Biltmore Gardens

Spent part of the day at the Biltmore House yesterday and by that I mean I went to the gardens. It was really hot! However, I got some pretty good photos from the day.

The uploads to my photoblog, The Mental Scrapbook, are being spaced out over a few days, but I am frustrated that wordpress does not list my photo posts in their tags section. In other words, when I tag a post with ‘photo’ or ‘photography’ or whatever along those lines and then go to the ‘tags’ section from the wordpress front page, none of the posts from that blog ever show up.

However, they do from this blog! So, here are some photos from the day:

This is some of the lovely brick work in front of the conservatory.

I love these flowers! I cannot remember what they are called. They are actually tall stalks with row after row of these little trumpets. Really beautiful.

Sometimes the flowers that have gone to seed are just as pretty as the blooms, although it is in a far different way.

I am repeatedly amazed at the macro ability of this little camera. Far more than I would have guessed. It is times like these, however, that I miss my Elan and the awesome 50mm macro. 😦

This is probably my favorite shot of the day. I love how the grass is going one way and the flower stem is going another. The bloom was actually a very pale, almost white, blue and it translated well to black and white.

Hothouse lilies smell great and are always posing for just one more shot!

The smoothness of the leaves and texture of the wood.

This little purple flower just popped out of the yellow leaves. I don’t think these leaves belong to the same plant, but they look great together.

more photos at Mental Scrapbook


Summer Flowers and Milder Weather

Today’s heat was slightly less miserable. Actually, it has been downright pleasant this afternoon and evening. Took these pictures at the church before leaving for the day.  Also went out to run some errands early this evening and had the windows down in the car instead of running thei AC. Nice.

pink cluster



Ode To My Window Air Conditioner

air conditionerOde to My Window Air Condtioner  

 (Well, perhaps less ode and more overly dramatic whining, praise and thanksgiving.)

There is ner’ so hot a place in all the world than a place that ought not be hot at all and yet is.

It is over 90 degrees here, dearest mother nature, and it ought not be so. We are approaching a record high because, you see, it is only June. The typical temperature for this time of year is nearly ten degrees lower than this monstrous temperature. I moved here to get away from the vile suffering heat. The misery that is summer in Columbia was, I thought, a mere shimmery sweaty memory. So why oh why must it be so hot here?

At the end of a day where these beautiful mountains have been hazy from the untimely summer oppression, I come home to my little house that has no central air. Before living here, I never lived in a place without that most noble and gentle a thing as central air and, in my naiveté, was sure I needed no such device while living here in these cool mountains.

But I was wrong.

And yet…and yet…there is my hope! There is the agent of my relief! There is the creator of my respite! There she is, my little window air conditioner, working her heart out, fighting the overwhelming and ill-timed heat! There is only one of her and yet she works as though she were one of a legion, fulfilling her duty and purpose of making a small space of cool comfort for me. For me. At the end of a day where I have given away all I have to give, leaving behind only the residue of sweat, there is my little window air conditioner, giving cool air to me. Ah!

Summertime and Spiders

This morning I realized that the colony of daddy long leg spiders who make their home outside my front door was in full force. They scampered out of my way as I opened the screen door and a couple of them took lanky long strides down the steps with me, like strange sentries or bodyguards guiding me to my car. I could almost imagine them giving me the report from the activities of the previous night.  ‘All clear, ma’am! Just the neighbor’s black and white cat trying to catch that rabbit again! We’ll keep it all secure while you’re away! Good day!’ In my mind I can see them attacking anyone who would try to break into the house. Who else has guard-spiders? Security of the future! Or of the past, perhaps. I am so lucky! I’ll try to take some pictures, if they’ll let me.

They are beautiful and bizarre creatures and, in reality, they seem to be some kind of odd herald of summer. It is hot and unseasonably so for this area and summer has charged in, eager to start the party!

Last Saturday, much to my joy, I was finally able to go to the Farmer’s market. The veggies are ok, not fantastic yet, but lots of other really neat things to see. Bought this lovely pottery bowl there for an unbelievable price of $ bowl

 Also met a woman who has llamas and sheep and sells yarn made from them. This is delightful! I want very much to buy some and make something with local yarn, so I shall take enough funds to purchase some this Saturday. The woman and I also chatted about knitting lace and she was looking for a pattern, so I am going to share one of my shawl patterns with her. Maybe I’ll get lucky and she’ll give me a discount! But, even so, I’ll buy a couple of skeins anyway 🙂




I feel quite sorry for some of my friends who live in Columbia, Charlotte or Atlanta because it has been hot here the past few days and, if it is hot here, it must be miserable there! However, even when it is, per the temperature clock thingie at the bank on the way to the church, over 90 degrees, it is still mild enough in the mornings and evenings to ride in the car with the windows down. Amazing.

A few weeks ago I spent some time on the parkway and took some great pictures.  It was so cool there that it felt more like air-conditioning than summer breeze. I could spend hours there, but it gets dark pretty quickly around here. The sun rises and sets suddenly, it seems so anyway. I guess it’s because of all the mountain peaks around which to hide.