Monday, August 18, 2008

Goodbye Mountains, Hello Beach

goodbye sized

Gone are the Blue Ridge Mountains. I've left them behind (for now). They've been replaced by the skinny little trees that are few and far between in this ever expanding urban sprawl that's Charlotte. The peace and quite of the country has been exchanged for the sounds of the city. Gosh, how I hated to leave.

Blue Ridge Mountains of Ashe County, NC
the Phoenix as seen from Mt. Jefferson

I went outside last night and got my crying over with. I sat listening to the crickets and the owls. I heard the deer on the hill behind mom's house snort the alarm when he got a whiff of me. I listened to the peace and quiet and just took in the cool night air. The moon peeked out of the clouds and shined a slight ray of hope.

Blue Ridge Mountains of Ashe County, NC
looking toward Tennessee from Mt. Jefferson


On a lighter note, the Ola Belle Reed Festival was this past weekend in Lansing. It started Friday night and went through Sunday. I spent a large part of the day Saturday packing our things to get ready to leave. The ball field where the festival takes place is right below mom's house and the music echoes up the valley. It makes for a great cheap seat. We heard quite a bit of good music from the yard Friday night, listening to it echo off the hillsides.

viewing from the front yard
view from mom's yard

late night onstage
late night on the stage (zoomed in)

It was a good time. The bands were terrific and Kevin had great fun dancing in the dark!

Then the night ended with fireworks!

Ola Belle fireworks

I'll post more pictures of the festival when I get the chance. We're getting up tomorrow and heading out for Myrtle Beach. (Just got here and now we're going to turn around and leave again!) Kevin is going to enjoy it. I'll try to as well (as long as it doesn't rain). I'm not a sand person though, but I do like to watch Kevin having a good time. There's a chance of rain every day we're going to be there, so I'm sure we'll be visiting the aquarium.

And while we're at the beach, good ol' Barney gets to stay in the mountains a couple more weeks. Lucky dog. I left him with mom so she could babysit him while we were gone. He loves her. Thanks mom!


The good thing is, we get to go back to the mountains and get him in two weeks! Yay!

we'll be back

Well, we'll see you in Myrtle Beach! Keep your fingers crossed that Hurricane Fay doesn't come our way!

Until next time....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Goodnight Moon

goodnight moon_sized
goodnight moon, originally uploaded by msbellee.

Last night was the Perseids meteor shower. It was a very cold night but that made for perfectly beautiful skies...except for one thing: the moon. It was so, so bright and lit up the entire night sky. It's not even a full moon yet but I couldn't believe how bright it was.

Here in the mountains you can see so many more stars than most anywhere else I know. There are street lights that mar some of the viewing, but there's still plenty of dark sky to be had if you know where to go and how to do it.

Kevin and I went out to the yard with our blankets and pillows and laid down on the grass behind my mom's house to view the show. And it was awesome! We were only out there for about 45 minutes but during that time we saw at least 10 meteors and some of them streaked across the entire sky! Kevin said, "I'll never forget this." I just smiled. We also saw at least 10 planes, one of which I believe was a military jet, it was so low and so fast. We saw about 5 satellites (tiny moving points of faint white light that make no noise and have no blinking lights), and a few bats flying around. We heard a screech owl and a hoot owl, but the most incredible thing was the moon. It competed with the meteor shower for the most brilliant sight in the sky. You didn't even need a flashlight to see your way in the dark, it was so bright.

I've never been able to take a picture of the moon before. But I thought I'd give it a shot since it was soooooo bright. I got my tripod and set it up in the edge of the yard where no trees blocked the view. Then I used my self-timer to release the shutter to prevent any external movement to the camera. I used manual setting and fiddled around with the shutter and aperture settings until I could see the moon pretty clearly in the LCD. I kept the ISO on 80 to cut down on noise, although there is still noise in the pics. (That's one of the main reasons I want a DSLR, so I can shoot in low light with a higher ISO for less noise.) After it was all set up I gave it a shot and was thrilled with the results! I still want a DSLR so I can get an even better shot, but I think I did pretty good for this camera! (Anyone care to contribute to my DSLR fund?? Go to my shop where I'm having a sale!! :) )

After Kevin saw the pictures, he told me "you should be proud, mommy!" I asked him why. He said, "you can see all the craters on the moon." I thought that was cool, but he's easily impressed! He's getting into photography too and I'm really glad he is. It's teaching him to see the world in a different way which I believe can only be a good thing. He looks for the unusual and different things now. He's appreciating little things and seeing things that others don't always notice, like bumble bees sleeping on the flowers at dusk, or toads that are camoflauged in gravel, and the tiniest little insects that might otherwise get stepped on. Instead, we take a picture of them and then let them be.

sleeping bumble bee

small grandaddy longlegs


We've shared and done a lot together while being in the mountains this summer. The meteor shower was really fun and I'm glad I could share it with him. We did it last year and the before, but this year I think he'll remember it (I hope). We lay there together under the blanket on the cold, cold ground, looking up at the stars and saying "Wow, did you see that one?!"

It's the little things....


Until next time....

Monday, August 11, 2008

End of Summer Sale

Hi everyone!

I'm running an "End of Summer" sale in my Etsy shop! Lots of beautiful handmade items at lower prices (some as much as $10 off!). So stop by and see if there's something calling your name!

shop sale

I hope everyone is having a good summer. This is our last week in the mountains. We'll be sad to leave the beauty and the fresh air (and Granny). Then school starts August 25 when Kevin begins 1st grade! Gosh, how time flies....

Take care everyone!

Until next time.....

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


meet my Transformer...
meet my Transformer..., originally uploaded by msbellee.

...from Optimus Prime.

Taken at the McFarland company picnic. I just loved this pic!

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Picnic at the Park

Ashe County Park

My sister invited me and Kevin to her company picnic last Friday at Ashe County Park. She does this for us because her husband can't usually attend, so we are always happy to go. (Thanks for the invitation! We had fun!)

Mt. Jefferson

This year there were two bounce houses that Kevin enjoyed immensely. Everyone brought their kids and Kevin had a great time playing with them. There were burgers (including veggie burgers), hot dogs, and tons of great desserts; but mostly it was an all around fun and relaxing time for everyone. Of course, I took lots of pictures, but I thought I'd post some here to give you an idea of the fun we had and the beauty of Ashe County Park. Please do visit my set on Flickr to get the full scope of things though.

the grill


pink sunglasses



a beautiful day


butterfly love

do I have to leave?


tiger lily and butterfly

Needless to say, a fun time was had by all.
Surrounded by natural beauty and lots of good clean fun...
I hope we're invited back again next year!

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer (or fall)!

Until next time....