29 August 2010

Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We had planned on a lazy weekend, but when we got up yesterday morning, the weather was perfect here at Kat's Corner and even better up on the Blue Ridge.
Since as I pointed out the other day, summer is almost over, we decided to head back up to the mountains.
My Sweet Hubby and I were both raised in the Rocky Mountains. The Blue Ridge Mountains are not as tall, they are certainly more green, and they have a very different feel, but they are most certainly, mountains, and sometimes, that is just what we need. 
How would you like to have that view out your window? The ride up is beautiful. I have taken so many photos up on the blue ridge. It is amazing in all seasons and all weather (OK, I will admit, I am not going up when there is snow on the ground, but I am sure it is still amazing).
Here is another one of those amazing views. The Blue Ridge Parkway goes through several states. Someday, we want to drive the length of it with lots of hiking and camping along the way. I want to see what the other end is all about. Do roads call you like that too?
Look at that sky line. We were heading for two places, the Folk Art Center, and Craggy Gardens. 
The Folk Art Center is located at milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a partnership between the National Park Service and the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Each time we visit, there are different artists demonstrating their crafts. There are museum quality items on display as well as for sell.
Notice the display of hand made chairs hung up high?
This is a light and airy place with lots of room.
I bought a book on hand made art dolls.
Another view, you can get some idea of how many different things are available. The quilts alone are worth the trip. There are paintings, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, furniture, bowels, pottery, cards, even hand made brooms that would make Harry Potter proud.
There is a gallery upstairs that is full of wonderful things, no photography allowed though.
They have a sculpted clay dragon up there that looks like he is ready to speak.
These are Bowed Psalteries.
They are hand crafted by Rick Long.
He was playing one out in front when we arrived.
We bought one of the CD's and have already listened to it twice. The music is otherworldly.
Now if we could only get Loreena McKennitt to sing with him...
They come in two sizes and he says they are easy to play.
I can play a radio quite well and usually handle a good CD player, I don't think I am quite up to these.
Would you like a sample?
Mr. Long was kind enough to allow me to video him for you.
If  you are interested, he has a lot more information on his web site. You can purchase his instruments and CD's from the Folk Art Center any time or directly from him on his web site.
If you would like more information on the guild or on the Folk Art Center itself, see their web page.
As for the Craggy Gardens, yes, we did make it there and we had a nice hike. I took a bunch of photos. I will post my favorites here soon. I think I will save them for a post all on their own.
Have a great Monday,

27 August 2010

Looking forward to the weekend.

Here at Kat's Corner, Spontaneous the cat is looking forward to the weekend.
She probably plans on doing a little sniffing around, curling on the couch and napping right square in the middle of the floor.
After all, the best spots of sunshine are always in the middle of the floor, right?
I'm not sure what all I will be doing.
I think to start with, I will take a hint from her and sleep in.
Then I have a good book that needs to be read and a Sweet Hubby to go walking with.
All of that will have to wait till tomorrow.
This morning I am off to work.
What are your plans for the weekend?

23 August 2010

Summer Beauty.

August is winding down and today is a little cooler.
September has nearly arrived and here at Kat's Corner we are ready for it.
Summer, at least here in the south, will hang on for quite a bit longer but in the Rocky Mountains, where I grew up, September is the beginning of autumn. I keep thinking about it and remembering what it felt like to be a kid, half dreading, half longing for, the start of school.
Do you remember? Time for "one last" swim at the pool, or "one last" day of tubing in the irrigation ditch.
 Taking "one last" trip up to Pineview Dam or Lagoon, the local amusement park.
Well, this hopefully won't be our last trip to the mountains this year, but all the nostalgia is making me want to share my appreciation for this last stretch of summer.
The first five pictures are from our last trip up to Heintooga Round Bottom Road.

I love this last one, it shows why they are called the "Blue Ridge Mountains".
This little guy is much closer to home. The picture (taken by my Sweet Hubby) was taken in our yard. I framed it in black to show it off a bit more. Can you see the lizard?
This is my latest work in progress.
It is celebrating Summer too.
What will you miss most about Summer?

22 August 2010

Keeping cool, the old fashioned way.

Summer is winding down a little and it is time to appreciate it before it is gone.
We are still pretty warm here at Kat's Corner.
My Sweet Hubby had a great idea to cool down the other day.
We have had this old "White Mountain Freezer" for years and it has seen a lot of use.
This is the first time we have use it this year (what were we thinking?).
See the cylinder in the middle?
The ingredients go in there.
We use; UHT half and half cream,
powdered sugar,
Natural Vanilla,
and a little skim milk.
Once all the pieces are put together, you add ice and "ice cream salt".
Then you find a shady spot and take turns cranking.
Check when it gets difficult to crank.
It is done when it looks like this.
Who gets to clean the beaters?
Doesn't that look good?
Have a great Sunday.

