Wednesday, October 30, 2013

For The Birds

Television...don't even get me started on some of the things I see and hear.   There was something on Fox And Friends which was on just this morning and you may see it here.  If you can't stand to watch all of it, I can completely understand.  "Bald Eagle Was Extinct, but Science Saved It".  First of all, "extinct" means a species is NO LONGER LIVING, it is GONE forever!  The wording should have been "Extremely endangered, possibly on the VERGE of extinction!"  And to say that it only took a simple change on our part to change pesticides!  I find it very hard to believe that they could not see fit to even MENTION the name of Rachel Carson and the very difficult, uphill battle that she had to make this country understand the dangers of pesticides which she wrote about in her 1962 book, "Silent Spring".  (And I think that are in need of another voice like hers in 2013!)

Dusky Seaside Sparrow- Declared EXTINCT in 1990.

At Panola Mountain State Conservation Park, there is a protected open space called  "Power of Flight" area. (Just recently, Panola Mountain was designated an official "IBA" which means "Important Birding Area".)  For about 10 years now, they have done great work in restoring native grasslands in this area so as to attract more birds. The Atlanta Audubon Society also does bird bandings and bird counts there. Just this past Saturday, they asked for volunteers to hand-pick the native grass seed (Indian grass and blue-stem grass) and I am happy to tell you that I was one of the volunteers! (And this was just a really nice group of people, it was a pleasure to be with them.)  In amongst the tall grasses, my partner and I were able to get enough grass seed into our pillowcase to make it quite heavy by the end of the day. The Indian grass was quite tall and we were told to take the seeds off gently by placing our thumb on one side of the stalk and our fingers on the other side and to lift up and that the seeds would come right off. (If they did not, they were not ready, not to force them.)  The blue-stem grass seeds were like white, feathery tufts and for that, we turned the plant right into the pillow case and just shook them in.  (And when I say pillow-case, it is just what you think, just a clean cotton pillow-case, they find it is the easiest way to collect the grass seeds.)

It was a lovely day.  The Indian grass almost looked like stalks of wheat against a gorgeous blue sky and our small group gingerly walked in the thick grass with great purpose, placing the gathered seeds into our cases, with the soft sunshine shining down upon us, and a cool breeze blowing through the field.  We did this for almost four hours but I had no sense of time. Now and then, a very large moth would quickly fly about and it looked so much like a hummingbird that it made me shake my head in wonder. I thought it must be some kind of moth, and I learned from a blog from Scotland, of all places, that it was a hummingbird hawk moth! (I say "of all places" because I understand they don't even have them in Scotland.) The things that we learn from blogs! I love it!  Thanks, Bob from blueskyscotland!

Charlie Muize, the IBA co-coordinator, was our leader for this volunteer grass seed collection.  It was wonderful to hear his knowledge of birds and of this "Power of Flight" area.  At the end of the day, he asked us did we know why we were collecting these seeds and we all said, almost at the same time together, "for the birds".

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Model At Monadnocks! (Rabbit by Chas & Dave)


Arabia Mountain With Yellow Daisies At Sunset
Not sure if anyone else has noticed this, but I have a very bright pink shirt that is the coolest thing that I own...since it gets so very hot in Georgia, I wear it very often when I am climbing one of the mountains (or monadnocks, really) in this area.  I will cry when this poor shirt finally falls apart! (By "coolest" I mean it is the thinnest and therefore the most comfortable in hot weather. I rarely use the word "cool" in the sense that most people use it here.  Don't know why, but I dislike the use of the word...maybe because it implies that some people are not cool and therefore it seems disrespectful of others.)
To all my blogging friends, I am sorry that I have not been able to visit all of your blogs lately.  It's just that I have been very busy but I hope to get back to normal soon.  Well, as normal as I can be anyway. HA!

Stone Mountain- SAME Pink Shirt! HA!

