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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How Do They Do That?

This young Pileated Woodpecker  is sitting on our deck railing ---wondering how to get to that suet feeder  (which is hanging on a clothes line across the deck).

Mr. Pileated sees other birds flying up there at the feeders...  As he looks up,   I heard him ask Mr. Bluebird:  "How do you do that?"    Mr. Bluebird told him to use his wings and just fly up there and grab hold!!

Mr. Pileated knew that he was bigger than those other birds ---so he bent down --trying to make himself smaller.   "Wonder if this will work?"  he thought to himself.

"Okay---here goes!!!!"   (Mr Pileated tried to get to that suet SEVERAL times --but missed... He would fly away and then come back and try again....)

Guess what???? He made it!!!!!   But---he was struggling that first time or so trying to decide where to hang on,  and what to do!!!  I could hear him say:  "Now that I'm here,  how do I get to the FOOD????"

"Okay--it's getting easier!!!  This is pretty darn special... And that suet is GOOD!"

Mr. Pileated is such a gorgeous woodpecker ---and I just had to show you this picture of his gorgeous feathers.... He's a HE---but those look like a pretty little skirt!!!!! Bet he wouldn't appreciate me saying that though!!! ha ha

Finally,   I am showing you the funniest picture I have ever gotten of a Pileated Woodpecker... If this picture doesn't make you laugh,  WELL---nothing will!!!!!!  Isn't he hilarious?? (I think he is mad at me since I was laughing at him!!!)

The birds and deer were both visible and active around here during Thanksgiving week.   Wonder if they smelled our turkey in the oven??????? YUM!!!!   I will share more pictures of our birds and deer in future posts.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Where are We?

Here we are... We are 6,684 feet above sea level.. The wind is blowing and it's about 45 degrees up there!!!!!   I'll give you a clue!!!!   We are not too far from Asheville,  North Carolina --and are not far from the Blue Ridge Parkway... I'm sure you can guess---IF you know this area,  or if you have already read George's blog!!!!

We are at Mount Mitchell,  the highest point east of the Mississippi River.  We took a trip during Thanksgiving week--and this was one of our stops.  A nice couple took our picture (above)  --after we hiked up to the overlook.  George and I had been to Mount Mitchell years ago--but they have really fixed it up now.   We had a great time.  Below are more pictures.

I asked George to stand next to the sign --showing where we were.   They have built this nice overlook --which wasn't here several years ago when we were here.  It was quite cold up on that mountain!!!

The views from the overlook were fabulous.  The mountain ranges seemed to go on forever---even though the clouds and the fog were all around us!!!  I also loved seeing all of the Evergreens near us.

You can see the road which we traveled in order to get most of the way up here.  We had to hike the last lap --but it wasn't too bad (pant pant)... ha..   I enjoyed seeing the clouds 'touch' the tops of those peaks in the distance!

As in some of our other recent photos,  the sun kept trying to pop through the clouds...  That made for some great photos --showing the sun and also the shadows.

Finally,   here is my favorite picture taken from Mount Mitchell.   I love seeing the sun's rays ---or sunbeams--shining down... Isn't this one marvelous?

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We certainly did.  I'll share much more from our trip last week over the next several blog posts.  Hope you saw the neat Hallmark movie on CBS last night.  It was AWESOME!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

What are you serving for Thanksgiving Dinner this year?  I love to hear about Thanksgiving traditions in different areas of the country.   Here's a typical menu in my home growing up --and now:  Turkey;  Giblet Gravy;  Bread Dressing  (we call it dressing and not stuffing, and we eat Bread Dressing rather than Cornbread Dressing);  Cranberry salad/relish;  Rolls;  Pimento Beans (my mother's recipe of a Creamed Green Bean casserole --using pimentos;  it's excellent!);  Sweet Potato Casserole;  and Pumpkin Pie topped with Vanilla Ice Cream!!!

I am a traditionalist... I don't want anything different for Thanksgiving Dinner--not even ham...   Guess I'm set in my ways!!!!   However,  since my sons are all grown up and gone, we scale down our dinners --by using a Turkey Breast instead of an entire turkey.

Tell me about some of your Thanksgiving traditions --when it comes to food!!!!! Different areas of the country do things differently --and it's so interesting to read what others do.

