Jesse’s Song



bearded iris jesse's song

This is bearded iris Jesse’s Song. It is one of my favorite tall bearded iris and is always the first bearded iris to bloom in my garden. The petals are a beautiful soft violet and neatly ruffled. The stems are strong and are nearly 36 inches tall.

 Enjoy your weekend!

Click image to view more information on my cutting boards.

walnut double handle cutting board





Painted Turtles

April 21, 2014

I walked down to the pond yesterday, as I got closer to the pond I could hear frogs jumping and turtles going into the water. They always hear me before I can even get near the pond. During the first few really warm days of spring, the painted turtles start showing up again all along the pond.


painted turtles around alake

The Painted Turtle is one of the most widespread native turtles in North America. I can remember as a child catching these when we lived in Florida. As you can see, their shell is near black and smooth with red and yellow strips along their neck, legs and tail. I have found a few painted turtles where the entire head was nearly covered in yellow.

Have a Great Week!


Umbrella Leaf Plant


Umbrella Leaf Plant

I took a quick hike down to the pond this evening. After all the rain we had earlier in the week, the creek to the pond was still over flowing and had flooded a large area near the pond. I saw a patch of umbrella leaf plants blooming already. I love their large leaves.

The umbrella leaf plant grows in woodland settings and forms beautiful clumps. It has small dainty white flowers which bloom persistently throughout the summer as long as we have rain. The white blooms will turn to blue color berries.

This is a beautiful plant!

I hope everyone has wonderful weekend and a Happy Easter!




Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie



One of my favorite chain restaurants to eat at is Chili’s. All of their food is good and I can’t leave out the cold beer, we especially love their all you can eat chips and salsa! I have to tell you the bad news first; Chili’s is no longer offering their Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie. I can hardly believe it; everyone I know loves this dessert. My wife loves this dessert so I had to find the copycat recipe. The first time my wife and I ate at a Chili’s was in 1996 in Cookeville, TN. This location was brand new and had just opened. That evening we had a lot of fun and we had the Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie for the first time, wow!! If was delicious!

The Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie is a warm cookie bar filled with nuts, coconut and chocolate, then covered with a large scoop of vanilla bean of ice cream, drizzled with chocolate syrup and caramel sauce, sprinkled with walnuts! It’s heaven on a plate, downright scrumptious and absolutely delicious!


There are many copy cat recipes out there, we like this Copycat Recipe


For the graham cracker crust:
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the cookie layer:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup shredded coconut, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Vanilla ice cream, chopped walnuts, chocolate cause and caramel sauce for serving.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 6 X 6 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.


In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add melted butter, mix using a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Pre the graham cracker mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle chocolate chips on the top. Bake for 5 minutes or until the chocolate is melting. Remove from oven and spread the chocolate over the graham cracker crust evenly.


In a medium sized bowl, whish together the flour, sugar, baking powder. Measure the milk, oil and vanilla and add to the dry ingredients. Using a hand mixer, beat together on low speed until combined. Chop the coconut and walnuts. Add the coconut and walnuts and beat until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.


Pour batter over the crust. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into cent comes out clean.



To serve, melt butter with cinnamon in a small skillet until sizzling. Place a piece of pie on top of the sizzling butter. You can either eat from the pan or remove from the pan to a plated. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, walnuts, chocolate and caramel sauces!


Here’s another picture of the Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie right before we massacred it.

See my dessert Recipes!

Making Crème Brûlée               Hot Fudge Cake

creme brulee       hot fudge cake and ice cream

Strawberry Pie                            Chocolate Cheesecake

strawberry pie       chocolate cheesecake recipe

Cheesecake                                 Red Velvet Cake

cheesecake     red velvet cake

Click image to view more information on my cutting boards.

walnut double handle cutting board



Ostrich Ferns Emerge



It’s finally warm enough for the Ostrich Ferns, they are emerging everywhere. The ones that get more sun have already completely emerged and the others in deeper shade are just now showing their fiddleheads!


The Ostrich Fern grows all over the mountain in the shade in the wet low lying areas and along the creek beds. Some are 18 to 20 inches tall but in other areas where the trees are tall they are growing 3 to 5 foot tall.


The Ostrich ferns are one of the most beautiful and showy ferns. As you can see they are erect in stature with graceful arching fronds that resemble huge ostrich ferns.


These stand nearly 3 feet tall.


“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” – James Dean


Previous Post:
What I saw
Blooms Are Every Where
Rocky Creek Moss Covered Rocks
Mother Black Bear and Cub
Deer on the Mountain
Walnut Step Stool: Part IV


What I saw


Southeastern five-lined skink lizard hiding on tree

A good friend an I went hiking Saturday on the mountain for a little more than 2 hours. The hike took us across the ridge and down across two small creeks. This was the first time for me in this area. I was surprised to fine the huge rocks with the spring.

Southeastern five-lined skink lizard

Southeastern five-lined skink

tree fungi

fern fiddle heads

Ferns emerging





Dwarf crested iris, Iris cristata

Dwarf crested iris, native to our area


eastern fence lizard

This looks like a Eastern Fence lizard but I am not sure. He looks somewhat prehistoric.

Previous post: Blooms Are Every Where

COURAGE is knowing what not to fear – Plato




Blooms Are Every Where



White Azalea

It’s Saturday afternoon and we have the most beautiful weather! It’s sunny, clear sky’s and 79 degrees F.


Everything is blooming and they are absolutely beautiful this year. I wanted to share a few pictures!


Viburnum Opulus Common Snowball Bush


Previous post: Rocky Creek Moss Covered Rocks