Moments : Ambiance

Moments : Ambiance
haiku friday

lingering in ways
that penetrate deep inside
where is my sunshine

I like to think of thoughts as living blossoms borne by the human tree.
~James Douglas~

The rain has stayed for days, finally, I woke up with sun shining through my bedroom window.
I wasn't sure that I could take another day of this dreadful weather.
I didn't complain, because I knew we needed it......I'm glad it's over!

In other new:
  • Although you showed concern in my last post, I am slightly disappointed that most of the people didn't follow through.
  • I feel as though the important parts of the "I Heart Mountains" post may have been skipped over.
  • I would love for all of you to join me in this very important campaign to end mountaintop removal.
  • All I ask is that you pledge by signing up in the first widget on my sidebar.
  • Also, I am willing to donate one dollar on your behalf to the cause mentioned in the last post if you pledge. At the end of one week, I plan to match the pledges.
  • And so I know who joined in, please leave a comment in the last post stating, I LOVE MOUNTAINS!

I Heart Mountains

Glee Gloom
taken 04.22.2006

If there is anything that I classify as being near and dear to my heart,
it would be, 'my' MOUNTAINS! A quick scan of my blog would unequivocally prove that.
The mountains, my home, hold a very special place in my heart.

That being said, I mentioned (if you read) in my last post,
that I had a specific cause in mind that I wanted to raise awareness about.
After Saturday's festival, and a chance meeting with an old friend - who works with the
organization, I decided that it was time to take on another campaign.

I will let this short clip give you a little insight into what this organization strives to protect.

The Cause
Appalachian Voices is a highly committed group of people here in my community, who's mission
is to bring potentially devastating economical issues, like this, to the forefront.
They help people like you and me gain access to the tools and
resources necessary to get involved.
I have always related them to mountaintop removal,
but they tackle other threats as well.

Here, at Wayfaring Wanderer, through my posts, I attempt to share the beauty
that surrounds and inspires me on a daily basis.
With that message, I think that it's my responsibility and obligation to share
the atrocities that go along with the beauty that our region possesses.

I am severely saddened by what I have seen while doing
research on this massive devastation.

Not only does the environment suffer, but people do as well.
I have watched videos that showcase families directly
affected by these mining practices, and it is heartbreaking.

To see them wreck and ravage the land is almost impossible to
watch without getting choked up.

Almost 500 mountains have been decimated in the process;
this damage cannot be repaired to our nation's oldest mountains.


What can we do?
Support the Clean Water Protection Act (H.R. 2169).
It strictly prohibits the dumping of material into waterways for the purpose of waste disposal.
In 2002, the current Administration made a rule change which redefined “fill material” in order to include mining waste. Since debris from mountaintop removal is now acceptable “fill material”, coal companies are dumping millions of tons of mine waste into nearby streams using a streamlined permitting process.
Supporting this act can reestablish the original intent of the Clean Water Act.
Click here to find out how to contact your local representative in Congress.

Right now, the most important thing we can do is, spread the word, which is what I am attempting here. is hosting a Blogger's Challenge to help aid in doing so.
Your pledge to end mountaintop removal requires very little of you to become a part of the solution.

Are you alarmed at what you've found out about mountaintop removal today?
Do you want to protect our ecosystems and communities from being ruined by this environmental devastation?

If so, please take the time to add your voice and become my recruit!
Sign up in the widget on my sidebar.

My Contribution......

For every person who takes the pledge I will donate $one dollar$ on your behalf to
Appalachian Voices' mission. At the end of my campaign, which I will run for one week,
I will match the pledges you all have made to donate one lump sum.
Although, I would like this to be a gigantic turn out, there is a $100 limit to what I can donate.

Once you have taken the pledge, please leave a comment here that states, "I LOVE MOUNTAINS!", so I know who joined in. It is not necessary to have a blog in order to take part.

Music on the Mountain Festival Boone, NC

Normally, I am not one for festivals, but Music on the Mountain was different.
For starters, it was just a one-day event instead of the usual two or three day events which have become so popular.
Valley Overview

It took place at the old fairgrounds here in Boone, NC, and they started it with the intention of raising awareness on ecological issues that directly affect our environment. (I have a specific organization in mind that I want to talk about more this week, so be sure to check back.)

