Friday, April 29, 2016

Me a City Gal?

Seems I'm always a week late making my posts--I used to make a one paragraph post every night when I first started blogging back in NYC on Yahoo 360.  Each night I would get home around midnight after a 12-14 hour tour of crazy EMS runs in the city and it would take me an hr at least to unwind before I could hit the I would fire up my desktop and write a little one paragraph wrap up blog post on my day.  I had no digital camera my posts had no photos...eventually I bought a little 3 MGP digital camera (still have it), and I started to add some photos of my day in the this one of the canoe and kayak art in front of Lincoln Center...I would just snap photos out the window of the ambulance as we traversed east to west  north and south all over the 5 boroughs of NYC.  

That has nothing to do with this post just saying that I used to blog nightly...and sometimes it was a rant of some sort of an incident--- sort of a decompression was eventually  filled with my need /desire to get myself OUT of NYC! many people wanted in and I wanted out...after 5 yrs I was burnt out , The Thrill Was Gone for sure.  So I began my exit plan in 2006---and now here I am 10 yrs later!

Last week I took a walk around my local park to see what was out and about... hiked around the side of Goodale lake..

A Great Blue Heron flew to the back side of the lake as I approached and some kind of Sandpiper I got no photo of either one, and I still don't know what sandpiper it was...but I got a photo of this bird at first I thought common grackle, but all the other grackles around were boat tailed grackles, so I think this is a Brewers Blackbird.  To me he is just too small to be a grackle...what do y'all think?

The lake looked so lovely almost HD under those fast moving clouds...the water lillies were blooming, I always think of the Lotus flower as a lantern all aglow...

Another fellow was there with his camera and we compared notes on the 4 clumps of pitcher plants now reduced to only 2 clumps!! I don't know why the parks employ people who don't have a clue about the plants, animals, and environment they are charged with the care of--when I asked a new ranger who was taking a kayak out on the lake if he had seen the sandpiper he said "Now tell me again what a sandpiper is"...OKAY.....nuff said---- here are 2 of the  pitchers in one of the clumps they are currently forming blooms...

and here is the Ranger, aka grass cutter...

I saw a very backlit Orchard Oriole it's a first year male, 

Great Crested Flycatcher, Blue Grey Gnat Catchers, Black n Whites, and a Prothonotary Warbler was calling in the thick woods but no sighting..just about then the kayaking Ranger flushed the only Wood Duck of the day....I snapped this Tufted Titmouse singing up high... 

around the backside of the lake I saw 3 female Red-winged Black Birds feeding in the new needles of the Cypress trees..

the surrounding forest is very thick and hard to spot anything unless you see it move

I saw this Skink scurry up a tree as I walked up..

out on the lake saw an Eastern Kingbird, Black Vultures circled, and I heard some Canadian Geese do a fly over but they didn't stop!  I headed over near the boat rental area and startled this Savannah Sparrow, and he was very patient while I took his photo.

I had a great walk around didnt' see anything new but it sure beats any day in the City!  Living in the city was quite a thrill and added a lot to my life experience but I am just not a city gal...

Time...well spent!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Time is like a blank canvas...

Since I changed my data allowance my online time has I said before I sit in the parking lot at Lowes when I have to go there and upload my trillions of but lately I haven't had a reason to go to I work in the yard tending to spring, 

the Anole is wearing his bright green skin right now but he can become brown at the drop of a hat!

...and I work on my house... tending to projects 

This is the old enamel table that was my potting table, it is now my kitchen work island! I didn't like the heavy cart you can see in the background so moved a few things around and love this "open leg" plan here...I put rollers on it and some stretchers to stabilize the legs a little and its perfect!!

if it looks a little off it probably is, hey I did it my self------but see the cart now up against the wall on the left...I dislike the yellow.I repainted this kitchen to not have the yellow and there was yellow again, so I taped off the wood and painted it with the same grey as the cabinets..much better!

Sorry bout the blurry photo, I think it's my decreased vision that is causing me problems with my glasses def have to get onto my to-do list! I like the grey better. 

