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, April 27, 2020

Anyone Love TULIPS????

Hello Blog Friends,   How are YOU?   Hope you are staying well, healthy and safe through this COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic.   May God be with us,  and help us realize that there will be better times ahead for us,  our children, grandchildren and all whom we love.

We love growing Tulips --but will admit that with as many chipmunks and squirrels as we have around here,  it's VERY hard to keep tulips growing, and returning the following year.  Those little critters love to dig up the bulbs and eat them---or move them around!!!!  AND--they do that year-round!!!

BUT--we did manage to have some pretty ones this past month.... SO--today I'll share some pictures with you of our 2020 TULIP COLLECTION.  All pictures were taken between  3/22/20 and 4/16/20.  Hope you enjoy the tulips and all of their different colors...















Someone told us to plant our Tulips beside Daffodils --since the critters don't like Daffodils.. That 'sorta' works --but the tulips can get hidden around the Daffodils!!!! ha















Always a favorite of mine!!









The Deep Purple Tulips have always been a favorite of mine --but this year,  we only had ONE.... 



My favorite Tulip this year!!!!



We had a few Double Tulips this year.   This was my favorite --since I love the colors!!!!  (Doesn't look like a Tulip to most people,  does it?)
OKAY---I'll stop!!!!!   But for a 'tulip lover' like me,   I enjoy showing ours off.  This Spring though,  we have missed seeing the Tulips and Azaleas at Biltmore SO much.  Thanks to special friends for sending me pictures of Tulips in their part of our country/world...

Have a great week and stay HEALTHY!!!!

Hugs,

Monday, April 20, 2020

Hiking on George's Birthday 3/9/20

Beautiful Blackwater Falls State Park in West VA  (Bottom right is Blackwater Falls; You can see it flowing through the rugged canyon;  You can also see the Lodge where we stayed on the left side toward the top.  What a gorgeous place to 'get-away' from life for a few days!)
UPDATE:   Blogger has done something to my pictures.  I've lost almost all of the pictures on my last several Blog Posts... I hope you can get the pictures today.  I had trouble getting them in --and had to put them in ONE BY ONE.... I am not a happy person right now!!!  Why does Blogger do this to us?
***************

Dear Family and Friends,   I hope that everyone is still HEALTHY and staying SAFE through this COVID-19 pandemic..... George and I are fine ---and hanging in there waiting patiently (????) for this to be  OVER and GONE....

Today--I'll take you on a few hikes we took on our little trip to Blackwater Falls State Park in northeastern West Virginia the week of George's Birthday!!!!  I'm glad we were able to make this trip before the 'stay at home' order started...  Before his Birthday--I asked George what he wanted to do this year to celebrate.  He said that he wanted to see some waterfalls and to do some hiking... SO--the Blackwater Falls trip came into being,  and is now just a wonderful memory!!!!

On George's actual birthday (March 9)--- here are some of the things we did:
-Hiked on the Gentle Trail to get an overall view of Blackwater Falls
-Crossed the river (North Canyon Rim Road),  parked at the Trading Post,  and hiked down lots of steps to get an up-close-and-personal view of Blackwater Falls
-Hiked to the Pendleton Point Overlook for a view of Elakala Falls (on the other side of Blackwater Canyon)
-Walked around the Pendleton Lake
-Back across the river; now on the South Canyon Rim Road passing by the Lodge;  Stopped at an overlook showing another view of Elakala Falls
-Checked out the Cabins for Rent on the Southside Area  (We will rent a cabin the next time we come here.  The lodge rooms are MUCH too small for us.)
-Took a longer hike on the Balanced Rock Trail
-Took a nice hike on the Lindy Point Trail to the Overlook
-Hiked to the brink of the Elakala Falls from the lodge

I know this is WAY too much detail --but I do a lot of my Blog posts so that I can look back at previous posts to see what we've done.... March 9th this year was a FUN day for us --and I'm so glad we did SO much that day... BECAUSE---the next day,  it rained all day long (so no more hiking for us on that trip)...

I will do a separate Blog Post showing all of the waterfall pictures we took while there.  BUT--today's post will show you a few pictures from some of our walks/hikes.... Hope you enjoy!!!!




