Snow in the South

With weather on everyone’s mind, I thought I’d share this from E.B. White, a man who truly had a way with words. If you don’t know who he is, he’s the author of the children’s classic, Charlotte’s Web. When talking about the first flakes of snow falling, he said,

 

“At first it was an almost imperceptible spitting from the gray sky…”

I love the way he put it – such a perfect way to describe this scene. This is how I want to write.

 
I didn’t get any pictures yesterday, but here are some pictures from February, 2015, when we had that “…imperceptible spitting..”.

 

And, if you haven’t seen the Snow video, an Adele parody by Mary Morris from Tennessee, you’ve GOT to watch it!

 

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Landscape or Suburbscape?

Photography Challenge Week Two

This week’s challenge was to capture a landscape. My plan was a walk at Red Mountain with Loretta. Since she gets so excited on walks, I find it’s usually best to use my cell phone instead of my Canon Rebel.

Even in bleak January there is always a view to be found outdoors. I wish I could capture the fresh air and the energy that even a short hike gives me. Just use your imagination while you view a few landscape shots.

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Red Mountain ~ January, 2016

 

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When I got home I went out in my backyard with the Canon and took some suburbscapes as well. Here’s one-

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I got an extra surprise shot as a plane came in for a landing at the nearby Bessemer Airport.

Bessemer Airport

 

If you missed week one, you can see it HERE. And if you’d like to read my take on  unexpected moments in photography and life, such as the plane flying by, you can read HERE.

Down With “Mother Nature”

 “We all know the church is not the building, it’s the people.” – James Spann, weatherman in Alabama, April, 2014

It was our first week in Alabama and we were under a tornado warning. Our new house does not have a basement, but my plan was to hunker down in the hall bathroom if needed. Which I did for a little while with my dog, Loretta, while my husband slept.

As usual with these kinds of weather conditions, the local channel gave weather updates all day. On the second day, it was announced that a church had been demolished. When the weather man said what he did about the church, I was pleasantly surprised. Because it is so true, yet many people don’t have this view.

Now, I always liked the weathermen in Jacksonville. In fact, one longstanding weatherman, now retired, was the father of one of my high school classmates. And a church going guy. Yet, all I ever heard from all those guys was “Mother Nature” this and “Mother Nature” that. It was refreshing to not  hear it mentioned during the two day vigil last April. I’m sure it could have been, but I never heard it. Thanks, James Spann.

So, tornado or sunshine, God is the creator of all nature.

Rainbow above my house

Rainbow above my house

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Red Mountain Park

Grace's Gap Overlook

Grace’s Gap Overlook

Our first visit to Red Mountain this past Saturday was a success. By that I mean:

  • We didn’t get lost
  • We hiked 5 miles
  • We met friendly volunteers coming and going

We liked it enough to be headed back today.

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Besides being free to get in and having well-marked trails, Red Mountain also has some other plusses. There is a dog park which I hope to visit soon with Loretta. There are several activities (for a fee) for the more adventurous, such as The Zip Tour and the Adventure Tower, an 80-foot climbing tower for those with strong arm muscles.  Discounts for the activities are available for groups.

Adventure Tower

Adventure Tower

On Saturday we went from the entrance to Grace’s Gap Overlook where you can get a view of Downtown B’ham. There is a picnic table there at the top, which will be good to know for next time.  On our way back went out on the swinging bridge to the Rushing Rendezvous Treehouse.

Rushing Rendezvous Treehouse

Rushing Rendezvous Treehouse

Tips:

  • Bug spray is a good idea
  • Bring water
  • Bathrooms are porta-potties, so be warned
  • Go early to beat the crowd on a Saturday

Adventures with a 17 year old in B’ham – Day 4

My brother-in-law and niece are in town this week. He came for the SEC Baseball Tournament at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. She has no interest in baseball, so she and I set about exploring Birmingham.

Day 4

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This was a full day of breakfast and bookstores, gardens and a graduation. We had a friend with us on our adventures today, a girl the niece met when she was here in November. These two happily identify themselves as book nerds (they met at 2nd and Charles). We started the day at Tip Top Grill on Shades Mountain. The brother-in-law joined us for breakfast. My BLT on a biscuit was marvelous and the blue-sky view was beautiful. After a friendly conversation with Mr. S and his little granddaughter, we were on our way to the first bookstore.

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Alabama Booksmith is unique in that every book in the store has been signed by the author. The niece was thrilled to pose next to picture of one of her favorite authors, Birmingham’s own (for a while, anyway) John Green.

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Next Stop: Little Professor Book Center. Here I stayed upstairs in the used book section. I couldn’t find anything on my list, but did find a book by an author on my list, so I bought it. I need another book like I need a hole in my head, but, well, ……

We then headed for the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. I enjoyed the flowers and serenity; the girls were talking books the whole time. We walked through the Japanese Garden and then I surveyed the roses. I discovered that there is a library at the gardens – mostly botanical related items. I was able to use my library card to check out a few magazines and I can then return them at the Hoover Library – sweet! I also purchased a delicious smelling soap at the gift shop before we left.

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Last stop: Barnes and Noble at Patton Creek Shopping Center. I got a Smor’es frappuccino (don’t judge) and read while the girls bought even more books.

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After a few hours at home, we headed out for a graduation at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Vestavia Hills. Two sweet young ladies passed a major milestone; one is headed for Birmingham Southern in the fall.

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ADVENTURES WITH A 17 YEAR OLD IN B’HAM – DAY 3

My brother-in-law and niece are in town this week. He came for the SEC Baseball Tournament at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. She has no interest in baseball, so she and I set about exploring Birmingham.

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Day 3

The day started out nice at Oak Mountain Park, but the niece got to feeling sick, so we had to cut the visit to the great outdoors a little short. We stopped for a beautiful view from Ada Overlook on our way up the mountain.

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We were able to get in one hike to the top of Peavine Falls. It’s always beautiful outdoors enjoying God’s creation, but I was expecting to see a bit more water in the falls. Maybe next year in April after the rains I will try it again.

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There was a Senior Picnic going on at the pavilion area, with quite a large group of senior citizens in attendance. I’m sure they had a lovely day!

We took it easy the rest of the day, and then picked up pizza from Johnny Brusco’s on John Hawkins Parkway for supper.

Oak Mountain State Park

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School will be out soon and it will be a good time to hit the trail! This 9000+ acre park in Pelham, the largest state park in Alabama,  has so much to offer in addition to hiking. There is a beach and swimming area,  boat rentals, camping, biking, golf, nature programs, basketball courts, horseback riding –  and that’s just some of what you’ll find here – whew!

I went for the first time last week with my husband, son, and his family. We went for the hiking, so I have  lot more to check out! It was a great experience and I will definitely be going back.

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Once more, the backpack came in handy for the little one. There were some really steep spots, but we soldiered on and got to the more level areas. The trails are clearly marked – our five year old grandson was a great scout, keeping us on the white and yellow trails. Along the way there was a creek flowing through – a great spot for a break.

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I can’t wait to go again!

Tips:

  • Bug spray is helpful
  • Hiking shoes – it’s not about the looks, it’s about the ankle support
  • Buy a map at the park office and use it
  • Bring water
  • Don’t overdo it

Moss Rock Preserve

Looking for a spot to get your Saturday morning hike on? Moss Rock Preserve is the perfect place. Situated only minutes from John Hawkins Parkway and Shades Crest Road in Hoover, this 349 acre preserve is a great location for hikers and nature lovers of all ages and skill levels. There are 12 miles of trails to explore. And it’s free!

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I went with my husband on a few Saturday mornings back when it was still cold. We are so out of shape and need to remedy that before August when we are going to Montana. In the parking lot there was a handful of cars.

Fast forward to the first weekend in May and WOW! The parking lot was packed. This time I went with my son, daughter-in-law, and two grandkids. Fortunately they had borrowed a backpack carrier for the little one – it was perfect. She sat up there like a princess and was a trooper when she got slapped a few times by low hanging limbs. Her 6’5” daddy forgot she was up there as high as him!

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Climbing around the massive limestone  boulders is fun and the 5-year old really got into it. We chanted “going on a bear hunt” a few times as we explored. We stumbled upon a group of guys playing with fire – Up in Flames – quite entertaining.

I plan to return soon with my dog, Loretta. Pets are allowed on a leash – just clean up behind them.

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Tips:

  • Bring water
  • Leave no trash behind
  • Bring snacks if you have a 5-year old – “I’m hungry” is a common refrain
  • A walking stick comes in handy
  • Watch out for wet, slippery rocks (I speak from experience)
  • Don’t forget your camera
  • Be sure to go in November during the Moss Rock Festival