Saturday, February 27, 2010

Signs of Spring

I was worried that the snow drops and daffodils would not be able to come up through the frozen snow cover but it has all melted except a few patches here and there. These tiny blue flowers are blooming on the hillside. Spring is coming....

Sunday is also the February full moon - it is called by the Native Americans a Full Snow Moon. The reason being that usually the heaviest snows fall in February. Hunting becomes very difficult, and hence to some Native American tribes this was the Hunger Moon. The next full moon will be in spring!

For more scenic photos visit Scenic Sunday! Or for more beautiful flowers visit Today's Flowers.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Skywatch Friday

snow on bare branches
trees groaning, bending deeply,
winter wind howling

For more sky photos check out Skywatch Friday!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Dripolator Coffeehouse, Black Mountain

Today is Dine to Be Kind - participating restaurants will donate their proceeds to help homeless pets in our area. I will be taking part in the big Dine Out and heading over to Black Mountain for a bite at the Dripolator - one of my favorite coffeehouses.

At the award-winning Dripolator Coffeehouse, quality is serious business. They take pride in their reputation for providing superior products and service at a reasonable price. They offer environmentally and socially responsible choices by supplying organic, shade grown, and fairly traded coffees, by recycling and using recycled products whenever possible, and by working with suppliers who share their commitment to the environment.

They have delicious pies, cakes, biscotti and any number of baked goods to go with your coffee. I usually get a spicy Iced Chai in warm weather and the hot version in cold. The staff is knowledgeable and very friendly. There are counter seats facing out the large windows - great for people watching. The sofas and futons offer comfy seating or you can sit at small bistro tables. The support posts are covered with fliers for everything from pets for adoption, art classes or homes to rent. Wifi is available and many just settle in with their laptop and enjoy the atmosphere, aroma and fresh hot coffee on a cold winter day.

For more interesting places in the world visit My World Tuesday.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dine to be Kind - Feb 23

Apollo Flame Bistro * Asheville Ale House * Battery Park Book Exchange * Blue Sky Cafe * Brixx Wood Fired Pizza * Bone-a-fide Bakery * Cafe Azalea * cafe ello * Cats & Dawgs * Charlotte Street Grill & Pub * Chorizo * Corner Kitchen * chai pani * Cucina 24 * Curras Dom * Dripolator Coffeehouse * Doc Chey's Noodle House * Filo Pastries * Frank's Roman Pizza * Green Sage Coffeehouse & Cafe * Grove Park Inn: Blue Ridge Dining Room, Horizons, Sunset Terrace Chophouse * Kilwin's Chocolate, Fudge & Ice Cream * Laughing Seed Cafe * Lenny's Sub Shop * Madison's Black Mountain * The Market Place * Morning Glory Cafe * Mellow Mushroom * Mountain Brew Cafe & Bakery * Nine Mile Inc* Oakie Dokie Smokehouse * Pomodoros * Province 620 * Rise 'N Shine Cafe * Rosetta's Kitchen * Roux at The Hilton * Sazerac * Sante Wine Bar * Sunny Point Cafe * Sunnyside Cafe * 12 Bones Smokehouse * Thai Basil * The Hop Ice Cream * Tomato Jam * Urban Burrito * Usual Suspects * Waggers Dog Depot * Wayne's Restaurant * Well-Bred Bakery & Cafe * West End Bakery * Wine Studio of Asheville * Wild Wing Cafe

Our local restaurants are sponsoring a Dine to be Kind day where the proceeds will go to help homeless pets. So grab a friend and head to one of the participating restaurants to support our local animal shelters.

Tuesday Feb 23 is also National Spay Day - many shelters are offering free or discounted spay/neuters for pets. Pass the word on and help keep the euthanasia rate down. Sadly, my state of North Carolina has the third highest euthanasia rate in the country - let's do something about this and spread the word that is is not just OK to spay - it is absolutely necessary!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines's Day!

This is a very special day in our house - our 18th wedding anniversary, my husband's birthday and Valentine's Day!

We celebrated by going out to diner last night (it is supposed to snow again tonight!) at The Admiral in Asheville with a couple of dear friends. The place is a food lover's restaurant in a dive bar! The decor is clean but not anything to write home about but the food is out of this world. It was a snowy night and the place is dark and cozy - a perfect Valentine's Day. To give you a glimpse of the place - this is dessert - a chocolate torte.

I will go more into detail about the restaurant in another post. I just wanted to take you down memory lane to 18 years ago today.....we were living in SW Florida and decided to get married on Valentine's Day. Since both our families lived in other parts of the country we, being a very unconventional couple, just went ahead and did it without telling anyone. In Florida, at the time, all you needed to do to get married was to have your marriage license notarized. Since it was a busy day at the courthouse, we found a realtor in town who would do it. We lived a block up the street so we got "married" at the real estate office, had breakfast at one of our favorite places and headed to the Everglades for a day of hiking and birdwatching. Not everyone's idea of a perfect wedding day but it was ours!

