Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Sunset


What a frustrating week this has been. I use an USB modem to connect to the Internet and for the entire week, it would connect and then drop after 30 seconds, connect and drop, and so forth, leaving me without a dependable Internet connection for four days. I had long discussions with the Internet provider (I hate dealing with call centers overseas . . .) with fixes that wouldn't resolve the problem and requiring more fruitless phone calls.

I don't know if one of the fixes that was pushed through from the provider's end finally solved it, but I have had a whole day of Internet connection without any drops. So back to blogging!

For today's Sunday Sunset photo, I stopped on the side of the road on my way home from work to take this shot. I didn't quite catch the pink and blues of the cloud overhead, but it certainly was a breathtaking sky that evening.

I'm doing this in conjunction with Anyes over at Far Away in the Sunshine. Go see what she saw on the other side of the continent.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Yuletide Camellia



I took this shot of a camellia bush while we were at Thyatira Presbyterian Church. I knew it wasn't a spring blooming camellia that had unexpectedly bloomed like the one that Marie over at 66 Square Feet saw up in New York City, as winter blooming camellias are quite common here in North Carolina.

But imagine my surprise to find out the name of this particular camellia bush - Yuletide. How appropriate for a camellia that blooms this time of year. If you live in Growing Zones 7-9, you can plant this bush in your garden and expect blooms from September through December. You'll just need a fairly large space in your garden as it will spread 10 feet wide although you can cut it back and grow it in containers.

Hmm, wonder if I have a space in my small garden for this beauty?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stunning Sunday Skies


A snapshot of the sky after a thunderstorm. I took this in September down at my favorite meadow a couple of miles from my house. We've been lucky this week with brilliant blue skies with not a cloud in them. Unfortunately that makes for a bland snapshot when you want a stunning sky.

I'm doing this with Anyes over at Far Away in the Sunshine. Go see what stunning sky she saw.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Back Creek Presbyterian Church, Rowan County, NC


The next stop was a church down the road from Thyatira Presbyterian Church and which was also on the Rowan County tour, Back Creek Presbyterian Church.

Back Creek was founded by a group of disaffected Thyatira members in 1805 during a period called The Second Great Awakening. Many church revivals were held throughout the United States with the idea of "restoring" Christianity to its most pure and primitive form before the Second Coming of Christ. This included displays of dancing, shouting and screaming during these religious revivals and meetings. Presbyterians were not pleased with the type of evangelical zeal that these revivals engendered (there is a reason they're called "The Frozen Chosen") and that some of the Thyatira members were displaying.

So, 20-30 family members split off from the Thyatira congregation and established this church in 1805. This is the third sanctuary at this site with the first two being wood-framed buildings. This Greek Revival style sanctuary was finished in 1857.


The interior of the sanctuary has not changed in those 164 years. Like Thyatira, the upstairs gallery surrounds the sanctuary on three sides and was originally built for the slaves owned by local plantation owners. The upstairs pews are original, too, as are the massive front doors. The pews downstairs were replaced in 1978 when the ones that had been there were taken away for restoration, but deemed too fragile to restore and return.

And after 206 years this congregation is still separate from Thyatira. Thyatira belongs to Presbyterian Church (USA), one of our mainstream Protestant denominations, while Back Creek belongs to Presbyterian Church in America, an evangelical denomination.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thyatira Presbyterian Church, Rowan County, NC


It turned out to be a good thing that I had left my books and map to tour Rowan County the weekend before last, because this past Saturday the Salisbury Symphony Guild was having a holiday tour of historic places which included a couple of the churches that I wanted to take snapshots of.

The first church we went to was Thyatira Presbyterian Church outside of Salisbury. The church was founded in 1747 and is the oldest Presbyterian Church in North Carolina west of the Yadkin River. At the time that Thyatira was being established, more than a quarter of the population in North Carolina were Scotch-Irish Presbyterian immigrants.

This is the fourth building on this site, built in 1860 to replace a wood-framed meetinghouse. I'm sorry for the cropped picture, but there was a woman sitting right in front of the doors (right in the best place to take a picture) with a card table selling tickets to the tour. We'll go back later on and I'll get a better picture to show the wonderful cruciform windows there at the front of the sanctuary.


