More Fall Photography

The Town of Marshall / C. Calhoun 2012

I got up this morning and went to town.  I love the little town I live in – it’s a quaint, quiet place where the people are artsy and progressive, but still love the feel of small-town friends.

My kind of place!

There was an arts and crafts festival earlier today and I went, but didn’t stay long: I was getting drenched and I had only a tiny umbrella with me.  

I am all for supporting artists and crafters, but since I already fall into both categories, I’d say that I appreciate it more than I can buy it.  

After ambling through the fair, I found a Greenway that I sort of knew was there, but had never really walked it.  The last time I tried, it was short and unfinished – and I love a good, long walk.  The rain let up long enough to walk the 3/4 mile loop, but allowed me ample time to get some beautiful images.

Bailey’s Branch / C. Calhoun 2012
This bridge crosses the French Broad River, leaving out of Marshall

The result is that I found out another reason I love my little town:  a huge river runs through it (the French Broad), there’s a Greenway alongside it, and I got some great shots of the early-changing foliage.

For the record, if I ever have a million dollars, I want to really expand that Greenway and plant a lot more trees in Marshall.  This town is so beautiful and I’ve always imagined it with beautiful trees lining the sidewalks.

Take a look at my gallery of treasures:

Marshall’s Greenway / C. Calhoun 2012

Overlooking the French Broad / C. Calhoun
This is the bridge leading into Marshall.  I took this photo from the Greenway.

Looking Toward the French Broad / C. Calhoun 2012

Walking Along the Greenway / C. Calhoun 2012
I used a “paint” filter for this one, so it looks like a painting.

French Broad / C. Calhoun 2012
I took this photo from the bridge



And now, I dedicate this post to…

Terrye Toombs!

I first met Terrye through HubPages.  

When I first met her, I saw one of her funny posts.  I just laughed and laughed.  Then, as I started to get to know Terrye, I knew she was special.

She always shows how to approach life with a healthy dose of humor.  It shines through in everything she does.  She is a phenomenal mom and has done so many things.
From her HubPages profile, she says:

My favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, but occasionally, I can be found reading paranormal (vampire and werewolf) and gardening – I know, a heck of a combination, huh? I wonder if there’s a werewolf beet…hm…

 My bucketlist includes: visit the last 14 US states I haven’t been to yet, visit Europe, finish my 4 novels that are in different stages of “almost done,” get my 5 year old non-communicative autistic son to talk, teach my husband to pick up his dirty socks, learn to knit, win the lottery, buy a horse ranch, and sail from California to Alaska.”

She’s one of the most fun people I get to interact with on a daily basis.  

Check out this picture she posted:

TToombs08 via HubPages

A little while ago, she wrote a blog post dedicated to me.  I was so humbled, honored and thrilled that someone would think of little ‘ol me.  

But you know what she did?  She doesn’t know it, yet, but she really helped me to fully launch this site.  Her post really helped me to organize my thoughts and really find my direction.

So, thank you, Terrye.  You are AWESOMESAUCE!

You have to check out Terrye’s Blog:
TToombs08 – A Misplaced Alaskan

Here are some of my favorite hubs she’s written:
How to Make Money Illegally
Worst Ways to Deal With Stress
The Best Ways to Annoy Your Wife or Husband Without Breaking a Sweat

And now, I dedicate my “rose” to you:

Versatile Blogger!

Yahoo!  I got my first “blogger” award.  Haha.  Thanks, Julie!  You’re the best!  What a way to start my Friday.  Her blog is awesome if you haven’t seen it!  

Not only that, I was taking pictures as a “thank you” to one of my favorite websites:  HubPages. I completed their apprenticeship and have a t-shirt to show for it.  I’m showing it off:

In any case, back to the Versatile Blogger Award.  I’m glad I got it, but what in the world does it mean?  

I get to tag other awesome bloggers!  See, you can only keep the award for a short time before giving it to other bloggers.  I really want to recognize some bloggers who are up and coming and deserve some recognition.  There are a lot of bloggers out there who are wanting and needing more traffic and/or don’t have an award that I can see.  

Without further ado, here are my Versatile Blogger Nominations:

Randomcreativeart – Rose is a fabulous crafter and writer.  You must check out this blog!

Life in 120 Square Feet – Laura is a friend and neighbor and chronicles about her life in a Tiny Tumbleweed house.

Marisa Hammond Olivares – She is a great educator and autism advocate.  You’ll love all her cool links and pictures!

The Art of Living Simple – Bill is like my Big Bro.  He leads a “simple” life and tells about how he arrived at simplicity – he’s incredibly inspirational.  

The Fisch Tank – A mom of four with special circumstances.  She has overcome adversity and writes with wondrous ease!  I love all the pictures of her kiddos.

