Monday, April 27, 2015

Monarch Butterfly - Chrysalis Tree!

Please take the time to read a wonderful post about the magnificent Monarch butterfly by Sharon may find her post just here!   She tells us what we must do to save the butterflies!  Sharon is a fantastic writer and quite honestly is someone that I truly admire, a great lover of nature and words.

The most marvelous thing, Sharon received a gift of a chrysalis tree....a twiggy tree with monarch butterfly cocoons on the branches!  Can anyone imagine receiving such a gift?  What a wonder!

(Also, Sharon has a giveaway on there for a teak table for your patio or need to email her and you must be in the continental United States, but if you are interested, then you can say I told you about it!)

I have written about the Monarch butterflies before.  We saw hundreds of them on Arabia Mountain the first week of  October in 2012 but we have never seen them in large numbers like that since then. We need to do all we can for the Monarch butterfly, we CANNOT lose this beauty, we MUST NOT.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

To Mr. Flynt With Love

James Flynt died last year.  He was the Social Studies teacher that I had in 6th grade (I was about 11 years old) and when I saw him just a few years ago, he still remembered me.  Not only did he know my face but he even remembered my name!  It made me think of some teachers that I really liked: Mrs. Faye Pemberton, Miss Elizabeth G. Sanders, Gwen Ellington and Jane McDevitt.   I had some bad teachers but I have erased them from my memory and it is only the kind ones, the ones who really cared about their students that I remember.  You may read Mr. Flynt's obituary  here.  It states that he was a retired educator and taught in Rockdale County for his entire career.  It SHOULD state that he was the most patient of teachers, trying his best to make a certain girl learn the difference between latitude and longitude!  I have a fond memory of him softly saying, "Those lines are just imaginary, Kay"...and that just brought to my mind the image of the entire Earth teeming with life and love. The lines are just there for us to measure and make sense of things.

Did you have a teacher that you remember with fondness?

You might think me corny to have the song "To Sir With Love" on here but it is appropriate.  I also had Mr. Flynt as a teacher a few years later, when I was 13 years old, so you see, from crayons to perfume...that is just about right!

Lulu starred in the movie "To Sir With Love" and sang the title song. (You can guess that I loved that movie!)   Lulu is still going strong, by the way, she just released a new album this month! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

In Memory of the Armenians/The Great Crime

April 24, is one hundred years since the Armenian Genocide. (The Armenians call it Medz Yeghern, the Great Crime".)   I wonder how many AMERICANS know about it?  If you click on that link I gave you, you can read about it.   I really believe that we need to recognize and come to terms with what has happened in history, no matter how brutal the facts may be.  I warn you, some of the images are hard to view.  They are not sure how many were killed, I have seen reports of over one million, many of them children. 

     Henry Morgenthau, Sr.   was the American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during that time and due to his writings and speeches about the Armenian genocide was able to be the driving force behind the Near East Society which raised over $100 million in aid ($1 billion in today's money).

Armenian Genocide Centennial Logo.png


And by the way, I only put capitals on AMERICANS up there because for me, the word "Americans" and "Armenians" look so much alike but hey, that is just me!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

One Touch of Nature

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin".
William Shakespeare
Thank you to all who left such thoughtful comments on my last two posts about the lakes at Panola Mountain State Park.  I will keep you updated on what happens there, I promise!
Today is the anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare and also it is St. George's Day, the Patron saint of England.  Richard tells me that at one time, people used to wear a rose on this day. (Do they still do this? Someone from England could tell me!)
How about some red diamorpha in honor of this day?
Yes, I think that will do nicely!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

That Dam Meeting About The Draining of the Lakes!

Okay, let's see if I am understanding the situation regarding the draining of the lakes at Panola Mountain State Park...
There are two earthen dams holding back the water at Alexander Lakes. One of the dams is owned by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the other one is owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
The issue seems to be with the dam which is owned by GDOT.  Engineers have observed "seeping" from the earthen dam which is on the lower lake.  We learned from the meeting that even though the dam is not dangerous at this time, it is felt that it is only a matter of time until the dam will fail.
In the state of Georgia, we have the Safe Dams Program.  I think this was put into place after the tragedy in Toccoa, Georgia of the  Kelly Barnes Dam where 39 people died (this was in November 1977).    

