Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to JUNE!!!! Enjoy a group of one of my favorite Day Lilies in our yard. Meet "INDIAN GIVER".

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Are They Triplets?????

On my birthday trip (August 5-8), we enjoyed traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and then on the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. While on the Skyline Drive, we had two encounters with Black Bears. Before you panic, let me say that we were never close --and were never threatened at all by them. SO---today, I'm sharing some pictures of these interesting critters.

Above is a picture of a Mama Bear and her THREE babies.... Aren't those little cubs just adorable???? Below are more!!!!

We were driving along the parkway south of Big Meadows at about Milepost 53---when we saw a Mama Bear trying to get across the road.

Now---we could see TWO of the little ones... While watching them, George heard some crying and squeaking out of his window (we were in the car). Here came the third baby across the road looking for its mother. He passed right in front of our car and hid down in the brush... Of course, I missed his picture when he was so close.... Darn!!!!! BUT--the next picture will show you that I did finally get him ---as he 'brought up the rear' --as the little family crossed the road.

That little cub was hollering: "Wait for me!" Isn't he just adorable???? I didn't crop this picture (like I did the other three above) so that I could show you where we were. We were the third car in line ---and I was taking pictures through the front window. That is why these first four pictures are a little blurry. BUT--I'm just glad we saw them PERIOD.... I've NEVER seen three Bear Cubs together before... Have you?????

This young bear was seen by us before we saw the pictures above. We were at Milepost 92 near the Moorman River Overlook. We got out of the car to see what we could see---and low and behold, this bear was enjoying eating in the area below our overlook. He paid no attention to us ---and just continued to eat.

George quickly put the long lens on his camera to catch a close-up of this bear as he scurried on down the hill. I think he was alone ---or at least, we didn't see any other bears in that area.

Since most of us enjoy seeing the wildlife when we are out in nature, I would be amiss if I didn't say that we ALL need to be VERY careful. We do NOT ever need to get close or feed or upset any of our wildlife. We are GUESTS in their habitat.

Hope you enjoyed seeing our "Bear-Encounters"...


Monday, August 30, 2010

Cades Cove (Smoky Mtns, TN)

George and I had to go to Knoxville on Friday to take our Prius in for its regular maintenance.. SO--since we had to go there, we decided it would be a perfect day to head to the Smokies for the day. We visited one of our favorite places, Cades Cove. We have been there many times ---but this was the first time with the new cameras.. SO--we acted just like tourists --and took over 150 pictures!!! ha...

As you can imagine, I will post several blogs from beautiful Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains. If you want to read more about the history of this beautiful valley surrounded by mountains, click HERE. There is alot of info about the area including the 11-mile loop road which we took.

If you don't know anything about Cades Cove and its history, I encourage you to take time and read some of the information. It is truly awesome. Above is a map of the 'cove' and below are some more pictures showing this beautiful area.

A "cove" in the Smoky Mountains is a relatively flat valley between mountains or ridges. This cove is a showplace for some of the most intriguing natural and cultural treasures that the Southern Appalachian Mountains have to offer.

Join us for this 11-mile ride through the cove. The road is one-way --and there are pull-offs all along the way.

Both George and I took lots of pictures since we stopped all along the way.

You can see the road in this picture. There were quite a few people at the cove on this day--but it will be bumper to bumper in October. We usually stay away during the peak seasons---but this place is fabulous in the Fall.

It was a partly cloudy day --with big puffy clouds in the sky. It was also hotter than we thought it would be --since we have had such mild temperatures this past week. It was also quite hazy (but luckily, we had our filters on our cameras). I think it was in the mid-80's ----and it seemed quite humid, which made it feel even hotter.

Hope you have enjoyed this 'sneak preview' of MUCH more to come from Cades Cove. Besides the great views, people visit the cove to see the wildlife, wildflowers and plants, the log cabins, the old churches, the cemeteries, a grist mill, etc... You need to visit this area if you haven't been there before.

If you didn't read George's blog yesterday talking about his Daddy's 98th birthday, please click HERE. That man has lived an amazing life including moving to Arkansas by covered wagon when he was little. Check it out!!!!

Hope you had a fabulous weekend and are ready for a GREAT week!!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Paradise is Right Here

This past week, here in the Glade, our weather has been near PERFECT in every respect. As you know, I have complained about the unbearable heat and dry conditions all summer. Well--we are still dry, but today, you will hear no complaints from me at all. We are having milder temperatures, low humidity, and an abundance of sunshine. I know this is a 'tease'--and that we'll have some more HEAT and HUMIDITY before Fall really gets here. BUT--I needed this week SO much --and I'm sure that many of you, who are experiencing this Fall-like weather, feel just like I do.

I've enjoyed working in the yard this week, and I especially enjoy the cool nights and mornings. Since we've been able to turn off the AC and open the house, it's just wonderful hearing the 'tree frogs' at nights and waking up to the sound of birds singing in the mornings... God is Good and All is Right with my World!!!

