Saturday, November 18, 2017

Evidence of Progress??

I went to northwest Florida last weekend to attend a family gathering.  Since we don't have ready access to good seafood up here in the mountains, my hubby and I wanted to take advantage of the proximity and headed down to the coast with my brother for dinner on Friday night.   It had been a long time since I'd been the south end of the county where I grew up so I figured we'd head out early and see what was happening, even getting to see a few birds along the way.   

Well.......let me tell you.  I got the shock of my life.  I knew south Walton County had been growing in popularity for years but nothing prepared me for what I saw.  Every single foot of the gorgeous white beaches I grew up with and loved has now been  plastered with condos, houses, restaurants and shops.  Public access to the beach is almost non-existent.  I was driving so I didn't get a single picture but you can go to some websites to find out just exactly what I saw.  Rosemary Beach   Watercolor  Seaside   and others including Sterling Properties.  Some of these have been in existence for many years, but the spaces between have all filled up.  

The traffic was unbelievable, both on the 4 lane divided highway parallel to the coast and on the inner roads, and this was on a random Friday in early November!  Knowing what happens in the summer, you couldn't pay me enough money to go there then.  Makes me so sad to see places I loved become inaccessible to a whole lot of folks who actually live in that county.    Perhaps had I not grown up in that county I wouldn't look at it as a bad thing, but I did grow up there and it hurts.  

Since I got no pictures on this trip, let me see if I can find something in the archives, so to speak. 

Hubby with friends from Germany

Oh, well.  I'll just stick to my little town in the mountains and proudly proclaim I've become a curmudgeon.   Oh, and there wasn't a bird in sight.  

Y'all take care

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Fall in the Mountains

I wish there was some way that I could share  accurately the breathtaking beauty to be found here in the mountains at the moment.  We don't have as many maples as New England so we don't have as much red color, but the oranges and golds certainly make up for it. 





Every one of these was taken without getting off my porches and deck.  When you look out the windows, you are looking into a sea of shades of gold, yellow and orange.   Sadly, though, this peak color also means that leaves are falling.  We're enjoying them every day because soon there will be long months of bare limbs.   

Winter months provide their own beauty with lacy limbs, sometimes outlined in snow, and allowing views in directions not seen while leaves are on the trees. 

I grew up in northwest Florida where so many of the trees did not shed leaves.  The area is covered by pines and though they do shed needles, they are never bare.  Even the oaks there mostly shed part of the leaves in the fall and the most of the leaves in the spring as new growth appeared. 

For many years I dreamed of living somewhere with rolling hills, hardwood trees and four seasons.  I've got those here and I'm a happy camper.  

Strangely, there are very few acorns this year.  Gonna be a lean year for critters that rely on them.  I'll bet that means that the squirrels will be flocking to our feeders even more than usual.  I don't mind supplementing their food supply, but being the primary source gets tiresome, particularly as their feeding keeps the birds from the feeders.   

Y'all take care 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Impact of Irma

At the moment (Monday night, 8:15 p.m.) we're experiencing light rain and gusty winds as a result of Irma.  We've had the rain off and on all day but the winds have kicked up only in the last little bit.  I'm expecting and hoping that it'll just be these little gusts that I'm guessing are somewhere around 30-40 mph.    No loss of electricity yet but that doesn't mean much.  It's not uncommon for us to lose power up here.  In fact, just a bit over a week ago it was off for about 7 hours due to a blown transformer.  So, it goes.  As long as we're safe otherwise, I'm good. 

My blog pals across the pond can rest easy for now.  And thanks for being concerned about me.  

Y'all take care 

From earlier this summer 



Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bird Pals and Trips

You know, if you dug out your trusty Webster's dictionary and looked up the word "procrastinator" you'd find my picture right there.  'nuf said. 

I did make my trip to Texas in April for the spring bird migration.  It was a different trip in that my Birdlady friend couldn't go because of her health.  Unfortunately, her Parkinson's disease will no longer allow her to hold binoculars steady enough to view birds.  Her heart is broken as is mine.  She was and is such a mentor to me when it comes to the birding world. 
Birdlady in green fleece
She taught kindergarden and second grade all her teaching career so she knows how to impart information well.  Dang, I miss birding with her.  We rambled all over northwest Florida, southern Alabama and on trips to Texas, Mississippi and northern Alabama.  Many happy days were spent in the Blackwater State Forest on unnamed roads, not seeing another vehicle or person for hours at a time.  Our lunches were packed along and we ate wherever looked good.  

