Sunday, May 24, 2015

Muskrats, Murfree Spring Wetlands

Today was the perfect day for an outing. The temperature was in the mid eighties with an abundance of sunshine peeking through the clouds and at times a nice breeze would blow through to cool things off. I decided to visit Murfree Spring Wetlands in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, southeast of Nashville. The wetland is situated next to the Discovery Center which is a children's venue accompanied by a museum. The wetlands is about 25 acres and is home to mammals, amphibians, birds, waterfowl and obviously thousands of insects. The definition of a wetland follows . . .

Wetlands are land areas that are saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, 
such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem. Wetlands include swamps, marshes
and bogs. Wetlands vary widely because of  differences in soils, topography, climate, hydrology,
water chemistry, vegetation, and other factors. Wetlands are economic drivers because of 
their key role in fishing, hunting, agriculture and recreation. 

This being my first visit I was surprised to find a large Muskrat sitting on top of marsh weeds and grasses munching on pond weeds. Pond weeds are the tiny green weeds you see in the water all around the Muskrat. This Muskrat looked to be an adult and wasn't the least bit concerned at my presence nearby on the boardwalk. So I gingerly snapped a few images of him having a midday snack. After a few minutes and having gotten his fill, he disappeared into the water never to be seen again.

After my initial walk around the parameter of the wetland, I headed back to my car for a quick drink of water. The sun was coming down pretty good at times making for a warm walk. Back to the boardwalk for a second lap around, I just happened upon several smaller Muskrat feeding on pond weeds right inside the wetland entrance. Muskrats in residential environments can be a nuisance, but these little guys were in the perfect environment in the swamps and, needless to say, there was plenty of food to be had.

My visit was packed full of sightings of all types of species from mammals to waterfowl. Along the boardwalk I happened upon large Turtles basking in the sun covered in pond weeds, Eastern Pondhawk Dragonflies, Green Frogs and, of course, the Muskrats. The birds I encountered were the Yellow Crowned Night Heron, a pair of mated Wood Ducks, a Grackle, several Eastern Kingbirds, countless Robins, and the Red Winged Blackbird which are plentiful around swamps and marshes. There was a virtual plethora of wildlife to be seen and enjoyed. I hope your Memorial Day holiday has been enjoyable and I promise I will be back in a day or two with more images from my visit. We have rain on the horizon for tomorrow. Apparently that front that has caused major flooding and storms in Texas and Oklahoma is headed my way. Although I don't think we are supposed to get quite as much rain as the Midwest has gotten. ENJOY!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend

As I sifted through my archives in search of an image to share with you today, I happened upon these beautiful Hydrangeas from last Summer blooming around the chamber offices in Saugatuck, Michigan. If there were a flower I could fall madly in love with and have an affair, it would be Hydrangeas. They bloom in various shapes and sizes and colors. Oftentimes, they are variegated which adds to their charm. Something about the Hydrangea screams 'Americana'.

Memorial Day weekend is approaching! Do you have great plans for the weekend? After all it is 'the official start of Summer'. Public pools around the nation officially open for the season. Teeny weeny bikinis are seen at every turn whether it be at the beach, the lake, the park or the pool. Inner tubes are hauled out of storage, pumped tight with air and ready to throw in the water for sun bathing. Is that the smell of sun tan lotion wafting through the air? Did somebody check the burgers and hot dogs on the grill? All of the ladies are rushing about preparing side dishes for the cookout. There's baked beans and old fashioned potato salad or perhaps you would prefer roast corn or fresh green beans. How about a big slice of baked Apple Pie and can I have a smidgen of fresh whipped cream. Or maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream is more your speed. What is that popping and cracking sound. Ahhh, the neighborhood kids are shooting off firecrackers. What do you say we scare up some folks and play a game of softball or touch football. We could always just throw around the Frisbee. Maybe Dad will drag out the horseshoes for a tournment. Has anybody seen a movie at the drive in theater lately?