The ICY "Gentle" Trail which was defintely not very gentle on this day..... This is a neat trail for those who cannot do much hiking since it is flat and paved.  It's also good for someone in a wheelchair... You can see Blackwater Falls from this overlook.



While driving on the North Rim --we stopped at an overlook and could see the back of the Blackwater Falls LODGE ---where we were staying... Our room was on this back side..



A 'zoomed' picture taken from the Pendleton Point Overlook --of the Blackwater River --as it flows through the canyon.



Pendleton Lake is a neat little recreation area in Summer.   There is another waterfall off of Pendleton Lake --but not accessible.  



This is our hike on the Balanced Rock Trail... Gorgeous area --but EXTREMELY slippery in spots.  George took this picture of me on a little icy bridge...



Little friends spying us on the Balanced Rock Trail;  They probably laughed when George took a tumble on the ice...  Somehow,  I didn't fall --but it was close a few times!!!!  




BALANCED ROCK in the Blackwater Falls State Park, West VA --3/9/20



Pretty trail (except for the ice);  The Balanced Rock Trail would be great to see in the Summer when the Rhododendrons were blooming.



George at MY Favorite Trail of the day,  the hike to the Lindy Point Overlook;  This trail was not as slippery --most of the time! But--it's more popular than the Balanced Rock Trail ---hence a few more people around.



Look at this tree 'bench'---just made for me (along the Lindy Point Trail).... 



AH---we made it to the overlook!!!!!   Now you can see why this is my favorite trail/overlook..  SO SO SO gorgeous!!!!  You can see the Blackwater River below,  along with the train and some hiking trails.  This is virgin area ---and there's so much land around to explore!!!!! 



My Sweetie Birthday Boy on his 78th birthday ---at Lindy Point Overlook, 3/9/20!!!!



Amazing rock formations all around us... Our platform was built around these rocks.   Now you can see a hiking trail on the left side.   This would be an awesome place to be at SUNSET.



Not my picture --but wanted you to see what the mountains here look like in Summer.... This makes me want to come back SOON!!!!



A panorama showing more of the Rock Formations all around the overlook!



The two Lovebirds ---at the Lindy Point Overlook,  Blackwater Falls State Park,  3/9/20
WELL---did you enjoy seeing the pictures?  Does that make you want to take a little trip to Blackwater Falls?   IF you love nature --and being away from the crowds,  this may be the place for you.  We love it here,   so I'm sure we will be back again sometime.

Our biggest complaint was the lodge rooms... The rooms are very very small,  with barely enough room to turn around comfortably...      SO--the next time we go,  we'll rent a CABIN (which is only a few dollars more per night)--but has A LOT more room in it!!!!!

I will have one more post from this wonderful little trip... In that post,  I'll feature our waterfall pictures mostly...

Hope all of you are staying healthy through this Pandemic.   If you are like me,  you are SO READY to get things opened back up again,  seeing people go back to work,  and  all of us just being back to normal again (whatever normal is).....  In the meantime,  let's continue being patient --knowing that this too will pass!!!!!  We'll have many stories to tell to future generations about the COVID-19 CoronaVirus Pandemic and all of the ways it has affected our lives.

Have an awesome week---and remember to share some LOVE and HOPE and PEACE this week.
Hugs,

Monday, April 13, 2020

What is Happening THIS April in 2020, so far!!!

Daffodils still blooming-- 4/3/20;  They don't know there's a wicked Virus out there!!!!
Dear Family and Friends,  WELL---due to the COVID-19 CoronaVirus,  our Spring so far has been quite different in many ways from previous years.  YET---when it comes to our yard/flowers/plants,  things are normal!!!!  No matter what pain/suffering we go through as humans,  the flowers still BLOOM in Spring.  That is GOOD news!!!!

As I write this,  I am experiencing a very different Easter Sunday from most years.  There was no church services and no family dinners.  However,   George and I (although here alone at home) were fine today.   We had our own Easter Devotions;  we watched a service by Rev. Franklin Graham with music by Michael W. Smith;  and  I spent most of my day listening to Easter Hymns  (courtesy of You Tube) as I re-lived many memories of days-gone-by.

