Sunday, August 31, 2008

Evacuating for Gustav

Bumper to bumper in both northbound lanes of I-59.

I-59 at the 359 junction Tuscaloosa, Alabama. These folks are from points south, probably the Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coasts. They're traveling to and through Tuscaloosa headed north, away from Hurricane Gustav. I wonder if they know where they're going to spend the night. Do they have relatives, or reservations? Or are they just going from exit to exit, town to town, looking for a place to wait. I wish I owned a hotel. They could all stay free.
Edited to add for anyone who may need to know:
There's a Red Cross Shelter at Shelton State Community College- take the 359 Moundville exit and go south on Hwy 69 - you can't miss it.
There's also a Red Cross Shelter at Belk Activity Center - take exit onto Skyland Blvd, I hope there are signs!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

After Tropical Storm Fay passed through, my husband caught this beautiful cloudy sunset.
Click Here for more Sky Watch Friday photos.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rain Gauge

Tropical Depression Fay has gifted us with rain for four days now. Slow, steady drizzle with intermittent showers.
We're so grateful! Tuscaloosa has been in severe drought for a couple of years. This is my rain gauge in the backyard. It's registering at about 7 1/4 inches. Subtract about an inch to account for the rain already in the tube before Saturday. So, Fay has bestowed over six inches of rainfall.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Brown's Department Store

This was originally Brown's Department Store in downtown Tuscaloosa.
It closed in the 60s or 70s and was a boarded up haven for pigeons for years. Then several years ago, it was refurbished and opened as a "brew pub" that made it's own beer. The restoration was nice, but the pub didn't last long. It's been a couple of restaurants since then, but is now empty again. I think the owners rent it out for private functions. I can't imagine why it doesn't work, being on THE main intersection downtown. Maybe they should try it as a department store again!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

Sunset over the bay at Gulf Shores, Alabama. Gulf Shores is our favorite vacation spot.
We love that the sugar white sands of the Gulf of Mexico are just a few hours away.
Check out other beautiful skies at SKYWATCH Friday.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kudzu Ravine

I posted about kudzu here a few weeks ago. This is a ravine off the side of a country road. The kudzu has all the vegetation completely covered and makes the ravine look shallow. But I bet if you walked off in there, it's deeper than it looks.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Quad

This is a small part of the Quadrangle "the quad" at the University of Alabama, as seen from across the street. Note how deserted it looks, as this picture was taken a few weeks ago. Students are returning for the fall semester this week. Which means campus, town, and local restaurants will be a lot more crowded soon. Check out the cleverly placed port-a-potty hiding behind a tree. Not sure why it was there on this particular day. But there will be lots of them on campus once football season and tailgating starts.

Friday, August 15, 2008

SkyWatch Friday

My First SkyWatch Friday
This is my husband's attempt to capture the storm clouds gathering over our neighborhood.
The completely black part is the backyard fence.
Photographers we are not.
For really great SkyWatch photos by much better photographers, visit
Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pound Puppy

This smiling beagle, C. C., came to our family a couple of summers ago, by way of the local animal shelter. She's as sweet as she looks. Note the winning smile! Very photogenic. :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hey! Wait for Me

This is my niece, who just turned three, leaving me behind on one of our walks in the woods.
She is VERY independent. "I can do it by myself. I'm a big girl!" is her favorite thing to say.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Railroad Tressel

This is the M & O Railroad bridge that spans the Black Warrior River. The first three pictures are from the Northport side. The last is on the Tuscaloosa side. The tressel was built in the 1800's and is still in use today. Trains creep very slowly across because the entire tressel moves with the weight. There are a couple of beautiful pictures of the span crossing the river at this site.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Across the River, Northport

This lovely old home is in historic downtown Northport, the city across the Black Warrior River from Tuscaloosa. Northport has done an outstanding job of restoring their old downtown buildings. Click to enlarge so you can see the brick sidewalk and details on the house. As you can see, this home is now being occupied by Main Avenue Antiques.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Produce Stand

This produce stand is at the corner of a busy intersection in Cottondale. Note the American flag proudly displayed in front. They had plenty of watermelons, onions, tomatoes, and peaches, though I'm not sure they're homegrown. It looks like they also sell canned items, which is interesting because the local farmer's market had to stop selling homemade items due to health department rules. That has been a source of contention in town all summer, complete with signed petitions. Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tiny hands, tiny harvest

The cherry tomato plants are nearly burned to a crisp, but they're still producing.
The pickins are slim, but sweet. This is my three-year-old niece's harvest.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Powder Rocks

This is a powder rock or paint rock. I'm sure some geologist or rock hound could give me the correct term. It's probably some sort of sandstone form. You break them open and beautiful powder or sand is inside. Most of the time it is red or purple. Sometimes, you'll find orange or even blue. The one at bottom right actually had two colors in the same rock. The outer layer was dark purple, the inner layer was tan.
When we were kids we would mix the powder with water and paint our faces like Indians. (Back then we didn't know to say "Native Americans") But woe to us if we got it on our clothes. It didn't wash out very easily, if at all. Now, it is a tradition on my walks with my niece & nephew to pick these up and bring them home. We usually find more after a good rain.
Some folks told us about throwing them into a campfire. Apparently they EXPLODE! So, they called them pop rocks.
Powder, paint or pop...they're free fun in the great outdoors.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Old Tavern

This building is the Old Tavern and was originally about three blocks up Broad Street (now University Blvd). It was an inn and tavern on the stagecoach road through Tuscaloosa. It was built in 1827. Now it is a museum at Capitol Park and houses the Preservation Society.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bryant Denny Stadium

Tomorrow is Fan Day at Bryant Denny Stadium. Thousands of the Tide Faithful will descend upon Tuscaloosa to watch the Crimson Tide football team practice. Yes, that's right, practice. Then the players and coaches will hang around and sign autographs and have pictures made. We've never been, but I'm sure it's fun. Roll Tide!

This is just part of the entrance to the football stadium at the University of Alabama. I was driving, so forgive me. And that truck was in the way, drat. I'll get better pictures posted soon. It is really enormous and beautiful, complete with idols statues of former coaches, including Paul "Bear" Bryant. (moment of silence)
Click the photo gallery link here, for beautiful pictures I'd never be able to get!

Hot Pepper Jelly

Hot Pepper Jelly

Yes, you read that correctly. We even add ridiculous amounts of sugar to hot peppers.

Hot Pepper Jelly is really delicious with other veggies, especially peas or beans. It warms them up and gives them a little kick! It's also great poured over cream cheese and served with wheat crackers.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fig Strawberry Preserves

Fig on fig tree, gathered into basket, mashed with sugar added and cooked down, added strawberry jello (yes, that's even more sugar), and poured into pretty jars.
Here in the Deep South, we cook and add enough sugar to fruit to completely extract any nutritional benefit. We call it making preserves. Delicious!
Health conscious people, close your eyes.