Whatever you decide to do on this long holiday weekend, I wish you loads of fun,
delicious food and great times with your family and friends. Be safe.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Great White Egret

Scratching an itch. Another view of the Great White Egret settling down on a branch at Drake's Creek on Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

To see other views of the Egret, go here. It's going to be a rainy weekend here in the South. Have a fabulous Saturday everyone. ENJOY!

Linking to Saturday Critters

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Goslings

There were three Goslings out of a family of about six or eight that were sipping the water in Old Hickory Lake a few weeks ago when I took these images.

They were so cute as they bent down to drink.

And then one looked up at me as I was taking a photo as if to say, hey you looking at me? I couldn't resist sharing these with you. Have a fantastic weekend. ENJOY!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Purple Iris

When at Cheekwood back in April I captured several images of beautiful purple Iris blooms in one of the gardens there. They were so beautiful I wnated to share with you.

I miss early Spring when Dogwoods bloom and Daffodils and Tulips pop up and open up in beautiful colors. It's nice to have Iris blooms around after Spring begins to make way for Summer. The weekend is fast approaching. We may get some rain which we haven't had very little of lately. I hope everyone is having a fabulous week. Back soon. ENJOY!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to each and every one of you out there who carry the name 'Ma', 'Mom', 'Momma', 'Mother', 'Grandma', 'Nana'. It matters not what your children call you so long as they do. My Mother loved flowers outdoors. For you Mom, Happy Mother's Day. I think of you every day. ENJOY!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Life of a Great White Egret

First, the back story on this area. Two lakes meander through east Nashville. The northern lake is Old Hickory Lake while the southern lake is Percy Priest Lake. Both lakes are born out of two rivers. The northern river is the Cumberland River while the southern river is the Stones River. Old Hickory Lake is situated northeast of Nashville winding snake like east to west. Priest Lake is situated in southeast Nashville and runs north to south and can be quite wide. 

Hendersonville lies directly north of Old Hickory Lake which is where I photographed on this day. The small town of Hendersonville was made famous when Johnny Cash, one of America's iconic country music stars, made it his home late in life. Now the area is dotted with many country music stars' homes. The town itself lies about 50 miles northeast of downtown Nashville.

On this particular afternoon I drove to Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville to photograph the beautiful Great White Egret. I had seen several throughout the area. The sun was bright on this day and the Egret basically waded through what seemed about a foot of water on Old Hickory Lake near Drakes Creek Park. The Egret was a tad bit away for a really decent image, but then he lifted up out of the water.

And as luck would have it, he had spotted a large branch sticking up out of the water closer to me and landed on top of the branch. What a perfect place to perch and take a rest while at the same time keeping an eagle eye out for fish.

As the Egret settled in, I realized that he was sporting breeding plumage noted by the small patch of neon green skin on his face. I imagine long plumes called aigrettes will grow from his back further into the  breeding season. Imagine if you will the life of a Great White Egret. One of the largest wading birds on the planet, with few animals to stalk you as prey, your day comprised of flying from one location to the next, wading shallow waters of lakes and swamps, occasionally fishing when hunger sets in. As evening approaches you settle in for the night. What a life don't you think? ENJOY!

Linking to Saturday Critters

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Yellow Japanese Magnolias

Luck was on my side this Spring as I was able to photograph the beautiful hybrid Japanese Magnolia trees in bloom at Bernheim. It has been a month at least since I made a day trip up to Louisville. On the way back to Nashville, I stopped in at Bernheim just south of Louisville and there to greet me were gorgeous yellow and pink blooms.

If you have been a follower for long, you know how much I love Bernheim. And if you are new here, look back at some of the posts over the years. Bernheim is gorgeous in almost any season and I am positive there's an image in each one you will surely enjoy. At Bernheim the arboretum houses about ten hybrid Japanese Magnolias within close proximity of each other. Their beautiful blooms vary in color from blush to yellow to a deep pink.

