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The Wknd Just *Flew* By

Seems like the birds are beginning to return to the feeders more this wknd. Maybe they knew the coldfront was coming through and wanted to stock up? I’ve been seeing a lot more hawks around lately too.

Kasey & I took a trip to the Hop-In Wildlife Refuge this wknd hoping to see the Sandhill Cranes that migrate there every Winter. Not a crane was to be found though. I guess I was rushing the season a little. I normally don’t see them till Dec. but with the nice cold air and sun shining this wknd., I couldn’t stay in the house. (those who know me, know I love to go Go GO!)

Even though our crane hunt was a bust, we saw plenty of hawks.


A few birds of another feather that we didn’t have to leave the house to see.


The bluebirds are still around on warm days…


Mr Mocker eyeing his sunflower seeds


The sparrows had rather have the cats food than seeds

Here’s a few shots from previous excursions to the refuge to see the Sandhills.

What a Night!

Yesterday was a heck of a day around here. Not because of the usual Thanksgiving Day madness where we dart from house to house eating way too much and feeling miserable the rest of the evening. But because of the unusual weather we had. For instance, yesterday we left our house at 12pm to the next county for dinner at my Moms. The temperature was 70 degrees and it had been raining for some time. The rain continued through the evening and onto another county and another dinner. By the time we returned home at 5pm, the temp. had dropped into the 40’s and it looked as though a tornado had blown through the yard. Turned out we did have a tornado warning around 1pm. The wind completely picked up my glass patio table and umbrella and pitched it over the deck railings and popped the hood on the lawn mower. The rain turned into sleet then huge snowflakes by 9pm. The snow didn’t stick but the sleet sure did.


This evening I realized it blew away one of my bird feeders too. (the wooden platform feeder that the birds faved the most)


I guess it could have been worse.. our neighbor lost a doghouse. But not the dog thanks goodness!

Looks like I’ll be heading to Tractor Supply tomorrow for another one.


I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving and spent time with family. Smile


Chasing Waterfalls

A few months ago I got together with a fellow photographer buddy and took a trip to Middle Tn to Burgess Falls and Rock Island State Park. This was her first trip to Burgess (my 2nd) and we were both hoping the water level was good enough for some decent shots. Burgess did not disappoint! In fact we were so enthralled with our surroundings, we had to cut our Rock Island trip short. Rock Island is a favorite of mine and I can never get enough rock-hopping. We’ll have to go back next Spring for sure.


Burgess from our trip, July 2004.

The Falling Water River drops 250 feet, providing numerous spots for scenic views and overlooks of the cascades. The fall above is considered the finale at the end of a 1.5 mile moderately strenuous hike that loops back to the parking lot via a service road.


The water starts off at a tumble then proceeds down further into beautiful cascades.


Lower Falls

The history of Burgess Falls can be traced back over three centuries. Before European settlement, Indians of the Cherokee, Creek and Chickasaw tribes shared this region as a hunting ground. One of the first white settlers, Thomas Burgess, received a land grant here in 1793 as payment for his service in the Revolutionary War. By the late 19th century, a gristmill and sawmill were in operation on the river here. For the growing logging and farming communities, the Falling Water River played a key role by providing energy and recreational opportunities. It has been under protection as a State Natural Area since 1973. (from Tn State Park website)

Up we go!


Middle Falls


Burgess from our trip, June 30th 2010.

After spending 4 hrs on the road and 4 hrs on the trail, we had a nice picnic lunch and headed to Rock Island State Park. I’ll save that part of the trip for later in the week. Winking smile

Dog Day Afternoon

It’s a beautiful Saturday here in West Tn. with temps in the mid 60’s and bright sunshine. It’s a good day to get outside and roll in the leaves! Well..play in the leaves anyway. I let Abi run for a bit while I got the camera out to catch some shots of her.

For those of you who don’t know, Abi is our latest rescue. She showed up at my mother-in-laws house a few days ago, skinny and starving and covered in fleas. Hubby just so happened to be visiting and he couldn’t stand seeing her this way so one quick phone call to me and she was riding back home with him.

She ate like she hadn’t ate in months then we let her tummy settle for a bit and gave her a bath. She was terrified of everything at first but she’s slowly warming up to new things. She still hates the leash but coming indoors isn’t a problem now. At first she wouldn’t climb or go down steps, she wouldn’t go inside without having to be picked up. Her tiny frame just sat in the kitchen floor and shook. A few days later and she’s sprawling out in the living room floor like she owns the place. The vet said she’s about 6 mo old and is healthy other than the normal hookworms/whipworms that most strays have. One little pill and those buggers are gone. Once she gets fattened up and socializes more, we can adopt her out to a loving home.


The vet seemed to think she’s a yellow lab/golden retriever mix but she has some learning to do. She could care less about a ball right now. Cats on the other hand…(notice the white blob in the background..that Prissy thinking she’s hid from Abi’s nose)


Prissy ..after Abi chased her up a tree. lol


The leaves have finally started to fall from the Cleveland Pear tree. It won’t be long before those orange and red leaves will all be on the ground and Winter will be here. Sad smile

Hope the weather is fine in your neck of the woods!