I especially enjoyed my two favorite Easter Hymns/Videos:  "Hail Thee Festival Day" and "Christ, the Lord, is Risen Today".   I even shared one of these videos on Facebook on Easter Sunday.  BUT--I also listened to more beautiful hymns/music.  When my mother's favorite hymn  ("In the Garden") started playing,  I had to shed some tears just thinking about how much I miss her (and Dad)...

BUT--through all of this today,   I know now that my Risen Lord,  Jesus Christ,  brings me so much HOPE... Even in this time of trouble in our country and world,  I KNOW that I have Christ is with me and that all of us,  through HOPE,  will come out of this pain and hurt,  and will be stronger and have a better future ahead for us... God Bless us all!!!

Here are some pictures of our April so far!!!!!  Hope you enjoy them!!!


A beautiful Pink Tulip in our yard,  4/3/20  (We are usually at Biltmore this week checking out the Tulips and  Azaleas.   Glad we have some to enjoy at home!)




We had some entertainment on 4/5/20 when this hawk visited and captured a little Blue Jay (see the feathers?) for his lunch... Poor BlueJay!!!!  There were about 10+ Crows flying around the hawk,  screeching at him--but this Hawk just ignored them!!!!  Hawks are beautiful birds --but I hate seeing them having lunch in my backyard with my little birdies!




We have two beautiful Red Bud trees in our yard... This is a close-up of one of them,  taken on 4/3/20.





Our new Bird Kitchen,   4/5/20;  We moved our feeders to the backyard since they have made such a mess on the deck --including some wood damage, thanks to the Woodpeckers!!  




More EXCITEMENT:  We are getting some leaves on our big trees.... Yeah!!!!!  (4/9/20)




On a beautiful evening in the Glade,  these little does are getting a little rest!!!!!  (4/5/20)




The Hosta is growing!!!!  (4/9/20)




Our Pink Dogwood tree is blooming and SO pretty!!! (4/9/20)





More April Excitement:  Another Hawk (or maybe the same one as before????) came to visit  on 4/11/20 --but this time he didn't find any lunch (thank goodness)... This time,  the crows were successful in running him off!!!!!!  I have been trying to find out what kind of Hawk this is --but so far,  I haven't found any  Hawk-Experts who will tell me!!!  We usually have Cooper's Hawks around here --but this doesn't look like a Cooper's.  ?????



Our FIRST IRIS, named BLATANT  (of many to come) bloomed on 4/9/20.  I love these colors,  don't you?





The DECK LILIES are looking good so far this year (4/10/20)!!!!  Many of you remember a year ago when we brought all of our Lilies to the deck, put them in containers --so that we could keep the deer from eating them... It is working so far again this year!!!!  Yeah!!!!



Pretty Pink AZALEAS in bloom in our backyard (4/10/20)




UH OH....  As happens in Tennessee the first week or two in April almost EVERY year,  we had a Freeze Warning issued to us (4/10/20)...  We covered the Lilies 'just in case' ---and luckily,  the next morning when we got up,  we realized that we had been spared--as of now... There's another possibility coming this Wed. --so we'll probably cover them again JUST in CASE!!!!!   'Tis life here on the Cumberland Plateau!!!!



Our Beautiful Front Yard with the Pink Dogwood showing off for us!!!  (4/9/20)





This last picture is a close-up of one of our Pink Dogwood Blooms (4/9/10).  I put this picture on Facebook today (Easter Sunday) wishing all of my family and friends a Happy Easter...


April is usually a 'travel' month for us  whether they are long trips or just day trips...  April in the Smokies is a gorgeous month---new spring growth and flowers,  little bear cubs running around,  and fewer people around (between the March Spring breaks and Summer rush).   I will never take all of this for granted again!

I'll close with a question for you today: "What have you MISSED the MOST during this Quarantine time?"   You will probably think that I would say that I miss our travels the most...  WELL--that is a close second ---but most of all I miss my FAMILY.   I cannot wait to see them again,  hug them --and tell them all how much I love them and have missed them!!!!

Have a great week,  and search for that HOPE for all of us.  Hope is all around us --if we just LOOK.... It's in the flowers,  the sky,  the sunrises/sunsets,  and even while watching the little birds making nests and feeding their young.... God's blessings on YOU.

Hugs,