Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header this month shows our pretty Montenegro LILIES blooming on our deck this Summer.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Short Vacation to the Smokies (April 6--8, 2016)

Cades Cove ---a "not-to-miss" area in the Smokies!
George and I enjoy spending a few fun-filled days in our Smoky Mountains (which are only about 2 hours from where we live).  BUT--we like to go there during the 'off-seasons' when the traffic is not horrible and when there are not many people.  HOWEVER,  we blew it this year --by going the first week of April... There were TONS of people around (due to Spring Breaks in various states/areas I guess)---and it felt almost like it feels when one goes there during the summer!!!!

BUT--we didn't let that stop us from having a great time... We spent two nights at one of our favorite old Gatlinburg motels (Rocky Waters).   We enjoyed a couple of fantastic dinners while there (one at the Ole Mill in Pigeon Forge and one at the Applewood Farmhouse in Sevierville).... 

We hiked (DID WE EVER HIKE!!!!) for two days.  One was our visit to Cades Cove including the hike to Abrams Falls..  We finished that day with about 7.5 miles on our FITBITS.  Then the next day,  we drove to Cosby and hiked to Hen Wallow Falls.  That day we completed over 6.3 miles...   (Talk about being TIRED once we got home!!!! ha)

On our last day,  we spent the morning at one of our favorite RELAXATION spots in the Smokies,  Greenbriar.  George enjoyed taking his fabulous water shots --and I enjoyed sitting on a big rock enjoying nature all around me.

One last thing we did before heading home was stopping in Sevier County to see the Harrisburg Covered Bridge.  We were on the back roads between Cosby and Sevierville (trying to avoid the traffic) ---so we just HAD to stop and see this historic bridge.

Today I'll share some pictures of this wonderful trip...  Sometimes,  it is just FUN to get-away ---even for a few days!!!  Hope you enjoy this set... The picture at the top is at gorgeous CADES COVE in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.. IF you look closely, you can see deer grazing in the field.


Another picture at Cades Cove;  If/when you visit here,  take an entire day to stop all along the way, and visit all of the wonderful history about the people many years ago who lived in this valley.



Here's one more old cabin in Cades Cove.



The hike to Abrams is pretty--although quite long if you are not used to longer hikes. 



George got "up close and personal" with Abrams Falls.  See him there?



Here is one of George's FANTASTIC waterfall pictures.  This is Abrams Falls in Cades Cove,  Great Smoky Mountain National Park (4-6-16).



Here is a picture of us at Abrams Falls. 



The next day (4-7-16),  we hiked to Hen Wallow Falls.  The trail was pretty along creeks and rhododendrons, but the elevation change is wicked.  I got more 'floors' (stairs/hills) on my FITBIT than I have ever gotten (142) on a single day, since we got our devices in May last year.  The good news was that it was downhill most of the way back!!!!! ha



Again,  I captured George climbing all over the big boulders to get a good picture of Hen Wallow Falls.



This is one of the awesome pictures George captured on 4/7/16  of Hen Wallow Falls, near Cosby,  in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.



Here's a picture of George and me at Hen Wallow Falls.  There was another family nearby who sorta took over the area --so we didn't have a good place for our pictures... BUT--we had some lunch there and enjoyed ourselves anyhow.



The last day (4/8/16),  we visited Greenbriar in the Smokies.  George turned around when I hollered at him.  He was busy taking more and more pictures of that glorious water in that area.



Here's one of George's terrific pictures from Greenbriar (4/8/16).   We LOVE being there.  My kids used to swim in this area. 



Of course,  we just had to take our picture together in Greenbriar.   After those long hikes on the previous two days,  it felt good just RELAXING and enjoying nature.



The Historic Harrisburg Covered Bridge,  Sevier County, TN
After leaving Greenbriar,  we stopped to see this beautiful covered bridge (which they still use).  This bridge was originally built in 1875...   Amazing!!!!





Here's one more picture of this well-kept Covered Bridge.  It's not far from the hustle and bustle of Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg.  SO---if you are ever in that area,  do not miss this beauty!!!!

Well---that was our little trip in a nutshell!!!!  We accomplished everything we had intended to do:  lots of hiking,  seeing waterfalls,  good food and just relaxing and enjoying one another...

Have a wonderful week.  Can you believe that it's almost MAY?  And --we are headed out soon for another short trip!!!!

Hugs,

Monday, April 4, 2016

2016 Daffodil Varieties in our Yard

Welcome to APRIL.  Luckily,  our winter this past season here on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee wasn't brutal (like 2015--when we had all of the damaging ice storms).  We got a little snow and some freezing temperatures,  but overall,  I would call it a fairly mild winter comparatively.

SO---March brought us some beautiful flowers (Crocuses, Hyacinths, and Daffodils to name a few).   Our little scrawny Forsythia bloomed this year for the first time since we planted it several years ago, so we were happy.  The Forsythia and the Red Buds were both gorgeous this month...   March brought many SMILES to our faces while 'walking the yard'!!!!

The Daffodils in the area have been extremely pretty this year.. We have had a yard-full... That's one flower the deer don't seems to munch on---so most all of the  homes in this area have been showing off Daffodils...  By the way,  I grew up calling them JONQUILS ---but nobody else seems to call them that these days,  so I now call them Daffodils --even though there are many, many varieties (Jonquils,  Narcissus, etc.)..

Today I will show you some of the different varieties of Daffodils in our yard this year.  I used to know the names ---but there are so many similar ones (many with different names through the years, depending upon where you buy them) that it's hard to know the names these days.  Also many places sell Daffodils in a collection --so no specific names may not be available. Most people are just happy seeing the different varieties --up close and personal!!!  Hope you enjoy them.  The picture at top is a variety that George brought inside for me to enjoy.  Aren't they beautiful?


This yellow/yellow Daffodil is probably the most common, and a favorite to many.  It's name is Colossal,  and when we ordered Daffodils years ago to plant,  we got most of them from Breck's online.  But their names/varieties have changed through the years.  (photo taken on 3/15/16)



White Lion Daffodil  (new name-from one we used to use)--Photo taken on 3/13/16;



 Chromacolor Daffodil  (unsure of name)--photo taken on 3/15/16;



Wild Carnival Daffodil (photo taken on 3/15/16)



 
Easter Bonnet  (unsure of name)--photo taken on 3/15/16;



Las Vegas Daffodil  (photo taken on 3/16/16)



Replete Daffodil  (photo taken on 3/16/16)



We call these 'Dad Adams Daffodils'  since he gave us so many for our yard... Some people call them Paperwhites.  These will always be a favorite of ours --and we can think of Dad when they bloom.  (Photo taken on 3/22/16)



Fortissimo Daffodil  (photo taken on 3/22/16)



Tahiti Daffodil  (photo taken on 3/28/16)



And one of my favorites, Mt. Hood Daffodil;  This one has bloomed really good in our yard this year! (photo taken on 3/25/16)
We probably had more varieties which I failed to get pictures of this year.  For example,  I didn't get a picture of our little Quail Daffodils since they didn't do as well this year.  BUT--you get the idea  when seeing all of these different beauties up close and personal.  Daffodils are SO easy to grow --and they come back every year!!!

I am working on more upcoming posts from the yard --so stay tuned!!!!!  We also made a trip to Biltmore recently (many of these are being used on my headers this month).  AND--we have two short trips planned in April...  Life is FUN!!!!

Hugs to all,