Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Panola Mountain - Great Views, Pretty Flowers, Fresh Air, Nice People!

Panola Mountain...if you remember I told you I climbed it a few weeks ago after the milkweed planting with a nice group of people? Want to see my pictures? Sure you do!


Can you guess what the grassy area is amongst the trees? If you guessed "golf course" you would be right.  I like golf about as much as I like graffiti!  (Please, golf lovers don't give me any grief, 
I don't like it and that's it!)  Just on the horizon is the skyline of Atlanta and it is hard to see in the photo but it is there!

Guess what else you can see from Panola?  If you read my blog, you might already know of ....

Stone Mountain!  Our guide told us it was only about 11 miles away as the crow flies...and you know I had to say it..."Well, let's go then!"   (Everyone laughed. You never know if from my blog but hey, I am one funny lady!)

And what else could we see?  You might have heard me mention this a time or two...

                                           ARABIA MOUNTAIN!
The last time we flew to England, as we left the Atlanta airport, I looked down and recognized Arabia Mountain from the air! It was exciting for me to know it and the funny thing, there were people around me and they all said the same thing, "Look, STONE MOUNTAIN".  It made me smile because they were all wrong! 

The cactus flowers were beautiful!

And be still my heart, I was thrilled to see that I wasn't too late to see a few of the Atamasco lilies!  (Interesting, Linnaeus named this and Atamasco was the Native American name for the flower.)This was some distance from me but you can still see the beauty of it, can't you?  (I just read that it is really in the amaryllis family, and we love amaryllis in our household!) atamasco lily

Wait, what we doing at my front door...let's get back on the mountain!

The blooms of the yucca were creamy white and they were all about six feet tall!

As were leaving, they were swaying in the breeze and it was as if they were waving us goodbye!  Don't worry, yuccas we will be back soon!  

They have a Moonlight Hike up the mountain when there is a full moon. It is said that you are able to see the sun set over the Atlanta skyline as you watch the moon rise on the other side.  I hope to see this on the next full moon in June.  I will let you know!  
Hope you enjoyed this hike with me and I hope you are all doing well in your part of the world!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Father Anthony Delisi- Memorial For A Monk

Father Anthony Delisi died May 9 and he was buried at the Monastery on May 14. 

 A  memorial for a monk at a cloistered monastery in Rockdale County, Georgia... do you think many would attend?   The church was full and the monks had to bring in extra chairs. I was honored to be one of the many there.  It was a beautiful service and extremely moving.  Father Anthony Delisi had been at the Monastery for many years.  Many knew of him, like myself, as being in charge of the gardens.  (I have fond memories of the sweet peppers but apparently he took great delight in growing his hot jalapenos!)  

The service began in a most unusual way...with horns from Africa. Unusual it might be, but it was a perfect tribute for him. During the homily, the Abbott told us that he had asked for Father Anthony's forgiveness in not allowing him to return to Africa, as Father Anthony wished to spend the last of his days there. (Perhaps he would not give permission due to the age and health of the monk? I am only guessing at this but you could see that his request for forgiveness was genuine.)
You see, even though Father Anthony had been at the Monastery since 1948, he had also made numerous trips in the 1970's to Africa.   In 2011, he wrote his memoir:  "Black Like Licorice: A Contemporary Monk's Call To Africa".  It is an extraordinary story and you should read it.

You may read his obituary from our local paper here-Father Anthony- Planting Seeds of Faith.

These photos were taken at the Monastery on the day of the Memorial Service, May 14, 2016...except for the first photo, and that was taken from our last trip to England. (It is All Souls Church in Eastbourne.)  One of the readings at the service was from the Book of Wisdom, you may read it here. 

You might remember that I recently wrote a post and asked you if you knew of anyone who had lost a child.  On Friday, I went to work and received sad news.  One of my co -workers had lost his son. (His son had worked with us briefly as a teenager so many of us knew the young man personally.)  

Printed on the front of the program for Father Anthony's service:


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Camouflage At Arabia Mountain/ Tom Smith and A.H. Thayer

Sometimes at Arabia Mountain, we notice that someone has taken great time to remove graffiti.  Richard and I can just detect a very slight difference in the color of the rock and we know that it is writing or crude drawings that have been blessedly erased!

