My webpage (inc. awards, upcoming events, etc.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Winn-Dixie Mystery

Charles & I often shop at Winn-Dixie in Mandeville, LA, evidently to our detriment. Some items we purchase never make it home. Cool whip, cucumbers and strawberries have just vanished. This past Sunday the staff went above and beyond, depriving us of our paper plates, sandwich bags and nailcare items. I'm starting to it just us?
Customer service assures me that if I go back with my receipts I can get the missing items, but at over 20 miles round trip each time it's hardly worth the gas and hassle. What's the issue, Winn-Dixie? Is it that hard to put all of our items in bags, really? Is there an undetectable black hole in that small space between the price scanner and the bags? Are we on Candid Camera? To top it off, on every checkout our cashier tells us how much we saved (by using their loyalty card--a price-gouging invasion of privacy in of itself.) Saved? Really? Where are my damned strawberries?
I've never had this problem so consistently anywhere else and I have to wonder why it seems a not-uncommon occurrence at this location. If you're local & having the same problem, I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

An Outing in Mandeville, Pt. II

Here are some more photos from our hike at Northlake Nature Center last weekend.

One of many red-eared sliders. Native to the Southern U.S., this is the most common turtle pet. Because of pet releases, it's now established in other places.

Grasshopper missing a hind leg.

Eastern tent caterpillar (unfortunately we saw a couple of these destructive insects around.)


A pair of mating dragonflies (sorry about the blur, but they were fairly far away.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Outing in Mandeville, Pt. I

Charles' son came over for a visit this past weekend (and we hadn't been there in over 5 months,) so we went down to Northlake Nature Center for a hike.

One of at least 5 spotted gar.

Yellow-bellied water snake.

A great egret off in the distance.

One of two bess beetles. Hard to tell here, but it's about 1.25" long.

There were a few of these lovely bushes around. I don't know what they are...yet.

An old trail had been cleared out, so we got to explore all new areas (which was nice.) More photos coming in my next post--stay tuned!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Flatwoods, Pt. II

Here are some more shots from our walk at the Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve the other day.

Red maple keys. I couldn't believe how hot pink many of them were.

I don't know what kind of flowers these are. Each grouping (like this,) is about an inch across.

The main bud here wasn't very large, either--perhaps about 1/2" long--but the colors & geometric lines caught my eye.

Possible shining fetterbush flowers. We have a fetterbush in our backyard, but I haven't had time to see if it's blooming yet.

The boardwalk here looked like it was levitating.

Also, apologies to my regular blog-friends. I've been very busy with my 2 jobs and other things lately. I hope to do the rounds again soon. Bear with me!

Monday, March 14, 2011

FB/Pleasant Surprises at the Flatwoods

I recently saw that one of my sunset photos is featured as the banner on TNC's website for the Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve. I'm glad--again--to be able to give something back. Charles and I popped over for a hike there yesterday afternoon...

A pair of red-bellied woodpeckers hung around the hole in a tree for a while. Soon the female flew off and the male popped in to start cleaning out the cavity. We'll have to come back in a few months to look for fledglings.

A Carolina anole.

Immaculate blue 6-spotted tiger beetle. A genetic anomaly. These beetles are normally bright green with white spots on the abdomen.

An adult 5-lined skink.

A black swallowtail butterfly.

More photos from our hike in my next post, so stay tuned!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Weather, Spring & Art

Sat., Mar. 12, 10am-4pm, I'll be vending at the Madisonville Art Market. C'mon down and say "hi" (mention seeing this announcement on my blog for a free gift!)

We had some really wicked weather in the predawn the other day, with tornadoes touching down in a few areas (thankfully sparing our town.) With the rains have come more signs of Spring...

Pipevine swallowtail seen close to home.

Eastern tiger swallowtail on our siding.

Carolina jessamine.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


My talented, handsome, wonderful husband, Charles Gramlich has recently had another book published. "Midnight in Rosary; Tales in Crimson and Black" features tales of werewolves and vampires.

Predation is in the bones, in the marrow. The ultimate need is for food, but even when sated, a carnivore will still hunt. It wants the wet taste of food, the sweetness of watermelon flesh. Oh, it might be distracted temporarily, but its need to kill isn't rational--and it won't be denied its blood!

Secondly, happy 65th birthday, David Gilmour!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Book Review; The Crossley ID Guide

I recently rec'd a copy of "The Crossley ID Guide (Eastern Birds)" from the people at Princeton Press. This is no field guide. Coming it at 529, nearly-letter-sized pages, one definitely needs a table to support the weight of this massive tome. The book is well made, with high-quality, satin-finished pages, secure binding and a flexible cover. All images are in full color.
The opening pages include a preface by the author, world-renowned birder, Richard Crossley, and a relative sizing scale of the birds included in the book, with each bird's banding code and page number shown beneath it. The introduction includes comprehensive information on how to use the book, how to be a better birder and a bird topography guide (if you've never even heard of a bird's "culmen," "patagium" or "cere," this book will show you quite clearly what they are.)
The major species division in the Crossley ID Guide is between "Waterbirds" and "Landbirds," with appropriate subheadings narrowing down different types of birds (i.e.; under "Landbirds" are Upland Gamebirds, Raptors, Songbirds, etc.) The individual bird listings include a range map, some standard information on behavior, size, etc. and aids for identification. Along side each bird's common name are their scientific name and their banding code.
Perhaps most importantly (or at least, the feature that I most appreciate,) each page includes a color plate showing the bird in its typical habitat in a wide variety of forms--males, females and juveniles--and at a varying range of distances and poses--from up close and personal to flying across the distance. In some cases, birds are also shown from different angles, as opposed to the traditional side view shown in most bird guides. The images are compiled from numerous photos, which I also prefer to the "usual" hand-made illustrations.
The book closes with acknowledgments (including photo credits,) and indexes of the birds by either their banding code, scientific name or common name. The inside back cover includes a larger map of North America and a key to the range maps included in the bird listings.
All in all, this is a beautiful, informative and well-made book, available for a good price. It would make a great addition to any naturalist's collection.

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