view

view
Hooded Mergansers

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Walk Among the Wildflowers

Always, when we're back in Athens County, Ohio, I manage to get out on the bike path at least once.  Sometimes on my bicycle, sometimes to find a few of the multitude of geocaches hidden along the way, and almost always a walk with my good friend whom I worked with for 20 years.  She is also retired now, so has more flexibility as to when we walk.
When I lived here, the bike path was 17 miles long.  I know that it has been extended in both directions and may even have some spurs to other areas, but I don't know how many miles it is these days.  It's a "rails to trails" path...  not just for bicycles, but for walkers, runners, skateboarders, roller bladers.... anything except motorized vehicles.  There used to be evidence of the old railroad... whistle stop markers and the like.  They may still be there, but I didn't see any today.

We're back a bit early to the area, and what a treat this has been.  Old railroad beds frequently have plants growing along side that aren't found in other places.   This particular area was a narrow dirt road that used to end at an electric power substation.  I first learned about it when my field biology classes took trips out there to learn the local wild flowers and such.  Since most of the flat lands along the river were farmed, sometimes we'd find a singing field for woodcock.  We'd use a tape recorder of the male call to attract other males...  invading their territory, you know.

Later, each spring I'd head out there to see what was blooming.  While I didn't see the Dutchmen Breeches, Squirrel Corn or Wild Ginger, I saw plenty of trillium...
A close up of this lovely spring flower...
When the white blossoms start to turn pink you know it's past its prime.  A few warm days and this group will be gone for another year.

There were lots of patches of Blue-eyed Mary

And quite a lot of Mertensia, or Virginia Bluebells

I was admiring how nice the sides of the path were in bloom with wild geranium, the bluebells and such...  thinking how the predominant color today was blue.  

About that time, much to my astonishment, a tractor with a big mower on the back came along...
Somehow it just didn't seem right to be mowing down those lovely wildflowers.

But there are still hillsides covered with color...
And rock formations, and second growth trees.  

On one side of the path is the Hocking River as well as some woods and fields.  There are small creeks which feed into the river or flow away from it....
This area is next to a large dairy farm.  Usually the aroma of Eau de Manure is in the air...  today I didn't notice.

My friend and I walk for one hour....  we haven't seen each other in months so have a lot to catch up on, but she's patient when I want to stop and snap a photo...
I know this isn't a great shot, but I really like it...  looks kind of like a watercolor...  but most of, is the embodiment of what most of us think of when we think "spring".

It was in the 50's when I walked this morning...  at 4:30 pm it's 67 degrees.  A great day to be out and about...  and walking with an old friend on old, familiar territory.

That's All For Today!







Monday, April 27, 2015

Scars From Years Past...

As far back as 1982 (and Bill no doubt did this before I came on the scene), Bill & I tapped the maple trees on our 13 acres and boiled it down to make maple syrup.  It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.  

When those 13 acres are as hilly as ours are, that's one heck of a lot of walking up and down hills, carrying a 5 gallon bucket full of that precious sap.

All our maples aren't sugar maples...  but truth is, you can make syrup out of about any kind of tree that produces sap.  It's just that the sugar content is a lot higher in sugar maples (as opposed to a red maple or a silver maple), and so it takes less sap to achieve a good tasting syrup.

I can't remember how many trees we tapped back then...  less than 50 taps altogether....  but we were both working full time, as well as keeping up with all the other farm chores, so when the sap was running it was a constant job just collecting sap and cooking it down.

It's been nearly 20 years now since we made our own maple syrup....  and even though we get back to the farm for a short time each year, most years I don't take the time to walk that old sap route.

I did just that this afternoon.  Not all the route, but I was just curious if I could find those maple trees, and even more curious if I could find the scars where we had drilled holes to insert the taps.

It took a while.  So many fallen trees...  from wind damage, from old age....  who knows?  In the past there would never have been the debris that's now laying out in our woods.  Bill would have cut up every fallen tree and we'd have used it for firewood.  We had a wood-burning furnace that heated our house as well as a wood-burning cookstove.  Yeah...  one of those old fashion kind with a water reservoir on the side and a warming oven at the top.  We used a lot of wood.

