02 January 2011

2 January - Georgia; 9th Day of Christmas; Peach Cobbler

Weather: As the weather is this day, so will it be in September.

The weather today foretells the weather of February.
Foggy and drizzling. Still warm.

A fog in January brings a wet Spring.  Nice dense fog surrounding us this morning.  Guess I better make sure my sump pump is still working.

Today in 1788, the former colony of Georgia ratified the Constitution, becoming the 4th state.

In 1732, a group of British philanthropists concerned with the plight of inmates in the overcrowded debtor prisons, received a charter from George II to establish a colony in which the debtors could settle and become productive citizens.  James Oglethorpe, the only one of the Trustees to actually go to the new Province of Georgia, took 113 'worthy poor' to make the first settlement, which they did in February of the following year.

This not only relieved the overcrowded conditions and gave the people a chance to start anew, but provided a buffer between the English colony of South Carolina and the Spanish presence in Florida.  Win-win for all involved (except the Spanish).

So, what to do in Georgia?

Civil War buffs can follow the Blue & Gray Trail, starting from Chickamauga (site of the last major Confederate victory) to Atlanta, or the Civil War Heartland Leaders Trail, visit Fort Pulaski and Kennesaw Mountain.  Satisfy your inner Scarlett O'Hara at Stately Oaks, Callaway Plantation, Bulloch Hall, and Shoulderbone Plantation.   Learn about the Trail of Tears - the removal of the Creek and Cherokee from their lands -  at the Chief Vann House and New Echota, site of the capital established by the Cherokee national legislature.  Visit Jekyll Island [and fall in love, like I did], home of the late 19th century Jekyll Island Club, the most exclusive club of its time.  Take a ghost tour in Canton, Decatur, St. Simons Island, and, of course, Savannah (which has a Haunted Pub Crawl - very definitely my kind of tour, with its far more tempting spirits!)

The outdoorsy-types will find hiking, camping, boating, and hunting to satisfy anyone.  Stop at Stone Mountain Park, with its relief of President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and General Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson (family members who wouldn't be caught dead outdoors will also find plenty to do there, trust me).  Children will like seeing "Rock City" from where you can see 7 states. And if you want wineries, Georgia is covered.

Of course, you cannot - simply cannot - leave without a visit to the Okefenokee Swamp, home of that famous philosopher, Pogo, (and Albert and Beauregard, and a host of others).

If this isn't enough, see Explore Georgia and Georgia.com for more things to do and see.

Georgia is the Peach State, so in its honor, make your favorite fruit dessert with peaches.  PEACH COBBLER is easy:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a casserole, mix 3-1/2 cups of canned peaches (a 2-lb can, or very nearly, will provide enough) with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of butter (that is 1/3 of a tablespoon, if you are using the markings on the butter wrapper).

In a bowl, mix together 1 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Cut in 3 tablespoons of shortening, until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Stir in 1/2 cup of milk.

Drop dough by large spoonfuls onto the peaches.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until the topping is golden-brown.  Serve warm (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream).