Beautiful Soco Falls, near Cherokee, North Carolina (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Soco Falls, Cherokee Nation, North Carolina, August 2015

Soco Falls, Cherokee Nation, North Carolina, August 2015

Just off of Highway 19 on the Cherokee Nation, near Cherokee, North Carolina is the beautiful Soco Falls.  Soco Falls is a double waterfall that is worth the short trail walk of five minutes or less to view.

Beautiful Soco Falls on the Cherokee Nation, North Carolina, August 2015

Beautiful Soco Falls on the Cherokee Nation, North Carolina, August 2015

The larger waterfall may be viewed from a deck platform that is well-maintained.  The lower waterfall involves a steeper and more slippery trail walk that is easy for a rugged hiker, though I do not recommend it for novices.

When visiting the Cherokee Nation and/or Cherokee, North Carolina, Soco Falls is a definite attraction to view for its refreshing and re-energizing view of nature’s beauty.

Happy Mother’s Day! (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Orange Rose, Snellville, Georgia, May 9, 2015

Orange Rose, Snellville, Georgia, May 9, 2015

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, moms-to-be, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and anyone who serves in this blessed maternal role!  Please enjoy this photo of a beautiful orange rose that I snapped yesterday in my neighborhood! 🙂

Flowers and Plants Around my Neighborhood (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Flowering Cherry Trees in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Flowering Cherry Trees in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

We have had two or three days of rainy weather within the past week that have really brought out the Spring flowers and plants near Atlanta, Georgia. Floral buds are blossoming with fragrant and beautiful flowers.

Red Camelia in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Red Camelia in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Leaf buds are bursting with fresh, new leaves.  The daffodils are already just about done for this year, however the azaleas are just beginning to bloom.  I saw the first azalea flowers in bloom in my neighborhood today – they are on two red flowering bushes.

First Azalea to Flower in my Neighborhood this Year (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

First Azalea to Flower in my Neighborhood this Year (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Please enjoy this collage of photos of some of the my neighborhood flowers, plants, bushes, and trees springing forth the new life that comes with Spring. 🙂

Flowering Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Flowering Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Flowering Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Flowering Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Flowering Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Flowering Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Flowering Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Flowering Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

The View from Underneath a Flowering Cherry Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

The View from Underneath a Flowering Cherry Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

A Flowering Fruit Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

A Flowering Fruit Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

A Flowering Shrub in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

A Flowering Shrub in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Holly and Berries in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Holly and Berries in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Patch of Clover in a Neighbor's Yard (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Patch of Clover in a Neighbor’s Yard (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Daffodils in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Daffodils in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Pink Camelias in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Pink Camelias in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Tree Seeds on a Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Tree Seeds on a Tree in my Neighborhood (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

Even the dandelions are out in full force already!

The Yard with the Most Dandelions in my Neighborhood! (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

The Yard with the Most Dandelions in my Neighborhood! (Michele Babcock-Nice, March 23, 2015)

I hope you enjoyed this stroll through my neighborhood, seeing many of the flowers and plants that have sprung forth with new life again this Spring.  I can hardly wait until the azaleas are in full bloom!

Frosty Oak Leaf (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Frosty Oak Leaf, Lake Lanier, Gainesville, Georgia, December 14, 2014

Frosty Oak Leaf, Lake Lanier, Gainesville, Georgia, December 14, 2014

My son and I enjoyed viewing this frosty oak leaf on the shore of Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia while camping last weekend.  The tiny icicles that formed on the bottoms of the stones were pretty neat, too!  Overnighting in freezing temperatures and taking in the sun’s warm afternoon rays, it was nice to enjoy the wintry outdoors.  I hope you enjoy the photo, too!

Camping in the Great Smokies (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

A Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

A Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

Summer is a great time of the year for camping, and this summer is no different.  Last week, my son went camping with a group in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  He hiked, cooked, and photographed the outdoors.  There were many beautiful trees, creeks, rocks, plants, and other wildlife to photograph.

Creek Scene in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

Creek Scene in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

At one point during my son’s camping trip, a mother black bear and three of her cubs walked along the outskirts of the camp.  It was quite an experience for the campers and the bears.  One of the cubs got scared and climbed up a tree.  Thankfully, the bears remained at a safe distance from everyone, and vice versa.

Rocks and Boulders in a Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

Rocks and Boulders in a Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

My son had a great opportunity for camping in the Great Smokies, and he returned home feeling even more inspired than he already was to conserve nature and protect wildlife.  I’m glad that he had a good experience and was with other campers who were responsible and who looked out for each other.

Thankfully, my son was no longer in the area when lightning storms and tornadoes swept through on the next day, however most of his group remained.  Luckily, everyone was okay.

Note: The photos in this post were taken by my son.

