Thursday, March 27, 2014

Surf's Up

Todd and I recently returned from a trip to California.  Even though it's been nice here in South Carolina, it's nothing like San Diego.

It seemed like every tree, bush, and stalk was in bloom.

We saw so much wildlife.  This rabbit barely moved as I crept up with my camera.

We especially love seaside nature.  So many birds!  Cormorants...


Other miscellaneous shore birds...

I never get tired of watching harbor seals.

Sea lions, too!

Every day was sunny and 75 degrees.  The coast was just beautiful.

We got a kick out of watching the surfers.  They never did catch "the big one"!

It was beautiful...just beautiful.  California, we'll see you next year! 

Hope you're having a sunny week, wherever you are!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Textures, Shapes, and Great Escapes

Several weeks ago, I started noticing signs of spring.  First, the wood ducks came back.  Ducks living in trees?  It's still hard to believe!

The female is a dull brown...

...but the male is brilliantly colored.

I saw another one in California this week:

The anole lizards are out and about.

Mainly sleeping in the sun.

As are turtles...

I've been seeing a lot more insect activity, which is always exciting.  Mud dauber wasps are building nests...

...and paper wasps, too.

Insects have already sprung from this cocoon:

They are still safely tucked away within the webbing on this leaf.

This moth is resting on a window sill and hoping not to be noticed:

Within the very same window, a miniature drama plays out:  a spider has caught a shield bug, many times its own size, and has incapacitated him. 

I love seeing all these little hints that winter is nearly over.  I've been starved, too, for textures and colors.  I soaked them all in at the Clemson Botanical Gardens in early March.

Vibrant spiky leaves:

The wrinkled and crinkled textures and colors of these two types of ornamental cabbage/kale:

The scaly green cylinders of moss:

This mottled bark:

These peeling strands:

The radiating lines on this tree stump:

The textures and colors of this stone wall:

Even the rough texture and elegant lines of this stone floor:

Even though South Carolina has mild winters, it doesn't diminish my joy of spring.  I love seeing the colors and shapes of it, and "old friends" returning:  the birds, and my beloved insects. I was away for a week in California (the aforementioned 'great escape' - pictures coming soon), and even in that short time I've noticed dramatic changes outside. 

I hope you're having a great spring, wherever you are!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Spring Chorus

It's spring in the South, y'all.

Because of our unusually cold winter and spring, we haven't seen any flowering yet on our redbuds, dogwoods, or azaleas.  But things are stirring.

When we first moved here, someone told us that spring in Upstate South Carolina was the nation's best-kept secret.  I have to say, it's awfully good.  Sunny and low 70s every day.  And oh, the flowers!  No explanation needed...just take a look. 

Once again, I have bouquets everywhere.  Even the bathrooms!


Right now, my office windows are open.  Birds are singing, tree frogs are peeping, and the sun is shining.  I know that in a few weeks we'll have azaleas and crepe myrtles blooming, providing solid color all the way through May.  I can't wait!

Have a great week!