Tag Archives: South

It’s Almost Here…, by Beverly Hicks Burch

 

It Begins D

It won’t be sneaking down your chimney to eat cookies, but we’re counting down to one of my favorite times of the year. Yes, this coming Saturday will mark the official first day of autumn.

If I could bring in a choir to sing a rousing “amen” chorus for you, or better yet a group of pipers (bagpipers) playing a haunting chorus of Amazing Grace, well, then I’d do that, too…just to show you how much I love this time of the year. First cool snap we have I drag out the soup pot and start making wonderful soups…and I admit to playing a Christmas carol or two just to get in practice for the upcoming season. And, I can’t wait to have the first fire of the year in the fireplace.

I hate summer, by the way…have I mentioned that?

August was mercifully cool and we have had some rain, so I’m crossing my fingers for some great color this year!

If I had those pipers, you could hear the the music of the pipes echoing through the valleys of the mountains you see peeking just behind those trees.

It’s heaven up here…

“ What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn!” ~ Logan Pearsall Smith ~

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Autumn, Fall, Fall Color, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, South, Springville AL

When Ignorance Can Be Bliss, by Beverly Hicks Burch

A couple of years ago I spent some time with Tall & Handsome in a condo on St. Simons Island, GA. The space behind the condo was like a little mini jungle…absolutely thick with palmetto palms, vines, pines and undergrowth.

One afternoon I decided to step out back and snap a few pictures. I was intrigued with the fan shape of the palms. I snapped several pictures capturing several views and settings.

When I went back in I realized I was “seeing the forest, but not the trees” so to speak because as I reviewed each picture I came to the picture of the day and I was speechless. Yes, smack dab in the center I saw that little critter in the picture clinging tightly to the palm for dear life.

Now, as the old saying goes, “Innocence is bliss” and in my case that worked to my advantage. Because you see when it comes to reptiles I am a typical girlie girl. Had I see Waldo holding on for dear life there (I’m sure as terrified of me as I would have been of him) I would have run screaming like a little girl. Yes, I admit it. I resemble that description.

But, because I was so blissfully unaware of the smaller picture and was concentrating on the “forest” I was able to catch my camouflaged, terrified little friend.

Yes, behold…ignorance can indeed sometimes be bliss…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Georgia, Palms, Photography, Picture of the Day, South, St Simons Island, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

Harbour Town Lighthouse on Hilton Head Island, SC, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Hilton Head LIghthouse

Tall & Handsome and I were in Savannah for a few days to take care of some business. Imagine our surprise when we found out we were just a hop, skip and jump away from Hilton Head, SC. Another place to mark off my list of “places to visit” was within a 45 minute drive.

I really should get a theme song that says, “ROAD TRIP!”…

For those of you who have never been…there are golf courses galore on Hilton Head Island…for as far as the eye can see. But, you know my feeling about golf. I agree with GK Chesterton: “I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles…”

My interest was in locating the lighthouse…and locate it we did! The view from the top was spectacular. The sky was unbelievably blue that day. There are 114 steps and I could only take 10 at at time with intervals of rest…T & H insisted upon that! (He’s very good to take care of me and help me accomplish goals with my disabilities. There are ways to accommodate bothersome disabilities and still see what you dream of seeing.)

The lighthouse is located on Hilton Head and is known as Harbour Town Lighthouse. It sits at the Harbour Town Marina and is a relatively new lighthouse. Building began in 1969 and was completed in 1970. It is operational and the 18th hole of the Harbour Town Golf Links is nearby.

At the top you will find a gift shop and museum. A lovely young woman named Nadia was there when we visited. Nadia was originally from Serbia and was just a delight and very knowledgeable. Be sure to check out the Museum and Shop at their website.

We had a very enjoyable day…something we’ve needed for a while…

More pictures to follow…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Harbour Town Lighthouse, Hilton Head Island, Lighthouses, Photography, Picture of the Day, South Carolina, Southern, Southern Lighthouses, Tall & Handsome, Travel

Bird in a Bush, by Beverly Hicks Burch

bird in a bush D

It appears it’s been a fruitful spring around here this year.