Our mountains of stone (they are really monadnocks) are millions of years old and are awe inspiring...why would anyone want to mar this beauty?  Thankfully, we have volunteers like   Tom Smith  working hard to keep Arabia Mountain the way it should be seen!  I only just learned of this gentleman and his great volunteer work at Arabia Mountain. If you click on his name, you can see that he was recently given the Crossroads 2016 Community Crossroads Kudos award.  (There is a video on the link as well.)  I found it very interesting that he sometimes mixes dirt into the paint when he paints over the graffiti and this reminded me of A. H. Thayer....

image from wikipedia

The photo above shows a bird on the left.  Figure on the right is countershaded and invisible.

Abbot Handerson Thayer (1849-1921) was an American painter, naturalist and teacher and is sometimes called the "Father of Camouflage".  You may read more about him here.  I first learned of him when one of my customers had a book on angels and I must have looked very longingly upon the book cover because she promptly handed the book over to me as a gift!  Here is the painting  by A. H. Thayer that was on the front of the book...

A. H. Thayer spent his childhood at the base of Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire and became an amateur naturalist.. (If you read my blog, you must know how I can completely understand that!) He must have loved it in all seasons, just as we love our monadnocks here in Georgia.
If you get the chance, click on that link and read of his life, it is a fascinating story but a somewhat sad one. (There is even a link to England...he spent some time in Cornwall.)

Some might need "buckets to catch the dripping sentiment" (which was one of the criticisms leveled against A. H. Thayer) but anyone who cares for Arabia Mountain is an angel in my book.  Thank you, Tom Smith!  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Milkweed, For The Monarchs (AND Life Vests in World War II)

Recently, I was with a group of people who planted over 500 milkweed plants at Panola Mountain State Park.  It was a magnificently beautiful day and after I had spent a great part of the day digging in rock hard dirt, I was able (only barely!) to climb Panola Mountain.  Milkweed, as I am sure you must know, is the host plant for the Monarch butterfly which has rapidly diminished in numbers over the past few years. Perhaps our milkweed plants will take firm hold and flourish where we have planted them, I hope so!

On the day of the planting, we had a wonderful naturalist, Elaine Nash,  to help us and to show us the best place to plant the different milkweed plants that we were given. (Grown by the Atlanta Botanical Society,  they were all beautiful, healthy specimens!)  Some were planted in partial shade, some in full sun, and some in a wetlands area. (Remember my post about the buttercups? The buttercups were growing just beside the wetlands area.)  Here's the thing...speaking with Elaine Nash later in the week, she told me that they had found some milkweed that she believes might have been planted in World War II by Mr. Alexander. (He owned the property then, you remember my mournfulness over the lake at Panola Mountain being drained? Alexander Lake, it is called, named after him.)

During World War II, the life vests for the military were made from the kapok tree from what was then the Dutch West Indies, and is now Indonesia.  Once Japan took over that country, there were no more fibers from the kapok tree for the USA so....the milkweed came to the rescue!  It is an extraordinary story.

After the milkweed blooms, the seeds are encased in a cottony like, feathery fiber which, combined with other fibers have a perfect buoyancy for life vests.  When the US government asked for the milkweed during World War II, it fell to the SCHOOLCHILDREN to walk along the sides of the roads, along fence rows and into the woods to collect it. (Of course, people also planted it, but the fiber from the pods were needed immediately!) Look, I have found a story about it MILKWEED FLOSS.  There, click on that and you will be amazed by this story!  Honestly, I can't believe in all my reading about nature AND about World War II, I have only just learned of it, after Elaine Nash told me about it! (Thanks Elaine!)
To see more photos of milkweed and another great article about it, please read this.

Yes, I do adore my nature walks but I am fascinated by history also.

