swoosh

social icons Email Signup:Go

Gatlinburg Weather

Find more about Weather in Gatlinburg, TN
Click for weather forecast

Blog

head_about3

head_about4

head_ground_a

head_about2

April 9, 2018

Honeybees Benefit Tennessee Agriculture

Honeybees pollinate numerous crops.  In Tennessee the value of crops benefiting from their pollination exceeds $119 million annually.  Unfortunately, diseases and pests have caused annual losses of bees, in some years as many as 50%.  

Honey bee hives add to our landscape at Buckhorn Inn.

Two honeybee hives have been added to the Buckhorn Inn grounds.

 

We are pleased to be telling you that Buckhorn Inn is doing its part to protect and support these important pollinators.  Thanks to our son Jack, two new hives have been put up and two colonies of bees installed.  Queen Bee Elizabeth and her minions are on the left, while Queen Bee Victoria has her kingdom in the hive on the right.  Our immediate goal is to increase the population of honeybees.  But ultimately we hope to produce enough delicious honey to supply the Buckhorn Inn kitchen and to offer some to guests.  We thought you might want to learn about honey bees along with us!

Facts about Honeybees

Honeybees of such a precise sense of smell that they can differentiate hundreds of different flowers.

Honeybees produce honeycomb made up of hexagonal cells.

  1.  1.  Honeybees have six legs, two compound eyes, three simple eyes, two pairs of wings, a nectar pouch, and a stomach.  http://www.benefits-of-honey.com
  2. 2.  Honeybees can fly as fast as 15 miles per hour and can travel as far as six miles.  Their wings beat about 200 strokes per second.
  3. 3.  In order to collect one kilogram of honey, a hive of bees will fly the equivalent of three orbits around the earth.
  4.  4.  The queen bee can live up to five years.  Her colony consists of 20,000 to 60,000 bees.
  5. A forager bee visits 50 to 100 flowers on each flight from the hive.  She repeats these trips all day, averaging as many as 2,000 flowers per day.
  6. It takes six to eight pounds of honey ingested for bees to produce one pound of beeswax.
  7. The only bees that sting are the worker bees.  They will only sting if they feel threatened, and will die once they sting.
  8. In the lifetime of a worker bee, she produces about 1/12th teaspoon of honey.
  9. Bees overwinter by clustering in their hives to keep the queen and themselves warm.  They feed on the honey collected during warmer months and on syrup provided by the beekeeper.  
  10. Forager bees find flowers then return to the hive and share detailed directions.  In 1973 Karl von Frisch received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for cracking the code of the bees–the waggle dance.

Watch our blog and Facebook and Instagram posts for more information about our bees.  We are proud members of the beekeeping associations of Sevier County and Tennessee.  You may visit http://www.tnbeekeepers.org for information on the resources they offer.

 

January 8, 2018

Buckhorn Inn Pond Enhancements Continue

If you have been following the Buckhorn Inn on social media, you know we have been devoting much time and energy to being good caretakers of the pond on our nature trail.  This past summer we released grass carp into the pond to help us optimize the plant growth.  We also added a foundation.  The fountain not only is beautiful and provides soothing noise for visitors, but it also helps us maintain the good health of the water.  

A more recent project has been the removal of fallen trees around the pond.  Kevin Howard with Rex Howard’s Landscaping came up with a clever way to manage this work.  In Buckhorn Inn’s 80 years there have been few days when it was cold enough to freeze Buckhorn Pond enough to support about a dozen large men, but this winter was one for the records.  We had contracted with the firm to clear dead trees and debris on the side of the pond next to busy Buckhorn Road.  Rather than trying to clear this area from the roadside, Kevin had his men pile logs and debris on a heavy tarp and pull it across the frozen ice to the other side where it could be more easily loaded on trucks.  One of the fellows was assigned to sweep up all the debris from the ice–we expect him to go out for the U.S. curling team for the next Winter Olympics after all that practice!

The pond supported about a dozen men and equipment.