Where's the Crowd?
Something I didn't expect was a different stage. Last summer, we went to the App Roots Festival in the same locale, but they used an old wooden stage. This time, they were set-up with a state-of-the-art solar-powered sound and light system built specifically for outdoor concerts. It pumped some roaring sustainable sound waves!

The other stage wasn't anywhere near as fancy, but it kept us equally entertained. I really liked that once one band was done playing, the other stage was ready to keep the crowd stirring.
Roast Corn
The only disappointing aspect of this festival was the lack of food variety! We came ready to consume, but alas, they had minimal options that were only slightly appealing. I mean, we still had to eat, but it just wasn't as much. We particularly fancied the 'roasted corn'. I was intrigued when I saw folks walking around with an entire ear of corn that still had the husks in tact. So, naturally, we had to try it out for ourselves.
Ravenous "Man Eating Corn"
By two or three o'clock the buzz began to hum a little louder in the valley. One band that is internationally known (not really, but kind of) for getting people out of their seats, is 'Your Momma's Big Fat Booty Band'. Hey, don't tell me, I didn't name them! The handful of bands that played before 'YMBFBB' took the stage didn't attract very many people to the 'dance floor'.
Solar-Powered Stage
It was a sad sight (see above photo), but I suppose you have to loosen people up first! As usual, 'YMBFBB' did a great job of getting the party started. They can be a rather raunchy bunch, but for the sake of the family feel that this event had, I guess they decided to keep it clean.
You Momma's Big Fat Booty Band Entourage
The real commotion was created by the national acts the festival brought. Aside from Perpetual Groove - which I told you about in the last post, they delivered Jerry Douglas, and Sam Bush. As the night progressed, the makeshift 'dance floor' never emptied. I even got up and bounced around myself from time to time.
From a Far

Watching the day fade into night while nestled in the valley was magical.

Second Stage

The colors of the sky and the wispy clouds made for a lovely transition into darkness.

Into the Night
My favorite part of the entire night was when Perpetual Groove went on stage.
By this point, I realized that if I wanted to get better shots, I had to get closer.
Brock Butler of Perpetual Groove

Brock Butler, P-Grooves front man, was the only one I could manage to get clearly.
After doing a little digging on the band, I found out that their most recent album
was produced with renewable energy, and is also being released by a
'green' label called Tree Leaf Music. Taking it one step further, they even purchase energy credit to offset the emissions their tour bus generates while touring!
Let's hope that their environmental initiatives cause others to follow suit.

Lonely Mic
Sometime after midnight, the show was over. It really was a great day. I like that I felt out of my element, it's good to mix it up a bit. However, I do know that we will be eagerly awaiting the second annual "Music on the Mountain" festival in Boone.
And then, summer was over......

Weekend Snippet

Brock Butler of Perpetual Groove

This is a shot from the first annual "Music on the Mountain" festival.
It was an all-day event that had us exhausted by the days end.
We have spent the entire day recuperating!

I want to share more photos from the event with you,
but for now, here's my favorite from the bunch.
I really lucked out here because taking photos while in the crowd was no easy feat.
I got elbowed, bumped into, and mowed over by Deviled Eggs, AND a dude with a bear hat!
Yeah, I know.....What?!....don't ask!

Anyhow, we enjoyed ourselves immensely,
and will be looking forward to the second annual "Music on the Mountain" festival.

I hope you all have had a terrific weekend!

Here is a live recording of "Perpetual Groove" from Saturday.
Have a listen if you are so inclined.

Moments : Flight

Inspired by: Robin @ Bird Tweets

Haiku Friday

Once you learn to fly
standing, walking, or running
Will no longer do...

Although every man believes that his decisions and resolutions involve the most multifarious factors, in reality they are mere oscillation between flight and longing.
~Herman Broch~

In Robin's post, she asked that we
"ponder be-wingedment".
I did, and the haiku above was my appraisal of flight.
In my comment, I told Robin that my task would be to find a photo that
fit my haiku her post inspired.


