Bucket List – Babcock State Park

Every October I get the urge to travel to where there is leaf color change, and every October the weekends seem to fill up quickly. In 2010 my sister and I, along with 2 friends who were with us part of the time, spent 2 weeks in the New England states. If you are free to travel and can make this trip, do it!

This late spring, when my nephew and his girlfriend announced their engagement for an Oct. Virginia wedding, I decided to work in a trip to Babcock State Park. BSP has an iconic grist mill that is in a stunning setting. The park itself is kind of remote and not on the way to anywhere. We stayed in a cabin just up the lane from the mill. There are about 8 cabins back this lane.




We got lucky and got cabin 12 which only has 12 steps down to it. Even with that, the lane was about even with the roofline. Some of the others were were way down the hill. The good part was, there were closer to the rushing stream.


Our cabin was their “intermediate” level cabin. It was warmed only by a big open fireplace. We needed it because the night temperatures dipped into the 30s and the bright sunshine warming to daytime temps in the 60s hardly warmed the cabin because of all the trees. It had a full kitchen, though a bit rustic and small. There are not many restaurants or grocery stores close by so were glad we had planned ahead and picked up some things at a Kroger a few hours before we got there. They provide plenty of good fire wood, which burned nicely and cozily.

Some pre-seasoned and prepared foods from Kroger were the ticket for delicious meals.
I had to laugh when I saw this picture. I totally look like Mr. Lunt. 🙂

The best time to shoot the mill only sunny days is in the hours just after it gets light. When we were there, bright light didn’t hit it until after 9 AM. By 5:30 or 6, the sun was no longer hitting it. If you want to use a slow shutter speed to make the water look silky, you have to shoot when the sun is not hitting it.


There were quite a number of other photographers around morning and evening. We had to work around each other.


In the morning there was mist coming of the water. Can you spot the other photographer below? One of the ladies dressed in camouflage and she blended in well.







There’s a pretty lake in the park where you can rent boats in the summer. It was closed down for the season when we were there. In the morning there was mist dancing over the water.







We hiked one of the many trails in the park. This was along a narrow-gauge 2.5 mile trail. I’m not sure what this rail was used for, possibly mining purposes? There was a swinging bridge that we wanted to see and we got to within a short distance of it, but gave up because the trail hit a ravine, and I didn’t have shoes with enough support on plus the knee I had hurt a month and half ago was starting to ache a little.



The trail was muddy in some spots from recent rains. While not considered a treacherous trail, for a portion of it, one misstep close to the edge could’ve sent you rolling down a steep embankment.

We didn’t see all of the park but were impressed with its quiet beauty. I’m sure there was quite a bit more activity during the weekend because the cabins were all booked.

Leaving this area, we crossed the New River and stopped to snap a picture.



Montana – Part 4 – Thompson Falls

The last few days of our trip were spent in Western Montana. One of my dear friends from my days at Northern Youth Programs, Lisa, and her family live in another beautiful part of Montana. The live in a valley between two ridges. As we approached their area, we began noticing more and more dear. It was dusk Sunday evening when we arrived and the dear were everywhere!!

Backing up a bit …

Leaving the Fairfield area, we enjoyed the views of the light covering of snow that was quickly melting.

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Heading southwest we went through an area where houses are few and far between. Lois mentioned that she feels like she might be on the moon. I totally agreed.

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The closer we got to the Roger’s Pass at Continental Divide, the patchier the snow was.

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Until we started climbing to Roger’s Pass, the snow was thick and wet!

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There was pretty much a beauty overload the whole trip!

Check out the overpass below. It is for wildlife to cross the road.

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We could see a little smoke hanging in the air to the west.

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Our only full day in Thompson Falls area, Lisa took us around to see the local area, something both Lois and I love doing!

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There was a lot of vibrant colors in the towns!!

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It was quite amazing to us to see all of the wildlife just wandering around town. How would you like to eat a picnic lunch at the park, surrounded by these?

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Lisa had to drop something off for a friend, and there was a buck in a yard down the street.

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We took a walk on over the area where the hydro dam. We noticed several Bald Eagles flying nearby.

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I noticed an eagle dipping down toward the water and it was one of those moments that I was glad had my camera ready!! You can see the fish toward the bottom left of the photo. I didn’t notice it until I was editing the photos.

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He flew off to enjoy his spoils and soon there was a group of crows around him, offering him help with eating it.

Lisa’s friend, Sadie, invited us over for supper and apple cider making … brewing … pressing. Yeah, that’s it, pressing. I guess that’s how you say it. Either way, we made apple cider after supper. It was an interesting and delicious experience!

The setting of their place is amazing!! This view is from their back porch.

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And they, also, have deer wondering around the place.

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Sadie tried to get the buck to come closer but the extra people around made him a little skittish.

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The cider was SO good!! Here’s a photo of the biggest and smallest apple I could find from the boxes we were processing. This was an off year for Lisa’s trees.

