Community – Connestee Falls Realty http://www.connesteefallshomes.com Brevard, NC - Live Where You Play! Thu, 15 Feb 2018 22:50:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/cropped-CFR-Favicon-32x32.png Community – Connestee Falls Realty http://www.connesteefallshomes.com 32 32 DO YOU KNOW YOUR SOIL BY NAME? http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/know-soil-name/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/know-soil-name/#respond Wed, 07 Feb 2018 16:45:03 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6363 SOURCE:  Lee Reich for the Associated Press/Asheville Citizen Times Here are excerpts from an interesting article found in our local paper….of interest to gardeners, gardener-wannabes, geologists and nature lovers. “Soil don’t get no respect”, Rodney Dangerfield might have said (but didn’t).  Perhaps you know  your state bird or flower, but do you know your state…

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SOURCE:  Lee Reich for the Associated Press/Asheville Citizen Times

Here are excerpts from an interesting article found in our local paper….of interest to gardeners, gardener-wannabes, geologists and nature lovers.

“Soil don’t get no respect”, Rodney Dangerfield might have said (but didn’t).  Perhaps you know  your state bird or flower, but do you know your state soil?  No?

Well, in recent years, soil has begun to get more respect.  Since the celebration of the Soil Survey Centennial back in 1999, each state has been given its own official state soil.  (Cecil Soil, covering 1.6 million acres, is the official state soil of North Carolina.)  It was in 1899 that the US Dept of Agriculture started its survey of all the soils in the country.  You might wonder what a “soil survey” really is.  Isn’t it all just Dirt?  Some perhaps stickier, or redder, of deeper, that lies beneath forest, meadow, farm, home and garden?

In fact, soils are distinctive as different from each other as robins are from blue jays.  These differences are hard to appreciate because soil is mostly underground, hidden from view.  But if you were to dig some holes a few feet deep and then look carefully at their inside surfaces, you would find that soils are made up of layers of varying thickness, called “horizons“.  One soil might differ from the next not only in the thickness of its horizons, but also in their appearance and feel.

Horizons might be as white as chalk, as red as rust, or as dark brown as chocolate.  A horizon might be cement-hard, gritty with sand, or the stuff of sculpture.  If you were to tease the dirt along one edge of the hole so it falls away naturally – wow! –  each horizon would reveal its particles clumped together in arrangements like plates, blocks or prisms.  Such information, and more, has allowed soils to be classified, much as birds, flowers and other living things.

Modern soil classification goes back only a few decades, when all the world’s soils were grouped taxonomically into a dozen “orders.”  Differences among orders reflect the formative influence of a particular combination of climate, plants and animals, topography, time and original rock material.

Just as all vertebrate animals are huddled together by biologists into smaller groupings (mammals, say) and those groupings into still smaller ones, so each soil order is divided and subdivided to include more distinctly different soils.  At the end of the dividing and subdividing, you end up with a “soil series” identified with a proper name – like the Have series in my vegetable garden, for example.

A particular soil becomes an official state soil by being widespread within the state; being distinctive chemically or physically; having some degree of name recognition, and of course, getting a legislative stamp of approval.  Examples include soils like West Virginia’s Monongahela soil, Texas’ Houston Black, California’s San Joaquin, and New York’s Honeoye soil.  The job now of these “ambassadors” of the benevolent underworld is to rekindle awareness of soil’s value as a national resource that can only be renewed very slowly.  Soil provides food, shelter, clothing and more, yet is is being lost at alarming rates to everything from black-top to erosion.

Out in your garden this spring, dig a hole deep and wide enough that you can see and appreciate at least some of the various and distinctive horizons.  Then, if you want to name and detailed description of that world, look at the maps and descriptions in the Soil Survey Reports issued by the US Dept of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NCRS).  Search online for “soil survey nrcs” and you’ll find links to soil maps for counties throughout the US.  Or go to the link “web soil survey.”  At this site, you can type in a street address around which you draw” your area of interest (AOI).  The site will delineate the names and descriptions of soils within that AOI.”

(Using the above-cited link, I found “The Brevard Series”.  Here is the gist of the long, scientific description of our local soil by soil scientists.

