Tag Archives: The South

Just Think, I’ll Have More Room for My Azaleas Now!, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“Just think, I’ll have more room for my azaleas now!” ~ Miss Maudie To Kill a Mockingbird ~

Azalea 2013 E

Azaleas are the quintessential Southern icon…well, along with the magnolia tree. Azaleas are to the South what tulips are to Holland. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Southerner who at least didn’t appreciate these wonderfully, colorful shrubs that put on a Technicolor display every spring. Even if that person doesn’t know the name of the of the shrub, they still enjoy the show.

And like any good Southern gal worth her salt, I resemble that description…

I don’t recall when I first fell in love with azaleas. It could have happened one fine spring. Or, it could have happed one day in a horticulture class. But, a love affair began…

At my first home, I had close to 40 or 50 azaleas…

When I moved, it was to a home that needed major restoration inside and out. A mother and three teenage daughters had lived in the house for 5 years. They were clueless to home repair. The back yard had been mowed once in those 5 years. Hand to God, that is true…the former owner told me that with her own lips.

So, before we could do anything, the amount of work it took on the yard, especially the back yard was almost equivalent to defoliating the rain forest…

And, then would could begin with the good stuff. Azaleas were on the top of my list. I guess I had 20 or 30 before I left that house.

Then, I moved to my current home. The house was a new build, I was just like Miss Maudie…I just had more room for azaleas!

So, I started the foundation of a great landscape that included azaleas…

But, there came a time when Tall & Handsome and I moved to accommodate his job. Not wanting to sell, we decided to lease the house out.

We’re still paying for that move…

Most of the inside damage has been repaired and even upgraded, but the outside is a horse of a different color…

The foundation of the wonderful landscape I started crumbled like an ancient civilization due to neglect…it laid in ruins…gone was the Bermuda lawn, the Japanese Maple tree, azaleas and other wonderful loved plants.

Yet, some remained, like today’s picture. It rained here Sunday, and our azaleas had bloomed. So yesterday morning I stepped out on the front porch to snapped some pictures before the blossoms begin to fade for the season. They are breathtaking…

I am personally partial to southern indica. (Mine are Formosa.) Most people think I’m fool hardy for growing them in this area, because, they insist, the azaleas are more suited for climates further south. Like Mobile for instance. The theory is a good cold snap could come along and blight the bloom trusses for a whole blooming season. Or, even kill the plant.

I grow them anyway. For me the payoff is worth it. The big beautiful blossom and the size of the plant alone is worth the risk.

Sometimes and I look out over the yard and get a little overwhelmed at the work still remaining to do…it’s like going backwards….

But, just think, I have room for more of my azaleas now!

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Azaleas, Birmingham, Horticulture, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, southern indica Formosa, The South

Tree Ablaze, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf’s a flower. ~ Albert Camus ~

in fron of the post office

We had to run to the post office the other day and as I sat in the Jeep I happened to notice the wonderful color in the trees surrounding the post office. I don’t know if it’s just me, but am I the only one to get carried away by this time of the year? I so love the colors, the weather, the food, the promise of the upcoming holidays…I just love fall!

Fall tends to arrive a little later here in the South than it does up North. Some years I’ve seen fall color here well into November. This year some of the trees have passed peak and others are just now beginning to come into their autumn glory.

The tree in today’s picture looks like it’s about to burst into flame. It was just stunning to see it and the others lined up in front of the post office. It certainly help start my day off on the right foot…bright and cheerful…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved


Filed under Autumn, Fall, Fall Color, Photography, Picture of the Day, The South

And, Now the Rest of the Story…, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Yesterday I shared with you my feelings on the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

I also mentioned that as a whole 2001 was a turning point…a seminal year for me personally. In May of that year, on our son’s 21st birthday, my husband of 27 years walked out to start a new life with a woman who was a co-worker.

But, there’s more to that year, a turning point if you will and as Paul Harvey would have said, this is the rest of the story…

Little did I know that in the burning rubble of 9/11 and the crumbled decay of a 30 year relationship something new would rise up out of that and would be a new start for me. It’s almost cliché to use the Phoenix rising from the flame, but in a way that’s almost what it was like.

At the time it seemed pretty hopeless. I had been a stay at home mom for about 21 years.

But, I had kept up certain skills and developed new ones. I had worked part time here and there, done some civic work, aided my ex in some home-based businesses, homeschooled our son, co-founded a quilt guild, served as President for the guild for several years, launched the guild newsletter and served as editor for several years and then served on the board of the state at-large quilt guild.

But, there was one very important thing I had done that paid off in spades. I had begun developing computer skills. Yes, I was mainly self taught, but it is truly amazing what you can learn on your own and you can be underestimated by others when you are self-taught which can lead to a big advantage.

I originally began my journey through the would of tech when I began publishing the guild newsletter, using it for quilt design, home-school purposes and the real hook was genealogy research.

