Archive for November, 2008


John Branch answers questions from Deserving Design producers while taping an interview at the Coosa River in Rome.

Paddle Georgia participants John Branch, Tim and James Watson and Georgia River Network Executive Director April Ingle will be featured on an episode of Deserving Design With Vern Yip sometime in late winter, early spring 2009.

Yip and gang invaded Rome, evicted me from my home for six days (I gladly left) and redesigned two rooms. When I returned the house was transformed…or at least the two rooms. Branch, the Watsons and Ingle were all interviewed for the 30-minute HGTV show. The show picks out “deserving” individuals who volunteer or work in the non-profit field and then tranforms appropriate rooms in their homes. Lucky for me, John Branch got a call from one of the show’s producers when the show was looking for an “environmental angle.” Branch, an employee at CNN in Atlanta and fresh off his journey down the Flint, suggested my name. After they looked at my circa 1890 home–and its decaying state–I think they took pity on me.
From the left, Tim Watson, Joe Cook, April Ingle and James Watson enjoy Yern Yip's handy work in Joe's living room.

From left, Tim Watson, Joe Cook, April Ingle and James Watson take in Vern Yip's handy work in Joe's new living room.

Now, I’ve got a beautiful living room and workroom. Of course, the workroom is too nice to actually work in, so I’ve moved the workroom elsewhere. Ingle and the Watsons were here for the “reveal day” and you’ll catch their reactions as well as my maniacal cackling at the tranformation when the show airs.

And, when booted from home, where do paddlers go? To the river, of course. The eviction gave me an appropriate excuse to scout another day of Paddle Georgia 2009 on the Coosawattee and Oostanaula River. This time I explored the last 25 miles of our journey from Reeves Station Road in Gordon County to downtown Rome.

Rock formations flank a shoal near journey's end on Day 6 of Paddle Georgia in Floyd County.

Rock formations flank a shoal near journey

The Oostanaula in Gordon and Floyd counties is predominantly rural (a University of Georgia cattle experiment farm hugs the river bank for some three miles at one point). Mostly, farm fields flank the river, periodically giving way to picturesque bluffs. Rock wing dams jut out from the river banks in places…the remnants of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 1870s’ effort to improve navigation on the river, and some six miles upstream from downtown Rome, the remains of a Native American fish weir channel the Oostanaula’s flow.

Along the way, I spotted racoons, deer, beaver and, as always, mussels. At one shoal, I stumbled upon a three-horn wartyback graveyard–a spot where a raccoon, or perhaps an otter, made a feast of the racquetball-sized mussels with the funny name. The shucked shells littered the river bottom. I retrieved several (bringing one back for Vern!).

A Native American fish weir bisects the Oostanaula upstream from downtown Rome.

A Native American fish weir bisects the Oostanaula upstream from downtown Rome.

Three-horn warty back mussels litter the river bottom where an otter or raccoon feasted.

Three-horn warty back mussels litter the river bottom where an otter or raccoon feasted.

After a cold night camped on an island at Jones Bend, I pushed into Rome. In the journey’s last mile, you pass beneath five birdges, but you are rewarded with picture postcard views of downtown Rome’s most prominent skyline features, the Floyd County Courthouse and the City Clocktower.

Like Vern Yip ready to do a “reveal” those of us who know the rivers of Northwest Georgia are anxious to show off our gems. I hope you’ll be as excited to see the Coosawattee and Oostanaula as I was to see my new rooms…A big thanks to John Branch, the Watsons and April Ingle for taking part in this fun adventure in TV.

We’ll let you know when the show airs. In the meantime, if you want to see some of Vern’s handy work at my house, go to http://news.mywebpal.com/partners/680/public/news937053.html where you can read a story in the Rome News Tribune about the redesign and see a video of the rooms.  

And if you’d like to see the redesign in person, on Dec. 6-7 you are welcome to attend Rome’s Holiday Tour of Art Spaces, our annual tour of artists’ homes/studios and art sale. The show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, with a reception and party following at the Rome Area Council for the Arts, and Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. River photos, including many bargains, will be for sale.

Joe Cook

Nov. 24, 2008

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Nov. 13, 2008
Paddle Georgia 2008 veteran John Branch, an employee at CNN, knows all the right people so far as I’m concerned. When a producer with the Home & Garden Television Show “Deserving Design with Vern Yip” called looking for an “environmental angle” for an upcoming show, John suggested me!

The producer visited my home in October, witnessed first hand its derelict state (circa 1890 and in need of renovation) and a day later, the producers agreed to feature my home and my work with Georgia River Network and the Coosa River Basin Initiative in the show.

On this show, interior designer Vern Yip comes into the home and redesigns/decorates two rooms. Thus, this Saturday Ramsey and I are getting booted from our home for five days…(the design is intended to be a surprise.) My plan is to spend a couple of days scouting the river while the home is undergoing its transformation.

Look for the show to air sometime in late winter/early spring 2009. April Ingle will be featured on the show along with Paddle Georgia participants Tim and James Watson…and of course, John Branch! Don’t be surprised if you see some footage from Paddle Georgia as well!

A Pistolgrip mussel from the Oostanaula River.

In the meantime, the Coosawattee and Oostanaula continue to flow, unconcerned about reality TV shows and window treatments. A note on the biological diversity of these rivers…There’s some 27 different species of mussels in the Upper Coosa River Basin, many of which can be found in the Oostanaula and Coosawattee. Paddle Georgia 2009 will be a visit to the backyard of the Pistolgrip, Alabama Orb, Southern Mapleleaf and Three-horn Wartyback. With any luck, you’ll be able to pick up a shell souvenir to take home.

Other news…Scott McBride with the Coosawattee Watershed Alliance has been assisting us with contacts in the Ellijay area, and we’re looking forward to a great stay in the Apple Capital of Georgia.

Joe Cook

Nov. 13, 2009

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