It seems as though my everlasting energy has caught up with me,
or maybe it's the weather - I don't know.
All I know is that I feel baaaaad.
Yesterday I stayed home on account of how yucky I felt.
Today is really no exception, but I dragged myself in.
Alright, enough whining from me....

* Sunshine on her Shoulders *

Sunshine on her Shoulders

For a while now, I have been bugging a co-worker of mine to
let me take photos of her very adorable daughter.
It wasn't until after her last day on the job that we decided to
coordinate the endeavor, once and for all.

I have created some scenarios as to when and where
I would capture these snippets.
Kids, on the other hand, have their own agendas......
I don't photograph people as often anymore,
so it was a little foreign to me.

I wish that there would have been more time for her to get used to me, and the camera,
but they didn't arrive in enough time to get to the location I had in mind.
We ended up just having the 'session' in the backyard.

The above shot was the only one out of the handful that I really fell in love with.
Hopefully, in the future, we will have more time to get comfortable with one another.


In other news:
  • I did go to bed before midnight last night, FINALLY! (and I hope to do so again tonight)
  • I have still had an unusually high level of energy. (i really don't know where it's coming from)
  • I am feeling 20 lbs lighter since I started cleaning up the house. I am, however, taking it slow, one room at a time. The task just seems less daunting this way.
  • I wish I had more willing subjects to take photos of........
  • I can't believe it's only Tuesday!

Inside Out

Barbed Blackberry

I've been in a major house cleaning mode.
Clearing clutter that I am convinced is muddying up my mind.

Today, I was especially motivated and got a ton of things done!
You know those days where consulting the to-do list isn't even necessary
because you are in a zone....that's me right now.

Another goal.....get to bed before midnight!

Greeting from Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna. Where three rivers meet.
The Talkeetna, Chulitna, and Susitna,
converge here to become the Big Susitna drainage.
The historic village of Talkeetna is nestled at the base of Mount McKinley
(Denali), North America's tallest peak.
The town is halfway between, Anchorage and Denali National Park.

Alaska is definitely a travel destination on my list of places to visit.

Wikipedia Info
History of Talkeetna

Until I've been there myself, I will have to share someone else's photos with you.
These were the best ones that I could find, take a peek.
Talkeetna Photos

"I Love Postcards!"

Moments : Abyssal

Haiku Friday

Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it.
The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.
~Earl Nightingale~

My mind and spirit thank you all for the wonderful support,
I truly am grateful.

Have a lovely weekend, and go do something!

Great way to end the day........

North Carolina
Blue Ridge Parkway
Flat Top Mountain Carriage Trail

Under the Parkway

On this particular day, I was ever so eager to get outside and bask in the gorgeous weather.
On days like this, I like to hop on over to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We live less than an hour away from some of the most magnificent hikes you'll ever see.

I realized the other day that, I haven't shared a whole lot of them with you.
Know this, I plan to change all that!

Flying High

This hikes ascends from the Moses H. Cone Manor House to the summit of Flat Top Mountain.
The trail is 2.8 miles one way, but offers one of the most gradual grades.
You make your way to the top using switchbacks which makes it a rather pleasant jaunt.

The beginning of the trail takes you through pastures, and open fields,
you even stop over at Mr. and Mrs. Cones' final resting place.

As I turned the corner, I spotted the 'kite' you see above.
It wasn't the size of a normal kite, so I'm sure there's another name for it.
It did, however, look like a lot of fun.......
The person operating the 'kite' was wearing a harness, I mean, he was fully strapped in.
At one point, I saw his feet lift off the ground.....I thought to myself,
"If I try that, I'm likely to get swept AWAY!"

Continuing through the pastures.....

Path Before Me

I followed this trail into the shade of the maple trees,
where wildflowers lined most of the path.

The butterflies were extra flirty with me.
As a result, I was finally able to get my summertime butterfly bokeh flower shot!
They cooperated beautifully......

Bokeh Butterfly

After spending waaaaaaay too much time with the
butterfly beauties, I kept chugging along.
There wasn't any point of the hike were I was exerting myself, it was a very leisurely walk.

