Category Archives: Nature

The vacation’s over

It’s a Sunday afternoon and a pretty good end to a vacation week. I’m sitting on our patio, under the oak tree by our pool, just enjoying a quiet summer Sunday afternoon.

The last three days of our vacation were uneventful. The weather was not ideal, generally cloudy and windy, with a few sprinkles.

This was a typical scene from our deck.

This was a typical scene from our deck.

Mrs. Poolman and I had a very nice anniversary (37th, thank you very much) dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, The Sundae Café. I had their Cajun shrimp and grits, and Mrs. P enjoyed lobster mac & cheese with broiled sea scallops. We enjoyed it so much, we went back for lunch the next day. Decadent, but hey, we’re on vacation.

The weather cleared up some on Friday and we got back out to the beach. But even on the cloudy days, we were totally happy just sitting on our deck with books in our laps. Enforced idleness is not bad.

We started moving stuff back to our house on Friday because I needed to be out the door early on Saturday morning. I didn’t want to leave Mrs. P with more of a load to move out than her own clothes and some of the leftover food.

On Saturday, I needed to assist my boss and his wife to take two couples on a visit to Wassaw Island one of our boat-access-only barrier islands. One of the couples had “won” the trip in a silent auction  that was part of a major fund-raiser gala for the University System of Georgia Foundation. We met up with them at 9 am and drove them to the south end of our island to meet our skiff and driver. The weather was cloudy with a few drizzles, but it wasn’t too bad. At least it wasn’t broiling hot with a ton of bugs. Our guests seemed to enjoy it. We saw nest with some juvenile osprey, a good size pod of dolphins feeding and more bits of nature on the island.

Our guide, Dorothy, in the hat, explains some of the island ecosystem.

Our guide, Dorothy, in the weird hat and blue shirt, explains some of the island ecosystem.

We did have the whole beach to ourselves.

We did have the whole beach to ourselves.

I was home by 4 pm and fairly tired.

Today I got the back yard and pool cleaned up and checked on my garden. I’m really happy with the way it is growing. After two previous unsuccessful efforts at growing tomatoes over the past several years, this little 4’x4’ plot seems to be doing well. Right now, we have more than 30 tomatoes in some form or another. None have turned red yet, but we are cautiously optimistic.

Grow, plants, grow!

Grow, plants, grow!

Hopefully these little fellas will turn red.

Hopefully these little fellas will turn red.

We also have two pepper plants that seem to be doing well. I’m really excited about tasting the first batch.

Back to work tomorrow. Sigh.

A great week continues

This working out to be a very good week.

Poolboy and Girlfriend finally made it down full time on Monday afternoon. And Monday turned out to be a truly lazy day. I got up at a decent hour and then Mrs. Poolman, Writer Princess, Son-in-Law and I enjoyed a sinful late morning breakfast at a local place called, appropriately enough, The Breakfast Club. This restaurant specializes in serving enormous plates of unhealthy, but delicious, breakfast food. For example, I had a three-egg scramble with chorizo, mushrooms, jalapenos and onions served over a pile of grits. Mrs. P had a dish of grated hash brown potatoes, cooked with onions, peppers, and bacon, with a little cream cheese folded in. The serving covered the entire dinner plate. I couldn’t eat this way every day. My arteries couldn’t take it. But once in a while…on vacation…

Ran a couple of errands on the island and then took a nice afternoon nap. Sigh. It clouded up and got windy late in the afternoon. Some of our group hung out on the beach anyway.

Even a  cloudy day at the beach beats a sunny day behind a desk.

Even a cloudy day at the beach beats a sunny day behind a desk.

We had several of our friends from “down the beach” here for drinks and appetizers that evolved into a full-evening social event.

Today, SIL, Poolboy, Girlfriend and I went on a kayak eco-tour.

Beach13 Tue2w

Getting ready to push off on the great adventure.

Beach13 Tue3w

Resting up and re-hydrating on our mid-tour beach break.

