NC Barn Quilts Trails

Posted by on Dec 7, 2011 in Favorite Places, My Blog, NC Barn Quilt Trails | 0 comments

NC Barn Quilts Trails

In May, 2011 a good friend and I set out on our first non-guided tour of McDowell County Barn Quilt Trail.  We really had no idea what to expect and the two of us are known to be “up for new experiences.”  Neither of us has ever met a stranger…well, not one that remained a stranger more than a New York minute!  The drive was an easy one and picturesque along the way.  I had researched the Barn Quilt Trail on-line before we started out so we more or less had mapped out our day’s schedule.  The quilt featured in this post is “Arrowheads” which is on the exterior wall of the Town Hall in Old Fort, NC.  The quilts are all authentic barn quilt designs and sanctioned by and registered with  the McDowell County Arts Council.  To get more information or apply to host a Barn Quilt on your property visit  http://www.mcdowellquilttrail.org....

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After the Rain

Posted by on Dec 7, 2011 in Backyard Birds, Birds, My Blog, Statesville, NC | 0 comments

After the Rain

Sometimes the activity of birds let us know when weather changes are coming.  There’s always a flurry around my backyard feeders that alerts me that inclement weather is on its way.  The birds seem to be getting their last bit of food in case of extended weather that might prevent them from nourishing themselves for a while.  Come to think of it, we humans do the same thing!  I always chuckle to myself when a weather report indicates snow or ice may be just around the corner.  The bread and milk shelves at the grocery store seem empty awfully quick.  One can see almost all your acquaintances in the check-out lines. As today’s rain began to slow down, the feeders were heavily populated once more and some were perched on high at the holly tree fluffing their feathers as they caught a nice soft bath compliments of our...

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Posted by on Dec 3, 2011 in Favorite Places, Statesville, NC | 0 comments

The City of Statesville, NC, All-America City in 1997 & 2010, has been known for many years as the City of Progress.  The name was appropriately chosen because our fine, small city has many attributes that have guided and nourished our community for many decades.  We have a progressive-thinking City Council which has done both 1) seek to function on the cutting edge of services to the community and 2) grow within the parameters of conservation of our historical and cultural values. Citizens of our community are generous, compassionate and hard working in support of their own families as well as support for the greater, common good.  We have an excellent public school district and various charter and private schools in addition to our outstanding Mitchell Community College.  We have a diversified business and industrial community which provides great opportunities to our working families.  We have good healthcare institutions and our own regional airport to support our business needs. The cultural make-up of Statesville is such that we have a great mix of native and transplants which compose a rich multi-racial community of Caucasions, African-Americans, Japanese, Hispanics, and others.  Our community has many diverse religious centers and places of worship for protestant, Jewish, Catholic, and Muslim citizens.  Two such centers Congregation Emanuel Jewish Synagogue and First Presbyterian Church, across the street from one another, collaborate each year in offering Issue Discussions to the community and volunteering to keep the nurseries for each others congregations during special Holy days. Congregation Emanuel was established in Statesville in 1883 and First Presbyterian Church in 1764. Statesville is a designated Tree City USA and a stated Bird Sanctuary.  Our town is beautiful with many oak, maple, crepe myrtle and dogwood lined streets and numerous Victorian homes.  The downtown area is currently undergoing an architectural make-over into an attractive and inviting cityscape.  Statesville is full of National Historic Society properties.  A great place to live, work and...

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Gettin’ High

Posted by on Dec 2, 2011 in Birds, Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Shore Birds, Think About This | 0 comments

