Friday, April 30, 2010

Wayah Bald Observation Tower

Three or four years ago hubby and I accidentally discovered a wonderful road that winds through the mountains of North Carolina.  It goes north from Hwy 64 near Franklin, NC, very winding and curvy and offers incredible views.  Since we found it we have been over that mountain numerous times, and it is one of our favorite day trips from home.  We had noticed a graveled, steep road leading off of the main road, but just assumed it was a forestry service fire road and didn't think much about it until last fall when I discovered there is an observation tower up there at the peak.  We had intended going up there this past winter, but the few times we went over the main road, the gravel road was basically impassable due to snow and ice.

So a week or so ago we decided since the weather was supposed to be lovely, we would pack a picnic and see if the road up to the top of Wayah Bald was okay to drive - and it was!  While it was narrow and graveled, and a single lane most of the way, the road was in basically pretty good shape, with few major ruts or pot holes.  We drove right up to the top, parked, and walked the 1/4 mile or less to the tower.

The tower was originally a forestry tower, but when it became unsafe, it was turned into this observation tower, and dedicated to the memory of John Byrne, a forestry supervisor in the late 1800's and early 1900's there in the Nantahala National Forest.

The tower is lovely!  Rough rocks, stacked and topped with a roof of large timbers.  It is 53 feet high, or about three stories, so it isn't too much of a climb but the views are incredible!!!   I know these pictures don't do it justice, but wanted to share a bit of the views with you.

We spent a bit of time up there, and encountered a number of hikers who had been on either the Bartram or the Appalachian Trails which go very near the tower.  After we had looked our fill, we headed back down the mountain, taking a slight detour to the Wine Spring Bald - just cell towers, etc. so no real thrill there.  Then we stopped at the Wilson Lick Historical Site.

This site consisted of an old house, barn and falling in outhouse that had been used many years ago as a ranger station.  And it was just beautiful!!!   The buildings were covered in old shingles, gray from the weather.  There were mountain laurels all around, and bits of plants like mountain mint beginning to peek up from the ground.

Now, at the time we already had fully leaved trees and the early spring flowers like forsythia and daffodils were long gone down here in northern Georgia, but up on the bald, there were very few signs of spring yet!  Very few leaves, a few trees in bloom (you know, the pollen kind, not the pretty ones!) and that was about it.  So I would just love to see this place later on in the spring or early summer.

We were there all alone, so we wandered around, enjoying the sunshine and birdsong for a while before we headed on down, back to the main road, and made our way to the boat ramp on Nantahala Lake.  We have picnicked there before, it's just a lovely place, but there are no picnic tables, so we opened up the back gate of my little CRV, I spread the vinyl tablecloth across the back and made our sandwiches.  After we ate we walked down to the dock and took a few pictures.  When we were there back in October that cove of the lake was almost totally dry, but now it is just full of water, and it's the prettiest color!

  I even let Wayne have the camera for a minute and take a picture of me!

It was a gorgeous day, and I know we will go back there over and over again - it's just one of THOSE places!  You can find out more information and get directions by clicking here >>>  Wayah Bald  <<< or doing a search on the internet.  If you are ever in the area, it is well worth the trip!

Well, I've got things to do, so I had better get off of here!  Next time you hear from me, I'll have lots of fun things to tell you about!  Blessings friends!  Becky

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Remembering . . .

Somehow I got to going through a bunch of my old photo files, and found a number of favorites I thought I would share with you.  And yes, if you have been reading my blog for very long, you have most likely seen them before, but that's okay.  These are my memories, after all!

This is when the three other people who live here are most happy.  My hubby 'daddy' is on the recliner, Bailey in his lap, and Bessie laying beside him.  They are totally at rest and at peace.  {sigh}

A picture of one of my favorite roses "Glowing Peace".  We bought the bush in 2004 after we found out they had found no more cancer during my surgery.  That's what we were  -  "glowing with peace, and joy!"

The day I got my Trikke - trying to figure it out.  That was 3 years ago, and I still love it, but just don't get to ride it often enough.

Oscar the cat.  I was trying to work on the computer and he jumped up on the desk, laid down and went to sleep.  "Never mind me!"  Anyway, I moved the mouse a bit to where you see it, and he never moved.  I loved Oscar, but I love it so much more that he now lives with someone else!

One cool hubby!  With our canoe on Lake Lanier.

I don't do much scrapbooking, but I did this layout for a scrapbooking challenge a few years ago.  that is me, dressed for our choral concert in 1969.  I was so proud - mama made that dress and I loved it!  I even got flowers and had my hair put up by a 'beautician'.  How cool was that!!!

