Copyright © 2007-2015 Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, All Rights Reserved

Monday, December 21, 2015

Finely Feathered Friends

We've had a few frosty mornings lately when I've found groups of birds waiting on the deck rail for their daily ration.
Mourning Doves
It's every bird for themselves once I put the seeds out and go back in the house.
Blue Jays staking their claim.

Cardinal & Blue Jay (back)
Sometimes the scramble for food is too rough on the top rail..
Eastern Towhee
It's much safer just to wait on the seat for seeds that fall in all the commotion.
Eastern Towhee
Sometimes feathers look exactly like fur. o.O
Gray Squirrel
If he wasn't so cute I'd shoo him away.
Piggy Gray Squirrel & Red-bellied Woodpecker (back)
Well, I've made six Mt. LeConte scarves, and I think that's enough crocheting for awhile.   You know it's all about the fun of making them, right?  Getting to wear what you make is just a bonus.   Meanwhile, I find I've made too many, and I've not done a giveaway in several years so I'm doing a very quick one this week.  I'm giving away the cranberry colored scarf so if you'd like a chance to have it for your own just leave a comment stating the name of your favorite bird.  It can be any bird you've seen.  The winner will be chosen Tuesday evening and notified by email.  Be sure I can contact you if you enter. A big "Thank you!" to all who have visited my blog all year long.  Your friendship and comments have been a blessing.  :)

Wishin'  y'all a peaceful season of celebrating our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Mount LeConte Scarf

Mount LeConte
Mount LeConte is the third highest mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tenn., and the only way to get to the top is on foot.

There are several trails leading to the top of the mountain, and they are lengthy and steep so supplies are trekked in via llama-train as their feet cause less wear and tear on the trails than do horses' shod feet.
 Once atop the mountain there are rustic resort cabins to stay in provided reservations were made in advance.  When hiking to Mount LeConte in cooler weather one needs a scarf to keep one warm and cozy on the trail.

The Mount LeConte Scarf is a very quick crochet project, not to mention cozy and stylish.  Here are directions just in time for a last minute gift giving idea.  Just a few hours of crocheting and you'll have a scarf for yourself or someone on your list.


bulky yarn or two or three strands worsted held together
size N crochet hook
three 1 1/2 in. buttons
yarn needle 

Ch 52 sts if you use the half-double crochet stitch, 53 if  using the double crochet stitch.
1.  hdc (or dc, your choice) in 3rd (4th if dc) ch from hook to end = 50 sts , measuring about 28-30 in. long -  12/16/15  Note:  The scarf must be at least 28 inches long so if you need to then add more     stitches to get the right length.
2.  ch 2, turn work, hdc to end
3.  Repeat row 2 until scarf measures about 8-9 inches wide
There's no need to make buttonholes as the buttons should slide easily through the stitches.

For the homemade buttons you'll need:

polymer clay
rolling pin
stamp - if you want a design on them
polyurethane spray to seal them
paint - for antiquing
1 1/2 in. clay cutter or cookie cutter
bamboo skewer to make holes

I heated a 2-in. piece of clay in the microwave on high for 30 seconds to soften it a bit to make it easier to knead.  Take care, though, if it gets hot it will start to harden.  I used a pizza dough roller to roll it about 1/8 in. thick.

To stamp an impression in the clay I used a stamp I already had which happens to be a French recipe for chicken soup.  Stamp the design you want on the buttons before cutting them out.   Cut out the buttons in the shape you want then use a bamboo skewer to make holes large enough for the yarn to pass through easily when sewing them on the scarf.

Follow the baking directions on the package of clay to harden your buttons.  For the light/off-white colored buttons I used white clay then painted them with gold paint, let the paint dry for 30 mins. then wiped some off  for a great antique look.

Edited 12/12/15:  Spray them with the sealer then let them dry.  Sew the buttons along the right side of one end of the scarf.  To wear, place the scarf around your neck and line up the end with no buttons over the side with the buttons and button in place.

For this scarf I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn in Mushroom that I had in my stash.
I used the hdc stitch for this cozy scarf and named it after a unique area in the Smokies.
Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, Barley which is a dark taupe color.
Copyright © 2015 Toni in the Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, All Rights Reserved

Stay warm, y'all!
Shared at The Art of Home-Making Mondays, Maple Hill Hop

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cades Cove & Upper Tremont Road

On Little River Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Little River in a quiet spot

Fall foliage on the way to Cades Cove

View on Cades Cove Loop Road

Today I'm featuring some of the fencing on what we term the "Peaceful side of the Smokies."

Another view in Cades Cove

Fall foliage, mostly on the ground in this spot

A "gob" of split rail fencing at the visitor's center in Cades Cove

John Oliver Place

Cantilever barn

On Upper Tremont Road in The Great Smoky Mountain National Park where many years ago, I saw my first Kingfisher along this river. Click to make it big, but be careful so you don't get wet.  The water is really cold this time of year.  ;)   See you soon, the Good Lord willin'.

