Saturday, December 21, 2013

Red Shouldered Hawk, Yadkin County, North Carolina

What do you do when you don't want to go Christmas shopping or get on any interstate highway full of crazed holiday travelers? You go wander the backroads of the North Carolina foothills even though the skies are overcast, the trees leafless and the vegetation brown. Nothing much to see, but at least you are out and about.

I saw this red-shouldered hawk on US Highway 21 just outside of Mocksville on an utility line. He posed for pictures until he decided he was tired of the whole deal and took off.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Barn Quilt, Hamptonville, North Carolina

This barn quilt probably has a name, but I can't find it on the Yadkin County barn quilt brochure. And yet it is one of the quilts featured prominently on their printed brochure.

I had parked the car on the shoulder of the road, emergency blinkers on, and walked down the road to get a good shot. An elderly lady, probably on her way back from church, stopped and asked if I needed any help. I showed her my camera and waved while saying I was fine and just taking photos. But how nice in this day and age of cell phones that someone would take the time to make sure that I was OK.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Stars in Flight Barn Quilt, Hamptonville, North Carolina

A new quilt trail to explore just 50 miles from Greensboro in Yadkin County which is where I went today, the first sunny weekend day in (it seemed) forever. The Yadkin Arts Council put out a brochure earlier this year showing 25 barn quilts, but the project has proved to be so popular that a Facebook page has been set up to highlight the new ones that didn't make it on to the brochure.

Here is their page for those who might be interested in seeing new quilts: Yadkin Quilt Trail.

And a great example of ingenuity at work - if you don't have a barn for your quilt, then use the next best thing - an abandoned tobacco shed! This particular pattern is called Stars in Flight.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chapel of Rest, Happy Valley, North Carolina

Generally when I go out on a day trip and find an interesting church to photograph, I can only take pictures of the outside. Most churches are locked up tight except for Sunday services due to vandalization. In fact, several rural churches near me have been set on fire in the past few months with one actually burning to the ground.

This is the Chapel of Rest up in the mountains between Wilkesboro and Lenoir. Built as an Episcopal chapel in the 1880's, it was deconsecrated in the 1970's and turned over to a local historical society. They fully restored the church and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 as an example of a 19th century Gothic Revival architecture.

It is open daily to visitors and can be rented out for weddings and family reunions. Twice a year, concerts are held in the sanctuary as it is acoustically perfect for music.

As I looked at the wooden pews, all I could think of was my aching back. And the parishioners sat on them for hours on end on Sundays.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Whippoorwill Academy, Wilkes County, North Carolina

And sometimes you find barn quilts where you don't expect them.

This is located on the side of a small gift shop up in Wilkes County - the same county where I photographed that sad falling-down barn with the neglected barn quilt.

This shop is part of a collection of buildings that were brought together on one site to show how people lived during the 1800's. It includes a replica of the cabin that Daniel Boone lived in while he lived in Wilkes County, the jail that once held Tom Dula (he of the Kingston Trio's song, Tom Dooley), and a log church among others.

The buildings weren't open when I found the site, but it was interesting to walk around them and see how simply people lived back then. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April in North Carolina

Let's see. Today is April 4th and (according to our temperature generally would be around 65F. However, it never got above 47F and currently it is 36F and raining with some sleet mixed in. In April! In North Carolina!

Last year at this time, we already had had 20 days of 60F weather in March alone. This year, just two days in March above 60 degrees. Some of the weather forecasters are calling this month Apriluary due to the cold and wet.

I'm sure this American Robin is very, very sorry he came up from Central America instead of staying put.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Carolina Lily Barn Quilt, Wilkes County, North Carolina

And here is what happens when people who start a barn quilt trail lose interest in that barn quilt trail. Quite a contrast from the last barn quilt I posted here which is 90 miles southeast from Wilkes County down in Randolph County.

I found my first barn quilts back in 2010 in Alexander County, North Carolina. Those quilts were different from most as they were actually huge photos of handsewn quilts. You could see everything right down to the stitches in the fabric. Wilkes County nearby followed suit with 12 barn quilts; one was handpainted and the other 11 were large photos of actual quilt squares rather than the entire quilt.

Two weekends ago I set off for Wilkes County with the addresses of the barn quilts. Of the 12, I could only find two with this one far enough off the beat track to pull the car over to take a snapshot.

Sad to see this in such a ruinous state.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Basket of Lilies Barn Quilt, Randolph County, North Carolina

Another barn quilt in the southern part of Randolph County here in North Carolina. This is called Basket of Lilies. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Turkey Tracks Barn Quilt, Randolph County, North Carolina

You don't have to drive to the mountains of North Carolina to view barn quilts. Randolph County which is just to the south of Guilford County where I live has 29 barn quilts located all over the county.

While not as large as the ones up in the mountains of western North Carolina, they are just as fun to locate and take pictures of them in their various settings. This one is down a long gravel country road near Denton. It is the Turkey Tracks pattern and is on the feed barn of Long Valley Farms which raises Longhorn cattle.

Who knew? Texas Longhorns in North Carolina and I didn't get a snapshot because I was looking for the barn quilt instead.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Eastern Bluebirds

I never get Eastern Bluebirds at the feeders during the summer, but they do show up regularly at the feeders during the winter when the supplies of berries become low.

And I guess this is a fairly rare moment to have two males feeding together without any aggression towards the other. The Cornell University's website, All About Birds, says "The Males vying over territories chase each other at high speed, sometimes grappling with their feet, pulling at feathers with their beaks, and hitting with their wings." Pugnacious is another term that the website uses for the males' behavior. Guess I caught them during a quiet interval.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pine Siskin

I'm not getting as many birds to the various feeders in the small garden this winter as I have in the past. Perhaps it is the fact that the winter so far has not been particularly cold, the nearby crepe myrtles and hollies are full of berries and much more appealing than my feeders and that my patio has become sort of a way station for the neighborhood cats (which causes me to run out the sliding class door, hissing at them as they scramble over the back fence). Whatever the reason, it is somewhat discouraging to look at the feeders bereft of the birds I've had in the past.

But recently I've had groups of this little bird show up at the thistle feeder - a bird I haven't ever had come to the small garden in the 10 winters I've lived here.

This is a Pine Siskin, a small finch from who lives in the very far northern forests of Canada during the summer breeding season. Not a regular visitor to the Southeast US, every few years there is what biologists call an irruption which brings large groups south. From what I can gather, irruptions are brought about by the state of pine cone crops, not by natural migration patterns. But in my small garden, it is the thistle feeder which attracts them since there are no pine trees any where nearby.