Sunday, November 21, 2010

Scenic Sunday

Something a little different for today's Scenic Sunday post. My Sunny Side Up friend, Eve, and I went on a birding expedition in January of this year with the North Alabama Birdwatching Society. The group was allowed to tour a private farm somewhere close to Guntersville called Hawk Farm, known and named for massive amounts of hawks that nest and raise a family in this habitat. It's easy to see why. The farm parallels the Tennessee River close to Guntersville Lake offering forests of trees and towering cliffs for perching and nesting. Also, the farm crops are oh so inviting to rabbits and all manner of tasty beasties hawks love. And just look at all those temptingly convenient rows of trees nestled among the farmland and fields. Perfect outposts for hungry hawks and other raptors. What's not to love?

Well, we didn't particularly love the temperatures on this day, and we didn't see many hawks. Temperatures were freezing and the wind chill made seeing and even holding a camera very difficult. Morgan and Kayla, our daughters, chose to stay in the car and talk. Eve and I occasionally took refuge within the vehicle's sun-warmed confines as well. While the birdwatching experience wasn't one of the best the overall experience was stellar! We enjoyed the view and farm tremendously and are thankful for the experience. Thank you, Hawk Farm, once again.

Hawk Farm makes a right nice "planet," don't you think?

For some truly spectacular scenes around the world please visit Scenic Sunday's meme and click around! Tell them I sent ya!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Skywatch Friday

After a delightful dinner and catching up with our good friends at the lake, we enjoyed a restful evening in the quiet of our house. No sirens, no dogs barking, no traffic noise...just peace and quiet. And stars. Lots and lots of stars. The sky was filled with white confetti scattered atop a deep black velvet. I slept deeply, rising naturally before the dawn. Slipping outside I hoped for a pretty sunrise.

I needn't have worried.

My neighbor's dock is the perfect place upon which to view sunrises. They graciously allow me to use it for photographing sunrises.

Oil lamps right outta Myst.

Sunrise reflection on the water.

Looking southeast down the channel.

Another neighbor's day dock perfectly silhouetted.

The sun makes its appearance, peeking over the hill as I peek through trees on the bank.

As the sun rose the world turned silver. What a lovely morning.

Check out skies from across the world at Skywatch Friday. That's where I'm going next, after I get a cup of coffee.

* for the record, I did choose a thumbnail but it didn't post! Must not clicked hard enough - LOL!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November Lake Visit

Friday afternoon found us winding through traffic, heading west to my beloved lake. Wheeler Lake is actually a wide spot in the Tennessee River. The river channel is across the lake following the opposite, southern bank. There, barge traffic and the occasional container ship rumble by, each secret in their mission, each compelling and comforting in their fashion. White tugs glowing in the lowering sun, we were pleased a barge timed its arrival in concert with ours.

The weather was perfect as we sat on the deck, feet propped up, shoes off to catch the balmy breezes, chatting easily and comfortably me, hubby and the teenager, who was visiting (a.k.a. "doing laundry") for a few hours before heading back to school. It was like old, good times.

The Giraffe Head Tree joined in the conversation and remained ever vigilant.

My loves, the red headed woodpeckers were raucously flitting overhead boring out nests and taking care of their autumnal RHW tasks. I love the way they use their tail feathers as a brace while doing their work. This snag has always been a favorite of theirs but I'm thinking this will be its last winter. The multiple holes have been reworked so often that you can see daylight through it.

The Coot Armada floated by several times.

My RHW buddy was observed filling the nest hole with hickory nuts and the occasional bug, dead and ground into the buggy stew. Maybe there are babies already in there? It seems late for babies but RHW's know their agenda far better than me.

The Golden Tree Hour is beginning to exhibit its masterful moments. By Thanksgiving it is perfect but this year we will not be there for the show. This oak is one of my favorites.

The hickory says "ME TOO!"

Gulls were flying way out into the lake system looking like snowflakes. Deadly snowflakes. Something was spawning. Puddles of boiling water attracted gulls by the dozens, swirling overhead before plunging into the rippling water and coming back up with a treat. We watched this show for a long time, then packed up and went to Carroll's house for dinner and dock sitting. No photos from our visit. It was a time I wanted all to myself so I savored each and every moment as though they were my last for they may well be. Next post - sunrise.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Watery Wednesday


A group of us took a cruise to Costa Maya and Cozumel late summer 2004. Besides being with good friends the best part was the water and all the interesting ships and boats. This beauty was in Cozumel harbor. Dwarfed by huge cruise ships it made up for its diminutive size with colorful flags a'fluttering in the tropical breeze. Another plus was touring Mayan ruins deep in the jungle.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Reflection of hubs sitting under the pavilion

Our world turned upside down the afternoon of August 6th. The hubby's fall from a ladder resulted in multiple fractures and the myriad of challenges that come with a body broken into so many pieces. Three surgeries and several special procedures later he is finally able to walk with the aid of a cane and just this week began to drive, making short trips in the neighborhood to the pharmacy and to lunch with one of his best buddies. The daily challenge was to keep sane looking at the same walls so we made a point of going out as much as possible. Not just to get out but to do something normal and be around people.

