Wednesday, December 25, 2019

A Cold for Christmas

I caught a Christmas Cold.  So that gave me time to get a blog off early and this will give me time for one more post to finish out the year! Happy Winter Season to you All!

Back to the's the first one I recall having in many a year, just hope I can overcome it quickly.  I thought something was wrong when I went to bed at 9:15 night before last...I felt so tired and exhausted.  Yesterday another deluge 4 inches of rain it came down all day long.  Today is sunny but I  feel cloudy. :o(

I went out one day this week toured around my 5 mile.  I have not been participating much lately.  I have no hopes of adding a new species to the list.  However I was happy to add River Otters to my hotspot, Goodale Park, 


One with his tail up and the other just barely has his head out of the water...they are full grown adults by the look of them.  I was thrilled to find this!  I can't wait to tell the park staff next time I see them.  There was trimming of trees on one section of the lakeshore, it has thrown some birds off their normal hangouts so it may take a while for them to find new perches.


Yellow Rumped Warbler

the cut reveals another patch of pitcher plants 

I had a couple of surprises, not new but the Fox Sparrow was there 

He was pretty bashful and not showing his face...this guy showed his face  had some pine needles in the way, the Blue Headed Vireo.  

And if not for Ruby Crowned Kinglets this time of year would be quite boring...

Did not show his Ruby Crown!  I drove over to my favorite AG fields and checked those out...had 100's of Brown Headed Cowbird joined by some Red-Winged Blackbird.  

There were other trees full also...

Lots of sparrow present, the Field, the Chipping, the Dark Eyed Junco, the Eastern Towhee, White Throated, and Song were all accounted for.  

The coloration of Song Sparrow here locally vary, some are dark and more chocolate brown while these red ones with warm grey tones can fool you into thinking they are something else.

An alert Eastern Phoebe holds on and looks over his shoulder at me...

Midweek we were shooting a cemetery in Fairfield County and it was about another 10 miles to the Lake Wateree State Park not in my radius...but it was fun to see lots of Ring Billed and Bonaparte's Gull around.  

There's a pedestrian bridge that is fun to walk over...Allowed me to get close to this colorful female Northern Cardinal 

Hope your Holiday  is festive, can you imagine trying to remember it's 2020?


My Mom Memory for this Christmas day: Mom we cherish our memories of all those delicious Magik Cookies!

Every day is a new Adventure.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Look Back and Look Up

Today is Tuesday and the sky is dark and the rain is coming down in buckets...good thing I had nothing planned, actually I planned nothing cause I knew it was coming.  I know there's others out there who are affected by weather I am in their ranks.  If I don't see the sun, I am immediately let down.  I recall when I was a kid running around on Bramblewood plantation where we lived for a time, I would spend the entire rainy Saturday in the stall with a horse.   I'd lay down beside the horse and that warmth helped get me through the disappointment of the rainy day with no riding!  That is a shot of me and my mare Silky.  She was a great horse to ride and spend time with.  This shot was taken most probably in 1969.  I was about 16 yrs old.  That big tree in the background was another favorite place I spent time I would hide up there. 

Later on at about age 18 I started working at the Hunter Barn where horses were boarded and we taught riding, I'm goofing off here with Blinky one of our jumpers...We had a summer day camp and I was one of the instructors, after a heavy storm this tree hit the barn, my boss had me saddle up and jump the tree for publicity!

Me riding Chinazo. He was my favorite horse at the barn, and I was the only one who would ride him...we got along...most people he  did not like and he was a hand full. 

This is me on the left and my first crush Tommy on the right with the Hunter Barn in the background it's still in use today! 

In our town race horses come to be trained in winter.  My first real job after the riding school was here riding race horses.  No photos of me tho...Mom was supposed to come and watch me one day and get a photo.  I saw here drive up and we rode past her and then she backed up and left...Later I asked did you get a photo of me, she said "I never saw you." Huh, "I rode right in front of you with 2 other horses"...
"OH it looked like 3 boys to me." she was right



Only my long hair let people know I was not a boy.   My boss told me I dressed like a truck  I was just happy to be out and about on my horse.  This was taken at the first Hunter Barn, it was sold and then the new one (pictured earlier) was built.  