Anyway, my friend, Larry, was also along with us on most of those outings and he went with me to Texas this time too.  We didn't have much luck seeing raptors at all.  Then, one day on the way back up to our motel we were cruising along when I noticed "something" out in a field.  Since I was buzzing along about 65 mph at the time,  it took me a minute to get pulled over and stopped after I registered what it was.  I then threw the jeep in reverse and buzzed back down the road to get a good look.  Yeah, I made sure no traffic was coming behind me before doing that.  Anyway, it was a great horned owl being dive bombed by mockingbirds. 
Photo by Larry Goodman
Larry took this shot from the car.  It's obvious to me that they had a nest in that bush and they wanted no part of an owl being nearby.  

We usually also see Crested Caracaras some time on the trip.  I think it might have been the same day as the owl, but as we were scooting down that same highway toward the gulf, there on the shoulder of the highway was a caracara just strutting toward us on the ground like he owned the place.  Didn't even fly as we passed each other.  

We didn't see any unusual birds on the trip but we still enjoyed seeing the same old, same old.  We never get tired of them. 
Laughing Gulls 
Yellow crowned night heron 
Red-breasted Merganser
Rookery in full swing

Nesting birds decimate any vegetation under trees 

Sanderling

Black bellied plover

Great Blue Heron 

Least Bittern, little thing and a bugger to catch
One of our favorite birds that are just wonderful in their large flocks is the American Avocet.
American Avocet
And no trip would be complete without seeing the nesting swallows on the bridge over the Intercoastal Waterway.
Bank swallows

Lots and lots of swallows
At the end of Bolivar Peninsula where it meets up with Galveston Bay, here's the view across the way.   We do our very best to avoid looking in that direction.


So, who's up for a trip next April?

Y'all take care.






Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Today's Treasure

Every day there's something that strikes me as wonderful.  It's time to make note.  Yesterday's unexpected  treat was the sight of three pileated woodpeckers flying over, most likely parents and a juvenile.  

Today it was the sight of a scarlet tanager flying over.  

I've also been seeing an indigo bunting at the feeders almost daily for several weeks now.   
Indigo bunting on left
These weren't taken this week but over past years.  

I also had the treat of a bobcat in the yard a few days ago.  It's the first time we've seen on here and the first I've seen at all in many years.  Don't think hubby has ever seen one before.  These are lousy pictures.  It was a very cloudy day, I didn't have the good camera handy at the time and they're also through the windows and screens. But, it marks the moment.  

Bobcat slinking across driveway toward squirrels 
Good stuff here in the hills.    

Y'all take care.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sew, I Did It

Oh, where to begin.  When we left off, I had decided to give the nieces and nephews quilts at our family gathering on May 20.  Well, I did it.  I finished and delivered quilts to or for 12 of my 13 surviving nieces and nephews.  I didn't ignore the 13th one, she already had received a quilt several years ago.    So, let's show you what they got. 

Julie's Quilt 

Dana's Quilt

Eddy's Quilt 

Tammy's Quilt 

Ginger's Quilt 

Blaine's Quilt 

Robbie's Quilt 

Brian's Quilt 

Devin's Quilt 

Michael's Quilt 

Wendy's Quilt

Tera's Quilt 

In addition to these, I also delivered new quilts to the two little granddaughters. 



Sorry these are not the best pictures but I hope you can see them well enough to appreciate them.  So far as I know, they were all well received, some even with tears.  I got lots of hugs.  

Somehow, I just haven't been able to get myself enthused over a new project yet, but I think I'm getting there.  

I'll be along with more adventures soon.   Y'all take care. 



Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring?

Spring has been trying to get here to stay but we had freeze warnings last night with temps down to near freezing.  Sheesh.  Today its near 70 degrees.  We've had the most unusual weather.  Now that Easter is only a week away, let's hope we can count on spring to be going full bore. 

I actually have a clematis blooming!  I love those things but have never had good luck with them.  I put out three  last year and they hung in there right through the winter.


I've been busy, busy here of late working on quilts for family members.  Got to have 12 of them ready for a gathering on May 20.  All but two are done through the quilting stage with only 5 left for the hand binding work.  Two more tops will go to the quilter on Monday.  Nothing like a little pressure to  get me in gear. 

Hope everybody is doing well.  Y'all take care