It was fun, but not quite what we expected.  A lot of fairly open-water paddling with a fairly strong wind pushing us around. We did have some nice beach time and saw a few interesting sights, like osprey diving and feeding, and a small bonnet head shark feeding along the shoreline. By the end of our trip, we were pooped. I may not be able to move tomorrow.

Another afternoon nap (I could get used this.) and then we all went out to the North Beach Grill for dinner. This locally-famous restaurant is really just a beach shack with some outdoor seating on a deck.

Our group at the North Beach Grill.

Our group at the North Beach Grill.

The kitchen was slow, but the food was good. I had a jerk chicken sandwich and home-cut fries. Mrs. P and several of the rest of our group had the half-pound of shrimp, saute’d in a jerk seasoning. It was very good. I think we are going to try to duplicate it at home.

Saute'd shrimp in jerk seasoning.

Saute’d shrimp in jerk seasoning.

I think we are all pretty tired tonight. I don’t see a party night in the offing.

Free the whales!

I’ve been off the net for a few weeks. To be honest, I haven’t been posting, nor have I been reading many of my blog friends. More catch up later.

I’m on the road this week, and taking a break between meetings to check my email. I ran across this news on Huffington Post that jolted me out of my blogish lethargy.

Flipping out over his day in court.

PETA is suing Seaworld on behalf of the Orcas, claiming they are victims of slavery. Gotta love it! And they seem to do it with a straight face.

It would then naturally follow that hunters and fishermen are murderers. And I guess I’m a cannibal for the bacon and sausage I had with breakfast this morning. (I’m not saying no one has ever called me a “pig,” but I don’t think that is what they meant.)

And what about our gang of two dogs and two cats? Should I fear a slave revolt in the Poolman family?

If orcas have rights, they must also have the same responsibilities, I suppose. I’d love to see them try to take that Seaworld orca that was involved in the death of his trainer a while back to court on charges of negligent manslaughter. That would be worth watching on Court TV!

Start the summer with a bang

Mrs. Poolman and I had a very full Memorial Day weekend. We had two days of “entertaining” and then chilled out and had a down day to start the week.

Our weekend activities started with a visit by our nephew, Bobby, his girlfriend, Callie, and his daughter and her son, ages 10 and 8. They arrived fairly late Friday evening. Writer Princess came over to visit. They sat up late on the pool patio and caught up. I went to bed around midnight. I don’t know how late they kept at it.

On Saturday, Mrs. P and I decided to give the parents a break and took the kids for an outing. The local school system operates a mini-zoo, Oatland Island Wildlife Center, that is open to the public. Although I have lived in Savannah for nearly 19 years, and have driven by the place something like five thousand times (no exaggeration), I had never visited there before Saturday. Everyone had a good time.

Thekids and me at Oatland Island.

Later, we took the kids and their parents out to lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Jalapenos.

We spent the rest of the day hanging by the pool and eating a great dinner of London Broil steaks.

I had to slip out for two hours to read at 5:30 Mass. I wasn’t originally scheduled to read this weekend, but I had traded things around before everything was finalized with the weekend company. I was stuck. By the time I got home, my nephew had the London broil steaks nearly cooked.

The festivities continued well into the evening. We had a lot of fun.

Nephew and gang left Sunday morning, just in time to give Mrs. P and me a couple of hours of recovery time before Writer Princess showed up with her group for dinner.  She and Son In Law had three out-of-town friends visiting for the weekend. That’s a lot of people in a one bedroom condo. They all came over for some pool time and pulled pork barbecue.

Come Monday, we were pooped. We went out to lunch for pair of fried shrimp baskets at our favorite seafood place and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging by the pool.

All in all, a good start to the summer season.

Against the wind…

This had been around for a few months, but I just saw it. If you haven’t seen these baby ducks fighting the wind, you have to watch it!

