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: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Eastern_Phoebe.html#sound
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....