Patio Invasion

So this is somewhat a “Part II” to yesterday’s “Patio Occupado.” I thought I’d give you all an update on the status of my 3rd floor aviary.  This morning, I was in my office reading emails and drinking my morning java when I heard a familiar chirp.  I looked out of the window and there was my fine feathered friend – again, stretching out his/her neck and perusing my patio for signs of life (aka me).

I opened the window and he/she took off.  Oh well, guess I blew that intimate moment.

Later when I came back from the store, there were 3 baby birds and their mama – aka my new feathered friend perched on the railing between the third and second floors.  I walked right past them and said “hello,” and no one moved.  That’s cool, I thought.

I went back to work in my little office this time with the window open and the blinds pulled up with a clear view of my patio.  I saw my friend again.  Without even thinking about it, I went into the living room, opened the patio door and went outside closing the door behind me and the bird just stared at me, not budging.  “Hello again.”  He/she took off.

Around 4pm I looked up from my computer and heard several birds chirping only to find six babies (almost as big as the parents) sitting on my patio railing lined up and waiting to be fed by their parents one-by-one.  Each time the parents would be close-by they would all chirp with excitement, but of course, only one could be fed at a time.  I must say both parents were working overtime.  While watching the parents fly I realized that this may be the birds I’ve been calling starlings, although unbelievably in this day and age, I can’t find a good picture online of what I’m seeing in person.  The tail shape and the precision, stealthy flying skills are unmistakable though.

Now these shots quite literally suck as far as photography goes, but I had to take the pics through the screen in my office, which quite frankly could use a good scrubbing.   Now at 5:45, they have all just flown away.  It’s about the time when you go out and sit and watch all the birds around, flying around, gathering up their families and going home probably to the  trees across the  street – especially since the management here sprayed down all the nests in the breezeway with some awful but necessary bleach concoction.  If it wasn’t done occasionally, the breezeway would be full of the usual birds flying at your head as you leave and enter your apartment, protecting their nests and the tons of over-sized hornets and other various bugs (like Palmetto bugs bigger than my hand); there are far more of them than there are of us.

And now the pics:

birds II 1

Someone is getting fed while the rest patiently wait for their turn.

birds II 3

While five sit atop the railing, one fell to the bottom rung after being fed a little too forcefully.  Good save.

Birdy ii 4

And here are what I can only assume are the proud parents circling around the fly-in/drive-in as they get ready to drop off some fast food.

It’s been a wonderful experience getting to know my new friends.  If their parents are in need of building a new nest for them, they’ve got their work cut out because just feeding these six little ones seems to be a job in an of itself.

I’ll be out there myself shortly with a buck of water to swab the decks. My new friends are cute, but a little too messy for my taste, if you know what I mean.   And I think that they totally got my displeasure at them resting on my chair cushions.  Once I told them the chairs were off limits, they haven’t been on them since.

 

Welcome to the Jungle

The Stray Cat Strut

While cleaning up this weekend, I came across some SD cards from various cameras I’ve used over the years along with two throw-away cameras that are full of pictures of … (I’ve yet to find out).  It’s kind of fun looking through them, not knowing what treasures you might find. This particular picture is of my former neighbor in New Jersey.  I have never been much of a cat person, mostly because I’m allergic to them, but this little wild kitty held his own in a vast outdoor jungle full of wilder cats that were much larger than he was.

welcome to the jungle

An Early Sign of Spring

When I was young, my mom and I would sit at the bay window in our kitchen and look at the crab apple tree that stood right outside.  It was always filled with birds eating the fruit of the tree.  I think that’s why we (my siblings and I) grew up with a love of birds that we still have today.  Each year, the first robin red breast would appear and my mother would declare that sighting as the first hint of spring on its way.

perched bird

Today from my own perch on the third floor, I heard a bird singing.  Even though he was atop a tree that was even with my balcony, he was small (but loud for his size) and it took me a minute to focus my eyes on exactly where he was.  I’m still trying to figure out how he perched his fluffy, round little body on top of that single, flimsy branch.  This may not be a robin, but I’m willing to count him as my first sign of spring to come.  (Thanks for posing!)