Ramblings of an Undiagnosed Madwoman – I met Stacy through HubPages and have since gotten to know her awesome personality!  She kicks butt – she used to be a photojournalist in the military!  She always makes me laugh, too!

How to Be a Real Housewife – Kelly has been such an awesome friend to get to know.  She is a phenomenal mom, organized and loves to clean!  Hehe, but she always makes me smile.

Okay here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy. So in other words, thank me, 😀
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select up to 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!). If you don’t know 15, don’t worry- just pick one!
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award. Make sure you tell them to read your blog!
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.
  • If you got the award, you can paste it on your sidebar proudly!
Okay, 7 things about myself:
1. I’m a total introvert, but I also love to socialize…when I’m in the mood.  🙂
2. I really, really want to hike the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain. It’s only 786 km. 
3. I hate doctors.  I will use home remedies for my pets and for me unless I fear for my life.
4. I’m blind in one eye and have always been terribly self-conscious about it.
5. I would love just five minutes with either J.K. Rowling, Maya Angelou or Hillary Clinton.
6. Alanis Morrisette is still my favorite singer.
7. I like to sing, dance, and say inspirational things to myself when no one’s watching.

Happy Friday everyone!  Congrats on the Versatile Blogger Award!

Wood Stoves and Fires

That’s me chopping wood / C. Calhoun 2012

When I moved to this house five years ago, I didn’t know a thing about making fires.

Wait, I knew two things: how to build a campfire and that fires in general needed newspapers to help get them started.


We were using a furnace in our house, but it just wasn’t keeping the house very warm. 

It could be the fact that we’re at the bottom of three mountains and it’s cold all the time.  Even in the summer, the house is still 10 degrees cooler inside than it is outside, and that’s even when it’s 90 degrees outside!

When fall rolls around, I’m already wearing fleece socks, vests, long sleeve shirts and drinking numerous cups of tea – so that my hands don’t freeze and clamp up into blocks of tissue-ice while I’m typing at the computer.  It helps to spend not an unsignificant amount of time chopping wood.  

A couple winters ago, we decided to use the old wood stove that my husband acquired somewhere, sometime, a long time ago.  

I can’t believe I haven’t had one of those in every place I’ve ever lived.  They’re totally versatile.  I cook on it, warm up with it, dry my clothes so I don’t have to use the dryer (I hang them nearby), I simmer spices on it, and it helps reduce the humidity level in our house – dramatically.  Those are just a few of the things I’ve discovered that I can do with a wood stove.  

Pine Cone Fire Starters / C. Calhoun 2012

Well, I came across a craft idea in a book somewhere: making fire starters.  It used paraffin as the wax base and some other ingredients that weren’t eco-friendly.

If you know me at all, I wasn’t about to use paraffin – a petroleum-based product.  I was all-over using beeswax.  

Why?  Well, I’ve wanted to get beehives for a long time.  I have no idea what I’m doing with that, but when I get them, I’ll learn.  That will be worth writing about, I’m sure.  Have you read the Secret Life of Bees?

In any case, the beeswax, I knew, would also be more friendly to breathe and I didn’t have to worry about what harmful chemicals I might be handling.  It’s completely natural stuff.

I wasn’t entirely sure if it would work, though.  I know they make beeswax candles, but I had no idea if they actually added anything to them to help them burn better.

I actually don’t think they do.


Well, just before I finished my article on making pine cone fire starters, I went to the wood stove and got one of the waxed pine cones.  I lit it on fire…but no luck!  

I realized the lighter I was using wasn’t melting the max enough before it got too hot to hold.

I came up with an idea.  I grabbed a sheet of newspaper and wadded it up.  Then, I put that into the wood stove, and then put the pine cone on top.  I lit the newspaper.

Just look at that blue flame! C. Calhoun 2012

End of story.

Whoa.  Can I even begin to tell you how that pine cone lit up?  And it burned so hot!  It was a beautiful, blue flame.  The cinnamon scent from it wafted into the air, and I had a slow-burning fire.

Hallelujah!  Let there be light…and heat!

An added benefit?  You won’t believe this!  (Okay, so I’m easily amused, I know.) I went outside to the garden for a few moments after I got the fire started.  The entire vicinity of our house smelled like pine and cinnamon.  

Oh, Winter, you and I are going to be friends!


A Few Fall Pics

We are wanting to go do a trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway to capture some of the spectacular color that will be happening.

I have no idea if we’ll have the time, but I’m still enjoying the fall color…from my woodsy front yard.

I took these pictures this afternoon.  They’re mostly close-ups of the changing leaves.

One of these will definitely become my “picture of the day” that I’ll share on Flickr.  Autumn is my favorite season.  Though it could be spring.  Maybe summer.  Probably not winter, but maybe, though!

