Fertile Bottomland along Otter Creek

As Otter Creek flattens out on its way to Cove Creek, then on to the Broad River toward Columbia, the slow flow enriches corn and soybean fields along its banks. 

Our walk this morning took us to those fields where this summer’s crops are thriving after all the rain that has fallen.

misty pondAlong the way, Otter Pond had a mist rising because of the 53 degree sunrise…

buddyBuddy was looking for rabbits along the way…

corn 7The first field was covered in “Field Corn”, not edible, but used for corn sugar, corn starch, animal feed, and ethanol. It’s easily identified by its long, spike-like leaves that do not bend over. Each kernel has a dimple on the surface. This crop will remain in the field until next spring, and will be cut after it’s completely dried.

The next field has the traditional tall sweet corn that will be sold in local markets for dinner tables.  corn 4When I say tall, I mean very tall…corn vann 2

corn blue

corn 3Unlike many varieties, this hybrid produces only one ear per stalk…

corn 5The flowering tops have a blossom for each kernel that will grow on an ear, and must be pollinated for that kernel to form as a seed.


The next field is the smallest, and runs along the main road. It was planted first back in the Spring, but left untended, the stalks never grew more than four feet, and grasses and Morning Glories choked out every row.  This morning, a heavy dew clung to these hardy grasses.corn 6

Crossing Bill’s Creek Road to the next field, I pass the mailboxes that serve the enter valley…boxes

The last field is the largest of all, and this year, the Boyd family has planted Soybeans.soybeans

Inside Tom’s Creek Falls

Located along the Blue Ridge Escarpment just northwest of Marion, North Carolina, this 80 foot high waterfall is one of the least visited falls in Pisgah National Forest. An easy half mile walk gets you to the base, but a more difficult climb gets you to a pool at the top, great for swimming, if you can stand the cold water. Make sure you find the ruins of an old generating station, where a large water wheel once operated.  Mica is plentiful in this area, and you can leave with a great souvenir.


falls 2


Over Hemlock House at Otter Creek

Always nice to share a different perspective of my home in the wilderness  east of the Blue Ridge Escarpment in North Carolina.



On the Roof of Biltmore House

Biltmore is always a wonder to visit. The Gardens are especially colorful in July.

Living in The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina- A Blog

A recent addition to the choices offered to visitors of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville is a special “Architect’s Tour”. Not only do you go into rooms that are normally off limits to the regular public, but you also are taken outside onto the walkway of  Biltmore’s distinctive roof. You are above the gargoyles, and have panoramic views of the front lawn and gardens. Arriving early, the chateau is a silhouette against the rising sun.
Biltmore Sunrise

From the normally off limits side loggia, the main staircase tower is resplendent with statues of Joan of Arc and St. George (?). The balconies are actually camouflage for the cantilevered stone stairs that protrude outside of the staircase walls.

Joan of Arc

Emerging from a small balcony above the main entrance, the expanse of lawn is a reminder of the five flights of stairs you just climbed to get there.
Biltmore House Docent

Being above the gargoyles gives one an…

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My First Rattlesnake in the Wild

Haven’t seen another Wood Rattler in seven years. That’s fine with me.

Living in The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina- A Blog

This morning I had my first encounter with a rattle snake. It was a three foot Wood Rattler, and it was just resting along Otter Creek Road.

From the looks of his skinny body, he was very much in need of a meal.

His rattles were as motionless as he was. Just so you know, I made these shots from my car window. There was never any threat. His scales and coloring were very interesting.

Summer wildflowers are blooming in the fields.

When the sumac starts to turn red, you know that summer has peaked, and hints of the coming autumn will be seen throughout the woods.

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The Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Let’s say that you’re in Asheville, North Carolina, and you decide that you would like a dining experience like no other in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Get on the Blue Ridge Parkway and head in the direction of Cherokee, and you’ll experience twenty-five miles of the most spectacular scenery anywhere in North Carolina. You’ll have a leisurely drive with no billboards to obstruct your view, and you’ll pass through seven tunnels as you approach 5,600 foot Mt. Pisgah. Suddenly, giant Douglas Firs will dot the mountainsides, and you’ll think you’re in northern Canada. Brilliant magenta Rhododendron will line the Parkway, and you can stop at any number of scenic Overlooks to take everything in.  As you come around a sharp curve at Milepost 408, there it is on your left.  You see a rustic two story building nestled amongst the weathered trees and shrubs, so you pull in and find a place to park. Just twenty miles southwest of downtown Asheville, at 5,000 feet, you have found the historic Pisgah Inn, and on a hilltop just past the lodging area, you’ll find an amazing restaurant where you’ll be pearched along a ridge overlooking breathtaking mountains and valleys, and, like the diners who got there before you, you’ll wait for a table along the expansive wall of picture windows, where you’ll be served delicious Southern Cooking by the most attentive team of young people anywhere. You’ll pinch yourself to make sure you aren’t dreaming. 

viewYou’re NOT dreaming…

You’ll walk up to one of those windows, and this is what you’ll see…view 2…unlimited blue ridges toward Looking Glass Rock, with thousands of acres of dense forests, and even on your left, you’ll see the Parkway as it carves a trail around the next bend.

When you’ve finished your meal, you’ll walk out onto a deck just to take it all in…pisgah inn 3

You’ll ask someone to take a picture with your friends, just to prove to the folks back home, that you were really here…pisgah inn 1

Then you’ll visit their incredible gift shop where you’ll find the perfect souvenir.IMG_8015

And if you’re lucky, there will be an empty rocking chair where you can just relax and maybe experience one of the best sunsets you’ll ever see.9173





A Summer Morning Walk

After over a foot of rain in June, and another half inch yesterday, everything is like a rain forest in the valley. Out before sunrise with Buddy was cool and damp, but smelled so fresh.

trumpetTrumpet Flower and Poison Oak

Bee BalmBee Balm

gloryWild Morning Glories

Buddy PointsOtter Pond

laceQueen Anne’s Lace

corn fieldField Corn in Otter Creek bottom land.

mimosaMimosa along the creek…

teal 2The Sun greets my newly painted roof and deck railings.