Posts filed under ‘North Carolina’

Bark for Life 2010

Thank you to everyone who supported Henry at Bark for Life! Little Henry raised $167 for the American Cancer Society and in return mailed out five crocheted hats.  I am still struck and touched by the donations of blog readers I have never met in person.  Thanks so much for your continued interest and support in my causes!

With his donations secured, on September 11th Henry (along with Ryan, Jimmie and I) headed to Meyler Farms for the Bark for Life event. 

The event was great fun from beginning to end. Jimmie and Henry were far from the only attendants. A large variety of dogs showed up. They represented different breeds and different talents. Some dogs were good at looking cute. Some dogs were good at jumping through obstacles. One German Shepard was trained to respond only to commands in French. Oh la la!

Bark for Life -Ryan and Henry
Ryan and Henry at Bark for Life

Bark for Life -Perched Hound

Bark for Life -Woman Holds Dog

Bark for Life -Most Relay Handsome Dog - 1

Since this was a day event, instead of the typical Relay for Life candles and bags which thrive at night, colorful pinwheels served as the Luminaria.

Bark for Life - Luminaria

Throughout the day, they had a number of different contests…with prizes.  They had a costume contest, an award for the most Relay-spirited dog, a pet-owner look-a-like contest, a most handsome dog award and a timed obstacle course.

Bark for Life - Trophies
Prizes Waiting to be Claimed

Bark for Life - Costume Contest - Mimi Rogers as Turtle 3
Mimi Dressed as Turtle for the Costume Contest

Bark for Life -Lacey's Haircut
Lacie Showed Her Relay Spirit with a Pink Cancer Ribbon Haircut!

Bark for Life -Obstacle Race  11
Relay Co-Chair Debbie Morrisettes Runs the Obstacle Course with Rocky(?)

Bark for Life -Obstacle Race 7
This Owner Ran the Obstacle Course with Two Dogs at ONCE!

Jimmie’s Old
There was one downside to the event. It reminded me how much poor Jimmie has aged. When we were practicing for the obstacle course race, I came to a jump that was well within Jimmie’s abilities….. when he was young! I forgot all about the stiff and calculated manuevers he uses to get on the couch or how he can no longer get on the bed by himself or the times he tries to jump into the car and falls backwards onto the driveway. Instead I thought of the younger Jimmie, the spry one who could fly over the jump with ease. Without a second thought I hopped over the jump and encouraged Jimmie to do the same.

Bless his valiant heart. He tried. And he did a face plant right in the ground! The poor guy’s nose was covered in dirt.

Bark for Life -Jimmie's Old
Poor Jimmie

But he rebounded. Before long he was happy again and eating some homemade dog treats and sniffing things I wish he wouldn’t. And when it came time for the official timed run— I carried him over that jump. : )

Despite Jimmie’s faceplant, I think it is safe to say, we all had a splendid time. We look forward to next year’s Bark for Life! Till then, more pictures from Bark for Life 2010 can be found on my Flickr site.

October 5, 2010 at 8:45 am 2 comments

Untitled in Humus and Root

Two Saturdays ago, Ryan and I took our recently acquired kayaks out to Elizabeth City’s Sawmill Park. We started our journey going upstream and explored Newbegun Creek.

As the passage narrowed, I came across a tree that had lost its balance in the swampy soil. The tree, of course, was completely fine. Not deterred in the least, it was still covered in leaves. It was the semi circle of uprooted earth that caught my eye. The tree roots braided around each other. Little opportunistic plants were taking advantage of the dry real estate to provide pockets of greenery. Meanwhile eroded soil permitted glimpses of the forest beyond.

I stopped rowing, admired the textures and intricacies and took it all in. The sensation struck me as familiar.

A Woman Takes in a Painting in Paris (Photo by lorda)

Saw Mill Park Kayaking - Vicky Looks at Stump (By Ryan Somma)
I Take In Roots in Newbegun Creek (Photo by Ryan Somma)

It felt very much like being in a gallery and absorbing all the details of a great painting. 🙂

May 11, 2010 at 8:57 am 3 comments

Arbor Day: Arizona and North Carolina

Palo Verde Tree
(Photo by davidanthonyporter)
Happy Arbor Day, Arizona!

