Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header Picture for June is a picture of my favorite IRIS in our yard, BOUNTIFUL HARVEST. This picture was taken on 5/3/20.

Monday, June 1, 2020

IRISES in our Yard--2020 (Part I)

Concertina Iris--  picture taken 4/21/20
Dear Friends,   I know you have heard me complaining about our crazy Tennessee weather this past month(s)...  We have had WAY too much rain (for many months) --and this past month,  we have had some unusually cooler/cloudy weather, after having a very mild winter.... I may not have liked the weather much of this time,  but our IRISES this year must have LOVED it.   That is because the IRISES have been prettier and more abundant than many years in past.

We have had 32 different varieties blooming --with most every plant with LOTS of blooms.  Wish you could have been here to see some of these blooms.   I was sad to see the Irises finish blooming for now   --but since we have re-bloomers,  many of them will bloom again in Fall.    AND---now that the Irises are gone,  guess what is next??????? WELL---here comes the Roses,  Lilies, and Day Lilies.... YEAH RAH.

Today,  I'll share one of probably three posts showing our IRISES.  Hope you enjoy seeing these little beauties!!!!!


Garden Grace Iris  4/21/20



Immortality Iris 4/28/20



Second Fiddle Iris after the rain 4/25/20



Victoria Falls Iris 4/28/20



Buckwheat Iris 4/28/20



Pinkness Iris 4/28/20



Blatant Iris 4/21/20  (one of our BEST bloomers this year)



Cantina Iris 4/28/20



Lemon Duet Iris 4/28/20



Anxious Iris 4/17/20  (Love the border on this newish Iris in our yard)



Eggnog Irises (2 in one!!!) 4/28/20



Clarence Iris 4/21/20



Honey Glazed Iris (our first bloomer this year on 4/9); This picture was taken on  4/21/20.



Las Vegas Iris 4/28/20



Double Your Fun Iris 4/14/20



BLATANT IRISES in abundance 4/22/20
I'll close showing you just one picture of how many blooms and buds we had from our Blatant Iris this year.  As I said --you should have spent the months of April/May with us!!!!  Every day,  as we "walked the yard, there would be more Irises in bloom.  Even now (as I write this on May 31) --we still have one Iris blooming,  one called Fall Fiesta....

My question is:   Do you have a favorite from this group today???? I love them all,  but Second Fiddle is exquisite I think with the raindrops on it....

Have an awesome week --and stay healthy as life begins again!!!!! Welcome to JUNE.   YEAH!!!

Hugs,



Monday, May 25, 2020

MEMORIAL DAY 2020



Today is Memorial Day 2020.  Please take time today to stop and say a moment of Gratitude for those who died to give us the freedoms we enjoy now.

I'll share a few quotes I read:
“Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.”- John Adams“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”- Ronald Reagan




“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.”- Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”- Winston Churchill



“Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.”- Unknown

“I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism.”- Bob Riley





“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived.”- George S. Patton




“There is nothing nobler than risking your life for your country.”- Nick Lampson

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

If you'd like to read many more quotes about Memorial Day,  here is the link with the information I am using today, plus more!  Click HERE.

I will close with this one last thought.



Hugs,




Monday, May 18, 2020

FANTASTIC Mother's Day 2020

Mark and his Mom on Mother's Day 2020
May 10, 2020 was one of the BEST Mother's Days that I have had!!!!  I think it was mainly because we have been cooped up in the house FOREVER it seems.... When one of my sons (Mark) asked if we wanted to get together on Mother's Day this year,  I jumped at the chance to say YES YES YES...

In trying to continue to follow all of the rules for staying healthy these days,  Mark and his gal, Robin,  took us to the top of a mountain for a picnic...  It was PERFECT....

Getting to ride in Mark's shiny red jeep was just SO MUCH FUN....  He took us up-up-up to the top of a mountain in the Cherokee National Forest near Farner, Tennessee ---to a place called BUCK BALD...  Wow---how special was that!!!!!   There were almost no people around ---so social distancing worked well up there!!!!

Mark and Robin had everything planned perfectly...  They took their tarp,  table--even with tablecloth,  grill,  chairs for all four of us----and while George and I relaxed,   they fixed us a special DINNER fit for a Queen/King.... We had Pulled Pork,  Baked Beans,  Potato Salad,  Mac/Cheese,  and Cookies for dessert...

It was truly like Heaven-on-Earth!!!!  We had gorgeous views all around,   great food,  and awesome fellowship, AND very few people around.   I/We needed this SO SO SO much...  I'm still excited about it ---a week later!!!!!

