More Architecture! It’s Old Here.

Not much soul searching to report today, though I think some of my colleagues tried to get me to do so. That’s even AFTER I said I am really doing well and coping with whatever challenges may come up. Oh well. What did I do today?

Look. Architecture.

Mostly I looked at a lot of buildings and some darned impressive old oak trees. Our trip planners did us all a favor by setting up a bus tour of Greater New Orleans this morning, which makes it a lot easier to figure out what we’ll want to do in our free time tomorrow.

A spotted mule. Dream come true.

Our tour bus driver is usually a swamp tour driver, so I enjoyed listening to him try to remember all his NOLA facts and figure out how traffic has changed.

Of course there was the odd sighting of a wookie.
Continue reading “More Architecture! It’s Old Here.”
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We Invade the Plantation

Yesterday was a bit more of the same vacation stuff as the rest of the week. We have a routine where Anita works all morning (that’s why I have time to blog; otherwise I’d be doing activities) and then off we go. I made a lunch with our eggs and turkey and cheese all scrambled together, making me glad we got the grocery delivery package when we got here. That way, most days we don’t have to eat out but once.

We See Sea Pines

One of the negative things about Hilton Head Island is that lots of it is not easily accessible unless you live there. It’s divided into “plantations” (which were actual plantations with all the sadness that went with them), and they are gated, so only the well-do-do who live there can get in without a pass.

Entrance to the preserve we visited.

Luckily, for $8 they will let you into Sea Pines, so we made the most of it and drove all over the place yesterday. There’s a large forest preserve in the middle, which the developer of the property kindly deeded to the residents. We trundled through there and really enjoyed the boardwalk area with lots of labeled plants and interesting terrain.

Anita in her Halloween shirt enjoying the boardwalk.

The land was reclaimed from being a rice plantation and now actually provides drinking water. That’s a great story. We saw a couple of alligators and lots of birds, plus some huge trees that survived Hurricane Matthew.

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Survived the Mosquito Squad! Then, Rum.

Onward and upward with the travel fun! We are spending mornings in the condo, since Anita is still working, just not all day. No rest for the contractors, you know. That gives me time to blog, and well, I did a bit of work today, because our Hearts Homes and Hands business got its licensing approved, so I had to share that on the social media! We are so excited!

Low tide in low country.

As for yesterday, we still had it in our minds that we wanted to walk and walk, so we headed over to another island, and visited the Pinkney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Now, this is a naturalist’s paradise!

Datura in a butterfly garden. Look at the little wasp!

It had everything I love, including swamps, wetlands, coastal forests, and ponds. My iNaturalist account got quite a workout, and I’m still not finished uploading things.

Marsh periwinkle.

I really enjoyed the little crabs that scuttled along the wetland areas, since we were there at a pretty low tide time. Little marsh periwinkles were all over the reeds, too.

Continue reading “Survived the Mosquito Squad! Then, Rum.”

What’s Prettier Than a Beach Sunset?

Nothing. At least that’s what we think. But, since Anita and I walked and walked in a beautiful area all day yesterday, I think I’ll share some photos of other things we saw. But, first…

The Horror!

I set off on a long walk through a lovely area and didn’t bring my phone! What a horrible discovery. My panic was averted when Anita pointed out that she happened to have a phone with her, and that it also took photos with GPS coordinates on them. So, she became the official walk photographer.

These are ringless honey mushrooms, Armillaria tabescens.

While our walk along Pope Avenue was mostly populated by non-native plantings, the sides of the path had all the native stuff I was interested in. The mushrooms were really interesting, especially the one I’m glad to have turned over, because then I could see the yellow bumps it has instead of spores. That was a winner. It’s a Red-cracking bolete (Xerocomellus chrysenteron).

The way out didn’t win me any exercise points on The Watch, because we stopped constantly. We spent a long time trying to decide if an animal we saw in the duckweed was a turtle or a frog. Whatever it was, it was really fun to watch it bobbing around.

Continue reading “What’s Prettier Than a Beach Sunset?”

I CAN Relax, So There!

We all know that I am a busy little bee (speaking of which, look at the beautiful carpenter bee, one of many we saw on some non-native heather today).

Beautiful carpenter bee.

This week is my annual week in Hilton Head, and I vowed to actually rest and not cram every moment with work or stressful activities. Today was the big test.

Anita demonstrates a relaxing beverages.
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Stinky but Fun!

In my previous post, I talked about going on a walk with Kathleen (who will be here for the next year or so, getting our Hearts Homes and Hands business going) around the ranch for a long time and getting no “exercise credit” for it on my watch. While annoying, there are darned good reasons we didn’t just trek briskly around the property. Plus the dogs got stinky.

Kathleen is ready for checking out the nature!

It finally cooled off enough to go for a nice exploration of the woods, which is just not easy to do in the summer. The dogs were pretty thrilled at the prospect, and engaged all their sniffers.

We’re ready to sniff!

I hadn’t had a chance to show Kathleen what’s in the woods (mainly a lot of cedar elm and coral berry), so she had fun discovering the little stream (or where it would be if it rained more), then as we moved on, we saw the gate to nowhere, and other bottomland landmarks.

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From Exploring the Woods to Peering into a Microscope

Happy day. I am enjoying my second Texas Master Naturalist conference very much. It’s so nice to just enjoy learning with no pressure at all.

The prairie area

This morning I went on a field trip to the Spring Creek Forest Preserve. Wow, the people presenting me so much about the area. My head is full of little tidbits about prairies, forests, and riparian areas.

I also saw so many beautiful seed pods and fall plants. Lots of photos were taken by everyone.

Dew and webs.
iNaturalist says this is liatris.
Continue reading “From Exploring the Woods to Peering into a Microscope”