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Steer in the University of Georgia fields

Steer in the University of Georgia fields

Every day since Friday we have driven by the University of Georgia fields.  Interested car passengers can admire horses, sheep, pigs and cows.  My in-laws often point out a giant steer lumbering slowly along the right side of the road, back behind one of the barns.  “There’s Tex!”  they say.

Today someone suggested I might photograph the steer with his curving long horns.  Perhaps it was even I who mumbled something like, “Do you think we should have a photo of old Tex?”  Disclaimer:  Tex is not his real name.  My mother-in-law says his real name is a “sissy” name like Sugar or Honey or something. 

However it happened, I found myself out of the car and headed back behind the barn toward the fence.  Having completely pushed yesterday’s memories of the cow adventure out of my mind.  You think I would have learned.  STAY AWAY FROM COWS.   You might get soaking wet (it never stops raining down here) or shunned by the giant beasts or heaven knows what.

Today I leaned forward and snapped the rather long-distance shot of Tex and smugly headed back to the car.  Until…oowwww!!  Pain in the sandal.  I pulled off the sandal, fast and discovered…two very angry red ants.  Biting my tender northern skin.  Alas.  No more photographing cows.

State Botanical Gardens

State Botanical Gardens

Instead let’s go to the more tame state Botanical Gardens.  Marion and Jim dropped me off with instructions to phone them on the cell when either a) I was done touring the grounds or b) it started raining yet again.

Bronze statues part of a display called "Recess"

Bronze statues part of a display called "Recess"

This is not the first time I’ve stood before this collection of statues.  My mother-in-law just informed me it’s called “Recess”. She remembers that because she was an elementary teacher.  The following photo is dedicated to her (and to all of you readers who are teachers.)

Teacher

Teacher

On to the gardens.  You can choose several different areas to explore. There are the following gardens:  International, Native Flora, Flower, Shade and Heritage garden.  Plus special collections. 

I kept a wary eye trained at the horizon and monitored the sprinkles.  You have no idea how much it’s rained down here in the past week.  People are getting flooded out in northern suburbs of Atlanta.  After years of drought, the heavens have opened up and rain continues to pour.  Wonder if anyone has thought of building an ark… 

But, pardon this mental rambling.  I’m wandering in thought beyond the flower and plant photos.  Now you shall view a handful.  And since there are so many, you’ll see more tomorrow.  PLUS a photograph of something I’ve been stalking all summer.  Stay tuned for that find tomorrow!

Oh, pretty!

Oh, pretty!

Splash of red/orange flower

Splash of red/orange flower

"Flying Dragon" Hardy Orange

"Flying Dragon" Hardy Orange

P.S.  I called my father-in-law to drive the five minutes over to the botanical gardens and pick me up.  We got home and guess what?  Pouring rain!  Splashing drenching earth-soaking pouring rain!  Guess that’s no surprise to any of us…

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Stuffed 'coon behind glass window in park ranger office

Stuffed 'coon behind glass window in park ranger office

My favorite brother-in-law Craig (my only brother-in-law…but I’m sure he would be my favorite one, anyway) took me on today’s outdoor adventure.  We started out in the rain in his pickup truck, headed for Watson Mill Bridge State Park.  He even stopped at Jittery Joe’s Coffee Shop so I could buy a latte for the road.  He’s a good brother-in-law.

This particular state park contains the largest original-site covered bridge in the state, spanning 229 feet across the South Fork River.  Built in 1885, the bridge is supported by a town lattice truce system held firmly together with wooden pins. (Who can tell I’m typing word-for-word from the brochure?)  At one time, Georgia had more than 200 covered bridges; today, less than 20 remain.

We ambled through the covered bridge, siding up along the edges when cars crept through next to us.  We remembered what the park ranger said to us.  “Look up in the rafters,” he said, “if you want to see plenty of bats.”  Then he paused.  Looked us straight in the eye and added, “A Boy Scout troop went through earlier this week.  Guess what was up in the rafters with the bats?  A pine snake, having lunch.”

“Oh, neat!” I said enthusiastically.  Craig raised an eyebrow.

Unfortunately, we didn’t see either the bats or the snake.  But we did admire the covered bridge.

Craig and covered bridge

Craig and covered bridge

Craig urged me to photograph the dam, next to the bridge.  I walked carefully and slowly atop a high stone wall to capture the following image.  Tried not to imagine falling in.

Dam and waterfall

Dam and waterfall

Chatting away, we drove on down the road.  I mentioned casually a passing desire to photograph cows.  Craig, apparently, decided I was serious and parked the car in front of a field of black and white cows lying down, looking relaxed and comfortable in the drizzling rain.

I sighed and hurried through wet whipping hip-high grasses toward the fence to capture the snoozing cows. 

Yeah, right!

Cows running away...

Cows running away...

They moved a short distance away and turned to observe the soaking photographer with briar cuts on her legs.  It almost looks like they were judging the situation quite intelligently, doesn’t it?  Thinking the photographer probably should have stayed safe and dry in her truck.  Yep.

Cows turn to stare at a safe distance

Cows turn to stare at a safe distance

Once at home, we all enjoyed a cook-out.  Craig and my father-in-law manned the grill, cooking shish-ka-bobs and shrimp.  (All outdoor activities have been accomplished in between raindrops during the last few days.  We’ve had about five inches since my arrival on Friday, with more expected tonight and tomorrow.)

Father-in-law, Jim, and Craig

Father-in-law, Jim, and Craig

After dinner I walked down to the creek, admiring a few moments of sunlight.  Even though it was still sprinkling.  All the creeks are running red and fierce after so much rain.

Sunlight on creek

Sunlight on creek

Walking home, I saw the most lovely red flower.  It’s a mystery what kind it might be.  However, I loved this nameless flower instantly.  Don’t you, as well?

Mystery red flower

Mystery red flower

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