Snake House

I have a family of snakes living in a weep hole by my front door. Besides the garage door, this little section of wall is the only part of the front of my house facing South that gets sunlight. The other main wall South-facing wall is heavily shaded by trees and my neighbor’s house. These snakes seem to enjoy basking in the sun. They were there yesterday sitting in the garden, all pointing South. This morning they are hanging out of the weep hole just basking. A third, as you’ll see in the second photo, came from the garden across the sidewalk at my porch. One of the snakes hanging from the weep hole went inside before I got the photo taken, but believe me…there are at least 3.

Mom and baby

Mom and baby

snakes 002 (c) eileensaunders

Mom and a 3rd snake on the ground. Baby went inside.

The pest control guy came by yesterday afternoon just as I noticed these snakes. He said he couldn’t do anything about them. He only keeps ants, palmetto bugs, silverfish and spiders from coming into my home. And he does a great job, we were infested with silverfish when we moved in…they’re pretty much gone now.
Back to the snakes…what do I do about them? This is a single family home, not a condo.

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Turtle Nesting on Singer Island

I awoke a few days ago to find that turtles had visited the beach on Singer Island FL to lay some eggs.  These areas had already been posted by turtle volunteers by the time I saw them.  This spotting was just too cool for words.

Tracks going up the dunes.  These were posted/staked in two different areas: one at the top of the track on the dune, there is another post midway.  A third post was there a few days prior.  The diagonal tracks crossing the wider path was from someones pet. What an awesome sight.

Tracks going up the dunes. These were posted/staked in two different areas: one at the top of the track on the dune, there is another post midway. A third post was there a few days prior. The diagonal tracks crossing the wider path was from someones pet. What an awesome sight.

Turtle tracks to nesting area on the dune, left of center.  The dark spot in the center of the beach that looks like 3 triangles together, is a nest that was posted/staked the previous day.  There is another directly straight to the water from the dark spot.

Turtle tracks to nesting area on the dune, left of center. The dark spot in the center of the beach that looks like 3 triangles together, is a nest that was posted/staked the previous day. There is another directly straight to the water from the dark spot.

Azaleas in Bloom

It’s approaching four years that I’ve been living in Fairhope across the Bay from Azalea City…Mobile, AL. I’ve heard from time to time that I should see the azaleas in bloom at the Botanic Gardens so this year I went.

The website claimed “peak” for the azaleas and other flowering plants so the boys and I took the day off from school and went over for a visit. The sky was clear, the air was crisp and in the 60s. Quite a pleasant day.

There is a major plant sale event this weekend and we saw the operation setting up but scooted past in search of the “peak” azaleas.
Although there were plenty of flowers, I was wondering if we had been a bit early for some varieties or a bit late. The first group of azaleas had a ton of buds on them. Passing those, we spotted a large walkway lined with blooms, followed by plants that were obviously past peak with dried out, brown flowers stuck to the leaves. I guess we missed peak.

But there’s a silver lining…I got to see the azaleas at the Mobile Botanic Garden.

The boys and I walked throughout the whole garden, visiting the camellias and the fern garden as well. We spotted birds, and bees. We saw two metal sculptures and had a great time discussing the environment around us. We had a good time.

bug sculpture 1

bug sculpture 1

Bug sculpture 2

Bug sculpture 2

Camellia

Camellia

Fern Garden

Fern Garden

After we left the grounds I spotted white pelicans in the lake across the street. They were in a feeding frenzy in the center of the lake. Poor fish!

Insect art sculpture at the art museum near the Botanic Gardens

Insect art sculpture at the art museum near the Botanic Gardens

I’m glad I got to the Botanic Gardens but have to note that I saw more blooms and brilliant colors and variety in my neighborhood and the ones we drove through in Mobile, on our way home. This area loves its flowering plants and right now the azaleas are in bloom.

Coastal Ideas on Pinterest

I live along the  Gulf Coast and love all things coastal.  So I’ve been collecting things on my Pinterest page that are Coastal Inspirations.