 

Lakeside Sunrise & Moonset

The Northeast, my former home, got bombarded over the weekend with 30-or-so inches of snow.  Meanwhile in the South we spent last Friday frozen in by a pretty major ice event (about 3-5 inches) covered by a dusting of snow.  I must say that while my sympathy was with my friends, family and everyone else left to dig out of all that snow, I was kind of happy to see a little white stuff, especially since I was hunkered in for the weekend with no thoughts of going anywhere.

Monday, while my friends were still digging out in order to get to work, I rose with the Sun and went out on my patio and caught the most beautiful sunrise.  The Sun on Sunday had melted the majority of our ice and snow and the promise of warm weather (50s at least) has returned.

On the other side of my patio (I’m on a corner) overlooking the parking lot of my apartment complex, the full Moon was getting ready to rest just as the Sun was rising.

We have some of the most beautiful sunsets here in South Carolina, and now I can say the same about the moonsets and sunrises.  Pink and orange and yellow … the colors are breathtaking.

Lakeside Sunrise

Full Moon at Sunrise

Even though I’m in South Carolina, I’m only a few miles from Charlotte, North Carolina. Despite the South’s limited resources when it comes to a snow and ice event, you can bet that Charlotte did it’s best to make sure that nothing would spoil the Panther’s game at home on Sunday.  Go Panthers!

Georgia’s Still on My Mind

View from Congress St.

Travelling was, is and will always be totally awesome. Honestly, I wish I had discovered this love of going places much earlier in life, but I doubt that I would have appreciated it this much. Funny thing is I’m the quintessential home lover. I would opt out of martini for the sake of being able to drive myself home and sleep in my own bed. And trust me, I haven’t seen one one-millionth of the world yet, but it doesn’t matter, I get to see and experience places through my blogger friends, places I never even knew existed with photos so breathtaking that I feel like I’ve been there too.  I hope these photos give you a taste of Savannah’s southern charm.

So while I’m on the subject, please excuse some of my Savannah pics if they’re not perfecto – It was a quick trip, well, more like a drive-by with a few blocks of walking.  Here are the houses and the B&B pictures I promised.  We’re taking a break from GA tomorrow and heading to the Gulf of Mexico in Florida – bring your sunglasses.

Andrew Low House 1848

Andrew Low House – 1848

I love the craftsmanship on this front door.

Hamilton-Turner Inn

Hamilton-Turner Inn

I really need to get photo software and another lens, but anyway … This is the Hamilton-Turner Inn and I can’t completely convey to  you how this entrance way just says “Come in and stay a while,” which is what they really want you to feel – at about $250 a night.  Hey, if ya’ got it … I wasn’t feeling so flush at the moment.  If you click on the link, you can read the history of the house and checkout their rooms, etc.  For me, the most interesting part of its history was this:

“…The house was embroiled  in scandal under the management of Joe Odom. His raucous parties—made  famous through the John Berendt book Midnight  in the Garden of Good and Evil …”

Hamilton-TurnerInn.com

Architecture

I’m totally ignoring the fact that there is a “no parking” sign in my shot – I hope you will too.  But check out the view of the church in the background and the double porch on the other side of the house.

doorway2

I wish I had spent more time here – to really get the full essence of Savannah, but I’m sure I’ll go again.  Preferably with a friend so I can snap pictures from the passenger side.  I did get to walk around a bit, but you can’t do Savannah in one day let alone a couple of hours.

Speaking of travel – when I got home on Friday my roommate, another friend and I planned a one-night weekend in Charleston, SC – I’ve never been there and it’s only a few hours away.  I’m learning that sometimes travel just happens.

Sundial

Sundial

Oh, look at the time.  I have to run.  See you in Florida tomorrow.

