Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bon Hiver...Our First Snow!

We got 14" in Western NC - not a common occurrence! Looks pretty but very treacherous on the roads! In all of last winter the total snow was much less than this one snowfall! For more Scenic Sunday shots visit here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fred's General Mercantile, Beech Mountain

One of my favorite places to visit in the fall is Fred's General Mercantile located on Beech Mountain. Beech, as we call it, is Eastern America's Highest Town at an elevation of 5506'.

Celebrating it's 30th year, Fred's is open 365 days a year, and they claim that if they don't have it then you don't need it! I like to pick up pumpkins, decorative corn, gourds and fall decorations here - the prices are great.

The store serves the needs of visitors, skiers, snowboarders, summer folks, and locals alike. Remember when each small town or village always had a general store that served as the center of the community? This is what visiting Fred's brings to mind. They carry food, hardware, clothing, pet supplies, bird feeders, videos to rent, books, seasonal decorations, and so much more. And they even have a deli to grab a bite for lunch while in the area.

During the summer months they offer free concerts on the green next to the store featuring local music. It is a long and steep drive up the mountain, but well worth the visit! For more info go to Fred's General Mercantile.

For more posts from all over the world visit My World Tuesday.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Photo Hunt - Anything Goes

This week the theme is a free one. I wanted to share some photos of my dear cats!

This is Chica my oldest at 18. A gorgeous black tortie! The one below is our Albert - sound asleep in his basket. He is deaf -being white with blue eyes.

For more Camera Critters and Photo Hunt click on here!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Castle in the Corn Maze, West Asheville

It was a warm fall day and we wanted to get outdoors and enjoy the season last Sunday. We decided to head to the 10 acre Castle in the Corn Maze staged to raise money for the Eliada Home for Children.

The Home was a short drive from the city but a world away. We had visited corn mazes before and were looking forward to this one.

There was a good crowd here with plenty of parking. A tent was set up with tables for those who wanted to visit but not walk the maze. All sorts of activities beckoned - a horse drawn wagon ride, picking out pumpkins to decorate for Halloween, a food stand with drinks and snacks and even a small straw bale maze for toddlers.

We headed right for the maze, purchasing tickets and getting our map. The castle featured three mazes - a 2.2 mile one going well to the rear of the corn field, a smaller 1 mile maze and then a tiny one for the kids. We opted for the 2.2 mile one called Dragon's Lair and headed in.

The trick is to follow the lines on the map - the lines are the path. Each map had a Sudoku puzzle in the right upper corner with stations all throughout the maze to check in, punch out the station numbers and Sudoku spaces with different shapes. This was fun - it gave you an idea of where in the maze you were and a goal to achieve while walking it. I have been in other mazes without this feature and found this to be a great bonus.

Since I am directionally challenged, I let my husband do the map reading while I took photos and enjoyed the walk. The field was hilly so it was a good physical workout just walking the path plus a mental workout finding our way. We ran into many other families struggling to read the map or offering directions if they were already on their way back.

The corn stalks towered over our heads and at times you could only see the corn and nothing else! People of all ages were out enjoying the challenge - young kids, couples with babies in backpacks and grandparents with their grandchildren.

Once out of the maze, fill in your Sudoku puzzle and turn the bottom slip in for prizes at the ticket booth. We sat for a bit to rest and eat a snack before heading back home. This maze is located on Leicester Highway off Haywood Road in West Asheville. Go to Castle in the Corn for more info.

If you would like to find a corn maze near you click here.

For more posts from all over the world click on My World on Tuesday.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bear Visitors

Photo from the Asheville Citizen Times.

We have had many black bear sightings in the mountains here this spring and summer. This one was taken by a man visiting a nearby construction site. He headed back to his car and who was in the driver seat but this mom and two cubs. He made loud noises and they got out of the car and left. Unfortunately the seats were all muddy and covered in drool!

Our screen porch was ambushed by one fellow a couple of months back. He smelled the dry cat food we leave out for the kitties and tried to get inside. Thankfully we lined the screen with hog wire just in case a wild animal wanted to come in. My husband ran out with a flashlight, pelting him with golf balls and banging on pots and pans to scare him off. It worked but now we don't keep any food items outside at all at night.

A neighbor had a bear break into his mobile home recently and trash his kitchen looking for his dogs' food. Where were his two dogs that night I wonder? Bears can enter homes through unlocked doors and screens - so be forewarned.