Hope you enjoy the pictures from Buck Bald today!!!!!


View from Buck Bald



Thank You, Robin and Mark,  for such an awesome day!!!



Mark and Robin came prepared to cook us an  awesome picnic FEAST.



Different views --all directions;  I think this is where the Cherohala Skyway goes across the mountain from Tennessee into North Carolina.



George is watching Mark and Robin--hard at work fixing dinner!!!



From another angle---Beautiful Views EVERYWHERE--all around us! WOW!



This old woman was SO SO SO excited to be there.  Mark found out that there used to be a fire tower up here (which is now gone).... But the road up is still in good shape!!!!



What a delicious "Mother's Day" DINNER --on top of the mountain!!!



Dinner at Buck Bald;  How Awesome is this!!!!



Can you imagine sitting on the top of a mountain,  eating a fabulous meal ---and being able to enjoy the views??? WOW--it was fantastic!!!


One more picture of Mark and Robin --on top of the world!!!


I love this picture of Mark and Robin... They are always SO good to me....  Thank You AGAIN,   Mark and Robin, for making Mother's Day so special for me...



Two lovers  enjoying our day with family!!!!!  Not only was it special to me to be with Mark and Robin,  but the most special part of my life, my Georgie,  was there with me!!!  I am so blessed.
It did get a little cool on the top of that mountain  (hence the coats) --but it was mostly the winds!!!!! But---we weren't complaining because it truly was a beautiful day with bright sunshine!!!!

On a Clear Day,  You can See Forever!!!!!!  Mother's Day 2020 was that day for us!!!!!  Such Views;  Such company;  Such a gorgeous ride on the back roads in the Jeep;   LIVE IS GOOD!!!!

Hugs,


Monday, May 11, 2020

Azaleas are Spring!!!!

One of our Front Yard Azaleas --5/3/20
Dear Friends,   Hope this finds all of you healthy and happy!  I don't know about you --but I'm SO ready to get this Pandemic OVER and DONE....  I'm  tired of reading about it;  tired of hearing about it --over and over and over...   I'm sorry to say this,  since I TRY to stay positive  (and have until recently)...  I will continue to be careful and we'll make it through this....

What worries me more now than the Virus is the Economy....  We are in such a terrible mess ---and so many other things in life we count on,  such as our food supply (and I'm NOT talking about toilet paper),   will cause other problems over the next many months....When we made our weekly Walmart trip (wearing our masks) this past Friday,   we noticed so many shelves (of many ordinary things) fairly empty...  Farmers are having to throw out milk and eggs since the factories and packing plants have been closed.    Ordinary people are out of work --and need to work in order to feed their families....  All of this scares me MUCH more than the Virus does.... OKAY---I'll get off of my soap box!!!!  SORRY!!!

The biggest JOY lately for us has been taking time to enjoy all of the Spring flowers/plants/shrubs in our yard and neighborhood.   We cannot travel YET ---so sitting at home for days and days and months is not easy for us --but there's not a day that goes by that a new flower appears --smiling at us---and bringing us JOY...

Today, I'l share more of this JOY with you... We don't have many Azaleas,  and we miss going to Biltmore this time of year to see all of their gorgeous azaleas.  SO--instead of the huge Biltmore Azaleas this year,  we'll show you some from our yard.  We have two large ones in the front yard and about 6 smaller ones in the backyard... The large ones have been gorgeous, but even the smaller ones bloomed and were pretty this year.... All of the pictures were taken from 4/10/20 through 5/3/20.    Hope you enjoy seeing the colors!!!!



































Okay---that's enough pretties for now!!!!!  As you can tell we have various colors of reds and pinks.... There are some white Azaleas across the street from us --but I've never had a White Azalea.... AND--I've never had a Purple Azalea.  How can that be--as much as I love purple!!!! ha ha

Hope I could put a smile on your face today....  Not only do the flowers make me smile,  but I got to see two of my sons yesterday  (first time in a LONG LONG time).   It was Mother's Day---and they took George and me on a picnic on the top of a mountain in the Cherokee National Forest.... How NEAT is that!!!!   It was one of the best Mother's Days I have ever had!!!!

Have an awesome week ---and 'keep on keeping on' and staying careful during these hard time...

Hope you had a Happy Mother's Day TOO!!!

