Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to APRIL!!!! Spring is AWESOME. Enjoy some beautiful TULIPS from Biltmore!!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wildlife in Alaska

No---unfortunately, I haven't been to Alaska YET. But--one of these days, George and I will get there. However, in 2004, my eldest son, Bert, spent two years working for a small cruise line (Cruise West) in Alaska . He loved it there---and his mother was VERY jealous. I wish now that George and I had have gone when Bert was there. BUT--things just didn't work out then, so we decided to wait. Oh Well!!!!

Bert is like me when it comes to his love of being out in nature. While in Alaska, he took many fabulous pictures to share. Today, I'm going to share some of his wildlife pictures with you. I'll have to divide these into Part I and Part II. The picture above shows the seals sunning themselves on an iceberg... Look at that background. Incredible, isn't it???? More pictures are below!!!

Here are two bears, a black one and a cinnamon one.

You should hear all of those sea lions singing and squacking! Bert says that they can really make NOISE.

The deer in Alaska are different from the white-tailed deer in Tennessee.

Watch that eagle soar!!! WOW!!!

Salmon are all over the place in the streams.

I can never see enough pictures of eagles. They are so incredibly gorgeous!

"Honey, can't you do something to make it a little warmer in here?"

UPDATE: FOUR eggs now in the Bluebird nest!!!!!! If you have read my posts for the past three days, you will see a Bluebird egg picture each day. One picture showed 2 eggs in the nest. The next day there were 3, and now FOUR... Bluebirds lay an egg a day until they get to 5 or 6. Then Mama incubates the eggs for 15-18 days.. SO--if my calculations are right, on or around May 15, we'll have some new bluebird babies in the nest!!!!! They then will stay in the nest until about June 2nd---when they will leave the nest--one per day. Isn't that just 'plum' exciting??????


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another Son and Two More Grands

Most of you know my Texas son (Mark) and family now --but you may not know my youngest son. Jeff is a divorced father of two wonderful children. His whole life is those children---and I'm so proud of him for being the world's best Daddy!!!! He is in the Photography Imaging business, and is extremely creative.

My oldest son was born in 1963. I had a hard time getting pregnant, so my middle son wasn't born until 1970. After he was born, I thought I would have trouble getting pregnant again, so I was a little careless... Jeff was born 16 months after Mark, on May 14, 1971 . Even though I divorced their father, my sons were the best thing to come out of that marriage. All three of them are fabulous young men.

Here are some pictures of Jeff and his kids...AND there's a surprise picture at the bottom. Enjoy!!!!

This is Jeff when he was about Age 1. Isn't he a Cutie Pie????

This has always been one of my favorite pictures of my two younger sons. That's Jeff on the left and Mark on the right!!! Precious, aren't they????

This is Jeff and his special lady. She lives in North Carolina and he is in Chattanooga, TN ---so they don't get to see each other very often right now.

A proud Mom with her son; This picture was taken this past Christmas.

This picture is George and me with these two wonderful grandchildren. Both children are musical. Grandson (age 12 1/2) plays the drums and wants to go into Music in college. Granddaughter (age 10 1/2) loves to sing. She looks JUST like her Daddy.

This past November, George and I were privileged to attend Grandson's Bar Mitzvah. We all were SO proud of this young man. He is extremely smart--and did a wonderful job in the service. Little sister was proud of her brother also.

George and I are SO very very proud of this Grandson. It was the first Bar Mitzvah that I've ever attended ---and was I ever impressed. WOW!!!! This Grammy was just so pleased and proud of her Grandson.

Jeff loves to fish. He has shared this hobby with his children. This past weekend, they all went to Lake Chickamauga in Chattanooga to do some fishing... You can see from the picture above that Grandson caught a huge White Crappie... WOW---he's turning into a great fisherman!!!!

Granddaughter actually caught two fish (a Largemouth Bass and a smaller White Crappie)... Jeff said that it was a great day at the lake... I think so!!!!!!

And last, do you notice the difference in this picture and yesterday's bluebird egg picture??????? Yesterday there were TWO eggs in the nest--and today there are THREE... Bluebirds lay an egg a day--up to 5 or 6 total. Then Mama sits on the eggs for about 15 days. After they hatch --they will grow and won't leave the nest for another 18 or so days!!!!! I can't wait... Everyday is so exciting!!!! Happy Birding!!!!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's Happening in our Yard this week????

First, let me say that our Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are still here. AND---the females are here also now. A birder friend told me that they are migrating and will stay a couple of weeks before heading north. In the meantime, I'm enjoying seeing them at our feeders off and on all day!!!! The picture above is of the female Grosbeak. I think she looks like a HUGE Sparrow ---with that big white eyebrow!!!!! (Excuse the window screen in the picture.) Below are many more pictures of things going on in our yard!

Is that male Grosbeak sticking out his tongue at me?????? ha ha

Another picture of the female.. She has that same huge beak as the male. But--except for the beak, they are very different--one from the other.

I had a couple of pictures with both male and female at the feeders. AND--I had a picture of FOUR males at the feeder together... Unfortunately, I was using my small camera from inside---and the window screen came out so bright that it almost covered up the birds totally. I was so mad!!!! Oh Well!!!! I have enjoyed seeing the Grosbeaks so much!!!