Dogwoods and Azaleas in Full Bloom (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Pink Dogwood, Snellville, Georgia, April 17, 2014

Pink Dogwood, Snellville, Georgia, April 17, 2014

A couple of days ago, following a heavy, soaking rain in central Georgia near Atlanta, many trees and flowers are now in full bloom, particularly dogwood trees and azalea bushes.  They are really beautiful, and I wanted to share some photos of them here.  Happy Spring!

White Dogwood, Snellville, Georgia, April 17, 2014

White Dogwood, Snellville, Georgia, April 17, 2014

Purple Flowers, Snellville, Georgia, April 17, 2014

Purple Flowers, Snellville, Georgia, April 10, 2014

Pink Azaleas, Snellville, Georgia, April 17, 2014

Pink Azaleas, Snellville, Georgia, April 17, 2014

White Dogwood, Snellville, Georgia, April 17, 2014

White Dogwood, Snellville, Georgia, April 17, 2014

Pink Dogwood, Snellville, Georgia, April 17, 2014

Pink Dogwood, Snellville, Georgia, April 17, 2014

These are some of my photos of a few of the flowering bushes and trees in my area.  I hope you have enjoyed viewing them!

“The Beauty of a Spider’s Web” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Dewey Spider Web, July 2013, Snellville, Georgia

Dewey Spider Web, July 2013, Snellville, Georgia

About one and a half weeks ago, I went outside early in the morning to take the trash to the curb for the week’s trash pick-up.  The first thing I noticed upon going outside was a lovely spider’s web in the grass near the driveway.  I was so moved at seeing this beautiful work of nature that I went back inside to get my camera and snap a few photos.  I am glad that I did. 

Spiders’ webs – especially those that are in great condition and still wonderfully intact – have been something that I have rarely observed this summer.  I believe that all of the wonderful, but heavily wet weather we have had during this unusually rainy summer has potentially decreased the number of spiders’ webs that have remained actually functional. 

Dewey Spider Web Close-up, July 2013, Snellville, Georgia

Dewey Spider Web Close-up, July 2013, Snellville, Georgia

So, while there may be few people who take notice of the beauty that can be found in a spider’s web, I would like to take this time to take notice of one of nature’s beautiful creations.  Don’t take the little things for granted.  Someday, they might not be there to notice and enjoy.

“A Wet Summer in the Blue Ridge Mountains” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

View of Blue Ridge Mountains near Thunder Struck Ridge, North Carolina, July 2, 2013

View of Blue Ridge Mountains near Thunder Struck Ridge, North Carolina, July 2, 2013

Last week – the first week of July, 2013 – my son and I spent a couple of days in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.  The full day that we spent in the mountains was perfect; we hit the weather just right!  Our sunny, dry day of activities was sandwiched between two rainy, wet days – the days that we spent driving. 

Aerial View of Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, July 2, 2013

Aerial View of Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, July 2, 2013

We were blessed and lucky to have a nice vacation day that was so beautiful.  There has been so much rain in the South so far this summer that I was worried that our one summer vacation day spent away from home would be a wash, but it wasn’t.  Thank goodness; it was perfect for us!

View of Blue Ridge Mountains after the Rain, North Carolina, July 2, 2013

View of Blue Ridge Mountains after the Rain, North Carolina, July 2, 2013

It is always refreshing to get away to the mountains – they are so beautiful and majestic.  To be back with nature in it’s fully beauty and greenery is food for the soul.  With all of the rain we have had so far this spring and summer, there is an abundance of greenery all throughout the mountains.  Usually, we are concerned about the lack of rain that contributes to drought, but not this year. 

Mosses and Lichens Growing on Trees in the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, July 2, 2013

Mosses and Lichens Growing on Trees in the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, July 2, 2013

There has been so much rain that the mosses and lichens growing on the trees tend to look more like Spanish moss.  The moss is growing to longer lengths than usual because of the highly wet conditions.  Also, there are many more mushrooms and toadstools to be found throughout the forest, as well.

Wild Mushrooms in the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, July 2, 2013

Wild Mushrooms in the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, July 2, 2013

With all of the rain, the rivers, creeks, and streams have been swelling with water.  The banks of all of the rivers and creeks that we saw were overpassed, and the water was at a much higher level than usual. 

Soco Falls, North Carolina, July 2, 2013

Soco Falls, North Carolina, July 2, 2013

This, however, led to the increased beauty of the falling water at Soco Falls, a beautiful falls near Maggie Valley and Cherokee, North Carolina in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  This summer, there was a greater volume of water spewing over the falls – the most that I have seen in my past many years of visiting this lovely natural wonder.  It is always refreshing to hear the sound of the waterfalls at Soco Falls.

