Thursday, April 29, 2010

Landscaping Project: Stone Path

I have been working in our yard and a couple of days ago, this was my project:

It is the path between our house and our neighbor's house that leads to our backyard. That picture was taken in July last summer when everything was blooming and the Majestic ferns were just starting to come back from their winter's hibernation.

If you would like to read about the construction of the path and its "rocky" beginning, you can click here.

Unfortunately, the extremely cold winter we had took its toll on the ferns and we lost several of them.

I love the way they make the path look lush and green, even during the hot summer months, and hope to replace them this week.

The latest addition to the path area is what I'd like to share today. I'll give you a hint: it's something I've wanted ever since I saw these, which I captured with my camera during past photo shoots:

I just love those gazing balls, especially the bright cobalt one in the first picture, and was delighted to find one in a catalog from Touchstone.

[Photo borrowed from Touchstone's web site]

Aren't they pretty! I think I'd like to have one of each color, but that might be a little too much, I guess. Here is mine in its new home, along with some pictures of the path after I finished working on it.

This is a view of the path standing at the front looking toward the backyard. The gazing ball is at the end of the path.

I took this picture of the arbor early this morning and like the way the flash highlighted the arbor and gate.

This old rusty lantern was in a storage shed at my mother-in-law's house. I love it hanging beside our path.

This is the view of the path we see from our bedroom windows. That's Trailing Verbena in the planter, and I'm hoping it will trail out over the path.

This shadow caught my eye as I was taking pictures of the path. It's a shadow from the fleur de lis design in the metal gate cast on the stones.

This is the view of the path looking toward the front to our courtyard and waterfall area.

The path has certainly come a long way from its "rocky beginning," and is like a little garden linking our courtyard to our backyard.

I can't wait for the Crape Myrtles to bloom because that's when the pathway is at its prettiest. I'm sure I'll take more pictures to share with you then.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vicksburg Lagniappe

I spent a few minutes riding around some of the older neighborhoods in Vicksburg this morning, just taking pictures of things that caught my eye.

One of the first things I saw was this pretty porch with its bold red chair and spring green cushion. From its shady spot on the porch, it just beckons you to "come sit a spell" with a book and a glass of something cold (you can click on the images to enlarge them, if you'd like).

Up the street and around the corner, I noticed these pretty purple flowers gracing the front steps of an old Victorian-style house.

I love the flowers, but I'm not so sure about that gargoyle! Here's the old house ...

A couple of houses down from the gargoyles, this beautiful old window with an oval inset caught my eye.

Nothing says, "Home Sweet Home" to me like window boxes, and I love the contrast this one makes with its red geraniums and white windows against the creamy yellow paint on the house.

And last, but not least, my lagniappe for the day. As I was driving by the Old Court House Museum near downtown Vicksburg, I was delighted to see my first magnolia blooms of the season.

Isn't it magnificent! Magnolias are one of my favorite subjects to photograph, and I'm looking forward to capturing a variety of them with my camera this summer. Talk about Southern Lagniappe! ... it just doesn't get any better than Mississippi Magnolias.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Night Visitor

The other night my husband was lowering the blinds on our front doors and saw this little guy attached to the outside of the glass.

My husband called me to "come look," and, of course, I couldn't resist capturing him with my camera (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them if you'd like to see him closer).

We have a pond in our courtyard and now that spring is here, we are serenaded at night by frogs that sound like they're huge. I walked outside the other night and as I approached the pond, one jumped into the water. He couldn't have been much bigger than our little night visitor, who was only about two inches long (with his legs folded up).

I tried to identify him by looking at pictures and descriptions of frogs on the Internet, but couldn't decide between some kind of green frog or bullfrog. Whatever they are, there's just something calming and comforting to me about their nighttime chorus, and I'm so glad they chose our pond for their summer home.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Storm

A tornado almost a mile wide tore through Mississippi on Saturday, killing at least 10 people and causing significant injuries and damage. Fortunately, Vicksburg was out of harm's way as the storm moved northward.

Yazoo City, Mississippi, was hardest hit, and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who was in Yazoo City where his home is located, called the twister "gigantic" and said that "in places [it] seemed to be several miles wide."

Preliminary reports indicate that at least 100 houses were destroyed in Yazoo County, and the death toll is expected to rise as rescue crews reach hard-hit areas where some residents may be trapped in badly damaged homes.

Governor Barbour stated, "By God's grace [the tornado] did not go into the most central part of the city, the most populous. However, it went through the southern edge and eastern edge of town in a number of large neighborhoods," he said. "A number of businesses have been destroyed and others severely damaged -- there are churches that have been obliterated."

Mississippi residents reported that the path of the twister was a half-mile to a mile wide, and news reports stated that the tornado had traveled 150 miles across Mississippi, starting in the western part of the state and moving northeast before weakening as it moved into Alabama.

In Eagle Lake, near the Louisiana border, 47 houses received damage and 10 houses were destroyed, and in Holmes County, approximately 50 homes sustained structural damage.

