Thursday, January 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Bday! Hope you have a wonderful day. I love you!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Papa Bill

We are thinking of Papa Bill (Joe's maternal grandfather) this morning. After being hospitalized Friday with severe abdominal pains, gall stones were found. Yesterday his gall bladder was removed & he'll be in ICU now for the next several days.
In my mind Papa is a mix of songbirds, satsumas, camellias, and the south Georgia piney woods in which he has made his home for more than 8 decades.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

First 'Real' Haircut

Levi's hair had gotten really long & we decided it was time for a cut...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!

Levi & I are up and already watching & listening (NPR!) to the inauguration coverage. Amazing crowds - awesome day!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Winter shorebird survey

In an ongoing effort to monitor population trends, we (the state of Georgia) conduct an annual winter shorebird survey along the Georgia coast and the barrier islands. I was assigned the middle beach on Ossabaw Island. Thought some of you may enjoy the pics. All told, we noted 17 species (and several thousand birds) along the middle beach. Among them, the endangered piping plover and the long-billed curlew, which I had never seen before.
Ossabaw is Georgia's 3rd largest coastal barrier island. The entire 26,000 acre island is set aside as a nature preserve and is only accessible by boat. Only three people live on the northern end of the island, but it has been inhabited by humans for at least the last 4,000 years. It's really quite a treasure, I hope to spend as much time out there as I can.
This is the old colonial road that runs 6 miles along the length of the island. It was surveyed and laid out by General Oglethorpe (the founder of the colony of Georgia) in the early-mid 1700's and is supposedly the oldest road in continuous use in the U.S. The supply ships and trade vessels would anchor on the south end of the island and this road was used to transport goods and supplies between the settlement on the north end and the port on the south. In it's heyday, the island had three plantations which produced rice, indigo, and cotton.
Middle beach where we did our tracks but ours.

The dunes on the west side of the beach.

Mark, my survey companero.

Our transport across the tidal creek to the beach.

One of the old houses on the north end, by where you dock the boat.

Some of the extensive maritime forest that covers the island.

Me and one monster live oak.

This is an old tabby building...the old choice for building material. made from oyster shells, etc. The remaining slave cabins on the island are made out of this. I have no idea what this building was.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A few Christmas pics

Pics from on and around Christmas....

Opa and the grandchildren (+1 great grandchild)

The next two are Levi at Daddy's office

Pops and the "liberated" Christmas tree

Just a little too big, but getting there....
Molly and the cypress

Put your own caption on this one.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Save the Worms

Vermicomposting = composting with worms

I've been hearing about this for quite a while now - I picked up our latest edition of Audubon magazine & there was yet another article outlining the simple setup. So, I've got to give it a try. My Saturday is free & it's my one goal of the day - to get this worm experiment up and running. The great appeal (if you don't mind a bin of worms somewhere in your home!) of this system is that it's INSIDE COMPOSTING = no yard necessary. A friend of Beth's (my little sis) in Atlanta is doing this in a closet in her apartment! Although I do have ample closet space in this house, I still think I'll start it out in our garage.
Here's the lowdown: You can reduce your overall waste by as much as 12 percent (if you're not already composting in another way) and it makes rich fertilizer to boot. You'll need a
plastic bin with a lid (I'm thinking a rubbermaid storage container) and a pound of red wiggler worms. The worms can eat up to 3 pounds of food a day in ideal conditions. The pile needs lots of air, so the one 'job' to this project is to drill quarter-inch holes in the lid every four to six inches.
Line the the bottom of the container with damp paper & then fill 3/4th full with carbon material = newspaper, straw, or leaves, ect. = this is the 'brown stuff.' Then bury in the 'green stuff' = this is all your non-dairy/meat kitchen waste = banana peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, ect. The 'burying' part keeps the fruit fly population down. The experts also recommend no spicy foods (worms with heartburn?). At this point just add worms and in a couple weeks you should start seeing some progress. You'll want to maintain the 3 parts brown to 1 part green to keep the worms happy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Savannah Recycles

"Savannah's new curbside recycling program is proving a bigger success than city officials planned. Officials are apologizing and asking residents to have patience after half the households who were scheduled for recycling pickup didn't get their bins emptied Monday. The problem? Crews collected more than 100 tons of recycling on Monday alone -- way more than officials projected. Officials promised all the bins would be picked up by Thursday and that more trucks and more staff would be on the way. They hope to get the "opening day kinks" worked out in the next few weeks." -GPB

Monday, January 12, 2009

2 million acres of Wilderness

I heard a very short news piece this morning about this land use legislation & had to find out more. After digging around a bit I found the article below. It looks like the Senate will pass this & then it's off to the House. I need to find out more, but I am elated to see 2 million acres of wilderness included - this means WILDERNESS = no roads, no chainsaws, no oil drilling, it will be left AS IS - for us to enjoy just the same as for Levi's grandchildren to enjoy. What an incredible way to start the new year. Keep your fingers crossed.