Inside a docent was getting ready to give a short speech about the history of the church and its congregation and there were other visitors milling around. He pointed out the gallery surrounding the main floor on three sides and told us that it was the slave gallery as the local plantation owners would bring trusted slaves with them to hear the minister preach on Sunday.

The cables stretched from both the walls and galley areas are to keep the walls from collapsing from the weight of the roof. The docent said that a few years after the 1860 construction of the sanctuary, the minister noticed large cracks in the walls and they added the iron cables to maintain the integrity of the building. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Old Mill of Guilford County, Greensboro, NC


And a contrast to Kerr Mill down in Rowan County . . .

This is the Old Mill of Guilford County, the county that I live in. This is just ten miles from my house and is four years older than Kerr Mill. The Old Mill was built in 1819 by Joel Saunders. It grinds (as it is still a working mill) corn and wheat daily.

When the road that runs in front of the mill was built in 1932, the original wooden flume which provided water from the dam pond to the overshot at the water wheel was replaced by this 26" steel pipe (which from the look of it is the original pipe).

An interesting side fact - Guilford County was created out of Rowan County in 1771. However, due to the large population of Quakers in the area who were strict abolitionists, there were no huge plantations or large slave holdings as there were south of the area down around Salisbury.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kerr Mill, Millbridge, North Carolina


Last weekend our trip to Salisbury was called off because I had left my maps and book at my house. This time I remembered maps, my book of historic architecture and the GPS and so, off TB and I went to find some of these places.

First up was Kerr Mill in the Millbridge area of Rowan County. Now part of Sloan Park and open to the public, this grist mill was built in 1823 by Samuel Kerr, a physician and one of the county's largest slave owners, having 51 slaves at his plantation nearby. He was also one of the richest men in all of North Carolina having an estimated worth of $400,000 in 1860 which would be close to $10,800,000 today.

Kerr Mill was one of the ways that Dr. Kerr showed off his wealth. Of the 22 grist mills in Rowan County in the nineteenth century, this was the only one that was built from brick, an expensive proposition in its time. The mill produced flour at a monthly profit of $9,750 which added to his wealth.

The mill passed down through Dr. Kerr's family until the late 1800's when it was sold off to an outside investor. By the 1940's it was no longer operating as mill, but as storage space for its owner who then sold it to Rowan County in 1973 along with enough acreage to create Sloan Park.

The mill houses a tiny museum of Early American artifacts from families in the area and the water wheel has been restored (I saw a 1988 photo where the mill had no water wheel) and is working with water diverted from a nearby stream.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stunning Sunday Skies


This time of year the sky stays cloud-free all day long until late in the afternoon. Then it becomes cold enough that jet contrails from the airplanes arriving and leaving the local airport create clouds in the air.

Another quick dash out the side door at work to catch the sun before it disappears completely for the day (the sun now sets completely for the day at 5 pm, just as I'm gathering up all my stuff to go home). I wonder if my co-workers look out the windows just as I'm taking these snapshots and wonder what this crazy person is doing taking pictures at the retention pond.

I'm doing this in conjunction with Anyes over at Far Away in the Sunshine. Wonder what she saw at the end of the day there in Vancouver.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Upside Down Weather


I thought with the hard freeze we had a couple of weeks back that that was the end of the growing season. Obviously not. The last week with its temperatures in the 70's coaxed one last bloom out of the Clotilde Soupert, the antique rose bush from Texas. I see over at 66 Square Feet, that the warm weather is doing the same to spring-blooming camellias up in Brooklyn.

Wonder what the spring will look like if this up-and-down weather continues . . .

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Red House Presbyterian Church, Semora, North Carolina


As TB and I are not fond of fighting the Christmas shopping crowds over the holiday weekend, we decided to go down to Salisbury to take pictures of the historic train depot, grist mill and other historic sites in the area since the day was absolutely perfect for snapshots.

I got to TB's house and realized that I had left my book on historic architecture and maps back at my house 45 minutes away. We agreed it wouldn't make much sense to backtrack north to my house when Salisbury was south of TB and so we decided to just drive the backroads and see what we could see.

