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Welcome to our personal journal.

Our goal is to share with you our unique perspective on a variety of subjects as well as stories of our personal experiences and memories of life here in the Smokies. We hope to give you a glimpse into our world, what drives us, and also a little bit of knowledge about the areas and subjects we encounter along the way. 

Feel free to contact us or share your comments below.


Happy New Year 2021! 🥳

December 31, 2020

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Whatever path you choose in the year ahead,

may peace, good health,

smiles and laughter fill your days.

Be well, be safe and always, ALWAYS be kind.

With our best wishes,

Matt and Delia


Happy Holidays!

December 23, 2020

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There is something enchanting about a snow globe. Some of us grew up with a sense of wonder gazing at one on a grandparents mantle, or a plastic one from the dime store that we shook and imagined a world covered in snow. We created this snow globe just for you, hoping to inspire that feeling of Christmas magic we all wish for.

Feel free to shake it up, close your eyes, make a wish, and imagine a world where peace and kindness matter.

The Merriest of Christmases to you and yours.

Matt & Delia 🎄


October 31, 2020

With all the history and folklore in the Smokies, we thought we'd let our imaginations have a bit of fun with what might just happen under a full moon after the gates of Cades Cove are closed for the night.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween, everyone!

👻🎃👺

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August 1, 2020

We haven’t shared anything for a while, as we've been extremely busy, but we wanted to touch base with all of you. We had some sad news Saturday and didn’t know whether to share it, because we want our page to always be one of positivity. Unfortunately, life has its challenges and unforeseen things happen that can’t be explained.
We had a terrible thunderstorm late Friday where the winds were so fierce that our trees were blowing sideways. We lost power sometime around 6:00 p.m. and it wasn’t restored until after 1 a.m. The following morning, we let our dog out to potty and began to gather branches and debris that had fallen everywhere on our property. During that time, we found a young bear in our driveway who appeared to be sleeping. We tried to revive him, but then we saw that he had been gravely injured. Our only guess is that the storm frightened him, he ran up a tree as bears often do when they sense fear, and fell, on a jagged tree stump below fatally injuring him. Somehow, he managed to find his way here. We contacted several people whom we felt would give him the proper respect he deserved. After trying to reach TWRA, we reached out to Dana Dodd with the Appalachian Bear Rescue, who in turn reached out to Bill Stiver, the Supervisory Wildlife Biologist in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We called Bill personally and he informed us that he’d heard from Dana, and was trying to reach Biologist Ryan Williamson, who manages bears for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ryan was in Look Rock at the time, teaching kids to climb. He called us shortly thereafter and told us that it would likely be around midnight before he could come and retrieve him. We sprayed the bear with insect repellent and covered him with a tarp. For the entirety of the day one of us always stood vigil because we do have other bears and coyotes pass through our property. As night fell, Ryan had suggested that if a light were on him, usually something will not approach. Not taking any chances, we attached a motion light to a tree beside him, but it kept going off, so we pulled our Jeep in front of him, turned on the lights and waited inside the vehicle.
Earlier than expected, shortly after 11 p.m. Ryan arrived fully prepared and we helped him lift the bear onto the platform of his truck. There are no words to fully express the myriad of feelings we experienced that day. Knowing that there are wonderful people out there who we are fortunate enough to call friends, they share our love and reverence for these magnificent animals. Thank you, Dana, Bill, and Ryan.
Your warmth and kindness are something that we will never forget.

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R.I.P. sweet bear. 🐻 Please, stay safe everyone.


This was an extremely difficult story for us to share. What happened to this young bear is unknown, but we do know that he showed up here for a reason. Our reason for sharing had absolutely nothing to do with us or our efforts, as we are merely stewards of the natural world. We wanted to acknowledge those who stepped up, gave us hope and support, because they care as much as we do. As much as YOU do. Your comments and words of encouragement validate that. We appreciate most of all, the realization that kindness and compassion remain in this world. We are humbled by your words and cannot thank you enough.


In Remembrance - A Salute on Memorial Day


Easter 2020

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Winter Images of the Smokies Holiday Video

December 22, 2019

Music by: Instrumental Music for Quiet Moods

"Greensleeves"

("What Child is This")


The Stranger

Forney Ridge Trail

June 26, 2019

Each and every time we head out on a trail we return home with something - be it a photo that we think is good enough to share with all of you, a story, or just mere laughter and memories. About this same time last year when we hiked to Andrews Bald we happened upon a couple of hikers early on who informed us that the reason that we were going out there, to see the rhododendron and flame azalea in bloom, were not as remarkable as we’d hoped. We continued all the same and were treated with a rainstorm followed by a magnificent rainbow, then on our way back the most marvelous sun-rays we’d ever seen as written in our journal Seize the Moment. Prior to that in 2017 after our hike, rewarded with this sunset at Morton Overlook. This year we discovered the same news from hikers shortly after we started our journey. After the experiences from prior years we knew not to let anything dissuade us. Less than a mile in we encountered another hiker headed uphill towards us. We stepped off the trail to allow her to pass, as it is more difficult to restart on an uphill than going down. As she passed by, trekking poles in stride, her kind, weathered face lit by a friendly smile and a soft, “thank you”, we were captivated to notice that not only was she alone, but elderly and carrying a full pack.

Perseverance

The best we could figure she was hiking up from campsite 68, nearly three miles away. 

