Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to JULY!!!! Our Lilies are blooming now... So gorgeous!!! Here is one of my many favorites! Meet DIZZY.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

I know you have probably heard all of these before, but I thought you might like something to make you smile today!!!!! Here's some Halloween one-liners for you!! Enjoy!

What do birds give out on Halloween night?

What is a skeleton's favorite musical instrument?
-A trombone

What does a vampire NEVER order at a restaurant ?
-A stake sandwich

What type of dog do vampire's like the best?
-A bloodhound

What is a ghost's favorite mode of transportation?
-A scareplane

Why do mummies have trouble keeping friends?
-They're so wrapped up in themselves

What do you call someone who puts poison in a person's corn flakes?
-A cereal killer

What would a monster's psychiatrist be called?
-A Shrinkenstein

What is a vampire's favorite holiday?

What is a vampire's favorite sport?

Why don't skeletons ever go out on the town?
-Because they don't have any body to go out with

And finally, why do witches use brooms to fly on???????
-Because vacuum cleaners are too heavy...

Have a wonderful Halloween...


Friday, October 30, 2009

Fall Colors on the Cherohala Skyway - Part II

Be sure and read yesterday's post (Part I) to see information on the Cherohala Skyway. Here are more pictures taken on Sunday about 3 p.m. when George and I were on our way home from Maggie Valley. As I said in yesterday's post, we were in the perfect place at the perfect time to see some of the most gorgeous Fall colors we have EVER seen. All of the 'conditions' for great pictures ---plus a husband who is a great photographer-- were there on that 'picture-perfect' afternoon. I took 3 of these pictures with my 'point and shoot' (believe it or not)--and George took 4 of them. Hope you enjoy more of our Autumn pictures from Tennessee and North Carolina.

George got this picture of the moon---which was also part of our fabulous day!!!! Great picture--isn't it????

How 'bout a picnic here?????? Neat, eh????

I have one more set of pictures to show you tomorrow. Hope you aren't getting 'too' tired of these Autumn pictures.. We just love them--and want to share!!!!

Hope you have a wonderful Halloween weekend.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall Colors on the Cherohala Skyway (NC--TN)--Part I

The Cherohala Skyway was completed in the fall of 1996 after being under construction for about 34 years. It winds up and over 5,400 foot mountains for 15 miles in North Carolina and descending another 21 miles into Tennessee. The road crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests thus the name "Cher.o.hala".

The road enthusiast's dream connects Robbinsville, NC with Tellico Plains, TN. There are no facilities other than restrooms for the entire 36 miles. There is little civilization from viewpoints that rival or surpass any from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

George and I drove home from Maggie Valley on Sunday --not only on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but also across the Cherohala Skyway. The colors on Blue Ridge were pretty (another upcoming blog post), but the lower elevations along the Cherohala (between 2500-3500 feet) were absolutely phenomenal ---some of the most gorgeous I have seen in ALL of my life. The colors both above and below that elevation weren't as pretty.

I have divided all of our fabulous pictures (all of these are STRAIGHT from the camera and not 'doctored') into THREE posts. This is Part I. By the way, any good photographer will tell you that where the sun shines and where the shadows are is very important when trying to take good pictures. We got lucky ---getting to these areas at the perfect time of day --when the sun was helping the Fall colors to glow brilliantly. It was truly AWESOME. Hope you enjoy this Fall beauty.

As I said above, George and I were in the 'right place at the right time' in order to capture this beauty. The sun was in a perfect location --which helped to bring out the colors. AND--in some of the pictures, the shadows helped bring out the mountain ranges (go to the 5th picture above here for an example). OR, notice where the sun hits the trees in the 2nd photo above here. There is very little 'color' in the shadowy areas. Interesting, huh?

I know that this Autumn beauty is ALL over the country/world... BUT---for George and me, on this particular day, we saw some of the prettiest Fall colors we have ever ever ever seen. When we got home (2000 feet above sea level), we found some pretty colors--but none as vivid and bright as what we saw along the Cherohala.

More to come!!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Winter Weather Forecast 2009-2010

Every Fall, I patiently (not so patiently) wait to read the article in the local newspaper which predicts our upcoming winter weather. For those of you not familiar with local lore and the weather predicting tradition, this is an old Appalachian tradition that has been practiced for generations, not only by Melinda Hedgecoth from Crab Orchard (who writes the article for the newspaper), but by most pioneer families of old, dating back to lore they learned from the Indians.

This old tradition is still practiced by many Appalachian people in our day and time. Basically, the old-timers didn't have Doppler radar and meteorologists to keep them informed of impending weather, so they had to learn to watch nature's signs around them to give them clues as to what to expect weather-wise.