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I wish I could’ve been out during a time when the Milky Way was at the best viewing location. I think this happens in the spring/early summer for the US. This is only a fraction of the Milky Way. The lack of light pollution in the west makes it a great spot to see a maximum number of stars.

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On our way out the next day, I finally saw some bighorn sheep grazing near the road.

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The ladies took us to one more hot springs in Paradise, MT. You can find out more info here: Quinn’s Hot Springs. This has a total of 5 outdoor pools, most of them only a few degrees apart, except for the one pore-closing, hair-standing-on-end one that gripped it’s icy fingers around your ankles (me) or your neck (my cousin Anne who shrieked her way through a dip every once-in-a-while).

(Photo from Visit Montana.com)


We flew out of Missoula, relaxed, rested up, and ready to get back home (for the most part). If a vacation feels like it could/should go on longer, it must have been a good one!!

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Lancaster County Tourist

Last summer I had the privilege of making a quick trip to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania for a wedding. I always love visiting this area, especially since it usually includes spending time with cousin Gina and her family! Although I was only there for about 36 hours, we got a lot of fun things packed in. After shopping on Saturday, Gina asked if there was anything else I wanted to do. I said that driving through the countryside and getting some pictures of would be great fun for me. She is surrounded by farming country, living on a dairy farm where her husband grew up, so she knew where to take me. We tried to be as discreet as possible, knowing the Amish would prefer to not have their pictures taken.

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Since it was the beginning of June, there was still some planting going on.

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And lots of farmers were out working on this Saturday afternoon.

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They are headed to the fields with tobacco for transplanting.

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When I was about 13, my family did some truck crops and I got in on transplanting cabbage.

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Now that’s a basket of eggs! (Yes, I do have a keen sense of the obvious! 🙂 )

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Not to be missed are the flowers.

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And in particular, peonies. Sigh.

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One of Gina’s friends graciously offered that I could come pick a bouquet to take home with me but we ended up leaving the area sooner than anticipated and I wasn’t able to take her up on her offer.

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We stopped in at an Amish school which was already closed for the summer.

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It was locked but we could peek in the windows.

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Those all-important rooms out the back.

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The abandoned-for-the-summer playground.

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More transplanting

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Getting the buggies shined up for Sunday.

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Big barns and house

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Just beautiful!

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Weekend Trip + Callaway Gardens

It’s time to shake the dust off of this blog! A lot has happened since I last blogged but I’ll blog later about those life-altering things.

This past weekend my Mom, sister and I decided to take a trip to see another sister and family. We had a long, lovely weekend with them! They own/run a deli and I’ve never been there over open hours so we left Friday in time to eat lunch there. Yum and yum!

We enjoyed the brilliant fall colors on the way up. The south had a dry fall, as well as early cold temperatures. These 2 combined to make a more-colorful-than-normal fall foliage. At my sister’s place, they had 2 trees that we oohed and ahhed over! We don’t have that brilliant color in our corner of the state.









On Saturday we ladies headed to Callaway Gardens. The fall foliage was past it’s peak here as well but there were still spots of color. The weather was sunny and cool and we were glad for extra layers. Our first point of interest was the Birds of Prey show. They brought out 2 owls and 2 hawks. The handlers had them fly over the audience throughout most of the show. It was interesting and fun as ducked out of the way.

Would you say he had his eye on me?


He actually had his eye on the handler behind us who was putting out meat scraps for him, but …. his flight path took him right over my niece and I and twice the tip of his wings brushed the top of my head.


This is a Great Horned Owl.


They also had a Barred Owl:


He looked a bit less intimidating and mostly sleepy.

There was a Red-Tailed Hawk:


We walked to the chapel in the woods just in time to hear the organ music that is played Saturday and Sunday afternoons. There is a big pipe organ and the player did it justice. The music rang throughout the park.

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The stained glass from the inside:


Dogwoods in stained glass.


The organ pipes.



My niece’s friend works there and was able to spend an hour with us. She took a picture of our crew.


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More of the park:





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And in case you’ve been wondering what an armadillo looks like, here is one that was rooting around beside the path.


He was so tame I could’ve petted him. I could hardly get him distracted enough to get a picture without his head buried in leaves.


A beautiful camelia.

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The horticultural center, where-in were tropical greenhouses as well as arid ones.








This is a Full Moon Maple and if I lived in the right growing zone, which I don’t (boo-hoo), I would plant a couple of them. The leaves had varying shades of red, orange and yellow.


There is also a butterfly house. You can see cocoons, some nearly ready to hatch, some in the process of hatching, and freshly hatched butterflies waiting to be released into the very warm and humid atmosphere of the tropical butterfly house.






One more pretty fall scene from up the road from my sisters’ house.


I didn’t take any pictures of the delicious food we had all weekend! We ate at a southern home-cooking restaurant at the edge of the park on Saturday and they had the cheesiest mac and cheese ever!!!! Way delicious!! Sunday night my sister made a Laosian noodle soup that my stomach is still begging for!

