Flowing Water in the Smokies

February 7, 2017

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Both Betsy and I have mentioned the extreme drought we had in this part of Tennessee during the latter part of 2016.  We haven’t completely recovered in spite of rains over the past few weeks, but the situation has certainly improved.

We weren’t sure what to expect when we visited the Smokies in mid-January of this year.  But we were happy to see water flowing in Middle Prong Little River in the Tremont area of the park, as can be seen in the photo above.  That’s Lower Spruce Flat Falls in the background.

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We could even enjoy flowing water from the balcony of our room at Rocky Waters Inn in Gatlinburg.

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The next day we went to the Greenbrier section of the park and hiked along Middle Prong Little Pigeon River.  It, too, was beautiful.

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Although we very much enjoy hiking, sometimes we just have to sit and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.

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Mornings at the Beach

January 10, 2017

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Betsy and I really enjoy our visits to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.  For the past few years we’ve been going in both May and early December.  (We can’t stay away from that delicious Calabash seafood for too long!)

Although the weather is usually warmer in May, we enjoy our December visits because we get a good view of the sunrise from the balcony of our room at the Islander Inn, as you can see from the photo above.

So, although we are on vacation, both Betsy and I make an attempt to get up each morning at sunrise.

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On some mornings there is a thick bank of clouds on the horizon,

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although patches of blue were often soon seen in other parts of the sky.

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Some mornings all we could do was stand in awe at the beauty of God’s creation.

I Think Betsy Is House-Hunting

December 13, 2016

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Betsy and I traveled to Florida to celebrate Thanksgiving with my son Robert and his family.  Afterward we came home by way of our favorite beach in North Carolina.  As we usually do, we traveled by back roads and found interesting places to visit whenever possible along the way.

I didn’t get suspicious at first — after all, this was our normal routine.  But then I realized that Betsy was having me take her picture in front of some of the homes we saw along the way.

The first house she seemed interested in was the Biltmore house near Asheville, North Carolina, as you can see in the photo above.
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We’ve been there many times, but this time Betsy commented on just how huge the house seemed to be.  I’m inclined to agree with her.

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We stopped by the Hampton Plantation State Park near Georgetown, South Carolina, where Betsy sat on the front steps of the Rutledge Mansion, named after the last owner of the house.

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Although the house is very nice, it is somewhat in ‘the middle of nowhere’. which I think is a disadvantage as far as my Beautiful Bride is concerned.

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I think Betsy found her ‘dream house’ when we visited the McLeod Plantation on James Island, Charleston, South Carolina.  She had her picture taken on the back porch of the house ….

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… as well as on the steps of the front of the house.

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I wonder if I need to think about moving?

Autumn Iris

November 8, 2016

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Betsy and I are fortunate to be able to enjoy iris at various locations in our yard.  I like iris not only because they are beautiful but also because they require relatively little care (unlike our roses!).

When Betsy and I started getting serious about our yard, we discovered that there were such things as reblooming iris.  Most of the iris we have are rebloomers, so we can enjoy the blossoms twice a year.  It’s rather like doubling our pleasure.

The iris in the header is Cantina.  This beauty has been in our yard for several years, and I always marvel at the color.

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Clarence is another iris that we’ve enjoyed over the years.  It is in the flower bed near the road, so we share it with people passing by.

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One of our newer iris is Lemon Duet.  This is actually the first time it has bloomed for us in October, but we’re very glad it did.

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My Friend Jonathan has been a good friend and has put on a spring and autumn show ever since he joined our yard.

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Double Your Fun is a newer iris for us as well.  The drought kept it from developing normally, but the colors are still gorgeous, so I could leave it out.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our autumn iris blossoms as much as we do.

A Different 9/11 Video

October 11, 2016

I’ve always had a problem with the second day of our honeymoon cruise.  Don’t get me wrong — my Bride was as sweet and beautiful as ever, and the weather was absolutely perfect.  We were visiting the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin, which is part Dutch and part French.  The island seemed like a tropical paradise, and the people were very friendly and helpful.

So what was the problem?  The date — September 11, 2001.  We knew very little about what was happening in New York until later in the day.

I guess I’ve always felt a little guilty about enjoying such a beautiful setting on such a tragic day.  I wasn’t sure if I should post my pictures and make this video, but finally decided that since the pictures showed our experiences that day I would go ahead and post them.  The music used in the slideshow is “The World Turned Upside Down,” which somehow seems appropriate for that day.