Some people pin an enormous amount of items and I wonder if they’re really pinning for themselves or just randomly what they like that day.  I prefer to pin what I like and what represents what I’d realistically like to have, make, do or visit.  So, my pin board is not a large collection; only about 100 pins but it reflects what inspires me.

I also love Starfish so I have a separate board for everything Sea StarHope it inspires you.

Sunshine, crystals and rainbows

Each year as the sun seems to swing south in the sky, light streams  into the front of my house at an angle which hits the crystals on my dining room lamp and the house lights up with rainbows.

October 8 was the first day the rainbows started in 2012. The light show ended the beginning of March.  I love waking up to see this spectacular sight before I get my morning coffee but I don’t mind it being over.  Now it’s spring time and the sun is swinging north in the sky.  Soon it will be directly over my house, my vegetable garden will begin to thrive and my husband will be cutting the grass weekly.

I’m psyched.

Audubon Zoo

We went on down to the Aubudon Zoo(c) eileensaunders

And they all asked for you.

The monkeys asked(c) eileensaunders

The elephants asked(c) eileensaunders

The alligators asked me, too.(c) eileensaunders

Not the exact song lyrics, but you get the point. You should have gone with us.  The weather was great (warmish and sunny) and the crowd was minimal so we could walk and see what we liked without that “herding” feeling you get sometimes just going along with the crowd.

The boys and I went with a group of about 100 homeschoolers from the area so we got a great rate. But even if you have a minimum of 10 in your group you can get in for $3/person. What a great deal!

It’s been years since I had been to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and my children have never been so it was time to go. Did they like it? Yes. How did it rank with other zoos we’ve been to? Well…they loved it. It’s up there at the top.

I think the Audubon Zoo is fantastic. The design was great and the animals were all out and fun to see (I took lots of pix) except for one small display being remodeled. That’s ok.  We saw:

Elephants, Porcupines, Lemurs.

Otters, Wildebeest, Zebra.

Monkeys, Orangutans, Giraffes.

Flamingos, Reptiles, and Cougars.

Lions and Tigers and Bears!

(c) eileensaunders(c) eileensaunders(c) eileensaundersWe also found fat unicorns, and millions of Whistling Ducks living for the season in the Zoo’s lake. The Swamp area was the best and just as I remembered. I loved seeing the white alligators again.(c) eileensaunders

There are other things to do: a children’s playground, Dinosaur Adventure, Carousel, and a splash pad for the summer to beat all.  It’s so big there’s a train you can purchase a pass for to take you around, drop you off and pick you back up for the next stop.

Last time Gary and I were at the Audubon Zoo, the Louisiana Swamp Festival was taking place on the grounds and we had a blast. The most memorable part, only because we still talk about it, was the Moss Man…a cutout of a swamp monster looking thing you can put your face through on one side, covered with Spanish Moss on the other side. Gary stood there and I took a picture. He had chiggers from the moss and was in horrible discomfort for a few days. Lesson to be learned: do not hang out with fresh Spanish Moss. But, we had a good time!

If you’re heading to New Orleans this summer, check out the Audubon Zoo so they can stop asking me about you.

Mobile’s Azaleas

(c) eileen saundersIt’s still a little early for our azaleas, according to Mobile Botanical Gardens website, but they’re starting. I have some around my home that have been blooming for the past month. There are still a ton of blooms to come. Can’t wait to see them at peak.

Mobile, AL has been named Azalea City and has been well know for these plants since the mid-1700 when they were reportedly brought over from France.  Those several plants inspired many more plantings around the city and now Mobile is in gorgeous bloom of color in March (sometimes earlier, sometimes later depending on weather).  Mobile has established an Azalea Trail which you can read about here.  Azalea Trail Maids act as ambassadors for the city and attend a wide variety of events in the area. 

Azaleas can be viewed at Bellingrath Gardens, Mobile Botanical Gardens and just by driving around town.  Check out the gardens’ websites for their schedule.  While I’ve been to both the Mobile Botanic Gardens and Bellingrath I have never seen the azaleas in all of their glory. This year I plan to get there in time.  Who wants to go with me?