Now, back to turns out that the reason behind the purchase of this property was for the purpose of mitigation credits for GDOT.   Mitigation credits...I had never heard of this before.  You may read more about it just here.   If you are still with me, it turns out that the lower lake with the dam owned by GDOT was always intended to be drained and to be turned into a "wetlands', which we were assured will be a STREAM and not a SWAMP, as one of those in attendance at the meeting suggested that it might become! Once the level of the lake is lowered, there will be observation of the second dam and it is  HOPED that the second upper lake will be saved.  We shall see.

Now... about the meeting... it was packed!  And all who were present were obviously passionate .about Panola Mountain State Park and the beautiful Alexander Lakes!  One of those who stood up and asked several questions about the lake drainage, was Charlie Muise.  Charlie is with the Audubon Society and of course, showed his concern for the environmental side of it.  (Charlie was the one who was responsible for having Panola Mountain named as an IBA,   Important Birding Area.).  The meeting went on for almost two hours and there were so many questions, they had to almost push folks out of the door!  (For myself, I was so hungry, I wanted to say, "Don't you guys have any DAM food?" HA!)   Seriously, I should remind myself that I shouldn't go anywhere after a long day at work, I am getting too old to do things like that!  Still, I am glad that we went, I really don't know if I understand it all completely, but what I took away from it is that ONE of the lakes MIGHT be saved.  So...fingers crossed! 
 Happy  Earth  Day! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Alexander Lakes at Panola Mountain- To Be DRAINED?

 The decision has been made to drain the lakes at Panola Mountain.  There is to be a meeting tomorrow afternoon at Panola Mountain State Park in regards to this and even though I have to work tomorrow and will have to go straight there after a crazy day at work, I still hope to attend.  If I can't make it, then I hope someone will read this post...
This is very important to me.  There is a really lovely lake loop trail that skirts around the lake and a beautiful bridge/boardwalk that crosses over the water at one end. Why have a lake loop trail with no lake?   More importantly, it saddens me to think of all the wildlife that would be affected by the loss of this habitat.


Alexander Lakes are lovely in every season and every time of day.. It is my hope that somehow they will be saved. 
I wonder, will there be any person at the meeting who will beg them not to drain the lakes?  If not, then it is my hope that someone in charge of this will read this post and realize how important the lakes are, not just for the beauty alone, but for all the creatures who make these lakes their home. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Fringe Tree- Arabia Mountain/ Monastery

Thanks for the well wishes for my April birthday!  My Dad has a birthday coming up soon and so, this morning, I visited the gift shop at the Monastery to buy my Dad a few presents....

There was a misty rain falling and as I walked near the gift shop building, there was a sight that stopped me in my tracks.  It was a tree, not just any tree...but it was the same tree that I had seen blooming on the top of Arabia Mountain!  It was a fringe tree.  Oh my, what a beauty.  You may read more about the fringe tree in an article that I found in the Southern Living Magazine, it is entitled "The Best Native Tree That No One Knows", you may read it here.  (Chionanthus virginicus, Fringe Tree, Old Man's Beard or Grancy Greybeard...whatever you call it, I think it is lovely.)

When I was admiring the tree, one of the monks walked past me and I told him how pleased I was to see the fringe tree given such a prominent spot.  He told me that he didn't know what kind of tree that it was and that it was there when they built the building!  (The Monastery was built in the 1940's but the Gift Shop is fairly new.)  I love that they saved this native tree and gave it such a place of honor, very close to the front door! You see, the monks are like me...we might not know all the names of plants and trees but we know beauty when we see it!

Okey dokey, I told you it is a beautiful tree.  See if you agree...

Fringe Tree On Arabia Mountain-photo taken in the sun on April 11th.

This is a close up of the blossom on the fringe tree-taken in misty rain on April 12th.


If you are wondering what I got for my Dad at the gift shop from the Monastery... it was stone ground grits, some Virginia peanuts and a jar of FROG jam!  In case you think that last one is some kind of strange Southern food, it is simply jam made of Fig, Raspberry, Orange and Ginger!  The monk in the shop told me that the jam is one of their biggest sellers!

If you notice, I have a post about the Monastery on the side of my is my most viewed post!  The Monastery is a place of great beauty and peace and I am thankful that it is close to me ...and the Monastery is just down the road from Arabia Mountain!