We had a nest of barn swallows in the corner of the front porch. It amazed me how fast they were grown and out of the nest and flying. Just two weeks ago they were tiny little “angry birds” complaining every time my flash interrupted their space. Now they are flying gracefully around the house making me wish I wasn’t earth bound and could join them in the wild blue yonder.

About the same time I noticed them I happened to notice another little feathered friend. It was quite a chance meeting. I had been investigating a Nandina shrub in front of the house. Nestled deep in the branches was an empty nest.

Well, I thought, this little fellow has already flown the coop…

As I sat in the rocker on the front porch and talked to T & H as he was doing some weeding I happened to look up at just the right time. There was another baby bird on the second from the top step on the porch.

He saw me see him…and I saw him see me…you, know…one of those situations.

I froze and he did, too…kind of turning his head like, “oh, crap, oh crap, oh crap…I hope this big person who isn’t suppose to be here will not see me if I look away…”

Momma bird was at the bottom of the porch going crazy. I know she wanted to peck the eyeballs out of my human head. I believe she was a thrush…

I stayed as still as I could and then very gingerly excused myself into the house for a couple of minutes.

Miraculously when I came back out Baby Bird was gone…I just didn’t know where. So, I set back into the rocking chair with my Nook and was actually looking up bird identification and bird songs/call. All of a sudden I heard a ruckus as we call it down here in the South, and it was coming from the Nandina.

I walked over to the hand rail of the porch and look straight down and had the surprise of my life…Baby Bird was occupying the formally unoccupied nest. And I had a bird’s eye view. I got some wonderful once in a lifetime shots.

Thanks, Baby Bird…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Alabama, Birds, Front Yards, Photography, Picture of the Day, South

Angry Birds, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Angry Birds

A couple of weeks ago I walked out onto my nice big front porch, looked around and thought, “Good grief, who or what has turned my porch into a poop deck?!”

There was bird poopy on handrails and in a certain corner of the floor. I happened to gaze upward and immediately got an answer to my question.

There up next to the ceiling of the porch, perched on a ledge was a perfect little nest. Hello, nest…hello, poop…

I was sooo tempted to tear it down, but the mushy bits in me just couldn’t allow myself to do that. I knew why the nest was there. Dollars to donuts there was probably a family of baby birds on the way. And, had I tried to tear that nest down, the uber-animal-mushy bits in Tall & Handsome would have gone all “Born Free” on me had I dared attempted that home wrecking  maneuver.

Thursday night I stepped out on the porch and happened to noticed what I thought were tiny little heads perched just over the rim of the nest. I called T & H out (he’s got several inches on me) and asked if he could tell if there were babies in the nest.

He took one look and said, “Yep, there babies there.”

I also happened to notice that Momma Bird and Daddy Bird were both hanging around on a ledged near by. T & H and I didn’t know what kind of birds they were at first, but by the end of the day, I had identified them as barn swallows.

Barn Swallows

I went in and got my camera and attempted to take some pictures of the new little family. While doing so I noticed the funniest thing. Every time the flash went off the whole little crew went crazy. There was all kinds of “cheeping”, and “tweeting” and complaining going on after the flash popped. It seemed like the flash never rebounded fast enough to catch the little complaining rascals with their necks stretched out and mouths opened in protest…until today.

Today, like last night, they were still angry (baby) birds any and every time their little space was disturbed by that mean old flashing thing…

…I just kept expecting to turn around and see Piglet on the porch behind me…

Next up…baby birds flying…hopefully sans slingshots…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Animals, Barn Swallows, Birds, Photography, Picture of the Day, South, Tall & Handsome

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

Backyard Trillium, by Beverly Hicks Burch

backyard trillium

Spring ushered in very early this morning, so it’s official! Spring has sprung!

Now, that doesn’t mean we can’t have anymore cold weather. Nineteen years ago, right before spring ushered in we had the infamous Blizzard of `93. Yes, it was an honest to goodness blizzard in the Deep South. I had 24” of snow in my backyard. There were people without power for weeks.

We’ve also had snow as late as April. One year I had an apple tree in bloom when a surprise snow storm blew in and dumped a few inches on an unsuspecting population. The snow on the blossom laden apple tree was too much and it uprooted the tree.