At first, our outings were to places with handicapped parking and inside areas where we could use the wheelchair. Once he could finally put weight on his right leg, which took over 2 months, he progressed rapidly to a walker and just two weeks ago to the cane. Now, his physical therapist gives him permission and lots of encouragement to go outside onto flat, paved walking paths. Part of the nearby greenway contains a brand new parking area for a small greenspace complete with man-made pond and flat walking paths. Perfect.

The weather here has been gorgeous! Mid 70's, warm with the feeling of autumn in the mornings and afternoons. The leaves are in the middle their color explosions and the air is clear, sky is blue. The Aldridge Creek Greenway is named for the creek beside which it parallels. While Bob slowly walked down the pathway I ambled over to the creek for a look-see.

Trout? Several of these darted by, appearing to be around 8-10 inches long. Bright orange eyes.

Aldridge Creek Greenway

This area must be relatively new. Massive treads of construction vehicles depressed the soft earth lining the man-made pond. Grass has taken hold in most places and the city has planted river birch and crape myrtles while positioning nice benches for contemplation and rest. But that's about it. Bob encouraged me to walk around and take photos while he sat in the shade to rest, so off I went. This section of the greenway is rather sterile at this point of its creation.

Not much stirring. Thankfully, some interest - a military plane of some sort flew overhead.

Viking horn #1

Okay, personal challenge - FIND something interesting here to photograph. Picking my way toward the water I spy Viking horns sticking up. Viking horns and their reflections.

Viking horn #2

The river birch makes for a lovely reflection in the still pond.

Crape Myrtle and River Birch reflections

Wild asters

I'm getting desperate. Hubs is getting tired. I can see his shoulders slumping and he's stretching his leg out. Oh, here are some little wild asters which are actually drawing some attention. The occasional bee and butterfly lands and leaves quickly.

Eureka! A buckeye!

Pretty reeds all in a row.

From the corner of my eye I see the hubs slowly walking down the pathway toward the car. Time to catch up with him and get the boy home. As we approach the creek I hear birds in the treetops, and two flit overhead. Two bluebirds. The male flies on but the female stays.

I felt comforted by her appearance. This sweet gentle bird perched on a lower branch and allowed me to take photo after photo. She watched me the whole time except the moments she looked away, looking for her own husband. She gave me a gift, this lovely little bluebird. A gift of peace and calm. The hubs couldn't stand much longer so we took our leave. When I looked back to say goodbye she'd already flown away.

Hubby has a few more procedures to endure but all in all his prognosis is very, very good.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Skywatch Friday

An oldie but a goodie - Thunderhead over Wheeler Lake. Taken in 2003, this event was the maiden voyage of our boat, which I loved and miss. We popped open a bottle of champagne and dribbled a little on its bow for good luck. The storm moved north and missed us entirely (heading to the right of the pic). I've posted this photo on my blog before but today it just seems a good idea to do it again. Because you know why? Because we're going to the LAKE for an OVERNIGHTER! I'm so excited! We'll see friends and stay IN OUR HOUSE and I can say "Hi!" to the Giraffe Head Tree and check on the red headed woodpeckers and watch the sunset and sunrise! For about 24 hours I'll be in heaven, and then we'll come back down to earth.

Thus my entry for this week's Skywatch Friday. For more amazing skies around the world be sure to visit Skywatch Friday and visit everyone. Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Watery Wednesday

Riprap lines the riverbank

Reaching back into the archives to dust off photos for Watery Wednesday, I found these shots of riprap and reflections and water in my old neighborhood. Our neighbors had the Taj Mahal of docks built and kindly gave me permission to go down to shoot photos early in the mornings.

The little slurpy kisses of tiny waves onto the rocks with corresponding ripples.

Reflections of the railing, rocks and sky makes an interesting abstract.

Reflection of sycamore tree, reversed from the actual angle this photo was taken.

The docks at Joe Wheeler State Park.

Trundle on over to Water Wednesday to see great shots of water all around the world! It's how I get my water fix these days.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Art of Leaves

There is simply no excuse to not go outside and play with the camera. These days find me with more and more time on my hands as the Hubs is recuperating nicely yet it's too soon to take a day-long road trip. Our backyard isn't filled with particularly interesting bits. it?

The November sun is angled perfectly through the remaining leave structure clinging to the multiple trees along the fence line. The leaves that will be turned to mulch soon call me one afternoon. While Baylee romped and played with sticks I twirled and held up interesting leaves into the light.

Same leaves, different angles, differing lighting.

Their beauty astounds me.

The siding creates a lovely backdrop.

Front then back.

Golden bokeh.

This one sort of reminds me of a horse's head.

Sunlight and leaf.

Even the most mundane of objects can be found beautiful and interesting when shown in a different light. More can be found on my Facebook if you're interested. Just click the link.


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