Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

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Birds On A Beach

February 2, 2019

Endless birds,
adorn the beach,
oblivious to passers-by.

I venture close,
’bout to reach,
they explode upon the sky.

In a flash,
the scene is set,
as Plovers obscure my view.

It was a glimpse,
I’ll not forget,
this dimming of daylight’s hew.

‘Twas my choice,
that morn to make,
as I walked along the shore.

Pass them by,
and make no wake,
or enjoy them all the more.

Picked the one,
that made me smile,
by my sending birds to flight.

Ask of them,
forgive my guile,”
requesting this glorious sight.

Up to us,
just what we see,
as we trek about this place.

Give a nudge,
to what will be,
and see this world with its grace.


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The Bird Fight!

January 9, 2019
Bird Fight!

We have several bird feeders in the backyard and it is always interesting to see who visits, but sometimes things get as heated as a K-Mart Blue Light Special on Black Friday.  The other morning was just such an occasion.

The Feeder in Question

It started out innocently enough, a bird or two stopping by, taking their fill and flying off to parts unknown.  That is the deal, we put out food, they visit.  We get to enjoy seeing them, they get a full belly.  It works out for everyone.  That is until two birds want the same feeding station!

This is the feeder in question, a Stokes Select Large Hanging Tube Bird Feeder, 6 Feeding Ports, 3.5 lb. Seed Capacity model we recently purchased at Walmart of all places.  Six feeding ports!  One would think that would be plenty to go around.  I mean the birds tha use it weigh maybe about an ounce or two, and the damn thing holds 3.5 pounds of food.  There is more than plenty to go around.  If only the little creatures would have the patience to wait their turn.  And there’s the rub!

So, we hung the feeder, filled it with Wagner’s Deluxe Blend Wild Bird Seed with 20% sunflowers, and a healthy sprinkling of mealworms.  Only the best in our backyard eatery!  As they say in their advertisement “TRUST YOUR BACKYARD BIRDS TO THE EXPERTS AT WAGNER’S!”  We did not have to wait long, within a few minutes several sparrows, finches and chickadees stopped by.  We were all smiles.

Mr. Squirrel

OK, so if you are not a bird enthusiast, you may not know the issue with squirrels.  These backyard bandits can empty a bird feeder in a matter of seconds.  That’s why you have to develop a strategy with feeding.  Put too much on a platform feeder and it just feeds the squirrels, put too little and the birds ignore the offering.  That’s one advantage to the tube feeders, squirrels don’t seem to put in the effort to get the goods.  They try and spill some, for sure but with its large capacity there is plenty for the birds.  This is where the fun began, the next morning I had just finished restocking the cedar feeders, you know the type that look like a little house with glass walls for the hopper and a rim around for the birds to perch while feeding (squirrels make short work of these if you leave the full of seed), and I decided to set up my camera on a tripod and see if I could capture some nice images.

The Gathering Storm

Less than 10-minutes later, boom!  Birds from everywhere arrived at all four of the feeders.  The new tube being of particular interest.  At first, it was just busy and things we looking good to capturing the detail images I was after. Of course, that did not last long!

The Approach!

We have a mental image of small birds and being fast and crafty and they are.  I just never knew they could become so violent so quickly.  You would have thought the sky was falling the ruckus the two pugilists made.

Putting on the Breaks

At first, it just looked like a bird coming in for a landing.  After all, it’s not like all the ports we occupied.  Silly me for thinking logically.  The one bird was minding it’s business then all of the sudden bird two took a line right for it.  Notice the one bird is on the middle level.  It was the first bird approached but not the one in the fight. Things went very quick from this point.  The flying bird made not sound, but the one on the perch realized trouble was on the way and let out a chirpy screech that caused the flying bird to put on the breaks.  It’s almost looked like the bird was flying backwards like a hummingbird but that might just be my perception.

Thinking Twice!

I had my camera in continuous shooting, so I was able to fire off pictures quickly, but even that missed a lot of the action.  These guys are fast – very fast!  The whole episode only lasted maybe a second.

It was on the second approach the action really heated up.  This time with a bird on one of the lower ports.  The amazing thing is, all the other bird not involved, could not have me less interested in the commotion just next to them.  Somehow, they knew it was not going to spill over and become some sort of bird riot at the feeder.

The Attack!

The flying bird took it’s best shot but the bird on the lower perch had the advantage and held its ground.  I think it was more show than an actual strike, but I bet those little talons could so some damage if they really wanted.

Regrouping

The attacking bird figured out it was not going to work and needed to regroup.  So much energy was used up by it in such a brief time there was no way it could attack again.  It was time to thing of the next move.  A stern look from the first bird warned it off trying anything new on that front. 

