Archive for the ‘Great Smoky Mountains’ Category

We went out to the houseboat during the Labor Day holiday weekend, and after no rain for months, of course it rained! I’m not complaining though, we desperately needed it. It started coming down early Sunday evening and rained steadily for almost 40 hours. After that, it tapered off to showers and drizzle and a cloudy and cooler day today. Tropical Storm Lee brought around 8 inches of rain to our area. We had a few torrential downpours, but for the most part, it was just nice steady rain. We were so dry that it didn’t cause a lot of flooding here, the ground just soaked it up. We did have a power outage that lasted four hours yesterday due to a tree falling on the line, but that was it. My garden sure likes all the rain, and everything is so green and lush looking now that I’m not even going to complain about all the plants that flopped due to the storm.

The heavy rain didn’t stop a hundred boats and jet skis from zooming back and forth in front of the houseboat a million times, creating huge waves and so much motion I could barely stand even after we came home. Water skiers, tubers and joyriders, the lake is more than ten thousand acres and the houseboats are only allowed on a small part of that, why can’t you all go out to the open water to go in circles all day? :-) But I digress…anyway, even with the rain, it was still a nice holiday weekend, and a welcome change for our drought-stricken area.

rain on the lake

rainy day on the lake

rainy day at the lake

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The Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), commonly called “Ivy” here, is one of our most beautiful native shrubs. This shrub is evergreen and frequently grows in thickets, and often becoming tree sized in the woods here. I have this one at the edge of the front yard. It is about 8′ tall and is in full bloom right now.

mountain laurel
Mountain Laurel

mountain laurel
Closeup of flower clusters

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The woods are filled with white clouds as the native dogwood trees reached peak bloom this past week. The one in the front yard blooms above a redtip photinia shrub. The new red growth of this evergreen shrub stands out nicely under the white blooms of the dogwood tree. Click any photo to enlarge.

redtip shrub and dogwood
Redtip and Dogwood

dogwoods in bloom
Dogwood blooms up close

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back deck, late Sunday nightSnowmageddon. Epic Snow. Southern Blizzard. I am sick of snow! We normally have a few flurries here and there and maybe a couple-inch snow once or twice over an entire winter here in our area. Only three weeks into the winter season, we have already had snow 3 or four times! We had a white Christmas here for the first time in more than thirty years, and right now we have almost a foot of snow! It started snowing a little past midnight last night, and this morning, we measured 11 and a half inches on the ground, with much deeper drifts. We’ve had flurries off and on all day, so it’s probably a foot by now. No power outages so far for our area, but the trees are bending under the weight and we are still under a winter storm warning until tomorrow morning. And, oh joy, freezing rain and sleet is expected as well…
Here are a few snapshots I took from the windows and porch — the snow is too deep to venture out into.

a chickadee on suet feeder
A chickadee on a snow-covered suet feeder earlier today.

snowy woods at front yard
Looking across to the woods from front yard.

snow covered table
Snow-covered outdoor furniture.

gazebo in snowy woods
Gazebo covered in snow, note all the birds in the surrounding trees.

snowy woods
Snowy woods.

snowy hemlock front steps buried in snow slope behind house
Snowy hemlock, buried front steps, slope behind house.

Only 68 days till Spring!

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