Saturday, December 31, 2011


We cut our first broccoli on Christmas Eve. It was quite large and delicious! As this is a new crop for us to grow, we are very pleased.

A week later, we cut another-- and it was even larger and just as tasty.

We thought this more mature, blooming broccoli head (in our neighbor's garden) was beautiful and had to wonder how it would taste.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The New Library

There is a new public library in town and it is on our side of town, very near my school. It is designed to be reminiscent of the Spanish missions that were in the area. We like the look.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fox Squirrel

We happened upon this fox squirrel up a tree in Jefferson County as we were taking a new-to-us back way to Monticello.

What a tail!! It just went on and on!
And then it took a flying leap!
We are participating in a survey of fox squirrels in Florida. So far, we have reported two and our son has reported some also. If you see one, you can report it at:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I Picked Antlers

When I was decorating the house for Christmas, a collection of deer antlers in the garage caught my eye. Three of them are from mule deer and are sizeable. I tied red cord around the ends and hung them with a large S-hook from my picking ladder that stands in our living room. It is from my home town and was used for many years to harvest citrus.  

I also took the antlers to school and the kids were very impressed!---as was a dad in a large pick-up truck who saw me taking them from my car. We read Imogene's Antlers, a fun story of a little girl who wakes up one morning to discover that she has grown antlers--big ones! caribou-sized! The kids enjoyed holding my antlers up to their heads and looking in the mirror.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Kitchen Tree

I decorated the house early in December, but I proposed to do things a little differently. Instead of buying a big, fresh tree as we have in the past few years, we decided we were happy with some simpler decorations. We put a tall, lit pencil tree on the screen porch just outside the glass doors, so we can see it from the living room. (Pencil trees, by the way, are those artificial trees that are tall and skinny and have a trunk with real bark on it.)  I put another, smaller pencil tree in the kitchen. All of the ornaments on this tree are food-related-- mostly gingerbread.

This little, ceramic  guy is made from Georgia red clay. Each year, I make them with my kindergartners. They cut the rolled clay with a cookie cutter, poking holes in the arms for the wire that will go in after they are fired in the school's kiln. Once cooled, acrylic puffy paint is the frosting and, sometimes, I have them use black sharpie pens for the black dot details. Oh, and to keep straight, whose is whose, each child puts their initials on the back by pressing alphabet macaroni letters into the wet clay. The macaoni burns up in the kiln but the impression of the initial is left in the clay.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

This Rat Snake Lost His Hiss

We came upon this smallish, gray rat snake on our walk around the neighborhood. We thought at first it was just chilly ....

but, no, it was rigor mortis instead: dead instead.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Who Cooks For You?

This beautiful barred owl was hanging out over the restroom building at the St. Marks Refuge.

 if you click on the picture, you can check out the talons.

This was one patient owl as I snapped lots of pictures, most of which were not clear in the deep shade and with my lens extended.  I think this is the longest I have been able to observe a barred owl. We frequently hear and, sometimes see, them in our neighborhood but we cannot see them well for any length of time. This was a thrill.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Seeing Red: Redfish!

This beautiful 26-inch redfish was caught near the St. Mark's Lighthouse on Sunday.

These are scales that even the Rainbow Fish (of children's stories) would be envious to have.

This fish was right at the top of the legal limit of not less than 18" or more than 27"; there is no closed season; and a limit of one fish per person per day. These fish grow rapidly, reaching 12" in the first year.

Below is a fun, short video of bull redfish striking topwater lures.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

When the Light is Right

When the light is right on the salt marshes at St. Marks, the colors can be stunning.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Koger Cokes Case

This display was in a Kogers grocery on the north side of Atlanta. Coke and Sprite cases were stacked in a most creative and impressive way.

Beary Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Toccoa Trout Fishing

At Thanksgiving, our three guys got to get in a little trout fishing, despite the drizzly weather.
This was not a pretty spot, but it was easily accessible and they were successful.

 Picture credit goes to Daniel. Nice job!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Working for Peanuts

In the Ingles grocery in north Georgia, we came across this bag of peanuts. Without a doubt, I have never seen a 50 pound bag of peanuts. The  price was $60. We had heard that the price of peanuts had shot up considerably due to the summer and fall drought in the south.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Exploring Blue Ridge

While the guys went fly fishing, we girls went to town--- after taking turns in the quirky water-heated showers. "Town" was Blue Ridge, Georgia on the Toccoa River. We happened upon their little Christmas lighting festival on the the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We had a good time walking through the shops.

This giant topiary moose was a popular place for pictures.

I liked this bench, too.

This restaurant has an impressive entrance.

I was standing admiring these large ice sculptures when I met up with two of my former students with their family. What a surprise for us all! It turns out they have a vacation house in the area. 

There was another surprise: live reindeer pulling a sleigh (on wheels).

An old train would take you on a ride to a nearby town for additional shopping options.

It was a fun few hours.