Art, Comment, Digital Image, Everyday, Gulf of Mexico, Landscape, Nature, ocean, Photojournalism, Seasons, Travel, Weather

Winter on the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico beach near Fort Morgan, Alabama.

Fort Morgan, Alabama – Mid-day, the end of January. It’s cold, but calm. People come down to the beach for their morning walks, to collect seashells or driftwood, perhaps. Two men at the far right, near the horizon, were fishing from beach chairs while a Great Blue Heron closely monitored their activity.

Standard
Comment, Digital Image, Everyday, Humor, Nightmares, photography, Short Story, Weather, Writing

Neighborhood

Dark, foggy night in an apartment complex.Thick fog muffled outdoor sounds in the late night. No one heard the wrecker pull in and park behind the Mercedes sedan. The operator worked quickly, quietly. He jacked up the car, removed the mag alloy wheels, set the car down on cement blocks, and silently drove away.

The following day, a neighbor came home for lunch; saw the expensive, violated car sitting on blocks, knocked on his neighbors door and wondered whether anyone noticed the theft of their neighbors wheels. “What kind of neighborhood are we living in that something like this could happen?” It was near noon. He knocked on the owner’s door. She was shocked, but not entirely surprised to see her car sitting as it was.

Several months earlier, she financed the expensive wheels and tires, but failed to make payments. After many unsuccessful attempts to collect, the finance company repossessed their property.

The car owner shrugged her shoulders, “I didn’t make my payments, so they came and got ‘em. I’m getting them back, I just have to go down and make a payment.”

Dark nights still bring in thick fog, the atmosphere is still eerily quiet, and there is no vigilante group to keep watch for furtive thieves. The Mercedes owner has her wheels back and all is as it should be in the Deep South neighborhood.

Standard
Art, Comment, Digital Image, Everyday, Journalism, Landscape, Nature, Outdoors, photography, rivers, Travel, Weather, Work, Writing

Abandoned

Photo of derelict boats tied up along the Bon Secour River in southern Alabama, USA.

Abandoned cabin cruiser sits in front of a derelict shrimp boat. Both have been abandoned for several years.

Along the Bon Secour River, which flows into Mobile Bay in southern Alabama, there is a large fleet of deserted shrimp boats. Some are huge, some rather small, but they all have been abandoned. Hurricanes or tropical storms have severly damaged most of them. Speculation is that they are too damaged to repair (repairs will cost more than the boat is worth). Other possible reasons are that the shrimp fishery is too depleted and competition too intense, the boats have paid for themselves and owners are no longer interested in the grueling work of shrimping, but then who knows.

Regardless, The Alabama Abandoned and Derelict Vessel Fund, established June 2018 and managed by the Secretary of the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency, is for payment of the seizure, removal, transportation, preservation, storage, advertisement, appraisal, and disposal of a derelict vessel. Effective June 1, 2018 Act 2018-179 relating to derelict and abandoned vessels, authorizes the removal of a vessel from the waters of Alabama under certain conditions by a law enforcement officer or a private property owner.  Previously, a property owner was responsible for legal fees, and litigation required to remove a derelict vessel from his dock. The costs were prohibitive.

Cracked and peeling paint, mold, and slime shows the typical condition of the abandoned fleet.

Beyond repair, a small, abandoned shrimp boat sits moored to a crumbling dock on the Bon Secour River.

A smaller derelict craft lists to one side, tied to a crumbling dock.

Standard
Comment, Digital Image, Humor, Journalism, Landscape, Nature, Photojournalism, Weather, Writing

Disaster Strikes near Richmond

Photo of a downed utility pole lying on the lawn of farm just west of Richmond, Illinois

Downed utility pole lies on the lawn of farm just west of Richmond, Illinois

Lightening struck and knocked down a utility pole during the late evening hours Tuesday causing widespread power outage to a farm just west of Richmond, Illinois. Richmond is a small town about 70 miles northwest of Chicago.