“The Brevard Series consists of well-drained, gently– sloping to steep soils formed under forest vegetation in old colluvial or old alluvial deposits.  Depth to bedrock is more than 5 feet.  In a typical profile, those soils have a very dark brown and brown loam surface layer about 4″ thick.  The subsoil is yellowish red and red, friable fine sandy clay loam about 72 inches thick.  Below the subsoil, to a depth of more than 82 inches, is angular gravel soil….Brevard soils are low to medium in natural fertility and medium in organic matter content.  They have high available water capacity, moderate permeability, and low to moderate shrink-swell potential, and have a deep to very deep effective root zone.  About 1/3 of county acreage has been cleared and is used for general farming.  In the Pisgah National Forest, all of the areas are forested.  These soils are well suited to all locally grown crops.  Because of slope and runoff, a moderate to very severe erosion hazard is a limitation in using these soils….”) USDA Soil Conservation Service/NC Agricultural Experiment Station/January 1974

SOURCE:  Lee Reich/Associated Press/ Asheville Citizen Times IMAGE: Wikipedia

 

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SOME VINES WILL STAY GREEN ALL WINTER LONG… http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/vines-will-stay-green-winter-long/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/vines-will-stay-green-winter-long/#respond Mon, 05 Feb 2018 15:31:56 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6356 EXCERPTED FROM “NATURE JOURNAL”  by George Ellison/Asheville Citizen Times “Even in winter, vines are fascinating – especially those that retain their leaves through a long, hard winter of the kind we’re experiencing this year.  Instead of the showy flowering structures that appear in summer, in winter we can shift our attention to the less showing…

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EXCERPTED FROM “NATURE JOURNAL”  by George Ellison/Asheville Citizen Times

“Even in winter, vines are fascinating – especially those that retain their leaves through a long, hard winter of the kind we’re experiencing this year.  Instead of the showy flowering structures that appear in summer, in winter we can shift our attention to the less showing climbing strategies involving hard thorns and sticky pads as well as intricate leaf and stem patterns.

I’m not sure of the exact number of native and naturalized vines that occur in WNC…some that readily come to mind are wisteria, the various peas and vetches, poison ivy and Virginia Creeper, honeysuckle, virgin’s bower, the bittersweets and trumpet creeper.  The list of trees, shrubs and woody vines in the Great Smokies lists other less-frequently encountered species like peppervine, ampelopsis, leather flower, coral bean, climbing hydrangea, climbing euonymus and moonseed….ballpark figure somewhere around 50.  And of this 50, perhaps 20 are evergreen.

The climbing methods used by various vines are both complex and variable.  Accordingly, they have been categorized in a number of ways…

  1.  Hook Climbers – include certain roses and other ramblers that attach themselves to a host via prickles,  hooks and thorns.
  2. Root Climbers – include English ivy, poison ivy and trumpet vine that produce a profusion of bristly side growths (“adventitious roots”) that penetrate cracks and crevices of a host tree or building to hold the vine in place.
  3. Twining Climbers – include honeysuckle, kudzu, wisteria, bittersweet, morning glory, bindweed and Dutchman’s pipe, which wind their main stems about their hosts and spiral upward into the light.
  4. Tendril Climbers – include grapevines, greenbrier and everlasting pea, which send out sensitized vegetative organs from their main stems that “circumnutate” — that is, they sweep back and forth through the air in arcs as they elongate, their motion caused by unequal growth rates on either side of the stem.
  5. Tendril Variations – include Virginia creeper and Boston ivy that produce branching tendrils that form adhesive pads upon contact with the host surface.

One of my favorite tendril climbers is Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata), a close relative the the common trumpet or cow-itch vine (Campsis radicans).  Crossvine is uncommon in WNC, where it is found at altitudes below about 2,000 feet.  (Crossvine is common in upstate SC, and blooms in variations of the three basic colors:  red, orange and yellow.)  It grows along streams and roadsides in moist woods and in thickets.

The time of flowering is usually from mid-April to June.  The outsides of the blossoms are dull red, almost brown or nearly orange.  The inside of each blossom is an eye-catching yellow, making them one of our most attractive native vines.  Look for the two lanceolate leaflets that have a tendril arising from between them.  A cross-section of the stem reveals vascular bundles formed in the shape of a cross…hence the common name.

In winter light, the stems are almost a translucent redish-mauve in color.  If yuo’re look for a new vine fort a graden trellis or other structure that will hold interest year round, be sure to consider Crossvine.

SOURCE:  George Ellison for Asheville Citizen Times    IMAGE:  wildflower.org

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COLD CLIMB – ICE CLIMBING IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/cold-climb-ice-climbing-western-north-carolina/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/cold-climb-ice-climbing-western-north-carolina/#respond Wed, 24 Jan 2018 15:49:41 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6346 SOURCE:  Karen Chavez/USAToday/Asheville Citizen-Times “OLD FORT, NC…The solid chunks of waterfalls are now starting to drip and flow again as WNC comes out of its recent icy death grip.  But for ice climbers, the past few weeks have been the cream of the ice, one in which records were set. On New Years’ Day a…

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SOURCE:  Karen Chavez/USAToday/Asheville Citizen-Times

“OLD FORT, NC…The solid chunks of waterfalls are now starting to drip and flow again as WNC comes out of its recent icy death grip.  But for ice climbers, the past few weeks have been the cream of the ice, one in which records were set.