Arizona celebrates its Arbor Day the third Friday of March, so Happy Arbor Day Arizona!

The State Tree of Arizona in the Blue Palo Verde (Parkinsonia florida). Palo Verde is Spanish for “green stick”. It is an apt name because the tree’s bark is green! The Palo Verde tree is what’s called “drought deciduous”. In other words, it loses its leaves during dry periods. When it does, photosynthesis is carried out by the bark.

Happy Arbor Day, North Carolina!

North Carolina celebrates its Arbor Day the first Friday after March 15th!

The State Tree of North Carolina is generically listed as “Pine”, but the Long Leaf Pine (Pinus palustris) makes an appearance in the State Toast. All pine trees were instrumental to the North Carolina economy during the state’s early history, providing resin, turpentine and timber for navy and merchant ships.

P.S. North Carolina is also home to three silo trees!

Merchant's Millpond State Park - Curling Longleaf Pine Branch
Longleaf Pine
(Photo by Me)

To find out when your state celebrates Arbor Day, check out Arbor Day Dates Across America at

March 20, 2009 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

links for 2009-03-11

March 11, 2009 at 2:31 pm 3 comments

Camden County Jeep Trail, Dead Things and the Mystery Mail Truck

In January, Ryan Somma and I took the dogs on a stroll down the Camden County Jeep Trail. At least, it’s what we think is the Camden County Jeep Trail. It wasn’t labeled.

When we got out of the car, we were promptly greeted by the corpse of a gutted boar. But, I have long learned not to judge a hike by the dead things at the trailhead. Off the top of my head, I can recall five great hikes that started with a dead animal (deer skeleton – Kelly’s Knob/Rocky Gap, dead deer – Audie Murphy, dead deer – Falls Ridge, dead turkey – Falls Ridge, dead bear – Wind Rocks)

Like those other hikes, this one proved to be prettier (and less smelly) as you moved away from your car.

The Jeep Trail starts by passing through farm land. Soon a forest and a small ditch/canal run parallel to the trail. Eventually the dirt road ends and there is a small footpath leading into thicker forest. This trail is not blazed, but well beaten and far from ambiguous. It was very easy to follow and takes you all the way to the sandy banks of Pasquotank River.

Camden County Jeep Trail - Farmland From Trail
Farmland at the Beginning

Camden County Jeep Trail - Grass in Moat
Grass Growing in a Ditch

Camden County Jeep Trail - View From Trail
Trees and Canal Next to Road

Camden County Jeep Trail - Reflections From Trail
Reflection in Canal

Camden County Jeep Trail - Jimmie on Private Beach
Jimmie at Pasquotank River

Camden County Jeep Trail - Crab Basket and Shadow
Abandoned Crab Basket on Pasquotank River

Flora and Fauna
As far as flora and fauna– what you see at the Camden County Jeep Trail is typical of the area — baldcypress trees, evergreens, spanish moss, mistletoe and various birds.

Camden County Jeep Trail - Spanish Moss and Evergreens
Spanish Moss and Evergreens

What was unique about this trail, however, was another surprise car fossil in the forest. The well-beaten path to the Pasquotank River takes you directly by an old abandoned mail truck. Anyone missing Mail Truck #490380? I can hook you up!

Camden County Jeep Trail - Car Fossil - Front of Mail Truck
Mystery Mail Truck in the Woods

Camden County Jeep Trail - Car Fossil - Driver's Door

The truck was pretty old looking. Its steering wheel was on the left hand side of the vehicle and not the right side like contemporary mail trucks. Apparently, it had been in the forest for some time. The wheels were sunk low into the ground and nature was already taking over where the engine once ran.

Camden County Jeep Trail - Car Fossil - Sunken Tire
Sunken Tires

Camden County Jeep Trail - Car Fossil - Vegetation and Grill
Nature Taking Over!

All in all, a good outing. Well worth the dead animal at the beginning.

Most hikes are.

More pictures of the Camden County Jeep Trail can be found on my Flickr site.