As you walk among the trees, the scent of Magnolia blooms wafts through the air. It is so intoxicating that you really don't want to leave the arboretum. Today, I wanted to share two different perspectives of these beautiful flowers. I would love to know which one you like best. I hope to be back soon. I hope you promise to come back. ENJOY!

Linking to Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Babes of Spring

After a day of rain a few weekends ago, I drove the short route to Long Hunter State Park located on the southeast side of Priest Lake. I had only visited this park one other time back in February in the dead of Winter. On that visit I captured a few images of a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker which was a Life List bird for me.

On this visit new green grasses blanketed the large fields along the drive into the park with woods on either side. I slowed down half way back into the park as I approached several White Tailed Deer munching on the new grasses of Spring.

Sitting in my car, I watched them as they quietly grazed on the grasses. Occasionally, one of them would wander back toward the edge of the woods and reach up and grab a leaf off of a low hanging branch. All the while they seem to keep an eye on me.

As I was about to pull away and head back home, with dusk fast approaching, this little guy turned before departing into the woods and looked back over his shoulder at me as if to bid me farewell. I snapped a few images of him and then off he went. I will be back soon, but until then have a fantastic weekend. ENJOY!

Linking to Saturday Critters

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Daffodils at Cheekwood

A beautiful yellow Daffodil with a cream colored corona was in full bloom in one of the gardens at Cheekwood several weeks ago.

I could not resist capturing its beauty up close with its stamens covered in a fine powdery yellow dust of pollen. The yellow pedals sang their praises as this gorgeous bloom glistened in the afternoon sunlight. It was so beautiful I had to share it with you.

Before I finished my initial walk among the gardens of Cheekwood, I walked toward the entrance to take a peek at the flower beds there. Directly in front of a tall stone wall and black wrought iron fence stood rows and rows of white Daffodils with several beautiful yellow flowering trees gracing the background adding just the right hint of yellow. In front of the Daffodils were rows and rows of white Pansies glistening in the sunshine. The white on white with the yellow flowering trees and the stone wall made for a gorgeous scene. I wondered if the gardeners had imagined this very scene when they planted the flowers earlier in the Spring.

And then just as I was about to walk back toward the depths of the botanical gardens, I stopped and looked closer sensing something was amiss. And then I saw it. Right in the middle of all the white Daffodils stood a single pink Tulip. A solitary dot of pink in a sea of white. Amazing. Who says you can't stand out from the crowd. Have a wonderful week. ENJOY!

Linking to Weekend Reflections and Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Friday, April 24, 2015

Red for Friday

Into every life a little red must come. As I ventured throughout the gardens at Cheekwood several weeks ago, the one thing I took note of was that red Tulips were not the majority. Instead, yellow Tulips and yellow and red striped Tulips were in abundance. I enjoy striped and varigated flowers, but in the case of Tulips I tend to be a solid gal, loving the solid reds, pinks and purples as well as whites and yellow.

With the weekend upon us, it bears mentioning here that I have not had a great deal of time to take photos lately. I am now working my way into the fourth month as a Tennessean and with Spring in full bloom, I hope to get outdoors this weekend.

Although showers are expected tomorrow, The Country Living Fair is an antiques fair hosted by a long time and well known magazine here in the States called Country Living Magazine. The fair is being held in Lebanon, Tennessee, which is 15 minutes from my place. I hope to visit Sunday as the weather is supposed to be sunny and warm. I have never attended the fair in the past. It is held in various cities throughout the Spring each year. This is the first year it is being held at Lebanon and when I came across this bit of information, I have to admit I was a tad excited. I hope you have a wonderful weekend all. ENJOY!

Linking to Foodie Friday and Everything Else and Simple and Sweet Fridays

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring I Love You

Spring, I love you! I love the bright green leaves newly sprouted on the trees. I love the smell of fresh mowed grass as the mowers create artistic patterns on the lawns. I love the flowers blooming in the gardens, along the roadsides and in the woods. I love the Dogwood trees in full bloom all over the city.

