Sunday, April 25, 2010


Joe breaking new beds - our neighbors Matt & Melanie working in their backyard too - you can see the neighborhood baseball fields in the very back

Matt, Levi, Mel

the walking iris is blooming - flowers are only open for one day

the coolest & most photogenic snail we encountered today!

My 'office' = the potting shed!


Coreopsis - with 50-60? blooms about to burst open!

Wildwood Pumpkin

Zinnia - planted about 25 so far

three echinacea moved from the other house

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

planting more seed flats today - we get a tiller this weekend - will take before/after pics - Happy Earth Day!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

little hands learning to knap

knapping arrowheads with Daddy - learning little hands - diligent - eager to see & do

Shape Shifting @ Twilight

A shifting sky - cool wind rising - trees swirling - a time alone with family in the grass - thinking - quiet - thankful

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Bryan County has leaf & limb pickup every Tuesday - in an act of unusual environmentalism (for around these parts), the materials are then composted & deposited at the park - for residential use - go and help yourself to any and all you can haul away - I'm going thru about a truck load a week - here's the crew I take along - the dog sleeps thru the ordeal & is nearly covered over - the child runs wild & busies himself with dumptruck work

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sand Gnats

I have been outside all day. I have been bitten no less than a 100 times.

Sand gnats as we call them, are members of the family Ceratopogonidae or "biting midge" family. The sand gnat that seems to be at its worst when the fishing is at its best! It hatches out in mass numbers when the temperature and season are just right for outdoor activity. Sand gnats are insects and therefore have a typical insect life-cycle that consists of four primary stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Eggs are laid in marsh mud, decaying plant material, and even standing water. Female gnats bite humans and other animals to extract a blood meal that is necessary for the successful development of their eggs.

So why does it hurt like mad when a gnat takes a meal from your arm or, even worse, your scalp? The secret is in the mouth parts. Sand gnats don't just puncture your skin like mosquitoes do. Instead they rip it open using sharp cutting teeth located on the mandible. After inserting two sharp, sword-like blades into the skin as anchors, the sand gnat uses the cutting teeth to rip up the skin and get the blood flowing. As if that weren't enough, the gnat then squirts a chemical into the open wound to inhibit blood clotting. The tiny pool of blood that forms is then sucked up through a straw-like structure called the proboscis. Some human victims have allergic reactions to the chemical and must endure itchy red spots or even swollen welts.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bamboo Garden Irises

I *love* irises - I miss my flowers back in Watkinsville - you see irises everywhere up near Athens, but here near the coast they are a rare sight - I don't know the reason - just less popular or lesser known? - they seem to grow well enough - the Bamboo Garden's iris garden is thriving (and making me wish for my own home again):

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Strawberry Picking

Katherine & I took the kiddos to the Bamboo Gardens today - their strawberry fields were open for picking. Organic strawberries at $2/pound. Pretty good deal. Levi & I filled up most of a 3-gallon pail = 9 lbs of berries. We have gorged ourselves ever since. Strawberry smoothies today. Making jam. Freezing a bunch. And strawberry shortcake tomorrow night.

Levi & Graham ate nearly as many as went in their buckets!

Once home with the berries and sorting them I found several dozen with one bite taken out of the end - just making sure they were fit to bring home I'm sure

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday already

and I see it's been a week since our last posting.
We left Friday for a wedding in NC - my first cousin, Jenny, marrying on Saturday. We got back Sunday night & even though we're out-of-town about every third weekend (and have the packing for such travels down to a fine art), it always takes us few days to get back on our feet after any road trip.
I returned to find 50+ seedlings newly up & thus spent most of Monday digging & planting. And after spending 8+ hours outside today, I can definitely say: the sand gnats are peaking. They were so bad after 5pm today that I had to totally give up any further attempts at gardening for the day. Literally plumes of them swarming & biting us! Bug spray does not phase them...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Us - Easter Sunday


Even tho I avoid sugar like the plague in my day-to-day diet (and severely ration any sugar-containing foods to my 3-year-old), during Easter I can scarf down a row of peeps without batting an eye. Why?... Relic of my childhood most likely. Their squishy goodness & sugar coated, slightly crunchy outside is simply irresistible. So, today on my daily surf around the NPR site (*I love NPR*) I was delighted to find this - click the link below & check out the picture slide show:


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Hippity-hoppity! The Easter Bunny has been here! :) Greetings & Happy Easter from Jennings, FL.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

That first, early gobble

Those who know me know that wild turkeys are a passion of mine. A wild turkey gobble on a clear spring morning represents one of God’s finest musical compositions. Below is a little story I wrote last year about turkeys, land, love, and family….interspersed with a few photos from Georgia and Mississippi from the 2010 Spring season thus far…..

That First, Early Gobble

For Papa

South Georgia has a certain subtle and sublime beauty one must slow down to notice, and thus to appreciate. In the absence of rolling hills and rock lined streams, you find beauty in quiet, little doses. The silence of blackwater around a cypress knee, the renewing scent of freshly burned longleaf woods, the collective notes of spring peepers at dusk on a clear and cool January night.
Of all seasons, Spring is the finest south of the fall line, where the mild and weak winter gives way to a burst of new-green sprinkled with the early bloom of redbud on the edges of roads and freshly turned fields. Nowhere else do azaleas and dogwoods bloom with such fervor, islands of color under towering fire-blackened pines. Spring seems to come rather suddenly here, light and airy, before the weight of the dense, humid summer.

