Category Archives: Nature

I Love the Landscape Because It Is So Sincere. It Never Cheats Me.

“I love nature, I love the landscape, because it is so sincere. It never cheats me. It never jests. ~ Henry David Thoreau ~

from-townsend-to-cove-w

Taken between Townsend, TN and Cades Cove, TN

Most of you know me as the BamaSteelMagnolia. And, there is a reason for that. For most of my life I’ve lived in Sweet Home Alabama, a state I love from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.

I’ve gone to school here, married one guy from here (big mistake, but not because he was from Alabama), birthed a child here, divorced here, remarried a Tall & Handsome southwestern cowboy here and battle twice non-smoking lung cancer here. I’ve lived more decades than I care to share here in this state I am passionate about.

In other words, I’ve done a lot of living, losing, loving and everything in between in this place I call home – Alabama.

What you may not know: on a cold January morning I was born to two young people in an East Tennessee hospital as the Great Smoky Mountains stood silently in the background, an ever present sentinel in my early life and childhood.

cominghome-day-1-7-1954

I’m the little head peaking out in the crook of Momma’s arm. My gorgeous parents.

So, what does that mean and why am I telling you this?

Well, it’s been a rough week for me and my family as we’ve watched the Smokies and Gatlinburg burn.

I don’t care how long you’ve been gone, it’s not easy to watch the places of your childhood and childhood memories, and the places of your ancestry go up in smoke. It’s a helpless feeling. And, if you still have family living in those parts, the helpless feeling is compounded. I can’t even begin to tell you what I feel to know these fires were started by arsonists.

I spent about the first 12 years of my life in or around East Tennessee with the exception of a year or so when I was two. My daddy worked in the engineering department of an aircraft company in the Dallas area at that time. But, you just don’t take a mountain boy out of the mountains and put him on the flat plains of Texas, and, so, back to Tennessee we went.

We eventually ended up in the central Alabama area and I think it stuck for a couple of reasons. Daddy worked for an engineering company started by brothers who were University of Tennessee grads (where Daddy started his college career), the terrain is similar to East Tennessee – we all ended up living on this little mountain top in Alabama because it reminded us of our roots – and the people here in Alabama are 24K gold.

But, oh, the childhood memories I have of those times and places in East Tennessee.

Walks with my Papaw as he pointed out the name of each tree. Watching him have his faithful hunting dog do all kinds of tricks for cornbread. MaMaw and Papaw letting us dig up peanuts or pick some cotton from the garden. This gal from the burbs thought she was a real farm hand then.

Weekend trips to the mountains taking in the fall colors, wading in the cold mountain streams, picnics with the grandparents, and my Aunt Ruthie’s house in Kinzel Springs. You had to walk over a swinging foot bridge to get to her house. It sat backed up against the mountain and even in the summer time, that house never seemed hot. As a matter of fact, back then, those mountains always seemed like the coolest place on earth to be.

It was just a “hop, skip and a jump” over twisting, hairpin two lane mountain roads to Cherokee, NC where we could see a Cherokee chief. My paternal grandmother was originally from Western North Carolina and it was said she was part Cherokee. She looked the part, but we’ve never confirmed the ancestry.

My PaPaw worked at the Little River Lumber Company back in the day. He was a clerk in the company store. My cousins tell me there’s a picture of him in the train museum in Townsend. He was also the fill-in mail carrier for Cades Cove and Daddy went on that route a time or two with PaPaw.

That’s my roots on the “quiet side of the Smokies”, my Daddy’s side. My little Momma is a different story.

Several years ago I started the journey into genealogy and it’s a journey I’ve loved and wished I had started sooner. Once I jokingly told Momma she was a half-breed. She was startled at first and then I laughed and explained.

Tennessee is divided into West Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and East Tennessee. Any good Tennessean knows that. Mom’s ancestry is Middle Tennessee/East Tennessee (on her mother’s side). Half and half.