Some of the signs to watch for:

-Watching for early morning fogs in August which indicate the number of snows; A heavy fog indicates a heavy snow, and a light one, a mild snow;
-Watching how high or how low the hornets build their nests; High means a mild winter and low, a bad winter;
-Watching the thickness of spider webs; When it's going to be a bad winter, there will be an abundance of spider webs.

-Looking at the thickness of bark on the trees; If the bark is thick and gnarly, it is going to be a bad winter.
-If the foliage on the trees is thick and hangs on long in the fall, it's going to be a hard winter.
-If the mast crop (hickory nuts, acorns, etc.) is particularly heavy, it is going to be a hard winter.

-If corn husks are thick, it will be a bad winter.

-If squirrels are busier than usual gathering nuts without chattering, it's going to be a bad winter.
-And of course, we cannot forget the wooly worms. If the wooly worms are solid black, that means a bad winter from beginning to end. If they are solid brown, that menas a mild winter. If they are black on both ends and brown in the middle, that means that the beginning and ending of winter will be bad, and there will be a mild spell in the middle.

Now---what does all of this mean for us and our upcoming winter here in middle Tennessee, on the Cumberland Plateau???? The wooly worms here have mostly been black on both ends and brown in the middle. And an abundance of wooly worms around (which we have had this fall) means a harsh winter ahead for us.

Our corn husks have been unusually thick this year and hornets have been building their nests CLOSER to the ground this year (about 8 feet rather than HIGH up in the trees). Both of these indicate a cold, cold winter. Also, yellow jackets are building their nests below ground this year which indicates a hard winter.

There's an abundance of acorns and hickory nuts again this year, not as many as last year--but enough to indicate a cold winter. Our Fall leaves are slow to drop this year---so that also predicts a cold winter.
A change in the weather usually comes on or near a full moon. The next full moon is Nov. 2. There are also two full moons in December.

Finally, the ones I am most interested in are the fogs in August. TWO large fogs were noted along with two smaller ones. One large and one small were at the beginning of August and the other large and the other small fog came at the end of the month... There were also two more 'faint' fogs in August--which denote blue darter snows (light dusting)---but it has to be VERY cold in order to get these types of snows. (Last year, we only had blue darter snows which went along with a cold winter. This forecast last year was 'right-on'.)

SO----Melinda sums our winter up by saying this: "Better bundle up for a cold one this year. It's looking like it might be a humdinger for cold with two heavy snows and two mild ones to watch for at the beginning and end of winter as well as a handful of blue darters thrown in. Take care and stay warm!"

I am not too excited to have the horribly cold temperatures ---but, for those of you who know me, I'm VERY excited to be able to see some snow this winter (I HOPE)... Last year, we got almost NONE ---so maybe this forecast will be fairly accurate and we will get some of those white flakes this winter....


-who must have been a Weather Girl in another life---since I'm fascinated by all of this stuff!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Last Days at Maggie Valley

Toward the end of my stay with three childhood friends at Maggie Valley, NC, my cute little red camera quit working... No matter what I did, it was just dead. It was stuck OPEN. I had EIGHT batteries with me ---and none of them worked. BUT--I told my friends that as soon as George could use his 'magic' ---that little camera would perk up. And guess what?????? It DID.... He put some of 'his' batteries in it and it worked!!!! Well---duh??!!!! I think that camera likes George best. I'm glad it's okay--but I missed out on alot of pictures that last couple of days. Just my luck!!!! (See why I need George!!!! ha) The other gals had their cameras --but I'm hoping they will share their pictures with me.

Anyhow---we arrived at our cabin on Tuesday, the 20th. While there, the trees just erupted into beauty, with each day becoming more gorgeous than the day before. The pictures above and below were taken from the deck of our cabin on Saturday morning--before the camera died. Aren't the colors just marvelous????

Each year, the four of us take small gifts to exchange with each other. This year was no exception. The gift that I gave each of them (and even had one made for me) was a mug with our picture (taken last year in Tybee Island) on it. Here is a picture of it.

As much as I loved the trips (remember that we had THREE in a row), I will say that it's great to be HOME. Yes--there are leaves to be raked and wood to be stacked ... BUT--after all of the good eating I did this past week, I certainly need the exercise NOW.


Monday, October 26, 2009

George? Where are You???

Yesterday morning, while waiting on my Sweetie to pick me up at Maggie Valley, he ran into a huge problem. Luckily, he wasn't involved in an accident ---BUT he did get into a huge traffic jam due to a big rock slide. Here is what happened (taken from an article published on the internet). The pictures above and below are also from the internet ---but ARE from this big rock slide.