I love the birds building new nests and renovating old ones. I love the tiny Goslings in tow as their parents glide around the lakes and ponds. I love the warm, sunny days with lots of blue skies and just a hint of a breeze. So just in case no one has said it lately, Spring, I love you. ENJOY!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Barn, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Several years ago I paid a visit to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and on my visit I captured several images of this beautiful old Barn sitting in Boat Yard #1 on the museum grounds.

I remember the day well. It was a sweltering 90 degrees, but the humidity wasn't painfully bad. And aside from the heat, wished I could be right there at the Maritime Museum taking in the Chesapeake Bay on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland in the small town of St. Michaels. Before I leave you today, I wanted to mention I finally got around to changing my hometown on my profile. I guess you could say the transition is official, I'm a Tennessean. But you and I both know, I am Kentucky woman at heart. ENJOY!

Linking to the Barn Collective

Saturday, April 18, 2015

White Narcissus

As I walked around the various gardens at Cheekwood last weekend, I happened upon this beautiful Narcissus plant blooming in one of the gardens. I love these flowers and, I myself, tend to think of them as Daffodils, but have learned from looking up the Daffodil that this is a Narcissus.

They are also called Jonquils which I did not know either. Regardless, of what you call the plant, they are a sign of Spring known the world over and one of the most popular flowers around the world. We have had a week of rain off and on and it appears we are in for more of the same for another week. We have seen a few peeks of sunshine between the raindrops throughout the week. I have to tell you though, I am thoroughly tired of rainy, dreary days. While it isn't snow or ice, I didn't expect this much rain in Tennessee. As I wait out the rain, in hopes of a sunnier week down the road, I hope wherever you are, you are enjoying your weekend. ENJOY!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Got the Blues for Cheekwood

Do you ever get the blues? Well, I got the blues at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens on Sunday afternoon. While meandering throughout the many, many gardens, and there were quite a few, I captured a few images of the 'blues'.

Most of the Tulips I photographed I didn't make a note of their names. To me, a Tulip is a Tulip is a Tulip. Granted an avid gardener would disagree, but I am not a gardener so I feel I am allowed to say that. This beautiful blue flower did not have a name plate near it and I am afraid while I attempted to ID it on Google, I fell short. If you should know the identification, please share.

I continued on my walk throughout the gardens and happened upon this little gem which I feel almost certain is a Blue Bell. I love the way each flower is like a tiny little bell.

It is no easy task to identify flowers. I try to do so by their color first, then their shape, specifically of their flower or petals, or their stems, and as a last ditch effort I go for the season. You name it and I am throwing in a word here, a word there, and if all goes well, I find the name of the flower. But as is the case today, sometimes the name eludes me. I love photographing flowers, and while I do not consider myself a pro or even a macro photographer, I try to capture a close up of each flower so that you can see all of the intricate details. While the color is the star of the show with flowers, the details get me every time. I hope you enjoyed my 'blues' as much as I enjoyed sharing them. Back soon. ENJOY!

Linking to Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sculptures at Cheekwood

One of Nashville's early entrepreneurial families, the Cheeks, purchased 100 acres in West Nashville in the late 1900's where the family sat out to build a country estate created by a landscape architect from New York. Bryan Fleming created what is now Cheekwood. The botanical gardens houses eleven smaller gardens at Cheekwood, in addition to the Museum of Art, the Frist Learning Center and Contemporary Art Galleries and the Botanic Hall.

As I walked the grounds I passed from one garden to the next sometimes not even realizing it at first. In the Martin Boxwood Garden situated behind the Museum of Art, I found this beautiful sculpture fountain sitting at the end of a long narrow pool of water.

On Sunday I had sat out to take in the grandeur of the 100,000 Tulip display and to perhaps get a lay of the land at Cheekwood for future visits. One of the areas I happened upon was the Swan Lawn. Several Swan sculptures were featured in this area, the most beautiful of which this fountain.

Another Swan sculpture was situated in one corner of the lawn surrounded by trees and bushes including a Dogwood tree whose buds were just beginning to open.

