Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Several years ago my parents discovered a place called Cataloochee, which is part of the Great Smoky Mountains, and fell in love with its beauty and all of the amazing wildlife that you could see while you are there. The next year or so after that discovery trip they made, we decided to take a camping trip there. That was in October of 2007, when Jackson was only 5 months old!
Jackson's 1st Trip to Cataloochee- 5 months old 10/07

We always camp out at the group campsites, which are for tents only, with no electricity or running water (which can be pretty interesting at times with a 4, 3, and 1 year old!). But..... that doesn't keep us from making and eating some delicious foods, especially breakfast.
      Everyone working to make our breakfast of sausage, bacon, fried potatoes, biscuits (with your choice of either gravy,  
                apple butter, molasses or grape jelly- which all except the gravy are homemade!), grits, and eggs. Yummy!

There are so many beautiful hiking trails throughout Cataloochee, but my favorite was our 6 mile hike we took on Saturday. Thankfully Mom, Terri, Wilma, Caleb & Cheyenna decided to stay behind and enjoy some rest time while Caleb did a little fishing, and they offered to watch Jackson and Ansley during the hike. There would've been no way they could have walked all of it (there were some steep hills!), and I know that I would've never made it while carrying them! :) But, Elsie went and didn't seem to mind the hills at all! ;)

Elsie enjoying a break at one of the old log cabins on the hike.

The hike wore Elsie out also! ;)

It was a perfect fall day, and the leaves definitely showed God's amazing artistic abilities!

                                                                                                                                                  We made it to the top!

But, one of the main reasons most people come to Cataloochee is to enjoy the wildlife. Everywhere you look you can see not only squirrels and wild turkeys, but there are plenty of Elk to watch (we especially love when they get in a "fight" over their ladies,) and many times you can see some bears (last year we even saw a mama bear with her THREE bear cubs!).
                    Maybe a practice fight?                                                                             I love to hear their bugle call!

Even with all the hiking, cooking, elk watching, we still had some time to relax, enjoy roasting some marshmallows by the campfire, and share some good stories!

Ansley & some Elk antlers

Jackson & Elsie playing while we were cooking breakfast. The nights & mornings are cold!

And of course there was plenty of time to play in the leaves!

 And those three sweet faces sum up how wonderful our weekend was!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Rattlesnake Bow

Back in the summer my dad was out working and came upon a rattlesnake. He threw a rock at it and it killed the rattlesnake before it tried to get him! He then took it to a man that he knows that makes all kinds of things, and often uses animal skins/hides in his creations. A couple of weeks ago that man came into my dad's work and said, "You have a grandson, right?" Dad told him yes, and then this man told dad that he made him something. He shows dad a bow and quiver that was all handmade by him, and he had used the skin from the rattlesnake to decorate the bow, and the rattle from the snake as decoration on the quiver. I don't know who was more excited about it.... my dad, mom, me or Jackson!

The Quiver & Bow
Dad took Jackson out one Sunday afternoon to teach him how to use his brand new, made personally just for him, bow & arrow.
(*Just ignore the socks..... he was barefoot at Mamaw & Papaw's and it got cold outside. We found him these comfy cozy socks- ha!)

Close up of the Rattle on the Quiver

Close up of the Bow

The Quiver

My Little Robin Hood!

What a special and thoughtful gift for a 4 year old boy! As of right now, we're keeping it in Jackson's "Camping Room" up at Mamaw & Papaw's and he can play with it when he goes up there. I'm not sure if it is the safest toy to be playing with when his two sisters are around. :)