Stupefied as we looked back at her perseverance and astounding ability to climb the difficult wet boulders and terrain that, from wanting to ask for a photo, a hug or a handshake we were literally speechless to do anything. We could only imagine the stories she could tell, although we felt it best to respect her space. Over the past several months we have had numerous challenges to deal with but at that very moment any excuses or complaints were immediately put into perspective. As we exchanged pleasantries, we are certain that she had no idea how she changed our day but also influenced our outlook altogether. From day one we’ve always told each other, “we’re just getting started” but as we look forward, a brief moment with a stranger confirmed our mantra and renewed our hopes that there will be many years of adventures to come.

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#Respect

Cades Cove

April 29, 2019

“I was out with my four children and wanted to get us safely across the road. All of a sudden a lot of cars were in the way and humans were rushing toward us and soon we were surrounded. I didn’t know what to do! Thankfully a white truck pulled up and before I knew it, the humans were back in their cars and the traffic stopped long enough for us to cross. It’s hard being a bear, especially a mama, but if only there was a way that I could tell these humans that I don’t mind visitors, but please don’t get too close. I just want to stay where I live and raise my family. If only there was a way.”


Image was taken from our vehicle as we passed through a very slow “bear jam”.

We appreciate ongoing support of these animals and simply want to make clear what we believe is important. Firstly, we do not want to discourage people getting out of their vehicles in Cades Cove or anywhere in the park. It’s there to enjoy, explore, and create memories. What most of us object to is those who stop on the roadways when they see wildlife, sometimes leaving their doors wide open and vehicles running, (often unattended) to get entirely too close to an animal simply to capture a photo. Not only is it rude to those behind them, but oftentimes those in that long line are unable to see what the commotion is all about. Stopping in the roadway is simply unacceptable UNLESS there is an animal by the road showing signs it may want to cross. When people do pull over to observe and the animal is close to the roadway, they should stay in or near their vehicle and RESPECT the personal space of that animal. While the law requires one to stay back 50 yards, it’s written for the safety of the visitor AND the animal. There are times when the animal is close to the roadway so that isn’t always possible. There is a right way to do this, and it all boils down to respect - not only for the animal, but for those behind them who often miss THEIR opportunity to see wildlife, which is why many choose to visit Cades Cove where wildlife is more easily viewed. When an animal changes its behavior or direction because it feels threatened, frightened or uncomfortable by our presence, that is the time to leave. We’re infringing on their territory, and it’s no different than when we feel someone is closing in on our personal space. So please, think before you act. We are merely sharing the knowledge and experience we’ve obtained through the years. We care deeply about their safety and our actions can and do affect that.

They should not be hazed or relocated if it’s something WE as humans can prevent.

Thank you for understanding.


A Fowl Tale

January 29, 2019

Those of you who know us have come to know our hearts over the years.

We'd like to share a story with you that we promise has a happy ending.


Every week we drive by a pond at a local Community College and it's always filled with a variety of ducks, geese and other assorted waterfowl. The last few months we've noticed four swans as well. Each time, Delia has remarked about how much she would someday like to stop and photograph them. Last week as the Polar Vortex gripped our area and with the National Park closed, we decided to venture out and do just that. From a distance so as not to disturb them, we took our first images of swans "in the wild" and upon zooming in Delia noticed that there was snow and ice beginning to accumulate on their heads and drips of frozen ice on their bills.  

Taken with a zoom lens from a distance and cropped.

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With a heart bigger than the great outdoors, Delia went into panic mode and, at her insistence, we drove to the local Tractor Supply Company in search of sustenance for the frozen feathered creatures. With two bags of duck and goose food and a new scoop we headed back to the pond. Braving the wind chill temperatures in the low teens, we scattered feed along the water’s edge and the geese responded immediately, gobbling up the food nearly as fast as we dispensed it. Unfortunately we couldn’t say the same for the swans. Like the curious Pekin ducks, they just bobbed in the water close by, looking on as the geese enjoyed their feast. Our eyes, watering from the fierce winds and unable to feel our hands, we decided to leave with hopes that the geese would get their fill and the swans and three Pekin ducks would eventually make their way to the leftovers like the shy kid at a buffet. 

The three Pekin Ducks

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The geese heading to the bank when we arrived with the food.

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Later that evening we uploaded our images and both of us lamented about those poor swans. Looking more carefully we remarked at the icicles dripping from their bills, then with horror noticed some sort of line at the base of one of their necks. Could it be fishing line and would this poor creature be able to survive? Then the shock intensified in an entirely different direction… hilarity. It was a seam, the swans were fake, decoys, molded of resin plastic and likely strategically placed to keep the geese away. Delia laughed so hard she cried, not only because we were fooled, but because she was incredibly relieved. We share this story simply because we thought you all might enjoy a laugh, even at our expense. Don’t go looking for our new series of images showcasing pink lawn flamingos or other various yard art. We were fooled once... shame on us if it happens again.

Zoomed in, cropped, and when we finally realized they were imposters.

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~Matt & Delia

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  • Saralyn Nargis

    on February 4, 2019

    THIS made my day!!! Guess Im not the only one!! There are 2 ponds in the development we once lived. As we drove by the 1 pond, day after day, I noticed a lonely white swan, always alone, none of the other ducks or swans paid much attention to him, and we NEVER saw him on land, or at the trough that one of our neighbors built and kept filled with food for them. At one point I got upset, and was determined my husband STOP..trek across the berm built around the pond, to feed "that poor baby"!! He got near the swan, immediately turned around and started back to the car...at which time im yelling from the warmth of the front seat.."what the heck are you doing, that poor thing is gonna STARVE if all the ducks eat what youve left"!! He reached the car, looked at me and said......DUH!!! that "poor thing" is a hunk of plastic....."! Sooooooooo, looks llike im paddling the same boat as you Delia!!! LMAO!!


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