Camden County Jeep Trail

Length: ~2 Miles Round Trip

Elevation Gain: None

Coordinates: 36.21139, -76.02111

Directions from Elizabeth City, NC

1) From Water Street, turn on Camden Causeway (NC-34)

2) Turn right at NC-343

3) After nearly 12 miles, 343 will turn into Texas Road (NC-1100)

4) After roughly 2.2 miles, unmarked Jeep Trail will be on your right (after the house with the red roof)

March 10, 2009 at 5:00 am 9 comments

Weekly Winners – February 8th – February 14th

This past week I was on a business trip to Wisconsin. On my way there, I got to fly over some of the Great Lakes which were completely frozen. I was lucky with the weather and it was actually relatively warm for Wisconsin. I spent some time one evening exploring the marshland behind the hotel. During the workdays, I worked at a bakery. Many pictures were taken (and many, many more calories were ingested). Once I was back home in North Carolina I took the dogs out to a park called “Fun Junktion” (It’s right next to a landfill) and discovered the red maples are flowering!

Michigan - Frozen Water
Ice near Detroit Michigan…from above

La Crosse - Marsh and Shopping Center (Portrait)
Dusk at a marsh behind Stony Creek Inn in Onalaska, WI

Bakery - Mixing Glaze In Front of Donut Line
A bakery worker prepares icing for donuts

Bakery - Workers Boxing and Falling Donut
Bakery workers package donuts. Meanwhile a reject falls off the assembly line.

Fun Junktion - Sky Reflection
Reflection of the sky at Fun Junktion

Fun Junktion - Starburst of Red Maple Flowers
Starburst of red maple flowers at Fun Junktion

More pictures of my business trip to Wisconsin and my outing to Fun Junktion can be found on my Flickr site. Also, be sure to check out more of this week’s Weekly Winners out at Sarcastic Mom!

February 15, 2009 at 2:28 am 15 comments

Weekly Winners – January 18 – January 24th

This week’s Weekly Winners is brought to you by the surprising beauty of decay… and a dirty beagle. We started off the week picking up both dogs from a kennel and realizing they smell… like a kennel, so they were promptly bathed. We ended the week taking the dogs out for a Saturday walk in Hetford, North Carolina at the Newbold-White House Recreation Trail. We explored a patch of bald cypress trees with the recycling effort that is typically to swamps. We found mushrooms patiently pulling nutrients from a dead tree. We saw a mussel silently sequestering carbon in its shell and then along the shore we noticed the elements trying their best to break down an automobile. Enjoy!

Henry Gets Rinsed

A clean, but cold, Henry cuddles under a wool coat

Decaying tree at a Bald Cypress Swamp

Mushrooms from above

Ridges in mussel shell, ridges in finger tips

Sand filled speedometer on the shore

More pictures of Doggie Bath Time and the Newbold-White House Recreation Trail are available on my Flickr site.

For more Weekly Winners, be sure to visit the original post with all the participants over at Sarcastic Mom.

January 25, 2009 at 10:31 am 13 comments

Nature’s Color Accent Mode

A couple of my friends have nifty Color Accent Modes on their cameras. It allows them to create stunning black and white shots with just one color showing up. Tony has used it with his Mount Roger’s photos and Chriggy‘s camera made use of the feature at a recent wedding:

The Kiss (Photo by Chriggy1)

My camera doesn’t have a Color Accent Mode, but nature gave me a surprise substitute. At Merchant’s Millpond State Park last weekend, the bark of the Bald Cypress Trees and the Spanish Moss were both shades of gray. That meant whenever the autumn leaves or green algae snuck into the shot, they really stood out.

Yellow Leaves!

I’m still more fond of the creations from Chriggy’s and Tony’s cameras better… but I’ll take what I can get!

More pictures of Merchant’s Millpond State Park are available on my Flickr account.

December 12, 2008 at 8:00 am 3 comments

Hertford Tree Memorial

When my grandmother passed away in 2000, her friends got together and planted a pink dogwood tree in Occoquan’s Mamie Davis Park in her memory. What a wonderful, wonderful way to remember a special person and add a little more beauty into this world.

