Great Smoky Mountain Morning Majesty


Waterfall’s rhythmic splashing outside our door awakened us in the predawn. Gently roused, we headed up the mountain to Cades Cove.

The Great Smoky Mountain’s flora and fauna were there to welcome us. In silent, reverent wonder we witnessed Creation, with all her magnificent splendor, softly awake Mother Nature to begin the new day.

“God dwells in His creation and is everywhere indivisibly present in all His works. He is transcendent above all His works even while He is immanent within them.”

A.W. Tozer

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Our Falls
Cades Cove Morn’
We See You
Winged Beauty
Unknown Wildflower

Spider Stats


Garden Spider

With over a million different kinds, insects represent the most numerous of all life forms on earth. I grateful the Creator gave them exoskeletons to lug around and considerably limit their size. Had they endoskeletons like us, we’d be impossibly outnumbered, tripping over ants, swatting mosquitoes with baseball bats, and Orkin exterminators would be packing, wearing Kevlar vests.

I’m appreciate all insect predators . . . colorful birds, furry anteaters, slimy frogs, even spooky bats to assist keeping the ever-burgeoning insect population in check . . . but wonder why God saw fit add scary spiders to help keep insects from ‘bugging’ us 😊

This morning, a Garden Spider gained a modicum of my respect. The intricate, geometrically designed web this little 8-legged architect had constructed altered my perspective of these creepy creatures. Patiently waiting to ambush and chow down on some savory insect, I realized this tiny guy (girl?) is actually my ally, possibly sparing me a future mosquito bite 😍

Sooooo . . . with that renewed mindset, here’s a ½ dozen Spider Stats to lend a favorable ‘spin’ for any arachnophobes out there, with one caveat . . . spiders still can bite Ya’ 😫

  1. Webs of Steel – for size, the silk strands of a spider’s web are far stronger than steel!
  2. Custom Designing – Most spiders have 3 spinnerets that extrude silk which dries when exposed to the air as they build their webs. Some have up to 8 spinnerets for different thread sizes. The spider controls the thread’s thickness, texture, and adhesiveness as it’s drawn from the spinnerets depending on the thread’s intended purpose.
  3. Web Recycling – each night the spider eats most of its web, leaving the primary frame to re-weave a new circular web each morning. It’s believed spiders eat their webs to recycle nutrients and consume small food particles . . . Yummy! 🤪
  4. Here’s Looking at You – most spiders have eight eyes. However, some species have six, four, two, or even no eyes. Even within a single species, the number of eyes may vary, but it’s always an even number.
  5. Cautious Courtship – at breeding time the male carefully ventures into the female’s nest, and then plucks the strands of her web to entice her. Before mating, he drops a safety web so that he can escape should he ‘strike a wrong note’, and she decides to cannibalize him 😲
  6. Venomous, but not Dangerous – like most spiders, Garden Spiders have venom to incapacitate their prey. However, their venom is not harmful humans.

All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.”

Cecil Frances Alexander

Cooling Off


Muggy 90s have descended upon our Great Smoky Mountains abode, and we awoke to Mr. Smoky splashing in the creek outside our bedroom window to cool off. Thought about inviting him in for some honey drizzled pancakes, but Ellie was still in her PJs and decided she rather not ‘bear ‘ it.

😊

PS  – Please disregard the time and date shown on this video clip. I’ve yet to get around to resetting them since purchasing the game camera back in 2017 . . . obviously not a high priority on my Bucket List.

Be Blessed and . . .

Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Fur and Fowl


Lotsa’ activity early this morning in our Great Smoky Mountains backyard. Here’s a few vid clips of our backyard buddies 😊

Mama Bear & Junior
Papa Bear
Great Blue Heron

Keep Looking Up . . . His best is Yet to Come!

Fragrant Fellow


A fragrant fellow strolled by our digs last night up here on the mountain . . . down in the ‘holler’ . . . by the ‘crick’ in this special corner of His creation called Great smoky Mountains.

