Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dogwood Trees/ Poinsettias

Do you know the legend of the Dogwood tree?  On our hike up Panola Mountain on Saturday, the dogwood trees were in full bloom and were gorgeous. Some of the people on this hike did not know this tree and they did not know its connection to Easter.  
At the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood had reached the size of the mighty oak tree. So strong and firm was the wood that it was chosen as the timber for Jesus' cross.
     To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the dogwood. While nailed upon it, Jesus sensed this, and in his compassion said. "Because of your pity for my suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth, it shall be slender, bent, and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross–two long and two short petals.      "In the center of the outer edge of each petal will be the print of nails. In the center of the flower, stained with blood, will be a crown of thorns so that all who see it will remember."

When I saw that date for Easter this year, I thought that the Dogwood trees would be long past blooming, but that was not so: the trees have been blooming for weeks now but they were at their peak on Easter Sunday.  Perfect.

The crown like center in the middle are really the flowers, the petals are the bracts.  This should remind you of the plant associated with Christmas, the poinsettia. It is the same, the middle part would be the tiny flowers and the red part that most would think of as the flower are really the bracts.   Joel R. Poinsett brought this plant back from Mexico.  You should click on that link and read about him, I knew that the poinsettia was named after him, but I had no idea what a fascinating man he truly was...if I were a movie maker, I would make a movie about him! 
Recently, Meike from her blog in Germany showed us some beautiful flowers from the gardens at Ludwigsburg Palace and they were called Euphorbia.  The poinsettia must be related to those same flowers as the poinsettia is Euphorbia pulcherrima!

Today is the anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare. (That is how my church would say it, so much better than saying "birthday", don't you think?)  Tomorrow, is my Dad's 87th birthday!  My Dad played a nice game on Sunday of tossing a few beanbags (strict rules...27 feet from the target!), the game is called Cornhole!  I got that darn beanbag into the hole ONCE and ONCE only!  AHHH!! How in the world did I ever do it? God only knows!


 See the wood box beside my Dad in the photo above?  There is another one just like it EXACTLY 27 feet away and that is what he is aiming for! 

"My glass shall not persuade me I am old".  
 Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Butterfly Hike At Panola Mountain

Beautiful hike up Panola Mountain was a scheduled Butterfly Hike but as it was a very cool rainy day we did not see one butterfly!  No matter, I always want to hike the mountain and I was hoping to see the lilies that bloom there only in the Spring.

The lake at the base of Panola Mountain is a very nice sight at any time of the year, but with all the Spring greens and the dogwood trees that are still blooming, it was truly stunning.
Once again, it was a nice group of people and Phil was our guide, the same guide that took us on the wildflower hike!  Thanks, Phil! I will remember to bring a pad and pen on our next hike to take notes so I can remember more of the birds and plants that you tell us about!
The moss was emerald in the rain and the diamorpha  was beautiful with their white blooming flowers.  Remember that Panola Mountain has restricted access so you can see how it grows when it is not trampled upon by large groups of people!

We were lucky that we only had a light drizzle.  You can see how overcast it was!
This is called a Fringe Tree and the blossoms are very showy!

Panola Mountain is covered with such a diversity of plants that it is a stunning sight. 
I was very happy to see these lilies!  They are atamasco lilies and they are lovely.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.

(This is the last verse of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, written by Julia Ward Howe.) 
Even though we didn't see any butterflies today, this is Georgia and it will be sunny and hot very soon and there will be lots of butterflies to enjoy.  For today, the cool mist and fresh air was wonderful!  Happy Easter to everyone!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Will Sing The Wondrous Story

Thinking of this coming Sunday which will be Easter, I was reminded of a hymn, " I Will Sing The Wondrous Story".    In the Episcopal church, this song is sung to the tune of "Hyfrydol" but in the Baptist church (the church from my childhood), it is sung to a tune by Peter B. Bilhorn (who wrote over 2000 hymns!).  The lyrics are by Francis H. Rowley, written in 1886.  The Rev. Rowley was not only a Baptist preacher but also an author and an advocate for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

This first video is of this song to the tune of "Hyfrydol" which in Welsh means "cheerful".  Sometimes, I think this is sung too slowly but this seems just right to me.  (This same tune is used for some other songs in the Episcopal church, one of my favorites is "Alleluia, Sing To Jesus", another beautiful hymn sung at Easter.)

