American Holly

American Holly
American Holly

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Biking Through Calloway Gardens

December 3, 2017Pine Mountain, GA

The third visit to Calloway Gardens was the charm.  The first visit, I hardly had time to see anything, the second visit, I found my bike needed an adjustment I couldn't do there but spent a lot of time trying to fix it, then helping a guy jump his car. But, last Sunday, I managed to get there early  and enjoy both a bike ride, with lots of stops for pictures, and and a raptor show.

My first stop was at a little cabin, complete with a well and a winter garden of greens.

One of the first places I found was this little cabin

It was one room with an upstairs that we could not visit - had this and a kitchen and rockers on the porch

My next stop was the hydrangea gardens.  Most of the flowers were down to brown remains of themselves, however still adding form and texture.  But a couple were still blooming, or restarting to bloom.  By their buds, I think they thought spring has arrived.  But the next weekend, as I'm writing this we have finally had winter weather although we were just south of the southern snow.

Beauty is still there but a little quieter

I loved this partially opened bloom.  It seemed like an entire habitat.  The bee impersenating fly loved it too. 

This tree was in the hayacinth garden looking like a stained glass window

After this I took about a two hour break in the butterfly house.  But you don't want to have to see all the amazing tropical butterflies I managed to capture here.  But next week....

Nasturtiums were blooming in the gardens around the butterfly house and being enjoyed by another syrphid fly.

I took off riding and soon came to where you can rent boats or bicycles or eat at a restaurent or a snack food place, depending on whether you go to the first floor or the basement.  It is also the beginning of the golf course.  I passed some pretty scenes on the way.

A view near the golf course of one of several lakes

This is where you can rent boats, bicycles, eat,.  It overlooks the golf course.

I enjoyed the pattern the steps made before climbing them to see what was up the hill

I looked down at my bike to see aother beautiful view

And this view was just to the left of the steps

Several large bushes of white double camillias were in bloom a little further down

I found a whole under a pier army of boats: motor, canoes, and kayaks.  These were at the far end

Riding on, I had to stop to photograph these HUGE leaves. I attatched my glove to show the enormous size.

Then it was time to rush back to the outdoor ampitheater, near the beginning of my ride, to watch a raptor show.
  I think they have 17 raptors that cannot be returned to the wild but use them to educate the public. Two of the three birds had imprinted on humans after they were "rescued". We learned to leave birds on the ground or pick them up and return to the nest or a limb. The third bird had been shot in the wing, and while it could fly, it could not fly hard enough to hunt.  I'll have to go several times to see all of them.  And probably more times than that to get good at capturing them with my camera. 

I need to go back and practice taking these birds pictures.  This was the only decent one I got. 

The fun was not done, but it was time to pack up my bicycle and go on a quest to view the super moon. I had decided to go to West Point Lake, on the Georgia/Alabama border, about a half hour away,  to look for it,  since that seemed to be a sure place not to have lots of trees. I got there with about 40 minutes to set up for the sunset which turned out to be a doozy.

But I didn't find a good place for moon rise, and finally parked right on the bridge across the Chattahoochee River, which is damed to make West Point Lake.   I sat until twenty minutes after the reported time for moonrise and finally saw a little glow in the sky.  A few minutes  later I got a shot of a very coy super moon.

A fly fisherman in the sunset

The best view I got of the rising super moon

It was a very good day which,  together with a visit to Jimmy Carter's library and museum . the previous day had to make up for a this cold, wet, any barely snowy weekend. .  The snow got within thirty miles of me but could seem to extend itself just a little further south. So thanks to all my friends that posted their sow pictures.  Then finally on Saturday morning, I got some very light snow. The funniest I heard was a weather report from Atlanta as I was barreling up a dry road, with no sign of snow.  We were being asked to stay off the roads another day as some would be wet and icy.  In their defense, I DID see a little snow and the roads were a little wet in a few places. But I was back home long before the freeze.  I had no sign of snow left.

I got a new assignment.  I'm tobuild 1000 little homes for frogs. Actually I just need to make a few modifications with a hole punch on throwaway pint containers, like you would buy potato salad in. The good news is that I have until February to do it. I also need to repair and clean out three sets of purple martin houses and and an unknown number of bluebird houses.  I think I'm going to be putting up some more bluebird houses also.

And while it has been cold and rainy,  I've taken off time from blowing, raking, and hauling leaves to work on some educational  signage. This is one of my proposed signs.  It's just the first rough draft and I will need approval of the idea before I invest any more time in it. The neat thing is that I took the picture of these cypress trees at Banks Lake, in East Georgia,  on one of the loveliest paddles of my life while I was volunteering at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in east Georgia.