On New Years’ Day a record was set with 21 F in Asheville.  That’s just the kind of (daytime) bitter cold that is so sweet to ice climbers.  Certified rock and ice climbing instructor Anthony D’Ercole of Brevard’s Fox Mountain Guides took advantage of the weather and possibly set a record for a first ascent on 160 feet of frozen Linville Falls.  D’Ercole also recently bit into Catawba Falls in Pisgah National Forest with ice picks and steel blade crampons, and climbed the cascade with friends in about 40 minutes.

His Linville climb caused a Facebook frenzy, with spectacular photos and video of D’Ercole climbing perilously close to rushing water.  He believes it is a “first ascent”, the first time a rock or waterfall has even been climbed.  Some Facebook followers said that Linville might have been scaled in t he 1980s.

Ice climbing on frozen waterfalls is a permitted activity on the Blue Ridge Parkway, said spokeswoman Leesa Brandon.  “That doesn’t mean we advise it’s not a hazardous activity,” she said. (As of this date, the Parkway is closed, except for the “commuter” portion around Asheville.)

It can look crazy to the passerby, but ice climbing is slow and deliberate, taking thought and concentration, and is calming and meditative, coming face to freezing face with nature and swinging up high above the noise below.  “Everybody has a different reason for why they would want to embark in the cold.  This is a sense of adventure.  It’s kind of really barbaric”, says D’Ecole, 28, who is also a paramedic with the Skyland Fire Department, ski patrol member at Wolf Ridge Ski Area and father of two.  “You’re dual wielding these sharp blades in your hands and daggers on your feet, going at it, ice is going everywhere; if you’re new, that’s pretty cool.  The reward is looking down and seeing what I did, self-seeking,  you’re not thinking about…the world.”

There is an element of danger for the uninitiated, making it imperative that chilly thrill seekers get training with expert ice climbers, and never go out alone.  Ice climbing takes skill and strength and a pact with nature that the sun won’t shine too bright to melt ice while you’re moving, and the air won’t get too cold to crack it beneath y our feet.  But when the ice is right, there’s nothing else like it, especially in the South, where deep freezes are so ephemeral, the sight of a waterfall frozen mid-flow makes an ice climber’s mouth water…

BUT, WARNING!  Stay away from icicles hanging from trees or rocks.  Do not walk on “frozen” lakes or rivers or streams…several people fell through ice on the Davidson River on a recent weekend.  Never climb around the running water of a waterfall.  

This article excerpt in no way condones or encourages anyone to go out and try this “extreme” sport.  The article appears here only to illustrate one of the many sports available in Western North Carolina.  Ice climbing is obviously very dangerous, and only for the experienced climber.

SOURCE:  Karen Chavez/USAToday/Asheville Citizen-Times  IMAGE:  PIXABAY – FREE

 

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NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/natural-history-southern-appalachians/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/natural-history-southern-appalachians/#respond Mon, 15 Jan 2018 17:16:24 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6331 Excerpted from an article by local naturalist and columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times, George Ellison….USA TODAY NETWORK. Our favorite local naturalist/author, George Ellison, used to teach Elderhostel courses, and his niche was Natural History of the Southern Appalachians.  He devised an introductory presentation titled “Where Are We?” for his students, and wrote a recent column…

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Excerpted from an article by local naturalist and columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times, George Ellison….USA TODAY NETWORK.

Our favorite local naturalist/author, George Ellison, used to teach Elderhostel courses, and his niche was Natural History of the Southern Appalachians.  He devised an introductory presentation titled “Where Are We?” for his students, and wrote a recent column in the Asheville paper condensing some of this knowledge of our mountains.

“…The Appalachians (down here in NC, folks pronounce that AppleAtChuns, with a soft A) extend some 2,000 miles from Canada’s Gaspe Peninsula to Mt. Oglethorpe in north Georgia.  They are the result of periods of mountain building brought about when the North American continental plate collided with the plates forming the European and African continents.  Because of their maturity, they have been described as “The most elegant mountain range in the world.”