Some Days Are Like That – Pics and More

Black Walnuts In My Yard / C. Calhoun 2012
Some are ripe and some are not.

As far as writing goes, it’s actually been an eventful day.  

I started out by adding Zazzle products to my store.  Boring, right?  Well, not so fast.  It’s an up and coming thing for me, because I am excited about where it’s going to take my level of photography.

But, while I was doing that, a friend contacted me on Facebook.  She said she’s writing a novel. Mind you, I haven’t seen this friend in over ten years and when we’ve contacted each other, it’s been sporadically through photos on Facebook or something like that.

She told me that I inspired the main character in her novel.



That’s awesome!  I was so flattered.  But, I must say, I secretly hope that she makes it big and gives me like 0.5% of the gross income.  Ha!

Really, though I was totally flattered by that, I just can’t believe that I would inspire someone in that way.

You know, if I could figure out a brand and market “inspiration,” I would.  Seriously.  In the past week, I’ve had more people come up to me and tell me that I’m inspiring to them.

I even posted about it – that I’m NOT inspiring.  

It’s just that I don’t feel like I deserve such an honor, you know?  So many people have lifted me up and so many people have inspired me, I just don’t know how I can possibly inspire others.  I’m too busy being inspired by other people.  Haha.

In any case, I told her I wanted the first copy.

I’m starting a novel, too.  I don’t want to give any details, but a friend of mine, Julie is also talking about one.  It seems “novel” is on the mind.

I’ve written a memoir, see.  It’s not published and I don’t know if I will publish it.  But the fact that it’s 250 computer pages in length tells me that I know I can do it.  The trick is balancing that between everything else.

Posing With My Walnuts / C. Calhoun 2012
This is how I got very stained fingers.

Speaking of everything else…

I finally finished my article on black walnuts today.  That was the third piece in “what do walnuts, tables and tomatillos” have in common?  I wrote that post last week. 

Ah, walnuts.

The hub I finished is actually really fun.  It’s going to lend itself into something like 3 or 4 more hubs.  I just finished hulling the walnuts, so when the hulls have cured a bit, I’ll make “black walnut ink” and write about it.  That’s hub idea #2.

At this very moment, I look like I have double-brown thumbs because of my hulling escapades.  While I was doing that, I thought about how I might make tattoo ink, like henna.  I’m just thinking that since it can take weeks or even months for the walnut ink to come off, why not experiment with that a little bit.  I may end up looking like Brown Bear, but it’ll all be in good fun!  That’s hub idea #3.

Dyeing Hulls / C. Calhoun 2012
These are the hulls I’m going to use to make dye.

Then, I want to create a whole series of paintings, using my signature geometric style and create at least one more hub from that.  Maybe more.  I’m thinking I need to get going with making the frames, putting canvas on the frames, gessoing the canvas, and then figuring out designs.  I could have like, ten more hubs from this.  Haha!

In any case, it’s all in a day’s work.  It’s amazing what all goes on and every day it gets better!

Mountain Biking and It’s All In a Day

My Trusty Mountain Bike / C. Calhoun 2012

When you work at a computer, it’s incredibly important to remember to still get out and about and exercise.

I love hiking, walking, skiing, and…mountain biking.

Today, I went with my hubby to Bent Creek, where we did one of our favorite trails: Sidehill.

It’s not so much that the ride itself was the big news (though a ride is always fun), but given the fact that we’ve both been mountain bikers since we were very young, I hadn’t been able to ride with him most of the summer.

After the Rain / C. Calhoun 2012
Sometimes I get muddy on the trail.  It’s all right, though.  We will go to a stream to rinse off.

We spent most of June in Colorado.  In July, the poor guy had to get a tooth pulled.  He recovered from that, and then severely bruised and pulled a muscle, putting him out of commission for a few more weeks. 

Then, he has been working feverishly on all his cars and sub-contracting.  I’d been going with a good friend of mine.

But today?  I got to show off.  Okay, my hubby is one of the most in-shape people I have ever met.  No, he doesn’t run marathons, but during the course of a day, he’ll chop wood, go on a hike, work on the house, mow the lawn, do remodeling or some sort of rock work, do some farming, plus doing the work on the cars he’s always fixing up to sell – he’s always moving.  

He’s also been biking about ten years longer than I have and can hop obstacles and round corners WAY better than I can.  

So, when I was tearing up and then tearing down the trail, and he was behind me most of the time, I admit, that felt good.  I know it probably didn’t do a lot for his own ego, but it was a great feeling keeping up with him and even staying ahead, despite the rocks on the trail.  

I only ran into a tree once (it wasn’t bad, I promise) and I nearly flipped off the cliff just once, but it’s all in good fun.

Now…it’s back to riding and putting products on Zazzle.  Ah, a day in the life.