Photo Friday: on the trail again

When I lived in California I used to go hiking, often.  I also rode my bicycle to work at least three days per week, and every weekend as well.  I went to Pilates classes twice a week and was in the best shape I had ever been in my life.

Then we moved.

Now before I say another word you must know that I adore where we live and have no intentions of ever going back to suburbia.

That said, I do miss the ease of being able to hop on my bicycle to go anywhere I liked, and my hiking friends who kept me on the trail as often as I was able to go.  Since moving I have been plagued with back issues and this finds me in not very good shape at all!  I have gained two inches around my waist, and lack the vigor I once had.

I am 59, and I believe too young to be this bad off.  So this week I have started a new path to regain my health.  I ordered two books which are:

  1. Hiking Alabama, 3rd: A Guide to Alabama’s Greatest Hiking Adventures (State Hiking Series) by Joe Cuhai    
  2. Rail-Trails Southeast: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, from Wilderness Press 

You may find these helpful books, or others for your locality, available through Amazon.  (I received no compensation for these endorsements!)

Now I am not going to jump into cycling marathons, or try to hike an 800 foot elevation change, but I have to start somewhere and so Wednesday I started here…

This is a paved, level, two-mile round trip.  I saw a total of two people here during my visit.

Now some might find that lonely, but  there were other encounters along the way…

A hawk

Silent sippers at a trail side Butterfly bar

One graced me by landing on my shoulder.  She was lovely!

A shy little turtle.  Don’t you find the pattern on his shell lovely?

A lazing caterpillar who warmed itself in the sun

And while I was busy with eyes looking through the lens of my camera, the clouds moved in and threatened rain!

I stopped.  “Just  one more shot.”  I told my companions.   “You see, I have been working on getting water droplets to clear up and pop in my photos.”   (I think I am very close with this one!)  I think they were unimpressed…

A tulip tree leaf that was still wet from the morning’s rain.

Stopping at the paved trail’s end,

I promised myself to return another day and continue on, taking the shady trail into the woods.

I turned to my companions and found them looking wistfully in the direction leading back to the car.

“Ok Boys, let’s go home!”

What do you enjoy doing to stay fit?
PostscriptToday instead of taking the car to the post office like usual, I took the little dog and we walked the two miles!  😉

Photo Friday: over the river and through the woods

Once upon a Monday I drove 68 miles (one way) to meet a woman who sells very inexpensive plants from her home.  I told Bob about going and he quickly quipped:  “With the price of gas being almost $4.00 a gallon just how much money are you saving here?”

Well, I had to admit that it was probably next to nothing in savings, but hey,  it afforded me the opportunity to get out with my camera and see some more of Alabama, as well as the chance to talk to someone besides kitties, dogs, and chickens!

On my way I stopped and took a few photos of:

A  derelict old building…

Lead Paint over Stucco

A covered foot bridge

A Cowboy Church…

The church’s concept is intriguing don’t you think?

Note the hay bale bench on the left, and the corral on the side!

and the Dam Cafe which “…serves damn fine BBQ too!”  Or so I’ve been told… 😉

NOTE:  Having been highly recommended by the lovely Plant Lady, I wanted to stop in on the way out and get some for that night’s dinner,  but they were closed!

Then I followed a very curvy road through an oak forest to arrive  here!

(I wish this image was sharper, but you get the effect at any rate.)

The Plant Lady told me that they had found an old house that was being torn down, so they acquired these doors and retrofit them to make an entry to their screen porch!  I, of course, love her color choice!  Don’t you?

Now when I left that morning I had imagined that I would get my plants and be off, but as it happens, the lovely lady who lives here was a chicken lover like myself,

This is the biggest rooster I have ever seen!  He must have been over two feet tall!  Well, OK I’m embellishing a bit, but he really was very big!

and an artist as well as gardener of native plants!

This garden is a mix of native and other plantings, but it is done with a very natural effect!  It was very peaceful here.

And so it was that we ended up spending the afternoon together talking about the things that were important to us.   Her plants, native gardening, her children, and the state of the school system were among the many topics discussed.

During this time we walked across the road to see one of many inlets along the Tennessee River.

On our return I saw a shy Red Fox in the tree studded meadow behind her home.  How I wished I could have gotten close enough to get a better shot!  Having never seen one in the wild before I found myself holding my breath, as if in so doing he might linger for my camera’s lens, but he did not!  Instead he ran off into the deeper grass and disappeared from view altogether.  I must admit that I was only a little bit disappointed at not getting a better photograph, because after all…  the very fact that I got to see him was a gift.