Another project has been on hold for years!! My grammy's old table- top radio. This baby still has the innards, it works on a 12 volt battery! My mom and I stripped the finish long ago and so I put some teak oil on it and now its out of the attic for good!! It's a Philco 37-38, and it was made in 1936!

I've been hanging art, that piece above the radio was done by my son when he went to art camp one summer; he was still in grammar school...I love it --It's a pastel so that's why its behind glass...I also hung one of his oil paintings in the bathroom...I chose it due to the size and the colors are compatible with the color scheme in the bathroom, (Sallie, I just barely got the Lou in I didn't break my promise!!)

More art to be hung (again I find a blurry photo), I have a pair of paint by number's that I did when I was 10 yrs old,  the pair are now half a century old!!!

More of my son's art that will be hung shown below, this one needs a frame...I adore the colors he used in this one....and the one in a frame already has yet to find it's forever wall from which to hang....I have a few more pieces of his work to hang, also....and those need frames. 

My son should have pursued an arts degree he has great talent!! He painted these when he was 8 or 9 yrs old!! Notice how he signed the painting with his initials right in the foreground..There is one landscape he never's really a nice one so I'm thinking of finishing it myself...I know If I ask him he will never get around to it will be a joint effort--a later project. 

The porch wicker chairs are about to get some new cushion covers! 
I'm considering using some more of the fabric I designed for the Pony line...I have 2 yards of each I may as well make use of it, the back covers laying over the chair back is some I made a few yrs back out of Sunbrella. I will get some waterproofing treatment to treat my fabric once I get them made.  The Avocado plant is outside for the summer on the porch it will need a repotting before it goes back inside in the fall. 

and in the ever present search for balance in my life I applied for a new passport my old one expired too long ago to just renew so I took care of that last week in a small town nearby, our post office no longer does it, yet the smaller town one did, weird?   

Time ...well spent!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Belser Arboretum

I've been trying to get in a number of day trips before Mom returns and when she does our focus will be trips that don't involve hiking! One of my FB friends released a book of poetry and her drawings based on her life long battle with CP.  We are actually related through marriage her husband is a distant cousin in my Walling Family Tree.  So A visit to pick up her book and to give her a copy of my book...was yesterday.  Since I would be driving to Columbia I figured I'd go to the Arboretum that is nearby her location and see what was out and about..

Its only a small place but the trees are mature and it even has a cypress bog! 

the little creek was red! I guess red clay is on the bottom...lots of ferns growing on the banks 

there was a loop tril and a midline trail most of which is well marked but I managed to get off the trail a few times...

American Robins were around as they seem to be the most plentiful bird going right now...

this is a favorite of mine Clematis I don't know the variety but what a huge flower saucer sized!!

and even tho this white throated sparrow hid behind a twig he was so handsome I kept this shot...

his lores were such a brilliant yellow--another not helpful bird was the Hooded Warbler, he wanted to follow me but he wanted to change his position constantly I had a hell-ofa time just getting this not hot shot! He just kept teasing me but I finally walked away! 

I know!! SO far these photos are hardly worth sharing...and it gets worse--I know the Hermit Thrush is so named due to his reclusive lifestyle, this one hung so deep into the shadow I almost blasted him with the flash but changed my mind at the last minute...

I was getting kind of frustrated I could hear bird's singing all around me up in that ever so tall canopy..
This Redstart was hanging upside down and backwards...but what the heck--*Click* may as well at least have an image to show...

At the very least i could ID him from this..and then a White Breasted Nuthatch flew right on the tree I was standing next to...then up across from me on a higher branch just barely in view...

Even the normally gregarious Carolina Wren wanted to only peek from the safety of a high branch

Having little luck with the bird photography I turned to the leaves on the least they can't fly away...

I could hear black and whites, vireos red and white eyed, pine warblers, red bellied woodpeckers, downy wp, above me and then a Ruby Crowned Kinglet only showed me his belly and backside, I'm only basing the ID on that big eye ring...

I had a good walk around the plants were nice, the weather was good but the birds misbehaved! No new ones just good to see some that have been missing since last summer!

