mtnvoicesA large yellow buckeye tree overhangs and supports the swinging gate that accesses our property. The tree has started to drop the unique fruiting structures for which it is named. Year around, it always has something interesting going on.

mtnvoicesSome years ago, when I first became interested in plant identification, I became curious about liverworts. They are one of the distinctive plant groups (like fungi, lichens, mushrooms, etc.) without advanced vascular systems.

We are attracted to water. Mountain paths always wind down to water — springs, branches, creeks and rivers. Water is the essence of our very being here in the mountains.   

Deep Creek on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park probably has as much or more to offer in the way of recreational opportunities than any other watershed in the park.

This time of the year is perhaps the best time to enjoy flowering plants in a home garden. Many of the larger and showier species are just now coming into full bloom and will remain so into fall. 

 

Several evenings ago, I came home tired and sat on the deck with a glass of iced tea, and the dogs and I just watched the plants. That was sort of therapeutic. Every once in a while, it seems the perfect thing to do. Just sit down and watch the plants.

While perusing the shelves in a used bookstore recently, I spotted a title that was irresistible: From the Banks of the Oklawaha — Facts and Legends of the North Carolina Mountains. Pulling it out for further examination, I discovered that the book was the third and final volume in a series self-published between 1975 and 1979 by Frank L. FitzSimons of Henderson County.  

mtn voicesThe yellow jackets are back. They inundated my home office this morning. First they gnawed through the ceiling from a nest site that allows access under the eaves. 

The whistle of the excursion train on the far side of the river shrieked three times. From where I sat in the graveyard on the knoll overlooking Bryson City, I could see tourists waving from their windows the way travelers never do when departing on a trip that’s really going somewhere. 

We are attracted to water. Mountain paths always wind down to water — springs, branches, creeks and rivers. Water is the essence of our very being here in the mountains.   

When I was a very young boy growing up in Virginia, there was a very old man in our neighborhood who was was eccentric. He almost never spoke to anyone, except to scold them in a cackling tone. He was said to be very wealthy but scarcely ever spent so much as a dime. What’s more, he was reputed to have built his own coffin in the work shed behind his house.  

mtn voicesI had my first introduction to the showy and curious hibiscus flowers when I was a boy. Rose-of-Sharon was a common where I grew up, just as it is here in Western North Carolina.

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