I hope you will listen to this great song by Chas & Dave...I don't know WHY I thought of this song  to go with this post.  I am SURE that my sweet husband would NEVER think of singing this song to me...yes, I am sure of it.  Really.
On Top Of Panola Mountain-See I Really Do Have More Than One Shirt!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Vanished- POW/MIA

I just finished reading the most incredible book, "Vanished" by Wyl S. Hilton.  It will be published on November 5th but I was able to get an advanced reading copy.   (You may see a trailer about this book here. )  "Vanished" tells a remarkable story of some of  "The Long Rangers" from World War II.   On September 1, 1944, an American bomber left from the island of Palau in the South Pacific with eleven men aboard: it never returned.  The families were left with no explanation, or closure.  The book goes into great detail about grief, that is, for the families who have lost loved ones that are classified as missing in action that there is always the hope, unlikely as it is, that their loved ones are alive.  In the case of these eleven men, there were cruel rumors that some of them had survived and simply deserted their families.  The chapters in the book alternate between telling the background stories of the missing men and then telling of the efforts of all those who finally located the missing plane.  And the deep sea divers, archaeologists and explorers who worked so hard are worth every chapter that the author has included. One man in particular you will truly admire is Pat Scrannon. It is incredible to read of the years that this one man alone contributed. You may read more about him and the BentProp Project here.
I have written of Louis Zamperini... he was one of the "Long Rangers" of the South Pacific, so called due to the long range bombing missions which were the longest in American history. (Mr Zamperini crashed, survived for 47 days at sea and then spent two years as a POW.)  Even though many know of the fame of the airmen in Europe, few know of the airmen in the South Pacific.
The author also points out that when the airmen crashed into Europe, the remains of the plane were, for the most part, over land.  In the South Pacific, the ocean swallowed many of the planes and the bodies were never recovered. 
"Vanished" is a very special book to me.  I felt as I knew every one of these young men on the plane over the South Pacific and was quite emotional when...well, you just need to read the book, that's all I can say...
The photo that I have here is from the Veterans Day Dinner that I always attend with my Dad every November.  They always have one lone table set in a special way to honor and remember those who have been declared MIA (missing in action) or POW (prisoners of war). 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is the largest bird in Georgia. (I already showed you the smallest bird, the hummingbird!)  We see it almost every time that we walk the new trail at Lake Alexander.  At different locations beside the lake, we see it absolutely still, hunting for fish. Another time, we saw it very high up a tree (and we heard it before we saw it!)  And one memorable late afternoon, as we were walking over the boardwalk, I spotted what I thought could be a heron. It looked as if it were sitting amongst some high grass beside the wetlands next to a tree and since the neck of this bird perfectly mimics a gray branch, I couldn't be certain of what it was.  I asked Richard to snap a photo and then to look at it and enlarge the image..."Is it a bird or a limb?", I asked him.  In his dry English way, he said, "Well, it has an eye".
Oh, he does make me laugh!

If you would like to see another heron, then you should look at this post.  It is from my blogging friend, Meike from her visit to the Pumpkin Festival at the Ludwigsburg Palace in Germany! Meike lives in Ludwigsburg, so is able to visit the Palace and lovely grounds quite often! (You will be able to enjoy the flowers and pumpkin displays before you get to the heron at the very end!) Meike said that many walked right past the heron since it was standing so perfectly still.  The same goes for the heron that we see at this lake.  Very often, people there have no idea what they are passing by...they don't know what they are missing!  Today, we saw it in flight...a graceful, elegant bird, the legs trail out behind and those long wings...beautiful!

Just had to show you this photo of the early morning mist on the lake.  For Richard, this is becoming like the Houses of Parliament were for Claude Monet who painted those buildings in all kinds of light and weather. The same can be said for Richard and his photos of this new boardwalk.  Richard will scoff at me for comparing him to Monet...but honestly, his talent just stuns me, I am sure that all of you appreciate his artistic eye.


Friday, October 18, 2013


Anybody remember my post about the dog captured in a sunbeam?  You may read it here.  While serving in Afghanistan, this family's son rescued this dog.  After their son's death, they fought to bring the dog who they named HERO to the USA.  (The photo shows the dog going out into their backyard and the dog being bathed by a beam of sunlight, as if from heaven.) This TV broadcast tells us that this same family just had their house burn down on Tuesday. The dog was rescued but was not breathing...the firemen administered oxygen to the dog.  Hero is expected to make a full recovery!
 I am grateful that this dog survived.  (No one was home during the fire, another dog and two cats were also rescued.)  Thankfully, the family were able to save their son's medals and his American flag.

