Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cataloochee Valley

After visiting the Mountain Farm museum, we headed of to the Cataloochee Valley in North Carolina. It is a beautiful valley located about an 1.5 hours from the Smoky Mountain visitor center.


It isn't an easy drive to get there but it is so worth it. The valley is nestled between some very rugged mountains. Some of the peaks reach 6,000 feet! This valley was one of the most prosperous settlements that existed in the Smoky Mountains during the early 1900's. The families made a living by farming, apple growing and some families cashed in with the growing number of tourist. They would stock the streams and board fishermen that came to fish in the gorgeous streams of the mountains. At one time about 1200 people lived in this tranquil valley.


In the valley, there is a collection of historic homes. There are farm houses, barns, churches, and even an old one room schoolhouse.


An old farm house. The detail in this house was amazing. 


A barn across the creek.




The creek that runs in front of the house. I can picture children frolicking in this sweet spot on hot days in the summer. I know my children enjoyed playing in it.





A visit to the one room schoolhouse. It was a large schoolhouse. It was divided into two rooms. School was very important to the residents of Cataloochee.


Elk!
Elk were reintroduced to the park in 2001. Elk once roamed throughout the park, sadly the last elk was killed off in the late 1800's. For years, the mountains were void of this magnificent creature.
This year we only saw one elk as we were leaving the park. Two years ago when we went, we saw 4 elk. We actually stepped out the back door of an old farm house and came face to face with a big elk. It is illegal to get within 150 feet of the elk willfully. Thankfully, we had a ranger there with us. He told us to stand and watch quietly. He said as long as you do not approach or charge the elk they will not charge you. They are HUGE! I wouldn't want one of them to feel threatened and charge.
They are amazing animals to see in person.



We spent a wonderful afternoon touring the historic buildings, eating our picnic lunch, and spending time as a family. Slowing down during our vacation makes me think that they were luckier than us back then. They were not distracted by TV, video games, cell phones, computers, long commutes to work, endless amounts of running around to sport practices, music lessons, co-ops, etc. 
They were able to work at home together and grow as a family. They were able to focus on what was more important.



A small waterfall we passed on the way home from Cataloochee.

Mountain Farm Museum Field Trip

Our Smoky Mountain vacation and field trips!
The Oconaluftee visitor center is located adjacent to the Mountain Farm museum. It has a wonderful display of everyday life of the people that settled in the smoky mountains. There were pictures of the families, their farms, and wonderful stories of their lives.
It allowed the kids to step back in time.
The kids were able to see toys kids played with. They learned about the chores the would be responsible for and they got to see what books they would have used in the one room schoolhouse. 
Princess P immediately recognized the books. They were the McGuffey Readers.



Princess P churning butter.



A display of everyday work clothes and your Sunday going to church clothes.
Some things just never change. We definitely have outfits that we save for church and nice events. A habit left over from my grandmother.

After exploring the museum, we headed down a shaded trail and entered the Mountain Farm museum. We were ready to go back in time and visit an old homestead. The kids were able to see how some of their relatives might have lived more than 100 years ago. The Mountain Farm museum is a wonderful collection of historic log buildings. The collection was gathered from various location in the Smoky Mountains and assembled together to form the tiny homestead. Some of the buildings included are a house, barn, spring house, apple house, blacksmith shop, smoke house, and a corn crib. There is also a working garden and animals. During the summer , the farm is an actually working farm with live demonstrations. They people milling about in period costumes too. Sadly, we visited when none of this was going on. 



A sweet little bird that follow us along the path. She hopped along the fence right next to us.


Taking a peak into the simple log house of the Davis family.


The Davis House. 
A log house made out of wood from the chestnut tree before the blight of the 1930's.




The barn.


Antique farm equipment. 


The hay loft in the barn.


A pig. The kids offered to feed her the cabbage and lettuce. I think she made them miss their sweet pig at home.


The Oconaluftee Creek.


Lego Man and Princess P playing in the creek.


So peaceful and beautiful. 
Who wouldn't want to live here?

After touring the indoor museum and the outdoor farm, you can head back into the visitors center and take a look around the gift shop.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Smoky Mountain Visitors Center


As you head into the Great Smoky Mountains, you enter a lush greeen world.
Whether you are heading off on a hike, a scenic drive, or just a relaxing picnic, you shouls stop into the main visitor center. 
The staff there can provide you with maps, suggestions, and great places to see wildlife.
There is a gift store that helps support the national park.