Pretty much, just that quick the fight, for lack of a better word, was over.  The attacker was repelled, the victors watched the retreat with a sense of satisfaction.  All the other birds still could not be bothered to look up.  It’s as if the little fight never took place.  I guess for them it is all too common an event to give it much notice.

Seeking Higher Ground

Still, the retreating bird had to do something.  It just could not hang out in mid-air.  It was time to move on.  Still, it did not seem the bird was willing to abandon the feeder.

In another instant, the choice was obvious.  Just find a spot and wait it out.  Afterall, there was plenty of food, it’s not like it was going to all be eaten before a port opened up, not to mention the feeder was never really full in the first place.

So, in the end, it was “much ado about nothing,” and the whole event could have been avoided, but then I would not have had the chance at getting some interesting images. 

Why Didn’t I Do This in the Fist Place?
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Red-Tailed Hawk

January 7, 2019
Take 1/7/2019 on St Simons Island, Georiga

I really enjoy the backyard. We have lots of birds but none more intersting than the red-tailed hawks that visit. They are always up to something and unlike the golden eagles, they don’t mess my our chihuahuas.

We have several dead pines back there and the hawks take up a perch and survey the grounds for something to snatch. And they do! These guys even go after snakes.

Hawk with snake

Still, I like seeing them fly or sitting watching what is going on. They seem stately somehow.

On the look out!
Off he goes!

They are just very cool birds to watch. I know the world is worried all about conservation and I am sure on the band-wagon but I have to say we have more birds here today than when I was a kid. Big birds that is, the hawks and eagles.

Each day is a new adventure with them. This is a great place to live!


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Thursday’s Heroes: Nancy Hart

May 3, 2012

Nancy Hart

Hero is one of the words we come across in life that has gender attached to it, hero for men, and heroine for women. Today, the feminine is somewhat dated and both men and women are referred to as  heroes. While I hold no opinion on this being a good or bad thing, there is no question women are every bit as heroic as men, if not more so. Nancy Hart well illustrates that point.

While Mrs. Hart may not be a household name, her exploits are heroic nonetheless. Born Nancy Morgan around 1735, though the exact time of her birth is lost to history. Some put it as late as 1747; she was raised in North Carolina. Again, this is not exactly known and some reports place her birth in Pennsylvania.

Regardless, by 1770, Nancy was a full-grown woman married to Benjamin Hart of North Carolina. Around that time, Benjamin received a land grant of 500 acres in the Broad River Valley. The Broad River is a tributary of Georgia’s Savannah River. It is located between Athens and Elberton running diagonally, southeast.

This area of Georgia was rife with trouble. The trouble was partially due to the displacement of Native-Americans and partially due to the uncertain boundaries of land grants. As the decade progressed, the growing turmoil between those sympathetic to the Crown and those loyal to the Revolution replaced prior issues, though often a person picked a side in response to an opponent’s joining the other side. This led to the area gaining the nickname of “The Hornet’s Nest” during the revolution, as personal hostility had more to do with the fighting than loyalty to a cause and could flare at a moment’s notice.

Before the Revolution, Nancy was well known in the area as a fierce defender of her family and friends. It is said her demeanor matched her stature. Legend has it, she was just over six-feet tall and blest with the strength and agility of a frontiersman. It is a good thing too, as Nancy herself, said she had no share in beauty. At the time of the Hart family’s arrival in Georgia, the first to discover her ferocity were the displaced Native-Americans in the area. As they attempted to reestablish their claim to the land and after several such encounters, the local tribe had a name for Nancy, “Wahatche” which loosely translates to “war-woman.” They so respected her that is also, what they called the creek that ran beside her home, “Wahatche Creek”

Elijah Clarke

During the Revolution, Benjamin served in the Georgia Militia under Elijah Clarke. This left Nancy to fend alone for herself and her six sons and two daughters. At that time, the area was part of Wilkes County and Wilkes County has just about as many Whigs as Tories. [Whigs were the Patriots and Tories the Loyalists] Nancy, being true to her nature, was an outspoken support of the Patriot cause and that brought unwanted attention to her door. So much so that one night one of her children secretly informed her someone was peeping through a crack or knothole as Nancy made soap. Nancy ladled up nice hot lye from her kettle and flung it through the opening, much to the agony of her spy. It is said she made sport of the poor wretch for a day before she bound him and marched him, even crossing a river to the camp of the local Militia.

On another occasion, Aunt Nancy (all the Whip soldiers called her that) met a Tory soldier walking along a footpath. She engaged him with small talk and diverted his attention, then seized his weapon and force-marched him to a nearby camp. It is said about 100 Tories took the same afternoon stroll with Nancy before the war was over.

