Thursday, September 22, 2016

Smoky Mountains History & Beauty

Just outside Cherokee, N. C., along the Oconaluftee River, the Park Service has recreated a late 19th century mountain farm with authentic log structures.
Before the first Europeans set foot in this part of the country, the Smoky Mountains were part of the vast Cherokee homeland.  The Cherokees lived in permanent towns, farmed the fertile river valleys, and used a far-ranging network of trails for trade, travel, and warfare.  As this was well-known Cherokee land, and the rough mountainous terrain, there were few outsiders prior to 1800.

Of course, the American Revolution brought many changes and the US government began taking over much of the Cherokee land for non-Indian settlers.  By the late 1830's, as part of National policy, most Cherokees were moved to the Oklahoma Territory.  Thus, the "Trail of Tears."

Many of the newcomers were of German descent and at least second or third generation Americans.  There were also many Africans brought primarily as slaves.

This is a very interesting part of our nations history and the development of this particular area from the mid 1800's through the early 1900's is one of great progress.  In the late 1920's the states of North Carolina and Tennessee began buying the land that they would deed to the nation to become the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  This meant that not only timber companies had to close but more than 1,200 families also had to sell their land and homes and relocate.

The Mountain Farm Museum is part of an effort to preserve some of the cultural heritage of the Smokies.
These buildings, most dating from about 1900, were moved from their original locations throughout the Smokies to this site.  They give us just a glimpse into the past.
 One of the buildings, the John E. Davis farmhouse.
John Davis began building this house around 1899 and spent almost two years finishing it for his family.  He hewed and split every log.
 Now, this would have been a mighty large tree.
 Another interesting side trip was to Clingman's Dome.  At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the second highest point east of the Mississippi.

The drive was spectacular.
 And the views breathtaking.
 I loved watching and photographing this soaring hawk.
 Our next stop was Gatlinburg and I can't wait to share some highlights from there next time.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Our Trip Into The Smokies

Blogging has taken a back seat to other activities and situations this summer, I'm afraid.  I don't know about you, but when this happens, I begin to question my focus and whether the direction (or lack thereof) I had been taking with my blog is worth continuing.  Or, do I need to rethink what I'm doing and come up with something new.

While I'm still pondering those thoughts, I want to share with you some of our recent early fall trip to Indiana via a few days in the Smokies.

Our destination goal was to be in Indiana on August 31 for my 12-week post-op appointment on
Sept. 1.  Hubby mentioned that he would like to leave a little early and drive through the Smoky Mountains.  That was all this person needed to start planning.

We had never done this, but on the suggestion of our son, we rented a vacation cabin in Gatlinburg for a few days.  We went through VRBO to find what we wanted and were not disappointed.  They provide an iPhone app with all the information you need for accessing, etc. the property right at your fingertips.  This was a great experience and one we will do again.

One of the things we like about taking a driving trip is being able to take those little side roads when we think something looks interesting.  So, when we saw the signs for Tallulah Falls we thought, "Oh boy, our first view of a beautiful water fall!"

Not exactly.  However, what we did find at the end of the road was this gorge.
Then we saw this view.
Evidently at the bottom of this gorge is the Tallulah Falls hydroelectric plant.
This poster explained that as part of Georgia Power Company's development, in order to get all needed equipment and personnel down into the steep gorge, a railway was built.  It took three years, 1911-1914 to build the 1,200-foot incline railway which connects the Tallulah Falls power station at the bottom of the gorge with the rim above.
This car, built in 1915, carries 20 standing passengers and I cannot imagine what that downward trip must have been like.  YIKES!
 We didn't see any waterfalls on this little side trip but we did see history and it was worth exploring that little road.
I wonder if I would ever tire of seeing mountains.  Especially ones covered in clouds.
 Just across the North Carolina line, we had another of those, "Oh, that looked interesting.  Can we turn around?" moments.From the road it looked like the most fascinating junk yard I'd ever seen.  Not that I am normally attracted to junk yards.
We learned that what appears to be a place that has been in that spot for at least 100 years was actually built five years ago with the goal of looking old.
The inside was a wee bit more organized than outside, but was equally as piled.
This gentleman was one of the owners and explained that this antique piece came from his home land, India.  It can be a desk as you see here, or
a bench.  The holes you see in the back are actually the ink wells for the desk top.
The cast iron piece here was a bridge support and cannot be lifted by the normal person.
 Need a door anyone?
 Corbels and any architectural item you can think of is here somewhere.
 They stock nautical lights and windows from old ships.
Downstairs is everything wood and this workshop.  He was making a set of sliding barn doors that would literally fit in a barn.  All from the huge stash of old wood.
So when in the area, you must plan a visit to this fascinating if not overwhelming "junk yard."  For more information their website is Otto Depot Wholesale Salvage Company.
 But, you must be prepared to take home all the great finds.
Next time, I will take you further into the Smokey Mountains and share more highlights of our great trip.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Late Summer Post

My blogging has been rather sporadic this summer but I always look forward to participating with Joyce and others for the Hodgepodge.
1. It's National Waffle Day (August 24th)...what decision are you currently 'waffling over'? (or share one you've recently 'waffled over')

What clothes to pack for an upcoming trip.  (See #8)  We will be attending both noon and evening football games in Illinois and Michigan so will need to take something for two seasons.