Sometimes confused for weasels because of their similar, but larger body shape, the Spotted Skunk is equipped with sharp claws that it uses both to hunt and to defend itself from predators . . . bobcats, bears, large birds of prey, and curious humans who wish they hadn’t come so close.

Spotty is known to stamp its front feet to warn other creatures to “Back Off”!!! If unheeded, this most agile and quick member of his stinky family will do a full handstand before directing its aromatic spray at its intruder . . . keep the tomato juice handy 🙂


Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Earth Day in the Smokies


Bob strolled by this morning to wish us a Happy Earth day. Sam and Henrietta stopped by later . . . they claim Bob has an anger management issue, and prefer not to socialize with him 😊

“All creatures great and small, the Lord God made them all”

Happy Earth Day!

Covid Compliant Bandits


Up here on the mountain these characters usually roam the neighborhood under the cover of darkness, but today they strolled by in broad daylight . . . fully Covid compliant . . . 6 feet apart, masked up, and they wash their hands often  😊

Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

3 Bandits

Garfield Senior


As tonight’s snowflakes began to fall Garfield’s big cousin strolled by to check out if we had any dinner leftovers for him to munch on . . . I love pizza . . . he went away hungry 😊
                                      
Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Winter Wonderland Musings


Woke up this morning to discover snow-line has suddenly dropped 1,500 ft. below Chickaloon, AK, and the fluff continues to steadily fall . . . this will seriously alter my daily routine from hiking to shoveling 😊

The snow’s projected to end by nightfall, so . . . barring a cardiac event 😊 . . . it’ll probably be Sunday before I manage to clear the driveway down to the road, which has yet to be plowed . . . welcome to rural Last Frontier life . . . Love it!

While waiting to step outside and engage Mother Nature’s 13-degree Winter Wonderland with my shoveling skills, I identified with and added a tad to the post below a fellow ole duffer sent on his blog http://rays-daily.com/ . . . thanks Ray!

Reading these Tips for a Better Life triggered poignantWish I’d have realized these soonermemories, and thought some of y’all might enjoy perusing them. Like my Grammy used to scold me when I’d been caught doing something naughty yet again, “Freddy, you’re too soon old and too late smart!” . . . I shoulda’ listened sooner . . . do as I say, not as I’ve done 😊

Wherever this may find you in your ‘Wonderland’ today . . . whether the sun’s shining; snow’s falling; or a storm’s raging, enjoy its wonders . . . they are there if you but look and listen closely.

Tips for a Better Life – (it’s not too late)

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to. 😊

3. Buy a DVR and tape your late-night shows  and get more sleep .       

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, ‘My purpose is to __________ today.’

5. Live with the 3 E’s – Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

6. Play more games and read more books than you did last year.

7. Make time to pray. It will provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 (not a lot of us still left 😊) and under the age of 6.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.

14. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed-out charge card.

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.

18. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.

23. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’

26. Forgive everyone for everything.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. God heals everything in His time which is always on time.

29. However good or bad a situation is it will change.

30. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will, stay in touch.

31. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

33. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

34. Do the right thing!

35. Call your family often (or email them to death!!!) Hey I’m thinking of ya! 😊

36. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

37. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

38. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don’t want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

39. The best is yet to come, so . . .

40. Keep Looking Up

I M Blessed . . . May U B 2

It’s Snowing!
Downy Woodpecker


Swans on Ice


What a difference a day makes!  . . . freeze-up happened sooner than expected for our local Trumpeter Swan family. The few remaining open patches of water these big birds require for their running take-off is quickly becoming solid-state, and Mom is ‘honking-out’ Dad for not booking an earlier flight south for their cygnets and them 😊


Not to worry. I spoke with a neighbor today who is an avian expert and shares my concern for our Trumpeters’ plight. He is in contact with Bird Rescue authorities who will be able to institute SAD (Swan Assisted Departure) if necessary . . . stay tuned 😊

Where’s the ice skates?

Love to Live, Live to Love” – Amy Carmichael    
                                                                 
Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!