While out in the woods I saw some multiflora rose growing...
When we raised goats they had almost cleared out every bit of multiflora on our property.  It has been slowly growing back.  There's been a blight or fungus that has attacked it in recent years, but what I saw looked healthy and was flourishing.  Maybe it needs some goats to keep it under control?

And I saw some mayapples growing...
Some folks think that morel mushrooms will be growing close to mayapples.  So far, I haven't found the first morel this spring.  These mayapples don't have a blossom yet, so maybe there's still a chance for some of those tasty fungus to sprout ....  we'll see.

And, not an Ohio Buckeye...
But a tiny sapling of a yellow Buckeye.  Ohio Buckeyes, despite their name, are not native to this part of the state.  

While I aced "Ohio Trees" back in college, that's been a while ago and I have a hard time IDing some of these trees in their winter state.  It is early spring and some of the leaves are popping out, but those stems, bark and buds can pose a real problem for me these days.

While wandering around, I came across the mineral block we put out for the deer when we were here last summer.  It's almost gone now....  I've been thinking I should buy some Sweet Mix (horse feed) and put out...  the does should be having their fawns soon and might appreciate a little protein supplement to their diet.

The dogwood and redbud are still flowering.  I think the colder temperatures and the rainy weather has probably prolonged the season a bit....
To me, they are just so beautiful.  I never tire of gazing up at the colors...  and the bees and other insects that are anxious to replenish their food supply.

Oh yes...  Did I find the scars?
I think I did....
That round hole is about the size of a dime...  maybe a nickel.  It's the only one I found on the half dozen or so maple trees I found.  It's about the right height and diameter...   so it probably is where we drilled for one of our old taps.

Of course when after I'd walked down to the creek and checked everything out, I had to walk back up the hill to get home...

But despite no morels, no birds and mostly just a forest coming awake again after a long, cold winter, it was a good walk.

I don't think I'll wait so many years before I do it again.  There's just too much out there if you look real close.

That's All For Today!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ramps.... and the Farmer's Market

Saturday mornings going to the Athens Farmer's Market its a must.  While the market is open all year round, of course it really starts getting lively by mid April.

The market opens at 9:00 am....  and even on a cold, dreary day like yesterday, folks are ready to shop.  This is early...  it was quite crowded when we left around 10:30.

This market is one of the oldest... and rated as one of the best...  in the whole USA.  The regulations are strict and adhered to religiously.  Vendors must grow or produce whatever they sell.  Everything is local.  No crafts or flea-market type items.  Look how many vendors are already set up and selling in April.  By June there will be twice (or more) this number of sellers.  Everything from beef to lamb or pork, to eggs, cheese, bakery items, and bedding plants was sold yesterday.  Later all kinds of fresh produce and fruits will be available.

There are always a few street entertainers around....  playing music for tips.  I don't know how they determine who gets to perform, but sometimes, when the market is going full blast, there will be 3 or 4 different people, located in various spots around in the market.

When we went to the market yesterday I already had in mind what I wanted to buy...
In the back row is a jug of "Sticky Pete's" pure maple syrup.  We'll be heading for Maine soon, and while I don't care much for pancakes, I can't resist buying some "Ployes" mix (buckwheat pancakes) and having them with that syrup.  A couple of things not in the above photo that I bought...  a couple packages of bratwurst, and a package of breakfast sausage.  That sausage will be delicious with those ployes!

Those 5 jars of salsa at the top right are made locally.  I don't know Tom's last name, but he's been making "Southwestern Style" salsas for several years....  and we always load up when we're here.  Personally, the Cilantro Hot is my favorite...  I think Bill favors the Ghost Pepper.

Right in the middle of that top row is something we've not bought before.  Ramps Pesto...
Most of us are familiar with pesto made from basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil.  Well, ramps are even more garlicky than garlic...  and this concoction of ramps, feta cheese, black walnuts and olive oil has one heck of kick!

Unless you're from the eastern part of the USA...  and maybe even from the Appalachians...  you might not know about ramps.

Well...  this is from the Wikapedia site...

