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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

When Fall Meets Winter

Saturday brought a little over an inch of snow, our first measurable accumulation this season. Our oak tree had finally released most of its leaves during the few days preceding the snow, but Doug hadn't been able to burn them due to high winds. Well, the winds were calm on Saturday, so Doug went out to burn leaves...in the snow.

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A child's toy left out in the snow in the yard behind ours.
That's another neighbor's boxer in the background (not a deer).

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Snow on the crabapples

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White Pine

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Our Back Yard Swing
More snow is in the forecast. Fall and winter have met, and winter has won.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

More from the Smokies

The dreary weather was still with us on Wednesday, November 8, when we decided to visit the Tremont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We again entered the park by way of Wears Valley and the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area. Or, I should say, we tried to enter that way.

Just before reaching the picnic area, we encountered a semi which had tried to maneuver its way down the winding mountain road and had become hopelessly stuck on one of the curves. The road is narrow, so our only alternative was to back up a quarter of a mile or so until we reached a small pull-out, providing access to a hiking trail, where we could turn around and drive back out to a public highway.

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Stuck Truck
One of the things that contributes to the beauty of the Smoky Mountains is the presence of an abundance of rivers and streams which flow beside roadways and hiking trails all through the park. We found the rivers at Tremont running strong.

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Following is a short video clip, that will allow you to hear the sound of the river pictured above.



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As we began a short hike up the Middle Prong Trail, we saw a man carrying a rubber raft. His intent was obvious. He planned to raft down that river. Well, we had to hang around to see how that went.

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You can see for yourself in the following video clip.



After our hike, as we returned to our car, the rafter was just loading his raft onto the roof of his truck and preparing to leave. We approached him to let him know that we'd gotten some photos and videos of his ride down the river. We gave him our contact information in case he wanted copies. 

While we were talking, two other guys unloaded kayaks from their vehicle and started toward the river. Aaron, the rafting guy, asked if he could join them. They welcomed him, so Doug and I got set to take some more pictures and video of the three of them.

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Following is a short video clip of Aaron and his new friends.



We were losing daylight by the time we left Tremont, but we wanted to work in a visit to the Sinks, since the water everywhere seemed to be flowing well. The Sinks is always a pretty place to visit, but especially during good water flow.

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The path pictured above leads past a recently constructed official overlook at the Sinks to a view that's much better than what the overlook provides. Doug got the following photo from up there, with the video camera. My camera wasn't handling the low light very well.

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The Sinks
There was a group of four guys with kayaks preparing to enter the river on the far side of the bridge and then ride their kayaks over the waterfall. The video of the action is below. It's almost two minutes long, but it's fun to watch.



We never get tired of the Smokies. There's always something new to see and experience.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Late Fall Trip to the Smokies

Our summer was so full of doctor appointments that we were unable to schedule any travel until the week of November 5-10; and we took that opportunity to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, a favorite destination for us.

The first four pictures were shot on a drizzly morning in Wears Valley, just outside the national park.

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The Little River from the bridge at Metcalf Bottoms

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Along Newfound Gap Road

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Mingus Mill

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Trees along Newfound Gap Road

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A Viewing Platform along Newfound Gap Road, during a brief period of sunshine

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The view from the viewing platform pictured in the previous image

We were in the Smokies for four full days, and it was rainy and dreary almost the entire time. The photos of the trees beside the road and of the viewing platform were taken during a very brief period of sunshine.

We love the Smokies, though, so the weather didn't dampen our spirits. The rain was never so bad that we couldn't get out into the park and walk some of the trails. The photos in this post were all from our first day there. I'll have a few more in a future post or two.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Here And There

These are a few more images from October, the first two from our yard and the last three from a visit to Doug's brother, Dennis, in Michigan.

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The leaves pictured above were caught in one of those long webs that stream through the air in the fall, seemingly attached to nothing except your face when you walk into one. The leaves looked like a small kite, floating to and fro in the wind. Doug spotted them and suggested I get my camera. I'm glad he did.

Since I had the camera out anyway, I walked around the yard to see what else might suggest a photo. The crabapple tree seemed a likely choice.

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Crabapple Tree
The tree is loaded with fruit this year and will provide food for the birds and squirrels this winter.

The following three photos were taken on October 28, during a trip to Michigan to visit Dennis.

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The fall colors were so pretty as we took Dennis on a scenic drive of the back roads near his home. The image quality of the above photo isn't the greatest, but it's not too bad considering that I was shooting through the windshield from the back seat. 


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John Wilson Park in Athens, Michigan

We visited John Wilson Park in June, and I wanted to come back and see what it looked like in the fall. I was glad we did.


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Old House in Athens, Michigan

On our way to John Wilson Park, we passed this house and that beautiful tree. It was close to the park, so I just walked a few more steps to get this photo.


Tuesday, November 07, 2017

October Beauty

The photos today were all taken October 21, the first four at Ouabache State Park and the last two on our way home that evening.

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Common Buckeye Butterfly
I've admired other bloggers' photos of the Common Buckeye many times but had never seen one myself until this day. It made my day.

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The photo above may look familiar. It's the same path pictured in my last post but taken 11 days later and showing a bit more fall color.

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The picture above shows a little fall color across the "lake." The lake has begun to fill again, but slowly. Still, the Canada geese seem encouraged.

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A Closer Look at Some Autumn Leaves

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The photo above shows the sunset as we started home that night. The one below shows the same sunset in its dying glory.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

An Early Fall Assortment

These photos are all from early October, as the fall colors were just beginning to show themselves.

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Part of a Trail at Ouabache State Park

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A Busy Bee 


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Mushrooms

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Early Fall Color

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Luke Bryan Farm Tour - New Haven, Indiana - 2017
We took a different route home from the park that night, driving down some back country roads; and our route took us by a farm where Luke Bryan was performing a concert. Judging from the amount of traffic on those back roads, the concert must have been well attended...but many were arriving late due to the traffic jams.

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Maples United Methodist Church

Not far from the location of the Luke Bryan concert was Maples United Methodist Church. The image of the church was a drive-by shot. It looked so pretty in the late-afternoon sun, with the ripened soybean field in the foreground, that I just had to try for a photo.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Wings on Purple

While stalking butterflies at Ouabache State Park on October 5, I found a single plant of purple blossoms that were loaded with winged things feasting on the nectar.

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Bees

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Painted Lady and Silver Spotted Skipper

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Clouded Sulphur Butterfly

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Silver Spotted Skipper

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Painted Lady Butterfly and a Bee

We returned to the park five days later, and this plant was completely withered. I realized how blessed I was to have seen it, and the winged things it was nourishing, the previous week.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Random

With the lake drained at Ouabache State Park this summer, I've had to search for things to photograph on our occasional afternoon visits there. Following are a few random shots from September.

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Cabbage White Butterfly

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Sparrow

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Snail Shells in the Dry Lake Bed

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Killdeer

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Clouded Sulphur Butterfly

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Cottonwood Leaf Beetle (It landed on my jeans.)

This last image isn't from the park. We were driving by a small local airport on October 2, when the sunset deepened to glorious colors. Doug stopped to let me get a picture of it.

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Sunset at Smith Field


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