Timberwolf Creek Blog

First Snow of 2012

From Larry…

I’m not a big fan of cold weather, especially when it involves snow and ice, but aside from that it’s always exciting to see that first snow of the year. I can enjoy it for a day or two, but that doesn’t mean I want to live in it. 😉

It actually snowed up on the mountain yesterday at the higher elevations and there were a few snippets of snow in the air here, but last night is the first snow that stuck to the ground.

So I stuck my nose out the door. Well, ok, my nose and my camera, and grabbed a few shots of the morning snow before the rain melts it away.

Happy Halloween!

Larry

1st Snow! Halloween Eve  20121030

1st Snow! Halloween Eve 10/30/2012

 

Appalachian Mountains? Smokies? Blue Ridge?


We are, according to the USGS (United States Geological Survey, the official mapping service of the federal government) in both the Appalachian mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are part of the Appalachians.

The Great Smoky Mountains is a national park.  While we are not physically in the park, we are colloquially in the Smoky Mountains.  (USGS actually refers to our area as the Appalachian Blue Ridge.)  For instance, Dolly Parton is ‘from the Smoky Mountains’ and sings ‘Smoky Mountain music’ and has an album called ‘A Smoky Mountain Christmas’.  None of these refer to the national park, but rather this particular region of the Appalachian Blue Ridge, which is in immediate proximity to the borders of that which Roosevelt declared a national park.

We are, legitimately, in: the Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Appalachian Mountains, simultaneously.

This also gives credence to why the Appalachian Trail passes by us, from Georgia on its way north, and also the Blue Ridge Parkway’s immediate presence.

So, Great Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian Mountains… it all comes together for you here at Timberwolf Creek.

Glad I could help sort that out for you.  😉

 

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Gunfights and glory at Ghost Town in the Sky

From Larry’s Desk…

People always ask me ‘What’s there to do in Maggie Valley?’ My answer, with a wink is, ‘Nothing. And we like it like that.’

But truth be told there are a lot of things to do. Unique things that you just can’t do most other places. Like this one. The Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park has been entertaining kids both young and old for half a century. While it has fallen on hard times in the last few years, it was recently bought by a local resident who aspires to restore Ghost Town to its heyday. And she’s off to a good start. Where else can you ride a ski lift in the summer, or a 1,000 meter zip line, or see the famous western shoot out?

 

Yes sir, there’s plenty of things to do in Maggie Valley.

Larry

 

 

Quarterversary – the 3 Month Anniversary Gift List

I love my brides.  You all know that I do.  Grooms are pretty ok, too.

And they’re always saying, once the wedding ceremony’s done and they’re heading back home, “We’re definitely coming back for our anniversary!”  I’ve taken to responding, “You don’t have to wait a year.  You can come back on your 3-month anniversary.”

Today, Mary (who keeps my own house neat and tidy, and calls herself my Mary Maid), suggested folks celebrate their quarterly anniversary.  Brilliant!  And it even has a word: it’s a Quarterversary.

So, y’all know my life is filled with tongue-in-cheek humor and zany stuff.  There are lists of “appropriate” and “traditional” wedding gifts for wedding anniversaries.  But none exist for the quarterversary!  I felt duty-bound to create such a list, as I am, after all, the Wedding Fairygodmother.

Without further ado, then, I present to you, the Quarterversary Gift List (Traditional)

 