Before departing to another garden, I noticed another sculpture surrounded by beautiful bushes and trees near the Museum building.

After I snapped a few images of the sculptures, I turned and saw these beautiful windows peering down at me from the side of the Museum building. Old stone buildings are beautiful, but the windows in this building made it even more so. I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the sculptures at Cheekwood. I will return with more flower images soon. ENJOY!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Beautiful Cheekwood

Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art is situated just south of downtown Nashville in a very affluent neighborhood called Belle Meade. Belle Meade is home to not only Cheekwood, but also the Belle Meade Plantation that I visited last weekend and hope to get back to soon to tour the house and outbuildings.

Today, however, I visited Cheekwood to view the '100,000 Tulips' which is on display throughout the botanical gardens. Tulips were growing throughout the gardens in bright, vivid colors. There were reds, yellows, pinks, purples. There were solid Tulips, varigated Tulips. There were Tulips along the walkways. Tulips beside the buildings. Tulips in small gardens. Tulips everywhere.

Cheekwood has more than Tulips. Cheekwood is home to Herb Gardens, Japanese Gardens, a Sculpture Trail, a Museum of Art, the Pineapple Restaurant, and a gift shop. There is much more to this beautiful place than I can begin to show you in one post.

As you may have already guessed, this is just 'one' of many visits to Cheekwood. Can you imagine this place in Fall and during the Holiday season?

Not only were the gardens beautiful, but the day was gorgeous too. Blue skies and plenty of sunshine with the temperature in the low 80's and virtually no humidity made for a perfect day. While there were many, many people visiting Cheekwood along with me to see this beautiful Tulip display, there weren't so many people that it made for an uncomfortable visit. As I was leaving in mid afternoon, the crowd was intensifying. Apparently, I had arrived at the perfect time for a visit. I will be back with a few more images of Cheekwood before the week is out. ENJOY!

Linking to The Scoop

Friday, April 10, 2015

Magnolias in Bloom, Bernheim

A brief stop over at Bernheim Arboretum was on the agenda this afternoon, as I made a quick trip up and back to Louisville today to take care of some personal business.

There are pink, maroon and yellow hybrid Japanese Magnolia trees in varying stages of blooming in the arboretum at Bernheim. Although it was overcast, with the sun occasionally peeking through the cloud cover, it was still a nice afternoon to snap a few images. I have missed visiting Bernheim, but have enjoyed exploring Nashville's natural areas. I hope to pay a visit to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art soon. Supposedly there are 100,000 tulips in bloom as I write this post and I would hate to miss that. You know how I love photographing flowers. We're due for a whole weekend of 'Sunny' and I can't be happier. I hope your weekend finds you outdoors in the sunshine. ENJOY!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Varigated Tulips

Oh, Spring! How fantastic that you have arrived here in the South. It makes me so happy that you have finally made your way back.

Your beautiful Tulips, Daffodils, Crocuses, Violets and yellow Forsythia brighten our landscape. Spring you are a welcome sight. Please stay a while, I beg of you. ENJOY!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Old Dairy Barn

As I perused by archives tonight I ran across this image I captured this past weekend and wondered just what style of barn this was. I realized those were vents on the top of the barn, and more than likely it was an old dairy barn. As luck would have it, it is a dairy barn. Although it may not be used for cows any longer as there were several horses in the pasture nearby.

There is something about barns that draws us to them and more so 'we' photographers. I photographed this fine specimen as I wandered through Brentwood's back roads Saturday on my way to Belle Meade Plantation. It is a beautiful old barn that is still being used, fortunately. I gave it a tad bit of a watercolor effect just for fun. Here is a thought to contemplate. Why do dairy barns have vents while horse barns have cupolas typically? Is the cupola a status symbol for the horse barn as opposed to vents for the dairy barn. Is this a case of Mercedes versus Cadillac I wonder. Just saying!! Hope your week is off to a good start. ENJOY!

Linking to Barn Collective