summer tourism at its best.

jay's little sister erin

came to visit us this past week.  she's 19, just finished her first year of college at UTC, and didn't have much on her agenda this summer.  i needed a super good reason to reorganize and clean our guest room so i asked her to come visit us.  (that's not the only reason i wanted her to come and visit.)  she obliged.  (i'll post pictures of the "new" guest room soon.)

we joined the rest of the tourists on wednesday at the biltmore estate.  erin had never been and i haven't been in almost 2 years, so we spent most of the day there.  it was hot.  very hot.  i can't imagine living in that house, well, that's a statement in itself.  i also can't imagine having to wear the clothing of that time period without air conditioning.  velvet dresses just for sitting and reading or sewing.  no thanks.

the view from the front lawn

the ponds in the italian garden

all the water lilies needed were some frogs

shade!  the wisteria covered walkway to/through the shrub gardens

George Vanderbilt picked the perfect spot on his land (totaling 25,000 acres at one time) with perfect views

the side of the house

we had just passed through the shrub garden and took in the above 2 views before heading down to the walled gardens and conservatory.  the gardens are mostly filled with summer wild flowers at this time.  a few of the roses were still in bloom, well, enough so that when you walked into the rose garden you could smell them without having to actually "stop and smell the roses."  the air was fragrantly pleasing and the roses were still quite lovely.  we then headed down to the conservatory and enjoyed viewing the plants and flowers there.

grapes aren't just in the vineyards

inside the walls of the gardens

pretty black-eyed susans

pretty, fragrant roses

the conservatory

i loved this creative wine barrel fountain.  look around the bottom for the corks.

and this one, too, with the water coming from the bottles in the wine rack.

loved this shot on the way back from the gardens.  if you click on the picture to enlarge it you can see the flag on the roof, too.  

it was hot.  but it was also a beautiful day and i'm so glad i got to spend it with erin.



sweet little bluebird looking for food for it's babies on my roof.  their nest is in the eave of our neighbors' house.  


frozen pupsicles.

yep.  you read right.  not popsicles.  but pupsicles.  why can't our four-legged furry friends enjoy a frozen treat every now and then?  these are dog tested and dog approved.  they are healthy, too.  i found the recipe in my dog treat recipe book.  cotton and barley are happy to share the delectable deliciousness with your fur-babies too.

what you need:

Frozen Pupsicles

32 ounces low-fat or non-fat yogurt
2 mashed bananas
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Blend well.  Fill small paper cups (like 3-ounce bathroom size Dixie cups) with the mixture.  Freeze at least two hours.  To serve, let thaw slightly and pop pupsicle out of the cup and into a bowl by pressing onto the bottom of the cup.  (The recipe says it makes about 10 cups worth... it actually made 16 cups.  The dogs aren't complaining!  They eat theirs outside.  In the yard.  No bowl.)

(Make sure you have room in your freezer!)