If you would like to see these and other images taken during our visit to St. Maarten, along with a caption for each image, click HERE.

A Visit to Cades Cove

September 20, 2016

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In mid-August Betsy and I took a day to visit with our friends Judy and Charlie at their campsite in the Cades Cove Campground.  We always enjoy a visit to Cades Cove (or any other part of the Smokies as far as that is concerned!).

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Camping at Cades Cove is an annual event for Judy and Charlie, and we try to visit with them each year.  They are experienced campers and always make us feel welcome when we visit with them.

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After our visit, Betsy and I drove to the beginning of the Cades Cove Loop Road.  We didn’t have enough time to drive through the cove, but we could stop and get some pictures.

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My Beautiful Bride is always happy whenever we are in the Smokies.

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As we were heading home we stopped at the Townsend Visitor Center for one last look at our beautiful Tennessee sky and Mountains.

The Women in My Life

August 23, 2016

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They say confession is good for the soul.  I hope ‘they’ are right, because I feel I really should confess about some of the ladies in my life.  If you go beyond this paragraph, however, you have to promise not to tell Betsy about my confession.

One of the first ladies I see each summer is Janice Brown.  She’s very pretty and perky, as you can tell by the photo above.

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I must admit to being partial to blondes, and the bright yellow of Carolyn Criswell is always a delight to see.

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Judith is somewhat shy, but she is always a joy to have around.

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I have a great deal of Irish in me, so I suppose it’s natural that I’ve been drawn to Dublin Elaine.  In my mind there aren’t many like her in this world.

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Of course it’s hard to think of the Irish without picturing fiery redheads.  Lady Lucille definitely fits that description.

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Last, but not least, is Lady Elizabeth.  I suppose I shouldn’t feel too guilty about seeing her; after all Betsy’s first name is Elizabeth.

There — you have my confession.  I wonder when I’ll start to feel better?

Down Memory Lane: Trying to Feel Cooler

July 27, 2016

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It’s been down-right hot hear on the Cumberland Plateau for the past couple of weeks, and promised relief just never shows up.  So I thought perhaps I could feel more comfortable by revisiting an excursion my Beautiful Bride and I took to the Smokies in January, 2013.

We were on our way to visit Cades Cove, but we stopped along the West Prong of Little River on the way so we could visit Meadow Branch Cascade.

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As you can tell from the picture above, it was decidedly cooler than it is now.  While I scrambled down the bank of the river to get pictures, Betsy kept an eye on me from the safety of the road.

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I thought the point where the base of the cascade met the river was a pretty sight.

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The West Prong Little River is definitely little before it meets the cascade, but it flowed clear and cold on the day of our visit.

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We like visiting the Smokies because we always see something new.  We never expected to see a dolphin smiling at us as he stuck is snout out of the rushing water.

Another Experiment

July 5, 2016

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I’ve been experimenting again.  I’ve used Photoshop to horizontally stitch together pictures to make panoramas, but I had never tried to stitch pictures vertically.

When Betsy and I visited Dry Falls on our way home from our anniversary celebration, I captured three pictures of different parts of the the waterfall which I later stitched together to get the image above.  I think the result gives a good view of Dry Falls.

Early to Rise

June 15, 2016

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“Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

I wonder if they still teach that saying from Old Richard’s Almanac?  I’ve given up on the wealthy and wise part of the saying, but my Beautiful Bride and I are hoping the healthy benefits of early rising hold true.

A nearly full moon greeted us as we left the house one early morning. May 23, 2016.

It isn’t always easy to get out of bed (and out of the house) before the crack of dawn, but we try.  Fortunately we are often greeted by a beautiful sight such as the one above.

Some days are cloudy, but there is still beauty to be found.

Dawn's early light on a cloudy morning. April 25, 2016.

Clear skies have a spectacular predawn beauty of their own.  The colors are amazing.

A crescent moon in the dawn sky behind our house. April 5, 2016.

In addition to beautiful skies, we are usually treated to the songs of birds as we make our way around the golf course.  The peace and serenity can be felt.

Good Morning World! The sun popping over the mountains. May 4, 2016.

And we know we can count on the sun to rise over the mountains to the east and show us the way home.

A light to show us the way. The fourteenth hole of Druid Hills Golf Course. April 30, 2016.