Today, I'll share some pictures of our little home and yard which I took on August 23. Above is a picture of our home taken from the road. Below are more.

I was standing near the garage --looking across the front yard, toward the road.

This is the upper side of our yard , taken from the road --looking toward the backyard. You can see a bit of our deck in this picture. You can also see our Confederate Jasmine Bush on the right. I took these in late afternoon --so the shadows are taking over! Sorry!

This is the other side of our home (what we call the lower side) looking from the driveway toward the backyard. You can see the woodpile in the distance.. The English Ivy and Periwinkle ground covers have done well on that hilly, shady area. Grass won't grow in this area ---so eventually, we'll have more Ivy and Periwinkle taking over we hope.

I feel so blessed to have this little home as my own. God has blessed both George and me so very much --and I get really emotional when thinking about our country and how much I love it.... God Bless America!

I'll close with one more picture showing our new 'road' flowerbed --with our home in the background. Wish ALL of you could come to visit us!!!!! You would be welcome here!!! BUT---if you come in the Fall, I'll put you to work raking and blowing leaves.. As you can see ---we have tons of trees with an abundance of leaves!!

UPDATE on who Woody Woodpecker is patterned after: My blog friend, CAROLYN, who is NCMountainwoman, sent me a couple of articles which clarified this mystery. It seems that Woody was patterned after an ACORN Woodpecker (which I have never seen)... How 'bout that??? We all learn by blogging, don't we?

One more update: My Orthopedic Surgeon released me this past week... Seems my knee is healed--and I am back to 'normal' (whatever that is---ha)... YEAH!!!!

Have a wonderful weekend. I'll see you on Monday.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Skyline Drive (Virginia)--Part II

If you missed Part I of my post showing Skyline Drive, Click HERE. Today I will share with you some more pictures from the overlooks along the Skyline Drive. We pulled out the tripod at Milepost 20 to get some pictures of the two of us. Pignut Mountain is in the distance behind us.

Have you ever heard of "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine"? This was a book written by John Fox Jr. --who was from my hometown of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. The novel was made into several screen and stage plays through the years. Anyhow--this little lone pine reminded me of that!!!!! This picture was taken near the Pinnacles area (3350 feet) at milepost 36.7.

I took this picture to show you one of the other overlooks along the Skyline Drive. This picture was taken at milepost 17.1 which is the Range View Overlook (2810 feet).

For some reason, both George and I took pictures of some of the dead trees along the way. They just stood out as if they were the KING of the Skyline!!! I'm not sure this one is dead --but there wasn't a leaf on it!!!!! Neat picture, huh, with that blue sky and puffy clouds behind it???? This picture was taken at milepost 13 and the overlook is the Hogwallow Flats Overlook (2665 feet).

There are two things I like about this picture... One is the big rocks just below the overlook, and the other is all of the shadows from the clouds in the sky. This picture was also taken from the Range View Overlook (2810 feet) at milepost 17.1

This is a view of the Shenandoah River and Shenandoah Valley. There is one overlook where all 11 bends of this beautiful river are visible --but it has to be on a very clear day (and it was too hazy when we were there). To see all 11 bends, go to the Hogback Overlook located at milepost 21. This particular picture was taken at the Gooney Run Overlook (2085 feet) at milepost 6.8. Dickey Ridge is to the right.


I'll close by bringing you back to our yard in beautiful Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. This is our Confederate Jasmine bush in our front yard. The butterflies love it. I took this picture on August 20. This particular butterfly was a little tattered --but pretty nevertheless.

One more thing: In yesterday's blog, I asked you to guess which woodpecker Woody Woodpecker is patterned after... It is the Red-headed Woodpecker.

Have a great day!!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Woody and Company

As I mentioned last week in my Cardinal blog post, I have gotten many good pictures of my Backyard Birds recently... I got pictures of two new birds to my feeder (a Juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker and a Juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker) this month ---and I saw another new one yesterday while working in the yard (but didn't get a picture yet).

This new one is a Hairy Woodpecker.. There are lots of Downy's which come to the suet feeder --but yesterday, a GREAT BIG Hairy Woodpecker made his way there.. I watched him and got so excited, but since I was in the yard working, my camera wasn't anywhere near. Sigh!! I hope he comes back so that I can get his picture sometime. The Hairys look like the Downys except for the fact that they are larger and have a longer beak. I hope he comes back sometime when I have my camera!!!!

Today, I am featuring an "All-Woodpecker-Post".... Above is one of the largest woodpecker we have in our area, the PILEATED WOODPECKER... Below are more!!!!

DOWNY WOODPECKER: This is a male since the females do not have any red on them.

JUVENILE RED-HEADED WOODPECKER: When I first saw this bird, I had no idea what it was.. His colors are SO different from an adult.

JUVENILE RED-HEADED WOODPECKER: I just had to include one more picture of this little bird.. I hope to get more pictures as he begins to get his colors!!!!

ADULT RED-HEADED WOODPECKER: This is what the little Juvenile will look like someday..

