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 


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 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

Monday, March 13, 2017

Just Another Day in Paradise

I don't know if it is just me or what, but I'm noticing the days a lot.  Take a couple of days ago when we got 2 or 3 inches of snow overnight. 
Yes, in color
I absolutely loved the way the branches and limbs of the trees looked like dark edged lace with their coat of snow.  Then, by evening all the snow had melted away and it would be hard to believe it had ever been there.  

I think as I've gotten older that I notice light and color in the days more.  I remember as a child dancing around outside as the day waned on the farm in Florida, just enjoying how pretty the sunset and sky were.  Then as we reach adulthood, we get busy with other things and forget to really see what is around us.  Thankfully, I've always been fond of "nature" and so made an effort to get out and about in it.  I spent lots of time in the desert when I lived in Las Vegas.   Goes back to that farm girl raising. Then, after I got married, we traveled full time for over two years in our RV and it was glorious.  Even after buying a house in Florida, we spent months every year on the road throughout the country.  Good times.

Here on our mountainside, I never get tired of the steep slope of the hill behind us with the bare trees at a sharp angle in contrast.   Or, the way the limbs move in the wind.    When the leaves come, there will be a whole other tapestry of colors and shapes to inspect.  
One view from the deck

I highly recommend taking a minute to just look around and really see what is there. 

Y'all take care.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Alive and Well

I'm alive and well here in the mountains where we haven't had much of a winter at all.

Daily Entertainment
I got a harebrained idea of giving quilts to a bunch of people at a gathering in mid May, so I've been busy, busy working on that project.  I delivered 10 tops to the long arm quilter last week and am waiting for a call that the first of them are ready.  It'll still be another week or so before I can expect that.    Meanwhile, I've put together another quilt top, too.   Once these are back in my hands, I will still have several hours of work to do on each one of them, so they are still a long way from being done.

My applique group is working on a quilt and my block is coming along.  The pieces have been cut and fused for several weeks but due to the project above its been waiting patiently.  I took it with me to my sewing day today and will keep at it.

Otherwise, not much excitement on the mountainside.   I'm looking forward to a birding day with my pals in north Florida late next week.   Since I didn't get to go last year, I really want to go to the southeast Texas coast for the spring birding migration but don't know if I'll pull it off.  Its no fun to go alone but not sure I can round up anybody who wants to go with me.  It's a 2 day drive from here and that puts  lot of folks off the adventure.  Party poopers.

Y'all take care.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Time Is Humming Along

I cannot believe that it's February 2 already!  The groundhog didn't see his shadow here at our house this morning and I can certainly believe that spring will be arriving soon.  Way too soon, really.  Due to the on again, off again weather we've been having, we already have early flowers coming up.  Trees and shrubs are budding.  This is just plain crazy here in the mountains.  Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy the mild temperatures but I worry about the plants and insect populations later in the summer.  

I spent a few days with friends from my quilt guild from Florida at a retreat over in north Alabama.  Had a wonderful time, of course.  No finished project to show but made a lot of progress on a couple of things.  Had lovely views of Lake Guntersville for the duration.
I'm not a fan of 'smores but a good time was had by the outdoor fireplace and some of the girls enjoyed them.   We've already reserved the same time for next year to do it again. 

Here on the homefront, a few friends came over and we worked on a small tote for use with hand projects. 

Now, to actually get to work on one of my hand projects. 

Life is good and I try to remember that and acknowledge the fact every day. 

Y'all take care 

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Different America

I've been a wreck all day.  It's been the most emotionally draining day I've experienced in very long time.  It hit me a whole lot worse than I had anticipated.

I only hope that more reasonable heads prevail over the next years and that our country does not suffer irreparable harm.

Y'all take care