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.

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Nothing remarkable

Nope…I can honestly say today was, by most standards, a rather unremarkable day.  The weather was neither gorgeous and warm, or stormy,  or unbearably cold.  Tepid. It was a tepid day.

Nothing exciting happened with the spawn (aka children) if we overlook (please do, I try to) the ride home from daughter’s job with her driving.  OMG!  But we survived; nothing really to be noted.

I went to the grocery store…actually three grocery stores, ha…because one is never enough with this brood 😀  It isn’t very remarkable; in point of fact, it is quite mundane, and yet I noticed, as I was scurrying about doing my unremarkable everyday things, there was always something to smile about.

A scarlet tanager brightened the bird feeder near the gate as I headed out to the store.

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I drove by the very first house my hubby and I ever owned….and smiled at how much it looks the same, memories of those early days of marriage, how much it still needs landscaping, lol.

The sky blushed as I was driving over the bridge to pick my daughter up.

  The colors fill the soul.

Maybe I just like smiling.  Ad reveling in every moment. The joy of living.  One moment at a time.

Nope. Nothing remarkable there.

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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Walking into Wednesday

Today started with an extra fun bonus… it was Walk Your Kids to School day. An effort to encourage our children (and a whole lot of parents from the looks of it) to get out of the car and get some fresh air and exercise.

We parked about a mile from the school and joined a group of other parents and kids headed for the elementary school. A few minutes in it was obvious I have raised a ‘real’ walker as he grew impatient with the casual strolling surrounding us. What is the point if you can’t stretch your legs and get some energy pumping?  Got to admit, he had a point.  After I dropped him at the school, I got to walk back alone…and minus the constraints of escorting the kids…I was off and power walking the way the kids and I have all their lives, even when they were in strollers.  I cut across to avoid trampling those enjoying a more leisurely pace,  got to enjoy the cool autumn air, see deer grazing in the cemetery, egrets wading the edge of the marsh, and celebrate the joy of just being alive.

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Afterwards, it was off to my friend’s house for a bit more landscaping…and rolling her huge room size oriental rug and carrying it outside, where it was unrolled for a good cleaning prior to her parents’ arrival for a visit.

The rest of the day sped past in a flurry of menial but unavoidable errands but tonight is warm, peaceful and quiet.  I finished it with a nice long walk under the full moon.

Life is good.

Loving Eucalyptus

In the front corner of the new yard there is a huge and very old eucalyptus tree. No, not the kind with smiling koalas slowly munching leaves from drowsy perches, but the wonderful, small leaved variety that grows so exuberantly here in the Low Country.

The bark is shaggy, peeling, rough and gorgeous. It makes a statement all on its own.

The peeling bark of the Eucalyptus

Couple it with the narrow, fragrant green foliage and it presents a graceful tree for the lawn or border. Ya gotta know though, that gorgeous bark means it is basically self mulching….and there is a lot of bark. Another bonus? That spicy eucalyptus aroma… adored by most people, and repellent to most insect pests.  Thank you, eucalyptus oil.

The big one out front is home to myriad and varied birds, as well as providing strong branches for a handmade birdhouse and bird feeders, and a small platform that serves as a makeshift treehouse for the kids. It weathered the hurricanes this year without issue and has quickly become a family favorite.

Today a friend gifted me with a start from her own big eucalyptus. A few years and it will become a new bird sanctuary in this overly busy bit of urban landscaping, a welcome, gentle respite for our birds and tree frogs, a cool place of dappled shade welcoming all.

Glad you are here, little tree, grow strong. Welcome home.

Eucalyptus Pauciflora 'Bonza' Eucalyptus Tree

Finding Beauty

I am, by my very nature, someone who seeks ‘connection’ in the world around me. I revel in time spent swinging in the hammock swing under the ancient live oak in my backyard.  Staring at the leaves, noting how much the spanish moss has grown since I first ‘introduced’ it to the oak tree five years ago, listening to the vast array of bird songs.

I thrive on walks on the beach, the feel of warm sand under my bare feet, the scent of the ocean, unexpected treasures to be gathered, or moments of wonderment in the sea and coastal critters we share these beaches and tidal marshes with.

https://passyingbyphoto.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/531a9778.jpg?w=474&h=379  Endangered Wood storks have returned to the coast after a long absence.

And the easily missed, once common and now making a slow comeback, Sea-beach amaranth can be found if you know what you are looking for…and are open to the tiny humble details to be found in nature.

Today I didn’t go anywhere unusual. I puttered about the house and yard. As I was clearing small downed branches from the week’s storms I spotted this lovely hiding near the bushes.  An Island glass lizard, I see them every once in awhile about the yard and love seeing the tiny babies when they hatch in the summer.

Always something beautiful to see here.  The white azaleas are in bloom in the yard, saved by their later bloom time from the late season frost which decimated most of our early bloomers.  The camellias are still heavy in flowers and the wisteria has joined in.  By the time the magnolia blooms, it will be swathed in soft purple wisteria blossoms.

Everyday miracles.  Every day…wonder.

 

 

 

Stormy weather

As I’m sure anyone who knows me will attest…there’s a bit of a storm chaser in me.  I love the scent of rain, a good hard storm with thunder that shakes the vaults of heaven, and lightning slashing the skies.

Here in the Lowcountry we get our fair share of storms and tonight we had a very lovely one. It began early in the afternoon, gusting winds shaking the trees, and a good steady rain.  Just what our newly growing gardens and landscaping needs this time of year.

And just when it seemed the forecast for severe thunderstorms was fruitless…BAM!  The house shook.  The yard shook!  Woo hoo! Here came the main event.

The dogs took shelter under the furniture.  The parrot muttered to herself. I think she finds such displays more annoying than scary.  The shaking and thunderous claps disturb her conversations and requests for…well…whatever she is wanting at that particular moment.  And no one interrupts Scooter.

It brought back fond memories of chasing tornadoes on my rural paper route up in Ohio. Watching the rain come sideways, the lightning outlining the clouds. I do miss those twisters.

But this was a nice storm, not so big a rush as those…but fun.

Rain came down in torrents.  The street filled quickly and was soon spilling up into the yard and driveway.  As the storm moved over us out to sea, the lightning changed from blue and silver to pink.  A show worth watching as each passing moment provided an even more breathtaking display.

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Who wouldn’t be mesmerized by such power and beauty?

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And all too quickly, in just a few short hours, it passed.

They say we may get another front later tonight.  I hope so.  I love sleeping when it storms.