Saturday, August 29, 2015

Walter Palmer's Birds

Our very good friend Walter is a sculptor. His bronze sculptures are in the lobbies of Fortune 500 companies, luxury hotels, parks, golf courses, tennis courts and many other places, including private collections in Europe, the U.S., and the Caribbean, . . . and our house!


Most of Walter 's sculptures are of birds, birds with character and humor and whimsical personalities.


This one, outside an education building at the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island, is irresistible to children. Just about every one that goes by sits down, puts his arm around the bird, or leans into its friendly body.








The Westin Hotel on the island has a lot of Walter's sculptures and we visited them this week.

The Rookery

This elegant fountain topped with three great blue herons, graceful symbols of the Lowcountry, greets visitors at the entrance.







At the front desk in the hotel lobby





Rhett and Scarlet from "Gone With the Wind" have a waltz

on a balcony overlooking the grand lobby.



These two vacationers hold cocktails and sunbathe in their private pool, keeping an eye on the human swimmers and loungers in the gardens of the hotel.


Behind them you can see the blue of the ocean.










I love sculpture and Walter's are very special to us.

These three birds live at our house.

Laid Back

A study of Sunshine in San Miguel

Sketch for Big Sister

I hope you are enjoying some beauty and fun this weekend!


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fish Haul Beach

Last night after a pounding storm, we walked Fish Haul Beach at low tide.


When we stepped from the dark, still-dripping woods into the light on the beach the first thing we saw was the fragment of a rainbow.





The sky changed by the minute as we made our way out to the water.



Armed with bug spray and ready to shoot. . . .



Saturday, August 22, 2015

Meet Hercules



The Eastern Hercules Beetle is the largest beetle in the United States. This one turned up on the porch this afternoon and believe me, he's BIG!


The lens cap is about 2 1/2 inches across so he's pretty much average as far as Hercules beetles go.


I know he's a male because only males have the horns on the side of their heads.

I think that's his wings dragging behind him.


Hercules beetles live an ordinary insect life and when they change into the pupa stage they make a case for themselves out of bits of wood and debris stuck together with their saliva. They emerge in the spring and live about 3 months over the summer.


We were careful not to rile this guy up because they release a foul-smelling odor to discourage poking and prodding and, one would assume, being eaten by owls, crows, and woodpeckers and mammals looking for a crunchy treat. In spite of that less than friendly habit, they apparently make interesting pets and are available in pet stores for purchase.

Thank goodness my kids never wanted to spend their allowance on one of those!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Stoney-Baynard Plantation


Ghosts of its former owners are said to haunt the tabby ruins of the Stoney-Baynard Plantation on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Parts of the plantation house and slave quarters stand in the deep shade amidst huge oaks draped with hanging moss that add to the eerie atmosphere, even in the light of day.

The house was built by Captain Jack Stoney in the 1790s. He and his wife arrived in South Carolina from Ireland in 1774 in Stoney's own merchant ship, the "Saucy Jack." He participated in the American Revolutionary War as a privateer, acquired a sizable fortune in the process, and purchased the 1,000-acre Braddock Point plantation in 1776.

With the help of slave laborers, Stoney began construction on the plantation overlooking Calibogue (pronounced cal-ah-bogie) Sound in 1793.


Captain Stoney was killed in a hunting accident on the island in 1821. His son inherited the plantation and then, legend has it, lost it in a poker game to William Baynard in 1840. It's a good story but more likely he bought it from a Charleston bank. Baynard and his wife raised four children there.


The 1850 South Carolina Agriculture Census shows that the plantation produced 36 bales of cotton (a bale of long staple cotton weighed between 300 and 400 pounds), 1,000 bushels of corn, 500 bushels of peas, 1,000 bushels of sweet potatoes, and 350 pounds of butter.

Crops and animals were valued at $12,000, a lot of money in 1850 dollars.

This tabby foundation is what is left of the foundation of slave quarters. Called "double pen quarters," it housed two families of domestic slaves, who worked in the plantation house and kitchen, in 336 square feet.

The family owned 129 slaves but less than 20 would have been "house slaves". The slave quarters were over-crowded, hot and damp.



Union forces invaded Hilton Head Island in 1861 and the Baynards fled. The residence was raided and served as Union headquarters during the Civil War before being burned. The tabby foundations of the slave quarters became foundations for the platforms of the soldiers' tents.


Over the years, visitors claim to have seen the ghost of William Baynard and even his entire funeral procession wandering the site after dark. I won't be hanging around to find out. The mosquitoes were bad enough in the middle of the day!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Morning Bike Ride

We've had some days of lower temps and humidity here and I have enjoyed getting outside. Mostly it's walking but after our mornIng walk today I got my bike out and set out for a long ride.



So often there are clouds building like this, morning and evening.








The view from the other side of the road is a pre-Civil War rice field, now filled in with cat tails and marsh grasses.

In the foreground you can see the old dike built to hold in the water to flood the rice field.







An anhinga dries his wings in the morning sun over Margaret's Island.












I will leave you with this summer Sunday thought:

In spite of all the farmer’s work and worry, he can’t reach down to where the seed

is slowly transmuted into summer.

The earth bestows.

Rainer Maria Rilke, The Sonnets to Orpheus


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Port Canaveral, Florida

On our way home from visiting my mom, we took the "scenic route," Highway A1A which travels along the narrow barrier islands off the coast of Florida, and stopped for lunch in Port Canaveral.

Port Canaveral is a cruise, cargo, and naval port on the Banana River in Brevard County, Florida, one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. The cruise ships are docked to the far left of the photo and the whale tale on the horizon is part of a Disney cruise ship.

As a deep water cargo port, it's a busy place. Four million tons of cargo a year move through including cement, petroleum, and aggregate.

The port opened in 1953 for commercial fishing. Cargo vessels arrived within a few years with oil and newsprint, and tanker vessels began carrying central Florida's orange juice to New York in 1958.


The port is located on the Banana River and on the far right horizon you can see the Atlantic Ocean. To enter and leave, ships travel through a lock connecting the river and the sea.





The photos were taken from here, the Exploration Tower, the 7th floor open deck at the top. I appreciated the elevator, even though there was a charge for it. That would have been a lot of stairs to climb!




This would be a fantastic place to watch a space launch from nearby Cape Canaveral.






Inside are exhibits of various marine topics, Florida historical figures, the history of the space center, and marine art.



















We ate lunch at a restaurant on the water (steamed shrimp, grouper, and stuffed flounder) and were entertained by a musician playing the steel drums and manatees rolling in the surf.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Flowers That Fly

That's what butterflies remind me of -- flowers that fly.

Yesterday we visited the beautiful butterfly house at Honey Horn Coastal Museum.



I was able to take a lot of photos because we were pretty much the only ones there.


Zebra Longwing











Giant Swallowtail

You might recall the Orange Dog caterpillar that defoliated our lime tree a few weeks ago (below). Well, this beauty with a 5 inch wingspan is the eventual result!

There is nothing in a caterpillar

that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.

Buckminster Fuller

Orange Dog caterpillar of the Giant Swallowtail butterfly





Black Swallowtail

Much smaller than his giant cousin







Black Swallowtail






Black Swallowtail




Monarch emerging






Not a Butterfly,

a brightly-colored

Metallic Green Bee





Happiness is like a butterfly which when pursued is just beyond your grasp

but if you sit down quietly may alight on you.