We ended up in Semora, an unincorporated village of about 1200 near the Virginia border (so much for not going back to my house; Semora is north of Greensboro). We found this beautiful little Greek Revival church back in the woods and so drove up the driveway to take pictures.



This is Red House Presbyterian Church. According to information that I found on the Internet, this congregation has been in existence since 1755. This is the fourth church building on this site - a 1913 Classical Revival reconstruction of the second church building that was built in 1806. It was named Red House for the red painted inn that sat just down the road from the church.

It is a tiny jewel of a church building in the back country of North Carolina. The typical country church is generally a wood framed building. I can't think of any churches we've driven by that could compete with this beautiful structure.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stunning Sunday Skies


Although this reminds me of a sky that you might see up in the mountains, I actually took this snapshot out the side door of my office building. It actually is looking over the retention pond which wasn't included in the shot due to the fact that there is a huge galvanized pipe in the middle of the pond. It funnels all the rainwater off the parking lot so  all the nasty stuff you find in the lot doesn't end up in our city reservoirs. Despite the fact that it is nicely landscaped, it doesn't attract any of my fellow coworkers to its banks. Wonder why.

I took this with the little camera that I keep in my purse for snapshots just like this. The only drawback to going out the side door is that I have to walk back around this huge building to go in the front door as the building is secured and you need a badge to get in the front lobby, and then get into your work area and even get into the restrooms.

I'm doing this in tandem with Anyes over at Far Away in the Sunshine. I bet she find a nicer place to take pictures than a retention pond.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wild Turkey

While I was walking around the flight cages where the Sun Conure, the Javan Pond Heron and other birds were kept, I was followed by this very large, somewhat familiar looking bird. He kept looking for food near my feet, but fortunately wasn't aggressive as the East African Crowned Crane since I had no food for him.


One of the keepers came by bearing food for some of the little birds and I asked her what type of bird that was (figuring it was some rare Eurasian exotic), she stopped and told me it was a male Wild Turkey. She explained that a couple of years ago, this male turkey and his mate showed up at the park as young poults and have stayed ever since. The female disappeared this past spring and the keeper thought that probably she was killed by coyotes who live in the area as these turkeys aren't kept caged or in enclosures as are the breeding waterfowl.

I'm sorry for the bad shot, but I could never catch him with his head up as he was too interested in finding food. So, I found this photo on the Internet:


Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends both near and far! I will be back on Sunday with another stunning sky photo.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Parrots

To be fair, not all the birds at the Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park are waterfowl.

For example, there is the Sun Conure, a small parrot native to South America.


Sylvan Heights breeds them as they have become very rare in their native habitat due to large numbers having been caught for the pet trade. However, they don't make very good pets due to the fact that require more time and attention than most pet owners are willing to give.




This is an African Gray Parrot which is also part of Sylvan Heights breeding program. The park is also trying to educate people that these also do not make good pets for most. In fact, they have become practically decimated in the wild due to trapping for the pet trade.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunset Sunday


Today is Sunset Sunday which I do with Anyes over at Far Away in the Sunshine. I have to now time these photos for the weekend since with the end of daylight savings time, the sun now sets at 5 pm. So yesterday it was a fast race up the road to my favorite open field to catch the sunset and the clouds at just the right moment.

It looks as though we will have rain for Thanksgiving, but the hope is without the severe storms that came through last week. Unfortunately those storms spawned tornadoes just south of Greensboro which destroyed 65 houses. We will keep our fingers crossed that it will just be a typical November rain.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

More Beautiful Birds

These next three pictures were taken either through fencing or the bars of a cage, so they aren't quite as focused as the earlier ones were.


This is an Eurasian Eagle Owl which was hatched at the park in 2009 along with two of his nest mates. It is the second largest owl in the world and just slightly smaller than our golden eagle. Since they are nocturnal, I think they were slightly annoyed by our clambering outside their flight cage trying to get a good shot through the bars.




This is a Javan Pond Heron from Southeast Asia. Again a slightly difficult shot through the bars of its cage. These are not considered endangered in their local habitats, but Sylvan Heights breeds them for zoos and nature centers here in the US.