The very end of the trail - which is by far, the coolest part -
brings you to a fire tower that Moses Cone built upon the summit of Flat Top Mountain.

Flat Top Fire Tower

From the top, you are rewarded with expansive
vistas of the surrounding mountain range.
These grandstand views are truly magnificent, honestly,
it brought a tear to my eye I was so captivated.
I really love when that happens, as it reminds me that,
I am exactly where I want to be......

Now, I'm no videographer, but I wanted you to see the 360 degree view live.
To my defense, it was hard enough walking around the
stairwell while looking through the viewfinder,
and the tinge of vertigo didn't really help matters.
But there you have it.....

View from Fire Tower

See that road.....I was all the way down there!
Isn't that a lovely scene.....

I didn't want to leave, but was forced to sit aside while a pack of cross-country training
teenagers commandeered the tower.
Scraping their names in the paint while swearing to let me know that they were cool - it wasn't.
I waited patiently for my turn to go back up.....
I wasn't ready to say goodbye, yet.

View from Fire Tower

I was glad I went back up.....

I took my time making my way back down the mountain,
although my knee was acting up again?!
I think that I may need a brace for those downhills?

The easy 5.6 mile hike took me over 4 hours to do.
Thankfully, Cody wasn't with me or else he would have been doing
a lot of waiting around while I took photos!
It was nice to go as slow as I wanted to......

I even stopped and had a long chat with the fella who keeps the fields perfectly manicured.
He was an interesting guy who had the quirkiest sayings.
I tried to make mental notes, but we talked for so long......
One I remember him saying was,
"I've fallen off a truck before, but it wasn't yesterday!"

Meet Freddy:
Meet Freddy

His hat says Git -R- Done!
I asked if I could take his photo, and he obliged,
but every time I pointed the lens his way, he was funny.
When I turned the camera to take a vertical portrait,
he wanted to know why I was flippin' him upside down?! haha

Going back the way I came...

Going back the way I came, I made it back to my car.
I was so happy that I had just ended my day in such a way.
I was fully decompressed after a rough week........
Nature + Photos, does it to me every time!

How are you decompressing these days?

Handmade Book

TN Book Cover

Here is the cover I made for a 4 x 6 mini-book.
I scanned in our Smoky Mountain map for the background, and added the text in photoshop.

I have wanted to do a little scrapbook of our trip to Tennessee,
and finally found this quick and easy tutorial on how to do so using very basic supplies.

For weeks I have been scouring the internet in search of an easy way to bind my own books.
I have found some decent tutorials, but I wasn't ready to devote the time required.
Until I found this tutorial, it's not new, I saw it a while ago.....
but I forgot about it.

Handmade Book

I don't really do scrapbook pages,
so I thought that this would be perfect to put all of our trip details,
photos, & other misc. paraphernalia I tend to pick up when I'm away from home.
I'm still working on the inside pages at the moment, but when it's done,
I'll probably share it with you.

What do you usually do with your trip/vacation memorabilia?

Hearst Castle

California : San Simeon : Hearst Castle

It's been a while since I've posted any photos from our vacation in California.
I've done a few posts, but haven't quite finished; I took a TON of photos.
Maybe it's the fabulous weather we are experiencing that's
making me reminiscent of our nine days back in April.
Either way, I would like to share the tour of Hearst Castle we took while in California.

Esplanade Vista
View from the Esplanade

"La Cuesta Encantada" or "The Enchanted Hill",
is perched atop the hills of San Simeon overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The palatial mansion was built by William Randolph Hearst,
and was designed by architect Julia Morgan.

The estate has 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 41 fireplaces,
19 sitting rooms, and 127 acres of gardens.....

Old School House w/ Hearst Castle in Background

It's a lot bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside......
just kidding......this is the old school house, you can see the castle in the background.

There are several different tours to choose from while visiting,
although Cody and I only took one. The first one actually.
The Experience tour is one recommended to first-time visitors.
It lasted approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Casa Del Sol

The beginning of the Hearst Castle Tour took us to
the promenade in front of Casa Del Sol.
It's an eighteen room guest house that faces the Pacific coastline.
Tour one allowed us to view 4 of the bedrooms, and 4 of the bathrooms.
But that came after this.......