The ramp is a bulb-forming perennial with broad, smooth, light green leaves, often with deep purple or burgundy tints on the lower stems, and a scallion-like stalk and bulb. Both the white lower leaf stalks and the broad green leaves are edible. The flower stalk appears after the leaves have died back, unlike the similar Allium ursinum, in which leaves and flowers can be seen at the same time. Ramps grow in close groups strongly rooted just beneath the surface of the soil.
Allium tricoccum is popular in the cuisines of the rural uplands of its native region. It is regarded as an early spring vegetable with a strong garlic-like odor and a pronounced onion flavor.  Ramps also have a growing popularity in restaurants throughout North America.
The plant's flavor, a combination of onions and strong garlic, or "fried green onions with a dash of funky feet" in the words of food writer Jane Snow, is adaptable to numerous cooking styles. In central Appalachia, ramps are most commonly fried with potatoes in bacon fat or scrambled with eggs and served with bacon, pinto beans and cornbread. Ramps can also be pickled or used in soups and other foods in place of onions and garlic.

And since it's early spring here, there are various ramp items available...
Back to that photo above....
Those 2 loaves of bread are from a local bread/pizza business.  On the left  is rolled out bread dough stuffed with ramps greens, feta cheese and slices of bacon then the ends twisted up and baked.  On the right is a loaf of bread that has ramps, artichokes and maybe a couple of things I can't remember.  
I will say that for lunch yesterday Bill and I split that loaf of bread on the left, slathered it with the ramp pesto and thought we were in heaven!

We probably stunk to high heaven from the garlicky aroma... but I swear, I just don't know what Jane Snow is talking about when she describes ramps as smelling like "funky feet".

We'll be here a couple more weeks or so...
Wonder what else I can find at the market that is so deliciously different?

That's All For Today!



Friday, April 24, 2015

One Measly Photo...

And here it is...
I put up the hummingbird feeders on Monday.... almost immediately Bill heard that familiar sound of one flying close by...  but it was a day or so later before I actually saw one.

By Wednesday I was seeing one but wasn't quick enough to snap a photo...

Today... by golly, the little rascal has been zipping in and out all day...  and although it's not real good,  I got him.

Here in Ohio we get only the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds...
But that's okay with me....  I'll enjoy whatever stops by.

However....  this morning I heard the Wood Thrush behind our rig...  their sound has to be one of the most beautiful bird songs ever!  Later today I heard the Towhee telling me to "drink your tea"....

Yes, it's really springtime here...  even at 32 degrees at 6:00 this morning, that's so typical for April.

That's All For Today!




Thursday, April 23, 2015

Roots....

Do you remember that book (and I think maybe a TV special) about finding your roots?  Well, Bill has been serious about genealogy for over 25 years now and has done a fantastic job finding his family...  both sides....  as they entered the USA from England, or wherever....  traveled to Kentucky and his own branch... went on to New Mexico where both his Dad and he were born.

Actually, one year we volunteered at Lower Hatchie NWR, which was only 20 miles from Henning, Tennessee, where Alex Haley's roots were started.  But that was years before Bill had begun his own search.

My own?  Well, I've never taken my search seriously enough....  made a few half-assed attempts over the years.  Actually got pretty serious about it in 1996...  drove to western Pennsylvania to a way back in the boonies place called Turkeyfoot....  found my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather's gravesite in the churchyard cemetery.  Also saw that someone had placed a marker that he'd served in the Revolutionary War in 1776.

So I've fooled around with finding my ancestors...  honestly, I've always figured that they were dirt poor, always farmers and later coal miners....  probably never owned a thing.  Knowing my parents, I figured both sides were honest folks, but hard working, kind of hard scrabble kind of people.

I've never expected to find a will registered with a Probate Court....  never figured I'd find any land records....  felt lucky if I found an actual tombstone at a cemetery...  those things cost money.

But... back to 1996...  that was the year of 4 surgeries for me...  the year before I "retired" from my job...  and quite frankly, the year that went to hell and I totally changed course about my future life.

So....  no more research...  until the last year.

My interest sparked to life again.  I made several phone calls to various Probate Court offices in several Ohio counties to get information.  Several places responded immediately.  One, the one that had the most info, I sent the money with the request in February....  and..... just yesterday I finally got the response.  Okay...  part of this is my fault....  the reply finally came to our daughter's in Texas a few weeks ago (the day after we left there)..  and she forwarded it on to our Livingston, TX address, which probably got there the day or so after we left there...  and when we got our mail yesterday, there it was!

But not enough info...

