Thursday, July 31, 2008

Butterfly & Lantana

I wasn't quick enough to get him with wings spread. But I thought this was pretty anyway.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kress Five and Dime

This is the old Kress Five and Dime store in downtown Tuscaloosa. It's been Spiller Furniture for years, but the sign at the top of the building is a permanent reminder of its original owner.
S. H. Kress & Co. had stores all over the U. S. from the late 1800's till the 1980's. I'm not sure when ours was built, but it is not nearly as elaborate or fancy as most of the pictures I've seen in other towns. Did your town have a Kress? Is the building still there?

(edited to correct punctuation error)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rotten Cat

I promise not to make this into a pet pic blog. But, just indulge me this one today.
Here's my rotten cat, Molly. The throw she has made into a cat bed is really nice, silky, easily picked by cat claws and was a gift from a friend. I usually keep it put away, except when we have company. On this day, I forgot to put it back up when our company left. I turned my back for one second, and guess who found it? It's draped over the back of the couch so when she gets on it, she sinks down a bit between the cushion and the back piece. She loves it...rotten cat. :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunset Stripes

Summer sunset sky as seen from a marina on Holt Lake-Black Warrior River.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Little Blue Egg

On one of our walks this week, my niece and I found this little blue egg. The picture doesn't do the color justice. It was about 6-8 feet from a bluebird house and was just lying in the grass. So I'm assuming it's a bluebird egg. It was a little larger than a dime. It wasn't cracked or broken at all. I wonder how it got out of the nest and into the grass without any damage?

Friday, July 25, 2008


Muscadines are a variety of wild grape that grows in the south. The woods are FULL of their vines climbing trees, bushes and running along the ground. They're beautiful. These muscadines are not ripe. When they ripen, usually in August or September, they'll be dark purple and nearly black. I was an adult before I knew they weren't "muskidimes." We still say it that way, even though we know better. :) If you're lucky, they grow close enough to the ground to reach. But usually, they're WAY up the vine. So, one person shakes the vine, while the rest of us watch the ground. Muscadines are so delicious, it's hard to wait till you get to the house to wash and eat them. You just rub them off a little, bite till it breaks open, and suck out the sweet juicy pulp! Then, spit out the seeds and throw the hull away.
Those who can resist the urge to eat them all while gathering, can make muscadine wine, jelly or jam.
I hope to get pictures of these when they ripen. I'll have to be quick because someone will be shaking the vine!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summer Collage

Here are a few flowers and fruit from mom's yard here in Tuscaloosa and my mother-in-law's yard in Georgia, summer 2008.
The bottom left hand corner is a picture of muscadines, or wild grapes, growing in the woods. More on muscadines tomorrow.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Groceries to Pizza

This building downtown now houses a pizza chain called Mellow Mushroom.
Originally it was Maxwell Brothers and I believe it was a Grocery or General Store.
The old sign painted on the brick is nearly worn away, but if you click to enlarge, you can almost read it. Inside, it has the original old plank flooring and brick walls both upstairs & down.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rooster Warning

Do not adjust your set. Again, bad photography on display. But, this rooster was so funny standing on a warning sign, I just had to get a picture...even though the car was moving. At least I wasn't driving. Pretend it's clear and sharp, or just enjoy the impressionist look!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hee Haw

These Jerusalem donkeys are kept in the herd with the cows. They are the security patrol.
They will run off dogs or coyotes that come into the pasture. They also came quickly to greet us. I was scared, but it turns out they just wanted to be petted. I couldn't think to take a picture till I was OUTSIDE the fence. Too bad they were in the shade. But, aren't they cute!? (from a distance)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Old Dairy Barn

This old dairy barn was built by my Grandfather over sixty years ago.
He milked the cows and sold the milk to Perry Creamery in Tuscaloosa.

Click to enlarge the second pic and you might be able to see some cows underneath.
They are black and it's nearly 100 degrees, so shade is important. Unfortunately, it's probably also dangerous, since this barn is barely standing.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Moo Y'all

These smart cows found a shady spot. They belong to my cousin and live in the pasture that was my grandfather's. Tomorrow, I'll show you the old dairy barn.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Black Warrior River - Holt Lake

This is another shot from Holt Lake on the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa. The interesting rocks to build the dams were hewn out of the side of the hills. Behind that treeline somewhere there is an entrance to an old railroad tunnel right through the mountain. Before the lake was built, a railroad ran along the river from the coal mines to steel factories. There was also apparently a passenger line. My grandmother used to tell about riding the horse and wagon to Kellerman to catch the train to ride to Tuscaloosa.

Inside a slough at Deerlick Creek Park on the Holt Lake. We think that diagonal line may have been made by a huge saw blade of some sort when they were building the dam.

I wonder what made these interesting holes. They're pretty creepy.

(Sorry about the blur. Do not adjust your set. That's not your vision failing, that's just amateur photography.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Black Warrior River

One of the best features in Tuscaloosa is all the WATER.
Tuscaloosa county encompasses over 1300 square miles making it one of the largest counties in Alabama. Twenty seven square miles are covered in water. Tuscaloosa was originally spelled Tuskaloosa and the city and county were named for a Choctaw chief. Tuskaloosa means Black Warrior. This is the Black Warrior River at Holt Lake/Holt Dam & Reservoir. It is a great place to fish, boat and waterski. This was the view late yesterday afternoon.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Old L & N Train Station

This is the Old L & N Train Station in downtown Tuscaloosa. Specifically, on Greensboro Ave. down 'river hill'. Since the trains stopped running here, the building has housed several restaurants and bars. It's been remodeled and is now a catering company and available for rental for large gatherings. I attended a meeting there this year. The interior is gorgeous. I hope to get pictures of it someday.