The Neptune Pool.

The Greco-Roman style Temple front was bought in Europe and transported to the grounds.
I've read that, the Neptune pool was rebuilt 3 times before Mr. Hearst was satisfied.

Neptune Pool

Afterwards, we headed up to the Esplanade,
one of the most beautiful sections of the grounds.
It featured many marble sculptures, and flowers.

Esplanade with Casa Grande

Continuing on the tour, we were lead through a few rooms within Casa Del Sol.

Casa Del Sol

From the outside in, everything was lavishly decorated......
I am sure that I missed some details along the way.

Casa Del Sol Guest Room

From the ceiling to the floor, pure extravagance.

Casa Del Sol Guest Room

I stayed in the back for most of the tour,
since I was more interested in taking photos.
It was hard to do so surrounded by a group of people, but I managed.

Casa Grande

Casa Grande (the main house) and the three guest houses were
done in a Mediterranean Revival style.

Casa Grande

The towers of the main house are modeled after a 16th Century Spanish Cathedral.
This was the main stop of the tour taking us through five rooms of Casa Grande's ground floor.

The Assembly Room which is the largest of the four sitting rooms and once a gathering place for Hearst's guests, the Refectory which is the single dining room at Hearst Castle, the Morning Room which is a magnificent sitting room filled with Spanish antiques and Flemish tapestries, the Billiard Room which is a game room featuring two 1920's billiard tables and a Gothic "millle fleurs" tapestry, and the Theater which is the largest room in Casa Grande.

The Refectory

The end of the tour brought us to Casa Grande's indoor Roman Pool.
For me, this was definitely the highlight.

Indoor Roman Pool

The Roman Pool is decorated from ceiling to floor with 1″ square mosaic tiles. These glass tiles, called smalti, are either colored (mainly blue or orange) or are clear with fused 24 karat gold inside. The intense colors and shimmering gold of the tiles combine to create a breathtaking effect. The designs created by the tiles were developed by muralist Camille Solon.

Indoor Roman Pool

Still curious to see more, we loaded the bus to go back down to the the visitor center.
We could have paid another $24 to go on another tour, but decided not to.
Instead, we took advantage of the free ticket to see the movie
"Hearst Castle Building the Dream".

All in all, I'm really glad that we added the castle tour to our itinerary.
I would have been kicking myself later had we missed it.
To see more photos that I haven't shown here, check out this link.
Flickr Set

Sorry I wasn't more in depth, but it was enough work getting this together!
For more information about the history, check out this link.
Hearst Castle History

Hope you have all had an enchanting weekend!

Moments : Tranquilize

Moments : Tranquilize
Haiku Friday

Sian planted a seed a few posts ago, which in turn, prompted this haiku.
Although it really started when Lydia posted a quote from Mother Teresa.

I constructed my Wordless Wednesday post around that lovely thought.
Inadvertently, I had created my interpretation of Mother Teresa's sage declaration.

I really enjoyed the chain reaction of inspiration that spawned from one simple concept.......
S I L E N C E.

Care to say your "peace" in the form of a haiku?

Superb Summer Day

Berry Pickin'

The left side of our driveway is blanketed with a generous amount of blackberry vines,
as well as, fragrant layers of white clematis.
This past weekend, we made a pseudo cobbler with the plump blackberries we picked.
I'm hoping that we can keep up with the rate that these fruits ripen.
I am most definitely going to make another 'cobbler', but what else?!
The receipe we used was from Pioneer Woman's Cook website. LINK
It was extremely easy to make, and didn't take a slew of time or ingredients.
However, I would like to try the more complicated version......maybe?!?
I guess I've been really getting into doing things easy, and cheap.
Not that I'm going to sacrifice quality, but you know, I like to save time AND money!

If you have any ideas on what I can do with all these blackberries I would love to hear them :)

I just wanted to say thank you for the lovely comments on the previous post...

Silence isn't always found in peace and quiet.
Other influences can grant us a peace just as gentle, and uncommunicative.
I truly appreciate you sharing your 'moments' with us,
may you have many more to fill the days.