In July of 2008, I visited Yazoo City and wrote a two-part post about my visit. If you would like to read those posts and see Yazoo City as it was then, you can click here and here.

It's going to take a long time, a lot of money, and a lot of hard and heartrending work to restore the picturesque little town on the edge of the Mississippi Delta, but I have faith in the unconquerable spirit of Mississippians that has allowed us to recover from some of the most devastating storms in the history of our nation ... Hurricane Camille and Hurricane Katrina come to mind ... and I know the people of Yazoo City, as well as others from all over Mississippi, will come together as one to do what has to be done to rebuild their town and to help those families who not only lost their homes, but lost loved ones, too.

My heart and prayers go out to them, and I'm going to try to contact the shelters to see how we can help.

I'd like to thank those of you who wrote expressing concern for our safety here in Vicksburg. We were very, very fortunate to be out of harm's way.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ol' Man River

Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and Herman Melville wrote about it, songs have been written about it, history books are filled with stories about it. According to Wikipedia, "it's the fourth longest river in the world, and the tenth most powerful river in the world."

Yes, it's the Mighty Mississippi River, and it has always fascinated me. I love living in Vicksburg, Mississippi, perched high on the bluffs of the river, where not only its beauty, but the sheer power of its churning waters and currents are truly mesmerizing.

There are two bridges that cross the river at Vicksburg -- one is the Interstate 20 bridge and the other one is the old Highway 80 bridge which is now used only as a railroad bridge.

The bridges are probably one of the most photographed scenes in Vicksburg, by tourists and locals alike, and today, I'd like to share a collection of photos I've captured of the bridges and the river.

I love the huge flag that waves from the top of the bridge welcoming visitors traveling from the West to Mississippi. It's a beautiful sight and never fails to evoke a sense of pride when I see its stars and stripes billowing in the wind.

This is one of my favorite pictures I've taken of the bridges. I couldn't believe my luck when I was actually in the right place at the right time to capture a train crossing the bridge at sunset.

This is a view of the bend in the Mississippi, where the Yazoo River Canal joins it ...

Tugboats are a familiar sight on the river, and are fascinating to watch ...

Here's that same picture in sepia ...

One of the things on my "Places I Would Love To See" List is visiting the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca, Minnesota. I've read that the river is less than three feet deep there and you can walk across it on a stone pathway. I would love to do that, and then follow the river on its 2,320-mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. Of course, that's probably not going to ever happen, but perhaps I'll at least have a chance to walk across that stone path someday.

In the meantime, I'll just continue to enjoy the views of the Mighty Mississippi, from here in Vicksburg, as it "just keeps on rollin' along."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Glorious Lady Banks

Today, I'd like to share some pictures of the Lady Banks Roses (Rosa banksiae) growing on our back fence.

We have three plants -- one yellow ...

One white ...

And one plant that has white and yellow flowers ...

Our yard is long and narrow, and, as you can see, the Lady Banks have taken over the flower beds, and one even drapes over into the yard. We had planned to prune them in early spring, but they started blooming before we had a chance.

My office windows look out onto the fence and I have enjoyed the glorious yellow and white blossoms for a couple of weeks now. Not only are they beautiful, but our backyard is filled with their heavenly delicate scent. We'll prune them when the blooms fade to make room for my Lantana which is already peeking through the pine straw.

When the Lady Banks started blooming, I took some closeup shots of the blooms and was amazed at how exquisite they are.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Haircut

Yesterday, I posted a story about our granddaughter Avery, and I have one more "Avery adventure" I want to share today. If you'd like to read yesterday's post about planting morning glories, you can click on the link.

Avery is our soon-to-be-five-years-old granddaughter, and one day last week, just out of the blue, she decided to cut her hair. We can't imagine what possessed her to do it (and I guess we never will) ... but cut it, she did.

Here are some "BEFORE THE HAIRCUT" pictures of Avery which were taken Easter Sunday ...

We loved her hair, and it had finally gotten long enough for hair bows and ponytails and braids. But, with just a few snips of her little scissors, Avery created a brand new look for herself. She cut chunks out on both sides and in the back, and a section in the middle of her bangs about a quarter of an inch long!

Her mama cried when she saw it, and could only think about Avery's fifth birthday coming up in a couple of weeks and how her hair will look in all the pictures. It was bad, but it could have been a whole lot worse!

The next day, I took Avery to her mama's hair stylist to see if she could "fix it," and here are some pictures I captured with my cell phone before we went into the beauty shop. Can you believe those bangs!

Miss Wanda, the stylist, did, indeed, work wonders with her scissors, and transformed the disaster Avery created with her scissors into a cute hair style for the summer.

Avery's reply to her Mama when she asked her why she cut it was, "It will grow back, Mommy." Yes, it will "grow back" ... and I'm just thankful that she didn't cut it as short as her bangs all over her head.