And, it is that East Tennessee ancestry on Momma’s side that carries me back to Gatlinburg.

You see William Ogle and Martha Jane Huskey Ogle are my 5th great-grandparents. Martha Jane Huskey Ogle’s cabin was the first house built in what is now known as Gatlinburg. William and Martha had 7 children and I descend through two of their sons, William “Black Bill” Ogle and Isaac “Shucky” Ogle.

A few years back I went to Edgefield, SC to get a copy of William Ogle, the father’s will. That type of documentation is like the holy grail for a genealogist. The Ogle family was living in Edgefield and William went to Tennessee to prepare for the family to move. He laid up provisions and he cut and notched timbers to build a log cabin for his family. He went back to Edgefield to get his family for the move back to Tennessee, but before they could leave South Carolina, William fell ill and died.

Martha Jane didn’t go to Tennessee at first, but she eventually did and family members helped raise the cabin using the timbers William had prepared.

It was the first house built in White Oak Flats, a place that would become known as Gatlinburg. Over time other families moved in. You saw the formations of clans with names that pop up in my family tree. If you throw a rock into a crowd of locals there’s a good chance I’m distantly related to them – including a famous country songbird who shares a common ancestor with me named Henry Bohannon, my 5th great grand-father.

My family was founding fathers of an area I watched decimated by a historical fire this past week. I never thought I would live to see anything like this. I hope I never have to see anything like this again and I pray for more rain to come their way.

I listened and watched as I saw names like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Chimney Tops, Clingman’s Dome, Newfound Gap, Wear’s Valley and others threatened and burned. And, each time my heart broke.

For me, it’s not only pride in the pioneer spirit of my ancestors, but it’s also love of the location and area. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. When I go into the mountains, my heart sings and my spirit is refreshed. I feel at home.

Just like the people, this area is resilient. They survived the Great Depression and floods after floods before TVA. It will come back and they will come back. There will be regrowth and rebirth. Mountain folk are good strong people, just like the land around them. They have learned from the land. They need our continued support and prayers.

Thoreau said it best, “I love nature, I love the landscape, because it is so sincere. It never cheats me. It never jests.”

My birthplace is sincerely hurting right now, but it will be a beautiful landscape once again – and the people will be there with it – rejoicing.

© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Birth, Cades Cove, Central Alabama, Daddy, East Tennessee, East Tennessee Fire, East Tennessee Heritage, Family, Gatlinburg, Gatlinburg Fire, genealogy, Grief, Home, Memories, Momma, Mountains, Nature, Ogle, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day

Everything Holds Its Breath Except Spring, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“Everything holds its breath except spring. She burst through as strong as ever.” ~ B. M. Bower ~

varigated vinca 2013

I was wandering around in the backyard this weekend taking stock of all the many outdoor projects that need to be done to get the yard back into shape. My conclusion: It could take us a life time after the damage the former tenant did ( both indoors and out) while we were living out of state. It has made us reluctant to become landlords ever again.

As a former horticulture major, I took pains to ensure the yard had a wonderful beginning and foundation. I was looking at some pictures recently from those bygone days. Unfortunately, the yard was wrecked by the tenant and very little resembles those early pictures. At one time about 12 vehicles were parked at various locations around the yard without regard to lease constraints and damage it would do to the yard. Seriously…how do you totally eradicate a Japanese Maple?

It is going to take patience…and time…

One wonderful thing I have discovered has been the growth of native trilliums in the backyard! That is a definite advantage to living on a little mountain top in the Southeastern USA. You would expect to find these in a more secluded area, so I was thrilled to spot them a couple of years ago when we took possession of the house back.

It was warm this weekend…in the 70s! I wanted to see if we had trilliums yet…and we do. They are beginning to burst into life, along with some other early spring harbingers including today’s picture, variegated vinca vine.

