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

Friday, May 30, 2014

Two New Waterfalls for George and me!!!

US at 30 foot Reedy Branch Falls,  South Carolina,  5/18/14
On  May 18, 2014,  on our way to Ocean Isle Beach  (check THIS post),  we stopped along the way to visit some waterfalls.  This year,  we stopped at 3 different places (once we got into South Carolina on Highway 76).  One was BULL SLUICE (which we have seen before) ---but the other two places were NEW waterfalls to us...

Today,  I'll share some photos of these two new waterfalls.  Hope you enjoy them.  Since I was getting over my surgery,  I still didn't have alot of energy.  SO--George picked waterfalls with almost no hiking needed...  That was perfect for me on this trip.

The first waterfall we saw was named REEDY BRANCH FALLS.  This 30 foot waterfall was gorgeous ---and we were the only people there.   SO--we just relaxed and enjoyed  ourselves for a little while,  thinking that the waterfall was there JUST for us!!!!

REEDY BRANCH FALLS -30 feet (South Carolina, 5/18/14)

Oh how she loves this man!!!!!!

Can you tell that we were having fun at Reedy Branch Falls????

Mrs. P (our wonderful Prius) enjoyed seeing the waterfall  too!!!!
The second NEW waterfall we saw that day (also on Highway 76 near Westminster, South Carolina) was in a fabulous county park,  CHAU-RAM County Park.  We were SO impressed with this gorgeous park (named for the Chauga River and Ramsey Creek).  We drove straight up to  RAMSEY CREEK FALLS (40 foot cascade) in this park...  It was just so beautiful!!!!!  And---again,  we had the waterfall and area  ALL to ourselves, due to the rain/drizzle!

I got to explore the area a little,  so I caught this photo of the Photographer at work with his tripod!!

Gorgeous  MOUNTAIN LAUREL in the park

The gorgeous tiny blooms of the Mountain Laurel;   Aren't they beautiful?

Two silly people having fun at Ramsey Creek Falls!!!  That guy makes me laugh!!!!

RAMSEY CREEK FALLS,  40 foot cascade;  (South Carolina, 5/18/14)

US  at RAMSEY CREEK FALLS,  South Carolina
I hope you enjoyed seeing our two new waterfalls!!!   I'm not sure what our total is now --since we sorta lost count.   BUT---we are probably up to 600+ different waterfalls seen since 2001....  Can you tell that these two lovebirds LOVE waterfalls????? ha

If you want to see more about the Chau-Ram County Park,  click HERE.  We highly recommend the two new waterfalls,  plus this park (there is picnicking, camping, lots of hiking, and even a big swinging bridge to see).  SO---we need to go back when we have more time to explore this park.. 

Here's some GOOD NEWS from me:  Went to see my surgeon yesterday for my 'follow-up' to surgery visit (been 3 weeks since my surgery).   My doctor checked me out --and DISMISSED me,  saying that everything is fine and that I am healed....  Yeah Rah!!!!!

Have a great weekend and I will see you on Monday!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Feeding the Baby Bluebirds

Daddy Bluebird coming to the Mealworm Feeder --eating some himself,  and taking some to one of his Babies!
First of all,  WELCOME to any of my Photo Blog followers!  I decided to stop the Photo Blog for now and resume a Wednesday post on this  (my main) blog!   Hope you all enjoy it, and will sign up to follow me here.

I am so fortunate to have Eastern Bluebirds in my yard year-round.  Spring/Summer are my favorite times to watch them since they nest in our nestbox in the backyard ---and then begin bringing the little ones to the feeders after they have fledged.  Mom and Dad Bluebird usually raise  about 2-3 different 'families' per year,  with each group consisting of from 3 to 5 little ones..

The first group here this year started with FOUR eggs.  We are not sure that all 4 of the babies made it --but as of now,  we have seen 2 of them! Mom and Dad are EXCELLENT parents and once the little ones fledge,  the parents keep a close watch on them as they learn to live in this big-ole world!