The title of this post is "Hero".  May I just say that Justin Rollins (the young man who gave his life in Afghanistan) and the firefighters are true heroes to me.  My prayers go out to the Rollins family in New Hampshire.  And I don't wish to sound flippant, but in case the Rollins family reads this, I want you to know that I hope Boston wins the World Series, I am sure that y'all are RED SOX fans!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Louis Zamperini- Unbroken, The Movie

"Unbroken", the movie, has just begun filming in Australia.  It has a release date of Dec. 25th, 2014. 
Remember the date! I have been waiting for years for Mr. Zamperini's story to come to life on the screen.  I first read his book "Devil At My Heels" in 2004 and I told you all about him in this post....   here.
Angelina Jolie will direct the movie and for the first promotional shot for the movie instead of having the stars line up for the camera, she posed with her head on the shoulder of Mr. Zamperini.  Some might say it looks cheesy or corny but I don't think so. I believe that her admiration for him is genuine and Mr. Zamperini seems very pleased to have her direct this movie. (She lives not far from him in Hollywood and they have become friends over the past months in preparation for this movie.)  He gave her a gold pendant in the shape of a running shoe, which is one of the first prizes that he won as a track star.  She had expressed that she will wear it during the entire filming of the movie.  The actor who will portray Mr. Zamperini is Jack O'Connell, a young man from England! The other two young actors cast are Domhnall Gleeson (Irish) and Finn Wittrock (American).  They will portray the other men who were in the life-raft with Louis Zamperini. ( Funny how well those from England and Ireland can do the American accents so well!)  And the man who will play the Japanese guard in the prison camp will be a Japanese musician by the name of Miyavi. Apparently, he is a very popular star in Japan, one of the biggest ones, from what I have read.
Oh! And the Cohen brothers have written the screenplay for the movie. ("O, Brother Where Art Thou" is one of my favorites that they have done!)

If you don't know one thing about me, know this:  I have the utmost regard and respect for Louis Zamperini and his story is one that I believe that EVERYONE should know!  Richard and I just watched the movie, "The Life of Pi" and all I could think of was this...why in the world was a book of fiction so popular when there is the inspiring true story of Louis Zamperini?  He was adrift at sea for 47 days but was picked up by the Japanese and then spent two years in Japanese POW camps where he was brutally tortured. He went through very tough times after the war but turned his life around after hearing Billy Graham in the early years of his ministry.  Louis Zamperini is a Christian and makes no bones about it, but at the same time, he is very much against hitting folks over the head with a Bible, he simply leads an astonishing Christian life.  He has been an inspirational speaker for decades and at the age of 96, is still available for public speaking.  Unbroken, indeed!
(Mr. Zamperini passed away on July 2, 2014.  May he rest in peace.)

This movie will be a must-see for me!

Angelina Jolie and Louis Zamperini

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Safe Journey Little Hummingbird

October 5th was the last day that I saw a hummingbird at the feeder. There were some pesky yellow- jackets that also wanted some of the sugar water and I just happened to snap a photo when the bird looked over at me as if to say, "Hey, could you not get rid of this guy?". 
This incredible little bird will fly all the way to Mexico and will return in the Spring. They fatten up as much as possible before the long flight.  I would like to think that I helped this little creature on its journey.  Adios amigo...goodbye friend! 
The hummingbird is the smallest bird that we have seen in this area. I want to tell you about some of the bigger birds that Richard and I have seen, but that has to wait for another post.  Yes, I do love birds, in case you were wondering.   I hope you love them too!


Friday, October 11, 2013

The Clapping Song-Updated

Anybody remember this from school recess?  It is the Clapping Song, we would say this and we would clap our hands in a certain way...clap both hands on lap, then clap hands together, clap your right hand against right hand of girl sitting opposite you,  clap hands together again, and then the left hand of girl opposite, and then both girls clap the girl's hands opposite, then start again...

Three, six, nine
Goose drank wine
Monkey chewed tobacco on the street car-line.
Line broke, monkey got choked
And they all went to heaven on a little rowboat.

It occurred to me that this little rhyme would never do for these days and times and so here is how it might be re-written for this century...

Three, six, nine
The Goose is in AA
The Monkey gave up all tobacco products.
OSHA got involved about the broken street car-line,
and the case has been tied up in courts for years with no resolution in sight.
And we can't mention heaven because we are in school.