In a rare Sunday session, the Senate advanced legislation that would set aside more than 2 million acres in nine states as wilderness. Majority Democrats assembled more than enough votes to overcome GOP stalling tactics in an early showdown for the new Congress.

Republicans complained that Democrats did not allow amendments on the massive bill, which calls for the largest expansion of wilderness protection in 25 years. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other Democrats said the bill -- a holdover from last year -- was carefully written and included measures sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats.

By a 66-12 vote, with only 59 needed to limit debate, lawmakers agreed to clear away procedural hurdles despite partisan wrangling that had threatened pledges by leaders to work cooperatively as the new Obama administration takes office. Senate approval is expected later this week. Supporters hope the House will follow suit.

"Today is a great day for America's public lands," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. "This big, bipartisan package of bills represents years of work by senators from many states, and both parties, in cooperation with local communities, to enhance places that make America so special."

The measure -- actually a collection of about 160 bills -- would confer the government's highest level of protection on land ranging from California's Sierra Nevada mountain range to Oregon's Mount Hood, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and parts of the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia. Land in Idaho's Owyhee canyons, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan and Zion National Park in Utah also would be designated as wilderness.

Besides new wilderness designations, the bill would designate the childhood home of former President Bill Clinton in Hope, Ark., as a national historic site and expand protections for dozens of national parks, rivers and water resources.

Reid said about half the bills in the lands package were sponsored by Republicans. Most had been considered for more than a year.

"I am happy that after months of delay we will finally be moving forward," Reid said.

The bill's chief opponent, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., denounced what he called Democratic bullying tactics.

"I am disappointed the Senate majority leader has refused to allow senators the opportunity to improve, amend or eliminate any of the questionable provisions in his omnibus lands bill," Coburn told fellow senators.

"When the American people asked Congress to set a new tone, I don't believe refusing to listen to the concerns of others was what they had in mind," Coburn said. "The American people expect us hold open, civil and thorough debates on costly legislation, not ram through 1,300-page bills when few are watching."

Coburn and several other Republicans complained that bill was loaded with pet projects and prevented development of oil and gas on federal lands, which they said would deepen the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

Environmental groups said the bill set the right tone for the new Congress.

"By voting to protect mountains and pristine wildlands, Congress is starting out on the right foot," said Christy Goldfuss of Environment America, an advocacy group. "This Congress is serious about protecting the environment and the outstanding lands that Americans treasure."

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fort Stewart

So, there are certainly some perks to living 3 miles from the Fort Stewart boundries - namely, it's nearly 280,000 acres of public land (though with some military restricted areas) which I now hold a recreation pass to access and Joe a hunting/rec pass. For our family that equates into Sunday canoeing trips down the Canoochee River and four deer in the freezer this year.
The downside is, well... I'll quote directly from their site: "tank, field artillery, helicopter gunnery and small arms ranges operate simultaneously throughout the year with little time lost to bad weather." What that means is: if you live anywhere near Fort Stewart, throughout the day and night you will hear a rumble in the distance and your windows will rattle. At first you will think it is thunder, then think you are crazy, and finally after making inquires will discover its source.
Tonight there's some heavy activity (primal howling at our full moon) - I suppose to make up for the lull over the holidays - and I think briefly of home and the story I've heard all my life about how my great-great-grandfather, as a child, recalled hearing the distant rumble of canons during the Civil War.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy 29th Carrie

My sister Carrie and her hubby, Greg (who also has a bday at the end of this month - our family has lots of January birthdays). Today, the eighth of January, my little sis turns 29 - she and I are 22 mos apart - Happy Birthday Carrie!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Holiday pics

I've a couple hundred pics still to look thru from the winter holidays - here are a few random ones...

Beth Burnam, Joe's Mom, with one of the resident billies at the Junior Museum in Tallahassee - she, Levi, and I spent a lovely day visiting here while we were in south Ga for Christmas

Bonnie Neely, my Mom, at Fort McAllister, the state park right down the road from us in Richmond Hill - we all visited here during their visit last week

Burning fields in the distance - a view from Papa Bill's front yard, on the old dirt road

Carrie, my sister, in one of the underground magazines at Fort McAllister

Friday, January 2, 2009

the second of january

Happy 81st Birthday - to my paternal grandfather, Joe Neely, of Wildwood, Ga.