Hope you are having time to find joy in the midst of holiday preparations.  And I'd love to hear from you. Please give me your comments by clicking the comment button below.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Holy City of Witchita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge

October 6, 2017

(Note: Wednesdays posts are catch up posts since I did not blog since July.  Check the date and location.  This was from stops along my migration.)

One of the most surprising things about Witchita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge is that is the Holy City is located there. The refuge rents the land to the Wichita Mountains Easter Pageant Association, a privite organization.  This is the site of the longest running Easter Pageant.

The first time I visited the Witchita Mouontains NWR, was before I started this blog and I put my pictures on Webshots, a now defunct site. About a year later, I received an long, passionate, email from a lady who had found my pictures and written to thank me for putting them up.  She was from that area and her parents had gotten married in the Holy City Chapel. She had married and moved away, then gotton divorced and was too poor to travel back home and was very homesick. When she found my pictures, she put all of them on her screen saver.   I was so glad my pictures had given her joy.

The site is supposed to look like Jeruselum. I can't attest to that one way or the other.

The view of the chapel

Looking from the back

The tiny organ

 A closer look at the front

A closeup of some of the paintings

More paintings on the ceiling arond the chandelier

This was in the vestibule

I think this was a guard tower

This may represent the tomb

Another prop in the Easter Pagent

The buildings were built of native stone but look like they are hundreds of years old. And that is a
chariot with the red and white wheels

One of several stained glass windows in one of the buildings

This tablot appeared to be inside a cave in the back of a building 

Christ of the Wichitas

Someone took a short drone video of the site. Click here to view it.

I love hearing from you.  Please leave a comment about your memories, dreams,  or to correct me.

On the personal front, I'm enjoying feeding all the fish that are overwintering with us.  Most of my time is spent blowing, raking, and hauling off leaves. I'm so glad to see that most of the leaves are now on the ground so, hopefully, my boss can see I'm actually working.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Covered Bridge Over Big Red Oak Creek

November 25, 2017 

I found a brochure in my house, titled, A Sunday Drive 7 Days a Week that descriped an auto tour starting and ending at Warm Springs. I thought it might be a good way to start to know my surroundings.  I also noticed a spur road called Covered Bridge Road, which really piqued my interest since I love covered bridges. I found an interactive map of Georgia covered bridges and determined this was the Covered Bridge over Big Red Oak Creek and copied the coordinates into my GPS and set out

The tour is very short so in less than an hour I was turning on the spur road.  Soon I was enjoyint the bridge.

They make sure your vehicle will not be too heavy to use the bridge

My first picture of the bridge

I found it difficut to take interior pictures as my flash is not working

Big Red Oak Creek was a pretty stream in its own right.  I crossed it twice more on much more muncand bridges

The far side has a long approach, making it the longest covered bridge in Georgia at 391 feet

This is the view approaching cars see

Now I know where to find cane if I need it.  It is growing beside the bridge extension. 

I walked a little along the creek and saw this view looking back

I was awed by the tenacity of this tree.  It had to grow horizontally to get out of the shadow of the
bridge and clearly has had soil washed away from its roots. 

The most amazing thing I learned about this bridge was that it was built by Horace King, a freed slave, who built bridges throughout Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.  He built the first public bridge connecting Alabama and Georgia. For more of his story click here
There is a Horace King Overlook at the visitor center in Albany, GA. Check out the you tube movie on it here. 

I continued my tour but had to stop to photograph this hourse. He appeared to be growing out of a bush.  He was one of many on a horse ranch.  I toured around Gay, did the last little loop of the trail, then drove back south toward  Molena.  I has a main street of about two blocks.  Its claim to faim is a two man jail.  When I arrived at the cross road to Woodbury, I skipped the last bit and came home.

I found this First Baptist Church of Gay, GA worthy of another stop

This horse looked like he had been carved from the bushes - he was one of many horses on a ranch

The Flint River flows throug Meriweather County and forms part of its border

This site has had a few bridges on it and was a low water crossing before the bridges were build

Looks like a canoe put-in

I was off the official route - maybe a little lost - when I found these goats

This is the main tourist attraction of the tiny town of Molena - a two man jail

It had grills at each end

Across the street an  "antique" store had  cotton arrangements as street decoration

If you love bridges and want to visit the ones in Georgia, click here for an interactive map, complete wth waypoints.

While I was driving, I was listening to NPR and learned that this day was the 100th birthday of Moon Pies.  So I had to stop at a gas station in Woodbury and buy one.  But because they have nothing I'm supposed to be eating, I swear not to eat another until their 200th birthday.

One of the souths most iconic snacks - supposed to drink with a Pepsi

On the personal front, I'm keeping up with the aquarium, blowing, raking, and hauling off leaves, and feeding all the fish we have in ponds and some in tanks. It's lovely to be outside most of the day.