Also in our yard yesterday was our first (of many) IRISES... Isn't she pretty???? Her name is Honey Glazed Iris.

Another first for us this week is one of our beautiful Azalea blooms. We have about 7 Azalea bushes --and this color is always one of my favorites.

Here's one more picture of this pretty Azalea. This bush is in our back yard ---in front of our deck.

I absolutely love Pansies. They usually do well in our area. We purchase them in the Fall (about 60 plants) and put them all over our yard to add color through the winter. Most years, our Pansies make it through the winter--and live until June or July --when it gets hot outside. However, this past winter was consistently colder than most.. SO--we did lose many of our Pansies. BUT--we probably have about 20 left..AND--it's still nice to watch these pansies bloom and add color in our yard. Below are three more of our pretty Pansies.

I love this deep wine color, don't you?

I love this one also... Pansies are all just so pretty I think!!!

These are so unique-looking... I love them!!!

And last but no least, these are the first two Bluebird eggs in our nestbox in the back yard. Bluebirds add one egg a day until they get to five. Mama incubates the eggs for about 12-15 days. Once the baby birds (fledglings) hatch --it takes another 12 days before they get big enough to leave the nest.

I'm SO SO SO SO excited. It was the bluebirds nesting in our back yard last Summer (July) that got me interested in birding... I've certainly learned alot about many, many birds since last July.... Yeah -Rah!!!!


Monday, April 27, 2009

A Special Day at our Favorite Place

As most of you know by now, Fall Creek Falls (here in TN) is a very special place to George and me. On April 21, 2001, he took me to Fall Creek Falls for the day. We hiked and talked about our love of waterfalls. He took me to dinner at the State Park Restaurant. BUT--the best thing that happened that day was that I received my FIRST KISS.... Woooooooo---was I excited!!!!
Both of us call April 21st the day that we 'really' fell in love. I think we knew that we loved each other before the 21st---but that was the DAY that we actually talked about it. I feel as if that day was the beginning of our lives together. Hence you can see where our love of waterfalls began also!!!!
This being said, we have gone back to Fall Creek Falls on this date almost every year --just to remember that special day in 2001, and to profess our love to each other there. This year was no exception. We were on our way home from Texas on Tuesday, the 21st. SO--of course, we took a little side trip--and went back to Fall Creek Falls. Above is a picture of us taken by some nice lady near the Cascades last Tuesday, the 21st. More pictures of the park and our day there are below. Click on them to enlarge them.

It was a beautiful day in Tennessee --- especially after we had had all of those horrible storms while we were in Texas.

Of all the times we have been to Fall Creek Falls and taken pictures, I don't think I've ever taken a picture of the creek above the falls . The sun was hitting that creek last Tuesday ---so I took a picture showing the water pouring down toward the top of the waterfall. Nice, isn't it????

The water flows swiftly down that creek and over the rocks into a big bowl and pool at the bottom. This is only one of 6 falls in this park. This one is called Fall Creek Falls and it is 256 feet high.

The small waterfall next to Fall Creek Falls is named Coon Creek Falls.

This is the area where we had our first kiss. NOW that area is called George Hole. I just had to take his picture there ---since they OBVIOUSLY named that area after 'my' George!!!! HA... Ya think???? (We really don't know where the name "George Hole" came from! That sign is fairly new.)

This is a small man-made dam near George Hole.

Above the dam, the water was calm. Near this area there are picnic tables and a huge grassy area. Aren't those rock formations gorgeous on the other side?

This is the creek below the dam... It flows downhill and heads toward a couple more of the state park waterfalls, the Cascades and Cane Creek Falls.

This is a side view of Cane Creek Falls -----and it is always one of my favorites ---because there was a RAINBOW just for George and me!!!!! Gorgeous, huh?????

Here's one last picture of this crazy-in-love couple---who fell madly in love in 2001----and love each other MUCH MUCH more now!!!!!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

This Year's TULIPS in our Yard

Since I featured all of this year's Daffodils in a previous post, I decided that, although I have featured some of these before, I will show you ALL of our nine different Tulips in our yard this year. You can choose your fav's. Above is a beauty called Tequila Sunrise!!!!! Below are more. Be sure and click to enlarge them.

This is also Tequila Sunrise Tulip--after it opens up... It starts yellow---and then turns redder, as it opens... Amazing, huh????

This beauty is named Bright Pink Lady. This is a gorgeous tulip I think.

I love the colors in this Tulip. Its name is Rembrandt.

This little Tulip is named Coors.

Here is Peppermint Stick Tulip---one of our unique ones!

These are called Apricot Beauty Tulips. Neat, huh?

Here is picture of our Mardi Gras Tulip.

This is also Mardi Gras Tulip. Whether it is open or closed, it is a beauty for sure!

These beauties are called Orange Emperor Tulips.

One of my favorites and our first Tulip to bloom this year was Red Dynasty.

Now---which ones are your favorites?????

Happy Sunday!!!

If you want to see all of our Daffodils again, go to my LABEL list on my sidebar and click on Daffodils.