Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Yellow-bellied sapsucker

I participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count again this year even though it is not nearly as enjoyable as it was when darling son was interested in doing it with me.
I relied on sound even when I wasn't able to spot the bird.  I did hear the yellow-bellied sapsucker, but I didn't count it because I wasn't sure which kind of woodpecker I was hearing.  A few days after the count, though, I saw the female yellow-bellied sapsucker on the sugar maple out front.  I enjoy watching a woodpecker.  According to the maps, the yellow-bellied sapsucker is a winter bird here in central NC and will be heading farther north for the summer breeding season.
(The colors really blend with the bark on the maple.)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Ghost ships

One of the blogs I frequent is Rick Watson's at Life 101.  He is in the "heart of Alabama," and often when he mentions weather patterns, they are headed here to North Carolina in a day or so.  The other day he mentioned "ghost ships."  They must have been moving this way just like the weather does because I saw an entire flotilla in my garden this foggy morning.
The ones in my garden weren't sinister at all--just lovely little artistic vessels catching the first rays of morning sun.




Thursday, February 23, 2017

Do you see what I "saw"?

I'm making use of the bow saw I got a couple of years ago.  It's a wonder I haven't hurt myself.
This is the Leyland that came down after Hurricane Matthew.  Since it was a little over 10" in diameter, I had to cut from all sides to get the saw through it.  It is a tree we planted.

Here is another tree I planted.  It is a red cedar and about half the diameter of the Leyland, though probably about the same age.  I cut it down because it is near the septic drain lines which are getting clogged with roots.  I don't know if the cedar's roots are the culprit, but I am just cutting down whatever is in the area that I can remove.

Heaven knows what I would cut if I knew how to use a chainsaw!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

"Son, be a simple kind of man"

Here is a video of my son, Caleb, singing "Simple Man" at the Red Barn in Wilson, NC.
I think he felt privileged that the band let him sing a number.  Thanks to Ralph Kennedy for taking the video.
(Even if you are not registered with Facebook, you can click on the video, click "not now" on joining Facebook, then go full screen with the video.  That worked for me.)

By the way, "Simple Man" is a Lynyrd Skynyrd song, and lead singer Johnny Van Zant had this to say about the song:
"Well that's a great song and something that I think we all live by. I think anybody out there needs to respect their mother, and the words of their mother. It's mama talking to you in that song and I think it's probably one of my favorites if not my favorite to do live. It's just a great song and that one stays in the set and the crowd always goes crazy on that one."
I'll say amen to that (even if that's not my kind of music).

Monday, February 13, 2017

Buds opening--crocus, maple, and camellia

Just yesterday I saw the first bloom on my crocus.  (Today, a second bud opened.)  Also blooming is the red maple in the front yard.  The camellia bush began opening a week or so ago.  I saw the first bloom of my vinca just today, but I didn't get a picture of that.  It's the time of year when a succession of blooms lead us to spring, and with the weather above normal here, the blooms that are sensitive to temperatures are coming on early.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

First daffodils of the season

Today I saw the first daffodil blooms in my yard.  They are always a welcome sight.
This variety is my earliest blooming daffodil.  What a cheery way to start the daffodil season!

Monday, February 6, 2017

A hike at Hibernia Campground

I met my friend Lea for lunch last Thursday.  That makes it sound simple, doesn't it, but I managed to complicate things considerably (but I'm going to put some of the blame on Google Maps).  Let's just say if a road is not labeled on both ends, one can not assume that one end of the road has the same name as the other end of the road.  (And I did send feedback to Google Maps, so hopefully that will be updated with the name that is currently missing.)  Let's also say that a woman in pain and in a hurry may compound an error with additional bad judgment calls.  (And a thanks to a couple of Century Link technicians who were taking a break and let me borrow a cell phone.)
Mom likes to say about most any bad situation, "It could have been worse," so I should mention that I had plenty of gas in the car.  At least in all my tearing around the countryside in the wrong direction, I didn't strand myself.
The good news was that the second time around I took the correct turn, Lea was still willing to treat me to lunch, and we had a nice meal and a wonderful hike at Hibernia Campground.  Here are some highlights of the hike (as photographed by Lea).
The first picture here is one I specifically requested because it shows the lovely colors in nature on a mild February afternoon-- the strong blue of the sky, contrasting white clouds, calming greens of the loblolly pines and lake, and the light grays of the trees reflecting the afternoon sun.
Here are a couple of more shots of the lake.
We took a nature trail to an old cemetery and plantation site.  Then we walked along the edge of the lake cove.  I especially enjoyed looking for signs of wildlife along the lake edge.  There was a large blue-gray feather that I'll bet was left by a great blue heron.  I jammed it into a tree root and had Lea take a pic.
I also found a white feather (with a black shaft).  For me this was an unusual find.  I wondered what kind of bird dropped this.
There were lots of tracks in the sand along the edge of the lake.  Here is a dog track (or coyote?).  (We also saw tracks of deer, raccoon, birds, and either squirrel or muskrat.)

Several places there were large collections of freshwater clam shells.  I'm thinking a raccoon must have feasted here.

It was a relaxing and lovely afternoon.  All's well that ends well.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Night sky II

I did look at the sky again tonight, and I saw Mars in the line between Venus and the moon (though it wasn't bright enough to show up in this shot).  It was a nice view to see them lined up this way.