Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Scenic Driving Tour

We took a scenic driving tour around the Warm Springs, Georgia  area. We stopped at the historic Little White House where Franklin Roosevelt lived when he came to “take the waters” in the warm springs. It was our first visit there and there was a lot to hold my attention, besides this little house. 100_9194

The museum contains many items related to Roosevelt but two were of great interest. The first was a stage coach, completely restored, that originally ran from Columbus, Georgia to Warm Springs in the very early 1800’s. It brought many Florida coast residents who had taken riverboats up the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers in the summer to escape all the killer diseases that plagued them, such as malaria. It was later used in ceremonial parades when Roosevelt won the presidential election four consecutive times.

The other was a large collection of hand-carved wooden canes that had been gifts to Roosevelt, who suffered from the effects of polio that struck him in his early thirties.

As we continued on, we drove through a covered bridge.


We crossed the Flint River twice. At one place where the rocks create shallow shoals, the turtles were quite numerous. In addition to the shells you can see, there were lots more heads poking out of the water.


It was more turtles than I think I ever saw at once.


We passed these antennas that were referred to as the UFO antennas. Not sure what that story was. Maybe just a local joke.


It rained most of the drive, which was one reason we decided to go exploring: it was dry IN the car. But one time the sun came out and a beautiful rainbow was visible for only a few minutes.



I was not able to get back far enough to get the whole thing. But I liked the idea of my car being at the end of rainbow.


It was a nice drive. Worth checking out if you go to the area.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Callaway’s Colorful Chapel

While at Callaway Gardens, we visited the little stone chapel.


This is the altar area.


This is the narthex window.


Here is a detail of the narthex window. I love the leaf/needle/cone patterns.




Beautiful and peaceful.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Callaway’s Fall Colors

Callaway Gardens knows how to paint with flowers. This month it was mums that were used in mass plantings.



But there were other plants that caught my eye, such as this hand of bananas with the large bloom still attached:


And this large, gaudy bromeliad:



And the jewels of water droplets on this elephant ear.


So much to see in a day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Enraptured By the Raptors

We went to see a brief presentation at Callaway Gardens about raptors. I have to admit, my expectations were rather low, but Callaway ladies in the hallways assured us that we should go to see it. So we did. It was a highlight of the day.

Three birds were introduced, one at a time. This Harris’ hawk was first. It is a resident of the desert southwest.


It is a really beautiful bird. We were told it sees four times faster than we do.



The next was a great horned owl.


Their hearing is so good that sitting there, it could hear us breathing. As it flew past it could hear our hearts beat. It could hear a mouse under two feet of snow.


I love this low-profile pose.


The final bird was a black vulture.

See those white legs? We were told that vultures’ legs are actually black. It is designed to urinate/poop down its own legs to help disinfect them from its food sources. Another lovely little fact I had heard before: they have a  self-defense strategy of vomiting on their predators. Would work for me! But one thing I did not know is that most birds have NO sense of smell. I can sure see how that might be helpful in the line of work that vultures are in.


All of the birds have been damaged in some way and can not survive in the wild and so have been somewhat trained to fly, untethered, from perch to perch. They came zooming down this center aisle right past my head. Here comes the vulture!



“Look alive, kids!” ---that is what my dad used to say when there were vultures (buzzards) flying over us.

It was a fascinating show!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Butterflies at Callaway Gardens

We took a four-day weekend camping trip to Pine Mountain, Georgia. On Saturday, we spent hours and hours at Callaway Gardens. It had been several years since we had been there—think, decade! One of our favorite exhibits is the butterfly building. In the display below are rows of several varieties of chrysalises, all waiting for just the right moment to hatch. You can see a butterfly has emerged and is still hanging onto its shell of the chrysalis. I wanted to see one as it was coming out, but did not have the time needed to stand and watch.


In the building are full-sized trees and flowering plants made into a beautiful indoor garden. Flying around in there are many butterflies.

Here are some that I was able to photograph; unfortunately, I do not have the names for most of them.

This one’s golden wings shimmered. I guess it helps to hide in dappled sunlight.


This one looks like blue corduroy.



This one looks to be some kind of luna moth. As B said, it looks like it has crossed its legs. Of course, it is actually part of the swallowtail and the little legs are completely hidden from this view.


These owl butterflies were feeding on fruit.


It was a fun walk through this garden and it was obviously a popular place for both young and old, as well as for those of us somewhere in the middle.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mailbox Monday: True Fans

Garnet and Gold for FSU, my alma mater!!


Georgia Bulldogs


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Where’d the Water Go?

We made a visit to St. Mark’s Wildlife Refuge on Sunday. The first real cold front of the season had come through and it was cold and windy, with temperatures in the upper 40’s.

We know that a stiff north wind can blow the water out from shore and we saw the St. Mark’s River was way low, but we were surprised to see the mud flats back in the first pool on the east side.


This was the same place where I took B’s picture in mid-August when a storm was rolling in.


I will say it was windier that day.

It made us wonder if perhaps the dike that holds the water in had broken again.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Tiger ON My Tank

This pretty baby was on my car one morning this week.


Look at it from the front. Doesn’t it give a distinctly rodent-face look?


According to my quick research, this is a virgin tiger moth, Grammia virgo. The hind wings are a lovely orange but we only saw that in the photos and drawings of other moths. The hint of the golden body can be seen in the first photo. Anyway you look at it, it was pretty spectacular in its pattern.

By the way, the larvae of this species are some of those we call wooly bears, though wooly bears can be the name for other species, as well.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Still Hanging Around

The night that I watched 5 raccoons trying to all climb our platform feeder at once was the night we decided to stop refilling that buffet. Their hog-like grunting was just a bit creepy and they were coming right up by our new porch. I have previously written of our need to keep our garbage cans closed with bungee cord to keep them out. And these strategies have seemed successful.

Last Saturday morning, I sat out on the porch and watched as a single adult raccoon walked/climbed head-first down an oak, from somewhere really high up. It sat/sprawled in a fork in the tree and groomed/scratched for some time.



After a while, it went out on a limb, so to speak.



From there, it finally seemed aware of me.



Sooooo……Are you gonna to put something on that platform feeder today or what?             I’m WAITING!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Yellow is the Color of October

Yellow hurricane lilies.


Yellow swamp sunflowers.


(They thrive around the palm.)


Yellow goldenrod, full of bees and wasps--- and the occasional green anole, come to feed on the bees and wasps.


The poor thyrallis that got torn apart in a windy thunderstorm on Saturday.


Yellow rudbeckia that I call Koosh Balls, because that is exactly what they look like as they are opening. FYI: Koosh balls are made of cut rubber bands, tied in the middle. They are very soft and make a wonderful ball for juggling and using as a beanbag substitute.


A much smaller rudbeckia.


A small sulfur butterfly in a kindergartner’s hand.


Yep! Yellow is the color of October.