I recently read this neat little poem written by Karl Fuchs.  I would like to share it with you today.


As Thanksgiving Day rolls around,
It brings up some facts, quite profound.
We may think that we're poor,
Feel like bums, insecure, 
But in truth,  our riches astound.

We have friends and family we love;
We have guidance from heaven above.
We have so much more
Than they sell in a store,
We're wealthy,  when push comes to shove.

So--add up your blessings, I say;
Make Thanksgiving last more than a day.
Enjoy what you've got;
Realize it's a lot, 
And you'll make all your cares go away.

Let's all count our blessings --not just on Thanksgiving---but year 'round!!!!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.   I'm taking some time off from blogging and will be back on Monday.

God Bless You ALL,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fall on the Blue Ridge Pkwy-Part III

Don't forget to check out Parts I and II of our October trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway between Soco Gap and Mt. Pisgah in North Carolina.  Today,  I'll share with you some of the higher elevation pictures --showing lots of beautiful mountain ranges,  but less Fall color at those elevations..  Above is a picture of George, Patti and Neal at the highest elevation on the parkway,  6,053 feet.   Below are more.

I love this picture since  it shows the sun's rays on the mountains.

Look at all of the mountain ranges.  WOW!

This area is just so different --at these higher elevations --from the photos I showed you yesterday.   Since I love both colors in Fall --and since I also love seeing the high mountain ranges,  I think we saw the 'best of all worlds' on this day on the parkway.

I hope you have enjoyed these photos as much as I have enjoyed showing them to you.  If you get to go on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina,  please include the area around Mt. Pisgah in your travels.

This huge rock (found near milepost 424) is called the Devil's Courthouse.   There is a trail available off of the parkway to the Devil's Courthouse --for anyone interested.  We didn't have time on this trip--but I'm sure it would be a fun hike.

Finally,   this is Looking Glass Rock (milepost 418, near Brevard, NC).  I have blogged about Looking Glass Rock before.   Click HERE  to read about this interesting rock.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing my photos from the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We turned around at the Mt Pisgah Visitor Center,   drove back to Maggie Valley and had a delicious dinner at the Maggie Valley Restaurant.


Monday, November 22, 2010

They are GONE!!

I was going to show you Part III of our Blue Ridge Parkway photos today---but since George and I worked ALL weekend to clear our yard and flowerbeds of the rest of the leaves,  I wanted to share with you a 'pretty and almost leaf-free'  yard today!!!  SO---the Blue Ridge Parkway pictures will be posted tomorrow.

Above is a picture I took from our back deck ---showing you that our trees have mostly all lost their leaves for this year...  YEAH RAH!!!!!  Since we have about 50 large shade trees in our yard,  Fall is a very busy time for us, and we really have the leaves!!!

George and I have a 'system' for doing this... I blow the leaves out of the edges and out of the flowerbeds  with the leaf blower--into the middle of the yard.  George then uses the lawn mower (with a bag) --and mows up the leaves to use for mulch on our compost pile.   There are several places in the yard where the leaf blower doesn't work well---so in those places,  I use the rake... Like I said, it's a big job.. BUT--it's great exercise!!!!!

Above is a picture of our front yard ---taken from the driveway --looking across the yard.  You can see some of our Pansies in the two round beds in this picture.

This is the lower side of our front yard --where we have a bench --so that I can sit out there and enjoy the Roses.  You can see all of the leaves in the empty lot next door --and in the neighbor's yard.  That is what our yard looked like BEFORE!!!!!   Aren't you proud of us???? Want to hire us??????

The tree to the right is one of our Redbud trees --and those are all of the seed pods which are left on the tree...  They will eventually fall.   You can also see our Clematis in the center --near the bench.  It is about gone for the season,  and George will cut it back.  You can also see some of the Roses --still trying to bloom,  even though we had 3 nights with temps in the 20's  (NO frost though!!!)...

This is the upper side of our front yard.    The English Ivy and Periwinkle both are doing GREAT in this area.  Sometime,  I'll show you a picture of this area when we first planted the Ivy and Periwinkle....