JUVENILE RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER: He is also quite dull with very little color so far.

ADULT RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER: The little juvenile will look like this (depending upon whether it is a male or female) soon. Female Red-bellieds do have red on their heads--but it's not solid along the top and back of the head like the males. And --for any of you non-birders, the adult Red-bellied Woodpeckers DO have a red belly.. It's just hard to see!!!!

NORTHERN FLICKER: This is always one of my favorite birds. This is a male since he has a black mustache, and more red on his head (which is hard to see in this picture).

Hope you enjoyed seeing my pretty little woodpeckers.. I have more birds to show you--but that will be next week. By the way, do you know which of these woodpeckers is the one which Woody Woodpecker represented????? Take a guess!!!!

Wow---I now have 300 Followers... That is amazing --especially since I don't do memes and giveaways to try to get more followers... Thanks to all of you who follow me!!!! I hope ALL of you will leave comments because that is what I truly love to get.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

West Cumberland County

We took a ride west of Crossville on the Cumberland Plateau on Sunday afternoon, August 1st. But--since we left on our big trip that week, I didn't get a chance to publish these pictures...

The terrain is a little flatter in that area than it is near us. Above is a picture of one of the many fields (since there is quite a bit of farming there) --and that gorgeous blue sky with the puffy clouds... I will say that it was another hot and steamy day though!!!! Below are more pictures.

Here's one the little roads where we stopped --in order to get some pictures.

Doesn't this little creek look inviting on a hot, summer day???? There was nobody around to take advantage of that cool water though!!!

There were many barns and farms in this area..

On our little rides, I always seem to pick out a special home to show... This huge house and all of the land around it was pretty... (The house is as big on the right side --behind the trees, as it is on the left side.) BUT--wouldn't you think they'd pave their driveway????? Geeeessssshhhhh... ha ha

This is part of the 'grounds' around that huge home. Aren't they gorgeous????

Hope you enjoyed going on our little ride with us to Western Cumberland County. We'll take some more rides soon --but maybe not on Sundays (since FOOTBALL begins)... ha ha

I just had to show you this unique and gorgeous Grandiflora Rose (named Peppermint Splash) sitting on the table in our home. This is a new rose for us this year ---and I picked it out simply because of its uniqueness. Isn't it pretty????

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Skyline Drive (Virginia)

As most of you know , George took me on a surprise trip for my birthday (August 5). If you have missed any of the other posts, click
HERE to see any or all of the other 8 posts (plus this one) from this trip. There is also a map of the Skyline Drive on THIS POST if you'd like to see it.

Today's post may be a little boring to those who don't enjoy seeing mountains... We stopped at almost every overlook and took pictures... Luckily, our Geotracker helped us to keep up with where we were --so that when we got home, it was easier to get information on the pictures we took. (If you travel alot and take pictures frequently, the Geotracker is a wonderful device to have!)

Here are today's pictures beginning above with a picture taken at the Sawmill Run Overlook (2195 feet) near Milepost 95.. Below are more.

This was taken at an overlook where you can see the Moormans River in the distance. This is about Milepost 92, and we were at 2975 feet.

I love the coloring in this picture. This one was taken at the Rocky Top Overlook--2860 feet -- (Milepost 78.2). Of course, that name (Rocky Top) made me start singing my favorite Tennessee Volunteer song... ha... But the tops of the mountains here do look rocky, don't they????

This beauty was taken at the Brown Mountain Overlook near Milepost 77. We were at 2840 feet here.

This is appropriately called Big Meadows. We are near Milepost 51, and we are at 3535 feet. Big Meadows is also a recreation area (like Skyland where we stayed --which is north of here). There is camping, picnicing, hiking, a lodge, etc. here.

I read somewhere that you can see wildlife in this meadow at certain times of the day. BUT--we were running late trying to get to Skyland Resort --so that "I" wouldn't miss DINNER... ha ha

I'll close this section with a picture of us --taken by a nice couple, the next day (Aug 7) after we had left Skyland Resort. This picture was taken looking toward Mt. Marshall and the Peaks. We were at 3368 feet here, and were at Milepost 15. (All of the pictures before this one were taken on Aug. 6 BEFORE we got to Skyland Resort.)

This is Double Delight, one of our hybrid tea rose bushes in our yard... Believe it or not, all of these blooms are from the same bush.. Double Delight is one of George's and my favorite roses... It starts out white with pink edges (note the bud toward the middle) --and gets pinker and pinker as it matures... AND--it smells heavenly!!!!

Hope you had a good weekend... We didn't get any rain (sigh)---but it is cooler here and less humid. SO--we opened up the house today, turned off the AC --and are enjoying the outside air and the birds singing. I despise AC --except when it's unbearably hot---so this is JOYFUL to me.

Today is George's and my 110th MONTH-aversary. Since we've only been married since 2001, we have to celebrate every chance we get... We'll go out to dinner tonight I HOPE.... ha

Have a wonderful Monday.