The Southern Appalachians can be defined as the mountain ranges south of the point in  northeastern PA to which glacial ice sheets extended at the height of the Wisconsin epoch 18,000 years ago.  That southern region consists of four geographic provinces (east to west):  Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, and Plateau.

The Blue Ridge Province is the most significant in regard to mountainous terrain, and extends from just south of Harrisburg, PA to Mt. Oglethorpe in North Georgia, encompassiong mountainous portions of southwestern VA, Western NC, east TN, northwest SC and north GA.

The Blue Ridge Province can be subdivided into its northern and southern provinces, with the Southern Blue Ridge Province (SBRP) consisting of the terrain south of Mt. Rogers in southwestern VA to Mt. Oglethorpe in north GA.  The eastern front or escarpment of the SBRP is clearly defined from VA into SC.  On it s western front, the SBRP consists of  the Unaka, Great Smoky, Unicoi and other massive ranges.  Connecting the eastern and western fronts are transverse  ranges:  the Blacks, Great Craggies, great Balsams, Nantahalas and many others.

The Appalachian system as a whole reaches its greatest elevation, largest mass and most rugged topography in the SBRP, where 125 or so peaks rise to 5,000 feet or  higher, with 50 or so surpassing 6,000 feet.  From Mt. Rogers in VA northward to the Gaspe Peninsula, only Mt. Washington in NH exceeds 6,000 feet.  (I have read that if we had a peak 8,000 feet in elevation, there would be a treeline.)

The topography profoundly influences the region’s average temperature and thereby its plant and animal life, which exhibit strong northern affinities.  The “Principle of Verticality” holds that for each 1,000 feet gained in elevation the mean temperature decreases about 4 degrees F, equivalent to a change of 250 miles in latitude.  This means that if you travel from the lowest elevations in the SBRP of about 1,000 feet to the higher elevations about 6,000 feet, it’s the equivalent of traveling more than 1,200 miles northward in regard to the habitats you will encounter.

The SBRP is situated where winds bringing saturated air masses from the Gulf of Mexico and the southern Coastal Plain are cooled, resulting in a significant degree of rainfall.  Air cools while rising to pass over the uplifted mountain ranges and can hold less moisture than warm air; therefore, heavy condensation occurs where large weather fronts first encounter uplifted terrain.  The heaviest annual rainfall occurs in places along the state lines between NC, GA and SC (that is, from the Nantahalas west of Franklin to Highlands east of Franklin).  Well over 110 inches of annual rainfall has been recorded with regularity since 1935 along the GA/NC line.  Some professional observers now refer to the area as a temperate rain forest.

The highest elevations of the SBRP can be thought of as a peninsula of  northern terrain extending into the southeastern US where typical flora and fauna of northeastern and southeastern North America flourish.  The region features approximately 1,500 vascular plants (many considered showy wildflowers), and 125 species of trees (in all of Europe there are only about 75 species.)

At 70 or so miles in length, 25 or so miles in width at its widest, and comprised of over a half-million acres, the Great Smokies (most of which was incorporated into the national park when it was founded in 1934) are the largest single mountain range in eastern North America.  Situated on the western front of the SBRP, the Smokies are just one of the virtually countless ranges that comprise the great chain that extends almost without end from Maine to Georgia.”

SOURCE:  George Ellison for the Asheville Citizen-Times/USA Today  IMAGE: Southern Appalachain CESU

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SIX EASY WAYS TO PREPARE FOR HOLIDAY GUEST S S http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/six-easy-ways-prepare-christmas-guests/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/six-easy-ways-prepare-christmas-guests/#respond Wed, 29 Nov 2017 16:48:41 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6293 SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com “It’ll be here before you know it:  holiday season….probably time you started getting prepared…it will probably be easier than expected to get it into good shape.  Here are a few things you can do this weekend to get started. MAKE OVER YOUR GUEST ROOM.  In…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

“It’ll be here before you know it:  holiday season….probably time you started getting prepared…it will probably be easier than expected to get it into good shape.  Here are a few things you can do this weekend to get started.

MAKE OVER YOUR GUEST ROOM.  In many guest rooms, whatever furniture exists is often leftovers from other spaces, but that doesn’t mean it can’t look great.  If you’re not looking to add to or replace anything, get out that paint can.  How does the bed look?  Tired or drab?  You don’t have to spend a lot to get a great set of sheets, and top it with a graphic patterned comforter and a few pillows – voila!  On the night stand, a favorite book and a scented candle will make your guests feel welcome.  (A stack of pretty, fresh towels at the bottom of the bed makes a nice presentation.)

POLISH YOUR SILVER.  Several simple tricks (http://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/how-to-clean-silver) will have it look better in no time.  Our favorite:  ketchup!