The Beaver Lake area of Asheville is being harassed by a gang of several yearling male bears and my friend Emily ran into one while out walking a few weeks ago. It was dusk and she was almost home when a young male cane out from between two houses and headed towards her. She backed up slowly to the nearest door. She pounded on the door yelling "Let me in. There is a bear out here."

A little old lady opened the door a crack and Emily asked her if she could please come in. "There is a bear behind me." "Yep I can see him," the older woman replied. Emily slipped inside quickly and slammed the door on the bear. Who would think taking a walk in your neighborhood could be dangerous?

Bears at Grandfather Mountain Wildlife Area.

It seems there have been more sightings in our area possibly due to more cubs being born this year. Also the new Tiger Woods golf course is under construction at the Cliffs in our town - possibly driving the bear population to other areas like ours. Hopefully when that quiets down, the bears will head back up there!

For more posts about animals of all kinds visit Camera Critters.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

UR Light Center Labyrinth, Black Mountain

I love to walk labyrinths as a form of meditation and seek them out wherever I travel or live. This one is just a few miles from my house in the mountains and quite lovely.

The United Research Light center itself is a nondenominational center for prayer and meditation. It is housed in a white dome building surrounded by forest and gardens. I have attended many concerts here in the upper dome part of the building which has great acoustics.

The Light Center Labyrinth, located behind the dome building, is a Classical 7 circuit design. This one looks to have a metal frame of sorts with white pebbles lining the walkway. It is nestled in a sunny spot surrounded by trees with a bench for sitting before or after the walk.

Walking a labyrinth helps me be still and to go within. It is a form of meditation or prayer and can be used for many things - to intuit answers to life's questions, to ask for guidance or healing, to pray, or to just enjoy the feeling of peace.

For more information on labyrinths or to locate one near you visit Labyrinth Society online.

The Light Center also has a Light Chamber - a circular room with comfy seating around the perimeter for meditating. Panels of lights sit below the ceiling and shine for 5 minutes at a time. Beautiful music plays during the 35 minute session. I have not done this yet but it does look peaceful and interesting. You can find the Light center off Highway 9 just south of Black Mountain. For more information visit UR Light Center or call 828.669.6845.

(This photo from the UR Light center website)

For more My World On Tuesday posts visit here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Goats in the Pasture

Across the street from our house is a goat farm and the pasture is filled with yellow black-eyed Susans in bloom. They must not taste good to the goats as they have not been eating them! The white and brown goats look so pretty standing in a sea of flowers.

I walked down to check the mailbox the other day and the goats must have thought I had some food for them. They scampered over to inspect me and stayed only briefly after finding I had none! The little one hid shyly behind the telephone pole to check me out. I love seeing these guys everyday from our front windows.

Click here for more Camera Critters posts from the world over.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Butterfly Bonanza

On a very warm sunny day this week I noticed that our two tree-sized butterfly bushes were teeming with butterflies of all colors and sizes. I took my camera and stood in the middle of them all and kept snapping photos! What a beautiful sight! Enjoy!

Click here for more Outdoor Wednesday photos.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Summer Blooms

The yard is full of summer blooms right now - sunflowers, black eyed Susans and our butterfly bushes both white and purple are huge! And attracting so many diverse butterflies.

For more scenic posts this Sunday go to Today's Flowers and Scenic Sunday or click on them in my sidebar/blogroll.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Glen Burney Falls, Blowing Rock

One day last week a friend and I took a cool hike on the Glen Burney Trail just off Main Street in Blowing Rock. There is a parking area at the trail head on Laurel Street.

The trail starts out fairly level, but the last third of it you're definitely hiking straight down towards the falls. The trail is 1.2 miles down to the Glen Burney Falls and then another .4 miles to the Glen Marie Falls. You end up descending about 800 feet below the town of Blowing Rock. There are several great places to have a picnic lunch and sit for a while to break up the trip.

It was a cool cloudy day and the hike down was very easy. We stopped for photos along the way. We made it down to the first falls but after looking back up to where we came from opted out of the second falls. That one from photos I have seen looks to be the more impressive. Oh well - some other time!

There's a lot of history in this ancient trail that was used by the Indians as a hunting trail and then later for turn of the century loggers. The town of Blowing Rock restored the trail in 1989 making it the only remaining portion preserved in usable condition. The hike takes around 2 hours round trip and is definitely a worthwhile visit. It is moderate to strenuous due to the steepness of the trail.

For more Watery Wednesday and Outdoor Wednesday posts click on the photos on the sidebar.


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