Posted by: SoccerGirl | May 25, 2012

Easter in the Mountains

Now that spring is in full swing, it makes it much easier to take trips up to the mountains, and for the first time we decided to spend the long Easter weekend there.  Mom, dad & I left on Friday morning and planned to come back sometime on Sunday since both mom & I had obligations on Monday morning.  We left a cool, cloudy Raleigh and made our way west.  It was supposed to be kind of a cloudy/rainy day in the mountains too, but by the time we arrived the sun was out and it was quite a nice day, although a little on the cool side.  Once we arrived it wasn’t long before we settled in to our usual routines.  Mom and I started thinking about what food and other things we needed for the weekend, while Dad started working outside.  The first order of business for him was cutting the grass for the first time this year.  He got the mower started and soon was mowing back and forth in front of the house.  While he was busy working, mom & I put together our shopping list and headed in to town for the customary trek to Wal-Mart.  After a few hours we returned home with our purchases and soon set about making dinner.

Saturday morning I, of course, slept in.  After eating a little something for breakfast I took my turn with the riding lawnmower and cut the grass around the orchard and down the road in to the woods.  The weather was so nice I felt like we needed to take advantage of it and get at least one hike in for the weekend.  There are several places we have been hiking around the area, but I always like to find somewhere new.  After a little bit of debate and estimate of how much time we had to spend hiking (we were having friends over for dinner), we decided on one of the trails at the New River State Park, Wagoner Rd access that we hadn’t hiked before, the Running Cedar Trail.  Dad had seen it when Debi & I took our eventful canoe trip ( see entry from Sept 2010 for details on that).  It was really an easy hiking trail, which led us away from the river, through the woods.  We even had to go through a couple of fences along the way.  One of the interesting sites along the hike was what we dubbed the “Trinity Tree” (appropriate for Easter weekend), which had a single trunk at its base, but then split in to 3 separate trunks.  I decided it was the perfect tree to climb up in and take a picture.  Of course I had to be careful to avoid the poison ivy vine growing up one side, one thing I have learned from my time outside: avoid any hairy vines!

Me sitting in the “Trinity Tree” (click to enlarge)

After our hike we headed back home to start dinner preparations.  We decided that since we would be driving back on Sunday we would have our Easter dinner on Saturday night.  Mom and I started making everything, while dad was in charge of getting the charcoal grill fired up, a feat that we have come to discover can be somewhat challenging.  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner and ended the night with a little Wii Wheel of Fortune fun.

One of my favorite sites each time we go up in the warm months is the return of the wildflowers!  One that stood out on this trip were these clumps of yellow flowers that lined the driveway almost like a hedge had been planted there.  We hadn’t noticed them before, Dad thought they were just weeds and wanted to pull them out, but  before he did that I tried to identify them online, without any luck.  Luckily, dad and I happened to mention them to one of our neighbors, who immediately knew their name: Creasy Greens.  Turns out they are edible and are very popular, especially in the winter time when not much else is growing.

Some of the Creasy greens growing along the road (click to enlarge)

While walking through the woods I noticed a good size field of Bluets in bloom around where dad & I built our bridges.  They are one flower I can easily identify thanks to a trip with the Museum of Natural Sciences to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Bluets blooming in the woods (click to enlarge)

Down in the orchard, our apple trees had also started blossoming, a welcome sight since it means that the fruit will be following!  We also discovered that a bird had finally made a nest in the house we provided by the orchard and there were eggs inside!

One of our apple trees with flowers! Fruit won’t be far behind (click to enlarge)

Bird eggs in the house by the orchard (click to enlarge)

Along the walkway from the driveway to the front door some of the flowers my mom planted were also in full bloom, their bright pink flowers attracting butterflies.  I look forward to seeing what new things are blooming the next time I go up!

A butterfly found some tasty flower

On Sunday morning we went in to town for church as usual and then decided to go out for breakfast.  After considering our options, we decided on one of our favorite breakfast spots, the Hillbilly Grill.  Breakfast was wonderful and we all left fully satisfied.  After breakfast it was time for a little work.  As you may remember from my last post, Dad & I started a little stream clearing project to get rid of dead vegetation around the creek at the bottom of our property.  This weekend I decided we needed to continue the project before the grass got too tall and it was too hard to reach the creek.   We may not have seen any crayfish this time, but we stumbled upon quite an interesting collection of trash partially buried along the banks fo the creek.  Among our finds, several bottles and various metal items, probably the most interesting of which were springs that were from a mattress that long ago disintegrated.  After working for a little over an hour or so we were ready to quit and start the packing and cleaning up process before leaving for home.  You can see in the pictures below the difference our efforts made.

Creek before phase 2

The creek after phase 2

The end of another fun and beautiful weekend once again came too soon as we pulled out of the driveway, as always looking forward to our next visit.

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