Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Huntsville Botanical Garden

Carroll and I recently met at Huntsville Botanical Garden for bonding and lunch. After lunch we strolled through the various gardens. Lordy, it was hot so we headed for the shade gardens which were filled with various trilliums and ferns, native azaleas and hydrangeas. And mosquitoes. Still, we persevered and got some good photos.

Some were fun to play with in black & white.

The above photo is what these beauties look like planted in mass. There were yellow ones and these rusty red ones and some ... white ones, I believe.

We have no idea what this red flower is but it was planted in abundance without any signage. A low shrub with red flowers poking through the foliage. That seemed to be common - no signage. Hence my lack of identification here on my blog. I'm no Harvey Cotton.

However beautiful the flowers were I fell in love with the Frog Buddha in their gift shop. Is he cute, or what? So Zen. Ommmm.........................

Sunday, May 15, 2011


A pair of House Finches raised their four babies in my hanging fern. The babies have hatched and flown away but the sweet nest remains, albeit a little worse for wear. Mostly, we used the garage entrance while they were raising the family. Watering the ferns would panic them and they would fly to a nearby tree, nervously chattering among themselves. Over time they grew used to my presence. I miss listening to mom and dad and the peeping of the babies.

I am finding this area houses a great many songbirds due to the dense tree cover and the drainage creek that flows behind the house. A Yellow Breasted Chat - which I've never seen before and was only vaguely familiar with - collided with my sliding glass door last week. I hear many warblers and sparrow varieties, along with thrasher and thrush and others. The Eastern Towhee family are constant companions. Cedar Waxwings trill non-stop, and there are many bird songs I have yet to identify. It's a constant source of amazement, the music that plays outside day and night.

Down the road in a drainage creek lives a rather large snapping turtle. Rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels keep me entertained. Smaller hawks surprise me from time to time. I've heard owls but not seen them, seen bats but not heard them. The presence of so much wildlife is comforting to me.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spring Flowers

Flowers for you, Bo. Not as pretty as your image, but when I spied these precious little pink and white flowers at the base of a sycamore tree I couldn't help but capture their happy expressions. Now I wish I'd gotten more of the tree as well!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Historic Fort Fisher

The scent of musket fire remains in the air, and if you listen hard you can hear cannon fire, screams of soldiers, orders being barked, horses neighing. Fort Fisher is a National Historic Civil War Landmark found on a slim finger of land below Wilmington, North Carolina.

A boardwalk takes you through the wetlands. A relatively short walk, the boardwalk takes you around the earthen bunkers, through the salt marsh and beneath towering live oaks.

It is very quiet.

Ocean-going vessels can be seen traveling to the Atlantic where once a great battle raged.

Besides our talking the only sounds were of wind and birds.

A great place for reflection.

Wind-swept live oaks.

My favorite trees.

Fort Fisher has a marvelous website. For more information go here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dimming of the Day

With a nod to Richard and Linda Thompson who penned "Dimming of the Day," as well as to Bonnie Raitt who sings my favorite version, I always think of that song during sunset.

Stormy days on the beach lend themselves to twilight of a different palette. Steely blue grays make the ocean foam pop bright white, almost luminescent.

The fading sunset cloaked by clouds.

The pier can barely be seen off in the distance, lights weak in the gloom.

A cold misty parenthesis of haze wraps both ends of the beach.

Words are wasted on such things.

Steve walks and ponders...

...while I take photos and let the foam caress my toes... Bob and Kym reconnect.

Friday, May 6, 2011


The week before all hell broke loose in the Southland we were vacationing on the beach.

I love beaches of all sorts but my favorites tend to be those along the Atlantic. Shells in abundance, driftwood, fossils, sea glass, shark's teeth and all manner of treasures come ashore, best found at low tide when the waters are far, far away.

Walking the shell line is my beach-time passion. Not one for hot sun you'll find me walking the lines early mornings and late afternoons "assuming the position," cup or bucket in hand, leaning over in hopes of finding another olive shell, cockle shell, calico scallop, angel wing, baby's ear, whelk and other beauties. I have even found seahorses lodged amid tangles of kelp, sadly no longer living. Once I found a fossilized sea biscuit which are millions of years old. Egg casings of various creatures wash ashore alongside the odd jellyfish. Each finding piques my interest in the ocean, stoking the embers of my curiosity.

Skimming the crest of waves were the ubiquitous brown pelicans and gulls but also a few surprises - cormorants and swallows. Various long-legged shorebirds skimmed wet sands for tasty meals, comically avoiding waves at the last second.

The weather wasn't sunny-beach-perfect, thank goodness. I am so odd that way but I prefer beaches with clouds and wind with waves crashing high and hard. The ocean changes color depending upon the skies, which I adore. The deep grayed blue green of a stormy ocean is one of my favorite colors. And yes, it reminds me of my lake albeit a "bit" more dramatic.

Walking to the beach that first day I could smell the ocean before I saw it. I threw my arms open wide and gulped in the salty taste, laughed at the sky, ran to the water and put let the salty waves crash upon my toes. Life is GOOD.

More to come.....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Our family and friends are all safe after the devastating tornadoes that swept through our area last week. We'd just returned from a vacation (....we did NOT have Internet, BTW...) and came home to tornadoes. Sometimes it doesn't pay to leave town!

After checking on family in town we left for the lake to stay with my mom and step father, who had recently had surgery. There was power there ... but no cable or Internet. A charged phone is a GOOD THING, even though service was spotty at best. Power was only recently restored to our area. We are finally home as of an hour or so ago.

Of course, we did not get out into the damaged areas - that only hampers emergency workers - but know that utility companies, cable companies, phone companies, doctors and nurses, emergency workers, law enforcement, National Guard, churches, companies and non-profits, elected officials - so many volunteers and companies came from all over the country to help get North Alabama up and running as quickly as possible. Such blessings, such blessings. Some areas are still without power but most should be restored by week's end.

I thank each and every worker and volunteer. My prayers to the hundreds who lost their lives, and to their loved ones who are mourning today. Prayers as well for those still missing and their families who continue their search.

Life is short. Forgive. Tell people every day that you love them. Hug your children. Be safe.



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