Scenes of Summer

When last we spoke it was the Fourth of July and we were in East Tennessee.  I can’t believe I’ve been away from you so long. Moreover, I get tired thinking about what I’ve done in between posts. I didn’t realize I was so busy until I was telling a friend why I couldn’t take his phone call…the drum corps is in full swing, I’m designing shows for five competitive marching bands, I have a major interior design project in full production, a new design project in the developmental stage, I’m negotiating a design consulting agreement with a cabinet manufacturer and we’re seriously considering adding on and re-modeling the farm-house in Byhalia. MERCY!!! Nevertheless, I have to pick up where I left off and share a few more incredible shots from East Tennessee.




This is property that a friend and his uncle own…”Uncle Sam”.  Arguably it’s the most beautiful property in the whole of the USA.  The first photo shows a hillside that’s been planted just to attract wildlife.  Our friend is an avid sportsman but we found that he’s now more of a voyeur. He has a “tricked out” hunting perch with all the amenities a human needs.  However, it’s become more of a viewing stand to watch the adventures of the natural inhabitants of this beautiful land.


The house you see in the background of the third photo is home to these seven day old baby quail…this is just a few; the house was “lovely” and FULL. Because the economy has dwindled the farms of East Tennessee have diminished and the quail have moved away to find nourishment elsewhere.  Our friend is making a personal effort to replenish the quail population.  Not only is he raising the quail, he’s planting his property to give them the food they need to live in their natural environment.  This is his second season to “release” and neighbors are all telling him how great it is to hear the quail on their property.



Here you see his catfish ponds and him feeding his fish…they are HUGE!!!  Also, you can see where he’s preparing the soil for more inhabitant friendly planting.


We also traveled to Cherokee to visit friends and see “Unto These Hills”.  Everyone we’ve told that we visited has the same reaction….”I love Cherokee; has it changed much”? Seems it was a very popular family vacation for most baby boomers in the Southeast. Cherokee is exactly as it was when we visited as children.  We bought Salt Water Taffy, moccasins and I really wanted a bow and arrow and head dress!!!  We waited for the deluge of rain to subside and finally got to see a show that while still a very sad story was educational and very inspiring.

IMG_2930 IMG_2885 IMG_2976

This summer Toby seems to be sending us “friends” to attempt to fill the void that is ever so present.  These mallards greeted us outside our hotel room in Cherokee.  The bunny came to say hello in Erwin and yesterday morning this ?groundhog? came scampering across the yard on the farm in Byhalia.  I’m thinking we may need to move Groundhog day to Byhalia!!! Oh, and speaking of our sweet boy…he is constantly reminding us that he’s still with us.  Since his passing, every time we’ve traveled we’ve seen a rainbow…San Diego, Denver, Sacramento and now Johnson City.


This is a double rainbow and it was so wide I could only get half of it.  The middle is covered by clouds but there was this much more on the other side of the clouds.  We miss him terribly but are always comforted when he let’s us know he’s still with us in spirit.

We came back to the real world and a new design project. This home has a family room and wet bar that is soon to get a Signature Designs makeover with cabinets, paneled walls, this stunning antiqued granite, a new sofa and an ottoman from the fabric on the center cushion…for starters.





…you can look forward to progress photos in the weeks ahead.

In the midst of all this there was a day I devoted to a bit of nostalgia. My mom spent most of her summer gardening and “putting up” the produce from the garden.  I’ve seen her share the fruits of her labor numerous times.  I must tell you I’m not a generous as she.  My cousin and I made “green pickles”. Our church “got a new preacher” when I was barely in my teens.  We instantly loved his family and I loved them mostly because they loved to entertain. They loved to “eat out”.  However, we also fried fish, grilled steaks and BBQ’d hamburgers…A LOT!!! The “preachers wife” made “green pickles” that she put on the hamburgers and I was fascinated.  I would stop in to say hello around lunch time just to see if they were having burgers with “green pickles”. Of course, she shared the recipe with mom.  I must say now all these years later I was a bit disappointed when I found the recipe for these magical pickles on the back of pickling lime. Nevertheless, it’s a painstaking procedure that should take the best of two days.  Of course, my cousin and I are all about some instant gratification and shortened the process to a mere seven hours…and I must say they are DIVINE…just like I remember.  After liming, rinsing, sterilizing, boiling, jarring and sealing…no, I don’t think I’ll be sharing these jars of emerald goodness.




And what would scenes of summer be without flora, fauna and fresh vegetables from The Memphis Farmers Market.

Oakleaf Hydrangea


Celebrity Tomatoes




Mountain Fresh Peaches


Black-eyed Susan




…and finally a bite of nourishment that SCREAMS summer!!!


Grilled Pimento Cheese and Fried Green Tomato Sandwich topped with Fried Okra and a side of House-made Potato Chips from Park Heights in Tupelo, MS.

I do hope your summer is lovely and that a good time is being had by all!!!

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