Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fall Leaves In The Mountains Of North Carolina

As hard as it is to believe here we are almost at the end of the month of October already.  We have been traveling a little and time slipped on by.

We recently took a trip up to the North Carolina mountains to see the beauty of the changing Fall leaves.  If you have visited Sweet Southern Days in the past, you know I have shared spending Fall days at our mountain cabin in the Snowbird Mountains in a little town called Robbinsville.

We have mutual friends who first shared and introduced us to this charming little mountain town.  It is definitely not a tourist town.  Most of the folks in and around this mountain town have kinfolks going back for generations.

The below photo taken from the front porch of our mountain cabin shows the leaves on the trees shortly after we arrived.  As you can see there is only a little bit of leaf color on just one tree.

We took a side trip into the little tourist town of Cherokee, North Carolina and as you can see from the trees below the leaves had already begun to change and were so pretty.

Passing through Cherokee, North Carolina it is not uncommon 
to see real Cherokee Indians entertaining the many tourists who come to this region.

This Cherokee Indian was kind enough to let me take his picture and smiled so nicely for the camera.

This area of Western North Carolina has been home to the Cherokee people for untold centuries.  Artifacts that have been found in the area indicate people lived here more than 11,000 years ago.  Today, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians is a sovereign nation of 100 square miles with more than 13,000 enrolled members.

Today there is great respect and a wish to preserve the history of this special Cherokee Indian Tribe.

Two other Cherokee Indians were kind enough to pose for my camera.

Driving north on through Cherokee, North Carolina in just a few minutes we arrived at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  

If you ever get a chance to visit this area, it will be a treat for you to drive through this amazingly beautiful park. And, there is so much to see and do.  There are many spectacular hiking trails all throughout the park, plus camping and horseback riding.  You can make reservations to hike one of the trails to Mt. LeConte Lodge for an overnight stay in their delightful rustic cabins.  I have been told you must make your reservations to stay at the Lodge a year in advance.

For more information about this amazing Lodge you can click on:

Driving north through the park you arrive at the amazing tourist town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  About midway through the park you cross the state-line over into beautiful Tennessee.  And at this half-way mark you can also see the Appalachian Trail.

After a short visit in Gatlinburg we continued on over to the Pigeon Forge/Sevierville area. As we drove through the area we spotted this cute little log cabin wedding chapel all decorated for Fall.

There is lots and lots to do in an around the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville area.  One of the fun things to do is visit the amazing shopping outlet malls.  Our favorite is called the Tanger Outlet Mall.  If you are ever in this area you might enjoy going there.  Here is a link if you would like to take a look at this mall:

Traveling on back to the cabin we could see the leaves were changing so beautifully.  
The below photo was taken from the front porch of the cabin on the day we first arrived.

As time went by we can see in the below photo how the leaves have 
really begun to change and how pretty and colorful they are.

During our stay at the cabin a friend stopped by with this pretty little Halloween plant.  
What a thoughtful gift and so cute!

The leaves became more colorful everyday.
The Good Lord is truly such an amazing artist ... We could not do this no matter how hard we tried!

The below photo is a view from the side front porch.

Photo taken from the front porch.  The leaves are just about as colorful now as they are going to be.

A Fall wreath porch decoration.

View of the colorful leaves from the back side porch.

A local friend suggested we build a deck on the side of the mountain, off to the side from our cabin.  He also said he would be able to build it for us.   We thought it would be a good idea to have a place for everyone to gather when we have a cook-out and to be able to enjoy the views of the mountains.

We were not there when he was building this deck and when we arrived we were totally amazed he was able to build this deck coming off the side of the mountain.  Can you believe he built this all by himself.  And then he also concreted stones all around the posts supporting the deck.

I can't even imagine carrying each stone plus the concrete down the hill of the mountain and getting the stone to stay put in the concrete long enough to dry and stay put.  It is hard to see in this photo, but on the far side of the deck he built a long bench all across the back side for guests to have additional room to sit and enjoy the view.  He did a most amazing job!

We did so much enjoy visiting the mountain cabin and the local area, enjoying the cool and even cold breezes coming across the mountain at this time of year and seeing the beauty of the leaves changing.

The below photo was the last view of the pretty leaves from the cabin as we drove on down the road on toward home.

I do hope you enjoyed seeing the pretty leaves here in the North Carolina mountains along with us.

It was a beautiful time in the mountains,  but we were looking forward to getting on back home so we would not miss the very special time of Halloween night seeing all of the ghosts and goblins as they come trick-or-treating. Would not want to miss that for anything!

Wishing you a Happy Halloween with lots and lots of fun wherever you may be.

Monday, October 5, 2015

"In Them Old Cotton Fields Back Home"

The skies were grey and the rain was falling due to the huge hurricane Joaquin cloud pattern swirling out in the Atlantic Ocean.  Fortunately, the menacing storm is forecast to head on out into the eastern Atlantic, missing populated land areas.  We felt fortunate to just be troubled with a few rain drops.

Driving from Tallahassee on to Macon, Georgia to attend a football game at Mercer University we were looking forward to seeing the cotton that would be growing in many South Georgia fields this time of year.  As you can see from the below photos we were not disappointed.

Yes, it was delightful to see the cotton fields which stretch as far as the eye can see.

These cotton bolls will soon open up into bouquets 
of beautiful pristine white cotton ... Isn't that totally amazing!

The state of Georgia is one of 14 states in the United States that grows cotton. 
 Some states plant cotton as early as February and as late as June.

There are mechanical planters which plant as many as 10 to 24 rows at a time.  About two months after planting, flower buds appear and in another three weeks the blossoms open.  Then the green cotton bolls begin to grow.

The cotton bolls grow in the nice warm sun and continue to expand.  
Finally, they split open and the fluffy cotton pops out.
This whole process is said to take about a total of 120 days from beginning to end.

They look just like the little cotton balls I use to apply nail polish  remover.
I touched the cotton and it is soft and fluffy and perfect.

I spotted this cotton plant with some of the leaves still on the plant.  
The leaves were so pretty and reminded me of maple tree leaves.

Cotton is harvested by machines that strip the cotton from the open bolls.

Throughout the history of growing cotton in the United States, boll weevils have been a serious threat to all cotton crops.  In the 1920s major crops in the US were destroyed by this beetle.  Over a period of years the state of Georgia participated in a program to try to eliminate this serious problem.

Boll weevils are considered the most destructive pest to cotton plants.
This trap is designed to attract any boll weevils that may be infecting 
the cotton and then other measures can be taken to protect the cotton crop.

According to Mr. Google,  cotton production is a $25 billion per year industry in the US, employing over 200,000 people total.  

Forty billion pounds of cotton a year are harvested from a total of 12.3 million acres of land.  An estimated 17 million bales were produced in the US in 2012.

There are about 3,500 cotton producing farms in the United Stated.

Apparently if you have a garden and wish to grow cotton you must have permission from the Georgia Department of Agriculture to grow this amazing plant.  All cotton growers are required to be a part of the monitoring program to detect the very dangerous boll weevils.  If these pests go undetected an entire crop of cotton could be threatened.

As you can see I could not resist taking photos of the very colorful Goldenrod which was growing at the entrance to one of the cotton fields.

Thank you for stopping by and walking through these beautiful 
"old cotton fields back home" with me.

Wishing you a wonderful Tuesday,  and many blessings to you for the rest of your week.