But, as they say, “if you don’t like the weather in the South, what a minute and it will change…” (Kind of like life, isn’t it?) I think we’re all holding our breath because as I write we expect severe weather to arrive today and colder weather to return. There has even been rumblings of the “s” word (snow!) appearing on the scene before the end of the month! That gives me concern for all the awakening new life that graces us every spring.

I’ve felt like I’ve been holding my breath, waiting to exhale for a long time. Life has a way of dealing surprises and turmoil (much like the weather) to you, be it health, financial or in personal relationships. Sometimes I feel like I live waiting for that proverbial other shoe to drop…and sometimes when it does, it’s an anvil. I’ve even mentioned a time or two there are days I feel like Atlas trudging up a steep incline with the world on my back…

It may be the mountain girl in me…my ancestral roots, but, when I take time to  meander through Nature and experience the magnificent design we have been blessed with, I find myself no longer holding my breath…I can breathe…and I can exhale…

So, cold weather, snow…life…come on! I am stronger than you think, my Rock is my refugee…and, I can breathe…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Birmingham, Horticulture, Nature, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Spring, Vinca Vine

It Speaks Bliss to Me, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Every leaf speaks bliss to me, Fluttering from the autumn tree” ~ Emily Bronte ~

Washington Valley D 11-12

There is a place very close to where I live called Washington Valley. I had never taken Tall & Handsome to this favorite spot of mine, so while we were out the other day we ventured that way.

It was on our drive through Washington Valley that the three white tail deer scampered across the road in front of use. It was an experience you would expect to have in Cades Cove near the Smoky Mountains and not just a few miles north of the largest city in Alabama.

I love this little spot…especially in the fall…because it speaks bliss to me…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Alabama, Central Alabama, Emily Bronte, Fall, Fall Color, Nature, Photography, Picture of the Day, Washington Valley Alabama

Dappled Lane, by Beverly Hicks Burch

light and shadows c

My parents live on the same little mountain top in Alabama that I do. As a matter of fact we all moved up here several years ago because it reminded us of our roots back in East Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains.

You know that old saying “you can take the boy out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the boy”? Well, it holds true for the mountains. If you have them in your heritage then you are pretty much guaranteed to be lured back to them time and time again, all of your life no matter where you may physically be.

Daddy and Momma have a couple of acres or so behind their house and the right side of the property runs along a steep bluff overlooking a valley and large ancient outcroppings of rock. This little path…almost an old country lane…runs along side of that bluff. Today I took a stroll down that path enjoying some of the last cool and comfortable weather before we get blasted with the sauna heat of summer.

It’s just a tiny speck of the beauty of this state and why I call Alabama…sweet home Alabama…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

 

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Filed under Alabama, Central Alabama, Home, Nature, Photography, Picture of the Day, South, Sweet Home Alabama

God’s Green Earth, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Between Townsend and the Cove

In the foothills of the Smoky Mountains there is a little hamlet called Townsend, TN. It is part of my ancestral roots. My Daddy was born there and his daddy before him and so on and so on. The Hicks Family and the Walker family and the Dunn family were Blount County residents for generations. There were many Scot-Irish in the area and I strongly resemble that remark and that probably accounts for my love for all thing Scottish…well, except for haggis…

Even though I grew up and spent most of my life in my beloved Alabama when I think of “home” I also think back to the mountains of East Tennessee. Any chance I get to go back and meander through the cool, quiet, tranquil  places I visited as I child, I jump on it! Nothing is as exhilarating as driving up to the top of those smoky mountains and seeing that unique haze grazing the tops of the mountain summits for as far as the eye can see…and standing and breathing in vista after vista of rolling mountain top in the middle of August and feeling a cool breeze gently embrace your body, knowing in the back of you mind that miles away, in cities, mankind is broiling in August heat and gridlock.

My heart sings in those moments…

There’s another place nearby called Cade’s Cove. This cove is nestled in a valley between mountain bases and was also home to family from long ago. If you drive the loop around the cove you can see old barns, churches and homes, deer, wild turkey and a place that seems untouched by time. My daddy remembers my Papaw filling in as the mailman as the postal carrier in the Cove when the full time carrier had need for time off.