Our pond rarely freezes solid, but Mother Nature picked a perfect time for this cold snap!

We are so pleased with the work thus far.  The next step will be installing some beautiful plantings that will provide  screening from busy Buckhorn Road and add to the natural beauty of this space.  We will be adding native trees, bushes, and plants that will be at home in this environment.  Our spring-fed pond will become an even more special place to enjoy your sack lunch, read a book, and enjoy the quiet beauty of nature.  

Swans to Return to Buckhorn Pond

We know that many of you have expressed how much you miss the swans that used to grace Buckhorn Pond.  We have good news!  Innkeeper Lee presented John with two swans for Christmas!  The swans are coming from North Barrington, Illinois.  They cannot safely be shipped by plane until the weather warms up, so we look forward to their arrival this spring.  We are working on setting up our “swan cam” so that you can monitor the activities of this pair from anywhere!  In our January newsletter we will provide additional information on this pair and how we are preparing for them.  Be sure to read the article for additional information!

October 2, 2017

Carp-e Diem! New Denizens of Buckhorn Pond

Have you visited Buckhorn Pond?  The spring-fed pond was created after Douglas Bebb built a dam there in the early 1950’s.  The pond was designed with an ingenious overflow to protect the dam during heavy rains.  Bass, carp and perch make their home here, as well as frogs, turtles and a few snakes.  The brilliantly-colored wood duck, spotted sandpiper, heron, and other water fowl are attracted here.

The Buckhorn Inn Nature Trail features a spring-fed pond.

Buckhorn Pond is home to fish, amphibians, and water fowl.

We are responsible caretakers of our property, and invited a representative from the Tennessee Department of Natural Resources to review Buckhorn Pond and provide advice.  He told us that our water and surrounding area is in excellent shape!  His only recommendation was that a species of carp, the grass carp, could help us more easily maintain optimum levels of water plants.

Grass Carp Released in Pond

Our research revealed that the local farmers’ co-op is visited about once a month by a truck selling live fish.  We went there on “fish truck day” and purchased six 12″-long triploid grass carp.  The size was important as the naturalist told us if they were too small they could be eaten by the bass, and if they were done growing, they would not eat many water plants.

Grass carp help the pond stay clear of excess water plants.

Six grass carp were released into Buckhorn Pond.

Innkeeper John and daughter-in-law Sharon took the large plastic bags filled with water and carp down to the pier.  They “tempered” the fish by adding water from the pond to the bags until the temperatures equaled.  Then they lowered the bags into the water and let the fish swim out.  They report the fish looked happy in their new home!

The grass carp is a large, herbivorous, fresh-water fish.  It is used as a food fish in China, but in the United States and Europe used mainly for controlling aquatic weeds.  The use of these fishy friends lessens use of herbicides.  The fish live up to 11 years and eat three times their weight in vegetation daily.  They grow rapidly, as much as 10 inches in a summer.  The average length of a fully-grown grass carp is around 30″.  The grass carp are sterile and will not produce young in our pond.

For more information on stocking ponds, visit http://tn.gov/twra/article/fish-for-stocking.

August 6, 2017

Pitching Horseshoes at Buckhorn Inn

The Buckhorn Inn’s pits for pitching horseshoes are located near stop 18 on our Nature Trail.  This is the stop near the glider and St. Cordelia’s Garden.  What a great way to while away an afternoon!

Pits for playing horsehoes are located near #18.

The Nature Trail begins at the Buckhorn Inn.

History of Horseshoes

Many experts believe that the origins of the game lie in ancient Greece.  Citizens of less affluence could not afford a discus for sport.  Therefore they used horseshoes, sometimes weighing up to four pounds.  At this point, this was a distance game.  Players competed to see how far they could throw.  At some point, perhaps several centuries AD, the game evolved into one of accuracy.  The use of poles or spikes as targets

The NHPA has been the governing body of horsehoes since 1926.

