “ he said.
“Yeah, well we a bit delayed so to speak. That’s what I need to talk to y’all about. There’s some weird shit goin’ on and I reckon y’all know more about it than I do.”
“Why’s that? You’re the one with that fancy airship. Why don’t ya just fly-up real high and check things out from above?”
“Not a bad idea at all except that all we’d see around here is treetops. Besides the air currents aren’t too friendly in these mountains.”
“When’s your friend comin’ back and lettin’ me in the fort?”
“What’s your name anyway?”
“Little John.”
“Nah, really. Like in Robin Hood?”
“Yes, really. And no, nothing to do with Robin Hood. Do I look like a Merry Man to you?” The Captain was forced to agree that he didn’t and they waited in silence for a while.

“Nice turban,” he said to break the silence and pointed at the aforementioned headgear. That prompted a smile from Little John.
The shorter man nodded at Captain Willie’s moccasins. “You tryin’ to play Indian or somethin’?”
“Naw, you try climbing up and down a rope ladder in hard-soled shoes!”

At that point the second Indian returned.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Border Station

Because the Mountain Pass Border Station was perched on an escarpment, Captain Willie moored the Sandflea some distance away in a relatively open area. The area where the airship was moored was quite small and the Sandflea bobbed in the local air currents hard enough to nearly hit the trees once in a while. He was the only one to leave the airship and make the short hike to the Border Station.

The Captain grumbled slightly to himself as he made his way down a footpath to the Station. Because the Blue Ridge Mountains are ancient, their peaks are rounded and well-worn. The trees here were mostly oak and hickory and pine and their leaves formed a thick coating on the ground. Unfortunately, copperhead snakes also liked the area and easily blended in with the leaves. The woods are inhabited by black bears, red wolves and mountain lions, none of which our dauntless captain cared to meet while on foot! Fortunately Captain Willie arrived at the Border Station unscathed but out of breath.

Note: I found these photographs at Wikicommons and do NOT own the copyrights to them!
First picture:
({{Information |Description={{en|1=A backcountry campsite at Deep Gap in the Black Mountains of North Carolina, in the southeastern United States.}} |Source=Own work by uploader |Author=Brian Stansberry |Date=5/28/2007 |Permission= |other_)
Second picture:
(== Summary == Reconstructed Fort Randolph, Point Pleasant, West Virginia, photographed 2005. == Licensing == {{GFDL-user-en|Kevin Myers}}

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Carolina Foodways: Akara

Black-eyed Peas (aka Cowpeas Vigna unguiculata) originated in Africa and were brought to North America during the slave trade. Slave ship captains saw that more of their human cargo survived the Middle Passage when fed their traditional foods and provisioned accordingly. The best source for information on African foodways in North and South America is Judith Carney's work:
In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa's Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World (2009) and
Black Rice: the African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas (2001).

The first time I served this recipe to a guest he exclaimed that he thought people only ate Black-eyed Peas in the American South. I responded by asking "how do you think they got here?"

AKARA (Black-eyed Pea Balls)
(serves 4)
1 cup fresh (or soaked until they are soft) black-eye peas
1 egg
1/2 of a small onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1/2 salt
? wheat flour
oil for frying.
Lazy soul that I am, I just toss all the above into a bowl and puree it with a blender (or you could use a food processor). I add a bit of wheat flour as thickener to the dough because the presoaked black-eyed peas can be a bit soggy. Remember, you want a thick dough! Fry in oil at 190 C (375 F) degrees until golden brown, then drain on paper towels.

I took this recipe from The Africa News Cookbook: African Cooking for Western Kitchens (1985) so it is far less spicy than in Nigeria. Feel free to increase the pepper; I do! The recipe book says this the above amount serves 4 but I love these so much that I multiply the amounts by 3 or 4 times with no problem.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Time to Go

As he climbed back through the Sandflea’s hatch Captain Willie’s crew peppered him with questions.

“What did she say? What’s going on? You were gone for two hours! What did y’all talk about all that time?”

“Just one damn minute here! Let me catch my breath will ya?” Captain Willie shook his head. “There’s something goin’ on but doesn’t look like anyone knows. Just have to see what they say at the Border Station. Everyone to your posts, we're not wastin' any more time here!" He snapped.