Hubby and me at Whitewater Falls near the SC/NC border south of Cashiers, NC.

I know it's hard to see, but if you look just above and to the left of the top of the bird feeder you can see a male Rose Breasted Grosbeak, and up above him a couple of limbs is his mate.  I've only seen them here that one time!

The needlework tray I made to carry on road trips.  It's a partical board tray I painted, used 1" foam core board wrapped in batting, then gingham fabric, then plastic sheeting.  The pillow on the left side is a pin/needle cushion which is held on with velcro.  I still use it regularly!

My delicious chicken pot pie.  You can find the recipe HERE.

A yellow magnolia bloom I saw at a nursery in Chattanooga last year.  It's so beautiful!

Two beautiful butterflies sharing a buddleia bloom. They were just beautiful, too!

My favorite picture of me - ever!  My great grandmother "Ma Cook" made that dress for me!

A pretty hummer in front of our 'former' camellia bush.

Hubby at one of our frequent picnics - this one somewhere in TN (I think!).

One of my favorite meals, especially for a picnic!

A daddy cardinal feeding his baby last summer - right outside our front door!

My baby girl, Bailey Sue, all wrapped up in my house robe, watching me on the computer.

Ribs - yum!  You can find MY recipe for rib rub HERE.

It's hard to believe this was taken just last month!!!  This is a pair (male right, female left) of house finches, trying to stay warm.

I hope you have enjoyed my walk through memory lane!  I thought I had posted the recipe for that chicken salad in the pic above, but I couldn't find the blog post.  Now I'll have to make it soon so I can post it on here!  Have a great day everyone!  Becky

Thursday, April 22, 2010

No Worries!

I can't believe it's been over a week since I did a 'real' post!  This past week or so has been very busy - in a good way - and I just haven't had time to sit down and write!  But I guess now is the time!

Let's see, where to start!  Well, my friend and I went 'nursery hopping' last Thursday and I got a flat of mostly herbs, but with 3 foxgloves thrown in - love those foxgloves!  Then we found a place that sells supplies to nurseries and growers, and I bought two brand new, un-used bushel baskets that I am going to line with plastic and use as pots for tomatoes and annuals.

Then on Friday my aunt (daddy's younger sister) and I went to a local monthly antique market and shopped around a bit, but mostly just visited with each other.  Then I went to a few yard sales, an RV supply place to get a new portable gray water holding tank (yeah, fun, I know!) for our camper.  Then I bought a few groceries and came home.

Saturday I baked cookies for the freezer.   They are quick desserts for picnics and camping trips.  And I tried to recreate the lime jalapeno mayo from Cinco, and we had 'recreated' fried chicken tacos for dinner.  They were good.  Not as good as the ones at Cinco, but definitely edible.

On Sunday we took a picnic up into the mountains - pics and more on that coming soon.

Hmmmm, Monday I worked out in the yard a bit - moving some unhappy plants, dividing others and doing a bit of cleaning up.

Tuesday morning I got started cleaning out my dresser drawers - a task that should have been done long, long ago!  I had 4 of 6 drawers cleaned out when my aunt (daddy's middle sister) called and she was on her way from their FL home to their VA home for the spring.  She is the one that I asked for prayer for a few months ago.  She is doing great now, so thank you!  Anyway, she suggested we meet for a visit at a large antique store in Alpharetta, so we spent a couple of hours visiting and enjoying all the goodies.  I had not seen her since the day of Daddy's funeral, so it was good to see her!  After I left her, it was almost 5pm and traffic was horrible, so I made my way to Walmart and stocked up on a few things we needed while traffic settled down.

Left to right:  My dad's youngest sister, Ann; My great aunt (Daddy's mother's sister) Fay; Daddy's middle sister, Linda; across the table is my Mom, Daddy (he had just had cataract surgery but didn't have his new glasses yet, he looks so funny without glasses!)

Yesterday was all about 2 things!  Doing laundry and refilling the drawers I had emptied the day before.  Now that I have gotten rid of tons of old socks and undies, etc. that were past their prime, I have put my good ones in there and can find them now - wow!  What a concept!

Today I'm washing the dog's beds and working in my pitifully neglected office/studio.  It seems that everything in the house that is 'loose' ends up in there and then it gets so messy I can't do anything.  So today I will be purging and putting away and organizing a bit.

So you see, I have been busy - a GOOD busy!  And while I do apologize for not posting in a while, I must admit that it has been wonderful to be up off my rear, doing something productive instead of sitting in my chair at this computer, in the funk I have been in so long!  All this, both getting out and about with special folks, AND getting back into working in my home, is healing and helping me get back to living.  So it's all good!