Oh dear, that just does not have the same kind of rhythm, does it?

Does this bring any memories back for anyone?  Shirley Ellis had a hit with "The Clapping Song" in 1965.  She wrote the song along with Lincoln Chase.  They also had a hit a few years earlier with "The Name Game".  Remember that one?

Sunset At Arabia Mountain- Something to clap about!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Recently, on the same day of the special wildflower planting day (which I still need to do a post about, I am remembering), I felt that I just HAD to get over to the trail at Panola Mountain which is the rock outcrop trail...and I am so glad that did!  It was midday and there was a shaft of sunlight filtering through the trees and it was as if a special spotlight was shining upon this...

WOW!  It just stopped me in my tracks, I can tell you.  It is called a strawberry bush, hearts-a-busting-with-love, or simply hearts-a-bustin'. The seed pod is bright pink and the seeds are bright orange.  (Some descriptions call this red, but to my eyes, the colors are pink and orange.)
There was a little cartoon character showing the way of the trail, and I wonder how many noticed that bush just behind him with these brightly colored berries and bright seed pod?
Euonymus americanus is a small shrub with spreading crown, few branches, 6 to 8 feet tall.  In thick woods, swampy areas and margin forests.  Fruit- a leathery capsule that turns scarlet at maturity.
Yep, that's it but this dry description in no way descibes the beauty of that bright pink and deep orange color!
How about you?  Anything stopped you in your tracks lately?  No? Well, get out there and find something beautiful and tell me about it on one of my future posts, okay? No time limit, just look for beauty wherever you are!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Magnificent Monarchs...Missing

At this time last year, Richard and I witnessed monarch butterflies, hundreds of them, flying above  us over Arabia Mountain.  Many of them landed on the Yellow Daisies and they were just breathtakingly beautiful.  It was indeed magical, having that many butterflies over and around us...

This year, we have not seen one single monarch butterfly.  The reason? It seems that it is a combination of the weather and the use of a certain herbicide that is familiarly known as "Round-Up".  I found an interesting article and you may read it here.

Let us not lose these magnificent monarchs!

 (How are your butterflies in YOUR part of the world? If  it is too cold now, how WERE they in the warmer months?)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Go Braves!


The Atlanta Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers last night in the second game of the play-offs, 4-3.
(The Dodgers won the first one.)  I so wish I could have been there!  It looked as if almost everyone was on their feet chopping away for this exciting yet nail-biting baseball game. 

It has given me great pleasure to watch the Braves this year.  I always call my Dad and we "watch" the game together and discuss what we think will happen...My Dad's TV is at least 7 or 8 seconds before mine (he has satellite and I have cable) so you just can't imagine how fun it is to hear a low whistle or joyful shout and then I know the Braves have either had a good hit OR a homerun!   ("Oh, he struck out", I will say with great dismay, and my Dad will laugh and say, "Why, he's already sitting in the dugout!").


 Here is a sign that someone was holding up in the stands at last night's game:

GO BRAVES!      

The last time that we had a government shut-down was 1995 which was the only year that the Atlanta Braves won the World Series!

The Braves will be in California on Sunday for the next game against the LA Dodgers.  Leaving you with one of my favorite videos, it is Harpo Marx playing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame".  I have had this on my blog before, but it is worth sharing again!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Glenn Tilbrook at Smith's Olde Bar- Sept. 18, 2013

Guess what?!  Glenn Tilbrook from Squeeze was at Smith's Olde Bar on Sept. 18th.
I couldn't make it but I found a video on YouTube for you... go on and watch it and do the dance that he instructs you to know you want to!  What fun! I so wish that I could have been there and been one of those he asked to come up on the stage with him!
 You can't help but notice that there are some really, really BAD singers that are singing along with him. (You can hear this even more on some of the other songs on YouTube.)  The main thing that I want you to see is the absolute joy that is generated on this stage by the musical talent of Glenn Tilbrook. 

Anybody else notice that Smith's Olde Bar is the same place where my son's band, The Sevens performed just a few days earlier?  Okay, they were in the lower level where they have the new bands but still...

Leaving you with a photo of a new trail at Panola Mountain. The trail is quite wide, it almost looks like a road, doesn't it?  Can't wait for all those trees to turn to their autumn colors!