Not too far from my new home, the town of Hertford, North Carolina has embraced that same concept. Adjacent to the Perquiman County Library, they have allotted land to be a Memorial Tree Park. A dedicated space where friends and family have planted trees in memory of loved ones.

Hertford Memorial Tree Park

Each tree in the park is accompanied by a sign with the name of who the tree is in memory of. If you are actively working on improving your tree identification skills like me, then you will be just as thrilled as I was to see the species labeled as well. Your very own cheat sheet!

White Dogwood in Memory of Dorothy White Barbee

Weeping Cherry

Red Oak in Memory of Addie Nixon Jones

Japanese Cherry

Although most of the trees were deciduous, there were some evergreens in the mix. In fact some of the hollies are flourishing so much, they are starting to obscure their purpose.

Flourishing Holly

The most popular trees were by far White Dogwoods. Cherry trees were second. Do you know what that means?!? The Hertford Memorial Tree Park is going to be so very lovely in the spring with all the blossoms.

I can’t wait!

More pictures of the Hertford Memorial Tree Park can be found on my Flickr site.

Hertford Memorial Tree Park

Directions from Elizabeth City, NC
Take 17 South about 14 miles
Turn right at 17 BR/New Hope Road/NC-37
Turn right on Market Street
The Memorial Tree Park is on Market Street between E Academy and W Academy Streets

P.S. In the future, if one is ever inspired to plant a tree in memory of me– I make a humble, prehumous suggestion of a Blight Resistant American Chestnut. We should have those by then!

P.S.S. Yeah, yeah, maybe I don’t love Rhododendrons as much as I thought!

December 10, 2008 at 8:00 am 1 comment

Merchant’s Millpond State Park

On Saturday, the dogs and I got to spend a precious hour at the Merchant’s Millpond State Park. The park was a little further away than I expected and I was attending a free Planetarium/Laser show at Elizabeth City State University (highly recommend– it was awesome!) at five PM, so I didn’t have much time to explore.

But this park doesn’t need long to make a good impression. It is GORGEOUS. And get this– I had it all to myself! Just like my December rollerblade last year in Evansville, Indiana, I was surprised to be the only one out and about. Yes, it is December. But it was still sunny… and the park was still stunning. And actually, I highly suspect this particular park is going to be beautiful year round (The future season compares can put that to the test).

Like Blacksburg’s Falls Ridge, the Merchant’s Millpond State park was made possible by a private donation and the help of the Nature Conservancy. The park is a mixture of coastal pond and southern swamp ecosystems and features plenty of bald cypress trees, mistletoe and dangling Spanish moss.

Fall Leaves and Bald Cypress Trees

Log Reflections at Merchant’s Millpond State Park

Bald Cypress Knees and Trees

More Bald Cypress Trees

Bald Cypress Trees with Spanish Moss

The dogs and I started our journey on a white-blazed trail. On the Appalachian Trail, we have hiked hundreds of miles guided by white blazes. It was interesting to be following the familiar color…with very different views than the mountains of Southwest Virginia.

Familiar white switchback blazes…with very different views

There is one property of the terrain, I’ll need to adjust to. Those darn Bald Cypress knees!!! Henry walks so low to the ground, his leash keeps getting tangled.

Gah! Leashed beagles and bald cypress knees are highly frustrating!

The park currently has over 3,250 acres, 9 miles of hiking trails and canoe rentals to further explore Lassiter Swamp. I barely scratched the surface! I will definitely have to make a return trip and I definitely don’t have to wait for winter to pass.

When you hike in the “off-season”, there are some advantages. You don’t have to worry about crowds. You don’t have to worry about ticks or snakes. And in this particular park, you don’t have to worry about alligators.

That’s right. One last thing! Merchant’s Millpond State Park has alligators.

Yikes! Yet another reason I need to keep Henry from getting tangled on Bald Cypress Knees! (Photo by VA-Tree Hugger)

More pictures of my December trip to Merchant’s Millpond State Park are available on my Flickr site.

December 9, 2008 at 8:00 am 1 comment

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