The animals feel it, too. Deer move a little more freely than they did in late winter. Bluebirds scramble in and out of nest boxes, brown-headed nuthatch flit and crawl around cavities, Canada geese stand in pairs around farm ponds, and the sound of gobbling begins to roll up out of the creek bottoms.

I was a young boy when I first met this season, but a boy old enough to have cultivated a well-developed interest in nature and the outdoors. Once the experience of a spring morning spent with wild turkeys grabbed me, it never loosened its grip. Truth be known, I was probably predestined to be consumed with a passion for the wild turkey. Like so many other character flaws, it is likely due to a combination of genetics and environmental influences……I come from a long line of wiregrass turkey hunters. I know my Great-Grandaddy was a turkey hunter, and called them using a lighter’d wood splinter on a piece of chalkboard slate. Though he would have hunted them primarily in the fall, the old man undoubtedly knew the grandness of the bird and the beauty involved in pursuing them. My family may not have had much through those trying decades after the Civil War, but there was an abundance of elbowroom and plenty of wild game and fish with which to supplement the greens and cornbread. The old man passed his rural life and love of the land on to his son, and eventually some of it settled on those of us who came later.

It is that son, my Grandfather, who always made time for a busy little boy itching for adventure. I remember June bream fishing expeditions with crickets and poles, autumn deer hunts spent together in a wooden stand built in a water oak, and watching baseball games on a late summer night. As I look now at my own son, I believe time to be one of the greatest gifts an adult can give a child. More important than money, clothes, toys, and gadgets, giving time is giving of yourself. A gift that lasts a lifetime through the memories created and the confidence that though a child, I am somebody that matters.

I stood recently on a little sandy rise that in these parts amounts to a hill and watched the night slowly bleed away. I looked down into the creek bottom waiting on that first, early gobble, and remembered…......

The light was beginning to pale the eastern sky, barely illuminating the hardwoods as Papa and I made our way along the sandy woods road that ran above the branch and along the edge of the old cornfield. Along the road and to the northwest corner of the field where the old barbed wire lay on the ground and protruded from the trees like skinny metal fingers; waiting to once again prove useful and stick an unsuspecting kid. I remember stepping just inside the treeline and melting once again into the darkness. “We’ll just sit against the tree here and listen for awhile,” Pa-pa said quietly.

And so we sat, shoulder to shoulder. A grandfather and his grandson, alone under the receding darkness of the spring night. The seconds became hours and I strained my ears to hear something I had only heard in my dreams, though I wasn’t quite sure what it was. I listened so hard I thought I was giving myself a headache. I swore I heard the sun coming up, the light sizzling through the fog and the palmettos, bouncing off mosquito wings, then filtering out of sight into the swamp.

But no gobble.

Nothing I could even twist into a gobble with my young imagination. My mind began to wander back to deer season, when after two years of hunting I had finally earned the chance to take an old doe. I could see her suddenly emerging from the mist where nothing had been a second before. Then the nerves arrived, and I pulled the trigger as the crosshairs danced across the most bewildered deer in Georgia. I remembered as she disap…..

And then suddenly and unexpectedly, it happened.

The gobble coming from directly above us seemed to lift me off the ground and rattle the leaves, not to mention any semblance of calm I could have amassed at such a tender age. Papa barely stifled a chuckle, and his slow look told me everything….“Don’t move!” But it was too late…wise old swamp birds have little patience with intruders, even nervous little boys with quaking legs. The big gobbler exploded from the tree and flew north across the creek, disappearing from view into the dark timber of the Sofkee Creek swamp.

I remember leaning back against the tree, numb with excitement and questions, and overwhelmed. To have something so close, so alive and overpowering one second, and then completely gone the next, creates a sudden void that is difficult for a youngster to comprehend and understand. I’ve had that feeling many times since, after missing a shot or moving at the wrong time, and I usually work through it by looking at a track or rustled leaves and slowly understanding that he was here, but now he’s gone. Odds are we will both return again someday, for that is the way of things.

Papa and I still have a good chuckle over that morning every now and then. After 85 years, he no longer turkey hunts, though he still goes to the woods to fish and see the world come alive. Most of the time in the spring, he chooses to simply watch his songbirds and wait on my tales from the field. Driving back to his house with a cup of coffee, I often think how lucky I am to live in a place where I can walk in the footsteps of my Grandfather and his Father before him. People, ideas, and economies come and go. But the land and the water, “bigger and older than any recorded document”, as Faulkner once said, remain.

I sometimes think that when that gobbler flew out of the old warrior pine he flew straight into my heart, because I never walk past that tree without seeing a wide-eyed boy and a smiling old man. God willing, maybe one day I’ll be the old man, and I can sit back and smile at that old gobbler, maybe give him a knowing wink. Because after all, I’ve met him before.

Early spring, 2009