MAKE IT  INVITING.  Discount home decor stores can be a goldmine for little, inexpensive items that can make your guests feel like they’re staying at a fancy hotel.  Stock up on guest soaps, hand towels, lotions, and (!) perhaps set out a new robe and slippers.

THINK ABOUT FUNCTION. While you’re making things look pretty, make sure you consider function.  Guests will need a place to put their things, so this is a perfect time to put away summer clothes or pack up a few boxes of giveaway stuff to create space in a closet.  Now…hit your coat closet.  Go through your closet or hooks by your door, and store away any extra jackets you may have hanging there.

CONSIDER THE LIGHTING.  While you are out shopping, hit the lighting aisle.  Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, your guests can’t.  Make sure outside lights are working so they don’t trip on the way to your door.  Put motion-activated night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to ensure safe passage at night.

DO A SMELL CHECK.  Everyday scents, especially if you have pets, can get past us in our own home.  There is actually a science behind this…we adapt to smells very quickly.  Within the space of just a few breaths, we can lose our ability to detect new odors, It’s called olfactory adaption, and it’s the same reason you can’t smell your own breath, body odor or even perfume after a few minutes.

Outside of the typical tactics of cleaning and deodorizing, there are a few tricks that can help freshen up your home.  Fill two to four shallow bowls with fresh coffee grounds, depending on the size of the room.  Shut the windows and the door to the room, then leave the bowls overnight to let the coffee grounds absorb the odor.  Throw the grounds away the next day.  Repeat one more night with fresh coffee grounds for particularly stubborn odors.  Another quick fix:  Put about a cup of white vinegar in a sauce pan on your stove top and bring it to a simmer…it will release more odor-fighting power into the air, and if you let it go for awhile, it will deodorize your whole house.  It might smell a little vinegary at first, but after a while it won’t smell like anything at all….”

(Our own tip, which is especially easy over the holidays….bake cookies, breads etc. each day to keep the lovely aromas of holiday baking in your home.  And if you are in the process of selling your home, bake a loaf of bread every morning.  It’ll create a pleasant “greeting” when prospective buyers first enter your home!)

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri/realtytimes.com   IMAGE:  huffingtonpost.com

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AS LEAVES DROP, BIRD WATCHING IMPROVES http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/leaves-drop-bird-watching-improves/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/leaves-drop-bird-watching-improves/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 16:26:41 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6289 Excerpted from an article by George Ellison for the Asheville Citizen-Times/USA Today Network “From now until the first ice storm in mid-January is a period that’s invigorating without being bitterly cold or slushy.  It’s always been a good time to get outdoors for some birding – or just watch them through the kitchen windows as…

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Excerpted from an article by George Ellison for the Asheville Citizen-Times/USA Today Network

“From now until the first ice storm in mid-January is a period that’s invigorating without being bitterly cold or slushy.  It’s always been a good time to get outdoors for some birding – or just watch them through the kitchen windows as they come and go at regular intervals.

Mid-fall is when we are on the lookout for those species that nest in the northern hardwood and spruce-fir regions of the Southern Appalachians – where they reach the southernmost limits of their breeding ranges – but come down to the lowlands in the fall to winter:  golden-crowned kinglets, winter wrens, black-capped chickadees, brown creepers, red-breasted nuthatches and juncos.  Of these, one of our favorites is the winter wren, a species found throughout temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere, and the only wren species found outside of the Americas….

According to the online “Birds of North America” site (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) this species is unique among North American wrens in its association with old-growth forests.  It uses snags, downed logs, and large trees for nesting, foraging and roosting.  Some European populations inhabit highly human-modified habitats year-round and are known as garden birds.

The winter wren is noted for its song – a sparkling series of high-pitched bubbling warbles and trills – that may last for up to seven seconds and contain more than 100 notes.  Most singing occurs during breeding season, but it has been noted in every month of the year.  “On rare occasions the listener may be favored by antiphonal singing, when the refrain is carried on by two or more musicians – as soon as one utters his last note, another begins, round after round, so charmingly synchronized that the performance becomes a never-to-be-forgotten experience.” (Arthur Stupka/Great Smokies National Park)

In late fall and winter, the little bird’s presence is usually announced by abrasive “chirrs” or harsh “tik-tik-tik”cockced over its back, this species is unmistakable.  At high elevations, the tiny brown sprite creeps mouse-like through the forest at ground level, darting in and  out of hollow logs and tangles of vegetation.  In the lower elevations, it  is attracted to home sites, where it flits in and  out of the openings in stacks of firewood and ventures underneath structures seeking insects.