Three or four years ago Tall & Handsome and I spent some time one Memorial Day weekend up in that area. I was doing a little genealogy research and just enjoying God’s green Earth. It was a great time for us…

The picture above was taken between Townsend and Cades Cove. While so many in the US are suffering through wildfires, floods, storms and other travails, I thought it would be nice just to remind everyone how wonderful God’s green Earth can really be…especially in East Tennessee…back where I come from…

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Blount County Tennessee, Cades Cove, Dunn, East Tennessee, East Tennessee Heritage, Family, Hicks, Home, Mountains, My Tennesse Heritage, Nature, Photography, Picture of the Day, South, Tennessee, TN, Townsend, Walker

Cold and Hot, Hot and Cold, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Have I mentioned I am a mountain girl at heart? Ya just can’t take it out of me.

The reverse of that I am finding is that I am not a perpetual beach person. I get bored with the same ol’ same ol’ of water and sand everywhere all the time and the unrelenting sun. I mean really…a big body of water is just that…a big body of water.

I also can not get use to the “no season” thing. I love having four seasons!  My favorites in order tend to be: fall, spring, winter and lastly summer. As a matter of fact you can’t even count summer as a favorite…I hate summer. The heat and the humidity are suffocating. I am an air condition baby…and yes, I know heat and humidity are quintessential Southern qualities when you think of Southern summers, but those two things are the only thing I dislike about living in the South. Hand to God…

This “epiphany” has been a growing realization, but the “light bulb” moment or eureka moment if you will came recently as I’ve been spending time in a subtropical coastal area. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a lovely place to visit and to vacation and find some great seafood. But, I just could never see it as “home”. A qualifying mountain here would be a fire ant hill…and then there’s that heat and humidity thing.

We’ve also gone from winter to summer with no spring…and then all of a sudden it’s cool again. I call it schizophrenic weather…

Anyway, there was signs of something that might pass as spring around here. Thought I might share a couple of pictures I took when I stepped out at midday.

Mystery Shrub

I’m not sure what kind of shrub this is but there are several all around the condo area. If you know drop me a comment and let me know…

Palm

Outside the condo window

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

 

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Filed under Brunswick GA, Flowers, Gardening, Georgia, Horticulture, Nature, Palms, Photography, Picture of the Day, South

Lions and Tigers and Parasitic Human Babies…Oh, My!, By Beverly Hicks Burch

Lions and Tigers and Parasitic Human Babies…Oh, My!

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Yesterday, I had a lot on my plate I had to take care of before I could turn my attention to the TV and news. But, when I did the radar for the “newshound” in me went off immediately. Guess the dead giveaway was the SWAT team…the word “hostages”…oh, yeah and the word BOMB! That’ll get your attention every time let me tell you…

I will admit I wasn’t paying too much attention at first because I was kind of unwinding from the day…plus, I didn’t have on my new, super duper, no-line bifocal, “gee-can-I-really-see-out-of-these” glasses. But once I put on those puppies, let me tell you, everything came into focus really fast!

It appeared that some nut job had taken over the headquarters of The Discovery Channel in Silver Springs, MD, taken hostages and of course was “making demands”. He was armed and prepared for his own little type of war. Evidently, it was reported he had strapped explosives to his body and was equipped with a “kill switch” also known as a “dead man’s switch”. In other words, you kill that fool, you blow the place and the innocent up. It’s a device used by really sweetheart kind of people, don’t you know…

When Tall & Handsome came home we stepped out for a bite to eat and I asked him if he had heard what had happened at Discovery. He asked, “the credit card company?”

And, I knew then I had to get us on the same wavelength, so I gave him a recap of the afternoon’s events. By then, the SWAT team had done their job which was to eliminate the nut job/terrorist to protect the lives of the hostages.