Both lanes of Illinois route 173 were closed nearly three hours while a utility crew cleared downed power lines. Early morning traffic was backed up nearly an eighth of a mile in either direction. As of 2:30 this afternoon power still has not been restored to the affected farm, although crews are on site working to repair the damage.

As a result of this disastrous electrical outage residents on the farm have been deprived of highly informative radio and TV political advertising campaigns more than 12 hours, just days before the critical mid-term elections. This is not “Fake News,” however, despite the far reaching implications of this natural disaster; the white house thus far has failed to respond.

Residents of the farm have returned to their fields to resume the fall harvest and have been unavailable for comment.

Standard
Art, Blossoms, Comment, Digital Image, Everyday, Flowers, Landscape, Nature, photography, Seasons, trees, Weather, wildflowers

Summer’s Gone

A field of wildflowers gone to seed.

Wildflowers have mostly gone to seed and the brilliant, lush greens of summer have given way to the dusty, drab greens and browns of early autumn. How did this happen so quickly? June was just yesterday – wasn’t it?

Standard
Comment, Everyday, Landscape, Nature, Outdoors, Photojournalism, Town, Travel, Weather

The Montague Flood – 2018

Standing water surrounding an ice cream shop in Montague, Michigan.

Standing water in Montague, Michigan after several days of heavy August rain.

After several days of heavy rain, Twisters Ice Cream shop in Montague is bounded by standing water to the south across the bicycle trail.

Butternut Creek rises with the rain, but quickly drains into the White River, which empties into White Lake. The water level in the Lake is 3 to 4 feet higher than it was two years ago. The beach on Lake Michigan, about 7 miles to the west, is almost non-existent.

Evidence of flooding on Butternut Creek in Montague, Michigan.

Buttermilk Creek in Montague, Michigan. Although the water has receded significantly, it is still much above its normal level.

Standard
Art, Comment, Digital Image, forest, Landscape, Nature, Outdoors, photography, rivers, Seasons, Weather

The White River

A summer view of the White River near Hesperia, Michigan, USA.

A place on the White River near Hesperia, Michigan, just upstream from the M-20 Bridge; it’s an easy place to get in the water and looks as if there would be lots of trout, but I’ve never done very well here. The well-worn path through the woods indicates that more than a few fishermen wade this stream. Maybe they’ve already taken all the trout.

Another side of the story is that it’s a quiet, beautiful place to spend a summer afternoon just being.

Standard
Abstract, Art, Blossoms, drink, Flowers, fruit, Landscape, Nature, Outdoors, photography, Seasons, Travel, Weather, wildflowers

Blossoming Prickly Pear

Despite its incredibly fierce passive/aggressive defense, the Prickly Pear Cactus sprouts a very delicate flower about this time every spring. These are a few growing around the perimeter of the Snow to Sun RV Resort’s leash-free dog park and birding center. Prickly Pear blossoms begin opening in the Rio Grande Valley late March. By the end of June to the middle of July tunas will be ripe for harvest and turned into a delicious wine.

Prickly Pear Cactus blossoms

Prickly Pear blossoms appearing in late March, 2018, in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Prickly Pear blossoms appearing in late March, 2018, in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Prickly Pear blossoms appearing in late March, 2018, in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Prickly Pear blossoms appearing in late March, 2018, in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Prickly Pear blossoms appearing in late March, 2018, in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Prickly Pear blossoms appearing in late March, 2018, in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Prickly Pear blossoms appearing in late March, 2018, in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas.

Standard
Digital Image, Everyday, Landscape, Nature, Outdoors, photography, Travel, Weather

Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach, Alabama the day Hurricane Irma ravaged Florida.

The day Hurricane Irma ravaged Florida, I was at Orange Beach, Alabama – just a couple miles from Florida’s westernmost border in the panhandle. The circular bands of clouds give only the barest hint of the massive scale of the storm. Winds were relatively calm in Alabama and nary a drop of rain fell all day.

 

Standard