Hatchie Wildlife Refuge

While we were out yesterday *bridge-hunting* we decided to swing by the Hatchie Wildlife Refuge to catch a glimpse of the Canada Geese and whatever else decided to roost around ONeal Lake. ONeal Lake, like other around West Tn, is in dire need of rain. The drought our area has had for months now has left parts of the lake completely dry. This didn’t stop the birds from migrating though and they were a pleasure to see.


The area of dry land you see in the above photo, is normally under a good 2-3 feet of water.


This swampy mess is a reminder of the lack of rain this Summer/Fall.


Thousands of dead lilies surround this Great Blue Heron, making him perfectly camouflaged.


This big guy found himself a meal in another small pond on the refuge. He walked around for a good 10 minutes with the fish in his mouth, dipping it into the water every so often, My hubby took this shot from the truck window. He did good!


The Hatchie is home to some of the tallest cypress knees I’ve ever seen. You can see where the water level is usually at by the ring around the tree.

Bridge Hunting

I’ve always been fascinated with old bridges. I ran upon a neat website called Bridgehunter.com here while back and I couldn’t tear myself away. I quickly found all the abandoned bridges in Tennessee and wanted to photograph them all. lol So this wknd, I talked hubby into going with to find an old bridge that was actually never finished at all. Not one car rolled across it. I don’t know the full history behind why it was never finished but I found it interesting to say the least.


Hatchie Bottom Bridge, over the Hatchie River in Haywood County, Mercer, Tn.


The bridge is really under decay at this end. One good earthquake or flood might do it in.


The pony truss at both ends of the bridge is overgrown with weeds. Hatchie Bottom Rd dead ends at the bridge but it’s a popular spot for fishing with a boat ramp accessible to the left of the sign here on private property.

I’ve already got my directions printed out for the next *bridge hunt* in Linden, Tn. It’s a good 108 miles away though so it may be Spring before we go bridge hunting again.

Fall is for the Birds


Today we’ve had our first good rain in quite awhile and the feeder was buzzing with sparrows and pine siskins. If you’re a bird lover like I am, please remember our feathered friends as the weather gets colder. They'll thank you for it come Spring!


Mockingbirds are a frequent visitor to the yard. Every Spring they come calling, literally, for me to cater to their love for cat food. I’ve probably fed more Mockingbirds and Woodpeckers this yr than anything. I can’t wait for Spring to around again to hear their calls for food.

Smoky Vacation Video

With the new release of Windows Live Essentials, I’ve found myself using Windows Live Writer once again to send blog posts. I have yet to add HD video using this version of WLW so lets see how it looks…Hmm not too shabby.

Highlights from our Fall Camping trip to the Smokies

And with this post, I’m off to bed for the night. You night owls keep it down now!

Sleeping half-moon

Beautiful Fall Day


The weatherman says this week will be a nice one and with temps in the low 70’s today, I can believe it.

You may recognize this little road from previous blogs. It’s a favorite spot to stop and shoot the colors of the seasons for me. Usually this time of year, it’s popping with yellows and browns. It doesn’t look as nice this yr, mainly because of the lack of rain in this area. We’re still in the negative for rainfall amounts and trees are loosing their leaves faster than mother nature can turn them.

This shot was taken 2 years ago from the same spot. (Nov 6, 2008)


Smoky Mountain Getaway

I’ve been away awhile haven’t I? It’s hard to stay in touch with the blogworld and still function sometimes but I’m giving it another go.

Last month the family piled into the truck with the camping equipment and headed to my favorite area of this beautiful state of ours…the Smokies. We only had a few days to *play* but I’d planned it for months and couldn’t wait to see the mountains again. Our last camping trip to the area in Summer of ‘09 seemed very far behind. We’d never been to the park in the Fall but we knew what to expect. The colors are amazing and the traffic is bad is you wait till daylight to get on the road but hubby knows I’m an early riser and both days we were up before daylight to get ahead of the endless flow of traffic along Newfound Gap Rd. It was well worth it. I’m sure my Facebook friends are sick of hearing about our adventure by now but some of you may find the photos interesting.


Our campsite at Cosby Campground. Quiet and secluded..just like I like it.


The view from Clingman’s Dome parking lot. The cloud cover over the mountains are just amazing here.


Elk & Wild Turkey were plentiful in the Cataloochee Valley area of the park. On our first visit last Summer we missed out on the elk.


What’s this? Bear activity and a bees nest? We’ll save this trail for another trip. lol (any excuse to go back to the mountains)


Me in Abrams Creek. The hike to Abram’s Falls is a little lengthy. What better way to take a time out than plopping yourself in the middle of the creek and just taking it all in.

To view some of the best shots from our trip, visit my Flickr page. Or see a collection of photos set to music in this video.