Details had begun to leak out about this guy’s manifesto and his revolutionary ideas. He was slightly peeved with The Discovery Channel because he felt they had too much programming that encouraged people to have “parasitic human children”.

Being a tad sarcastic, I said, to T & H, “Well, I guess that’s one more person that’s been driven over the edge by “Kate plus 8.” I mean really can we take this woman out of the spotlight?! Did you see her dance on Dancing With the Stars?! You absolutely needed pain reliever to endure it…but, the children are innocent and in my book being used by her…and their dad.

Well, oops, my bad! This nut job evidently did have Kate and the Duggar family (don’t get me started on them…and just for the record, I do believe in the sanctity of life, but we’re also told to do all things with temperance [Gal 5:22-23 NASB]…and popping out 19 or 20 babies throws temperance to the wind in my book…) And even though these TV shows are not my cup of tea, they certainly are not worth annihilating mankind over them!

Now I know some people may think I’m being a tad judgmental by calling James Jay Lee, a nut job. I would reply, get a life, but instead I would direct you to his website where he espouses his manifesto and viewpoint on life, mankind and human babies. Folks, it is riveting reading and insight into a twisted mind…and one that I’m sure is not singular in its way of thinking…

Lee wanted to force The Discovery Channel to incorporate his twisted viewpoints into their programming…and make it entertaining! I can see it now…”50 Ways to Annihilate Mankind and Have Fun Doing IT!” Sponsored by Carboncreditsforu.biz.

Lee says he had an awakening, an epiphany if you will, when he saw Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. I suppose it was a little “inconvenient” for James Lee to do his research to find out science is conflicted on the “global warming” scenario and that some data has been “fudged” and to find out that Gore has made mega big bucks on the business of “global warming”.

For instance, ABC.com estimated that Gore’s net worth was $1million dollars in 2001. By 2007 he was worth $100 million dollars! I don’t know about you, but in my book that’s a whole lot of hot air! Not only that, but The Tennessee Center for Policy Research released figures that Gore’s mansion in Nashville used more energy in one month than twice what most Americans use in a year! His average monthly electric bill was $1,359! Talk about a whited sepulcher…

James Lee was also influenced by a book titled My Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. This book is part of a trilogy in which a telepathic ape teaches mankind about the wrongs of the creation story, the Garden of Eden, the overpopulation of mankind and well, you get the idea. I don’t know about you, but the only thing my Miniature Schnauzer “telepathically” tells me is when he comes and stares at me…that means, “I really need to go outside…NOW…”

Other than that, so far he hasn’t told me that mankind should stop birthing “parasitic human babies”. As a matter of fact, as smart as he is, he’s probably figured out that if that ever happened he might die of heartworm disease because who would give him his heartworm medication, oh, yeah and what about rabies…and all those rubs and pats and love and attention he gets from those human parasites? As smart as he is, I think he’s just fine stringing us along and playing us just like he does and has us eating out of his paw…he’ll keep it that way…

It never ceases to amaze me that people like James Lee always make mankind as the bad guys. We are the cause of ALL bad in the world. Anything harmful, anything deadly. Nature is pure, gentle, kind…you always hear a lullaby playing in the background when talking about “nature”. Makes you just want to grab people like this by the nape of the neck and take them into the jungle and let them watch nature in action. Guess they’ve never seen a lion ripe the throat of a gazelle open, or a bear maim another animal, and would they willingly walk through a pit of vipers, asps or cobras. No, nature can be one of the deadliest encounters a human can face.

And a sweet, innocent baby when loved, adored, nurtured and raised right can be one of the best things the world has ever seen…and the least likely thing from a parasite.