See the stump there in the front?  We had a dead tree --and had to cut it down a few years ago.  We left the stump so that I could put a basket of flowers on it during the summer.  However,  the squirrels and chipmunks (and who knows what other critters) have dug down into that old tree stump--and have a home down in there!!!!

Some of you have asked about our Pansies.  We have about 72 Pansies planted in five different beds around the front yard.  Here is a close-up picture of one of the beds.  We have to be careful when planting Annuals in these beds since we have Perennials in there also. BUT--these Pansies will grow and spread...  They will bloom here until about July (unless the winter is very very harsh).

Remember the Reblooming Iris I covered during the 20 degree weather we had recently???? WELL---here it is ---still blooming even though it is almost December.   Amazing, huh?

Here's a picture taken from the street of our home---showing the 'bare' trees....  Both George and I love Fall ---but we are always happy when this HUGE job is done.  Anymore leaves that come down (and as you can see,  there are a few) will just have to blow away all by themselves... ha ha

I just have to show you this picture... After all of our hard work on Saturday,  we got out about 4:15 to run some errands and to enjoy supper at the Colonel's Buffet.    This was the sunset we saw while driving...  Luckily,  George had his camera with him --so we stopped so that he could get some pictures...  Isn't that an awesome way to end a hard day????

Hope you had a good weekend also.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fall on the Blue Ridge Pkwy-Part II

I hope you haven't missed any of my pictures from our Maggie Valley trip so far.  In yesterday's post,  we started our drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway (between Soco Gap and Mt. Pisgah) in the fog.  As the day went on,  the fog lifted and we saw some gorgeous Autumn colors along the parkway.  Today's set are still in the 'mid-elevation' area --where there were beautiful colors all around us.

I loved seeing this Maple tree showing off its colors against that blue sky.

Here's another beautiful picture of the colors ---with that blue sky in the background.  It's hard to believe that it had been rainy and foggy just an hour or so before this picture was taken.

The REDS of Autumn truly take my breath away.   Isn't this tree just gorgeous?

As you can tell, there were still lots of clouds up there in the sky that day.  BUT--the clouds made for some great shadows on the mountains.

The mountain ranges along the Blue Ridge Parkway in this area just seem to go on forever.   And the higher in elevation we went,  the more mountain ranges we saw... WOW!!!

I love seeing the peaks of all of the mountains in the distance... AND--with that beautiful color in the foreground,  this just made for a great picture,  don't you think?

Monday,  I'll show you the highest elevation (6053 feet) along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  SO--come back for more!!!!

Have a great weekend --and I'll try to catch up with your posts this weekend (although the last bunch of leaves are beckoning for me to rake and blow them OUT of our yard).   See you Monday!!!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fall on the Blue Ridge Pkwy-Part I

On our Maggie Valley, North Carolina, trip with friends (Oct. 19-21, 2010),  after leaving Cataloochie Valley,  we drove from Maggie Valley to Soco Gap and then up the Blue Ridge Parkway toward the Mt. Pisgah area.  As you probably remember from the Cataloochie pictures,  we had a rainy, foggy morning.  When we first got on the parkway,  it was quite foggy... BUT--since that entire trip was magical,  the fog lifted and we were able to see many beautiful Autumn colors along the parkway that day...

I will divide my posts into about 3 parts since the pictures all turned out so well.  Today,  I will share some pictures we were able to capture that morning in the fog... Hope you enjoy more of my foggy (or misty) pictures.

At first,  we weren't sure whether the fog would lift on the parkway or not...  BUT--when it began to lift,  we were able to find some pretty colors along our way.

You can see here that the sun is TRYING hard to pop through the fog.  Obviously,  you can only imagine how happy we were to see that sunshine!!!!

The most vivid colors were here at the mid-levels along the parkway.  Once we got higher and higher in elevation,  the colors had disappeared.

I love this picture,  since it shows all of the shadows --where the sun is still hiding behind the clouds... Isn't that just awesome?

AHA--The blue sky is peaking through....  We were so happy!!!!

Finally,  here is some more color we experienced that morning in North Carolina along the Blue Ridge Parkway.   When looking at these now,  I get sad to see Fall leave us...  This was such a marvelous trip --with some great friends.  More photos to come from this area!!!


Since George's sister is out-of-town,  we are driving to Hendersonville today to check on George's parents.   Hope you all have a great day!