Winter wrens are without doubt our most inquisitive bird.  And for whatever reason, they are seemingly fascinated with human beings.  I have had them follow me along trails for several hundred yards, bobbing up at intervals to make sure I am aware of their presence.  They enter our house and inspect the premises when an open door or window allows access.  They are irresistible.”

SOURCE:  George Ellison is a naturalist and writer.  His wife, Elizabeth Ellison, is a painter and papermaker who owns a gallery in Bryson City, NC.

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WINTER WEATHER IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/winter-weather-western-north-carolina/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/winter-weather-western-north-carolina/#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:09:15 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6277 Excerpted from a study initiated by the State Climate Office of North Carolina When people drop in at our office here in Cedar Mountain, outside of Brevard, NC, they often ask….”what is the winter weather like in this area?”  Anecdotal information aside (that we generally have mild winters these days), there is always someone who…

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Excerpted from a study initiated by the State Climate Office of North Carolina

When people drop in at our office here in Cedar Mountain, outside of Brevard, NC, they often ask….”what is the winter weather like in this area?”  Anecdotal information aside (that we generally have mild winters these days), there is always someone who has lived here most of their life, and reels off stories about what terrible winters they used to experience – especially in the Asheville area.

Here’s a more scientific look at the winter weather in our area.  Caveat:  this study was done in the early 2000’s.

“Winter weather (snow, sleet, freezing rain) occurs with the greatest frequency in the norther latitudes (e.g., New England and the Midwest) and higher altitudes (the Appalachians).  However, such weather regularly affects the southeastern US as far south as Georgia during each cold season.  In fact, the impacts of winter weather in the Southeast have been recorded as early as the first week of October and as late as  mid-April. ”  (This year, particularly mild fall weather and plenty of rain kept the leaves on the trees, many still green, way past the usual color peak here which usually occurs around the middle of October.   And the fall, once it got going, lasted longer.  The mild weather turned cool/cold rather abruptly in the beginning of November, and a big wind & rain storm took down most of our leaves in one day!)

“…Each type of winter precipitation brings with it unique hazards.  Each precipitation type occurs with some regularity throughout the Southeast, and is due mainly to the topography of the region as well as its geography.  Continental polar air masses from Canada typically supply the cold air necessary for snow, while cold, dry air form New England entering the region can become entrained against the east slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, forming a dome or wedge of near-surface cold air.  The moisture necessary for precipitation is brought in from the nearby Gulf Of Mexico, where the thermal contrast between the cold land surface and the relatively warmer gulf waters provides a favorable environment for storm development and intensification.  If a cold dome is already in place east of the mountains, the warm frontal boundary and moisture associated with the developing storm may migrate northward over the cold dome, setting the stage for mixed precipitation….”  (There  is often a temperature differential of anywhere between five and ten degrees Farenheit between Brevard and the Cedar Mountain/Connestee Falls area.  This  is caused by altitude differential.  In easier terms to understand, this means that often we get snow, sleet and frozen rain in Connestee Falls, while Brevard – about 1,000 feet lower in altitude, gets cold rain.)

Natives will tell you that winters are much milder, with less freezing precipitation, than the winters of their childhood.  Still,  there is often concern about how quickly roads are cleared and safe for travel after a snow storm.   The State Department of Transportation is right on top of snow removal on US 276, which runs past Connestee’s Main and East Fork Gates.  And Connestee Falls has its own snow removal equipment, including snowplows and snow blowers – and can stay on top of the snow removal situation on our private roads.

SOURCE:  State Climate Office of North Carolina

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TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY, NC – ABOUT OUR COUNTY http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/transylvania-county-nc-county/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/transylvania-county-nc-county/#respond Mon, 13 Nov 2017 16:41:20 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6273 SOURCE:  Transylvania County, NC website & Land of Waterfalls website “Transylvania County is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of Western North Carolina, about half way between Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC.  The county seat is Brevard, NC.  The Transylvania County Courthouse, located in the heart of Brevard, is on the National Register of…

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SOURCE:  Transylvania County, NC website & Land of Waterfalls website

“Transylvania County is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of Western North Carolina, about half way between Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC.  The county seat is Brevard, NC.  The Transylvania County Courthouse, located in the heart of Brevard, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Transylvania County is called the “Land of Waterfalls” due to the 250 waterfalls located throughout the county.  Whitewater Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern US.  Framed by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, access to Pisgah National Forest, Gorges State Park and DuPont State Forest (the most visited state forest in NC) provides locals and visitors with opportunities for a range of outdoor activities – hiking, biking, camping, canoeing, tubing, picnicing and fishing.