Shared at The Art of Home-Making Mondays, The Maple Hill Hop, Good Fences

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hello From the Hills

... and since we have a frost warning for tonight goodbye to my volunteer impatiens that sprang up from last year's plants.

I'm really going to miss those colorful hydrangea blossoms, too.

Hopefully, there will be more fall color than this bit on our burning bushes soon.

 I've done a bit of jam and jelly making since my last blog post.  This is pepper jelly which I had never made before.  We haven't sampled it yet, but those who have had it before say it's good spread over a block of cream cheese then served on crackers.
Displaying 20150917_194729.jpg

 I've done a bit of estate and yard sale shopping and picked up this skillet for a mere....

$3.  Your eyes are not deceiving you.  I was ticked pink.  o.o

On the crafty front I crocheted a winter scarf and made some polymer clay buttons for it.  Have you noticed how expensive buttons are lately?  There are lots of youtube tutorials to help if you're interested in making your own buttons.  It's a fun li'l project. 

I didn't have a pattern for the scarf, but it turned out okay anyway.  Love those big buttons.

Some chicks have all the fun. ;)  What's happening in your neck o' the woods?

Our Simple Homestead Hop, The Art of Home-Making Mondays

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Different Route

 We took a different route to the apple orchard in Cosby, Tenn. this year and noticed this sign along the road.

There just aren't many covered bridges in our neck of the woods so we decided to have a look at it.

Love the setting and the simple construction of the bridge.

You did want to drive through, right?

It was a bumpy ride, but just look at those boards and the windows.  Bridge heaven.  Sorry about the light - these are all cellphone pics.

In previous apple orchard posts, here, here and here, the focus was on the orchard and the many offerings at the market, but not this time.  It's time to see the gate.  

A fitting one, I say.

Well, maybe just one pic of the orchard.

On the way home we drove by this building, yes, that's a goat on the roof (click for big pic), and there were many others up there. The place is called Goats on the Roof, but the attraction is the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. I had never heard of it, but I like the idea.  No, we didn't ride it, but I found this video posted by someone who did.  If you'd like to try the coaster out from right where you are go here.  (no affiliation w/ the business or the video)

Remember the stack of zinnia cloths I crocheted with proper "open disc florets" (lol)  when I first discovered this pattern?  Well, here are three zinnia cloths with obscure open disc florets.  O.O

 What's for dinner - homemade chili relleños, refried beans and the best ever chunky guacamole.  Delicious.

Have a great week, y'all.
This post shared at:  Maple Hill Hop, Roses of Inspiration, The Art of Home-Making Mondays, Good Fences

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cooking Outside! In A Sun Oven

Anise hyssop (this one is from the mint family) growing in one of our raised beds.
My Good Fences photo (from my archives) of a replica of the Pinta (and a bit of the Nina) when it was docked in Knoxville several years ago for tours.  We took the grands with us for an educational tour that day.  Please, click on the pic to appreciate all the fences.

I have wanted a Sun Oven for years and finally got one last month.  Goodman is fond of homestyle meals complete with a meat and 2 vegetables so I cook A LOT, and that heats up the house A LOT. I like the idea of cooking without the heat from the stove competing with the air-conditioning in the summertime so it just makes sense to use a sun oven (or/and an outdoor grill.)  And it's really handy when the power is off.   It can even be used in winter - as long as the sun shines you can cook in it.
Since I bought mine I've been surprised to find out how many people have never heard of them.  
Here it's cooking a pot of beans on our deck.  (Imagine li'l red beans cookin' away in there.)
 mine, mine, mine.  ;)
The pot sits on a leveling tray so you can position the oven so the glass lid on top of the oven directly faces the sun.

It can reach 400° inside when placed in direct line with the sun.  Here I made sun tea - next time I'm going to make it in a jar as the pans that came with it don't pour without spilling it everywhere.  o.O 
Cookin' Green Sun Tea
I usually boil pork short ribs (makes them super tender and chases away that awful piggy odor) for an hour on the stove then drain and slather them with sauce on the grill for 10 mins.  Here I cooked them in the oven for a couple hours then drained them, added sauce and grilled them the usual 10 minutes for added flavor.  Delicious. 
Short Ribs going into the sun oven
It took the sun oven about 2 hours to cook beef tips for supper last evening.  Just a few minutes of preparation on my part beforehand then the oven did the rest. Cool.  And that's exactly what happened since I cooked outside...the house stayed cool.   In the summertime I try to fry squash and such on our outdoor grill to help keep the house cool.  
Beef Tips with gravy & noodles, Fried Zucchini, and Mashed Cauliflower 

I've also tried a whole baked chicken, and it's great cooked in the oven, too.   If you have any questions about the oven or are interested in buying one click here to watch a video at the sun oven site.   No affiliation, just a happy customer.

You can read about them here >  Source  <<   Btw, part of the proceeds from sales help to place huge community sun ovens in third world countries.
The growing season will soon end so don't forget to gather mullein for your herbal cabinet.  :)
As always, I'm not a doctor so if you have a medical condition do consult your physician.
Shared at The Art of Homemaking MondaysWildcrafting Wednesdays, Good Fences, Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop