Red Mountain Is Calling And I Must Go

After this week’s wonderful online Kindred Spirits Book Club chat about Lassoing the Sun, a chat that included the author, Mark Woods, I was inspired to come up with  my own take on John Muir’s quote: Red Mountain is calling and I must go. And go I did, for a little hike on a beautiful Alabama  morning.

I headed towards the Smythe trail, labeled “difficult”, and  yes, I was breathing a bit heavy  on that portion of my hike. Then I hooked up to the north trail. I am a terrible map reader, so even with the map and signs, I ended up in a different spot, but mainly because a portion of the north trail was closed off. So, I only hiked 2.2 miles, but it always takes a while as I stop for photos along the way.

 

On my route I met with people running, biking, hiking, walking the dog, and segwaying.

 

 

Red Mountain has a lot of lovely pieces of the past, bits of buildings left from the mining days.

I also spotted a sort of cairn on a picnic table- I’m so proud I now know that word!

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This is Muir’s full quote, which appears in an 1873 letter from Muir to his sister: “The mountains are calling & I must go & I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.”

I didn’t like what I read about Muir’s view of Indians, so I decided to do a little research on the man. Here are a few things I learned:

  • Muir founded the Sierra Club
  • He often expressed the idea that humans had no more intrinsic value than any creature of nature; this is known as a bio-centric view.
  • “All in all, there seems to be in Muir some grudging respect for Indians, but it is often masked behind the institutionalized racism that underlies his writing.” –
  • John Muir could not see the Indians for the trees. – Roy Cook
  • Although Muir claimed to oppose the oppression of Native Americans, he fully supported the extraction of Miwoks from Yosemite, referring to them as “dirty,” “deadly,” and “lazy.”
  • Muir was more concerned with human perfidy toward bears (“Poor fellows, they have been poisoned, trapped, and shot at until they have lost confidence in brother man”) than with how Native Americans had been killed and driven from their homes.
  • .. in his writings, Muir said the squirrels he killed on his ranch in Martinez, Calif., were disgusting pests out to ruin the orchards. But he described the squirrels living in his beloved High Sierra as hard-working creatures like those later popularized in the Disney classic “Snow White.”

 

So, after reading around the internet a bit, I have come to the conclusion that Muir, like the rest of us, is flawed. Yes, he did some great things and he had some noble goals. As for his view of Indians, it seemed to changed over time and not for the better. My takeaway is this: Be aware of others. Love and protect God’s creation, but not at the expensive of man, God’s highest earthly creature.

A Belated Goodbye to 2016

  • Autumn turned to winter after a drought that gripped Alabama along with much of the southeast. Even with the dry days and dusty trails, I still got in a few hikes and found some lovely fall colors.ht8

 

  • Also enjoyed the beauties of Bham thanks to Jamie Golden and the Capture the Ham photo group.crest6

 

  • Expanded my subbing experiences and found some more schools where I love to visit
  • Started an online book club – Kindred Spirits Book Club – via facebook. So far we’ve read

    • A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
    • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
    • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

 

 

  • Made a trip to Tampa, where I
    • Did a speed-trip through the art museum while the grandkids noticed all the nekkid art
    • Enjoyed an early Thanksgiving lunch after a few songs at my granddaughter’s daycare.
    • Delighted in the grandkids behavior when I took them out to eat at Ella’s
    • Took the kiddos to a birthday party where we saw a llama and a donkey up close and they fed cow cookies (tortillas) to the cows

 

  • Had a wonderful anniversary trip to Lake Guntersville where we
    • Stayed at the historic Lake Guntersville Bed & Breakfast in a fabulous room and enjoyed delicious breakfastsus-lg
    • Walked to town and meandered through the antique shops
    • Took a hike at Lake Guntersville State Parkdeer

 

  • Zipped down to Jacksonville for a super short Christmas trip where we
    • Were backed into by a truck in a parking lot
    • Used a lot of duct tape
    • Saw our mothers and brothersedge4

 

  • Heard St. Paul & the Broken Bones at the Alabama Theatre – very entertaining

 

  • After seeing all the “One Word” posts, I chose the word TIME for 2017. More about that later!time

Third Quarter Recap

 

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October is almost over and I just realized I didn’t write a third quarter recap at the end of September. So, for what it’s worth, here are the highlights of my third quarter:

