Cowardly Cat-tails

_MG_8585The moment I set foot outside to take the beast for her walk (no, not my bride – she’s lovely and not a beast at all!), I could tell it would be a warmer day!

I was quickly surprised when I reached the base of the hill leading toward the man-made lake as I noticed that there was more ice on the lake today than yesterday. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised since it never did get above freezing yesterday, but I was surprised, nonetheless.

In the middle of the lake is a fountain.  Except for a circle that extended perhaps 10-15 feet in each direction around the fountain, the surface of the lake was covered with a think veneer of ice.  The falling water from the fountain kept that circle stirred up enough that it couldn’t freeze. I later got my camera and took some pictures, but today’s photo is of something else that caught my eye before: a small “island” of cat-tails standing in the water about 10-15 feet off the bank. While you can’t tell from today’s picture, the base of the cat-tails was captured in icy.

I think that the cats that these cat-tails belonged to wanted nothing to do with the ice and water below it! They, however, were stuck while I walked home to a warm recliner!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1821, Confederate General James Longstreet was born near Edgefield, South Carolina. (Of course, he wasn’t a Confederate General when he was born!) Longstreet was one of the most successful generals in the Confederate army, but after the war he unfairly became a target of some of his comrades, who were looking for a scapegoat.

Longstreet grew up in Georgia and attended West Point, graduating in 1842. He was a close friend of Ulysses S. Grant, and served as best man in Grant’s 1848 wedding to Julia Dent, Longstreet’s fourth cousin. Longstreet fought in the Mexican War (1846-48) and was wounded at the Battle of Chapultepec. He resigned from the U.S. military at the beginning of the Civil War, when he was named brigadier general in the Confederate army.

Longstreet fought at the First Battle of Bull Run, Virginia, in July 1861, and within a year was commander of corps in the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee. Upon the death of General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, in May 1863, Longstreet was considered the most effective corps commander in Lee’s army. He served with Lee for the rest of the war–except for the fall of 1863, when he took his force to aid the Confederate effort in Tennessee.

Longstreet was severely wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia in May 1864, and did not return to service for six months. He went on to fight with Lee until the surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, in April 1865. After the war, Longstreet was involved in a number of businesses and held several governmental posts, most notably U.S. minister to Turkey. Although successful, he made two moves that greatly tarnished his reputation among his fellow Southerners: He joined the despised Republican Party and publicly questioned Lee’s strategy at the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. His fellow officers considered these sins to be unforgivable, and former comrades such as generals Jubal Early and John Gordon attacked Longstreet as a traitor. They asserted that Longstreet was responsible for the errors that lost Gettysburg.

Longstreet outlived most of his comrades and detractors before dying at age 82 on January 2, 1904. His second wife, Helen Dortch, believe it or not, lived until 1962.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  the temperature at the bottom of any ocean in the world is between 30-39 degrees, averaging 36 degrees.  After getting below the first 600-1000 feet of water, the temperature doesn’t decrease further, but the pressure sure mounts!

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