Gettin’ High

God’s creativity in designing nature for our living and enjoying truly amazes me.  I remember driving back from a little shopping trip in Salisbury, NC with my mother.  I was in my late teens.  We had just passed by a field green with the fresh birth of the sprouting crop, and I said to my mother, “Mother, you will never have to worry about me smoking pot or taking drugs to get high, because all I have to do is just look at the green field over there and I feel high as can be!”  It’s so true for me…I am inspired by nature’s beauty whether it be majestic mountains, the vast ocean, wildflowers or birds and sea turtles.  It ALL gives me great joy, peaceful feelings and reminds me of how great God’s love for each of us is! I especially enjoy the contemplation on His inspiring artistic creation of how it all works together.  I’ll have to admit, though, too much focus on the food chain itself gives me a little nudge over to the “Oh, I DON”T want to see THAT.”  I recall watching a bird cam video of a robin’s nest with three little heads with gaping mouths to get the worm the mama robin would bring back to nourish her babies.  Away the mother robin flew to get more and without warning a squirrel jumped on the nest and began to kill and devour the babies.  I saw it before I could turn away.  As grossed out as I was I reminded myself of that was just a part of nature. So, God made the cat’s tongue rough so that it could gather hairs as it cleans itself.  He created the chameleon with a body that could adapt to changing its color to blend in with its environment for protection from its predators. The birds that I love so and give me so much enjoyment also can alert us to coming weather changes.  These are the things of which we are aware, but just imagine all that exists about which we know...

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Graceful Comorant

Posted by on Nov 30, 2011 in Birds, Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Graceful Comorant

On my recent trip to Hilton Head Island, SC I had many opportunities to photograph a somewhat common shore bird, the Comorant.  The Comorant is a large, dark shore bird usually seen along the Atlantic coastline and inland waterways, rivers and lakes, etc.  These birds have webbed feet and long, usually pointed, bills referred to as a hook.  They swim fast underwater catching fish.  Comorants are unlike many other waterbirds and don’t have oily feathers.  They are often see with wings outstretched drying their feathers.  The have long bodies and long necks.  I think the precisely designed blondish neck against the black body is lovely and they are quite graceful drying out their feathers after a dip in the lake for dinner.  Quite entertaining to...

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Beautiful Hilton Head Island in the Fall

Posted by on Nov 28, 2011 in Favorite Places, Hilton Head Island, My Blog | 0 comments

Beautiful Hilton Head Island in the Fall

I just returned from a terrific birding weekend in Hilton Head Island, SC.  Such a beautiful area so rich in history and preservation of nature.  I will post a slide show of my photography soon but wanted to share this lovely scene at the Sea Pines Forest Preserve.  Rich with island vegetation and wildlife, the preserve is a wonderful nature outing for visitors of all ages.  One can view everything from all types of water fowl, forest birds, alligators, turtles and picturesque scenery.  There is also the nearly 4,000 year old Indian Shell Ring, a gathering place for the tribes.  Come back to visit, there’s so much more for your...

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Jupiter Lighthouse

Posted by on Nov 22, 2011 in Jupiter, FL, Portfolio | 0 comments

Jupiter Lighthouse

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White Ibis

Posted by on Nov 20, 2011 in Birds, Jupiter, FL, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

White Ibis

I saw my first White Ibis in Florida as we walked along the banks of the Jupiter Inlet.  We were posing for photos and then this lovely, lanky bird walks right toward us as if to say “Hey, you should be photographing me.  Am I not graceful?”  Of course, I turned my camera to the ibis and just love the graceful stroll he took right by us. The White Ibis are wading birds of the deep South, always looking down to see what they can find for dinner or a snack.  They have pink skin on their faces, legs and bills.  This pink turns almost scarlet in breeding season.  The birds appear totally white but the black edges to the underneath part of their wings is only seen when they are in flight.  Their favorite habitat is salt marshes, but they can also be seen walking along lawns probing for insects to...

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My Hero…the Brown Pelican

Posted by on Nov 18, 2011 in Birds, Favorite Places, Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

My Hero…the Brown Pelican

Back in the 1950s when we still used the very harmful pesticides with DDT, the beautiful and resourceful Brown Pelican rose high on the endangered species list.  Our unthinking, wide use of  this pesticide nearly robbed us of a most entertaining water fowl.  Thanks to our awareness of the danger of DDT to our environment, today we see strong colonies of this shore bird.  They are the reknown “come-back kid” for us all to enjoy.  They are quite fun to watch as they fly over the water, spot a fish and dive within seconds to retrieve its dinner.  The fish is history!  I got this photo at one of my favorite birding spots in Hilton Head Island, SC.  Preparing for another short birding trip there very...

