So, I have fallen behind a bit. Every day begins with so many opportunities. A choice is made and the next day begins with even more. In between, the American administration, i.e. number45, and their silly AND scary ways adds so much more to do, in order to help and encourage environmental conservation education, and humanitarianism in a world that seems to be charting a dangerous course.
Jan, Winnie and I left our humble Arnprior residence on December 28th. We spent a night at Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania; and then another night in Roanoke, Va, where the hotel manager revealed that he was just starting to calm down from his heightened anxiety caused by the US Presidential election. That feeling seems to be pervasive among so many!
Our third and fourth nights on the road were spent at Charleston, South Carolina. The highlight of those days was my second, Jan's first, visit to Magnolia Plantation:
That visit eased any anxieties we may have had and helped to transition us to the natural wonders of the US South.
When I first visited back 4 years ago, Marc and I took the tour guided by tour guide, Dick. Dick is also a nature nut. I really enjoyed the tour notwithstanding the cool post Hurricane Sandy weather.
The Eastern Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula, is a harmless snake of the pinelands. From coastal South Carolina through Florida, the Kingsnake mimics the deadly Coral Snake. Thus the mnemonic, "black on yellow kills a fellow". This colour pattern is unique to the Coral Snake. That's Dick's gloved hand. He wore gloves to protect from the cold, not from the snake! Marc and I were the only two brave people on this tour.
At the end of this most recent tour by Dick, there were several highlights. It turns out that the Barred Owl's call, which we in the north say mimics the words "who cooks for you?", is SLIGHTLY different in the south. It may mean this is a separate sub species! According to Dick, and I must say I have HEARD it, the southern Barred Owls say "who cooks for y'all".
As we left the tour train, Dick was heard to say "The women's washroom is on the left; the men's washroom is on the right, and there is a fire hydrant for Winston".
Jan and I crossed the bridge on our return visit in December. Of course, it was much warmer there in late December 2016 than it was on the last day of October 2012.
Jan and Winnie had to try out the wicker chairs on the verandah of the mansion (below), which dates from the 1860's after the second mansion was burnt down during the civil war. The Drayton family built the original house in 1676. The 15th generation of Draytons still own and run the property. The gardens have been open to the public since 1870.
I heard rom my friends back in Ontario and New Brunswick about some snow they had in the last few days. The same system was responsible for some nasty weather here in Dunnellon, FL today. The strong winds and clouds led to some thunder and rain for about 10 minutes this afternoon. The temperature then dropped from 26C to 20C by supper. It is clear now and we are just assessing the havoc wreaked by this storm.
serendipitous fruit. SO it is not necessary to scour the landscape after a windstorm.