Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Closing This Blog

Dear Followers and Visitors,

After three years of blogging, I have decided to close this one blog and just focus on my other cat related blogs.  I just don't have the time to do everything.  This blog will stay up and open for a bit longer since many people do stop by for info on the area - just no new posts will be added.

I will however be continuing to post about the mountains of North Carolina on the Facebook page of Life in the Carolina Mountains - so stop by and like us if you are a Facebook member.    The link is on this blog on the sidebar.  I will be posting pics and links relating to the NC mountains on the Facebook page and welcome any feedback.

Thank you so much for your friendship and comments over the years.  It was fun but it is time to move on to other things.  See ya on FB!

Friday, May 25, 2012

For Memorial Day - Historic Riverside Cemetery, Asheville

A few months ago I took my husband on a tour of our local Riverside Cemetery, a Victorian rural garden cemetery with 87 acres of rolling hills overlooking the French Broad River.  I had been given a tour previously by a good friend who has  lived in this area and knew the cemetery well.  Being Memorial Day Weekend, I thought it was a good time to showcase my photos.

Wolfe's grave

Our sunny day was quickly becoming overcast with rumbles of thunder threatening rain.  We took a fast walk around the outer roads trying to locate the two main graves we wanted to see - Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry or as he was known William Sidney Porter.  The skies darkened and large raindrops began to fall so we headed back to the car, cutting our visit too short.

Riverside is located near downtown Asheville and dates back to 1885.  The City adopted it in 1952 and it is still active with over 13,000 people buried here.  There are 9,000 monuments and 12 family mausoleums.  Many of the gravestones are truly works of art set among the ancient oak, poplar, dogwood and ginkgo trees.

Many locally famous people are interred here.   Among them: Isacc Dickson, the first African American to be appointed to an Asheville City School Board; Quenn Carson, Asheville's first female public school principal; George Masa, a Japanese photographer who documented much of the Blue Ridge Mountains and was integral in the establishment of Great Smoky Mountains National Park; James H. Posey, a bodyguard to Abraham Lincoln; and the remains of 18 German sailors from WWI.  The cemetery is situated along Birch Street off Pearson in the Montford Historic District of Asheville.

One of 12 family mausoleums

O. Henry's coin covered grave

In grateful memory of all those in uniform who gave their lives for our freedom.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Troyer's Country Amish Blatz, Fairview

One wouldn't expect to find an Amish store outside Asheville but this one is wonderful  I drive past the sign for this off Route 74A but have never stopped until a few days ago. Situated in an old farmhouse, the gardens surround the front and back entrance.  The front porch has seating areas for eating lunch and the interior is attractively laid out.  Shop for fresh bread, deli meats and cheeses at the counter or browse the shelves for jams, crafts  and other homemade goodies.  Upstairs you will find beautifully made Amish quilts and furniture  - a few pieces are for sale but most is made to order.

The owners descended form local Mennonites and still belong tot he Mennonite church in the area.  They frequently visit the Amish areas in PA, KS, IN and OH and bring their good back  here. If you are wondering what "blatz" means - just PA German for  "place".

Out behind the store is parking, a few out buildings, a windmill and a donkey or two. The sheds and chicken cops can be built for you on your land.  The windmills are also for sale. Just a great setting for a bit of shopping and lunch!  For more info go to Troyer's Country Amish Blatz.

Waiting for Pop to come out with a lunch to share!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April Hail Storm in the Mountains

Our view is white with hail
 I took a break for a few months and have decided to resume this blog with mostly pics of life here in the mountains, focusing on the things that make us unique.

Last week we got a surprise hail storm in early evening. I don't have much experience with hail - it didn't happen very often, if at all  in New England, where I grew up.  Here the warm spring days result in afternoon thunderstorms, some turning very violent.  Blustery winds, golf ball size hail and frightening lightening!  This one was one of those.

The rain came down hard but then we realized it was hail thundering on our roof.  My husband ran out to move the car under the huge maple for some protection.  I glanced across the street at our neighbor's pasture and his ponies were out.  They ran for the barn at the first raindrop but froze when the hail pelted them.  Confused and frightened, they bolted under the trees by the creek for cover.

Our lettuces took a beating as the hail swept through our narrow valley, coming down sideways, so heavy that we could not see the other side of the road.  The hail got larger and larger the longer if fell. It rained hail for a good ten to fifteen minutes unrelenting in the thunderous noise.

When it ended, mist rose from the warm ground into the cool air, settling in the pasture and between the trees on our hillside.  Our rhododendrons were shredded along with our irises. The leaves of the maple hung in tatters but my car underneath looked fine.  The ponies seemed no worse for the experience and made their way back to their barn over pond size puddles in the field.

Tattered iris

Monday, February 27, 2012

Catawba River Falls, Old Fort

With the winter being so mild this year, my husband and I have been trying to take hikes once a week.  A few weeks back we went to Catawba River Falls in Old Fort, just a 20 minute drive from our house along scenic back roads.  The trail starts next to someone's house with roadside parking. 