So...  today, Bill and I drove the 40 or so miles up the road to New Lexington, Ohio...  the county seat of Perry County, where my Mom's side of the family came after having moved to Somerset Co, Pennsylvania (moving there from Somerset, NJ....  from Somerset, England in 1710).....   

What a wealth of information we found...
In 1876, when my Grandma was born, there were no Health Dept's that kept records on computers....  the records were written in a huge ledger which was kept in the court houses.  Emma M Colborn....  That's my Grandma...  the only grandparent I ever knew...  she was born June 28, 1876, the daughter of CC Colborn and Harriet Shaner Colborn.  She was female, and white.  Her brother John was born 2 years later and her sister, my great-aunt Vic was born 5 years later.  I don't know when my great aunt Bec was born, but it must have been later.  

This will suffice as a birth certificate for whatever records I need.  Okay...  no inked baby footprints...  nothing about birth weight and length.  Hey...  I'll take what I can get!

Bill and I poured over Birth Records, Death Records, Marriage Records...  and even though I thought it was hopeless, we also looked at probate records of Wills and the such.


We also went to the New Lexington Library, but it was the court house that had most of the information that we were looking for.

Here's Bill....  checking out the facts...

The Facts, Ma'm.... Just the Facts....

We spent several hours in the Court House before heading down to the library.  Turned out that the court house had a lot more documents ... we had 12 copies of various entries made.....  much more info than the library had.  

Sometimes, when you're doing a family history search, you'll find personal documents...  like letters or journals...  I really don't have much hope for my own...  both sides of my family were folks who didn't talk much...  about themselves, their hardships or their own history.  We've barely begun to find a thing about my Dad's side of the family...  and I'll be quite surprised if/when we do....

But....  just making a little headway into the inroads into my Mom's side today brings a smile to my face....  and a few more pages into the records that Bill is recording for my kids to know about their past.

That's All For Today!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White....

Spring has arrived up here on the Ridge....  and also in town...

The cherry trees that were planted along the Hocking River...  and the Hock-Hocking Bike Path 25 years or so ago are in bloom....
These trees are kind of special to me.  Bill worked in the Physical Plant of Ohio University back then and after the trees were planted he spent a lot of time hauling water out keep them alive.  We can see where it looks like some have since been replaced as there is a short section where the trees aren't as mature.  That big white building on the right is the hospital where I worked for 20 years.  

Last week there were lights situated along this path, focusing on how beautiful they are at night as well as during the day.  I took these photos Sunday afternoon...  good thing, because the rains and wind came Monday and by today I'd be surprised if any blossoms are left at all.

I thought the rains might have brought out some mushrooms, so yesterday Bill & I took a hike across the road from us, which is part of Strouds Run State Park.
The terrain can be pretty rough at times...  I think the highest elevation is only around 900', but some of the hills are steep and rocky.  Spring is still emerging here...  most of the trees are leafless, and while there were some mayapples and other things growing on the forest floor, last years leaves could be quite slippery to walk on.

There were a few wildflowers blooming...
Some cranebills, spring beauties and pussy toes...
Saw some violets and various other plants, but not much of anything.  We heard the call of ovenbirds as well as the usual bluejays, titmice and such, but for the most part, it was quiet out there.

One interesting thing...  we'd walked about an hour and found a path that wasn't there the last time we walked on it.  But...  that has to be at least 15 years ago, and a lot happens in that time.  It was obviously a mountain bicycle path, but well kept up and easy to walk on.  We'd followed it a while and saw a couple of men walking towards us from the opposite direction.  As we got closer, we realized that they were grooming the path (on foot).  And what do you know?  One of them was Bill's old bicycling friend Jim Schulz.  I have no idea how many thousands of miles these guys biked together.... how many century runs...  how many Sunday rides.  So it took us a while to catch up on each other's lives.  What fun!

Bill and I never did find any morels...
These fungi are about all we found..
Maybe when it warms up a bit the sun will bring out the morels.  If so, we might head back and look again as those sure are tasty eatin'.

As we were walking down the road towards our place I couldn't help but look at the pine trees along the property line...
Bill planted all those trees on the left.
When he first planted them they were "babies".  At that time he put in a row of fast-growing poplars among the pines.  The poplars provided a buffer from the road traffic (yes, it's a township road, but the traffic noise and dust can be annoying) and when the pines got big enough to do the job he cut down the poplars.  It takes a lot of patience - and a long-term plan - to achieve the end results.