"A massive rock slide has shut down Interstate 40 at the Tennessee-North Carolina state line. The slide happened around 3:00 a.m. Sunday about 3 miles inside Haywood County, North Carolina.

Authorities say one woman is reported to have suffered a minor injury when the Jeep she was driving was hit by a falling rock.

The rubble reaches about 50 feet high and 100 feet long. Troopers say some of the rocks that fell were the size of a house.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation web site says they expect that section of I-40 will remain closed for at least several weeks.

That stretch of Interstate 40, which winds through extremely rugged terrain, has been prone to road-closing rock slides over the years. In the summer of 1997, a slide just inside the state line completely closed I-40 for more than two months."


SO----a three hour trip from Crossville, TN to Maggie Valley, NC turned into a SIX hour trip for George. There are very few ways to get across the Smokies ----so George had to turn around (in TONS of traffic) and head toward Gatlinburg and over the mountain to Cherokee, NC. And since it was a gorgeous Sunday in October, there was bumper to bumper traffic that way. Worn out, he finally got to Maggie Valley about NOON Eastern time. That was a LONG 3 extra hours for me also---waiting to see him!!!!

After picking me up, we decided that since we couldn't go on the interstate, we would head west across the Carolina and Georgia mountains and enjoy the beautiful Fall colors. We went on the Blue Ridge Parkway part of the time, and then through Silva, Bryson City, Robbinsville ----and then across the Cherohala Skyway into Tennessee. We stopped at many overlooks --taking pictures of the beautiful Fall colors. I can't remember EVER seeing such gorgeous colors (especially between 2000-3000 feet above sea level). I'm sure we'll share these pictures soon.

SO---a long morning turned into a beautiful Autumn afternoon ---even though it made for a LONG day, especially for George (who was driving). The good news is that we are both SAFE---and we are HOME. Yeah-Rah!!!!! The vacation was great---but home is BETTER.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

J. Arthur's Restaurant, Maggie Valley, NC

IF you ever get to Maggie Valley, we highly recommend dinner at J. Arthur's Restaurant. Our group of four friends ate dinner at this restaurant on Thursday evening. Here are some pictures of us and the restaurant.

Three of us enjoyed Rainbow Trout and the other one had Shrimp. Delicious!

The Fall decorations inside the restaurant are above the fireplace. Pretty, aren't they????

More Halloween decorations at J. Arthur's Restaurant

The front of J. Arthur's Restaurant on Soco Rd. in Maggie Valley, NC

Here's another picture of the outside of J. Arthur's Restaurant.

Here's one more picture of three full gals... From left to right: Nita, Reida, and Susan. I took the picture. Dinner was great... Nita recommends the French Onion soup. I recommend the home-made blue cheese dressing for your salad. We had a great time!!!!

Have a wonderful Sunday. I'm a 'happy camper' today ---since I will get to see my Sweetheart--and get to sleep in my own bed tonight. The vacation with my friends has been wonderful --but I've missed George SO much.

On another note, my Tennessee Vols ALMOST beat the Number 1 Alabama Crimson Tide yesterday.... It was a nail-biter----and even though they lost, I'm proud of 'my' young team.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Log House in Cherokee, NC

On our trip to Cherokee, NC on Thursday, the four of us friends stopped to see an old log house/farm. Here is some information from the Davis House:

"The Mountain Farm Museum is a unique collection of farm buildings assembled from locations throughout the park. Visitors can explore a log farmhouse, barn, apple house, springhouse, and a working blacksmith shop to get a sense of how families may have lived 100 years ago. Most of the structures were built in the late 19th century and were moved here in the 1950s. The Davis House offers a rare chance to view a log house built from chestnut wood before the chestnut blight decimated the American Chestnut in our forests during the 1930s and early 1940s. The museum is adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center."

Here are some pictures taken when we visited that area. Above is the Davis House. Below are more!!!!

This is a picture of the sign---showing what the old Davis House looked like many years ago (in the lower left corner).

This is the creek beside our trail leading to the Davis House.

The men were making brooms on the porch of the Davis House.

This little guy is a Mexican Eagle... He was visiting the Davis House for a demonstration. The 'local' crows were screaming from above!!!!

I love this picture with the old fence --and the big meadow in the background. We were looking for elk ---but they didn't want to come out for a visit while we were there.

Here's the 'backyard' of the Davis House..

Here's another picture I love... See the old fence ---and that barn??? Wow!!!!

Here's a very interesting tree along the creek. Anyone know what it is????

Finally, here is a picture of the meadow next to the Davis House. IF we had have been there early in the morning or at dusk, we may have seen some elk.

Hope you are having a great week. I will catch up with your blogs next week.