Saturday, December 3, 2016

Said to be the worst wildfire to blanket the Smoky Mountains in over hundred years much has unfolded since Monday night primarily in the Gatlinburg area.

For those who don't know Gatlinburg, Wears Valley and Pigeon Forge was picked apart by wildfires that ravaged down from the Chimney Tops (in the Smoky Mtn National Park) in a matter of hours Monday night.  This due primarily to the unprecedented 80 mile an hour winds that churned up hot embers like a blow torch.

To read accounts, see photos and watch videos of the before, during and current coverage visit the following:  (ABC channel 6) (Knoxville News Sentinel) (NBC channel 10)

Ironically, if you haven't heard of the aweful events unfolding throughout East Tennessee among other areas of the south ravaged by draught and subsequent wildfires take a look at this interesting read:

The South Is On Fire And National Media Couldn’t Care Less


Now I'm starting to read of criticism of how the local leadership handled the evacuation of the city of Gatlinburg (of which I'm sure will likely unfold in many other ways too)

What city (besides those who have previously experienced wildfires ripping through their city limits) has the experience and plans and policies in place for such a life-changing event?

Hind sight is always 20/20.  But let's be realistic about this...these fires came crashing into the city of Gatlinburg in a matter of hours.  There wasn't time to send out patrols to find the safest evacuation routes and then direct folks in an orderly fashion out of the city.  And let's just say that the cell phone alert system did work...who knows if this would have helped or hindered evacuations?

Ironically, the people did it!!  Those who were there...upon receiving word in some form or fashion got out...and helped others to get out too.  Horrifically, some lost their lives in the process.  (currently the death toll is at 13). Pets scattered and were separated from the ones who loved them the most.  (some of which perished also).  And spite of the losses there was also much...escape....survival...and rescue.

This is community as I know it.  When circumstances suddenly become a fight-for-our-lives...the people join together and help each other survive.  It's what people do.  Contrary to what the media seems to think (that we can't do anything on our own accord...through our own efforts...without local authorities taking us by the hand).  Don't get me fighters and police worked tirelessly through the whole ordeal and still are putting forth unbelievable effort.  But let's also commend the community itself for its own survival!

The events that unfolded since Monday night in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (and the immediate surrounding areas) are a testament to human fortitude. Let us never forget...the people are what makes this nation great!

Want to a t-shirt!  Proceeds benefit the Red Cross to help those in East Tennessee.
This is a collaboration between local NBC channel 10 in Knoxville and the Red Cross.
click here

Monday, November 28, 2016

my heart is wrenching....

for all my dear friends in the Smoky Mountains.

just learned of the tragic news of forest fires surrounding Gatlinburg.

I am praying for rain.  Much rain.

Peace and love to you  my friends.

Sad sad news this night.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

and the eye's have it...

Here's my latest installment of songbird paintings.  This is a "Mourning Warbler" and what inspired me to create this particular piece was the potential wow factor of the eyes.  Um, yeah.

Songbirds are so much fun to paint...but the challenge is to get the eye's right.  Because if you jack up the jack the entire painting.  (Of course you have to get the beak and body right too...but the essence in my opinion is in the eyes.)

Yet another fun painting complete!

This "Mourning Warbler" painting is made with acrylic on gesso board and measures 11"x14".

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

the math

Well, it's done.  Or technically almost.  All votes counted aren't final just yet...but...the winner has been declared.

It was anyone's guess who would win the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. I don't think I'm alone in saying I truly expected Hillary Clinton to become the next U.S. President.

I am most amused by the fact that the media's take on it seems to be...."how did we get it wrong?"  Pfft. The media doesn't seem to understand it's not about them.'s stunning to me to see how truly close this race was. The image above lists a total count of the popular votes cast for Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green) and of course Donald Trump (Republican) and Hillary Clinton (Democrat). Again these are the popular vote totals as of 1:30pm EST 11/9/16.  And per Electoral vote totals, Donald Trump has been declared the winner.

