Cold Springs Ranch: June 2003

June 2003

Spring is passing into Summer at the Ranch. The rain continues and everything is growing green and lush.

Looking from the front porch out through the pass at the Hay Meadow. The grass is growing so fast this year.

The house, on another rainy afternoon.

The Ivy (aka Mountain Laurel, Kalmia latifolia) is in full bloom...

... the flowers of this evergreen are beautiful. The bees and Humming Birds are going crazy with all the blooms...

... this has always been one of my favorite native plants.

This Laurel (aka Rosebay Rhododendron, Rhododendron maximum) is preparing to bloom. Another of the signature native evergreens of the region. This bloom is pink now, but will be white then it opens.

I saw these Ghost Pipes (aka Ghost plant, Indian Pipes, Monotropa uniflora) out my bathroom window and came to take a closer look. They are fairly rare because of the special soil conditions it takes for them to grow. While researching the above link I found that these plants are even more special than I thought, they are actually flowering plants in the blueberry family, not fungi! They are related to another plant I see all around in the woods around the house, Squaw Root.

My blueberries are starting to get ripe. A really nice bonus from my native landscaping.

I'm having blueberries for breakfast every morning. These are huge!

My garden is starting to grow a little. Here, Sugar and I come out to see how it's doing.

All the rain is helping some things and hurting others.

The grass in the meadows is sure liking all the rain. Summer has rolled around and the days have gotten a lot warmer, up to 74 degrees! ...

... on this lazy Summer afternoon I caught this picture of Timber taking a nap on his "throne". This one cracked me up...

... you can't be more relaxed than this.

Sugar is enjoying the afternoon too...

... a sleepy Summer afternoon.

Other scenes around. The barn up the hollow is having its hay fields bailed.

Horses grazing on the mountain side on the way up to the Ranch.

A very special person was born in June. My niece entered the world! Here my sister is holding her a few hours after she was born.

With Summer comes all the work of Summer. Here I'm out weed eating the fence lines. Timber and Sugar stay with me a while until they start to get a little hot and I take them home. I would let them out, but I'm too involved in the weedeating and can't watch them. There are just too many critters and things to get into to let them roam. While bushhogging my pasture Grady hit a big rattle snake! It's the first he had ever heard tell of up here! I'm a little spooked. Nothing is harder to see than a snake in the grass.

The Hay Meadow is starting to look better.

The road to the pond. All the fence line and the corral had to be cleaned up...

... and people complain because they have to weed eat around a few trees in the yard!

A little self portrait reflected off my dirty truck window.

Ahh weed eating, at least my mind can wonder a little bit as I go. Until I run into the inevitable old electric fence wire hidden in the grass and have to spend the next 10 minutes untangling the mess! Arrrggg!

To help keep down the grass in the pastures I let Lucy Lowe of Little Creek Outfitters, keep her Llamas in the Hay Meadow. They are really interesting and sweet animals (at least Lucy's are!). This is Ace. He is the friendliest of the gang. He'll come up and let me pet him.

This one, TopHat, is half Llama half Alpaca. If you haven't heard of Alpacas before, you can read more here and here.

Here's the whole herd. There's 9 in all. Every few days Lucy comes to take a few on a trek with her outfitting business. Llamas are the only pack animals allowed in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. They don't have hooves, instead they have soft splayed footpads. They also are good on pastures because they won't eat the grass down too far and they don't eat that much. In our area an acre can support 7 Llamas whereas an acre only support 1 horse.

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