This is me jumping Thunder, he was a great school horse...these are all old photos of poor quality.  Anyway that's a look back at my early teen years.  Now you see why I hate rainy days, all this adventure was shut down by rain! 

Those were the days!

Looking UP  to present time....did do some birding on Monday saw some cool birds, like the Pileated Woodpecker...


More Awesome Cedar Waxwings, 


and  this odd mushroom 


A Yellow Bellied Sapsucker 



It was pretty day this was on Sunday...

It was Jimmy Approved!  On Wednesday we went back to the county river park and saw hundreds of Common Grackle mixed with Red Winged Blackbird...they landed near us what a sight to see that was.  I didn't have my camera that day...The river was flooded due to all the rains. It was amazing. 


My Mom Memory for this post is


 I should have put this one up on my last post this was taken at  Huntington Beach probably 2009?  Even tho she had to carry an oxygen tank Mom still took a cold walk on the beach with me. I hope I have half her spunk if I live as long.

Every day is a new Adventure.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Fine Stuff

So little sis flew back over and the three of us are together! We were a family again for an entire week...That was a boost for me.   On Sunday we went to the free Community Concert Band performance...this is something I have a history with, I hadn't been to one since I returned to SC, and this was their 40th anniversary.  It was fun! 
 Monday little sis and I drove down to the coast to do some birding.  This is the shot to the soul I spark interest in the things I love...we had some soupy fog to deal with but we had a great day anyways. 

By the time we hiked the 1.2 miles down the beach to the Jetty we were soaked by mist...

We saw a Great Black Backed Gull here it is with a Ring Billed for scale...a state bird for me...and a lifer for sis, she racked up quite a few this day!

Lots of foggy Ruddy Turnstone  

We had 2 beautiful Eared Grebe pop up...

Some really cute Sanderlings' on the rocks too...

Dunlin barely visible in this fog enjoyed poking thru the mud...

And then along came a Clapper Rail, he seemed to be strutting. 

Missing a few legs but still spunky 

Gr Blue Heron..

More  Shell trees!

How much cuter could a Semipalmated Plover be?

We made an entire day of it...what a great day it was!

Wednesday  we headed over to the McBee WMA, and found many Field Sparrow,  

Photographed at a Cemetery in the afternoon, it was so cold that day...and Thursday we went to the Archives to do some family history research, and later we birded the County Riverside Park...lots of Cedar Waxwings were about.

Today its Friday and raining cats n dogs...the Sisters are hosting a brunch and little Sis leaves in the wee morning was a Fine Week! spent with Family!

My Mom memory for this post...

Here she is enjoying some tasty Ice Cream on one of our "Townies" day trips here in a small rural place called Lone Star, SC...this was taken in 2016.  

 Such good times!

Every day is a new Adventure.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Make it thru Dec.

At time of this writing,  it's Monday and on top of that it's December and heading toward Christmas, a Christmas without Mom. She was not a big fan of Christmas  when my son was little i did it,  now I wish it would just go away...  This year was one of loss, not just my Mom also 5 people from my blog roll!  

Tioga George, Judy the Bird Lady, Lynn of Winnie Views, David of In the Direction of our Dreams, and McQ Travels.  Not to mention many of the Pets I had grown to love via blog reading and Vlogs.
I hope each of these bloggers families are handling their sorrow in a way that makes it bearable.

We did more clearing out of Mom's personal possessions, we found old letters from our Dad, little things we had made for her when we were children, and the most precious gift, a receipt.  If any of you have read my book Before Life Got Complicated, you know we had little.  At one point we lived in a wonderful old house on the grounds of Bramblewood Plantation.  We all loved it there  horses, dogs, cats, it was just on the outskirts of town and a great place to just be a kid. 

 It was owned by a wealthy lady who kept retired horses there and we kids took care of and rode those horses.  Some of the happiest parts of all our lives were spent there.  Only one was cold! Mom at this point in life was a widow she made little salary in fact I found one of her check stubs her bring home for that week had been $63.  Imagine having to pay rent, keep up an automobile, and feed 3 children and yourself on that...So anyways most of the time we had NO heat in the house.  An old oil burning radiator system was there but buying the oil was not always possible, so one Christmas my mom bought  3 electric blankets.  She did not buy one for herself,  We slept warm.  Mine was the green of nature, big sis's was sky blue, and little sis's was yellow like banana pudding.
While going thru some old receipts I found one from Sears, and it was for 3 electric blankets, $44.  Almost an entire weeks salary...
I have been extremely sad and fragile since finding that receipt.  

