Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Had been feeling cranky for a few days, then Monday commute, turning off the highway crossing Fort Mountain onto road that takes me into Chatsworth, GA - like so many days before- suddenly there was this field of sunflowers stretching as far as the eye could see and continued on around where the field curved away. A field I had previously overlooked day after day for its green sameness immediately transformed the moment. The flowers had opened up over the weekend and absolutely changed the landscape and my mood.
Thanks to Jennifer for sharing these photographs.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bass Ackwards

Dear family and friends,
If you would like to humor me, you can choose to read these posts from bottom to top to appreciate the story as it was intended - if I were more clever, I would've posted the story backwards, and this would've been an easier experience for you, the reader.

Just to the right of this long paragraph is list of "Blog Archives" - these are listed in the "correct order", from top to bottom; if you will link and read the first, "Over the Bridge..." then "Blackberry...thru Fuji lens..." then "Inside the Cabin..." etc, my clumsy efforts will not have been in vain. I have my mother to blame for this obsession with "order." Ask her.
I promise no more arcane instructions, should you decide to revisit this website some day.

These posts are intended to chronicle my move to this very special place and to be an invitation for you to come visit.

....I will only remove the doors to the bathrooms after your 5th day here.

For those of you not familiar with the community of Ellijay, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail starts at Amicalola Falls just up the road about 15 minutes; there is a wondrous pumpkin farm on the right just before you get to Amicalola Falls--open to the public, they have everything from hay rides, corn mazes, strange looking gourds to blue pumpkins. Rich Mountain, only 5 minutes from the cabin, has over 15 miles of hiking and biking trails - I understand the biking trails are very challenging and not for the faint of heart. See

There is a link on the right side of this blog to the Gilmer County Chamber which has more links for local sights and events. For those of you who just want to sit on the back porch in a rocking chair with a glass of iced tea and take in the view, I'll be joining you!

Meeting of two worlds: rocking chair porches and hot tub jacuzzi

Alex and Buddy sitting on the back porch, taking in the view. Buddy died 2 weeks ago, having just reached her 11th birthday, and this was last time she visited the cabin. She had been a good friend to Alex during some difficult days. That's my thumb shining brightly in the lower right hand corner - I'm no Ansel Adams.

Below the porch is a half-deck with jacuzzi hot-tub; I thought this was a frivolous feature when I first saw the house. Hot tub time has now become a therapeutic ritual on the weekends after doing two very long 12-hour shifts at the ER. Picture was taken late in the day and beyond the hot tub is deep in shadow but those are the 60 foot hemlocks, oak and hickory trees seen from front of the house.

This is view looking down at the lower deck and just beyond the railing is a bend in the Cartecay River which is flowing from right to left, Blackberry Falls are to the right behind stand of hemlocks. The slope to the river is covered with tall ferns, rhododendrons and mountain laurel which were in full bloom when I first moved in. From here, you will frequently see people in their colorful kayaks (no more green canoes - kayaks come in popsicle colors!) making their way downstream where the Cartecay meets the Coosawattee then the Coosa, eventually ending up in the Gulf of Mexico.

Inside the cabin

Looking out the front door - I often leave doors and windows open for the views and sounds. One day several weeks ago while sitting on the front porch, I saw a red fox in his short summer coat trotting across the drive from right to left - he hopped over the split rail fence, found something to chomp on for a minute then continued up my neighbors driveway. They reported having seen him around this summer as well.

I just stood in the middle of the 'great room' - I guess that's the term for it - turned around and snapped photos of different parts of the cabin. Not able to capture the feel at all - the light that comes through skylights in the vaulted ceilings changes with time of day and the weather. Textures are warm and cozy; my 'things' - the stuff collected over years that define us and our memories - fit right in as if the place had been waiting for me.

Can't wait for fall weather - want to use the fireplace - those are some of my clay pieces - bears, of course - on the mantel. Some of the quilt-tops seen on sofa and chairs were purchased from a woman I met while delivering Meals-on-Wheels in Forsyth County, GA way back in 1985 - she had a chiffarobe stacked full of them, by her account over 100 that she and her mother had piece-stitched by hand from flour-sack cloth.

Can't believe I didn't clean up my bedroom before snapping this picture. Mine is the smallest bedroom in the house but has a door to the back porch which I often leave open at night (there is something that might pass for a screen door, flimsy but keeps out the bugs); I like drifting off to sleep to the sound of the falls; a friend noted that it sounds like ocean waves when approaching the beach over dunes. Later in the summer, cicadas drowned out everything else; they are the sound of summer in the south.

Blackberry Mountain through the lens of a Fuji camera from Walmart Part I

Entrance to the covered bridge across the Cartecay River - I like the sign on the bridge, so all you folks coming by horseback have been forewarned. River views are upstream towards Blackberry Falls in the upper part of the photos. This is a popular stretch for kayakers and tubers (tube-ers? toobers?); there's a great swimming hole below the falls when the river's not busy. There are quieter spots along the river for exploring - I recently saw a large salamander unfortunately called a 'hellbender' ...he looks much scarier than he is and is often whacked for this and other misconceptions. They are shy and rarely seen; I was thrilled to know they are here.
The river bottom is pebbles and sand, water is cold and clear. . I'm able to click on the photos to enlarge picture - nice details of kayakers coming over the falls in the first picture.

This is the front of my cabin which sits on a ridgeline at the top of a steep slope down to the Cartecay River. I'm sitting on the front porch with Buddy - she looks like a black bear. The cabin is log-and-chink with snug dove-tail corners - would warm the heart of any engineer. You are facing east in this photo and those trees above the roofline are hemlocks over 60 feet tall.

I can tell this post is going to be in "sections" as I'm still learning how to edit the lay-out. And it has just now become apparent to me that the most recent post appearing at the top of the blog is going to be the "end" of the series of photos and captions. Not at all what I intended but I'm pressing on.