About a month after they leave the nest,  Dad (who is the main feeder of the babies) starts bringing them to the bird feeders.  Mom is always nearby --and keeps a watch on all of her babies... They are SO much fun to watch.

Today,  I'll share a group of photos I took beginning on Sunday,  5/25/14.  Hope you enjoy seeing my photos...  Some of them are not the 'best' --because I was taking photos through screen doors and 'dirty' windows... ha.. BUT--you'll get the idea!!!!!  Be sure to click on the photos for enlargements.

See that mouth-full Daddy Blue is carrying????    That is for one of the hungry babies!!

At first,  the babies stopped on the TOP of the arbor (above the feeders)... Daddy would feed them up there (which made it harder for me to get pictures)...

I don't want to forget Mama Bluebird.  Even though she doesn't feed the babies,  she is always around watching and protecting them.

Here's another photo of Daddy with one of the babies on the TOP of the Arbor.  I love seeing those precious little speckled babies--even though they are about as big now as their parents... (The parents obviously feed them well!)

Daddy Blue and one of the babies were watching a Blue Jay who was trying to get his turn on the plate feeder!!!

I love this photo of one of the Baby Bluebirds... Precious,  don't you think?

OKAY!!!!  One of the little ones finally got brave enough to fly down to the plate feeder.  (He still counts on Daddy to feed him though --and doesn't quite know how to do it himself yet.)

Daddy Blue was trying to teach the little one to eat from the feeder.

Again,  they are 'looking' at that Blue Jay  (who desperately wants one of those peanuts on the plate feeder)

Look at the BIG mouth --begging for food....  AND--as you can tell from the mealworms in Daddy's mouth,  that baby is going to get fed.... Adorable,  aren't they?
This is my favorite photo from this set...  I love watching the babies beg for food... AND--you should hear them crying...  They make the cutest little sounds one can imagine!!!!   Wish you all were here to see this...

UPDATE:  Didn't mean to confuse anyone --but some thought I was suspending THIS blog too.. I am not and will continue to post on Monday/Wed./Fridays.

Okay----that's about it from Betsy's Bird Kitchen today!!!!!  Have a fantastic Wednesday.


Monday, May 26, 2014

How to Really HEAL after Gallbladder Surgery

Healing Rule 1:  A trip to the BEACH;   Betsy at Ocean Isle Beach,  5/22/14
First of all,  a Happy Memorial Day to ALL.  I hope that you are enjoying the long weekend,  but remember to stay SAFE and also remember what we are celebrating today!  Don't ever forget those who have served and are serving in the Armed Forces in order to provide us the freedom we enjoy.  God Bless them ALL.

OKAY (back to my post)----in order to help me get better after Gallbladder Surgery --and that nasty infection following the surgery,  my Sweetheart took me to the BEACH.  We had rescheduled our beach trip from the first week in May (due to my surgery) until this week...After having that infection,  I wasn't sure we'd even get to go this past week... BUT---we did --and  had a fabulous time...

We went to our favorite beach, to the Islander Inn in Ocean Isle Beach,  North Carolina (north of Myrtle Beach).  This is about the 10th year we have gone there in May ---and  we DID have a fantastic week.  The weather was truly PERFECT---with no rain and very few clouds all week long.

SO---today I'll take you on a 'healing' experience of a lifetime!!!!!!  Get some coffee and enjoy the photos!!!!!  Be sure to click on them for enlargements.

Healing Rule 2:  Find a wonderful inn on the beach, facing the ocean!
This year (because we had to change dates),  the inn worked with us to 'fit' us into this week.  We were in Building 6 (of 7) on the first floor --with parking below.  We actually liked the change!!!

Healing Rule 3:  Set up our chairs on the beach.   (Photo was taken from our room balcony)
It was amazing how 2 weeks could make such a difference in the number of people around... When we come the first of May,  there are not many people at all... This week,  there were MANY more people as you can tell.