There is also a rich cultural scene in the country.  World-renowned Brevard Music Center, Brevard Philharmonic, Brevard Little Theatre, Brevard Community Band, Paul Porter Center for Performing Arts at Brevard College, Transylvania Choral Society, Transylvania Community Arts Council – and more…”

“…Don’t be deceived by the easy pace and iconic Small Town America ambiance of Brevard – our charming, historic county seat.  There is probably something awesome going on right now in downtown Brevard.  It might be as simple as a new exhibit at on of the many small art galleries, a beer tasting at a local pub, or a truly spectacular, day-capping combo of a toy shop visit and a chocolate  milkshake.  Or it could be live music (which occurs with near-daily frequency in the warmer months), a bike or running race, or one of Brevard’s many beloved, family-friendly street festivals.

…wander through the one-of-a-kind local boutiques, grab a delicious meal at a wide variety of local eateries (both casual and upscale), stop by for a little bluegrass on the front porch of the Silvermont Mansion – or in winter, enjoy one of Brevard’s many cool weather and holiday attractions.

Downtown Brevard offers fine, relaxed accompaniment to wilderness exploration and a whole new sort of adventure for any and all inclined to follow their sense through one of American’s Coolest Small Towns…”

SOURCE:  Transylvania County/Land of Waterfalls websites.  Just Google Transylvania County, NC or Brevard, NC – or Land of Waterfalls for a variety of information…

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WINTER-BLOOMING PLANTS HELP BEES SURVIVE THE SEASON http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/winter-blooming-plants-help-bees-survive-season/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/winter-blooming-plants-help-bees-survive-season/#respond Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:44:04 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6247 Excerpted and adapted from an article by Dean Fosdick for Associated Press/Asheville Citizen-Times “Winter and early spring are lean times for honeybees as they emerge from their hives, where food supplies are dwindling, to forage.  Adding clusters of winter-blooming plants around the yard will give them much needed  nourishment. Bees take in carbohydrates from floral…

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Excerpted and adapted from an article by Dean Fosdick for Associated Press/Asheville Citizen-Times

“Winter and early spring are lean times for honeybees as they emerge from their hives, where food supplies are dwindling, to forage.  Adding clusters of winter-blooming plants around the yard will give them much needed  nourishment.

Bees take in carbohydrates from floral nectar and protein from floral pollen.  Being aware of bloom times and providing flowers that over lap seasons are important for beekeepers who want to overwinter their colonies.  Some bees, including many wild varieties, begin searching for food as early as January, when sunny days can push temps up to 55 F or more. In the early spring, bees are going to need food to get their engines started again…solitary wild bees, honeybees and hummingbirds are just clinging to life.

So the preparation you do now is very important.  Early spring is a vulnerable time for pollinators.  Pollinator plants like crocus, primrose and snowdrops will bloom even when show is on the ground.  Threes and shrubs also are effective choices for feeding early emerging honeybees.

In early spring, it’s the trees that are most important.  Willows, maples, filberts and hazelnuts are some of the earliest sources of pollen you’ll find.  They’re easy to establish and grow.  Establish early-blooming plants in clusters to make it easier for foraging honeybees to spot and access them.  Bees are efficient pollinators – they really appreciate patches of flowers.  They can get from flower to flower easily, saving on their own low energy supplies.

Many winter-flowering plants grow in the wild, but pollinators generally don’t live near them…so that makes cultivating winter bloomers important when planning your garden.  Property owners should also leave suitable places for native bees to hibernate undisturbed.  Let turf grass grow long over the winter.  Avoid pesticides.  Reduce lawn size and turn instead to protective shrubs.  Even a small amount of habitat will be enough to sustain bees….they are tiny creatures, and a well-thought-out landscape can provide all the food they need in winter.  As a gardener, you can really help with that.

Some additional bee-friendly plants:

  • Oregon grape, an evergreen shrub that produces yellow flowers blooming for weeks.
  • Heath and heather, in shades of purple to copper to gold; these low-growing plants make a mat of color throughout the year, including winter.
  • Male willow plants, maples, apple, crabapple, native cherry.

Native trees, shrubs and other plants selected to feed bees are definitely part of the solution to declining bee populations.”

NOTE:  In WNC, the best time to plant trees and shrubs is in the fall, giving them time to establish their root systems over the winter.