This is an East African Crowned Crane. It was by itself in a large pen with many warning signs about not getting to close as it would attack. It ran up and down the fencing, I guess trying to get to us to peck us to death or something. It is considered threatened in its native habitat of the African Savannah south of the Sahara.

Friday, November 18, 2011

More Ducks Today!

And some more beautiful waterfowl from Sylvan Heights:


Black-necked Stilt, a fairly common shorebird. It is found on the western coast of the United States all the way down to Central America.




Greater Scaup, a marine duck. It spends the summer in the Arctic and the winters in the coastal bays of Central Europe and the Great Lakes of the US. It can gather in groups or rafts as large as 50,000 to forage on the open waters of the ocean.




A Common Shelduck which is native to the UK and western Europe. Sometimes they are found nesting in rabbit burrows, tree holes or haystacks. There have been flocks as large as 100,000 spotted on the Wadden Sea area of the Netherlands.

And even more birds tomorrow!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Sun Will Come Out . . . Tomorrow

I couldn't write a post last night and upload photos. We were under a tornado watch all evening and some extremely severe thunderstorms did erupt around my house. I just unplugged everything and read.

The rain continues today, but it looks like just rain. Parts to the south of Greensboro were hit by tornadoes which fortunately never came through our area.

Photos of ducks and geese (oh my!) tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park, Scotland Neck, NC

Hawaiian Goose
But the real reason we came to eastern North Carolina was to visit Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park just outside of Scotland Neck. Here is the largest waterfowl breeding facility in the world and it is open to the public. There are more than 1,500 ducks, geese, cranes, and various other birds, most of whom are endangered or near endangered status.

The park is set up so that you can get close up to most of these birds within their enclosures.  I had a terrific time taking tons of snapshots although I was extremely impressed by the dedicated photographer who came with his DSLR and $10,000 zoom lens (although the question was why did he need such an extreme zoom lens when you could get within inches of the ducks and geese).

Here are some of the birds we saw:


A Muscovy Duck which is native to Nicaragua. Along with the Mallard considered one of the wild ancestors of the domestic duck.


This little Scarlet Ibis strolled down the path in front of us, coming so near that I nearly stepped on it. Since all the chicks are hand raised at the park, they have no fear of the visitors who come through. I did find out that if you get too close to some of the geese and don't have any food for them, you are liable to get a strong nip (looking at you, Hawaiian Goose).


Above is the Great Curassow which is considered threatened in its native South America habitat. Again, since it was hand-raised here at the park, he would follow us around the enclosure and let us get up close as we wanted to without taking off.

More pictures tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cotton Press, Tarboro, North Carolina


I didn't do a very good job photographing this very interesting structure in Tarboro. I read about it in Catherine Bishir's volume on Eastern North Carolina historic architecture and so set out to find it and take some snapshots. This is a cotton press and one of only three still remaining in the United States (the other two are in South Carolina and Louisiana).

However I was lucky enough to find photos that were taken by the National Park Service in the 1940's which shows the cotton press as it sat on The Commons in Tarboro without this shed sheltering it.


It was originally built in the late 18th century on a plantation outside of Tarboro to press fruit for wine and apples for cider, but by 1840 it was turned into a press for cotton after it was ginned so that it could be assembled into bales. Four mules or oxen were hitched to the two long booms to provide the turning power.

You can see clearly the two booms at the top of the press and the large screw in the middle that compacted the cotton into bales. The whole structure stands almost 25 feet tall.

This is also the time of year that cotton is picked in the fields in eastern North Carolina by huge harvesters. You won't see field labor picking cotton anymore. The sides of the roads we drove on this past weekend was full of cotton bolls that had fallen out of the trucks (known as boll buggies) that follow behind these harvesters. I should have had the presence of mind to photograph  them but didn't think of it until too late.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Calvary Episcopal Church, Tarboro, North Carolina


TB and I traveled to the eastern part of North Carolina this weekend to visit historic Tarboro, the ninth oldest incorporated city in the state. The town of 13,000 has more than 300 historic buildings with 45 city blocks.