2. It's the middle of August, but I'm already seeing lots of autumn-related posts. Do you think we rush the seasons? If so, does that bother you? I saw (here) an end of summer bucket list that included-

make s'mores, read a new (or favorite) book in the park, eat something delicious and bad for you at a state fair, be a tourist for the day, have a pot luck picnic, book a last minute summer getaway, relax by or in the pool, take a hike to watch the sunset, have a day on the lake, try a new summer recipe

Which activities on the list might you squeeze in before summer officially comes to a close?

Take a last minute summer getaway, although planned for several weeks (See #8)

3. Your favorite summertime 'art' found in nature?

Early morning sunrise.

4. Stephen R. Covey is quoted as saying 'We judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by their actions.' Agree or no? Do you define yourself based on your intentions, your actions, or something else?

Yes, I agree with this statement and I acknowledge that I have been guilty.  I define myself as a child of the King and a follower of Jesus Christ.  I would hope that others would see this and base their opinions of me accordingly; however, that is not always the case, I'm sorry to say.

5. Are you useful in a crisis? Elaborate. 

Yes, in most incidences that I have had to face, I am.  I am not an initiator however, but am happy to assist.  If there is a leader vacuum, I tend to be assertive, but if there is someone in charge, I am usually happy to follow -  as long as I agree with the way things are going.  Otherwise, I may try to do it my way.

6. What's been your go-to dish this summer? Is it something you'll continue making as the seasons change?

I really haven't had a go-to dish for the summer.  Thinking back, I'm not sure what we've eaten this summer.  It all seems a hodgepodge of last minute throwing something together depending on our mood and time.

7. Adult coloring books are a thing now. Have you jumped on the bandwagon? If not is this something you think you might enjoy?

I downloaded an app on my iPad that I enjoyed for a while, but tired of it after paying to have access to all the varied colors.  I did enjoy it and will probably pick it up again from time to time.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

My post cervical fusion twelve-week check-up is Sept. 1 in Mishawaka, IN.  Hubby suggested that rather than going straight there as we usually do when visiting our son and family there, that we take a side trip and visit the Smokies.  So, we have rented a cabin in Gatlinburg, TN for a few nights.
 On Saturday, Sept. 3, we will get to see our Big Boy grandson play his first football game of his senior year.  We are expecting good things from the Western Michigan University (WMU) Broncos as they meet Northwestern U in Evanston, IL.  We will also get to see the first home game for the Broncos the next weekend before heading home.
Granddaughter #4 plays varsity soccer so we will get to watch her play a game or two.  And, I look forward to hearing Granddaughter #5 play the piano.  Of course, we don't want to forget about the parents.  It is always a joy to be with our grown-up kids.
It is good to be with family and participate in activities which they take for granted and we deem as monumental.

By the way, if you would like to see America's most expensive home for sale, click HERE!
And it can be yours for a mere $195 million.

I will see you back on the Hodgepodge when we return.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It's All About the Gold

One of the things I always look forward to on Tuesday is reading and responding to Joyce's
probing and thought provoking questions for the

1. Are you watching the Olympics? Your favorite summer Olympic event? I read recently a list of the most iconic Olympic moments in history...what stands out in your mind as a great moment from some past summer Olympic games?

Yes, I have watched a good bit of the Olympics this week.  My favorites are of course swimming and gymnastics, but I have also enjoyed watching Rugby this year.  It is a newly added sport and it is so exciting.  Since our grandson played Rugby in HS, we have an elementary understanding and a deep appreciation for the game. Direct TV has given us access to several options of sports and events taking place all during the day and I have enjoyed watching these.

There are actually three events that stand out in my mind as iconic moments.
First would be USA's Rulon Gardner's 1984 wrestling match against the Russian wrestler who hadn't lost a match in 13 years and had a brutal reputation.  Rulon was just a country boy who worked hard on his little farm.  In overtime, he dominated and had a major upset for the Gold metal.
Second, is Mary Lou Retton's spectacular Gold Metal All Around performance in gymnastics, also in 1984.  She was the first American to receive this Gold Metal honor.  Mary Lou had injured her knee and had surgery only a short time earlier and no one was sure she would be able to compete much less dominate.