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Trees Alive with Fall Colors

Posted by on Nov 15, 2011 in Favorite Places, Statesville, NC | 0 comments

Trees Alive with Fall Colors

On my afternoon walk, I passed by the Mitchell Community College Music House on the corner of Mulberry and West End streets.  This Lovely Japanese Maple tree looked almost on fire with the late afternoon sun shining on and through it.  With the backdrop of the green pine tree and the beautiful old white house I was inspired!

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Statesville, NC…My Hometown

Posted by on Nov 15, 2011 in Favorite Places, Statesville, NC | 0 comments

Statesville, NC…My Hometown

Living and working in Statesville, NC is a wonderful place to spend your lifetime.  A small, progressive town of about 25,000 citzens, it is a caring and beautiful, historic community nestled at the crossroads of I-40 & I-77.  Citizens are afforded the benefits of small, quaint family living while being within 45 minutes of Charlotte and Winston-Salem where easy access to vibrant cultural, art and entertainment is quickly available. Historic Downtown Statesville is adorned with numerous buildings on the National Historic Register like the City Hall and Mitchell Community College.  Our community is strong with financial, retail, commercial and diverse industrial employers.  Public and private education offers excellent education to our children and the community is rich with diverse religious worship centers. One of the things I like so much about Statesville is the beauty of the Tree City USA community.  Trees are important to our environment and offer aesthetic value as well.  The fall is lovely with the tree colors and the spring the same with so many dogwoods and crepe myrtles. Come visit and see why Statesville, NC is an All America City, designated in 1997 &...

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Jupiter Lighthouse

Posted by on Nov 14, 2011 in Favorite Places, Jupiter, FL | 0 comments

Jupiter Lighthouse

I guess my most favorite spot in Jupiter, FL (other than wherever my grandkids are) is Jupiter Inlet.  It’s a lovely place rich with beautiful vegetation, lush palm trees, the blue-green water depending on high/low tide and, of course, the picturesque Jupiter Lighthouse.  Every visit to Jupiter, I make the short trek to the inlet and reach a peaceful state of mind.  Watching the brown pelicans ride the tide in is a treat.  And they know they will get a treat as the boats come in for the night.  The city of Jupiter owns all the beachfront area and has preserved it for public use with beachfront parks, plenty of parking along the coastline as well as protected areas for the sea turtles to nest and lay their eggs for hatching.  Hanging out at the inlet, we’ve seen manatees, white ibis, brown pelicans and various plovers and gulls.  Taking the boat up the intra-coastal it’s fun to view the homes on Jupiter Island…the homes  where we can see how the other part of our society lives…Celine Dion, Alan Jackson, Tiger Woods, etc.,...

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Rescued Sea Turtle

Posted by on Nov 11, 2011 in Favorite Places, Jupiter, FL, My Blog | 0 comments

Rescued Sea Turtle

This Loggerhead sea turtle was rescued and being rehabilitated at the Loggerhead Marine Life Center at Juno Beach, FL.  Sea turtles are rescued and treated for a variety of issues.  Some are sick with a particular infection while others are injured by passing boats or swallow hooks and trash in the ocean.  With the publicity and education outreach of ocean and sea life conservationists, many fishermen will come upon an injured sea turtle and bring them in to the center/hospital for rehabilitation.  This center and their staff have diagnostic and surgical training, equipment and supplies needed to save lives.  The center cares for sea turtles from hatchlings to old, old, old turtles needing assistance.  Check out http://www.marinelife.org/ to learn more about their work and how you can help support their...

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Loggerhead Marine Life Center of Juno Beach, FL

Posted by on Nov 11, 2011 in Favorite Places, Jupiter, FL, My Blog | 0 comments

Loggerhead Marine Life Center of Juno Beach, FL

One of my passions is conservation of our oceans and sea life.  I am especially interested in the amazing sea turtles and the challenges they face today in our oceans.  Our family visits in Jupiter, FL usually entail a visit to the Loggerhead Marine Life Center of Juno Beach.  It’s a very professionally run sea turtle hospital, rehabilitation and education center.  It’s never too early for children to start learning about our responsibilities in helping to protect healthy ocean life.  Sea turtles have been around since the beginning of time and today are beautiful yet challenged.  Florida, of course, is one of the states in the U.S. that has federally protected beach areas for sea turtle nesting and hatching.  Sea turtles swim thousands of miles and return to the beach of their own birth to lay their eggs.  Hatchlings face many obstacles to survival and places like the Juno Center take the ones that don’t make it all the way out to sea and allow them to grow and get stronger and then release them into the ocean.  Stayed tuned for more...

