Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Field Trips

The Beachaven Garden Club recently traveled to Cross Creeks Wildlife Refuge in Dover, Tennessee for a wonderful field trip. One of our members, Diann, did an awesome job of setting up the trip. And to top it all off, Mother Nature cooperated by providing us with an outstanding spring day with which to enjoy the trip!

The trip began at the visitor center with an informational briefing about the refuge from our tour guide, Karen. Karen and a loyal volunteer, George, clearly love their refuge and graciously showed the eleven members of Beachaven around the refuge. Karen and George are pictured in the first picture. Some areas were off limits due to the recent floods and washout of bridges, but we did get to see many wildflowers, trees (See "Barking Up What Tree"), and some wildlife.

Can you picture butterflies, birds and frogs everywhere you looked? Lots of spring songs from birds and frogs and the native flora was in full bloom. The recent floods did not leave too much of a mess. Karen actually expected to find the trails in worse shape than what we found. The only damage from the floods was the depositing of downed trees and trash, mainly bottles. I am the first one to complain about trash but even I did not think it was such a big problem out here considering just how under water the whole bottomlands were from flooding by the Cumberland River.

The second picture shows part of the bottomlands. Bottomlands are basically the floodplain as I understand it. This area is usually farmed in the summer when it is dry. Migrating birds overwinter here. This year was a banner year for Cross Creeks Refuge. At one point there were over 10,000 migrating Canadian geese here at this refuge. That is ALOT of geese!
I can't resist putting this picture of the Jimster with his little buddy at the Mesker Zoo. This Canadian goose was not happy with the intrusion into her area, and let the Jimster know in no uncertain terms! He kept trying to get her to pose with her mouth open trying to bite him but I couldn't quite catch it right. Can you imagine 10,000 geese? Geese can be rather temperamental at times and if you have ever been bit by one-you know what I am talking about!

Among the many things we saw were birds. Tons of birds. Two vividly come to mind. The first is a Phoebe. It frequented the area by the visitor center and kept calling its name Fee-beee Fee-beee! It is a cute little bird and has a nest on one of the buildings. You can listen to its song if you click on this link:

After our visit at Cross Creeks was completed, we convoyed to the ferry on the Cumberland River in Dover. The ferry trip was a special ride across the Cumberland River and saved us many miles of driving. I snapped a few pictures while on the short ride. The picture with the smoke stacks is the Cumberland Steam Plant. I am told it is an excellent fishing area for fishermen. I have seen pictures of 40-50 pounder catfish taken out of the river in the vicinity of this steam plant. Mr. Fix-it tried it out himself but didn't catch anything. I am sure he will return to try again when his job allows him some free time.

After the trip across the river we wound up on Lylewood Road; which is the road I live on. It was the first time my garden club had visited this area ALL the way out here in Woodlawn. I feel like every time I go to town it is a major trip because it really is a long way! I was extremely happy to not have to travel to town for garden club and instead to have them travel out here to my neck of the woods!

On Lylewood Road we made our way to Lylewood Inn. Lylewood Inn is a bed and breakfast managed and owned by Mandy and her family. Mandy served our garden club a wunderbar lunch of poppy chicken, home grown vegetables and homemade pickles, with our choice of three desserts. I chose the deep fried apple pie. It was my first time eating deep fried apple pie and it was different. I am told it is a southern dish, but anything deep fried is pretty good-southern or not!

I told you I saw two special birds on this outing. The first being the phoebe, and the second a bald eagle! The bald eagle was spotted at Lylewood Inn. This is the first time I have ever seen a bald eagle in the wild. We finished our delicious lunch and ventured outside to have a look around the farm. Up in the sky Geri spotted a bald eagle! It was unmistakable and slowly spiraled around and around. I so wished I had brought my binoculars!

Here is a picture of Mandy and her two week old mini horse. The parents were on site and were quite concerned about their baby. They loudly let us know they were not happy with his absence from the pen. This mini horse kept biting Mandy but she said he did not have any teeth. That was a relief! Mandy's dog was bigger than this horse and the whole farm and plantation house was absolutely splendid. Can you see the river behind Mandy? Such a lovely place and house. The views were outstanding.

There is a summer church camp located adjacent to Lylewood Inn. It is an overnight camp and while we were all having lunch Mandy told us she grew up attending that camp. The very house she lives in was owned by someone else and as a child Mandy and the other kids in the summer camp would come up to the house and sing camp songs on the huge front porch. Mandy and her husband have continued the tradition. Now the camp children sing to Mandy. I too attended church camp for many summers in Camden, Maine. I loved it so much and truly value the memories. Talking about this camp brought back many of those memories and I want to tell my mother thanks for sending me to camp!