It’s not cold like that now. As a matter of fact it’s been warm…very warm…warmer than it should be. It was 86 yesterday. That’s a little disconcerting because overly warm weather in the spring can result in bad storms later on.

March, April and early May is considered our top severe weather season. Last April 27 is a sobering example of what can happen this time of the year, but as Jan. 23 of this year pointed out, tornadoes and severe weather is not limited to this season only. In Jan. the place of my childhood was in essence wiped off the map.

But, looking forward and to celebrate spring, I thought I’d shared today’s picture of the day. I love for spring to roll around because I know it will bring the trilliums to my backyard. That is one of the bonuses of living on a mountain top. I’m not totally sure, but I think this might be a trillium reliquum which is found only in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina and is considered an endangered species. I plan on taking care of these babies as long as I can…which means leaving them alone and just letting them grow wild…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Backyards, Central Alabama, Enviroment, Horticulture, Mountains, Photography, Picture of the Day, South, Spring

Vulcan at Night, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Vulcan at night

The other evening we were out and about giving our out of town visitor a quick tour of the Magic City. We happened to stop for gas on the Southside of Birmingham. When we looked up there was Vulcan looking down on us as big as Dallas.

As someone who grew up in Birmingham, Vulcan is a regular sight. Some of us who have lived in the `Ham most of our lives are so accustomed to Vulcan we may even take him for granted…like a good pair of comfy shoes or a favorite granny.

But, to a newcomer, a big, tall half dressed Roman god who moons half of the city can make you do a double take…

Vulcan was the Roman god of the forge and fire. Our symbolizes Birmingham’s connection to its past as the “Pittsburg of the South” or as a giant in the steel industry pre-Jimmy Carter’s recession days and decline.

Our Vulcan statue standing, at 56 feet tall is the largest cast iron statue in the world and the 7th largest free standing statue in the US. He was displayed at the 1904 World’s Fair representing Birmingham.

When I was a young girl Vulcan was used to alert the city as to the status of traffic fatalities in the area. If his torch burnt green, we knew the roads had been safe, but if his torch blazed ominous red, we knew somewhere someone in the metropolitan area was no longer with us. Over the years, Vulcan has been revamped and refurbished. In  1999 – 2004 there was a large restoration and the torch was replaced with a spear.

Some things have changed, but one thing remains the same…Vulcan still stands watch over Birmingham…and visitors are still intrigued to see the big Roman guy standing atop Red Mountain. Birmingham is full of wonderful surprises my friends…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

 

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Filed under Birmingham, Birmingham AL, History, Photography, Picture of the Day, South, Travel, Vulcan

Harvest Time in Alabama, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Harvest in AL

Harvest time in Alabama can mean a lot of things. Yeah, we have to bring in the hay here, too. And, it looks like there’s some cotton still waiting for pickin’…

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Filed under Alabama, Central Alabama, Cotton, Fall, Harpersville AL, Harvest Time, Photography, Picture of the Day, South, Travel

Cotton Bolls, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Cotton Bolls

For years cotton was King in the South. You could probably go as far to say the South was built on cotton in the early days. It was grown just about every where in the South. A Sunday drive out in the country would reveal fields and fields of cotton as far as the eye could see.

As a result, there was a thriving textile industry in the South. One little town in central Alabama called Sylacauga was one such place. Unfortunately that is no longer the case. Sylacauga’s claim to fame nowadays is the Hodges meteorite that fell to Earth in Nov. 1954, crashing through the roof of a home and injuring a women living in the home. Years ago, many…I would venture to say the majority of the US textile jobs were off-shored to third world countries where labor now makes garments for pennies on the hour.

I remember seeing huge cotton fields as a little girl. As a matter of fact my Papaw Hicks grew cotton. I can remember visiting him and being allowed to pick a little cotton. For those of you that have never picked cotton, it’s not what you think it would be. It looks soft and fluffy, and the white fiber is, but, it’s surrounded and held by the boll that can literally shred your fingers…and that was one of the prices of King Cotton.

Tall & Handsome and I were out today near Sylacauga and when I saw this I just had to take a picture…it brought back a lot of memories…

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Central Alabama, Cotton, Fall, Harpersville AL, Photography, Picture of the Day, South, Tall & Handsome, Talladega County AL, The South, Travel