Friday, February 27, 2009

Catching up

All well, yay! But now I have to play catch up a little bit.... eeek!
Laundry, swiffer, vacuum, dishes, grocery, art/work/stuff, feels like I'm going in 10 directions at once. At least it quit raining and I see some pretty spring growth in the backyard :-) Yet they say we might get some snow again on Sunday. I hope so!
Here is part of an order I'm working on, among other things, right now. Been a while since I made face beads, I think they' re pretty sweet if I do say so myself. My husband finds it creepy having little heads all over the place, he thinks they're watching him. I think know he needs to cut back on the horror movies.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blargh.

We've been sick around here the last couple days, but things are looking up now. I almost feel human again.....

Friday, February 20, 2009

Unique things at Injun Creek

We've hiked along the unmarked Injun Creek Trail in the Big Greenbrier area of the Smokies several times. It is always an enjoyable walk and once again I marvel at how different a place can look in each season here. Last time we did this trail was in September, fully green and lush and we saw two bears. Now, just before spring, it is quite naked and dead looking.
There are some very interesting sights along the creek. An unexpected one this time was a large pair of men's tighty-whitey drawers hanging from a tree. Ew. Okay, moving quickly along.
One of the 'permanent' sights along the way is an enormous rock pile. It, along with a few smaller piles nearby, must have been the result of land clearing for farming purposes. It measures over 8 feet tall, and you'll note in the video that it actually is a stack of smaller rocks on top of one large rock.
Not only did the person/people who stacked it do a tough job, they did that job with skill and style and more than a little artistry, if you ask me :-)
video
Further along the trail is a small side-trip to McCarter Cemetery, a tiny, mossy spot on a little ridgetop. Beautiful and peaceful.







After passing backcountry campsite 32, uphill a bit until you reach the wreck of an old steam engine in the creek. How difficult to visualize a logging locomotive running these twisting, narrow routes.... not so shocking that one could get out of control and topple off the tracks!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hearts All Around - Part 5

Ok, here it is, the last installment of the Valentine Series! I've had great fun discovering heart-shaped designs and I'll probably keep looking for them.
These two images are my favorite.
First up: A 1931 topographic map section of Cades Cove in the Smoky Mtn's Nat'l Park. Note the heart shaped contour line to the west of Whistling Gap. Cool! I discovered this a few weeks ago while doing trail research and actually it is what inspired me to begin this little project.

And finally: You may think this is a stretch, but it looks like a little heart to me! A heart with a little face. Although I could be influenced by the superluv I have for him, and what could be more appropriate on Valentine's Day than that :-)
He's sitting on my shoulder supervising as I type.
Click the photo to see it larger.

I hope you've enjoyed the series, thanks for following!

Hearts All Around - Part 4

It's finally here, Valentine's Day! Drab and dreary outside today, but the online world is all lovey and hearty and warm. Perfect time to share the rest of my Valentine Series.
First up is a divinely beautiful specimen I spotted while we were hiking the Meigs Mountain Trail in the Smokies. This curled bit of wild grapevine was unbelievable!



Next, a formation found in the melting ice on our driveway. This one I've highlighted so you can see it better. You can probably spot other shapes in there, it's like a Rorschach ink blot. Don't get all pervy!

I'll post the fifth and final installment of the Valentine Series later today. I'm saving my favorite heart finds for last!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cupcake art: Tasty and Attractive

Today I watched a live streaming webcast wherein cake artist Zilly Rosen of Zillycakes in Buffalo, NY, created an astounding food-art image entitled "A New Birth of Freedom", of Presidents Obama and Lincoln at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. A total of around 5,900 cupcakes was needed to shape this massive work, which was assembled by Zilly and a small team of assistants.

It was really enjoyable to listen to Zilly interact with passersby, interviewers, and children who were visiting the museum.
I must say, I've got quite a hankering for cupcakes now!
The installation will be eaten tomorrow, following the museum's Presidential Family Fun Day. I'd love to taste! According to Zilly's commentary during the webcast, I believe she said the cupcakes have buttercream filling, with the filling of the ones forming Obama having chocolate flavoring :-)

Hearts All Around - Part 3

This installment of the Valentine Series was really a pleasant surprise! Look what I discovered in my bag of bay leaves while cooking last night:
The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, they say.
I'm inclined to believe it is partially true, since little makes my husband happier than a fresh home cooked meal.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hearts All Around - Part 2

Second installment in the Valentine Series is a little beauty I observed along the Spruce Fir Trail the day I lost my glove (see Monday's post).
A tree had fallen across the trail and rangers sawed it apart to clear the path. A unique formation was revealed!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentine Series: Hearts All Around - Part 1

