Blackberries are Ripening Here!

Lake Seminole Resource Center

Lake Seminole Resource Center

Today we stopped into the Visitors Center.  The exterior is beautifully landscaped.  But the displays were disappointing.  There was a 10 minute movie, but we had left the dogs in the truck.  Although it was overcast and we were parked under a shade tree, we didn’t want them out of our sight that long.

Behind the Visitors' Center

Behind the Visitors’ Center

The real treat was roaming around outside the center.  Not only were the views beautiful, but we found ripe blackberries!  I ended up eating about two hands full of them.

Farther south, at Ann and Cecil’s place, blackberries were just beginning to bloom.  Yet here, they are already ripening.  Also, for the first time ever I found new poke plants growing among the standing skeleton’s of last years’ plants.  Usually winter storms flatten them.  I can only surmise that the area right around the visitors’ center is a very protected microclimate.

Dam view through the window

Dam view through the window

We drove to a nearby town today to pick up some groceries.  My eyes were way bigger than my freezer.  When we got home, the only way I could get it to fit was repackage everything in zip lock bags.  I really love traveling with a well stocked refrigerator and pantry.  Always the worry-wort, I want to make sure that if a storm hits and the road floods or trees block the road to town, we will have plenty of good food to eat!

Blackberries!

Blackberries!

On our way to town, we crossed a bridge that had a gorgeous view of the dam spillway.  I didn’t have my camera ready, so missed the shot.  On the way back, Ron leaned forward and I snapped a shot through the driver side window.  Ron was reluctant to stop the truck in the middle of a bridge for me to get out and take a picture.  Can you imagine that!  😀

Today was a low-key day for us.  I read and puttered around.  Ron did laundry.  The dogs got walks.

Yum!

Yum!

We probably should have done more while we can because it’s supposed to thunderstorm tomorrow and be rainy the day after that.  But we’ll just curl up inside with books, crosswords and the net and entertain ourselves.

How Sheba will manage being inside all day is yet to be seen.  She is definitely an outdoor dog, and prefers being outside in the rain to being inside.  But hopefully the rain will be sporadic so we can get a few good walks in.

Pokeweed with last year's skeleton still standing

Pokeweed with last year’s skeleton still standing

At first I thought this was a curled up leaf until I zoomed in on him.

At first I thought this was a curled up leaf until I zoomed in on him.

Triplet trees?

Triplet trees?

New tree growing inside rotted out base of older still-living tree

New tree growing inside rotted out base of older still-living tree

Spanish moss in trees across from our campsite

Spanish moss in trees across from our campsite

 

 

 

 

 

Country Road & Beaver Dam

Down my rural lane

My country road

Late yesterday afternoon Ron and I took a walk to check out the beaver pond about 3/4 mile from our house.

Wild carrots grow all along the road.  They fascinate me.  Such intricate clustered white flowers — each one with one tiny purple flower in the very center.  I used to enjoy dipping the flowers in batter and frying them for an unusual treat.  But since I’m trying to eat wiser, I just admired the flowers this time.

wild carrot flower

Wild carrot flower

But even more interesting than the flowers is the birds-nest form the flowers take on as they go to seed.  At first, it looks just like a cupped birds nest, but they progress into a completely closed cage-like formation.

Funny…. when I was younger I thought studying plants was the most boring thing on earth.  Now I find it endlessly fascinating.

The wild daylilies blooming season is past.  I found one single flower remaining.  The rest of them look like straggly bunches of grass now.  I used to thoroughly enjoy fully exploiting the edible parts… corms, shoots and flowers.  But it has been so hot this year, I haven’t had much desire to go digging in the dusty clay or bushwhacking through tall weeds to get to them.

wild carrot flower birds nest

Wild carrot birdsnest fully closed

I think, too, once you have learned a plant and its uses, that simply taking photographs can be as rewarding as eating them.

When we got to the beaver pond, we were disappointed and saddened.  The water is WAY down.  And it looks like someone sabotaged the dam.  There were large rocks on top of it that someone must have put there.  And the dam had fallen into disrepair.  I am afraid that something happened to the beavers.

beaver dam

Due to the low water level, grasses and weeds are growing, and the dam appears to be abandoned and in disrepair.

We did get a good bit of rain last night, so the water level might be up a little.  I’ll check the dam again soon and see if it has been repaired.

On our way down to the pond, one of the neighbors’ aggressive dogs ran out and accosted us.   I am not usually afraid of dogs, but this time I was really frightened.  One of the owners’ kids came out, gathered up the dogs, and assured me, “They won’t bite you.”  Yeah, right.

They are supposed to be fenced or chained, but no one enforces the laws out here.  On our way back, again the dogs came out at us, but the kids rounded them up again.

daylily flower

The one remaining daylily bloom

I used to enjoy taking long walks, but I am feeling less and less safe.  The only place I really enjoy walking anymore are the trails when we go camping.  It’s so sad, because I do live in a beautiful area with so much to take in on long, leisurely walks.

Whew!  This post is getting long!  I’ll quit talking now and just share some of the photos I took.

[Note 8/8/2010:  The beaver dam is in complete disrepair.  Apparently someone killed the beavers.]

erosion and tree roots

This eroded tree root by the side of the road looks like something out of "The Hobbit"

groundnuts

Groundnuts plant

wild quinine

Wild quinine

wild carrots by beaver pond

Wild carrots by the beaver pond

red clover

Red clover looking a little heat stressed

buttonbush

Not a great picture, but I included it because it is the first time I have seen buttonbush flowers growing here.

The West Point Lake Area

Ron checks out West Point Lake

Ron checks out West Point Lake

We picked the wrong campground!  I had originally planned to book a site at R. Schaefer Heard campground, but a friend of Ron’s had highly recommended Whitetail Ridge.

I can’t imagine why!  There is a reason R. Schaefer Heard is so popular.  It has some gorgeous water vistas… and the water is clean!

Roadside fishing area

Roadside area set aside for fishing

Maybe we can switch campgrounds after the weekend campers leave.

We drove across the dam today and discovered some beautiful recreation sites.   One is simply a place to park and fish.  Another is the trailhead area.  And we didn’t even make it to the large day use area.  We’ll check it out tomorrow.

Another view of the roadside fishing area

Another view of the roadside fishing area

We watched several people fishing from the bank.  No one appeared to be catching anything.  Maybe it is because the wind was brisk and the water was choppy again today?  Wish I knew more about those things!  Surely fish have to eat on windy days!  This area has a reputation for excellent bass fishing.

We took a short walk down the Lakeside Trail, but my energy isn’t back to normal yet, so we didn’t go far.  Maybe we can tackle it again in a couple of days.

Lakeside Trail

Lakeside Trail

We were pretty tired when we got back to our campsite.  But my immediate impression when I saw the little Aliner was, “That is the cutest little camper in the world!”  Glad I still feel that way about it.

 

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