Those computer skills helped me snag an amazing job I really enjoyed, but unfortunately my health could not hold up under the stress of the job and over time my health began to be harmed in ways I never knew imaginable.

It was also those under estimated computer skills that cracked the caper of Gomez and Morticia, yes the ex and his new gal’s code names for their computer communications. It was all just an elementary matter of following simple internet cookies and temp files which he didn’t realize I knew about. When he finally realized I did know how to do that, ashen faced he said, “I knew I should have done a better job of cleaning up that computer.”

But the rest of the story is this…

After all of that, the turmoil in the country, the dashed hopes of a life and family, it was time to start looking forward.

Statistics told me the outlook was dismal for me. For someone with my health challenges and my age finding a mate would be about like finding a chicken with lips…

I prayed for a knight is shining armor…any girl’s dream…young, middle aged and yes, based on what I had seen in the media, yes, even the dream of blessed women of a certain age beyond middle age…we all want our knight in shining armor.

Statistics told me that in todays less chivalrous society they (knights) are about as rare as reptiles that walk on two feet, especially if you’re looking for a man who knows how to deal with chronic illness.

Years ago I read a study with statistics that related some stunning information. In relationships when a female becomes chronically ill, overtime about 97% of the men eventually leave. When a male becomes chronically ill about 94% of the women stay in the relationship. I was stunned and just didn’t know if I really believed those stats. I guess the truth was I didn’t want to believe them…

But, now I was faced with the fact of “what now” and the unknown.

Little did I know that just weeks after the turmoil of 9/11 I would meet my knight in shining armor. He would be a Southwestern cowboy who sometimes wore a Stetson and cowboys boots and had strong, deep Southern roots like mine. And even though I was upfront with every health situation he didn’t run the other way. He is one of the most decent human beings I have ever known in my life.

So, why do I tell you this with today’s picture?

Well, this picture was taken on Sept. 11, 2010. We happened to be on Jekyll Island, GA that day and we wanted to be somewhere that took our minds off the past tragedy of the day. We were approaching Driftwood Beach, my Tall & Handsome was a little ahead of me because I had stopped and taken a picture of two. I looked up and saw him right at this time and I caught my breath. It was the perfect time, the perfect place and a perfect picture.

There was my lone knight, my Tall & Handsome who’s long arms have comforted me many times. Even in his ball cap and his Alabama T-shirt, he was still my knight in shining armor.

“Being loved deeply by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Loa Tzu ~

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under 9/11, Driftwood Beach (Jekyll Island GA), Georgia, Gomez, Jekyll Island (GA), Loa Tzu, Love, Morticia, Photography, Picture of the Day, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

Accidental Tourists, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Walk in the park

This past summer Tall & Handsome and I had an occasion to make a trip to Savannah, GA.

Savannah is a lovely city and there are reminders of the truly old, deep South every where. It is a city of living history.

It is also a city of parks…old parks, many built on squares. This lovely park is on the square just across from Paula Deen’s restaurant Lady & Sons on Congress Street.

As I stood in this location I noticed these old Southern oak trees highlighted by the black street lamps formed a nice shady tunnel through the park and made a lovely stroll from one end to the next. It was a captivating scene that could almost take you back 200 years.

I stood there for some time waiting for the right moment for the right shot…waiting for cars, cabs and etc. to pass by so I could snap that shutter.

Just as I snapped my picture these two little Southern ladies stroll into the park, making them my accidental tourists for the day…

Bless their hearts…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved


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Filed under Georgia, Old South, Parks, Photography, Picture of the Day, Savannah, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

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.


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

Trimaran and Golf, by Beverly Hicks Burch

trimaram at harbour town

Today’s picture is another one taken from atop Harbour Town Lighthouse on Hilton Head Island, SC.

Tall & Handsome informed me this fine vessel is a trimaran, meaning there is a hull and two outriggers. He is the one with past sailing experience having grown up in Florida. Imagine that combination…a sailing Southwestern cowboy. He’s my Renaissance Man. I would have to admit this trimaran is the first I ever laid eyes on, but she was a beauty from the vantage point we had.

The background is the famous Harbour Town Golf Links I mentioned in a previous post. The course is infamous for the crazy hard 18th hole with its glorious view of the lighthouse.

Although our trip out to Hilton Head was a quick one, I would have to say it was one of the most enjoyable jaunts we’ve had in a while.

Thanks for the memories, honey…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Harbour Town Golf Links, Harbour Town Lighthouse, Harbour Town SC, Hilton Head Island, Lighthouses, Photography, Picture of the Day, South Carolina, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel, Trimaran

Marina at Harbour Town, SC, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Harbour Town Marina

I love this view from atop Harbour Town Lighthouse on Hilton Head Island (SC).  This is the marina in Harbour Town, SC.