We spent the most time in the churchyard of Calvary Episcopal Church, a two acre graveyard and arboretum. The parish itself was organized in 1749, but the current building was built over a period of a decade, 1859 to 1868 due to construction being interrupted for the Civil War.


The churchyard was designed by Dr. Joseph Cheshire who was the rector for the church from 1842 until 1889. Originally the churchyard held just a cedar tree and a rose bush, but Dr. Cheshire filled it in with plants he dug from road sides and seeds and plants that were sent to him by missionaries from all corners of the world. The result is a stunning arboretum of rare plants including a Cork Oak that Dr. Cheshire grew from an acorn that was sent to him from a friend in Spain.




Sunday, November 13, 2011

Stunning Sunday Skies


Sorry about the lack of photos and posts this week. I blame it on inertia and the fact we've gone back to standard time which means if I don't take photos on the weekend or at lunchtime during the week, then I don't take any photos.

But Sundays are sacrosanct since I do this in conjunction with Anyes over at Far Away in the Sunshine. Today's snapshot was taken down at Holden Beach this past February. TB and I went down for a long weekend and photo opportunities only to have three days of rain and fog. However the morning we left to come back to Greensboro, the rain finally stopped and I got this sunrise shot right on the beach.

I'm traveling this weekend, so I'm crossing my fingers that there will be lots of snapshots and things to blog about this coming week.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Bottle Chapel at Airlie Gardens, Wilmington, NC

 




"Minnie Evans was the gatekeeper of Wilmington’s historic Airlie Gardens from 1949 to 1974, and is considered one of America’s most important visionary artists. Evans’s take on color, mysticism, and symmetry made her garden-infused art unique. 'It was therefore an inspired decision,' Airlie Gardens Guild member Fred Wharton writes, 'to create the Minnie Evans Memorial Sculpture Garden—a garden within the garden, in the very place where she worked as a gatekeeper, where she experienced her visions, and where she created her art.'
 "Local Wilmington artists got together after Minnie’s death to create this - a seventeen-foot-high, seven-sided chapel sculpted from thousands of glass bottles, cement, and metal armature designed by artist Virginia Wright-Frierson. To create a fitting memorial inspired the symbolism and elaborate designs found in Evans’s work, Wright-Frierson assembled a team of North Carolinians to interpret the artist’s themes in various media. The Bottle Chapel Artists were Virginia Wright-Frierson, Designer & Lead Artist; Karen Crouch, Dumay Gorham, Brooks Koff, Hiroshi Sueyoshi, Barbara Sullivan, Tejuola Turner, Michael van Hout."
-Fred Wharton, author of The Bottle Chapel at Airlie Gardens
 I had not heard of Minnie Evans prior to our trip to Airlie Gardens, but this bottle chapel was breath-taking and the highlight of my visit to the garden.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Stunning Sunday Sunset


I can always count on finding a super sunset down at the marina at Lake Brandt especially when the weather is changing and and there are interesting cloud formations over the water.

I'm doing these sunset photos in conjunction with Anyes over at Far Away in the Sunshine. Go and see what she saw for a sunset there in British Columbia, Canada. I have a feeling these types of days will be few and far between as we get closer and closer to winter. This week's gray weather certainly didn't lend itself to any good snapshots. I'll have to dig deeper in my archives to find something interesting I'm afraid.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chilean Flamingo


I'm rummaging through old photos to see what I have interesting to post as recent day trips have come up pretty dry. I mean, do you really want to see a pond full of water hyacinth and trees without any pretty leaves? The only good snapshot out of the entire day at the Pee Dee was that of the gravel road through the forest.

I took this last year at the North Carolina Zoo when I decided to go on a day trip during one of the coldest days of the winter. My thought was cold meant very few sightseers, not realizing cold meant few animals out on display. So over to the aviary which was inside, full of birds, and heated.

Except that the Chilean flamingo above thrives in this type of cold weather and so stays outside year round. They can survive at heights of over 14,000 feet in the wilds of the Bolivia Altiplano region as part of a group of flamingos, Chilean, Andean and James, known as the volcano flamingos.

