Phonar Pitch: Cornhouse Creek

The villages and farms that once dotted the foothills and the banks of Cornhouse Creek are disappearing fast. Where pioneers settled and common people toiled few vestiges remain of early life in this area: crumbling farmhouses, barns, and chimneys standing alone.

Tough times have taken their toll – drought parches the corn fields, the local ironworks shut down, Walmart arrives and small town shops can’t survive.

Is there no hope for life in the Appalachian foothills? Is it all a ruin?

Hardly. Pioneer spirit lives in this blue sky country with red clay soil. I know, because I have been listening to people. People who are thriving, telling stories, and getting on with it: farmers, judges, pottery makers, carpenters, recovering addicts, teachers. They are the future.

My goal is to create a photofilm of people with amazing personal stories and images of artifacts and buildings that are disappearing from our landscape. Please join me …

Digital Storytelling ds106 Week 2: Bootcamping It

This is my second weekly summary of ds106 Digital Storytelling assignment. I’m a slow student, now finishing up week 2 while the class is on week 14! This week’s assignment truly was Bootcamp, with substantial, time consuming tasks – all very worthwhile and resulting in great improvements to this blog. Here’s the rundown on the assignment:

  1. Customize my blog with links and plugins
  2. Install and customize a new theme
  3. Ramp up tagging of posts
  4. Reflect on copyright and my personal choice about permissions
  5. Do at least 3 Daily Creates
  6. Write a Digital Story
  7. Capture all of this in Weekly Summary

The new theme from Themejam is installed and working ok – still a bit of a learning curve on all the options. Looks like it will be more flexible than the previous one. The new plugins have made a big difference. Akismet has dramatically reduced spam. Awesome Flickr Gallery has help fix posts broken by an update to Simple Gallery, which I’ll never use again! And JetPack is providing better dashboard support. OK, done. I’ve been tagging all along and this week’s task ramps up that action.

The storytelling aspects of Week 2? See my reflections on copyright and personal decision about use of Creative Commons license here.

Here are my Daily Creates:

tdc302: Fill the frame of a photograph with a single subject today.

A quick, fun exercise in focusing on texture in a macro view of an ordinary object.

tdc307: Blend two pictures of unrelated things, one layered opaquely on top of the other. Tell a story.

Learned from GIMP how to create opaque layer of one image on another. In the process learned a bit about the freely distributed software for photo retouching and image authoring – great tool! This ds106 tutorial was helpful too.

tdc214: Take a creative photo without aiming in the viewfinder. Point and shoot backwards over the shoulder.

tdc310: Take an extreme closeup photo of a kitchen utensil; try and stump us with what it is.

Settings: 1/60ƒ/5.6 ISO 900 55 mm

Digital Story: Bela Lugosi in “The Devil Bat”

Here’s my digital story for the week, Bela Lugosi in the first few minutes of The Devil Bat, where he’s working his own brand of evil on his bat creature in the lab, goggles on after throwing the switches.

The DS106 Participant Handbook was invaluable for learning how to create and embed an animated gif file, even for someone like me, whose mantra is “when all else fails, read the directions.”

This assignment was fun, time consuming, and really was a Bootcamp experience on improving the blog and learning some good, open source tools. Thanks, DS106.

Steal This Blog

Has the Occupy movement gone away, gone underground or has it morphed into a New Occupy movement as activists find new modes of challenging existing power structures? We are on the brink of even greater social change as individuals form and collaborate in communities online, social, and networked like never before. As an individual seeking to commune with others who share my interests – to contribute, to bridge time, to tell the stories of those who cannot, I’ll put my small story telling efforts out in the commons. Like Lawrence Lessig, I believe that culture builds upon culture, in an information age and place where permission is not needed to remix and mash up to build on the platform of others’ works. My stories and photographs are open to all:

  • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • to Remix — to adapt the work

under this Creative Commons license
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License

If you see anything of interest, enjoy, remix, adapt, share, give credit, and keep the stories going.

Wild Persimmons


We discovered wild persimmon trees growing near the edge of the woods. About 10 trees partially hidden by other trees and tall brush that gave themselves away first with their display of fall color and then with the ripening persimmons bronzy orange globes with their distinctive leaf bract. Unfamiliar with persimmons and thinking they had to be completely soft before eating to avoid that unbelievably sour taste that’s their reputation, we found many of the fruit ripened and dropped before we realized they were ready to harvest. We managed to get enough for these wonderful permission cookies. Enjoy!

Wild Persimmon Cookies
3 dozen cookies
Family recipe from
  • ½ Cup margarine
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Cup persimmon pulp
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Cup nuts
  • 1 Cup raisins
  1. Cream the sugar and margarine together. Add beaten egg, then the persimmon pulp with baking soda dissolved in it. Add flour, cocoa, salt and spices. Add nuts and raisins last. Bake on greased cookie sheet at 350°F.