I am going to end this post with a good picture of the group who attended the outing. They are from left to right: Lili, Bernice, Faye, Sandra, Diann, Debbie, Rubeye, Ann, Dorothy, Geri, and I am kneeling in front. I have been a member of the Beachaven Garden Club for over three years now, and this is the first group photo we have taken together. I treasure this photo and all the friends pictured in it and look for many more in the years to come.

in the garden....


  1. Hi Tina, sounds like you and your lovely club had a great time. I would love to hear the phoebe and see the eagle. Thanks for taking us along.

  2. Now that was a field trip! Very nice and so happy you finally got a picture of all of you. The little baby horse was so cute -Have to get the kiddos off to school --see you later!

  3. What a wonderful outing! Wish I had been along for the fun...

    The Saint and I took our nephews to the Steam plants one time for fishing. Too many people along the banks for me. We saw some huge fishing being pulled out be we had no such luck that evening. But the kids had fun and that was good.

    We have Bald Eagles at the lake and we see them often but with each sighting, we still stop the boat to observe them. We have had the Eastern Phoebe nest in our garage on the rafters for several years then last year we found one of the parent birds dead. We think the cat next door got it so no nesting since. They eat lots of bugs so we like them nesting in our yard...

    The mini horses are cute! There is a farm up the road that breeds them and we enjoy driving past it to check out the new babies in the spring. When we built the Mower shed on the back of the wood shed. I told the Saint it looked like a horse stall and I asked if we could have one of the Mini’s. He laughed and said, “I don’t think so Tim”! (From Home Improvements TV show)… LOL..

    Another full day ahead of me so gotta run...

  4. Wow it does sound like an interesting trip! To see a bald eagle in the wild must have been exciting. I hope to get up to The Land Between the Lakes to see some one day.

  5. Just a quick note to say hello. Still no gardening day. boo hoo. Too many other things to do not to mention finals tonight!

    Frances, That phoebee sound was cool. Check out the link to hear it in person. It is a neat bird.

    Anonymous, Only a few more days of school. The Jimster actually got himself up this morning. The last two weeks he has overslept. Have a great day!

    Skeeter, I am told the minis are just like dogs. Regular pets because of course you can't ride them. Too bad on your phoebee. Maybe the mate will find someone else and move in again. That steam plant is something else. Maybe give it another try? I guess the waters are warm and the fish like it? Are you photographing the wrens? I have bluebird eggs and am photographing them. Should be fun.

    Dave, LBL is not too far for you but it would be a major undertaking. They have bald eagle tours in the winter. I would love to see an Aerie. My high school in Maine had the eagle as the mascot and our yearbook was called the Aerie, so I have a fondness for the word and have heard the nests can be 10 feet across! That is a nest.

    Gotta go do errands. Hi to all my other blogging friends AND family! There are getting to be too many to name and I might forget someone so now it is friends and family!

  6. Tina,

    What a terrific outing...oh to see the eagle....we see lots of hawks and turkey buzzards!

    I am out and about today mostly avoiding the house and bills! I am thinking about posting later;) that way the anticipation is perfect!


  7. Sounds like a great day Tina and I know first hand that it was with great people!

    Over 10,000 geese is a lot!!!! One would need earplugs to be near them. LOL. They can not just be temperamental but down right mean and nasty. One time at Ft. Benning I went to a lake, just for the ride and relaxation, you were an infant and sleeping in the car. I got out but only went a couple of feet when 2 geese came and chased me back in the car. They stayed right there letting me know I better not get out again and I did'nt. Never went back to that spot again either!

    A 40 to 50lb catfish must be quite a sight but I bet it does not taste
    as good as a smaller one. Speaking of taste I bet the deep fried apple pie was scrumptious!!

    Can't believe you never saw a bald eagle in the wild. Maine is so full of them and there are several nesting stands with one being in Calais that we had to go by to get to Nana and Baba's. They also have a big veiwing platform to get on to watch them with a parking area. If you come to Maine this summer maybe you will see the one that keeps flying in a circle over Dawn's place. He comes down pretty low.

    It was a huge goal of mine to try and be able to send you kids to the camp I spent the summers at when I was a kid as I loved it so much that I just lived for camp. The last year I went to camp was the last year they had it at the old location which was like 4 miles down the road from the new one. You kids had the goodness from a bigger camp with more equipment and activities but missed out on the closeness of a smaller camp with it being more like a family. Ofcourse Father Clark, with no kids of his own was such a great person and "Daddy" to so many of us while being the director of the camp for so many years was not even at the new one as they brought in the "pros" to run it. I am glad you loved it but I am sad that you girls could not have had the same experiences at camp that I had.

  8. Great post. I have seen a bald eagle & the nest are huge. We use to go out & watch them with binoculars as they were far away & the company my dear hubby worked for couldn't cut trees within 10 acre's of the nest. It was in the same general area that we all hunted.
    The little mini horse is so adorable. I could just taste the fried apple pie.