In fact, I had no idea that flamingos existed anywhere outside of the hot climates of the Caribbean and Africa until I found this interesting article about the volcano flamingos at Cornell University's All About Birds website.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Drive in the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge


A Sunday drive on a gravel road in the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge about 90 miles south of Greensboro. Here, nearly ten thousand Canada geese overwinter along with various other waterfowl such as mallards, wood ducks, etc., along with the natives - white tailed deer, black bears, bobcats, foxes, and more.

We didn't see any of them. No geese on Beaver Pond, no white tailed deer alongside this gravel road. I did see a cardinal on a dead tree snag, but that was it. I think you have to be in the refuge really early in the morning, probably close to daybreak or stay a little after the sun goes down (the refuge is open an hour before dawn and closes an hour after sunset for those die hard naturalists).

But the trees are full of color this year, more so than the past couple of years. I was surprised as we have been in drought conditions all through the summer and generally that means less color in the leaves. Perhaps our late summer/early fall rains helped to counter that.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stunning Sunday Skies


I went down to Lake Brandt Thursday evening to catch the cold front as it came in from the Midwest. This is the leading edge of the front that brought us cold rain on Friday and then went up the Atlantic seaboard to turn into a nor'easter, one of the earliest ever and dumping large amounts of snow in the Mid-Atlantic states and New England.

No snow here in Greensboro (that would have been a record), but with wind gusts over 30 mph and temperatures in the low 40's, it sure felt like winter and not just a month into fall. Indicators of this winter to come?

I'm doing these sky shots with Anyes over at Far Away in the Sunshine. I know she doesn't have to worry about nor'easters there.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Song Sparrow on the Patio



A short post as the weather is conspiring against my air card and my ability to upload photographs. We're getting that storm that dumped a foot of snow on Denver a few days ago; no snow, but rain and the temperature has dropped from 78F to the mid-40's. Winter is coming.

The feeders are out in the small garden and this song sparrow showed up on the patio to pick through the seeds spilled out of the feeder in the redbud tree. He is a ground feeder and because of his shading, sometimes the only way I know that I have sparrows in the garden is when the leaves start flying in the air as they scratch around. 

This sparrow is the largest of all of our native sparrows and has the largest number of subspecies - 52. I have no idea which subspecies this one is. Perhaps Melospiza melodia melodia  or Melospiza melodia atlantica or even Melospiza melodia euphonia. Who knows?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Butterflies at Airlie Gardens

Monarch Butterfly

A place to visit in Wilmington is Airlie Gardens, one of the sites of the annual Azalea Queen festival in the spring. However by the time I showed up the first week of October, pretty much everything had gone by and the workers were starting to put up Christmas decorations (That drives me crazy! Thanksgiving is first; in fact, Halloween is before both of those holidays).

But the Butterfly House was in full swing with lots of Monarchs and Gulf Fritillaries. It made it quite easy to take snapshots as I wasn't chasing them across poison ivy infested fields.

Gulf Fritillary

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Barn Quilts in Sparta, NC

And a look at the barn quilts that decorate some of the buildings in downtown Sparta -


This is called "Four Cubes and a Star" and it is on the side of the Alleghany Arts and Crafts Gallery. Quite psychedelic, isn't it?


And this is "Hawaiian Breadfruit" on the side of an antiques and pottery store. I'm told by Suzi Parron, who has written a book on barn quilts and has photographed many of these North Carolina barn quilts herself, that the owners of this shop had been to Hawaii for vacation and wanted something to remember their trip by. Hence this particuar pattern.

Sunset Sunday


I had to dig deep in my stash of photos to find a good sunset. The skies this week have been beautiful, but cloudless and I think clouds add so much to a photo, especially a sunset photo.

I took this at Lake Townsend exactly one year ago using the old bridge super-zoom camera, the Panasonic FZ5. Lake Townsend is the largest of our city water reservoirs, but  this year its water levels are down by many feet, leaving a huge swath of mud flats along the shore. However, the drop is not due to our summer drought (with 12 1/2 inches of rain over the past two months, we are finally out of that misery), but due to the city having to repair the dam at the eastern end of the lake and having to lower the lake levels in order to make that possible.

I'm doing this in conjunction with Anyes over at Far Away in the Sunshine. Go and take a look at what she saw.