I am in process of reading your Call of Duty about the life of General Robert E. Lee. Two of my ancestors served in Mississippi infantry units during the War. I was already an admirer of Gen. Lee before, having read several other writers’ work describing his life. Your description of him has given me a new and greater appreciation for this great gentleman. Your description of the depth of his Christian faith is inspiring. Thank for this contribution to our understanding of one the greatest men of history.
On another note: I was surprised at seeing the photo of the corn smut on your blog. It is considered a delicay by many people around the world, especially our Mexican neighbors to the south. I am an agronomist, and work with corn all the time. I have seen smut all my life; but was surprised several years ago when I saw some Mexican workers who found it in a field in this area. You would have thought they had found “manna” from heaven the way they carried on over it. They called to each other: “Semilla, Semilla!!!; and stopped work to harvest it for their table.
Smut is very common in some years when more of the fungal spores are produced and land on the silks as the ears are being pollinated. Some varieties are more susceptible to it than others. One variety called Silver Queen is a sweet corn that is very susceptible to smut; and I understand that in some cases this variety is planted for the purpose of growing the fungus. It also seems that field areas where the ears are damaged by wildlife like birds and deer may develop more smut. I guess I will have to try it sooner or later just to say I have. Come to think about it, that might be a good cash crop if it catches on as a delicacy in the US.