Hope you are doing well!  Blessings, Becky

PS - a special huge Happy Birthday Wish to my cousin Suzie!  She and her sister, Lisa have had their hands full these last few weeks taking care of their mom, Patsy, who has been very ill!  Patsy is now in rehab, getting ready to go home soon.  Thank you for your prayers on their behalf, too!  Happy Birthday Suzie!

PPS - someone else has a birthday tomorrow (4/23) do you know who it is?????? hmmmmmmm???? 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Musings and Meanderings . . .

I call these bluebells, but I don't really know what they are - I just know they are a pretty touch of color in spring!

Hi Folks! Hope all is well with you, and you are having beautiful spring weather like we are here in northern Georgia! The sun is shining, birds are singing, and pollen is flying so thick you can see it in the air! So I’m staying inside as much as I can these days. My sinus passages and pollen disagree vehemently, so since I can’t stay away from the sinus part, I try to stay away from the pollen!

Woods Violets in the back yard - a gift from little birdies!  These are smaller and the leaves are different than the ones that grow in most southern yards

Last Saturday’s Farmgirls meeting was a lot of fun! Poor Cynthia tried to teach me to knit, and I do think I got the basics, but I just felt freakish with a long stick extending from each hand. Mary Ann, however, brought a bunch of goodies that she’s been using, among them knitting looms and they looked like fun, so I ran to Walmart after the meeting and picked up one oblong loom (about $7) and some pretty yarn. Since Sunday, when I started on it, I’ve gotten about 2 ½ to 3 feet of a pretty scarf done, and it goes pretty fast.

Solomons Seal - native to the area.  The first summer we lived here there was one stem.  This year (our 7th summer) there are about 22 - 25 stems.  They are obviously happy, so I refuse to do anything other than let them be!

Saturday night hubby and I went to a ‘new to us’ restaurant about 15 minutes from here called Cinco Mexican Cantina. My aunt had told me about it, so I finally got hubby to agree to go there, and we will definitely go back as soon as we can! It is a ‘higher end’ Mexican restaurant, very modern inside, and the food was delicious! The chips were hot out of the fryer, and the salsa was one of those smoky, very finely cut ones and was delicious! I also had the 'Fried Chicken Tacos', ($10.99 with rice and beans) and I was instantly in love! They took chicken tenders and breaded them in masa (mexican corn meal) and fried them, then wrapped them in flour tortillas with lettuce, tomato and a homemade lime jalapeno mayonnaise. So light and fresh and flavorful - LOVE, I tell you!

A peach flowering quince - my mom gave me a small piece with just a bit of roots and I brought it home and set it out.  It has grown a lot, and finally has a couple of blooms.

On Sunday we worked a bit in the yard, pruned the buddleia (butterfly bush) 'trees' and a few other things, and I cleaned out the bed around the mailbox.  For dinner I did steaks on the grill, long grain and wild rice, and our favorite, grilled asparagus - yum!

Lily of the Valley - I planted 2 plants about 3-4 years ago. One, the white one, died. The pink one has one stem of blooms this spring, but there are two new babies come up beside 'her'. Maybe she's made up her mind to reproduce, at last!

Tomorrow my new friend, Mary Ann, and I are going nursery hopping in search of plants for our gardens.  I'm taking her to some of my favorite local places.  I think this will be a great chance for us to get to know each other better.  Mary Ann founded The Georgia Farmgirls.  For years I have been praying for a 'real' neighbor, and I think I have one now.  She lives about 3-4 miles from here, a left turn out of our subdivision straight for a few miles and a left turn into her driveway.  How cool is that!

Can you tell me, if this is a real strawberry, or one of those fake strawberry weeds???  A few of these came up last year out in our back yard.  This year they have multiplied a lot, and have a few blooms.  They don't look like the fake strawberry weeds, but you never know.  I love that the birdies leave me all kinds of fun gifts out in our back yard wilderness!

Many things are beginning to bloom now, and even more are finally beginning to  push up from the ground.  I am very excited that my lemon verbena, which I thought had died, is now beginning to put out from the roots!  I also thought one of my peonies - one that came from my great aunt Jewel - had died, but I dug down a bit yesterday, and not only did it not die, it has a couple of new shoots this spring.  Jewel was my dad's father's brother's wife, and she also taught me in fifth grade.  Do you know how hard it was to call her "Mrs. _________" instead of Jewel, which she had always been to me?  I must say it was one of my very favorite years of school!  She kept it fun and interesting for all of us!