(That is a photo of milkweed (also called butterfly weed) in the photo above. If you want to see an amazing photo of a kapok tree, my friend Kay from her blog "Musings" from Hawaii had a photo of one on her post  from Mother's Day. She has very kindly given me permission to use her photo here and just look at the size of the kapok tree! Can you see Kay and her sweet Mom at the base of the tree?  Thank you, Kay! (I love her, by the way, you should check out her blog...you may find her  just here.)  Aloha!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage

Just heard about a must see movie for me! It is "USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage".  It is based on the true story of the USS Indianapolis, a ship that was sunk by the Japanese in World War II.  You do know what happened, don't you? It was mentioned in the movie "Jaws". (You must remember the great actor, Robert Shaw giving his speech about the Indianapolis.)  There were 900 men who survived the sinking but were left adrift in the ocean for FIVE DAYS and many of them were taken by the sharks.  The story is not just about the incredible strength of the survivors but also of the bravery of those who rescued them. Please, remember the name ADRIAN MARKS...a true hero....he landed his seaplane to rescue the men after being ordered not to do so.  They actually tied the men to the wings of the seaplane and the plane just b...a...r....e...l...y lifted out of the water!
(I just looked this up and I wrote a post about this in September of 2011.  You may read my post just here.

Here are three books that I recommend:
In Harm's Way by Doug Stanton
Fatal Voyage by Dan Kurzman
Left For Dead: A Young Man's Search for Justice for The USS Indianapolis by Hunter Scott and Pete Nelson

That last book...it is a continuing story about the Indianapolis and honestly, it deserves a movie all its own.  By the efforts of this 12 year old from Pensacola Florida, he and the remaining survivors were able to get the US Navy to reverse the dishonorable discharge that had been given to Captain McVay of the Indianapolis. (P.S.   From further reading...you might know how this played out. The US Navy did not EXACTLY reverse the ruling but somehow in a technical kind of way, exonerated the Captain without a full pardon, if you will.  Perhaps I have read this incorrectly. If so, I will be happy to come back and edit this. I to try to be honest and get things right on my blog.)

Hunter Scott is now Lt. Hunter Scott and is a Naval Aviator based in California.  And I have read that a movie about his connection to the USS Indianapolis is now in works.  So look out for it in the future! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Fixing A Hole/ Sundrops

Recently, one of our friends had to fix a hole in his ceiling.  Of course you know I had to call and sing a song into their answering machine. AND you must know which one it was!  "Fixing A Hole" is one of the songs from the album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".  I found a clip of Sir Paul doing this in concert, so I hope you like it.  (It says you can't see it, but just click on there and then, you can!)
Interesting to me, on the day that they were to record this, a man was at the door of the recording studio and he asked if he could come inside and listen to the Beatles as they were recording.  He said that he was Jesus.
Typical of Paul, he invited him in and gave him a cup of tea and asked him to sit quietly in the corner while they recorded this song. 
I love that story and I will think of it whenever I hear "Fixing A Hole".  Not that you hear much of the Beatles' music anymore...more's the pity.  
Now, I wonder, do you remember this song? Could you sing it? And do you ever call your friends and sing into an answering machine or am I the only one who thinks to do that? (I have sung "Happy Birthday" like Elvis for years...doesn't everyone?)

I wish that Sir Paul could see all the wildflowers blooming now at Stone Mountain, Panola Mountain and Arabia Mountain...they deserve a song! Sundrops or evening primroses(oenothera)...they are beautiful!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Buttercups- In England and Georgia! (Ranunculus)

What's up, Buttercup?  On Saturday, I was with another group that did a planting at Panola Mountain State Park. (Will tell you about this later, I promise!) There were some small yellow flowers that to me looked very much like the buttercups that I know in England. Well, guess what...it IS the same flower!  We saw a great mass of them growing near the wetlands area where we planted a certain kind of milkweed.  Reading the description, it makes sense that we saw it there since it says that they grow near water. (The name, "Ranunculus" is Latin for little frogs.)  The petals are described as "highly lustrous".  Yes, that sounds just right to me, they were very shiny, almost as if they had been freshly painted. 
They are native to Europe but they are also in North America.  It isn't clear if it is considered invasive...some sites had it listed as a "weed of some concern" but I saw it elsewhere as being perfectly fine if it is in a meadow setting, which is where we saw it.
I looked at a list of buttercups...the list showed 62 different varieties!  So...I only know the flower of the buttercup looked the same in England as the one that I saw in Georgia.  If it is not the same exact flower, it is closely related.   

"Build Me Up Buttercup" is a great song from 1968.  If you don't know it, you should!  (This was by The Foundations...did you know this was a British band, the first multi-racial band in the 1960's to have a hit in the UK? The songwriters are Mike d'Abo and Tony Macaulay. See what you learn from me!)