The first picture is the original front entrance. Click to enlarge so you can see the beautiful details over the doors and in the brick. The second and third pics are from the side of the building that fronts Greensboro. Those are little dog-eared panes of glass around the awning.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Temerson Square

This is a group of storefronts in a renovated building called Temerson Square. The only history I know is that there used to be a Tanner Brothers Produce in these buildings. They back up to the Black Warrior River. Temerson Square is now home to several bars and other eateries. My friend and I went to the farmer's market early yesterday morning down River Hill. Unfortunately it didn't open till afternoon! So, we ended up here.
We ate at the German bakery Edelweiss (click to enlarge, 2nd shop). We ate on this terrace and enjoyed the pastries, coffee, and the relatively quiet morning.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Paul W. Bryant Museum

This is the Paul W. Bryant Museum on the campus of the University of Alabama. It's nearly like a church to some of the football faithful. If football is religion, and "Roll Tide" is the prayer, then the late Coach "Bear" Bryant is the messiah. I know, I'm in peril of sacrilege and blasphemy here. But it's the honest truth. People still get misty eyed just talking about him. Click to enlarge so you can see the sign and his picture. He is a legend and an icon here and his image is heavily trademark protected.
...heavy sigh...I need to go to the museum now...sniff

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Little Boys of Summer

Baseball season is over, but Sewell Thomas field isn't entirely abandoned. This is the baseball stadium at the University of Alabama. The litter on the field looks like cow patties, but upon closer inspection, is a group of little baseball gloves. This week is baseball camp for little boys with big ambitions.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Bank Building

This is Tuscaloosa's other skyscraper and a downtown landmark, known by several names, but usually, "the bank building". It's at the corner of Greensboro Ave. and University Blvd. It was built in 1925 as Merchants Bank and Trust. After the stock market crash, it became First National Bank of Tuscaloosa, years later AmSouth, and now RBC Centura. Back then, having the tallest building was a status symbol. So, this replaced the Alston building as the tallest.

It's upper floors have housed lawyers, dentists, accountants, the credit bureau, and other tennants. A sadly misdirected renovation in 1971 replaced beautiful arches on the first floor with "more modern" rectangular windows. It also had a large marquee type clock on top that rotated scrolling out the time, temperature, and usually an ad for the bank. The current owners took the clock down recently. Seems it was too much trouble to keep lit!

The most interesting feature of this building is the terra cotta cornice work at the top. I read that those scalloped pieces are about 5 feet tall. If you CLICK TO ENLARGE, the little squares and parts of the scallops are aqua colored. Beautiful!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Foster Auditorium

This is Foster Auditorium on the campus of the University of Alabama, built in 1939 and named for Richard Clarke Foster, UA President from 1937-1941. It was the scene of the "stand in the schoolhouse door" by Governor George Wallace during the Civil Rights Era, forty-five years ago, June 11, 1943. Not one of our prouder moments in history, but worthy of note, nonetheless. In his later years, George Wallace repented of his segregationist ways and asked people to forgive him.

Over the years it has been a venue for basketball, women's sports, graduations, registration, lectures and concerts. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 2005.
It is in bad repair and is currently unusable by the university. I believe money is being raised to renovate and preserve it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I took these pictures earlier this season. I was reminded to use them when I started sneezing yesterday. The field behind my house was being cut and baled. I love round haybales and the fact that even in the middle of several new neighborhoods, stores, and schools, you can still find a hayfield.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Independence Day

I hope everyone had a Happy Independence Day and is sufficiently stuffed with grilled whatever and homemade ice cream or watermelon. We had an exciting fireworks display in my sister's backyard. There was the one my brother in law lit on top of a glass vase, which of course fell into said vase and proceeded to explode it into several shards, then almost caught the garbage can on fire when he went to dispose of it. At which point, my sister took over the lighting of the fireworks, and immediately lit one facing the wrong way, which chased us all across the yard and exploded an inch from the patio. Next year, I think we'll just sit out in lawn chairs and watch the neighbors' fireworks. Sounds safer!

Here's my niece's kind of fireworks. The one that didn't 'boom', just sizzled, and could be enjoyed safely from inside the house. Bless her heart, she's just almost three and the smartest one of the whole bunch!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Anniversary Roses

Happy Anniversary to my parents this week. They've been married 48 years. My sweet Daddy brought a dozen roses for the occasion.

Tornado Siren

This is just one of several civil defense emergency sirens posted around the county. We call them 'tornado sirens' because that's when we hear them. The emergency response folks test these every first Wednesday of the month at noon. Yesterday was test day. I was in a funeral procession and thought my car was tearing up! Until I lowered the window and realized it was our friendly siren test. We're glad to have these. Tuscaloosa has weathered many tornadoes. We take any warning very seriously. Does your town have an emergency warning system?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Water Tower

Here's one of our water towers. Note that "Roll Tide" is more important than the name of the city! "Roll Tide" is the rally crying and cheer for the University of Alabama, located in Tuscaloosa. The football team was once referred to as the "Crimson Tide." That name stuck and now describes all things UA. Football in Alabama is akin to religion, and Roll Tide is the prayer.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


This hydrangea is in our yard and was bright pink when this picture was taken in May. This shot doesn't do the color justice. Hydrangea is a favorite in southern yards. There's also a wild variety that dots the woods with huge oak like leaves and white blossoms.
The color of hydrangea is determined by the acidity of the soil.
This one was given to us in a pot for my father-in-law's funeral. It was blue then.
I thought it was appropriate that it was blue for him, but came out pink just in time for Mother's Day.