Where our wedding took place! It is a funky old building within walking distance to our house. My husband posed inthe banyan tree across the stree and at the end of our street.

Our wedding photo. We wore hiking clothes so we could head off to the Everglades after breakfast. Our neighbors bought white roses for flowers and took us to breakfast. We like to celebrate our special holidays by either going for a hike or going out to eat (if you can't tell by now we are foodies). We never tired of visiitng the Everglades while living in Florida!

We visited one of our favorite photography studios in the Everglades - Clyde Butcher who is a modern Florida Ansel Adams capturing breathtaking larger than life black and white photos of the natural surroundings in the Everglades. We have a couple of his photos in our house to remind us of a very special day!

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you. May your day be special whatever you do! For more Scenic Sunday posts visit here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Snow and Bird Count!

We participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count (see sidebar). We got 3 inches of new snow last night and the birds were at the feeders although not so many as I would have thought. The feeder I used was a hanging dish feeder in the rhododendron bush next to the house. As you can see it is very cold (20's with single digit wind chill). I love how the rhodos curl up their leaves in the cold. You can tell the temperature by just looking at the leaves - the tighter the curl the colder it is. As the sun warms up they unfurl.

We had mostly Juncos with a couple of Chickadees, Titmice and one Carolina Wren - my favorite. If I had a better camera I could get closer photos. Happy birdwatching!

For more Camera Critters visit here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Power Outage!

My world has been snowy and icy this week! It began Thursday evening with snow and had changed to sleet by Friday morning. Late morning it was raining hard and I thought - great, it will warm up and melt the snow. I noticed it was sticking to the trees and then the power went out! We had been through this before so my husband started the generator and we plugged the heater, refrigerator and TV in. Four hours later the power came back on. Yay..we just unplugged it all and bang! Out again and this time for three days! Even with the generator, it was like camping and very stressful on us and the cats. No water was the main issue.

We heard loud cracks and pops coming from the ridge behind our house but at night could not see what was coming down! Luckily nothing hit the house.

You could see the younger trees bending over with the weight of the ice and then snow on them. These are the healthy trees that survive without breaking. The older less supple ones are the ones that break or go over.

It appeared that just our small section of the mountains (higher elevation) got the ice and the rest of our area got rain which melted all the snow. If we drove 5-6 miles down our road, there was no snow, ice or anything on the road, yards. Our road, in contrast, looked like something out of Narnia!

Without the untiring efforts of the electric company and the tree service guys we would have been without power for more days. Boy am I glad I convinced my husband to buy the generator after our last power outage in Dec. 2009!

For more posts around the world visit My World Tuesday.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thankful Thursday

With yet another snow/sleet/ice storm coming we are all thankful to be snug indoors with plenty of food, heat and cats to snuggle with!

Tabitha the tabby enjoys her nap with Only and Lily.

The cat's funny antics never cease to amuse us. Here is Minnie helping herself to a piece of hard candy for the coffee table! She bats it around on the floor until it slips under a bookcase or dresser and ends her game.

The errands are done, pantry stocked and we will wait to see how the weather all plays out.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Winter Creeks

The roads in our mountains follow the river and creek beds - usually the lowest points through the ridges. These were taken the next road over as we headed to the next town.

The covered bridge is privately owned - just a pretty way to preserve the small bridge over the creek to their house.

The snow is very deep here so I was not able to get closer for more detailed shots.

Click here for more Watery Wednesday posts from all over the globe!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Asheville

If you are a serious chocolate lover like I am this is the place to be. It opened a few years ago in downtown Asheville and is as they say "a sacred place for chocophiles." Located on South Lexington off Patton and around the corner from Salsa's, the lounge boasts soft comfy chairs and sofas, intimate tables, relaxing music and even free wireless for those inclined - you can spend a lot of time here soaking in the atmosphere and the delicious sweets.

I go for the liquid truffles - 3 ounces of hot sipping chocolate or a decadent liquefied version of their incredible truffles - literally pure bliss. A cup of hot cocoa doesn't even come close to this treat.

Set up as a self serve counter, you make your choice (if you can) from all the handmade artisian chocolates, truffles, pastries, pay the cashier and find a seat. The local couple who run and own the lounge goes to extreme measures to use local ingredients in the food and with the food. The beer(yes, beer goes very well with chocolate) is from Pisgah Brewing Company, the organic coffee from Counter Culture Coffee, Ultimate Ice Cream provides the cold treat and the wine, herbs, teas, garnishes, flowers, honey etc. are all local! They also carry a small assortment of the better chocolate bars from all over the globe - you won't find a selection like this just anywhere.

They ship so check out French Broad Chocolates for more info and if you are ever in the area -do visit! You will love it even if you are not that into chocolate!

For more local places to learn about from all over the world, visit My World Tuesday!


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