Year Anniversary Gift Quarter Quarterversary Gift
1st Weekend Getaway (at Timberwolf Creek)
2nd Ditto
3rd 2nd Honeymoon (at Timberwolf Creek)
1st Paper 4th Paper… gift certificate for Timberwolf Creek – surprise!
5th Girlfriend Getaway to Timberwolf Creek
6th Weekend Getaway (at Timberwolf Creek)
7th Guys Golf & Fishing Getaway at Timberwolf Creek
2nd Cotton 8th Cotton… Timberwolf Creek bathrobes
9th Weekend Getaway (at Timberwolf Creek)
10th Lords a leapin’  (sorry, couldn’t resist)
11th 11 ounce handcrafted Timberwolf Creek mugs
3rd Leather 12th Leather… new suitcase – to take, guess where!
13th Weekend Getaway (at Timberwolf Creek)
14th Special Dinner Out -to plan your next Maggie Valley getaway
15th Weekend Getaway (at Timberwolf Creek)
4th Linen, silk 16th Linen or silk… pajamas… for your trip… to Timberwolf Creek
17th Do something extra special for the babysitter/dogsitter…
18th Weekend Getaway (at Timberwolf Creek)
19th Time to sit down and plan the Big Trip – to renew your vows!
5th Wood 20th Wood… picture frame… for your 5th Anniverary portrait
              taken, naturally, at Timberwolf Creek -where else?

 

Horses in the pasture come to greet me

I went down to the mailbox and was greeted by the horses across the road.
A rainy overcast day hid the mountains from view.Horses in the Pasture

Horses in the pasture come to greet me

The air is fresh and cool after a good rain. The only sound is coming from the creek. It’s hard to describe how serene it is. You have to just see it for yourself.   —Larry

 

Buttermilk Pancakes – light as air and lots tastier

Buttermilk Pancakes – light as air and lots tastier

Pancakes at Timberwolf Creek Bed and Breakfast, Maggie Valley NC

The whole entire secret to making good pancakes -really excellent pancakes- is eggs.  You can use a recipe, you can use a mix.  But if you use a mix, you have to ignore the part where it doesn’t call for eggs.  Separate a couple of eggs, and beat the egg whites – you want them pretty stiff, like a meringue.  I sprinkle in a bit of sugar toward the end because I’m impatient and it makes them peak faster.  (‘Peak’ as in, when you lift the beater out of the egg whites, it leaves a nice peak.)  Now, set these aside and mix up your regular pancake batter, and fold in that meringue.  I’ve used lots of recipes, but none of them make better tasting pancakes than Krusteaz buttermilk pancake mix.  Now, I do add Mexican vanilla and the eggs to that mix.  If you’re a purist who wants a recipe, here’s mine:  2 eggs, 3 C flour, 2 T baking powder,  1 t baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 2 T sugar, 1 T brown sugar, 2 C buttermilk, 1 T Mexican vanilla, plus whole milk as necessary.  Whip egg whites, adding 1 T sugar to help them hold their peaks.  Set aside.  Mix everything else, including egg yolks.  Add milk in small amounts until you have the consistency of very heavy paint.  And then fold in the egg whites.  They don’t need to be blended in completely.  Cook on a preheated 350 griddle.

The reason for the first tablespoon of sugar is to make the meringue.  The second is to sweeten the batter.  The brown sugar adds depth.  The meringue makes the pancakes say, “Poof!” when they hit the griddle, and puffs them up light as air, while the sugars combine to make them brown so prettily.

The reason for the Mexican vanilla is two-fold.  First, it’s really good vanilla.  The second is that, when I’m out of vanilla, Larry has to take me back to Mexico.  If you are tempted, now, to tell Larry where I can find Mexican vanilla closer to home, I’m going to have to do something about you.  So… don’t…  Ok?

If you just really don’t like to cook, that’s ok.  I’ve got this one.  Come on down, and I’ll make you up a mess o’ pancakes.

 

      …

 

The Engagement Ring – a note to my brides

Dear Brides:  Today’s wedding was particularly wonderful.  It was wonderful because the two people getting married are -well, just great folks.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know them on facebook during all the months of wedding planning, and Lynn and I have become friends.  That’s always an amazing bonus for The Best Job In The World.  But today’s wedding was remarkable for the ceremony itself.  Louie and Lynn personalized their vows – as we encourage each of you to do, because the ceremony should be meaningful to the two of you – and they added something to the ceremony that I believe has been missing from the sample vows we send out to all our brides.  You can bet it’s going to be in there from now on.