A great day on Ossabaw Island

I had a great time on Wednesday of this week – a day trip to Ossabaw Island. Ossabaw is one of Georgia’s secluded, undeveloped barrier islands. The only practical way to reach it is by boat.

The beach

We took off from our campus at 8:30 in the morning with a group of eleven scientists and technicians for the one hour trip down the Intra-Coastal Waterway to the island.

Ossabaw Island is held by the State of Georgia as a Heritage Trust. Access is by permission only.

We had several reasons for this trip. One reason was to conduct some maintenance on the “Barrier Island Observatory.” We are part of a group of organizations that are developing an observatory network on the island. This is a series of sensors and cameras that can by accessed through the Internet. Right now there is a weather station, a water sensor at the dock and at two wells, and a camera at the dock. You can see what they pickup here.

We also had a couple of geologists who needed to dig some core samples, and a graduate student who collected Spanish moss and air samples.

I went along to take pictures and to enjoy the day.

It was great to get out of the office. Along the way, we passed the bald eagle nest on Pigeon Island.

Once on the island, we got around on the back of pick up trucks.

The causeway from the dock to the island.

The island is beautiful and peaceful, with scenes ranging from maritime forest, to salt marshes to open beaches.

Salt marsh

Dead palm trees

A dead tree -- the result of erosion.

An interesting matrix of dead wood on the beach.

Tabby former living quarters

When we first arrived, we were greeted by “Paul Mitchell,” one of the island’s pet hogs.However, unlike on my last visit to the island, we didn’t see very much in the way of wildlife. We saw only one alligator. I think part of the reason for this is that the fresh water ponds on the island are very low, so the gators aren’t close to the various roads and causeways.

No water = no alligators.

All in all, it was a great day and a lot of fun.

The boys are back in town!

Well, actually at least one of them is probably not a boy. As long as we are on a nature kick this week, take a look at this impressive couple!Eagles 9-09

There has been a nesting pair of bald eagles near our campus as long as I have worked here. Until last winter, they only made rare appearances. Then, last January, they decided the cell phone antennae on top of our water tower made for good perches. They took off again sometime in the late winter, and just reappeared this week.

Unfortunately, the birds were not very interested in posing for photos the afternoon I took these shots, hence the only angle I could get was pretty much shooting up their butts. Sorry, ‘bout that. I’ll try to do better next time. Meanwhile, most of us here just think having bald eagles hanging out on our water tower is pretty cool.

Who painted this guy?

When we got home around dusk the other night, I was playing with the mutts in the front yard when I saw this guy on one of our trees.Moth a

Look at the camouflage on this guy! His wings look like leaves. On the leading edge of each wing, it looks like someone had carefully painted a design to look like a branch, complete with little “seed pods.”

Amazing!

Of course, while evolution blessed this guy with camouflage, it apparently short changed him in survival skills. Instead spending his Saturday night among the leaves of a bush, where he would be invisible, he was hanging out on the bark of a tree, where even I could see him 20 feet away. As far as I know, he may have become some mockingbird’s dinner right after I took this picture.

Beauty where you find it

I went over to our dock facility on the far side of our campus this afternoon. I was a little early to take some pictures, so I stopped by a series of freshwater ponds that serve as a wild bird sanctuary. I have driven by these ponds dozens of times, but never stopped to take any pictures.  Well, I had my camera with me and I had a few minutes to kill. These pictures aren’t that great, but they do demonstrate just how pretty the area is.Pond 1

A Great Blue Heron and a Snowy Egret

A Great Blue Heron and a Snowy Egret

After I took a few pictures, I finally noticed a “giant” banana spider that had been on his web about three feet in front of me the entire time.

Bannana Spider

Banana Spider

I walked across the road to see what the pond there looked like and saw a flock of maybe a dozen woodstorks on the far edge of the pond, about 70 yards away. Unfortunately, I made too much of a ruckus walking through the woods and high grass trying to get a clear shot of them, that they were startled and took off. Bahsteds! Better luck next time.