In honor of Valentine's Day rapidly approaching, I thought I'd share some of the 'hearts' I've been discovering around me lately. I see them in the most unexpected places!
First installment:

Today a strong line of storms came through town. In addition to damaging winds, monsoon-like rains, and a gorgeous rainbow, the storm brought this:
A heart-shaped raindrop on the bathroom window.... lovely!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lost my glove

On January 13, we drove up to Newfound Gap in the Smoky Mtn Nat'l Park and parked at the Clingman's Dome Road gate. They close that 7.5 mile stretch of winding, two lane road from Dec.1 to March 31 each year due to ice and snow. We hiked 2.7 miles up the closed road to reach the Spruce Fir Nature Trail, a 0.4 mile easy loop - but one of our favorite little spots. At an elevation of about 5600 ft, it has a magical forest feel about it (and sometimes the wonderful scent of Christmas trees) and we've walked it quite a few times.

Anyway, that day it began snowing pretty hard while we were on the trail and we started to hightail it back to the Jeep before they closed Newfound Gap Road and trapped us on the North Carolina side of the mountains. I realized after we'd walked about 3/4 mile back that I had dropped my right glove. Crud! Not too far to go back, but definitely snowing too hard and racing against road closing time - no can do! We made it back in time, and were the last ones driving down the mountain. video

The glove is nothing spectacular, just part of a very comfortable winter pair that has put in a lot of cold, snowy mountain time with me and I've grown rather attached to them.

Yesterday, the weather was warm and we decided to head back up there and see if we could track down the glove, a mini Mission: Impossible. We figured it was probably warm enough to have melted all of last week's substantial snow accumulation. As we started walking at the gate of Clingman's Dome Road, there was no snow on the pavement. But after nearly 1/2 mile, we encountered up to several inches still in some places, though it was working on melting down with the sun breaking through the clouds as we walked. There'd been some foot traffic and skiers previously and their tracks had become icy and made walking more difficult than anticipated, not to mention we hadn't worn our snow boots! I managed to keep my feet dry, but the other one got his damp and minor whining ensued.

We kept our eyes peeled, doubtfully, the whole way for my glove, and by the time we got to the trailhead we figured chances were pretty slim that it would be in one of the few snow-free places. But I found it! Within the last 200 feet of the loop and sitting right in the middle of the trail with just a little bit of snow around it. Happy dance!
I love that my glove spent 26 days undisturbed up in the mountains. Wish I could do that :-)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Oh no, not already....seriously?

After 5 days under snow and 4 days of below freezing temps, we've thawed out and today the temp hit 63 degrees. I went to the convenience center to recycle and do garbage, where I discovered a hellacious swarm of yellow jackets around the aluminum and steel cans. Nooooooooooo!!!! Are you kidding me?? Arrrgh.
*hurls cans at dumpster while running evasive zig-zag maneuvers*

I made a snowman!

I built it in the backyard, which still gets muddy when wet because the lawn hasn't yet grown in fully. So, it got a bit dirty.
It is my first snowman built at home (only my second one ever that I can recall) and I decided to go for something a little more sculptural, a little more realistic.
It was supposed to be me, with The Peeper sitting on my shoulder.
Instead, I believe I channeled the spirit of Sitting Bull.











And Peeper, well, he looks more like a pear balancing a grape.
But whatevah, I had fun!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ok, that was a new one for me

Freezing fog! It was the weirdest thing, I looked out the window last night and wondered why the power was off 500 ft away but not at our place. It was THE FOG. After the snow yesterday, the temps dropped and the fog moved in. I wanted really bad to go out and wander around in it, but everything had iced over and the last thing I need is to bust my butt on some concrete. I'll upload more pictures when I get a chance.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Snow!

This was completely unexpected.
We woke up planning to go to the mountains with hopes of seeing a few flurries there. Instead we found it snowing right at home, yay! It started around 9am, and at [update, 3pm] it finally stopped

The accumulation is a little slushy, no good for tobogganing, but I'm still having so much fun! I've taken a ton of videos, check my Youtube to see some of them, I'll get them uploaded as soon as I can.

This is one of the ceramic birdfeeders I threw on the pottery wheel in college.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Superbowl Sunday snack sidelined

For me, Superbowl Sunday is not about the game. It's about going bat-shit crazy on a giant bowl of Velveeta & Rotel cheese dip and a bag of tortilla chips. It's tradition. But today was different.
We found ourselves at the Indian buffet at lunchtime and I practically ate my weight in pakoras and gulab jamun. Ok not really, but I'm quite sure weight figures into the equation somehow. Ohh it was good.
I figure there's no way I could possibly justify the further consumption of mass quantities (ie: my glorious, lovely, much-awaited processed cheez food snack)
Fear not, my velvety little brick. For tomorrow is another day.
-burp-
Or maybe the day after that....