Actually, there was one Child that grew up and said: ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.” Matt 5:5

These “parasites” usually do a pretty good job of being good “stewards”…

© 2010 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Current events, James Jay Lee, Kate Plus 8, Nature, News, Opinion, Parasitic Human Babies, The Discovery Channel Takeover

Travelogue, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Travelogue

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Friday I spent seven and a half hour driving in a Jeep by myself to see my Tall & Handsome. After almost seven years of marriage we’re still kind of like newlyweds and anytime apart is sorely felt. I spent a lot of time reflecting on our history yesterday…replaying some of our highlights and someday I just may share some of them.

We were almost giddy with anticipation the last few miles to my destination and he “talked” me in those last few miles. I had headed south and east Friday morning…expecting sun and etc. and headed right into clouds and rain. So it was kind of drizzling when I arrived.

I pulled into a Burger King parking lot as a rendezvous point. Wouldn’t you know it, right behind me I watched as in pulled 10 LARGE charter busses from a college…I think in was Georgia A & M or something like that. So…T & H had to maneuver literally hundreds of walking bodies as he pulled into the lot, find my Jeep and have me follow him out to less crowded parts.

That meant we wouldn’t be recreating in the Burger King parking lot our infamous airport scene when we met for the first time. That one, ladies, is one of those “good enough for the movies” memories.

We met face to face for the very first time at the Birmingham airport after courting over email, chat and phone for almost a year. He walked out of the Birmingham in tight blue jeans, cowboy boots and Stetson. I stepped out of my car walked around to where he stood on the curb and he met me half way. I remember looking into his big blue eyes and he said, “Hi Baby.” And then he kissed me under his Stetson…I knew then what chocolate must feel like when it melts…

So, the folks at Burger King missed out…

Instead we drove on towards St. Simons Island and to a neat place called The Crab Shack for a date night and a good dinner…of course after the appropriate greeting of each other out front 😉

About midday today we drove over to our friends David and Joanna’s. We’ve known them since Knoxville where T & H and Dave worked together and now they’re working together again. We adore them and have had some great times with them and swapped some great meals over the years…we also share the same anniversary.

We decided on an early dinner and tried The Oyster Shack…where I had crab cakes and fried corn on the cob…for the first time ever. Not bad…don’t know if you’ve noticed a food theme going on here…seafood. That means T & H has died and gone to heaven and the streets are paved with golden shellfish shells…and drawn butter in the dew on the lawn…

Afterwards T & H and I decided to do a little looking around before it got too dark. I might add here that it had rained off and on all day…again…and we certainly didn’t have to worry about getting sunburn. You can probably guess the first place I’m going to seek out…island…coast…lighthouse…

So I thought I’d give you a little travelogue of our day in pictures.

Clouds & Light

My first view of the lighthouse

Catching up on history

T & H catching up on history

The Story Behind

And the history is…

St. Simons Lighthouse & the Keepers House

St. Simons Island Lighthouse and the Keep’s House

So cool

A happy man

Optimistic Thinking

I was thinking optimistically…sunglasses…

I see you by the sea

What seafarers look for…

Oleander and Light

Oleander and Light

Choppy Waters

Will shrimp for dinner…

He looks cold - but he's not

How does he manage to look so cold in 70+ degree weather?

Boardwalk

I want to burst out in a Drifters song when I see this

Rnjoying the view

Perched

Weathervane - but he's real!

Weathervane – only he’s real!

Really old Southern oak 

The iconic tree of the Old South…the Southern Live Oak

 

You know you're in the Old South when...

You know you’re in the Deep Old South when you see…Southern Live Oak and Spanish Moss every where…

© 2010 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Birds, Friends, Georgia, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Seagulls, St. Simons Island (GA) Lighthouse, St. Simons Island GA, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

Wild Birds Fast Food and Fly Through, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Wild Birds Fast Food and Fly Through

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Shortly after we met I introduced Tall and Handsome to bird watching and bird feeding. Since he’s indisputably dotty about animals, it didn’t take him long to get “hooked on bird feeding”. And when he gets hooked on something, he does like to jump in with both feet…

So like the good Dr. Frankenstein I am I took him to a very special place one day…and there has been no looking back. Periodically we return and during those times I’m not certain if I’m creating Dr. Frankenstein’s bolt-necked creature, or his lab assistant Igor…or maybe a combination of both because when I gazed out into the back yard Sunday afternoon I realized I had created the proverbial, albeit loveable monster.