    So glad you & you garden club could have such a lovely outing. It's really nice to be able to get out like that. The pic was an added bonus. I shall save it.

    I'm taking it easy today. Went to grandsons award this A.M. It was nice & he smiled so sweetly. He caught site of me right away & waved. He's rather shy.

  9. Tina, check out the Bald Eagle family on Fort Donaldson in Dover! My parents took us there to check them out one time but we did not see them. We did see deer though. Stop at the Ranger station and they will tell you where they are located.

    I had another full day in yard today. Put out some grass seed, filled holes from removed hosta’s and rotting stumps, raked the old leaf and pine straw out of the flower garden, completed the Veggie container garden... Tomorrow, I do more if I am up for it. I want to make a pathway in the garden so I need to move a few things around then fill in holes and then get pea gravel and get to work! I had to go to Lowes today and they had so many new plants and flowers but I told myself no more until I get the ones I have in the ground! Now that the veggie garden is finished, I can work on the Flower garden....

    I enjoy this time of year so much, nice temps with no humidity and the birds singing to me from above as I work, okay…play!

    Nope Tina, the wren nest is too far for me to get a good shot of it and in a dark spot. I am now wondering if a bird is sitting on the eggs or if it is only a decoy nest. I have yet to see a wren on the nest or fly out when I am near... I have a great documentation on the birds from a couple of year ago and will post about it if you think anyone is interested...?...

    Good luck on test…

    Lola, so glad you were able to enjoy a nice visit with your grandson. That must be a uplift after all the sad times for you lately…

  10. Whew, busy day today, caught up on laundry but all the while thinking I really should be raking. Still some snow but the flooding isn't bad and the bare ground is solid.
    We had another audit today, such fun. This guy stayed and shot the breeze for a extra 45 minutes though.
    Christy paid us a visit, she had a bid to drop of at a local school.
    Now, we are trying to set up the 55 gal fish tank. I have to make a background because in the mobile, you could see thru it into the kitchen, I came up with a rainbow !?!
    I like the mini horses, friends of ours had one, they are good for showing and ribbon earnings.
    Yah, you should see my eagle, he does circle low and with the spyglasses----really LOW! So majestic and graceful while silent. He's out alot of the evenings in the summertime.
    Lola, active kids are great but shy ones are awesome, I know, I was painfully shy. Too cute.

  11. Hi all! School is done for this class. Yahoo! It gets so old driving to Nashville so often.

    Tomorrow is a garden day. In fact, I'll be in it tonight getting a headstart. Just wanted to say hi!

    Gail, I'm heading your way. Anticipation is a good thing sometimes.

    Mom, I may have seen the bald eagles in Maine but you know what they say, we forget way more than we remember and it is possible I forgot. I know I used to watch the birds at Nana's. I loved Bishopswood and I remember you taking us to your old camp. Such a melancholy experience for me even as a child. Great memories. I am trying better to pay attention as most I do I don't always.

    Lola, Not cutting wood w/i 10 acres sounds good to me since I think bald eagles are maybe still listed as endangered. Your hubby didn't mind did he? Glad you had a good time this morning. It means so much to the kids. I know seeing grandma lit up his day.

    Skeeter, You are so busy. Good resolve-no more plants until you get all of the ones planted you have. I like that committment.

    I took pictures of the two bluebird eggs and can follow them. I hate to reuse the post on the wrens from last year as we have it already but maybe I need to add the photos. That is something I MUST catch up on. I am so embarrassed all the photos are not yet uploaded but it is a busy time of year. If you see another nest then by all means document it. You did such a good job with the wren pics that I thought I'd try it. This birdhouse is low and I am able to open it. I need to fence it off from the dogs. I added hinges to most of my birdhouses so I could watch them. This is a great time of year but fall is still my favorite. I don't care for planting. I am a pruner/rake kind of gal. Have fun making your path and take some ibuprofen before you head out!

    Dawn, Sounds busy! Glad you got your laundry done, mine is always behind because I head to the garden. I bet once things get going you will be out there all the time. Have fun setting up the fish tank. What kind of fish are you putting in it? I lost another goldfish and I am getting SO discouraged. Mom suggested I add some chicken wire but that is a pain. I may just take mine out. Inside fish are good if the cat can't get to them. Glad you can watch the eagle. Living out in the boonies there are probably tons of them. ttyl-Gotta go make some stones...