This second video is of this same song but it is with the tune that I know from my childhood. This is from a Baptist church in Alabama.  Both versions are very dear to me.  I love them both.  After all, I am Georgia Girl With An English Heart, you know!

And the man who wrote the tune, Peter P. Bilhorn?  I was pleased to read that in 1900, he was invited to London to lead a choir of 4000 in  the Crystal Palace!  Queen Victoria also invited him to  Buckingham Palace.  (I believe that these men received the most satisfaction for knowing that their music and words went to the glory of God, but it still makes me glad that they were recognized and appreciated for their musical talents.)

No matter what tune is used, the words are strong and powerful and I have them for you here.
Do you have a favorite Easter hymn? Sing it!

 (I know that tomorrow is Good Friday, and one of the most moving hymns for that day is "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord".

  1. I will sing the wondrous story
    Of the Christ Who died for me;
    How He left His home in glory
    For the cross of Calvary.

    • Refrain:
      Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story
      Of the Christ Who died for me,
      Sing it with the saints in glory,
      Gathered by the crystal sea.
  2. I was lost, but Jesus found me,
    Found the sheep that went astray,
    Threw His loving arms around me,
    Drew me back into His way.
  3. I was bruised, but Jesus healed me,
    Faint was I from many a fall,
    Sight was gone, and fears possessed me,
    But He freed me from them all.
  4. Days of darkness still come o’er me,
    Sorrow’s path I often tread,
    But His presence still is with me;
    By His guiding hand I’m led.
  5. He will keep me till the river
    Rolls its waters at my feet;
    Then He’ll bear me safely over,
    Where the loved ones I shall meet.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Atlanta Braves Grand Slam-Phillies Fans Reaction

Even if you don't know one thing about baseball, you should watch this video that I have here for you!  The Atlanta Braves played the Philadelphia Phillies last night.  The Phillies were ahead in the 9th inning and Dan Uggla came to bat with the bases loaded.  When the batter hits a HOMERUN with the bases loaded, that is called a GRAND SLAM, and it scores 4 runs!  That is just what Dan Uggla did!!!!  (Four exclamation points there.)   The Philly fans were taunting Dan Uggla while he was at bat and this video of their reaction to the homerun is priceless!  HA!  I love it!  Anybody from Philly might not find it so amusing!  The final score of the game was 9-6.   GO BRAVES!!!
 Oh dear, I just looked back at this blog and it says you can't see it on here...never mind, you can find it, it's out there. Watch it if you get the chance!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Morning Has Broken

"Morning Has Broken" is a hymn that is in the Hymnal in the Episcopal Church.  You might remember it was a hit by Cat Stevens if you know anything about music or if you were alive in the 1970's.  Many people think that he is the author of  this song as he is so closely identified with it, but he did not write it.  In 1931, an English poet and children's author by the name of Eleanor Farjeon  was asked to write the lyrics to a beautiful melody from Scotland called "Bunessan".  (Please, I hope no one takes offense...if it is Irish/Scottish/Welsh...I truly love this tune and it matters not from whence it came, it makes a lovely hymn and I am happy that it was made into a well received pop song.)
She wrote the words being inspired by the beauty of the English countryside, from Alfriston in East Sussex.
We sing this song at our church and I have a special fondness for it as I asked for it to be played at our wedding, also from the long ago time of June of 1983!
Hey! For people of the USA, tomorrow on April 15th, Arby's is giving away FREE curly fries!
Also, at Hard Rock Cafe, if you go after 5PM and sing a song in its entirety in front of the whole restaurant, you will be awarded a FREE entree! I cannot imagine how much booze you would have to give me to make me stand up in front of people and talk, let alone sing! This is in honor (or to make the day a bit easier to bear?) of it being the last day in which to file your income taxes! That is what I heard on TV  but I think it is really in honor of my birthday tomorrow! That is the real reason, I am sure of it! 
Okay now, think of me when you are eating those curly fries!
  Who loves ya, baby? (This is also a quote that is a blast from the past...anybody remember who said that?)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Arabia Mountain- Amazing In April!