Just past those pines is the old farmhouse.  This is where Bill lived when I met him nearly 35 years ago.  We lived there about 10 years before we built our own place out back.  It's been rented all these years and now a young couple live there who treat it like their own.  They put in extensive gardens and live somewhat the way we did way back then.

Between the pines and that farmhouse is the driveway that leads back to the house we built, and also where Bill put in an RV pad before we started RVing in 2001.  The fruit trees he planted are in bloom...  The couple that rent the farmhouse will no doubt reap whatever harvest they produce.

That's just a wild plum tree in bloom, but it used to provide us with enough fruit to make lots of jelly which we sold at the farmer's market.  You can see just a tiny bit of the old chicken house on the right.  It hasn't housed chickens in 15 years, but is still a handy place to store mowers or other equipment.

We're parked in our usual spot...  two sides of us look out over the woods...
Out the back window of our rig..
The right side has a patio and the shed where we made maple syrup.  There's another apple tree there.  I hung a hummingbird feeder out but haven't had any takers yet.

To the front of us, maybe 100' or so is the house that we built and lived in for 10 years or so.
All the windows face the back as that's where the view is, so here in our RV site we (and those renters) have plenty of privacy.

This is the earliest we've been back in Ohio since we left in March, 2001, so we are really enjoying everything "spring".  

I just keep humming that song....  I'm not exactly Perez Prado and I can't play a horn like Eddie Calvert, but I sure do enjoy all the trees in bloom and springtime up here on the Ridge.

That's All For Today!



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Our Amazing Daughter....

I know, everyone thinks their own kid is the best.  Well, I know mine are.  So today I'm gonna brag a bit about my daughter.

Not only is she a very kind, thoughtful woman, (who just happens to be beautiful as well), she takes her good health very seriously.  About a year and a half ago she decided she was going to run a half marathon.  Yep!  That's a whole 13 miles.  She started running, and set herself up on a training program.  During that time she ran a few 5Ks, but yesterday was the big day...
She lives about 90 miles north of New York City...
When I talked with her this evening she told me that she'd been running on the high school track and a "rails to trails" path in her area.  While it's very hilly where she lives the streets aren't safe to run on, so she'd been running on fairly level surfaces.  The route of the marathon had some hills...  but she did just fine.

Here she is...  at the finish...
I wish I'd been there to give her a big hug of congratulations!


Now,, seriously...
Does she look like a Grandmother to you?
She finished the race in 2 hours and 10 minutes...  (she'd set a goal of 2.5 hours).
Way to go, Donna!
Congratulations, I'm one proud Mama of my amazing daughter.

That's All For Today!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Natchez Trace

Bill & I both are a bit adventuresome about traveling....  we like seeing different things and usually take a different route even if we're just going to town and back.  Sometimes though, a road beckons us back time and again.  The Natchez Trace is a road that we never seem to tire of.
Beginning of the Parkway


From Wikapedia....
The Natchez Trace, also known as the "Old Natchez Trace", is a historical path that extends roughly 440 miles (710 km) from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee, linking the CumberlandTennessee, and Mississippi Rivers. It was created and used for centuries by Native Americans, and was later used by early European and American explorers, traders, and emigrants in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Today, the trail is commemorated by the 444-mile (715 km) Natchez Trace Parkway, which follows the approximate path of the Trace,[1] as well as the related Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail. Parts of the original trail are still accessible and some segments are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

We're usually somewhere in the southwest during at least part of the winter months.  Most years we try to get back to Ohio for a week or so in the spring...  often we've been on our way to a volunteer job in Maine.  A few years ago we "discovered" the trace....  444 miles of 2-lane, 50 mph speed limit, no commercial traffic driving all the way from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee.  It's a long, narrow National Park...  no billboards, no gas stations...  just beautiful scenery with wildlife.  
This year was our 4th time to drive up the Trace.  We headed north a little earlier than usual, but the trees were all leafed out....  the redbud had already bloomed in the southern areas, but the dogwoods were still in their glory.

There are 2 campgrounds right on the Trace.  The Jeff Busby campground is 200 miles north of the south entrance.  The Meriweather Lewis campground is 200 miles north of that.  Just perfect for folks like us who feel 200 miles a day is just about right for a day's travel.  And...  while neither have electric or other hook-ups, they are both free....  and located in beautiful wooded areas.