It is always a wonderful treat to visit and stay in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.  Typically, especially for Southerners, going to the mountains in summer is a cool, refreshing retreat from the usual activities of daily life and those hot, humid days.  This year, visitors will be even more refreshed by the beautiful greenery; cooler temperatures; abundant water from all of the rains; great opportunities for hiking, fishing, sight-seeing, swimming, horseback riding, and other activities; as well as simply enjoying the peaceful beauty of nature.

“Beautiful Spring Flowers Blooming in Georgia” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Beautiful flowers are in bloom all over Georgia right now.  Today, I took photographs of many beautiful azaleas, wisteria, dogwood blossoms, lilacs, camellias, and other flowers.  I am more knowledgeable of certain flowers over others, so I ask for your patience if I have misidentified any of them.  Please enjoy the following photo collage of many of the beautiful flowers that are presently in bloom in my neighborhood near Atlanta!

Beautiful Pink Azalea Bush, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Beautiful Pink Azalea Bush, Georgia,
April 17, 2013

White Azalea Bush and Pink Azalea Bush, Georgia, April 17, 2013

White Azalea Bush and Pink Azalea Bush, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Medium Pink Azalea Bush, Georgia, April 2013

Medium Pink Azalea Bush, Georgia, April 2013

Red Azalea Bush, Georgia, April 2013

Red Azalea Bush, Georgia, April 2013

Another Red Azalea Bush, Georgia, April 2013

Another Red Azalea Bush, Georgia, April 2013

Small Purple Flowers, Georgia, April 2013

Small Purple Flowers, Georgia, April 2013

Hot Pink Azalea Bush, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Hot Pink Azalea Bush, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Dogwood Blossoms, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Pink Dogwood Blossoms, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Beautiful Purple Flowers (Wisteria?), Georgia, April 17, 2013

Beautiful Purple Wisteria, Georgia,
April 17, 2013

Lilac Flowers, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Lilac Flowers, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Camellias, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Camellias, Georgia, April 17, 2013

White Dogwood Flowers, Georgia, April 17, 2013

White Dogwood Flowers, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Pink Tulip, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Pink Tulip, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Pansies, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Pansies, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Yellow Iris, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Yellow Iris, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Purple Iris, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Purple Iris, Georgia, April 17, 2013

Beautiful Purple Azalea Bush in my Area, Georgia, April 21, 2013

Beautiful Purple Azalea Bush in my Area, Georgia, April 21, 2013

Purple Petunias, Georgia, April 24, 2013

Purple Petunias, Georgia, April 24, 2013

Maroon Iris, Georgia, April 24, 2013

Maroon Iris, Georgia, April 24, 2013

White Irises, Georgia, April 24, 2013

White Irises, Georgia, April 24, 2013

More Purple Irises, Georgia, April 24, 2013

More Purple Irises, Georgia, April 24, 2013

Another Medium Pink Azalea Bush, Georgia, April 24, 2013

Another Medium Pink Azalea Bush, Georgia, April 24, 2013

There certainly are many beautiful flowers in bloom right now in my area.  Many of the trees and flowers blossomed later this year because the cooler weather stayed with us longer than usual.  We had daffodils in January because it was mild, but then, the weather turned cooler again.  So, we have the flowers to enjoy a bit later in the season this year.

“Daffodils in January” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Daffodils in January, Atlanta, Georgia area, January 28, 2013

Daffodils in January, Atlanta, Georgia Area, January 28, 2013

In the winter that has been filled with gray days and leafless trees, a burst of yellow can be seen in many areas around Atlanta, already!  Last week, the daffodils began blooming in my area.  Alas, the warm weather intermingled with the freezing cold days have provided enough mild temperatures for these Spring flowers to bloom early again this year.  Last year, it was much the same, and I believe that the daffodils bloomed even earlier, perhaps by one or two weeks.

So, while it is refreshing to observe and enjoy the blooming daffodils, one cannot help but think that we will again have an early Spring, and much of it due, I believe, to increasing global warming.  We need more rain.  We need more precipitation.  Indeed, my son and I have even prayed for just a little bit of snow.  Already, two years have passed since the week that schools were closed and many businesses were shut down due to the snow and ice storm that was experienced here.  Not having snow here on a regular basis during winter is actually a let down for my son, and while I also miss it – being from the Northeast – I don’t miss the frigid sub-zero temperatures that sometimes accompany it.

Daffodils in January, Atlanta, Georgia Area, January 28, 2013

Daffodils in January, Atlanta, Georgia Area, January 28, 2013

Here in my home, we will keep praying for more winter, for more rain and precipitation, and perhaps, even for a little snow.  We need the rain to replenish our water tables and ground water levels.  We need the rain now so that the hot, dry, drought-like conditions of summer do not dry up our precious water.  Let’s hope and pray for more winter, more rain, and that the daffodils will return to dormancy until a true Spring arrives.