The trail follows the river up to the falls and there are three low water crossings.  Apparently the water was very low earlier that day but as the rain from the night before  seeped into the river, the water rose by the time we got there.  I am not very coordinated and have poor distance judgement - making for a nervous crossing.  Don took my camera and  I took the walking stick for balance.  The worst that could happen was to step in icy cold water and have wet feet for the rest of the hike!

I crossed the creek safely and  the hike was lovely.  As we ascended, the river was below us, accompanying us with its burbling, splashing  voice.  A very soothing sound to me.

Don at the second crossing.

Further up there is a large dam that is no longer used.  The water flows through the holes and down into the gorge. People are warned not to climb the wall!  A final crossing sits just below the falls with a tumble of boulders to pick our way through.  The trail is clearly marked but here the markers are painted on the rocks.

It was well worth the 1.5 miles in to see this.  The falls is a 340 foot cascade to a pool below.  With naked trees we had a perfect view to the top.  The trail does go on up to the 70 foot drop of upper falls but a very muddy trail was closed off with a sign Hazardous Hiking!  Some people did go up but ended up sliding back down the slippery trail on their bottoms!

Another couple making the final crossing below the falls.

Me, on the final crossing at the end of the 3 mile trail.
Hope you enjoyed the hike as much as we did!  Happy Our World Tuesday!  Go there for more pics of our world. I also joined Watery Wednesday and Outdoor Wednesday!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Feathers, Flowers and Fur

I have not posted in a few weeks - lots to do at work and then I got sick, staying home in bed for over a week. Meanwhile in the yard, spring has sprung and a bit early.  The goldfinches are swarming the feeders along with junco, titmouse and chickadees.

 I have put a small feeder just outside the door on the deck so I can take some photos from inside through the glass but it takes a while to let the birds get used to me standing there.  Very skittish birds in my yard.



 My cat Joey sat inside the window keeping an eye on the birds for me.  All my indoors cats enjoy the activities at the feeder, especially when the chipmunks and squirrels join in.

And finally the daffodils are up and blooming - last year and in years past it was March before I saw this many blooming.  I have many varieties so the flower show goes on for weeks with new ones popping open here and there.  I hope spring is coming soon to you too.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hiking Rainbow Road Trail, Montreat

Trail head

It was a warm day hovering in the low 60's - great and unusual for January so my husband and I took off for a easy 50 minute hike in Montreat.  Or so we thought! The town is home to Montreat College and they have many trails available to the public on their grounds.  We headed up Lookout Road and found the parking lot on the right.  This trail began off the lower parking lot - Lookout Trail which is longer and termed strenuous begins from the upper lot.

Rainbow Road

The Rainbow Road Trail is marked well with red diamonds on trees.  We hike often and enjoy being outdoors but had not hiked much in the past few months. We headed up on a a easy grade walking through rhododendrons on the north facing slopes.  We were a bit suspicious since we were going up in elevation.  After walking 30 minutes, my husband suggested heading back down the way we came.  Since the hike was supposed to take 50 minutes I figured we were more than half way done so I voted to keep going....the trail kept getting narrower and steeper.  By now it had begun to cool off and rain lightly.  I had my camera tucked in my fleece jacket for protection.

Lots of fallen trees over the trail

The view as we went higher.

We met a couple on mountain bikes and they had stopped to ponder which way to go down. I guess she wanted a gradual incline.  They suggested a trail down for us that was the more gradual of the two choices.  I guess they went the other way since we never met up with them.  The trail was still ascending but it at least looked like we were going back in the direction we came from.  We reached yet another intersection of trails , completely at a loss as to which one to take even after looking at the map.  We chose one and after walking it a bit  looked around  - both of us realized we had been there before!  By now we were tired, hungry, getting wet and 50 minutes had long since passed.

Our rescuers

Looking up the above the trail.

Thankfully a young couple with two dogs were coming up the trail so we asked them for our bearings.  Turns out we had taken the wrong turn and were going back down the way we came up - another hour out of our way.  They told us to follow them and they would show us the way.  We hated to hold them up.  My husband's knee was bothering him so it was slow walking back up even with his walking stick. This sweet couple walked slowly and kept checking on us as we followed them.  When we go to the next trail intersection, they had waited for us to make sure we took the correct turn.  They even went a little bit on this trail to point us off to another left turn.  Bless them or we would still b there going around in circles!

Finally heading back down!

I have found that the young people in the mountains are very respectful of their elders and this certainly proves my case.  They went well out of their way to make sure we found our way out.  The rain began in earnest again and we had a steep descent but not too difficult. I was never so glad to see the car.  And this was marked an easy trail! Next time we will stick to the under 30 minute easy hikes until we know them well ourselves.

The end is near.


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