Third, and perhaps most memorable was in 1992 in Barcelona, when British runner, Derek Redmond tore his hamstring during a semi-final race and his father ran onto the track and helped his son complete the race.  Amazing!
2. Have you ever been to Rio?  No
How about the place that started it all-GreeceYes!!!
Have you ever been to any of the Olympic Games in person?  No
Is that something you'd like to do?  Yes, perhaps if it was held in the USA.
Have you ever met an Olympian in person?  No

3. The ball's in their court (tennis), cross the finish line (track and field), on target (archery), make a splash (diving), on a roll (gymnastics), out of one's depth (swimming)...which Olympic-related idiom best applies to your life right now? Explain.

make a splash (diving) - I was able to get back to the gym this morning after letting my abused hip heal for a couple weeks and spent my time in the pool.  That will be the extent of my workouts until after my neck checkup in Sept. and eventual hip surgery.

4. What have you earned a 'gold medal' in recently?

Enjoying my granddaughter's visit last week.  We did so many fun things and we both earned a gold medal.

5. What is it (or who is it) that motivates you to eat right, exercise, and do what you can to be healthy?

My motivation comes from knowing I don't have a choice if I want to be mobile as I get older.

6. Are you young at heart or an old soul? Explain.

I think I'm probably both.  My grandchildren tell me I'm the youngest of the grandmothers of their friends regardless of my age and that makes me feel good.  But I also know that I am an old soul when it comes to morals and expectations.

7. It's National S'mores Day (August 10th)...are you a fan? Will you celebrate with a s'more today?

Nope and nope!

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

This is as close to making a political statement as I will go.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Super Duper Hodgepodge

Joining Joyce and other bloggers for

1. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your summer so far? Why?
(1=eh and 10=best summer ever)

I would rate it a 6!  Not the best but not the worst by a long shot.  Why?
Downer?  Cervical surgery
Upper?  Surgery went great; pain free; spent three weeks recuperating with my family.
Downer?  Spending six weeks in a confining, suffocating neck brace 24/7.
Upper?  My healing went without a hitch and the x-ray looked great to the doc.
Downer?  Pretty confined during that six week period.
Upper?  It was too hot to be outside anyway.
Downer?  Couldn't drive.
Upper?  Am now able to drive my new car and planning upcoming day trips.
Super Dupper Upper?  My daughter and her girls are coming this weekend for a few days.  Yippee!

2. July 26th is National Aunts and Uncles Day. Did you have many aunts and uncles growing up? Were you especially close to any one or maybe all of them? Are you an aunt? (or uncle for the men who join here on Wednesdays) Share a favorite memory relating to one of your own aunts or uncles or relating to a niece or nephew who call you Aunt (or Uncle).

This is my aunt Thyra.  She was several years older than my mother and played a very important role in my mother's life growing up, therefore ours as well.  She was the most elegant, and classy lady I knew growing up.  She and her husband were educators, she a teacher and he a principle.  He was also a member of the state legislature.  Aunt Thyra had what to me at that time was a magnificent wardrobe which was housed in the very first walk-in closet I had ever seen.  She cultivated my interests in fashion and decorating by letting me play pretend in her closet and in her large well decor'd living room.  These are all wonderful memories that helped shape my future tastes.  But, the best memory was when she asked me, a high school senior to chauffeur her on a road trip in her new yellow 1962 Chrysler Imperial that looked just like this.
I thought I had died and gone to heaven, but I mostly treasure the one-on-one time with her.

Yes, I am an aunt to five big, successful nephews.  They each know their Aunt Bibby loves them very much.

3. What's your favorite food dipped in chocolate? What's your favorite food dipped in cheese?

I think anything is better dipped in chocolate!  Favorite dipped in cheese would be Nachos.

4. When were you last astonished by something? Explain.

I am astonished every time I hear of an attack by someone who is willing to kill innocent people and themselves be killed, because they believe it is their right to do so.

5. Surf board, paddle board, ironing board, Pinterest board, score board, clip board, bulletin board...which board have you most recently encountered?

Ironing board and Pinterest board.

6. What's your favorite story from scripture? Why that story?

How do you choose just one?  It would be a toss up between two - the story of Ruth because it shows first of all God's unfailing faithfulness to His people and that He has a perfect plan for each of us.  The other is the story of the prodigal son.  It is such a beautiful picture of God's unconditional love and that He draws us to Himself even though we aren't worthy of such love and salvation.

7. If you were to travel from the east coast to the west coast in your own country, which five cities would you most want to see?

I am not drawn to cities but to the landscape so I will have to ponder this a bit.
I would start in New Hampshire and go to Boston, New York City, down to Roanoke, WV, then across the country to Denver then Seattle.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

We had baby Mockingbirds on our front porch for a couple weeks.  They have made a mess for sure, but they have been so much fun to watch.  I was able to stand inside my front door and capture these pictures.
These are the babies waiting for Mom to come with food.

 She did show up with a berry and made this little one very happy.

 I loved watching them groom.  They were quite the contortionists.
This little one had called and called and finally heard her mom coming.  It was so much fun to catch her looking for her and finally, there she was.
Today, they were gone, so I guess they passed all the flying tests and it was time to move on.