The ring exchange, such an integral part of a wedding ceremony, has grown and been refined over the years, until I’m finally satisfied with those words.  And then there’s that awkward moment right before we take portraits when the bride transfers her engagement ring back to her left hand.  It was a momentous occasion, always to be cherished and remembered, when that engagement ring was first placed, and so it is fitting that there be some recognition of that on your wedding day.

Louie and Lynn added this to their ceremony:
“The engagement ring is a symbol of promise and intention.
The intention has now been realized
and the promise fulfilled.
Louis, place the engagement ring, over Lynn’s wedding band,
to symbolize that the love that brought you together,
will always protect and sustain your marriage.”

Ladies, when rehearsing their vows, I had to read this aloud three times before I could say it without getting all misty.  Because this is exactly the way I feel about engagement rings.  The wedding band is all about deep, abiding love, and lifelong commitment, and the sacred nature of the marriage rite.  That engagement ring is about the hope and promise of dreams realized.  It’s about romance, and falling in love, and the thrill of finding The One.  It’s pink clouds and roses.  It’s love songs and being wildly happy and gazing into each other’s eyes and the amazement and awe of finding someone that could mean so much to you.  That should all be there on your wedding day.  Of course, it IS all there on your wedding day, but let’s take a moment and acknowledge it.  Honor it.  And make it part of the ceremony.  Let’s take a moment to remember how it felt when the question was asked, answered, and the engagement ring was offered and accepted.

And, having done so, I hope you’ll think of that moment every time you notice your ring, every time it catches the sunlight in an unexpected moment, every time you hold hands.

And thank you, so very much, to Louie and to Lynn, for making that a part of my life, and for allowing me to share in such an important part of yours.

 

 

A Hosta, by any other name…

Ok, maybe you can help.  I’ve spent endless hours on Google, trying to identify my hostas.  These are the ones I have in abundance, planted in the outdoor wedding chapel gardens… but there are others…  I’ve learned more about hostas than I ever dreamed there was to know!  Margins and leaf shapes and textures, etc.  The variety is astounding.  I had no idea!  And while discovering that there are something like 10,000 different hostas out there, it came as no great surprise that they are lilies.  Because, after all, I do love lilies.  (And yes, I know: they’ve been reclassified but I don’t care.  They are lilies for me, and that’s a Good Thing, as Martha likes to say.)

I’ve done my best, with names, and invite you to correct me.  If there’s a searchable database, where I can enter “hosta, small, narrow leaf, tri-color, wide green margin, white center” that would be fantastic.  The best search result has yielded “Fire & Ice” but I’m not convinced what this one is…

But it sure is pretty.  🙂

The next one may be right on target, but again, your assistance is welcome!  It appears to be Diamond Tiara, which is ok by me.

 

And these are just ENORMOUS and fabulous and propagating like mad.  Not that they’re sending out runners or anything, just that we started with three and are up to 15!  Each one just as impressive at the original.

I think this one’s called Niagara Falls.  It truly is amazing.  Here is the row of seven, just a couple of days after they were all split.  And they are already gorgeous, and look like they’ll need to be split again in the spring!

 

See what I mean?  Fantastic!  (This is the driveway to the Black Bear Cottage in the Woods – where we have the Streamsong and Woodland rooms.)  The plants have been remarkably forgiving.  And where I’m concerned, that’s a Good Thing, as Martha likes to say.

And finally, I have this gold-margined beauty, that’s really come into her own this year.  Just couldn’t be prettier.  Somebody, let me know her name!

 

 

 

Mid-spring Walkabout

It was time to take a walkabout as spring looks like it’s coming to an early close, with summer right on its heels.  I took a picture of the last of the daffodils, the last of the hyacinth, the early azaleas and peaches.  But the real bonanza is these crazy hostas!  They are insanely huge, and very happy.  Here are some photos.

