Friday, November 26, 2010

Sand dollar & Blue Crab Claw

This morning's clouds turned into rain and allowed me time to complete yesterday's entry. Below is a photo I took on the beach. Home tomorrow.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Today was busy with family and food, fossils and photography. I am thankful to have the opportunity to enjoy all of them here at the beach. Instead of working on finishing my journal entry for the day, my first-born son and I went out for another photo session with the sunset. Here's a picture of him taking a photograph at the tail end of the red sky.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Shrimp Head

Today we travelled to the coast for Thanksgiving week. As usual, my first priority was to go to the ocean to say hello. It was a particularly beautiful evening, with an almost full moon rising over the water. Back at the house the shrimp were boiling and the beer was cold in the fridge. A great way to start the vacation!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

St. Peterswort

Returned from Charlotte in time for an afternoon hike to see my favorite Sourwood tree. It's in the woods across Meetinghouse Creek and almost at the top of the hill. Many of the sourwoods around here have dropped most of their leaves, but maples, hickories, oaks, as well as dogwoods and beech trees are at the peak of color, making it a beautiful hike. Found a wing feather of a juvenile red-tailed hawk under a huge white oak... I know this because I found it at The Feather Atlas - a fun site for bird lovers.

I wandered the woods around my sourwood, listening to the rattle of fallen leaves, field crickets, and the steady hollow knock of a nearby woodpecker. The tree had a spattering of pinky-red leaves remaining on the branches, the rest fallen into a carpet under the tree. It's a huge twisting tree, with a summer canopy so thick that nothing else grows under it. Large branches that have fallen look like serpents wiggling through the sea of leaves.

Twisty branches of the Sourwood tree, last winter.

I finally went to sit in the sun and open breeze to draw. A Buckeye butterfly flitted around over the field, and this St. Peterswort (in seed) was growing right beside me. It's only about 6" tall and has narrow, oval leaves. The remaining bracts are distinctive and help you identify it when not in bloom.

Daisy sat beside me (not on the plant I was drawing), closed her eyes and put her face into the breeze. Eventually she took a nap. We are such an exciting pair!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chufa (Umbrella Sedge)

Today's sunny afternoon was perfect for hiking to Meetinghouse Creek with Daisy. The wind, out of the NE, offered a pleasantly cool contrast to the warm late-day sun that soaked into my blue turtleneck sweater. Few flowers are still in bloom, but on the way downhill we passed a single bright yellow Dandelion that had a visitor - a brown Folded-wing Skipper sipping nectar. Small Asters bloomed here and there, and a single stem of Rabbit Tobacco glowed bright against the dark woods. Above our heads, bright orange maple leaves danced in the wind against the cornflower-blue sky.

Once at the creek I found a spot in the sun to draw this sedge, while Daisy settled in shade nearby to chew a stick. River Birch and Sycamore trees towered over us, their thinned canopies quivering in the wind. Crickets sang from trees and field, and were occasionally joined by crows calling from the distant woods. Carolina Locust leapt about in the tall grass; deer tracks going every which way dotted the ground.

On the way back a Question Mark butterfly fluttered down the trail towards us and landed on my arm. What a picture! Its vivid blue edging shimmered against my blue sweater. Daisy and I admired it for a few minutes until it flew. Daisy gave it a half-hearted chase, then turned to race me home... a race she always wins!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Under A Pine

This morning was cool (49 deg.) and windy so I knew I needed to find a spot out of the wind, and in the sun. Brrr! As I thought about the lay of the land, I remembered one spot that would provide both: the old road down near the rusty, defunct bridge gets direct morning sun and runs through woods thick enough to block winds from the NE.

Old Thompson Road is nothing but a narrow, rutted roadbed that ends in deep ditch just before the bridge. On the hill above the bridge Duke Power keeps clear a portion of the road that has lines running beside it. I picked a spot there, beneath some short leaf pines, where a cluster of British Soldiers (lichen in bloom that look like they're wearing little red caps) caught my eye. The sun felt warm, I was out of the wind. Perfect!

Except ... Daisy was curious. She walked in front of me and wanted to sniff and look at everything. She sniffed at my pen and then at the pencil box and in my attempt to get her to move, she stepped on the box and flipped it, spilling art supplies across the ground. She stepped on the lichen I was drawing, and when I asked her to please move, she sat. Everything I tried to draw was a new and exciting discovery for her. Sniff. Sniff. She knocked over my cup of water and ate the ice cubes; she dug up my small pine, and got her dirty paws on my journal (Daisy, OFF!) but luckily the dirt was dry, so it brushed off. I could go on, but long-story-short, she finally, finally! curled up and took a nap.

This journal page shows all the little things growing under the tall pines. I had to sneak away to find another baby pine since Daisy was sleeping on the first one.