Healing Rule 4:  Sit in your beach chair with a cold drink.  (Drink lots and lots of water!)
Neither of us came home with sunburns although we WERE out in the sun ALOT all week.   Thank Goodness for SUNSCREEN.....

A couple of the days were almost cool --due to the breeze,  but that last day (Thursday),  it got MUCH HOTTER...  (That made me realize why I don't like to go to the beach in the summer when it is extremely hot!!!! ha)

Healing Rule 5:  Enjoying French Vanilla Coffee with that wonderful man in my life on the Balcony!
We had our special coffee (gift from son/wife) on the balcony each morning while reading our daily devotions.   AND--we also enjoyed our lunch on the balcony!!!!  It was so nice to sit and just enjoy the ocean/waves/sounds/smells, etc... Love it!

Healing Rule 6:  Getting to see  'our' teeny tiny Beach House!!
Blog friends who have followed me for years will remember when this house was under construction.  We have followed this one for many years ---and I still cannot believe the SIZE of it.... Goodness---if I had enough money to really own a place like this,  I'm sure I'd also have enough money to pay a full staff to keep it up!!!!!!  Want one like this????  (As much as I love the beach,  I think I'd rather have a little log cabin in the mountains!!!)

Healing Rule 7:  Dinner at DOCKSIDE Seafood House in Calabash, NC
There are several really good seafood restaurants near Ocean Isle... A favorite of ours  is the LARGE Fried Scallops at Dockside... YUM!!!!!!  We can sit under the big Live Oak Tree and enjoy the waterfront while we are at Dockside.  We can also walk out on the pier and check out all of the fishing boats which bring those delicious shrimp, scallops,  oysters, etc.  to shore for us to enjoy.  Talk about FRESH SEAFOOD... It's the BEST. 

Healing Rule 8:  EXERCISE....
We enjoy taking long walks on the beach both mornings and afternoons.  It's great exercise for both of us ---AND we certainly need the exercise so that we can eat that delicious seafood!!!!

Healing Rule 9:  SLEEPING and/or NAPPING
Whether I'm on the beach --or in the room (listening to the waves),  it's great for napping and sleeping!!!!!!  LOVE it.

Healing Rule 10 and the MOST IMPORTANT:  Be with the most wonderful man in the world,  who takes such good care of me!!!
This photo was taken on 5/22/14 at the Gazebo at Islander Inn,  Ocean Isle Beach.   You all know how much I love George and appreciate everything he does for me...  BUT--this trip was one HUGE healing opportunity for me.. I feel GREAT!!!!!!!  Thanks, Honey!!!


Friday, May 16, 2014

2014 IRISES in our Yard --Part I

As you know,  I had Gallbladder Surgery on May 8... Everything went fine until I started having a different kind of stomach pain... After a trip to the doctor on May 13,  I have been treated for some kind of infection (unsure what)...  SO--it's been an 'interesting' week.  My first day out of the house was Wednesday, May 14--when I was able to get my hair cut and run some errands!!!!   To tell you the truth,  I am looking for a much better week this next week....I'm not one to be SICK very often --so when I am,  I am not a good patient!!! (Poor George!!! ha)

I have enjoyed our flowers in the yard these past few weeks ---so today I'll share 10 of our TWENTY different blooming Iris varieties this year.  I'll show you Part II in another blog post. Be sure to click on  these beauties for enlargements.

CLARENCE IRIS (our first one this year) 4-27-14









I'll close with some 'group' Iris photos... I love them individually--but also love seeing them in groups...


Hope you enjoyed our Irises today...  I love all of our flowers --but the Irises are extra-special.... AND--the chipmunks and squirrels and the deer (most of the time) don't bother them... The hardest perennial that we try to grow here are Tulips ---since the chipmunks love to dig up the bulbs thinking they are nuts!!!  Oh Well!!!!

I am taking a week off from blogging to get back on my feet and get back to things I need (and want) to be doing!!!!!  I will see you again on May 26....   Have a wonderful week!!!