During the way, Nancy acted as a spy, captured Tory soldiers, and even defended a stockade from the Tories with cannon pretty much by herself. Still, all this pales when compared to the exploits she is most famous for.

One evening a detachment of five men arrived at the Hart home. They had been out forcing local inhabitants to swear allegiance to the King.  History supports  the men to be part of the same regiment that murdered Col. John Dooley, the hero at the Battle of Kettle Creek, at his home, in front of his wife and children. They specifically wished to question Nancy about a rumor she aided a young man elude his Tory pursuers. Rather than deny it, Nancy entertained the men with the story of her exploits and her assistance in helping her “Liberty Boy” flee. Knowing her reputation, the men simply ordered her to fix them something to eat.

One of the men killed her last chicken and ordered her to clean and cook it for them. Nancy, of course, was beside herself and exclaimed, “I never feed King’s men if I can help it,” but she really had little choice. Though the accounts are sketchy, it appears the men let slip about the murder of Col. Dooly, who was a close friend of the Hart family. This set Nancy’s mind to thinking and she suddenly changed her tone to one of good humor with the men. Little could they know just what Nancy had in store.

After the men relaxed with her change in mood, Nancy sent one of her daughter’s to the creek to fetch water. Secretly, Nancy instructed her to sound the alarm while there that Tories were in the area. The locals had conch shell horns strategically located along the creek for just an occasion. They also had a series of alarms for various requirements. Nancy regaled the men with her wilderness stories, further relaxing them to the point one of the men pitched in and helped her with dinner. They had expected to find her ill-tempered and combative; her current demeanor was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. Her ability to match them, rude comment for rude comment and jest for jest, made her seem a delight.

Soon, the men broke into one of the wine jugs they brought with them, even inviting Nancy to join them in a drink, to which she replied, “I’ll take one swig with you,” and furthered their good cheer. The men kept drinking, Nancy kept cooking. By the time the bird was ready, the men were basking in the warmth of inebriation.

The Tories had stacked their rifles within easy reach when they first sat down and had paid them no mind since. Nancy asked the men to move her table to the center of the room giving her more space to serve the meal, the men complied, again with no thought to their weapons. It seems inebriation brings stupidity along with its warmth.

Nancy made sure to use up all the water her daughter brought before while cooking the meal and used a generous portion of salt in preparing it, as she served the men, she made sure she moved in and out and between them, thus making her movements seem natural. Soon, the men called for more water and again Nancy’s daughter was dispatched with the piggin (water skin) to the creek, this time with instructions to signal for the local militia, including her father, to come at once to the house.

All the while her daughter was off, Nancy had removed a board between two of the logs that made the cabin’s walls, she then slipped two of the muskets through unnoticed by her guests. She was slipping the third through when her luck ran out.

One of the soldiers noticed her actions and sounded the alarm. All the men sprang to their feet, but Nancy bested them. Maybe it was their drinking; maybe Nancy was just that quick. The reason really does not matter, as Nancy shouldered the musket she held before the men could reach her. She then threatened to kill the first man that stepped towards her. They all knew her reputation and for the moment that was enough to keep them away. Recovering his nerve, one of the men charged her and Nancy shot him dead.

While the men watch their compatriot die, Nancy armed herself with another musket. Soon after that, her daughter returned from her visit to the creek with news, Nancy’s husband and the militia would soon arrive. Nancy instructed her daughter to remove the remaining muskets from the room. The Tories realized time was short and rushed Nancy in a group. Nancy was up to the task and proved to the men just why her prior antagonists called her “War Woman.” She fired the new musket and another Tory fell. Nancy then leaped to the door, her daughter handed her another musket and she order the men to “surrender their ugly Tory carcasses to a Whig woman.” She held the men at bay until her husband and men arrived.

The Whig Militia men wanted to shoot the captive Tories but Nancy declared that was too good for them, as they had just killed Col. Dooly. She demanded they be hung and the militia took the men out and complied with her wishes.

After the war, Nancy and family moved to Brunswick, Georgia but she lost her husband Benjamin within a year or so.  She then relocated to Kentucky with one of her sons. Nancy passed away in 1830 in Henderson County, Kentucky. She is buried in the family cemetery there.

Georgia honors Nancy’s memory in many ways, Hart County being named for her, for instance. It is the only county in Georgia named for a woman, the “War Woman.”

Nancy Hart is a larger than life figure, but she did live. While the details of her exploits are undoubtedly embellished, the truth behind them remains. She was a six-foot tall, fiery, redheaded woman with a face scarred by small pox. What she may have lacked in beauty, she more than made up for in spirit and tenacity that is the stock of what makes up our mythical American spirit. Nancy proves, without a doubt, women are ever much as heroic as men. The fact is damn few men are even close to being as heroic as Nancy.

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