Perfect endings…

…the end of a wonderful week. Nearing the end of a lovely month, and soon another year will be gone.  For now…another night.  Another sunset.

Here in the Lowcountry, sunset is special.  Enjoy.

Image result for lowcountry/sunsets by Jim Booth

Image result for lowcountry/sunsets  photo by Montgomery Kern

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Each one a gift.  We are blessed

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Fall takes flight

There are, in case you haven’t noticed from previous posts, LOTS of birds in the Lowcountry.  Which birds changes a bit with the seasons, although there are plenty of year round residents.  The last couple of months have rewarded our watching with a familiar resident, but in a new location. Bald eagles have moved to the pond at the elementary school. October is the beginning of nesting season here, so we were delighted to find they have taken up residence where we can look for them every week.

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The pond is prime territory, open flight paths, but plenty of trees for roosting and nesting, and a gator free pond stocked with an abundance of fish.  By next month the eagles should be laying, and by early spring there will be nestlings to captivate the careful observer.

Snipe may be the stuff of stories and campfire pranks, but here they are among our oddball seasonal shore birds.  Wilson’s snipe are hard to spot, they are so well suited to the area, but fun to find strolling through a local ditch or in your yard.

Snipe-One

After another successful breeding season here in the Lowcountry,  our woodstork population continues to make a comeback from endangered to threatened.  They are ungainly to look at, but amazing in flight or roosting in groups in the trees.

Wood Storks

When you don’t happen to see wood storks feeding in

As fall cools into winter, we are thankful for the return of our seasonal birds. Another year of survival, another hope we can reduce climate change and protect these animals for our children and generations to come.

Welcome home.

There are waves…and then…

…there are WAVES.

Now I, personally, find huge waves fascinating. The power, the sound, the way they break.

Then again, I also enjoy following tornadoes and I love thunderstorms.  Maybe it’s just me.

Today a friend up on the North Coast, specifically Lake Erie, posted pictures of the waves there.  I remember the waves. That lake scares the fur off me in a way the ocean never has. It is one freakin’ scary body of water, but I DO love the waves.  Since she reminded me… here are a few pictures to show you what I mean.

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photos by Dave Sanford…amazing aren’t they?

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Just one dang freaky lake, especially when winter storms get it churning.

The waves on my ocean are just as powerful and evocative…but somehow, even when they are raging, they delight me.

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You just gotta love it.

I do.

Wandering into November

A new month and the end of this crazy year draws nearer.  The marsh grass has faded to brown, and cooler water temperatures add a deeper blue to our usually greenish water.

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At the pond at the elementary school, waiting to pick up the littles, I saw a great blue heron stalking along the shore before it lifted in a low, lazy flight to the trees on the far bank.

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Alligators laze in the sun, soaking up the last, lingering warmth of summer.

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New birds have come to call, enjoying our still gentle temperatures and sunshine. Kinglets chatter. Golden crowned flitter through the wax myrtles and ruby crowned scurry amongst palmetto fronds.

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The kids and I have an abundance of park days coming in these short but pleasant days of November. Welcome back. Let’s have fun.

The life blood of a blue planet

As fires ravage the west coast…we pray for rain. In India, Africa, and Asia droughts and lack of rain parch the lands, and wells and reservoirs are going dry.

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Our aquifers are being depleted at alarming, no…terrifying! rates. And while the recharge (refill) rates vary…most of the large aquifers now being drained to sustain farming, mining, and industry, and support cities in arid western states…need centuries to recharge. 21 of the 37 largest aquifers on our tiny blue planet are being drained at unsustainable rates. Considering that they are the sole source of life sustaining fresh water for hundreds of millions of humans, that we have stressed them beyond the tipping point…where our demand exceeds their ability to be renewed…there is no time to spare in resolving this.

And there is no outcry. The problem perhaps is that “the problem” can’t be seen. It isn’t as easily evident as dried up reservoirs and forests burning due to drought. Big businesses demand their “right” to use as much water as required for their stockholders to continue to make huge profits. When the water is gone…what then?

Water stuck closer to home for me this week. A family not far from where I live have hit some hard times…it happens in these uncertain days more than ever before.  A big family, an unexpected baby girl eight years after the youngest of the five boys, and not enough money to keep the water turned on. That happens in poor neighborhoods all across America. Not expected in middle class suburbia, is it?  People surprised and saddened me with their lack of compassion. The family tries to hide their problem because other children make fun of their boys. I stopped over today and got a car load of big containers and jugs which I refilled at my house and returned to them under the cover of night…when judgmental eyes might not see. A routine thing, three or four times a week. Not noteworthy in any regard save that a simple act of kindness as a neighbor should need to be hidden.

They have worked out a payment arrangement with the water company…another few weeks and their water will be restored…but how sad people turn away from need, instead of reaching out to one another.

Water shouldn’t be beyond the reach of everyone in this country. In a perfect world, where humans cared more about other living beings and less about possessions, would we not, each and every one, strive for the best for all and not only for ourselves?

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Such a small, fragile world made all the more remarkable for the blessing of abundant water. If a few jugs of water makes such a difference, imagine the loss when the source of that precious water is gone.

We have to find a better way, world. While we still can.

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Marsh Memories

Driving over the Cosgrove tonight and the tide was out and the wonderful scent of pluff mud and coastal marsh swept through the car.  Every year when my grandma came to see us she would tell me how she disliked that smell. To her it smelled like ~something died~ to me it smells like the renewal of life.

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These coastal marshes teem with life. Small crustaceans, crabs, shrimp, fish, wading birds, plants, trees, and the teeming abundance of the waters.  The health of the marsh is a good indicator of the health of adjacent ecosystems.

photo by Bob Hider

Driving or strolling the boardwalks along the edges of these wetlands is an unending source of joy, appreciation, and inspiration.

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Pluff mud and Lowcountry marsh….smells like home.

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Spring…Sprung…Sprang?

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Lilacs see to have sprung into bloom… gracing gardens with their perfume and their beauty.

  Dogwood blossoms are everywhere. 

From the trees sprang a myriad of sounds and critters.  Chirruping squirrels, chasing one another in the thrill of spring’s ecstasy.  Tree frogs…completing the chorus with croaks, trills, bleats, and grunts. At night it can sound like a fleet of fire trucks descending on the neighborhood. The anoles don’t have a lot to say as they leap and slither about the limbs or run along the morning glory shrouded fence.  Skinks slither under the raised garden beds, hide in the damp shade beneath the kids’ sand/water table.

Already broadhead skink females are hidden in my woodpile, guarding and tending their clutches of tiny white eggs.

species photo (not  my picture…but I seldom get the females to stand still for me, lol)

The males, with their big red heads are much more imposing than their ladies and less skittish. They love it up in the big live oaks.

species photo

Spring is here in the Lowcountry.  It couldn’t have sprung up at a better time.

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