Hugs,



Monday, May 4, 2020

Favorite Backyard Birds - April and early May, 2020

My favorite 'migrating' bird which visits us every Spring and late Fall;  This is a gorgeous ROSE BREASTED GROSBEAK.
Dear Friends,   WELL---we made it through APRIL....  I hope and pray that May will be better and better for all of us, and that the COVID-19 Virus will go away FOREVER!!!!!!

Since I've had more time the past couple of months,  I have REALLY enjoyed sitting and watching all of our Backyard Birds eating me out of house and home!!!!! ha..... Those little critters really love to eat  (just like I do)..... BUT--they are just so much fun to watch....  I often sit on the swing watching and taking pictures,  and while watching,  I wonder what they say to each other --and to ME!!!!!!

After having wood damage to our home  (partly caused by the birds pecking on it),  we finally decided that we did NOT need to keep the Bird Feeders on the deck anymore....  SO--after many years of enjoying the birds on the deck, we moved the feeders to the backyard.... It's harder to get good pictures ---but when I'm sitting on the swing,  it's GREAT!!!!!!

Today I'll share some of my Cutie Pies for you..  All of these pictures were taken between  April 19 and May 2,  2020.... Hope you enjoy the pictures!


I love watching the BLUE JAYS snatch the peanuts in the plate feeder.  The beautiful CARDINAL waits his turn!!!!!   



Our  fat MOURNING DOVES love to 'hog' the plate --so the little CATBIRD decided to go after the suet on another feeder!!!!!   (NOTE:  Have you ever heard a Catbird's Call????  He sounds just like big kitty cat!!!!!)



I love this picture!!!!  Mrs. CARDINAL is wondering why Mr. PILEATED WOODPECKER  is SO BIG..... ha ha...(See Daddy CARDINAL perched on top????)



I love this picture of the BLUE JAY.... Such pretty birds!!!  Some people don't like Blue Jays --but I DO....  They are SO much fun to watch.. Sometimes they put more than one peanut in their mouths at the same time ---or TRY to...  They must think they are a chipmunk!!!!!! ha


This is not a great picture,  but I wanted to show you another neat Woodpecker,   the RED BELLIED WOODPECKER.   Before I bought the new Suet feeder,  he was eating the suet from the ends of the red house feeder.   I'm sure he will like the new feeder much better!!!!  (See the CARDINAL in this picture???!!!)



GOLDFINCHES anyone?????   We have LOTS of them around here....  They have their own feeder (Nyjer)--but they still love the Plate Feeder!



The KING of our Yard year-round is the EASTERN BLUEBIRD...   He stands guard over the backyard!!!!!!  Our Bluebirds have their own feeder in the Bird Kitchen.  They love Mealworms --so that's what they get.  Below is a male CARDINAL....  All of our birds are like me!!!  They like "anything"  Peanut Butter.  I use Peanut Delight Suet --and most birds will eat it.



Another good picture of the male ROSE BREASTED GROSBEAK   (Haven't seen the female yet)



A NORTHERN FLICKER WOODPECKER;  I laughed at this one since he couldn't quite learn how to jump on the new Suet feeder yet... (This was the first day I had the new suet feeder up.)



NEW BIRD FOR ME:  A SUMMER TANAGER!!!!!   I saw this bird on 4/27 ---and you've never EVER seen me anymore excited --getting to see this Cutie!!!!  What a gorgeous little bird!!!!   I was so excited that not only did I post this on Facebook,  but I also told all of my kids--and I even put it on the Fairfield Glade Bird Site on Facebook....   SUCH JOY!!!!!



Here's a better view of my new Suet Feeder...  It is a double Suet-Cake one--and heavy enough so that it doesn't swing back and forth much.  The Woodpeckers love it.   Here is a picture of a HAIRY WOODPECKER at that new feeder.    AND--of course My BLUE JAY just had to be in the picture also!!!!!! ha



One more picture of my newest Bird,  a SUMMER TANAGER.   Isn't he adorable?



Beautiful MALE CARDINAL   (Wipe your mouth, Messy One!!!)
WELL---that is enough for today!!!! We always have a great variety of birds --so I'm sure I'll have MORE to share in future blog posts.....I'm waiting to get pictures of the female Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks before they leave.   I'm also waiting to get pictures of an Indigo Bunting  --and even though I've seen a beautiful Red-Headed Woodpecker,  I haven't gotten his picture yet......  SO---guess I'll keep enjoying myself while "Swangin" on the Swing!!!!!!!

Have a great week and stay HEALTHY and SAFE.

Hugs,