More Savannah

“Thanks for Having Georgia on Your Mind”Savanna Bloom 2

I didn’t get a photo of that, but that’s what a sign said when I entered Georgia coming back from Florida.  I had hoped to go back to downtown Savannah on my way back, but with a five-hour trip behind me and four-hour trip ahead of me, I was glad I had gone earlier on my way to Florida. Plus it was raining for most of my ride home and it was foggy and misty when it wasn’t pouring.  I’m so glad that I experienced it on the way down on a nice warm, sunny day.  I always say that life is like photography, you’ve got to take those moments when they present themselves – and for once, I followed my own advice.

The Riverwalk

The Riverwalk

I wish I had more time to stop and take this picture sans tourists, or even to read the words on its base, but I had to do the Riverwalk by car – not an easy feat, it’s an ancient cobblestone “walk” way, but you can drive through it – barely.  The good thing was it was so crowded you could only drive a few miles per hour and that made it easy to take photos from my car. A little research revealed that this was a statue  called “Waving Girl” by Felix De Weldon.  The statue was made as a tribute to Florence Martus who greeted all of the ships coming up and down the Savannah River from her Elba Island home for 40 years.  She was the sister of the Elba Island lighthouse keeper and she’s well known for her southern hospitality.

Tomorrow I’ll share some photos of the homes of Savannah and even a beautiful bed and breakfast you might consider if you’re in the area, at least for one night.

Hey There Georgie Girl

I’ve been absent from blogging for about a week – missed it terribly.  Missed reading everyone’s blogs as well and seeing all of my friends’ photos.  I’m halfway home now – or so I like to tell myself (and my car), but I had my blogger friends in mind the whole time.  Did I have my laptop with me?  Of course.  But it was a last minute trip – I’m spontaneous – and I did have three articles due so when I wasn’t working, I was spending time with family, but I did think about what I was going to do with all the stories and pictures I gathered along the way.  I’m not home yet, but I’m on the last leg of my trip and sitting in my lovely, quiet hotel room – quiet because the one show on TV I’d love to relax and watch has no sound – but that’s not me complaining.  One of the things I did learn on this trip was just how blessed I am in so many ways – a few or ten hours alone in the car leaves you a lot of time to think.

So here’s a shot I took on the way to my destination.  Took more when I got there and more on the way back that I’ll share this weekend, for now I’ll just say that I loved the trip and taking pictures and the people I went to see and the people I met along the way.  This is a little taste of Georgia – historic Savannah, Georgia to be exact.  I’ll share more tomorrow/this weekend, after I’ve had time to sort through them.  I really like travelling – pretty surprising to me since I’m usually a homebody – but it’s never too late to change.

Doorway in Savannah, GA

Doorway in Savannah, GA

That’s all for now ya’ll.

Two-State Boogie

It was a freezing cold 40-something degrees in South Carolina today.  Hey I’m a born New Yorker, so that isn’t a complaint, just a little backdrop.  At this point in my life, everything is up in the air and I feel a little like a snow bird – you know those people who only head south in the winter.  I’m here now, but not sure where I’ll be next.  Actually for the first time in my life I feel free.  It must be showing on my face because someone actually told me today that I seemed like a traveler.  Hey … travel writing, there’s a possibility.

Anyway, I’m getting away from the subject.  I live really, really close to the NC/SC state line so driving to Charlotte, North Carolina for a piece of pizza is not a big deal – especially when it’s Luigi’s Pizza, the closest thing to a New York pie I’ve ever had here or anywhere besides the tri-state area.  It was after 6:oo PM and the Sun was setting as the waxing Moon was rising.  Luckily I had my trusty camera with me.

Waxing Moon, Charlotte NC

Waxing Moon, Charlotte NC

I took my picture in the parking lot, got my slice of pizza, ate it on my drive back and decided to stop at the church cemetery by my house to shoot the Moon again from the south side of the border.  The church, which was founded in 1768, and it’s beautiful and still very active.  The cemetery dates back to before the Revolutionary War.  There is a lot of history here.