  12. Hi gals! Nice day today and hopefully just as nice tomorrow. Sidekick helped me plant some grass seed in a much needed spot and watered too. He enjoyed watering and covering the seed with a little mulch. We hope it grows:) Everyone is so busy and I totally agree Skeeter this is the best time --not too hot and humidity is lower and the birds just make it sound like they are singing to you:) Great day!
    Tina, I am so happy you are done with school for now --that drive would kick my butt --driving to Bass Pro shops kicks my butt, hahaha. It's only about 35 minutes away, guess I am spoiled living so much closer to civilization now:0)
    Only 21 school days not counting the weekends for school this year! Jean, I totally understand the geese thing --they came after us in NC when the oldest was a baby --took me awhile to get near them again. They can be very mean! Hubby said they almost have to with the way some people treat them. Saw a hummingbird today:) I know Nina has seen them already but this was my first siting on my deck. They are so cute --fast and cute:) Night y'all

  13. Lola glad you got to watch your cute little grandson get his award and I know you are very proud and know the little bugger was happy as a lark to have his Grammie there!

    Yup, we all know how shy and a loner you were Dawn. When I mention you sometimes to this day, someone will say "Oh ya, that is the girl we never knew". EVERYONE knew all the others. LOL

    Skeeter, my goodness, slow down for a bit!!

    Anonymous glad you saw a hummingbird. They are such amazing
    birds but we won't see them for close to another month probably.

    Glad school is over for now Tina and hope the test went well.

    Hope all has a dreamy night, talk to you tomorrow.

  14. Hi Anonymous, Great to start the sidekick off on grass at an early age. Before you know he will be out there racing around on the red beauty (when mom lets him) cutting the lawn for you! Next Tuesday ends my other class. Believe me, each time I pass by your exit I wish I lived closer to Nashville. sigh. The way of life.

  15. Good morning all…
    Dawn, with someone staying to shoot the breeze for 45 minutes, it sounds as though you live in the South! LOL...

    Tina, One class down! Yippee...
    I read that you are not to open up a birdhouse once the babies get larger as they may be startled and may leave the nest before they are ready... Sorry about your goldfish. Do you think it is Orkin or neighbors cat? I see CC cat from next door in the Monkey grass planter by the bird feeders waiting for the birds to arrive every morning. arggg

    Wow, I do have energy. All that work yesterday, got in bed at 11:30 and am up at 5:00 in the morning! That is so not me! I am working my brain on where I am going to put the 8 azaleas I got a week ago. I read the tag and they cannot be in anything but morning sun and where I wanted to put them will be in too much sun! Arggg. The plan of under the Crepe Myrtle is gone. I reckon I will have to scatter them about instead of group them as planned... argggg. My bad for not reading the tag while in the store...

    Anonymous, we are getting a new Bass Pro-shop here where we live! No more going to north-east Atlanta or waiting until we get to TN to visit them! Yay…

  16. Skeeter You are all over it today! You are so busy! Sounds like a nap coming on today.

    You are so right about not messing with baby birds once they are close to leaving the nest. I have unfortunately forced the issue a time or two so I have learned. I stay away. Sometimes it is so hard to tell when the babies are ready to leave as some don't even look like grown up birds. I use caution now always as I don't want them jumping out-usually into my hands. What a shock!

    I think maybe a blue heron got my fish. Such a shame. I feel awful bad. Even worse about that smashed turtle in front of my house someone ran over. But then I realize there is nothing I can do and life goes on. I must come up with a way to fix that fish problem.

    You would be surprised about northerners. They can talk! And they hang out and are usually warm and caring. The type to ask you in for hot cocoa on a cold Halloween night instead of just throwing you some candy.

    I hope you are busy in the garden. I am but can never get much accomplished! I am planting salvias for annual color. You did periwinkle? What color and did you get them all in? I saw you were busy with a new post and I get excited seeing them on there. I never peak though. :)

  17. Yes I got all the periwinkle (vinca) in the ground all 36 of them! They are purple; I seem to have a purple thing going on in the garden this year! I need to add some red and white at some point. Maybe some petunias as they dont require much water in the summer....

    No time for a nap! Been too busy. Getting stuff done but still so much to do!

    Yep I was up early and had the paper read and decided to start on a new post... I have a few ideas for several and need to get them started while on my mind or I may forget! LOL. The short ones are easy to do and really fun...

  18. Skeeter, Are you intentionally going for purple? I had meant to ask you yesterday. I have a red thing going on this year but I think I might like purple or white. Dark purple. Red and white will go well with it. Hope your day is fine! Looking forward to Sunday off. I seem to be able to load pics and start writing but not fully putting the finishing touches on my posts. Must be the lure of the garden lately. Who knows?

  19. I do like the color of purple but not really intended to have a purple garden. I look for low maintenance, all season bloomer and drought tolerant and it seems all the plants in that category are purple this year! The Susans will be yellow and they are in the center of the garden so when they pop open, it will look really pretty. As will the yellow lantana in front of the purple verbena..

  20. Low maintenance is good. Purple and yellow are PERFECT together.