It was a beautiful warm day and although it may look still and peaceful it was anything but that…if you look at the surface of the water you can see just a subtle ripple on the water implicating the wind that was aloft.  The wind at the top was very breezy. And just so you’ll know how breezy, I’ll share a picture my Tall & Handsome took of me standing on top of the lighthouse. He loves the picture and calls it my sexy windblown look…I call it the Medusa look…

Bev on the lighthouse

Later, at the bottom of the lighthouse there were wonderful rocking chair sitting around under a shaded veranda that looked out over the marina. Next door was a restaurant/café with outdoor seating and entertainment. That afternoon the entertainment was a guitarist/singer who was taking requests. As T & H and I were sitting there enjoying the view, shade and resting from the trip up the lighthouse the musician suddenly struck “Sweet Home Alabama…”

It was a good day…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved


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Filed under Harbour Town SC, Hilton Head Island, Marina at Harbour Town SC, Photography, Picture of the Day, South Carolina, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

A Big Place to Play Marbles?! by Beverly Hicks Burch

coast past hilton lighthouse

If you are a golfer you may recognize this picture..but, then again maybe not.

Why? Well, this particular view. This shot was taken from atop of the Harbour Town Lighthouse on Hilton Head (SC). I have always loved the view from the top of lighthouses. There’s just nothing like it…well, except maybe the view from the top of mountains.

This view may look like another costal shoreline shot. But, it’s more than that. This is the Harbour Town Golf Links golf course. This particular spot in the infamous par 4 18th hole…one of the most feared in the golf world especially when fierce winds blow in off the Calibogue Sound.

Most people are use to seeing the location while playing through the 18th hole with the lighthouse in the background. Well, of course I’m not a golfer and I tend to agree with G. K. Chesterton on golf, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a beautiful location, even if it is a golf course, and especially if it’s seen from atop a lighthouse.

Oh, and you maybe asking how did the famous English writer G. K. Chesterton feel about golf? He said, “I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles.”

I’m sure he could appreciate the beauty of the course, too..

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved


Filed under Beach Pictures, G. K. Chesterton Quotes, Golf, Harbour Town Golf Links, Harbour Town SC, Photography, Picture of the Day, Shoreline Pictures, South Carolina, The South, Travel

Ancient Bodies on Driftwood Beach, by Beverly Hicks Burch

A few days ago, I changed the header on my blog and started using a potion of a  picture I took at Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island (GA). (I had been using a picture I took in East Tennessee.) I’ve also changed the format of my blog just a tad to give it some freshness and crispness. Hope everyone is enjoying it!

Today I thought I’d share the entire picture the header was taken from. A couple of years ago, if memory serves me it was on Sept. 11, 2010 Tall & Handsome and I were in the Brunswick/St. Simon Island/Jekyll Island, GA area. That day (9/11) is always a sad one to mark so we decided to go somewhere new to take our mind of off the pain of the past.

Jekyll Island is considered one of the Golden Isles off the Atlantic coast of Georgia. It’s a barrier island with a varied wildlife and a history that goes back to US Colonial days. You can tour a historic district, old cemeteries and plantation ruins on the islands.

Driftwood Beach is one of the most notable features. The “driftwood” on the beach is actually the remains of ancients Southern Oak Trees that have fallen to time, wind and erosion. Their bodies create an amazing gnarled maze on the beach of trunk, branches and limbs for a beachcomber to weave in and out of while enjoying the wind, sun and sound of the surf. It’s not uncommon to find little crab skittering across the sand.

It can be a magical place and it was a place that gave T & H and me a moment in time…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Beach Pictures, Driftwood, Driftwood Beach (Jekyll Island GA), Georgia, Photography, Picture of the Day, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

Summer in the South and a Big Ol’ Shady Porch, by Beverly Hicks Burch

summertime porch

Does anything say summer in the South like a big ol’ shady front porch? Add to that a bright sunny day and red, white and blue and you’ve just got an all American day.

We were glad to be able to finally recapture this half of the porch back. The barn swallows finally hatched (all five of them) and left the nest. Tall & Handsome took the nest down Saturday and washed the porch down.

You’d be amazed at how much poop baby birds can manufacture! The little rascals will have to find a new place to nest next year, but they seem very partial to our front porch. They keep flying into the porch, up to the corner to where the nest once was and it’s like “Oh, wow, it’s gone!” They hover a moment then perch on a ledge up next to the ceiling. If they had a face their expression would be stunned. I know they’re trying to figure out this new situation. Hopefully by next breeding season we’ll finally have our feeding stations set up in the back and they’ll find a more appropriate place to nest.

For now, we’ll just sit and rock out on the front porch and watch as the swallows settle their dilemma…it’s kind of like watching 45 year old kids who are still living at home and we’re ready for an empty nest…

We anticipate rocking and watching the leaves change when autumn rolls around…have I mentioned I love where I live?

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved


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Filed under Alabama, Central Alabama, Flags, Front Porches, Home, Photography, Picture of the Day, Summer in the South, Tall & Handsome, The South