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Nashville Mountain Retreat: Exploring Our Own Backyards

Looking out the large panel windows towards the rolling Tennessee hill-tops, the sun glinting off the thick, old-growth trees, I kick my feet up on the broad, square coffee table, enjoying my view of this Nashville mountain retreat.

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Yep, I’m referring to my home

Hill Home

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Our back “yard” (also the view from the laundry room toilet)

Homebody Syndrome

We should be in balmy, beautiful West Palm Beach, Florida right now. We were scheduled to fly out yesterday morning at 7:30 AM, but this crazy North American winter weather had other plans for us. (How many Polar Vortices and ice storms must we endure?)

Flights all along the east coast were canceled left and right. The only sensible reroute Delta could offer was a flight this evening, arriving at 10:30 PM- a full day and a half after we were due to arrive.

Unfortunately, we are missing fun activities and events for Alan’s best friend’s wedding weekend. We’ll make it there for the main events Friday and Saturday… but the parties, bar-b-ques, golfing on a PGA golf course…. it’s a bit of a bummer to miss out on some of the celebration. The couple is also like family to us.

Alas, it’s out of our control.

And for some reason, I’m not that upset to be stuck in 17 degree Nashville. It’s difficult for me to admit this…. but I am a little relieved to have more time at our private retreat here in Tennessee.

We get to hang out a little more with this guy, for one...



I say to Alan, “I’m glad we get an extra two days here with Sosuke”

He replies, “Yea, it’s cause we’re homebodies.” CRINGE…

Are we really homebodies? Can a travel-obsessed, culture addict actually be a homebody? Is it possible? Maybe….

We kind of hate leaving Sos. Cats are the easiest pets: low maintenance- leave the food and water out, pretty self-sufficient… But this cat is spoiled rotten. He’s our baby, and he requires constant attention and affection. He loves going outside to chase squirrels and birds, but usually wants to come right back in, then go right back out again. When we leave him, we inevitably feel pangs of guilt, even with friends and family checking on him once a day. So, there’s that.


And I have more time to get work done, enjoying a serene view from my middle-Tennessee mountain home.

Nashville Mountain Retreat

My view at this very moment

Another thing I absolutely love about this part of the country is the solid four seasons. I tend to get restless sitting in one place for too long, but when your surroundings are constantly shifting from this lushness…

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Sosuke loves our back deck in the summer

to this winter wonderland…

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Yes, that is Sosuke chasing a DEER.

It’s really hard to get bored.

We Bought a Zoo

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Have y’all ever seen that movie? With Scarlet Johansson and Matt Damon? It’s cute. A good plane movie, at least.

I consider myself a bit of a urbanite who enjoys relaxing in the countryside. I loved living in the internationally-fueled metropolis of Washington DC for eight years, spending many days in Manhattan during that time. But I grew up in a south Louisiana home with lots of land and privacy- and wild animals (like fox) roaming about.

We’ve somehow landed in the perfect confluence of a fun, thriving city with a bustling music and restaurant scene mixed with a secluded, nature-infused environment. Nashville is, at once, both exciting and peaceful. I used to wax lyrical about how much I loved DC (and I still do), but Nashville is the whole package.

But seriously…. sometimes I feel like we live on a nature reserve. Maybe we should rent out our guest room and charge people to come view the wild game here…hmmm…..

We have a resident fox, wild turkeys...

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Man, this would have been a good Thanksgiving post photo…

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Sos watching the wild turkey in our driveway.

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Why did the turkey cross the road?

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Another reason to drive slowly in our neighborhood…

Nashville Mountain Retreat

herds of deer….

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Corner of our street (we usually see a herd of at least six at a time). See the baby at the bottom right corner?

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Hanging in the front yard

Nashville Mountain Retreat

During the 1st “polar vortex”- this guy found warm refuge under our bedroom floodlight.

 This guy….

Nashville Mountain Retreat

The great American short hair feline…

Nashville Mountain Retreat

The occasional snake…

Nashville Mountain Retreat

View from the master bath- above the tub.

And the most colorful birds I think I’ve ever encountered in my life…

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Eastern Bluebirds

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Having trouble identifying this pair. I think they are some type of warbler. Any bird enthusiasts out there who want to give it a go? We’ve never seen these!