Horseshoes are a game of accuracy.

became popular and the game spread around the world.  Pitching shoes was a favorite pastime of soldiers and when they returned home they introduced the activity to their communities.  Following the Revolutionary War, England’s Duke of Wellington said “The War was won by pitchers of horse hardware.”  In 1869 England created very exacting rules for the game.  The first worldwide horseshoe tournament was held in 1910 in Kansas.  The winner received a belt with horseshoes affixed to it.  Let’s hope he didn’t tumble into a large body of water wearing such a heavy trophy!  In 1914, the game became more formalized.   The “Horseshoe Guide” provided rules on scoring, stake height, shoe weight, size of pitchers’ box, and the distance between stakes.

Horseshoes Today

Since 1926 the governing body of the sport has been the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America http://www.horseshoepitching.com.  It is estimated that there are more than 15 million horseshoe enthusiasts in the United States and Canada.  To score in this game, you either must throw the shoe around the stake, or throw the shoe closer to the stake than does your opponent.  This scoring system led to the saying “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”!  

We hope to see you trying your pitching the next time you visit us at the Buckhorn Inn!

July 11, 2017

See Summer Flowers in the Smokies

Many guests ask us when is the best time to see rhododdendron and mountain laurel in bloom. Well, it depends–mostly on the elevation. Here at Buckhorn where our elevation is about 1600 feet, May is a great viewing tiime. But up in the mountains, July is the best time. There are many other summer wildflowers besides these two perennial favorites in bloom right now, including the beautiful jewelweed shown left. The Great Smoky Mountains Association recommends several good viewing spots. 
         Low Gap (from Cosby to Low Gap) – Crimson Bee Balm, Rosebay Rhododendron, Wood Nettle, Pale Jewelweed, Canadian Violet, Pipsissewa, Common Elderberry, Loosestrife, Galax, Basil Bee Balm, White Clover, Wild Hydrangea and Blackberry.
         Appalachian Trail (From Low Gap to Mt. Cammerer Trail) – Blackberry, White Clover, Mountain St. John’s Wort, Loosestrife, Galax, Wood Nettle, Wild Hydrangea, Flame Azalea, and Partridge Berry.
         Mount Cammerer – Galax, Rosebay Rhododendron , Wild Hydrangea and Blackberry.

May 30, 2017

Labyrinth at Buckhorn Inn One of Largest in U.S.

The Buckhorn Inn’s Rachael’s Labyrinth, at 60 feet in diameter, is one of the largest meditation labyrinths  in the United States.  It is built of local fieldstone, and is a unique feature of the Buckhorn Inn grounds. Peoples all over the world have been creating these structures since the Neolithic period.  They are marked by a symmetry that is visually pleasing and contain surprisingly long paths in a small amount of physical space.  They provide timeless beauty and an intriguing way for individuals to interact with the setting.  Some estimates claim that as many as 10,000 labyrinths may have been constructed all over the world in the last 25 years.  Today the terms “labyrinth” and “maze” often are confused.  A maze is complex, has many branches and dead-ends, and offers walkers various points of decision.  A labyrinth, on the other hand, is unambiguous with one route that always leads to the center.  As such, it is the perfect place to leave stress behind and renew one’s spirit in the tranquility of nature.  The Buckhorn Inn guests have often described it as a quiet haven and a respite from stress.  For more information on Rachael’s Labyrinth, please visit our website .  http://www.buckhorninn.com/grounds/rachel’slabyrinth

Rachael’s Labyrinth at the Buckhorn Inn

 

How to do a simple walking meditation in a labyrinth

  1. 1.  Stand at the entrance.  Center yourself with a few deep breaths.
  2. 2.  Begin to walk, concentrating on the sensations of the placement of your feet and the rhythm of your breath.  If you are stressed, you may find that walking at a slow pace will help to quiet your mind.  As outside thoughts enter your mind, acknowledge them, then bring your mind back to the present sensations of walking.  3.Upon reaching the center, pause for a moment of quiet reflection.  4.  Walk out, appreciating the sense of calm.  

     

    Your journey through the labyrinth begins with your first step.