They also have a wonderful display of wildlife that can be found in the park. 

Owls....


Foxes....


Mink...


Bobcats....


Indigo Bunting....
Isn't this bird just beautiful? The bright blue color doesn't come through in the picture.


And of course, the famous black bear....


The kids had a wonderful time learning about the variety of animals they could see in the park. It's a great way for kids to learn about the different types of animals that can be found in North America too.

They could get an up close look at the animals and read a little about them. 
What they eat.?
What type of habitat do the live in?
Are they nocturnal?
Do they have enemies?

Hands on learning is the best way to learn!


Friday, September 6, 2013

The Great Smoky Mountains



This is our 6th year heading to the Great Smoky Mountains. 
It is a beautiful place to visit filled with fun and excitement yet has plenty of opportunities to appreciate the beauty God created. We enjoy our time there. It has a little bit of everything for everyone.

We enjoyed Dollywood, Splash Country, the Knoxville Zoo, mini-golf, hiking, and the wonderful mountains.
The Smoky Mountains has amusement parks, aquariums, amusement parks, shopping, water parks, hiking, waterfalls, historical settlements, and plenty of streams to play in. 
While exploring the mountains, you can see plenty of wildlife. Deer, butterflies, elk, salamanders, birds, and off course the famous black bear.


Close by is the Cherokee Indian Reservation.

No one can get bored in this place!

We're Back!

WOW! It's been a month since I posted last.



August has been a crazy, hectic, and fun month. We completed our registration for our CCM co-op. I completed the lesson plans for the science, history, and art classes. I have the binders ready to go to hand over to the teachers. O.K. art is not completely finished, but I'm teaching art so no big deal..right? I have purchased over half off the supplies needed for the classes. All the field trips are planned and scheduled..yeah me! I am 98% positive I will be ready to go when co-op starts next week.

I now have all the lessons done for my kids. I am working on getting the first few weeks organized and ready to go. No searching for materials this year. At least that is my goal.
Chore charts created, printed out, and hung!



CCD outline updated, printed, and ready to go for this Sunday. Can I ask where summer went?
I have a new aid this year. My old aid, a wonderful high school student, moved away with her family. My new aid is in high school, but she has been homeschooled. I am looking forward to working with her this year. I have a big class this year, so far 12 students. I only had 6 last year, so this is a 50% increase. Woo Hoo!


I have organized the school room. This was something I had to do if we wanted to actually start school next week. We couldn't see the table, my desk, or half the floor. Sadly, the school room was the dumping ground for all things co-op related. I love walking in there and seeing it look so neat and tidy!


The last week and a half, we have been on VACATION!!!! A much needed vacation. It had been 2 years since we had gone anywhere. We headed back to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. We love it done there. You can experience a variety of activities. We went to Dollywood, Splash Country, the zoo, and explored the national park. We saw all sorts of fun exciting things. I am going to be posting about our week in the next few days. A lot of great educational ideas.


We're Back!

WOW! It's been a month since I posted last.



August has been a crazy, hectic, and fun month. We completed our registration for our CCM co-op. I completed the lesson plans for the science, history, and art classes. I have the binders ready to go to hand over to the teachers. O.K. art is not completely finished, but I'm teaching art so no big deal..right? I have purchased over half off the supplies needed for the classes. All the field trips are planned and scheduled..yeah me! I am 98% positive I will be ready to go when co-op starts next week.

I now have all the lessons done for my kids. I am working on getting the first few weeks organized and ready to go. No searching for materials this year. At least that is my goal.
Chore charts created, printed out, and hung!



CCD outline updated, printed, and ready to go for this Sunday. Can I ask where summer went?
I have a new aid this year. My old aid, a wonderful high school student, moved away with her family. My new aid is in high school, but she has been homeschooled. I am looking forward to working with her this year. I have a big class this year, so far 12 students. I only had 6 last year, so this is a 50% increase. Woo Hoo!


I have organized the school room. This was something I had to do if we wanted to actually start school next week. We couldn't see the table, my desk, or half the floor. Sadly, the school room was the dumping ground for all things co-op related. I love walking in there and seeing it look so neat and tidy!


The last week and a half, we have been on VACATION!!!! A much needed vacation. It had been 2 years since we had gone anywhere. We headed back to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. We love it done there. You can experience a variety of activities. We went to Dollywood, Splash Country, the zoo, and explored the national park. We saw all sorts of fun exciting things. I am going to be posting about our week in the next few days. A lot of great educational ideas.


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