Occasionally you'll see farms, fields and other signs of "humans".  The split-rail fences just add to the ambiance of the area.  These horses were grazing in a rather lush pasture.  You can see from the water puddle between the horses that they've had a lot of rain here lately.

There are many, many pull-overs...  places you can actually walk in the "Old Trace"...  maybe if you listen closely you can hear the sound of thousands of footsteps making their way on their journey.  There are some very scenic views of waterfalls...
And if you want to take the time, you can walk to old mine shafts, historic buildings and other relics of the past.

Dogwood, bluets, fire pinks and violets....  some of the spring flowers we saw along the way.
We were on the Trace three full days...  the first day we saw 2 turkeys and a deer; the second day we saw 3 turkeys, and as we drove north we saw more redbud in bloom as well as some beautiful azaleas and lots of dogwood.  The third day was a bonanza for wildlife...  over 20 turkeys over a 50 mile area, as well as 5 deer and even a bobcat.

We saw a few birds...
Lots of robins, (but not a good photo)....  Notice, too, the tiny leaves starting to grow on this tree.  Spring is such a great season and this drive showed it in all it's glory!

The further north, the more redbud...
Actually, we were in Kentucky (along the Bluegrass Parkway) when I took these photos.  I don't think we ever saw a guardrail on the Trace...  except for a few stone walls that served that purpose.  After we got off the Trace onto the Interstates and then State Routes, the scenery was still bursting with "spring"!

Oh yes...  I forgot to mention that we picked up a hitchhiker...  well, two that we know of...
When we were still at Cameron Prairie NWR in Louisiana we'd hear frogs all evening long.  They sure sounded close, but if I went outside to look, they'd immediately clam up.  The night we stopped at the M. Lewis campground, Bill saw this guy clinging to the door of the rig.  He was between the outside door and the screen door.  We found a second one up on the ceiling fan... where the vent opens up to the outside.  As they were hopping off into the woods, I bet they're still wondering how they got from Louisiana to Tennessee!

If you want to make time and get there in a hurry, the Trace is not for you.  But if you have the time to take a trip back in history and feel some of the past, the Natchez Trace is just the place.

That's All For Today!








Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hundreds of Egrets....

As I wrote in my last post, we finished our service at Cameron Prairie NWR and it was time to move on.  Of course I have some photos of the great folks we worked with there, but I'll save them for a later post.

Today I want to write about Avery Island, Louisiana.  If you know about it at all you'll be thinking "Tabasco Sauce".  And yes, that is exactly where they make those wonderful hot sauces.  Of course we took the tour, but because we're now dry-camped at a Walmart in Natchez, Mississippi and I'm relying on either batteries or generator for electric source, again... the tour post will be later.

This time (okay, we've been here a time or so before) we took the tour of Jungle Gardens.  One of the sons of the original McElhinney family was a naturalist who wanted to help preserve the habitat for the herons and other birds and wildlife.

I can't tell you how many times I've spoken to school groups, telling them some of the history of the National Wildlife System, which was established in 1903 by Teddy Roosevelt.  At that time ladies wore fancy hats...  and often those hats had lots of beautiful feathers adorning them.  So many feathers were harvested that the birds who were killed to provide these feathers were becoming endangered.

Look at the beauty...  the exquisite loveliness of those feathers!
Yeah, they look great on ladies hats, but don't they look so much better on their original owner?

On Jungle Island there is a huge rookery...
Just in these roosting platforms, Bill estimated well over 500 egrets.  And around the corner from this were many more birds.

We were even fortunate enough to be able to spot several chicks...
Fuzzy, awkward little critters...  almost prehistoric in their being.



There was a lot to see on the drive...
We stopped and walked some of the trails.  One trail led to this pagoda where a budda was residing.  This little temple was overlooking a lake. 

The grounds of the area were meticulously landscaped....  
showing  off many of the live oaks whose branches were bending over the ground.

Of course everyone wants to see the roseate spoonbills....
Guess this could be a good "the end" shot....  darned thing flew away just as I was about to snap its picture.

I started this post when we got back from our tour of the rookery, but since we didn't have internet I'm very far behind on both posting and reading other blogs.

I'll catch up soon...  but for now...
That's All For Today!