Happy Fall, Y’all! Well, I guess it’s more like winter. Tonight the temps are dipping into the 20s here in south Georgia. Brrr.

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Day 60 – March 1

I went to Brunswick to do some shopping and spent a bit of time at JoAnn’s Fabrics. Saw this cute fabric that would make a cute blanket. Unfortunately it wasn’t flannel like I was looking for.


Day 61 – March 2

I love the little “fingernail” of a moon, almost as much as a full moon.


Day 62 – March 3

Another rainy day in Georgia! We’ve had quite a few this year!


Day 63 – March 4

Yummy cod filets for supper. I used a beer batter recipe but used ginger ale in place of the beer. Here is the recipe in case you’re interested.  British Fish & Chips. I wasn’t sure how many ounces a “bottle cold brown beer” was so just added ginger ale until it was what I thought was the right consistency. (Mine’s not near as pretty as theirs.)


Day 65 – March 6

Another chilly, rainy day. I made some chicken enchilada soup at work. Recipe here: Soupy Weather



Day 66 – March 7

I’m still getting emails from Sykes Cottages, the rental company we used for our rental in Ireland 2 years ago. I can’t bring myself to unsubscribe because there are such lovely places to dream about.


Day 67 – March 8

Lois brought home some ground turkey that was on sale. I made turkey burgers with feta cheese and a bruschetta-type topping. Yum! I still prefer hamburger for flavor but it’s nice to know this is healthier.


Day 68 – March 9

This was the second day in 2 weeks that I’ve been to Jekyll Island! 70 degree weather after chilly rains and it’s just too nice to stay home!


Day 69 – March 10

A lovely sunny day, just perfect for drying sheets on the line!


Day 70 – March 11

A busy evening at Kids Club.


I head up the crafts once a month. Tonight the boys made kites.


The girls made butterflies.


Day 71 – March 12

Took the scenic route on my way home from work, to find pretty spring colors!






Day 73 – March 14

Blackened cod (not the prettiest I’ve ever seen/made), pea salad and Vidalia onion casserole! We grew up eating pea salad made from canned peas but this was made with frozen, uncooked peas, similar to what’s found on salad bars. I like the “pop” to the peas.


Day 74 – March 15

A delicious end to a beautiful Saturday.


It’s a little jazzy for a skirt but I love breaking out colors in the spring!


Day 76 – March 17

Oatmeal Blueberry Streusel Muffins. Do I win the “Employee of the Week” award? Not that there is one or anything. It’s made from a versatile oatmeal muffin recipe from my mom that I will blog about soon.


Day 77 – March 18

Went to Savannah to celebrate (early) for my co-worker’s birthday. We both got to take a day off on the same day!!!!! We ate lunch at Lady & Sons. We made reservations for 11 and were some of the first people in this 3rd floor dining room. The kitchen is on the 2nd floor. It’s in a former warehouse. In the dining room on another part of this floor is a big pulley system still visible.


Soul food. That’s all I got to say about that.


Day 79 –  March 20

The cold snap we had must’ve reset the pansies. They’re blooming beautifully!



Day 80 – March 21

Went to Sarasota for the weekend. Feeling like a tourist watching 4 Pioneer Trail buses roll out for Indiana & Ohio.


Ate a delicious fried shrimp & oyster supper at Phillippi Creek.


Day 81 – March 22

Took our hosts out for breakfast to First Watch. Way cool restaurant with a unique menu!


Lois and split 2 entrees because we wanted to try more than 1 thing. We got the Acapulco Omelette (Chorizo sausage, avocado, green chilies, and house-roasted onions with Cheddar and Monterey Jack. Topped with sour cream and served with a side of housemade salsa)


and a Cinnabun pancake


Enjoying the beauty in Sarasota.


The neighbor across the street from where we stayed hosts a Saturday evening sing.


We enjoyed FRESH sweet corn and tomato sandwiches for supper!


Day 81 – March 22

We found a small public access in Longboat Key. It took a little longer to get there but it was nice to find a quiet beach.



Day 85 – March 26

Preparing a snack for staff meeting. Someday I’d like to see a vineyard that produces clusters this big.


Day 86 – March 27

You don’t need an official panini machine for good sandwiches! Baby George Foreman grills available at a thrift store near you. 🙂


Day 87 – March 28

Most azaleas are just now hitting their prime — way later than most years!


Day 88 – March 29

My attempts at making pitas were less than successful. I at learned some things to NOT do, such as putting them on ungreased waxed paper. I think I’ll try them in a hot skillet next time. On a postive note, the dough was lovely to work with.


Day 90 – March 31

Met a friend for lunch. This cracked us both up! Seaside?? Who says that anymore? Incidentally, I saw a video about where these are produced.  One of them added the smiley faces.


And that brings us to the end of March!