I just happened to meet a girl there who was visiting family and she knew a lot about the history of the area – she’s related to the family that formerly lived in the now-abandoned mansion down the street, so we decided to exchange numbers and go exploring one day soon.  Life sure is strange these days, but those are all stories for another day.

Waxing Moon, Lake Wylie, SC

Waxing Moon, Lake Wylie, SC

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Anyway, since there there’s a full Moon in Libra this week and Libra is represented by the scales of justice (two-sided) and it’s the sign that represents partnerships (two people), I thought it appropriate to take a view of the Moon from two states.  I don’t know if I’ll be crossing the border on the day of the full Moon, so like I always say, when you can get a shot, take it, because you never know when you’ll get another chance.

Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

THIS ONE CHASES YOU!

Well technically, it’s a fountain, but I was stuck on the title.  This really cool fountain is located at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Charlotte, North Carolina.  You can see the pathway.  You can walk through the pathway, and maybe when you get to the other side you’ll be dry or maybe you won’t.  Set to some quirky, unknown timer, I assume, this fountain turns on at will.  One person could simply walk the path and … nothing.  The next person, seeing that the first person got through okay, proceeds to follow only to get soaked when the fountain seems to turn itself on.  I’d love to have one of these in my backyard – when I get a backyard, that is.  But for now, I’ll just visit “The Gardens” because there’s always something new and exciting to experience.

Fountain of Fun

Fountain of Fun

(click image to enlarge)

Halloween on St. Patrick’s Day – Why Not?

smallreflection2“Velcome – Ahahaha” Strange I know but I picked up an old craft recently and it got me thinking about the projects I’ve done in the past. All I could find of all my work were some old photos of these Halloween luminaries I made out of recycled candle containers, some carefully un-plied napkins, a little decoupage glue and a helluva lot of glitter. I don’t know where this stuff comes from.

I used to have a lot of crafty ambitions, jewelry making, putting acrylic paint on well, just about everything – light switches, the porcelain light fixtures screwed to the ceiling. Hey you have to take them down sometimes and wash them up, maybe change a bulb or two, why not paint them while you’re at it. I have to say, I did like the way they turned out. Don’t know why I didn’t shoot that as well.

sparkle2

I think the most fun I had in making these was the semi-pro (LOL) photo shoot which took place on the bathroom counter of my one bedroom shack at the time. Believe me when I tell you the bathroom was the nicest room in the house, but I’ve moved on – literally, so we’ll leave that alone.

I had taken these with my old Kodak Z1085 – that was the best camera (still have it – not working at the moment). I played with lights on, lights off, flash, no flash, distortion. Yes, you would have thought I worked for Ann Taylor or Vogue and there were 7,000 shots to be taken for the new spring line – lights, camera, action.

shadowyfigures2 The beads were actually my favorite part – big Halloween skull beads that were way too heavy to do much of anything else with.  I thought my reflective counter top shots were the coolest.  I’m getting quite a chuckle laughing at myself.3litwhite2I’d show you my “before and after” picture, but the angle I took it at makes them look like they’re falling off of a curved countertop.  It’s embarrassing.  I know … The earth is round, the countertop is flat – I’ll get it some day.

Thanks for indulging me – especially since it’s totally holiday-inappropriate, but that’s me – quirky, spontaneous (sometimes aka moody) and constantly testing the waters in crafts, writing and photography (sometimes aka ADD).

As soon as my Achilles tendon is fully back in swing, trust me, I’ll be bothering you with more (and more-recent) photos. I’ve got an itchy trigger finger. Perhaps a trip to the South Carolina shoreline.  It’s time to get back outside already – today it was sunny, breezy and 70-something.  But soon … Happy Halloween and oh, Happy St. Patrick’s Day too!

Our regularly scheduled photography will resume shortly.

(Does anyone know how I get “categories” back in my “edit post” screen?)