Seriously… I thought Africa had colorful birds. Some of these we’ve never seen before!

Nashville Mountain Retreat

House Finch

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Red-bellied woodpecker

It turns out that Alan is quite the bird photographer..

Nashville Mountain Retreat

The next John James Audubon? And his trusty assistant, bird-spotter Sosuke.

All of the bird photos (or most of them) featured in this post were taken by my better half. The rest are mine…

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Gimme a kiss (Blue Jay)

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Northern Cardinal

I think I’m going to devote an entire future post to our new Nashville Audubon Society. We must have over 1,000 shots by now!

Nashville Mountain Retreat

Downy woodpecker

Exploring Your Own Backyard

My intentions aren’t to be boastful, like- Hey, look at my awesome home! I have such a great life! NO.

I’m culling the feedback I’ve received from many of you, as well as trying to make good on some of my own New Year’s resolutions (travel-related and otherwise), namely:

  1. To be more appreciative and enjoy life every day- from the extraordinary to the mundane.
  2. To spend more time in and observing nature.
  3. To explore and travel closer to home (many of you have resolved to do this in 2014).
  4. To work on my photography (both shooting and post processing).

I would love to hear from you! Do you love your home or have any natural treasures nearby? How are you embracing your NY’s resolutions?


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17 Responses to Nashville Mountain Retreat: Exploring Our Own Backyards

  1. Susan Chollette Loudermilk January 31, 2014 at 11:20 AM #

    Perfect post for now from MamaBird preparing her own nest.. The yin that balances the yang of all those exotic travel destinations. The yellow bird (and his wife) at your feeder are American Goldfinches (sometimes called Wild Canaries)..John’s favorite bird, I think (he keeps one feeder filled with their favorite Niger/thistle and Sunflower seeds. They get bright yellow in Spring and summer..just gorgeous!!

    • Lindsay January 31, 2014 at 3:10 PM #

      Thanks, Aunt Sana! So glad you could identify the American Goldfinches too! And that they’re Uncle John’s favorite! We’ve never seen them before. We changed our bird seed, which must have attracted them! We’ll have to get some thistle and sunflower seeds!

      • Susan Chollette Loudermilk February 1, 2014 at 11:56 AM #

        John just saw this latest blog.. Said tell you to watch for the goldfinches, one may arrive at your feeder soon with a tiny note tied to his leg…

        • Lindsay February 3, 2014 at 7:29 PM #

          I’ll be on the lookout for the messenger bird!

  2. Chandler January 31, 2014 at 11:56 AM #

    This post makes me even more excited to visit Nash in June! Except I hope that there will not be an extreme heat wave, like last time :-/. Excited to go exploring around the house with tour guide Sos!

    • Lindsay January 31, 2014 at 3:08 PM #

      I hope not either, Chan! Ee! And that was May! Sos is the best tour guide!

  3. Trips By Lance January 31, 2014 at 4:56 PM #

    A few thoughts: I want a laundry room toilet just because that sounds cool, I did see that movie on a plane, and you have a lot of interesting birds around the house. That’s about it.

    • Lindsay February 3, 2014 at 7:30 PM #

      Ha! The toilet in the laundry room is clutch! Can’t tell you how handy it is!

  4. Susan Chollette Loudermilk January 31, 2014 at 5:04 PM #

    I know! Extreme heat last spring, extreme cold this winter. Maybe this coming Year Of The Hoss (as we say here) will be calmer. Oriental friends say it’s a lucky year!

    • Lindsay February 3, 2014 at 7:31 PM #

      I hope it’s a lucky (and temperate!) year!! Esp with the new edition coming in June!

  5. Leslie January 31, 2014 at 6:07 PM #

    Will and Charles were quite impressed with the turkeys and the snake! We need to come to Nashville too!

    • Lindsay February 3, 2014 at 7:32 PM #

      Yes, y’all do! Can’t wait to have y’all here!!

  6. IndianaJo February 5, 2014 at 6:20 PM #

    Looks like you live in the Amazon 🙂 Oh, and very cute cat!

    • Lindsay February 5, 2014 at 8:34 PM #

      Thanks Indiana Jo! I think he’s pretty special… oh, and Amazon- in the summer, yes! I wish it was Amazon right now! It’s been below freezing for waaaay too long!


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