Seed Pods & Trinity Lutheran School

I looked down at the ground this week and saw something that transported me back to grade school days on the playground at Trinity Lutheran School.

Maple tree seed pods

The little seeds would auto-rotate down like a helicopter whose engine had quit. It was nature’s nifty way to make sure the seeds were distributed over a wide area.

You could get an ear full of them, too

When the seeds had just fallen, and you squeezed them just right, you could sneak up to a buddy and give him an earful of juice.

Before long, the whole playground was full of little squirts giving little squirts to little squirts until a teacher intervened.

I can see sitting in detention when the miscreant next to you whispers, “What are you in for?”

“Assault with a Maple seed.” Not exactly something that earns you playground cred.

Maples and Redbuds Come First

The maple trees and redbuds are the first trees to come alive in the spring. The walnut trees are more conservative: they want to make sure the cold weather is gone for good before they come out of hibernation.

(Speaking of hibernation, I was moving a stack of old walnut logs the other day and disturbed three snakes. They were harmless garter snakes who moved slow until they realized there was a reason the sun was suddenly beating down on them.

The Indomitable Redbud Tree

A quick-moving windstorm last summer split an aging redbud tree in the back yard and laid it low. Since it stayed green until winter, and it was popular with visiting deer, I decided to wait until spring to cut it up.

Much to my surprise, even though it’s barely holding onto the stump by a thread, it bloomed out like crazy. One at the side of the house next to the porch did a great job of catching the late afternoon sun. You can click on it to make it larger.

Tulips and The Witch

Spring is my favorite time of the year. It’s a time of rebirth and promise, while the flashier Fall is fleeting and brings with it cold weather, dark days and bare trees.

I had a pleasant surprise when I walked outside the other morning. The front planter was alive with red and yellow tulips. I’d like to take credit for them, but it’s obvious from all the dead grass from last summer that I had nothing to do with their success.

The Witch in the Window is a symbol of my self-quarantine. (OK, so I put it up at Halloween a year ago and never took it down, but the thought is there.)

Welcome to Spring in Cape

Spring day in Cape 03-25-2015I was driving around North Sprigg this afternoon looking for the old Shivelbine house before SEMO preserves it in a landfill. The address I had been given was wrong, so I was turning around in a driveway when I saw these young folks cavorting on a rooftop. I gave them a friendly wave so they’d think I was a little less creepy. I’m not sure it worked.

Shades of the old days

Sunbathing girls c 1966That reminded me of this single frame I must have taken when I was visiting my future best man, Andy McLain, at his apartment off William somewhere near Pacific. The place was pretty rundown, but I think I see why he stayed there.

Better get an umbrella

Hail 03-25-2015The weather report said we were going to have a front blow through that was going to bring a couple days of rain, so I went looking for a large umbrella to replace the one I forgot to put in my new van. Just after I got in the house, the weather alert went off with a severe thunderstorm warning. I wasn’t overly concerned because it sounded like the cell was north and east of us.

Not too long after that, though, the alert sounded about a strong storm near Mable Hill headed our way. This one had high winds, a possible tornado and large hail. When the first few small hailstones started falling, I debated jumping in the van and heading to the funeral home overhang, but all of a sudden the sky opened up. It was too late.

Marble size and bigger

Hail 03-25-2015I’ve been in hailstorms where the stones were bigger, but I’ve never experienced having so much ice fall at one time and propelled so hard. The way the stones were pounding against the kitchen window, I was afraid the glass was going to break.

Here’s just a little of the ice on my windshield about 15 minutes after the main storm quit, and after the rain had melted them smaller than their original pea and marble size.

Yard and street covered

Hail 03-25-2015In a matter of a minute or two, the street and yard were a solid white.

Hail makes me uncomfortable

Hail 03-25-2015I love storm chasing, but hail makes me uncomfortable. When you get large hail, that means there are some serious winds in that storm bouncing the ice around.

These photos don’t do the hail justice: while it was falling, there was too much water on the storm door to shoot through it, and I couldn’t open the door because I was afraid the wind might blow it from my grasp. By the time I could shoot these, quite a bit of rain had fallen and melted the ice.

Rabbit and solar lights OK

Hail 03-25-2015So far as I can tell, Mother’s solar lights and rabbit came through unscathed. I hope I don’t see any dimples on my car in the morning. Click on the photos to make them larger.


Palate Cleanser Photos

Capaha Park 04-02-2014I shoot a lot of random stuff that isn’t quite enough for a whole story. When I was working at The Athens Messenger, we’d post pictures like that on The Wall of Desperation, to bail us out when the well was dry and the monster in the pressroom still needed feeding.

I haven’t reached that point yet, since I still have some fresh Cape stories in the bag, but I thought I’d run these random scenics as a palate cleanser.

Random photo gallery

Click on a photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to look at a sunset over Lake Okeechobee; a falling-down building in Capps, Florida; cattle grazing in Cape County, ducks at Capaha Park and springtime in North County Park.