SOURCE:  DEAN FOSDICK/ASSOCIATED PRESS/ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES

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HELPING AGING PARENTS/RELATIVES TO DE-CLUTTER… http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/helping-aging-parentsrelatives-de-clutter/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/helping-aging-parentsrelatives-de-clutter/#respond Wed, 23 Aug 2017 15:50:50 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6211 SOURCE:  Excerpted from article by Patricia Lee/Houzz/realtytimes.com “When the child is the one charged with helping parents downsize, these guidelines can smooth the process.  Many seniors eventually need to downsize to a smaller space, whether to a retirement community, a nursing facility or a room in a family member’s home. If you’re the person faced…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from article by Patricia Lee/Houzz/realtytimes.com

“When the child is the one charged with helping parents downsize, these guidelines can smooth the process.  Many seniors eventually need to downsize to a smaller space, whether to a retirement community, a nursing facility or a room in a family member’s home.

If you’re the person faced with going through an aging parent’s belongings, it may be tempting to rent a storage unit and just pack it all away.  However, that can be an expensive way to merely delay the inevitable…instead, you could start the process as soon as possible, and here are some tips to help you through it:

1. Acknowledge the true magnitude of the task.  Moving from a home filled with years of memories can be very emotional process.  Not only do they have to downsize the physical memories of as long as a lifetime, but moving may also summon unwanted reminders of their mortality.  For both parent and child, de-cluttering takes patience – and for the child especially it can be difficult to stay motivated, since you won’t directly reap the rewards of a tidier space.  Further, your decluttering standards may be different than those of your parents.  What you consider trash may be your parents’ treasures, and this can lead to friction.  It’s important to involve your parents in the decision making process rather than taking over completely.  Soliciting their input and accommodating their desires is a way to show them you value their decisions and respect their belongings.  So mentally prepare yourself for what is to come…

2. Schedule bite-sized work sessions.  De-cluttering is time consuming, and it can be tiring for aging relatives.  If time permits, space out your sessions so you can maintain the energy to complete the entire home….no more than three or four hours at a time, perhaps just two to three times per week.

3. Understand your parents’ lifestyle.  Getting a snapshot of how you’re parents plan to live in their new home will help you narrow down what they keep – with the goal of retaining only what they actually love or need.  Sit down and sketch out a few details that can serve as guidance as you sort.

Below are some questions you could use as a starting point for your discussion with your parents.  You could even use their answers to guide a first pass at eliminating irrelevant items on your own – leaving fewer decisions for your parents to make.

What type of clothing do you need (Daily comfort wear?  Weekly church outfits?  Occasional dress-up?)

What is your current range of clothing sizes?  Can other sizes be donated?

To what extent will you be cooking and baking?

Which suitcases and bags are no longer practical for travel?

Which books do you still read and which music do you still listen to?

4.  Start with the least sentimental items.  Practice makes perfect.  The decision to keep, toss, sell or donate becomes easier the more you practice.  Starting the de-cluttering with the least sentimental items such as linens and clothing, and working toward the most sentimental, such as photos and letters, can be a helpful way to ease into harder decision-making territory.

5.  De-clutter by category rather than room.  This will be helpful in terms of keeping your parents – and yourself – motivated and focused.  It’s easier to make decisions when items are grouped, as this helps you see all at once how many belongings you’re dealing with.  Also, you get a sense of accomplishment with the completion of each category.

6.  Keep only sentimental items that will displayed.  The truth is, some of these items have been buried in their houses for decades, so encourage them to keep only the items they’ll have out on display.  Memorabilia can’t be enjoyed while hidden away, and disposing of the items doesn’t diminish the memories associated with them.

7.  Take charge of your childhood items.  If your parents have saved all of your childhood memorabilia, they may be willing to turn those items over to you for sorting through.  This can be quite helpful for parents who are overwhelmed with culling their own possessions.  Now is also the time to remove any of your adult possessions that have been stored in their house.

8.  Remove unwanted items from the property.  Consider ordering a dumpster for trash, scheduling a charitable organization to pick up donations, and selling items at a consignment store or online.  It’s important to keep unwanted possessions moving as you continue the de-cluttering process, as storing them in the house may hinder progress.

9.  Treasure this quality time with your parents.  De-cluttering is undoubtedly hard work, and tensions often arise amid differing viewpoints.  So try to adjust your perspective when these moments inevitably come.  Instead of viewing the task as a chore, consider it a special time spent with your parents.  You may even hear some priceless stories about their youth and your childhood – especially if you maintain a patient attitude, and if you take the time to ask.

SOURCE:  Patricia Lee/Houzz Contributor/realtytimes.com  IMAGE: movelady.com

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