And, the monster had not one, but two creations of his own…and they look like this….

Wild Birds Fast Food

Wild Bird Fast Food

Wild Birds Really Fast Food

Wild Birds Really Fast Food – see the room for MORE feeders?!

Stop by for a Drink 2

Wet Your Whistle Stop

Yes, little feathered friends in the neighborhood now have their own Wild Birds Fast Food and Fly Through…and Water Your Whistle Stop. The addition this year to the “chain” was the Wild Birds Really Fast Food Stop. (Just in case you haven’t figured it out, the “special place” I introduced T & H to was a wonderful little store called Wild Birds Unlimited. It is like “Birds R Us” for birders. Check the phone book or the internet for a location near you.)

Sunday, after the obligatory refill of the feeding stations…and more trimming of tree limbs to make sure those darn tree rats (also known as squirrels) stay the heck off the feeders, we sat back and watched the little feathered visitors help themselves t0 “lunch”. And yes, since confession is good for the soul, and in case you haven’t noticed, I HATE SQURRIELS! They are disgusting, stingy, food snatching tree rats…and those darn tails are just too darn perky…like Katie Couric.

When we first started birding together, T & H did not share my derision of the overly perky, unwelcomed little critters. He even shuddered slightly when I called them “tree rats”. He tried everything to appease them…baffles and then even much to my disgust feeding them! Oh yeah, just what I wanted…more tree rats in the yard lined up with little tin cups banging on everything demanding more!

I’m surprised T & H didn’t go out and line them up and have what I call one of his Freudian talks with them.

“Now, little guys, this isn’t the way we build a yard team…a  friendly environment team. This part of the yard and feeders is for you guys and the other part and feeder are for our little feathered team members. If we all stay on task and support each other the yard will work great, everyone will have enough and it will be reminiscent of the Garden. Group hug and ooah-yah!”

Oh yeeeah…the squirrel feeders worked about as well as a spaghetti leash on a hungry pit bull after he saw a stray chicken…only thing that happened with that little venture was we ended up with a yard full of empty peanut shells…and empty bird feeders…

NOW?!

Well, simply stated, I think I have won a convert when it comes to the tree rats…no, Honey, I think a blow torch might be a little overkill…even for tree rats…but, I appreciate the thought…

After a long stretch of patience and sitting like statues on the deck, I was able to snap a few of our little diners…but, I just missed the red-headed flicker.

We knew we had hummers already because the food was disappearing, but we were delighted to see one making herself at home!

Enjoy and welcome to an additional bonus of springtime in the South…

Lady Cardinal Leads the Way

Lady Cardinal Leads the Way

House Finch

House or Purple Finch stops by…

Maybe I Will and Maybe I Won't

Hummm…Maybe I Will or Maybe I Won’t…

My tumming is getting full

My tummy is getting sooooo full…

Can You See the Interloper

Can you see the Interloper? He’s eating the suet cake and is a Brown-headed Cowbird…in the Blackbird family.

I really Want to

This male cardinal scoped out the feeder for the longest time before he finally visited. He was in a distant corner of the back yard when I caught him hiding.

Oh yeah I Made it Oh yeah! I finally made it!

Welcome baby girl Welcome Baby Girl! Looks like a baby female Cardinal…

One last little fellow This little fellow seemed to prefer the ground

The Shot I Waited For All Afternoon

It’s not easy catching Hummingbirds still! I waited all afternoon just to see if we had any visiting the feeder…and Viola! There she is!

© 2009 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Backyards, Bird Feeders, Birds, Cardinals, Hummingbirds, Humor, Nature, Spring, Tall & Handsome, Wild Birds, Wild Birds Unlimited