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Strange Exhibits At San Antonio Zoo

Posted by on Nov 3, 2011 in My Blog, San Antonio Riverwalk | 0 comments

Strange Exhibits At San Antonio Zoo

My two daughters and I saw some pretty cool wildlife at the San Antonio Zoo.  I was surprised to walk into the Gift Shop fairly near the entrance to see these three on exhibit.  Parts of them looked almost human and they each had slightly different voices and each of them had VERY LOUD LAUGHTER SOUNDING NOISES.  Whatever they were, they were enjoyable to be around.

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Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge

Posted by on Nov 3, 2011 in Favorite Places, Hilton Head Island, My Blog | 0 comments

Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge

I enjoy birding in the area of Hilton Head Island, SC.  One of my favorite areas to view an abundance of birds but also the lovely trees and plant life is Pinkney Island.  Just about 5 miles from the coastal area, it is surrounded by salt marsh and tidal creeks.  There is forest land and brush growth that makes a desireable habitat for shorebirds, waterfowl, alligators, etc.  Egrets, heron and white ibis are plentiful on the island.  It’s fun just to walk, experience, view and photograph.

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Great Blue Lifting Off

Posted by on Nov 3, 2011 in Birds, Favorite Places, Hilton Head Island, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Great Blue Lifting Off

I really like this shot…we can see such detail.  He’s certainly quite focused! The Great Blue Heron is graceful and a joy to photograph!

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San Antonio Riverwalk Fun

Posted by on Nov 3, 2011 in Favorite Places, My Blog, San Antonio Riverwalk | 0 comments

San Antonio Riverwalk Fun

My daughters and I celebrated their birthdays in San Antonio, TX  last August.  Cooler weather would have been better, but we persevered and had a great time anyway.  The Riverwalk area is almost magical, especially in the evenings.  We loved the gondola rides, people watching and the food and drink was nothing to sneeze at either.  Ever since my breast cancer diagnosis in 1999, I have intentionally been building memories to enjoy and leave behind…whenever THAT might be. We stayed in one of the hotels right on the Riverwalk so we just walked out the hotel lobby and the fun began.  Only moved my car once to go to the zoo which is really...

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Great Blue Heron

Posted by on Nov 2, 2011 in Birds, Hilton Head Island, Media home, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Great Blue Heron

I love spending time at the shore…just about any shore!  My preference is a wide sandy shore conducive to walking and discovering.  Enjoying the gifts of nature inspires me and, for me, bearing near the ocean enables me to commune with our Creator like nowhere else.  I especially enjoy exploring the backwaters where wildlife is in abundance.  One of my favorite shore birds is the Great Blue Heron.  I see gracefullness, sharpness of focus and a very precise hunter.  I caught this pose on a somewhat windy day in the back waters in Hilton Head, SC not too far from Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge.  This one photo meant a great day birding for...

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NC’s Wild Horses

Posted by on Nov 2, 2011 in My Blog, NC Outer Banks, Ocracoke Island | 0 comments

NC’s Wild Horses

NC Tourism boasts the Wild Horses maintained along the coast for hundreds of years.  They all descend from the Spanish Mustangs brought to the area in the 1500s.  NC has three residences for the horses in Shackleford, Corolla and Ocracoke.  Those on Shackleford roam totally free as there are no human inhabitants there.  In Ocracoke they are fenced in and in Corolla, they roam somewhat free among the dunes, beach and vegetation area.  All are looked after by the National Park Service. On Ocracoke Island, the horses can easily be seen on the sound side of Highway 12.  These horses are fenced in and I was quite tickled to see the two I viewed each had their own “personal valet,” an egret keeping their area clean and void of irritation from flies.  Ugh!  They are beautiful animals and quite the survivors having been dumped off shipwrecks hundreds of years...

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