Last of the daff and hyacinth…

 

And here are the early azaleas.  I do love azaleas, especially the whites.  They’re like little tiny spring-time lilies, ha!

 

And peaches – we’re going to have a nice abundant crop of white Georgia peaches, this year!  Unless that family of raccoons recalls where they had the all you can eat buffet two years ago…

 

And the trillium came en masse, this spring – so many that I may need a new bed for them!

Oh my goodness, would you look at that?  This post is already so big, I’m going to have to let the hostas have their very own!  So here it is, only the middle of April, and spring is well established and on the wane.  It has been a spectacular one so far, I must say.

–Sandee

 

Daffodils, Lilacs and Hostas – Oh My!

It must be April! The daffodils have already been blooming like mad in an early spring frenzy. The one pictured here is a late-comer (if you can imagine a daffodil being late on the first of April. But isn’t he a beauty, all white and dapper with his pale yellow collar…

 

 

His name is actually Loth Lorien, which is ‘the fairest forest of the realm’ in JRR Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings, and is not only home to the Elves, but a place where time stands still… and that’s pretty much what happened to me when I spotted these this morning – I just froze and stared at them for I don’t know how long.

 Ah, Spring time…

And the Hostas are coming out nicely, down by the creek – looks like they’ll be enormous this year.  Scott came and split the beauties growing at the Cottage and put them all around the property.  This one is called American Sweetheart Hosta, and it is a particular favorite of mine.  The American Sweethearts and Patriots (similar colors but in reverse, with creamy white margins around a deep green center) are heirloom plants, put here by Colonel ‘Pug’ Pugmire when he built the Creek House in the 60s.  We’ve tended and split and shared many of this one’s offspring.

American Sweetheart Hostas by the Creek

Even the lilacs are putting on an early show for us this year.  I did take pictures of the ones already blooming (after pressing my face deep into the middle of them and inhaling their intoxicating fragrance.  Not like I couldn’t smell them from further away, but I could, so I did.  What luxury!  Bliss! -wait a second, what was I saying?)  Oh yes.  I did take pictures of the full blooms, but this one with the buds just seemed to show the promise of spring better than any of the others, so presented here, for your pleasure…  Lilacs in bud:

Lilacs in Bud

The lilac is actually another of Pug’s legacies.  The one he planted is way down the creek bank, and stays in full shade.  It continued to grow, of course, but didn’t reach the sun until I’d been here a full dozen years – I was stunned to come out one morning to the heady scent of lilac and wondered, ‘What in the world?’  Looking far up into the tip-top (about ten feet!) there was a single bloom, and the breeze sent the fragrance sailing.  It was downright magical.  But everything here is, you know.  No big surprise there.  It started putting out little shoots that year, and I transplanted two to the roadside beds, where they’d have the afternoon sun.  This is only the second year for lilacs out there, and this photo is one of dozens of blooms on that bush!  I’m pretty happy about that.

Now, anybody who knows me knows that I am mad for Lilies.  Day lilies.  Oriental lilies.  Asiatic lilies.  Tiger lilies.  Turk’s Cap and Trumpet lilies and Easter lilies.  I love the lilies.  All this wonderful stuff in spring is, for me, just the forerunner of summer when the lilies arrive.  The day lilies are far earlier, of course, and I have different varieties that bloom from late spring right through the end of summer, but the others – the true lilies – don’t start until late June and continue through August.  I was astonished to find that I they are up and out of the ground and growing like crazy!

Stargazer and Casablanca Lilies

Stargazer and Casablanca Lilies, already growing in April!

It was a spectacular spring day,
as I wandered with the camera trying to capture bits and pieces to remember…
Here’s the creek – my little bit of paradise.
You can see that even the Rhodies are planning to make a grand entrance,
since they are already budding.
So glad to be able to share this place with all our wonderful guests.

Springtime at Timberwolf Creek

Springtime at Timberwolf Creek

 

Wishing you all a wonderful spring, and hope to see you here soonly!

~

 

 

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