But look at the margins.  Yet's obvious our country is CLEARLY DIVIDED as to who should be our leader or whatever the criteria was that individuals chose to cast their votes for one over another.

This also means that 64,849,871 American's are feeling pretty crappy right now.  Nearly SIXTY FIVE MILLION people didn't vote for Donald.  And yet....the 59,389,590 that did....I imagine have a much happier feeling....maybe?  Can't truly really speak for anyone else.

However...realistically, NONE of us know what's to come.  I think that's just it.  The unknowns are a bit unnerving.  Let's face it...whenever there is a "regime change" we never really know what to expect.

One thing IS for certain...there WILL be changes.

Here we go for yet another wild ride.  And here comes a FLOOD of actions or non-action regarding promises given during the campaign process.  (Actions DO speak louder than BRING on the ACTION!)

In the mean time...I'm glad the dog-and-pony-show has finally ended!!!  Can we move on and talk about something else for a while?

Maybe I should be giving t-shirts away that say "I survived another presidential election!"

Monday, October 24, 2016


Purina Feed Company has been handing out these cool tin signs with purchase of their chicken layer feed, Purina Layena.  (A fav of our flock)

I picked this (there are 3 to choose from) sign speaks for itself.  Thank you Purina!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The windy city!

Adventure....BIG CITY style!  Taxis horns blaring on every corner, smells that can knock you over, lights, flashes, crowds, wind, panhandlers, smiles, EVERYTHING expensive......That's what I can say about downtown Chicago.

Just so happened that the weekend we explored (mostly on foot, holy smokes the walking we did!) the downtown area of also happened to be the weekend of the Chicago Marathon, President Obama was in town to visit some "private donors" (gotta stroke the donors) and Monday finished it all off with the Columbus Day parade....none of which we new was happening before we arrived.

Apart from navigating throngs of people we had a fabulous time...visiting such places as the House of Blues, the Navy Pier (where we were in the above photo) and the Field Museum to name a few.  Other highlights included eating original Chicago deep dish pizza at the Pizzeria Uno (YUM!) and exploring the darker parts of the city via a haunted bus tour of various locales full of local flair. 

Who knew Harpo Studios had been torn down? And that was also the same site used as a staging area for family members to identify the victims of a horrible boat accident in 1915 now called the Eastland disaster....also described as "tragedy that defies description".... 845 people died.  When Harpo Studios was still there it was said that you could sometimes here sloshy footsteps and sounds of children laughing and playing in the building.  To read more about this disaster click here.

All-in-all was quite an experience....but oh my was I glad to return back to quiet, calm, country living again.

Needless to say...the city of Chicago has LOADS of history and certainly is worth many visits.  We hardly touched the tip of the iceberg during our stay.  Maybe that means we will have to visit again?

Before this visit, I knew nothing of the Chicago river...but another really cool thing we got to do was take a boat taxi from one end of this river to the other through the city. Was a COOL way to explore the high-rises of the windy city...and I had to laugh when we came round the bend in the river and staring us in the face was Trump Tower.  Only high rise I saw that had "TRUMP" in HUGE letters at basically eye level compared to the names on other high rises.  Nice branding there Mr. Trump.

Well, here we go onto more adventuring...who knows where we will end up next!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Meet Nellie...or Nell's as she is affectionately called around our house.  She is currently our mascot guinea pig...full of personality!

Before yesterday...she didn't have a bed of any I made her this one out of a small box...fastened it to the side of her cage and walked away...just to sneak back around and see if she liked it and I was able to snap this photo of her chillaxin in her new crib!  YEAH!

I laugh because now...she sits in her little box...sticks her head out the door hole and can reach her food bowl without ever leaving the box.  I have noticed that she is much quieter now...she seems more comfortable...which makes me happy.

She LOVES celery...and usually doesn't miss a chance to squeal at any passerby in an attempt to influence said passerby to give her a few celery snacks.

Not sure why...but seems like our house is a magnet for pets full of personality.
No...please don't drop your's off...we have plenty.