  • We kept our daughter’s dog, Poca, for over a month while she was in Columbia, South America. Things started out well, but after the second fight, in which Loretta received a puncture wound, we kept the two dogs separate. It was fine, though, as each one got special attention.
  • I went to McAlister’s Deli for the first time. The Orange Cranberry Club was delish!
  • Joined Grace Covenant Baptist Church and began making new friends
  • Subbed in some new schools. including McAdory Middle, McAdory High, Pleasant Grove High, West Elementary, Hueytown Middle, Oak Mountain Middle, Helena Middle, Helena High
  • Attended a few Saturday Write Club meetings at the Hoover Library
  • Went on five hikes
  • Took lots of pictures around Bham
  • Went to Jacksonville and squeezed in a lot of visits. Got to see my  cousin Paula for the first time in over 15 years
  • Spent a morning at Jacksonville Beach
  • Started the Kindred Spirit Book Club  – it’s online, so if you are interested, leave me a comment or email me.
  • Started Round Two of the Capture the ‘Ham Small Group/Photo Group3q2

And now to finish the year well!

 

Kids in a Summer Slump?

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Summer is fully loaded but you’re out of ideas for the kids? Don’t despair, there is life beyond video games for your little and not-so-little loved ones. Check out some of these!

The McWane Science Center is fun everyday, but especially on July 16th, which is Superhero Saturday. From 10am-4pm, kids can meet some of their favorite Superheroes (and villains, too).

Free Friday Flicks in Hoover is in full swing. The movies are shown at Veterans Park off Valleydale Road on the grassy area near the main pavilions beginning at dusk. The movie images are 30 feet wide and will be shown on a 38-foot-wide screen. Bring chairs and blankets and even a picnic supper. Most nights there will be some food vendors. July’s schedule is as follows:

July 15: “The Peanuts Movie”
July 22: “Kung Fu Panda 3”
July 29: “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”

 
There’s no time like July for a good baseball game and the Barons have a lot of home games scheduled this month. You can find them playing at Regions Field on July 10-13; 20-24;31. . On July 22, the first 1000 kids 12 and under will receive a free jersey and on the 23, the first 1,000 kids will receive a Babe Ruff backpack just in time for back to school!

Roller Motion Skate Center in Bessemer has a great summer schedule. They are open 11am-3pm Tuesday-Friday and they have evening hours on Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday. Thursday is Family Night from 6-8pm. They have concessions serving food and drink (cash only). http://www.rollermotionskatecenter.com/

The Birmingham Zoo is always a kid favorite. They can beat the heat at the Zoo Fountains or catch a breeze on the carousel

Dino Discovery will be at the zoo until the end of the month. This exhibit features life-sized, North America-native animatronic dinosaurs at heights of nearly 20 feet, weighing almost 7 tons and measuring 85 feet in length! DinoNite begins at 6pm on July 16. This will be a fun night full of dinosaurs at the Zoo’s Dino Discovery exhibit, and a showing of The Good Dinosaur at the Zoo in the Trails of Africa will show beginning at 8:30pm, plus face-painting and more! There are loads of activities every day – check them out here – https://www.birminghamzoo.com/visitor-info/daily-activities/https://www.birminghamzoo.com/visitor-info/daily-activities/
Red Mountain has activities for the older kid set. The Adventure Area has four different zip line courses: Vulcan Zip Trip: $54, Hugh Kaul Beanstalk Forest: $45, Kaul Adventure Tower: $29, Mega Zip: $29 http://redmountainpark.org/adventure/

Oak Mountain has a plethora of fun options for all ages. You and the kiddos can ride bikes, hike, swim, picnic, paddle boat,play on the playground and even camp. The Demonstration Farm and the Alabama Wildlife Center, both located in the park, are a treat for animal lovers. Flip Side Watersports, Alabama’s first and only cable watersport, is also in the park, with coaches available for newbies. Paddleboards can also be rented.

Another outdoor spot is Alabama Splash Adventure in Bessemer. With 15 different rides and activities, the kids can get their fill of water-laden fun! There are numerous food options available, from pizza to pulled pork and funnel cakes to ice cream. Parents will enjoy these freebies: unlimited Pepsi products for all, sunscreen, life-jackets and WiFi.

The Hoover Library has lots to offer.

  • July 11 – Free movie at 2pm and 6:30pm -Ice Warriors: USA Sled Hockey
  • Tuesdays at  10 a.m. Children’s Programming Room. Stories, songs and finger plays for birth to 12 months and their caregiver
  • July 12  at 6:30pm – Trivia Craze for grades 7-12.

 

 

So, don’t despair when the whines begin. Pack up the family vehicle and head out for a day of fun and adventure!

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!

 

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-

suburbscape

 

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.