All too soon it was time to go home and I had over an hours drive ahead of me.  It is a funny thing, but driving back the way you came, the miles seem fly by and you arrive home in no time at all!

So what did I get from the lovely plant lady?  Red bud trees, Joseph’s coat ground cover, Lamb’s Ears, Monarda (aka: red bee balm) variegated Solomon’s Seal, Wild Phlox, and May Apples!  All the native plants went out under the Fringe Tree at the head of the drive, and the trees (also native) are to be planted along the edge of our parking area giving us a gorgeous view in spring, and a bit of shade in summer…

Perhaps more importantly I made a new friend, and that is priceless!


Notes:  These photos of my visit were taken on April 24 of 2011,  three days prior to the horrible tornado outbreak in our region.  Hence, my delay in posting this lovely visit.  Sorry it took me so long.

Also, out of respect for the plant lady’s wishes, I’ve restricted my photos to the environment about her home.  Just in case you wondered.  Oh yes, and the lovely lady and her family were all OK!!!  🙂

Dega Baby!

One of the things I didn’t tell you about, and should have… Was going to Talladega for the race on October 23rd.

Although my husband and our friends, Pam and Tim are big NASCAR fans, I could never see any purpose to sitting in front of the TV for hours watching little cars go round and round while some good old boys talked about it non-stop.  To my way of thinking it is tantamount to watching hamsters running in their exercise wheels, and what’s up with that little rat relative Digger?

I digress.

So almost a year ago we began talking about the October Race at Talladega.  And before we knew it the plans were made, the tickets bought, plane reservations made,  and they were here!

Personally I was more excited at the aspect of our friends coming to visit!  We hadn’t seen them since we left California three years ago, and I was looking forward to spending time with them.  Even if it meant having to sit in bleachers for a day…

Well, we drove over two hours, parked, walked over a mile, found our seats, sat down, and realized…

We were right in front of the start/finish line!  

Now some folks would prefer to be way up high so they can see the whole track clearly, and some would prefer to be down in the center of the track where all the partying and crazy stuff is going on, but me, I was kinda liking to be where it all begins and ends.    Although I am not a NASCAR fan, and I don’t have a driver I’m following, it was fun to be there live and in the middle of the action, to see up close what went on in the pit.  Oh, and the really big bonus???  No Digger!  The annoying little rodent was MIA!  😀

Before I get to the pictures I want to take a moment to thank Tim and Pam for buying the tickets.  It was very generous and we all had a great day!  Yes, even me. 

Now, let me tell you, taking pictures of FAST cars is hard.  Add a fence and it is next to impossible!  I found that to get a good shot I had to set the camera for action and face into the oncoming cars.  Doing this allowed the camera to find a focus range and get in a few clear shots.  Like these…

OK, so these aren’t fast-moving cars, but trust me, the fellas in the photo were hustling!


No, your eyes do not deceive you.   That really is 12 inch wide tape holding on the fender of number 20!



You have to look at this one close up!  Imagine driving way over 200 mph, and you are kissing bumpers with the guy in front of you… on a curve…  INSANE.


I took so many photos that day and almost all were trash. The action is simply too fast for this amateur,  and so were the heads of the fans!

I have various blurred shots of the back of several NASCAR fan’s caps.  I thought this red one was attractive…    😉


So for me, even though not a racing fan, it was a great race!  There were four crashes in which no one was killed or seriously maimed (that’s always a plus) and  best of all, I was there with my Sweety and best  friends!

Hmm…  whatever happened to Digger?  Maybe he got run over by one of the fellas on the track?

(Curiosity got the better of ya, huh?)    😉

Photo Friday: the hawk in the cemetery

On Saturday we visited Maple Hill Cemetery, which is the oldest cemetery in Alabama.   It was begun in 1818 when Leroy Pope sold two acres to the city.  Over the years the “burying-place” was officially named “Maple Hill,” and it has grown to just under one hundred acres in size.  It is a historical and quite beautiful place to visit.

PLEASE NOTE:  All photographs are clickable for a better/clearer view!


While driving out of the grounds I chanced to spy this fellow…

gorging himself on his catch of the day…


I thought him very photogenic…


and quite accommodating… 

although he did eventually grow tired of our intrusion on his dining experience, and grabbing his grub, he flew into the trees.


Note:  I am uncertain as to what kind of hawk this is, so I have sent a request for Bob of Texas Tweeties to help me ID him.  I will post his reply here when it comes.   🙂

UPDATE:  Bob believes it to be a Juvenile Red Tailed Hawk.  (See Comments below)  Thanks Bob!  🙂