20 August 2010

Fabulous Friday!

I met these two at Bele Chere.
They seem quite happy.
Must be the weekend.

P.S. They have a better sense of rhythm than most people I know :)

17 August 2010

Oh, Deer!

When we were on the way home from our River Rafting trip,
we spent some time on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
This lovely deer was kind enough to pose for me.
(Got to love the Zoom button).
I have to work today, but I will post more photos from the parkway soon.

15 August 2010

White Water Rafting in North Carolina.

It it still pretty hot here in the south, but my Sweet Husband and I found a new way to cool down.
We went White Water Rafting on the Nantahala River in North Carolina!
Sometimes a little adrenalin is a great way to de-stress, this trip sure did the trick.
Our raft was one of several launched together. There were seven of us in the raft together.
Sara or "Sarsaparilla" is the one behind my Sweet Husband, (in this picture she is the only one with her paddle in the water) was our guide. She did a great job.
This stretch of the river has mostly class 1 and 2 rapids with lots of waves and a class 3 at the end. Class 5 is the worst, none of those on this trip. I took a waterproof disposable camera with me. I kept it tied around my neck and managed to get some good pictures with it, but they are not digital. The company we went with Wild Water Rafting has photographers stationed with a view of the class three waterfall at the end. That is where these photos came from. They are in order as they occurred. By the time we got to the falls, we had been on the river for a while. We "Spun on a rock" and we learned to spin the raft round in circles without hanging up on rocks. It rained for a while and the river was so cold, the rainwater felt warm. The water was misty and mysterious in some places. Part of the movie "Deliverance" was filmed on this river. I have never seen it so we are going to watch it soon.
Look at our faces, we can see what is coming.
Brace down and hang on to your paddles. You can just see part of my head and face at the back here, the nose of the boat was aiming up. There were three couples, the gentleman in the front claimed "He who swims o.k." as his river name. He took a turn at "riding the bull" that is where you dangle your legs over the front of the boat, hang on to the D-ring and lean back as the boat goes over the rapids. He got very wet, but stayed on. His wife, next to him, fell out of the boat at one point, she leaned the wrong way when she was getting ready to "ride the bull". Luckily our guide had them get into position while the waters were calm and Mrs. Swims o.k. was promptly pulled back in by the gentleman behind her. We will call him, "he who is good at pulling people out of the river". He and his wife, the middle couple, had been rafting several times prior to this trip.
Now you can see what is coming too. Oh my goodness, my heart was racing at this point.
Look at the grin on my Sweet Hubby!
Down we go. This sequence of photos in reality only took a few seconds.
The entire trip was a little over three hours including the bus ride to and from launch points (maybe two and a half hours on the water so make sure your sunscreen is waterproof). Remember these pictures were taken near the end. Once we were safely over the falls, we were able to turn and watch the next boat go over. They did not listen to their guide and two people got spilled out. We paddled like mad after one of them and "He who is good at pulling people out of the river" got to pull him in. The other was quickly rescued by a third boat.
The wave at this point has come up over my head. No worries, I know when to do as I am told.
There I am, see the water pouring over the side?
Did I mention the average water temp is 50 degrees F (approximately 10 degrees C)?
My expression should give some idea of just how cold that was. My grey T-shirt looks like a wet suit. Our glasses by the way are still on thanks to "Chums". They are a special type of strap designed for just that, worked wonderfully ( I want to know how he who swims o.k. kept that hat on though). It was a good thing  I kept my glasses as the scenery along the river was beautiful.
Everyone is laughing! Can we do it again?
Anyone else want to try?

09 August 2010

Ten things I like about Summer!

Summer here at Kat's Corner is hot, but this old antebellum was designed for appreciating hot summer days.  Summer won't be here much longer and I like sharing it with you so sit back and have a peak at ten of my summer pleasures.
Walking to the mailbox, early on a summer morning.
Meeting new creatures.
Photographing flowers.
Home grown tomatoes!
Tadpoles and frogs. Watching them and listening to them sing at night.
Roses and Bees!
Dawn at Kat's Corner.
The view from the balcony.
The scent of warm honeysuckle.
Homemade Frosty Frappuchinos.
What are your favorite things about summer?

03 August 2010

Birding on the Balcony.

I love to have a cuppa on the balcony in the morning.
Lately I have started taking my camera up with me.
Look closely, I think this one is a hawk.
This is a silly old crow.
My bird watching buddy.


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