My pride and joy - a lilac my dad gave me several years ago.  They don't normally grow very well here, but she seems to be happy.  She's got more blooms than ever before, and in the last 3 years has put on five babies from her roots.  Last time I talked to my Daddy about her, he said to leave the babies alone, but that was when there were 2, and I have 3 more this year and I am afraid they will crowd each other out and none of them will do well.  I'm going to take the baby from last year and move it this fall, and see how that goes.

I have a number of plants that my dad gave me over the years, and it seems that this year they are the ones that are doing the best.  The lilac, Chinese snowball, Encore azalea all seem to be just out doing themselves.  I like to think he is tending them for me.  I miss him so!

Up close Chinese Snowball bloom.  Anyone getting married who needs a gorgeous bouquet?  I'd love to donate!  Just a few of these blooms with a pretty bow would be a gorgeous brides bouquet!

Just a few more pics to share with you . . .

This is the same Chinese Snowball bush.  Some of the bloom heads are larger than my head!  They start off a pretty soft green, and go white as they mature.

The 'Red Pixie' lilacs are about to bloom out.  When these bloom, you can smell them all over the yard!  They bloom one huge 'crop' in spring, then re-bloom several more times over the summer and fall.

The encore azalea Daddy gave me - it's so gorgeous!

A hosta with dew on the leaves.

A close up of the Encore azalea.  Isn't it beautiful!

Well, that's all from me for now!  I think I'm going to make a new recipe I got from one of my friends.  If it's good, I'll try to post it on here soon.  Have a great day!!!  Blessings, Becky

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Beautiful Blog Giveaway!

See that lovely painting of white geraniums up above?  Well, Roxanne is giving it away on April 16th, so if you want in for a chance to win it, you'd better visit her HERE!

I hope to be back with an update of 'goings on' in the next couple of days.  The repair person is coming to see about the oven tomorrow.  I'll be so glad to be able to bake again!  Blessings, Becky

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Quick Update and . . . It's Amazing!

The last few days have been amazingly beautiful, and abnormally hot for this time of year.  We've been setting high temp records right and left.  Of course this all means that the pollen is swarming!  This morning I was out pulling a few weeds while waiting for the delivery men, and you could actually see the pollen flying through the air!  If you are one of those fortunate people who live where spring and fall pollen seasons aren't a big deal, you truly ARE fortunate!

But then the delivery men came, installed, and left me with stacks and stacks of laundry to do!  I have our usual laundry, the extra laundry from our camping trip, AND a huge stack of vintage linens I'd bought on ebay to resell to also be washed.  And that brings me to the amazing part!

My washer had been on it's last leg for a while now.  It made horrible noises and wasn't doing a very good job of spinning the water out of the clothes.  Then, the dryer, which we thought was fine just up and died!  Kaput!  We looked into having a repairman come out and work on both, but it would have cost a lot just for a service call, not to mentioin repair.  My hubby is of the "just buy a new one" mentality.  I wanted to get them repaired, he didn't.  And because I really needed my laundry facilities working, I folded!

And today they brought the new washer and dryer.  They aren't fancy.  They are a good brand, but much closer to the bottom of the line than even the middle of the road!  But they work!  No more awful, painful sounding noises from the washer, and the dryer is almost totally silent.

And I am amazed at how easily I had 'gotten used to' the sounds, because now I can hear the dogs outside and the dishwasher in the kitchen.  Just amazing!  And I am so happy to have 'my' laundry facilities back in use!

The oven, now that's a different story all together!  The first available appointment is next Monday between 1 and 5, so it will be another week of trying to figure out what to have for dinner.  You see, I bake/roast a lot!  This time of year I grill a lot, both on the new Cuisinart grill/griddle, and on the big grill, and when I grill out, we have baked potatoes, roast potatoes, oven fries, etc. as well as roast veggies.  Plus, I've really been in the mood for some 'lovin from the oven' but I can't do it - yet! 

Anyway, the oven is part of a slide in stove.  The stove top works fine, the broiler works fine, just the oven won't come on AT ALL!  It's gas, and it's got digital controls, so I don't know what the problem is.    It's about 14-15 years old, so it may be fixable, but it may not be, and while I would love a new stove, now is just not the best time for another appliance purchase!

One quick request.  My cousin-in-law Patsy is having some major medical issues, and her daughters (who say they read my blog (Hi Lisa and Suzie!) would truly appreciate any prayers you would like to lift up on their Mom's behalf!  And if you lift up Patsy, would you mind lifting up Lisa and Suzie and their families while you are at it?  It is hard caring for an ill parent, and I know that from experience!  And once again I thank you!

So, that's it from here.  I'm off to check the clothes in the new dryer and keep the cycle going!  Later, Becky