This Eastern Comma was interested in some water...

and I stepped in mud that went over the top of my shoe trying to get this pic but I think it was worth it!! No body said it was gonna be easy!  Another day of 

Time...well spent

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Monday, April 18, 2016

National Park Hounds!

I returned from the mountains on Monday evening, Tuesday I was mowing grass all day...and picking up sticks, and trying to catch up on chores....but Wednesday I threw my bag of tools in the shed and said,
" I'm not working today"! Instead I put some food in the van, my camera, binoculars, and headed for the National Park that is near me! YES we have a National Park...Congaree National Park, it was named Congaree Swamp prior to becoming a NP. I used to bring my Cub Scout Troop here back in the 90's to introduce them to "birdwatching"--aka birding!  So with a light-hearted and free bird feeling - I took off.

Passed many open fields of wild flowers...

I took the same route I always take going over there and it passes through some really wide open spaces..

A lot of hay is grown here and grain crops...the clover is in bloom...

Made my turn onto Bluff road as usual...and Bang!! ROAD CLOSED!  I completely forgot about the major flood back in Oct of last year,,,the bridge had been washed out and was under re-construction so I tried a detour...and wouldn't you know BANG-

Ziegler road all washed out and NOT being repaired! At least not yet...

what a mess....

so third time's a charm right...but now I'm actually arriving an hour and 15 mins later than planned! Oh well..I'm in no hurry!

Right off the bat on the entry road I spotted this black fox squirrel, sporting a white face!

Once parked I went straight to the boardwalk.  There is an extensive boardwalk, part of which was closed for flood damage repairs! There's hiking trails too and so I decided I would take the boardwalk then the Weston Lake trail...altogether it would be about 5 miles of swamp hopping!  Right away a pileated wood pecker landed near me..

He busily dug away at this tree bark...check out the tongue...

this is the low side of the boardwalk it was under water for a few weeks after the flood...

I could hear barred owls calling and hoped I'd see owls as they are very common here but just hearing them would have to do for today...
The base of this bald cypress had so many flutes really a beauty!

some reminders of recent winds too..

Lots of little creeks pass through the park; the Congaree River passes alongside the park, and there are other trails to take you to it...but not this one..

other woodpeckers in the park are the Downy, the Hairy, Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers, Red Headed and the Red Bellied Woodpecker.

at first the trail off the boardwalk was muddy but soon it got better, 

The sunny areas were sporting wildflowers

On the drier areas the trees change to oaks, maples and pines.  I spooked what I thought was a wood thrush up off the forest floor and up on the branch I was able to see it was a Veery !

Been a few years since I saw a Veery!  Also on the drier areas was more fungi, to help break down the deadwood..

It was right around here I saw a Hooded Warbler with no photo as he showed himself and then quickly went deep into the leaf cover.  The trees are so tall its impossible to see the tops.  But on the lower branches A Northern Parula came down to take a look at me. 

this is the area I met a really nice couple from Winnipeg, Canada.  We compared notes of our travels they have seen more of the US than I.  They loved the swamp and said the trees looked so exotic to them.  I wish I had taken more time to ask about what is a must see in Winnipeg! They especially like the Cypress "knees".  

On the back side of the trail I ran into a young guy from California.  We stopped to compare our map points as I expected my turn back towards the boardwalk to be right around the corner he confirmed it was.  He asked me was I a  "National Park Hound"?  He said he is one and he figured I was too as I was wearing my Mt Rainier National Park vest and here we are in a National I replied "I guess I am come to think of it," then we began to compare our bucket lists! He lives closer to most of the places on my wish list..and his memory was way better as he didn't even have to think to recite his wish list. I just LOVE meeting people who love nature the way I do!! 

Back at the Visitors Center they had closed up and gone home! I have my passport stamp from this park already so I didn't need to go inside anyway...and back at the van I was starving ---so I dug out a few things to eat on my drive home...some nice seedless grapes, mixed nuts, and cold coffee from this morning! Yum.  Wilma figured us a route where all roads were present and I was home 1 hr and 15 mins later!

Time...well spent!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.