 There is a way now I'm waiting on  the will.  If you don't see blogs from me, you know I didn't find it.  


Mom Memory for this Post

This was taken in Tennessee on a trip we made back to visit our family there.  I am guessing the year was about 1968.  Mom was 44 yrs old here.  This was the first car she alone purchased and owned it was a 1963 Plymouth Fury.  My Dad had always done the car buying etc.  He passed away in 1967.  It had a push button gear shifter...  She loved this car, we were so proud of her.  

Every day is a new Adventure.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Down but Not OUT!

Still trying to pick up the pieces of our recent loss...and the weather waxes and wanes from good to bad every other day...yesterday was good! My sis and her husband returned home this week, I sure miss her and hope she has a great winter... lucky me I have 2 sisters and one has remained for a while I'm so glad to report.  We are taking care of the last affairs and going through some of Mom's personal things...its hard but it has to be done.

Y'all know we are into the cemetery photography and so we decided the best way to resume normal for us is to go tromp around a graveyard and with Jimmy beside us, we did just that.

We had a list of about 50 names to find and photograph the headstone of, and we did find most of them.  This cemetery is named Bethany Tiller Cemetery.  It is a rural cemetery and has some burials as far back as 1860.  Some of the ones buried here have birthdays of 1794, so many generations  planted here.  This cemetery is only a mile down the road from Mr. McSween's grave,  the Scottish Civil War Solider that I have blogged about before.  

I did see lots of Pine Warbler in the trees...but I got no decent photos of birds on this day...After a lunch eaten in the car, out of the chilly wind,  we headed to one of our favorite places not too far away...

a cropped shot of the Pine Warbler

HE'S BACK!!  You just don't know how much good it did me to see that the Beaver has rebuilt his dam and his pond has returned to it's previous glory!  I wish there was some way I could have this legally protected...They had him down but he is not OUT, not yet anyways...

Sorry for all those sun spots.  We hoped to see the Eagles hanging around preparing for January's upcoming nest season...I guess it's a bit early yet, but you can bet I will be going over to check.  Beaver are actually hunted YEAR round on private property, and there is actually a trapping season from Dec 1- Mar 1 and mostly they are treated as and considered  a nuisance animal!! Can you believe that?????????


The little fellow did a fine job of repairing the man made damage that was done to his can see it actually reaches across a wide place in this shot, from the foreground to the edge of the pond where you see the reflections...I hope one day to actually see HIM if I can be there at the right time. 

Just look at the master piece he created! This lovely pond for turtles, frogs, birds and other wild life, like the Bald Eagles who nest here last season. Without the beaver, will the Eagle come here?  Doubtful. 

His dam is so perfect, it allows just enough water to flow out so as NOT to flood the entire area...

Happy Turtles...

Large flocks of Common Grackle passed over as we were there and some rested a bit...

Some swamp and song sparrow were also around...hiding in the brambles...on the drive back we caught up with a huge mixed flock of Grackle and Blackbirds..My horrid video skills meant I needed to edit it before sharing so here goes...

I can't figure out how to work the volume on vimeo...;0/

Then we spotted this juvie dark morph broad winged!  but after further research I thought Red Shouldered, but that didn't really fit either so eventually I got it right Broad Winged Hawk.... The eyes's are a little dark...(adult Coopers have red eyes, and immature have yellow, Red tailed Hawks, have a white yoke). And Red Shouldered have those rusty wing patches,  We couldn't get around to see the shape and coloration of the tail without scaring him off..

So this was a good day.


My Mom Tribute for this post is a candid shot I adore of her...we were on one of our many picnics and she was enjoying her July 4th watermelon...this photo was taken in 2011 at Sandhills NWR. 

Never Forgotten. 

Hope all of you had a nice Holiday...ours was simple and bittersweet.

Every day is a new Adventure.