Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring at the Blue Rock


Bleeding Heart

 Big Fungus

Eastern Towhee singing

Virginia Bluebells

 Paw Paw blooms


My new birdhouse from Kentucky

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kentucky Bourbon

Kentucky is famous for its bourbon 
and for good reason,
95% of the world's bourbon is produced in Kentucky.
We decided to visit Maker's Mark
 which makes all their bourbon whiskey in small hand made batches.
Makers Mark is off the beaten path near the tiny town of Loretto, KY
and is in a lovely country setting.

Free tours are available.
A ground mixture of corn, red winter wheat & malted barley
is mixed with the distinct limestone water found in Kentucky 
and cooked into a sour mash with a "starter" taken from the previous batch.

The mash is mixed with yeast and poured into large vats to
heat & bubble until properly fermented.

The liquid is then distilled twice in shiny copper stills,
coming out clear and 130 proof.

Now the alcohol, known as white lightening, white dog or moonshine,
 is poured into new oak barrels with charred interiors
and aged from 4 to 9 years in a warehouse.

When it is deemed ready, it is bottled

and each bottle is hand dipped into wax,
giving it the signature Maker's Mark wax seal.

The tour concludes with a bourbon tasting.

The grounds are lovely & serene
and there is a slightly yeasty scent similar to baking bread in the air.
Its a fun informative stop.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Natural Bridge State Resort Park

We also visited the Natural Bridge in the nearby state park.
The namesake sandstone arch spans 78 feet & is 65 feet high.

To get to the top of the arch, 
you have to go through Fat Man's Squeeze,
 a natural fracture on the back of the arch.

At the top of the Natural Bridge

The view from atop the bridge

It was a strenuous hike to get there, but worth it.

Saw lots of wildflowers, 
such as this beautiful red trillium,

star chickweed,

and wild violets.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Red River Gorgeous

We visited an area that I had never heard of,
but was well worth visiting, the Red River Gorge.
It is located in central Kentucky
 in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
The area has more natural arches
 than any place east of the Rockies.
Its a great place to hike and rock climb.

First we had to pass through this 900' long
 single lane tunnel to get to the gorge area.

This arch is called the Sky Bridge
 The top of the Sky Bridge,
quite a view!

 The Gladie Visitors Center

The Gladie cabin,
 one of the first homes in the area.
These small arches are called the Angel Windows

 Hiking along the Red River,

We spotted the Chimney Top 
(notice the safety rails above the chimney rock)

So we drove (no, we didn't hike it!) to the top
and looked down on where we had hiked along the river. 

We also hiked to Rock Bridge.
Rock Bridge is the only true bridge in the area 
as a stream flows under it.

We passed Creation Falls on our way to Rock Bridge.

The area truly is gorgeous!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Explosions of Color

The record heat is bursting every bud.
All the Spring flowers are blooming at once.
Very pretty, but I wonder what will happen when the cold temps come back.

Daffodils & Pansy


Trout Lily

Dutchman's Breeches


Spring Beauty


Rue Anemone



Even the hay field is a lovely emerald green.