The wildflowers on Arabia Mountain are at their peak just now.  My husband, Richard, loves to take photos of them and he allows me to share them here with you.  Enjoy.

The bright red Diamorpha is a joy to behold but incredibly the plant blooms with a tiny white cross-like flower in the Spring. Gorgeous!

JOY! Before I knew what these were called, I used to call these "joyflowers" because they gave me such joy! They are called SANDWORT.  ("Wort" is an Old English word which means "root", something I learned in my reading...I am not a botanist or a linguist!)
Can you see the white blooms on the Diamorpha, the yellow of the Hairy Groundsel and the spring greens of the trees?  Beauty in lots of colors!
In this photo, you can see a closer view of the Hairy Groundsel. It was bright yellow in the sun!
What a delightful name for a flower! These are Sunnybells!
My husband and I truly love walking at Arabia Mountain. The view on the horizon, the clouds, the wildflowers, the pools of water, the trees...even the rock itself  is a different color depending on how the sunlight falls upon it.  I just met a woman on a walk at Panola Mountain and when I asked her if she was familiar with Arabia, she told me that she had "trained" by running up the mountain. I suggested that she might want to go back and LOOK at what she must have missed! There are lots of paved trails but Arabia Mountain itself...I am sorry, but I think this is something special and should be treated as such.
Even though Arabia Mountain was heavily quarried for many years, the wonder of Nature is taking it back but only for those who have the eyes to see it!
Toadflax - Very hard to photograph, the color is a gorgeous shade of lavender!

It is as if these flowers are blooming on solid rock, but of course, it is just a very small amount of soil that has collected on the rock that supports this plant, the magnificent Diamorpha. (Elf orpine it is called but since it is Diamorpha smalli, we have always called it Diamorpha!) 
  Hope you liked this hike with us at Arabia Mountain.  All of these photos were taken late afternoon on April 11th.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
(I have so many posts that I have in mind for you, but as always, very little time to compose my thoughts!)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Birds and Butterflies at Panola/ Sunnybells at Arabia!

After my hike at Panola Mountain on Saturday, I was the only one from our hike who went on the bird walk at Alexander Lake!  But you knew I would, didn't you??  (In defense of the other hikers on this day, many of them came from some distance away and some had other commitments that could not be changed at the last minute.  Me, I had TONS of housework that needed doing, but hey, it wasn't going anywhere, was it?)

There were a total of five us on the bird walk including our guide, Phil. (The other folks didn't know about the first hike, but they expressed doubt that they could have done it. ! They have no idea how easy it is!)  The most wonderful thing, one of the guys, Jack, had brought a gigantic scope on a tripod to see birds!  We were able to get to some wetlands that they have on the Power of Flight area at Panola Mountain. It is an open meadow where they have worked for years to get it back into a natural state. (This is same spot where I did the wildflower planting and grass seed collecting this past September.) Phil said that we must have heard and seen at least 30 species.  Not bad for two o'clock in the afternoon!
Two birds that I have never seen before were at the wetlands...a blue winged teal duck and a semipalmated sandpiper, both so lovely that I said that I wished that could do a painting of them! Sorry I could not get a photo of the birds for you but we saw butterflies too!  I found a video for you. Most of these photos were taken at the Power of Flight area!
   I took this photo of the dogwood blooms against a blue sky on Saturday...
And Richard took this photo the next day at Arabia Mountain! They are Sunnybells!