Monday, May 25, 2009

Lucky Shots

(PS - I have no idea why that blank box above is in this posting!)

Once in awhile I get lucky and get some fairly interesting pictures.

Here is the bluebird flying into his house. If you click on the picture, you can see him better.

Angel Kitty doesn't like her picture taken and usually turns her head away, but here she was rolling around in the gravel and didn't notice that I was pursuing her with the camera until it was too late!

Last year this cardinal hammered at our truck, so we had to cover it. This year it is the same problem. We assume he has a nest nearby.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wildlife in Unexpected Places

On our trip to the Smokies, we saw lots of turkey, deer, and even bear. We were also surprised to see these:

This tree swallow was an added attraction in one of the old homes at Cable Mill.This duck was showing off her little ones to the patrons of a restaurant we visited in Gatlinburg. We were concerned when she ventured too close to the roadway and seemed oblivious to the traffic. Fortunately, she directed them back to the stream and they remained safe and sound. We wonder how many ducklings she started out with!

Elijah Oliver Place in Cades Cove

I am finally getting around to posting some more from our trip to the Smokies. I have been very busy and not able to keep up with my blogging as I would like to be able to do. These pictures are from the Elijah Oliver Place in Cades Cove. To get to this property, you have to hike a trail 1/2 mile back into the woods. What a beautiful and peaceful place! When I visit a place like this, far from the maddening crowds, I become nostalgic for the old ways. It is very peaceful where we live too, but this was even more so, with the only access by foot. Here is what the information brochure has to say about this site:

"Elijah Oliver . . . was born in th
e Cove in 1824. After he married, he and his family moved out of the Cove before the Civil War. After the war, he bought this property and moved back in. In the time and place of this family, more buildings were required for living than now. With no refrigerator or freezer, they needed the springhouse to keep milk and butter cool. They needed the smokehouse to store and preserve hams, shoulders, and side meat for an entire year. They ate mostly pork because it was easier to preserve than other meats. They needed the corn crib to store enough corn for grinding into meal to last until the next harvest. Having no automobile or motorized farm equipment, they needed horses or mules to pull plows, harrows, buggies, sldes and wagons. And they needed a barn to shelter these animals, along with the cows that provided milk. Hay to feed them was stored in the barn loft. Water for drinking, cooking, bathing and laundry had to be carried from the spring. No easy task. Much later than the time of Oliver, just one family in the Cove had wate piped from a spring into the house to a homemade kitchen sink. Two or three other families piped water from springs to faucets just outside their houses. . . . Buildings were of log construction until the 1870's because there was no nearby sawmill to saw logs into lumber."

Doug at a side door.

The fireplaces in the house.
I see a girl's face in this fireplace, complete with eyes & eyebrows, hair, nose, cheeks and mouth. She is looking to her right, our left. Does anybody else see it? Now that I've seen it, I can't NOT see it when I look at this picture! She reminds me of the girl on Norton salt containers.

An outbuilding
The barn

Me on the front porch

The springhouse

A peek inside the springhouse shows how the water in the stream is directed to a trough where they kept their milk.

A kind fellow visitor took our picture.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

We moved to our home here in Tennessee in 2004, and we have been talking about visiting the Smokies ever since. We are only two hours' drive away! We finally did it. Knowing that we wanted to beat the tourist season, last week we took a couple of days' mini-vacation and drove to the Smokies.

We stayed overnight in Gatlinburg, then ventured out during the day to the park, where we did lots of hiking. We took a 3-mile hike (round trip) back to Laural Falls the evening that we arrived.Me at Laural Falls

The falls were beautiful and on our drive back, I spotted a black bear not far into the woods on the side of the road. We turned around and went back. It was a mama bear with her cub in the tree above her. It would have been a perfect photo opportunity, but as luck would have it, my camera was in the trunk and when other people noticed and stopped, the bear got nervous and moved farther back into the woods, leaving her cub safe up in the tree. Lesson learned: when traveling in the Smokies, always have your camera at hand! You just never know when a photo opportunity will present itself.

On Thursday we visited Cades Cove. What a beautiful area nestled among the mountains!

Panoramic view taken at Cades Cove.

Me at Cades Cove

What is Cades Cove
? It is a relatively flat valley between the mountains and ridges of the Smokies. It started with a handful of families in 1821 and was accessible only via indian trails. By 1850, this farming community had grown to 132 families. Some of the original log homes still stand, as well as churches, to include a Primitive Baptist Church that was established in 1827. Today a part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the cove has trails for hiking, and the narrow one-way paved road that loops the cove is excellent for bicyclists. Those not inclined to enjoy the sports opportunities the Cove offers can take the auto tour and visit each of the 18 sites. There's something for everyone to enjoy!

We took a 5-mile hike (round trip) back to Abrams Falls in Cades Cove.
Me at Abrams Falls

Doug & I along the trail back from Abrams Falls. We found a log that made a perfect "tripod" that we used to take a picture using the camera's timer.

Cades Cove has a large population of black bear, as does the entire park (two for every square mile!) We saw six of them as we were driving out of the Cove; three in one field and three in another, but they were too far away for my camera to take decent pictures.

I'll have more pictures of our mini-vacation in a later post!

Friday, May 1, 2009

How to Give Your Cat a Pill

In light of what Doug and I go through each morning giving Angel Kitty her two pills for her urinary tract infection, I thought I'd share these humorous instructions that I found on the internet about how to give a cat a pill:

How to Give Your Cat a Pill

(I particularly like the note at the bottom on how to give your DOG a pill.)

Actually, we have the procedure down pretty good, with the help of a pill giving gadget thingie we got from the vet's. I have to wrap her good in a towel and hold on tight while Doug does the administering. Usually the pills go down but not every time. Sometimes it takes more than one try.

And when it is all done, Angel gets her "special food" treat - a bit of Fancy Feast canned food that she loves.