Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Photos Here and There, Then and Now…

I went into our files and looked around for photos I hadn’t used that were fun or interesting to us and perhaps also to others… These photos are dated from December 2014 through the first days of April 2015.

I said that these photos were between 1 and 4 months old.  There is one exception…and that is this photo.  This photo was taken in the summer of 2000 near Gulfport Mississippi.  This beautiful home was right off of US Hwy. 90 and just across the highway from the Gulf of Mexico.  Hurricane Katrina scoured this home from its foundation and sadly it no longer exists. 

Before the hurricane in 2005, beautiful and historic homes like this lined the coast in many places from Bay St. Louis to Biloxi Mississippi.  Today, most of these properties are just vacant lots…

Other than Jefferson Davis’s Beauvoir property in Biloxi, this is the only rebuilt/repaired mansion that really caught our attention along this stretch of US Hwy. 90.  It’s close to Pass Christian Mississippi.  Although high rise condos, some new homes, casinos and a variety of businesses now exist along this stretch, it will be many years if ever, before the area is totally rebuilt.  I’m sure that insurance costs alone are a major deterrent to building on this vulnerable coastline.

As we crossed the bridge/causeway at the north end of Mobile Bay, we noted this imposing ship off in the distance.  This is the USS Alabama, a South Dakota-class battleship.  She was the sixth ship of the United States Navy named after the US state of Alabama.  The battleship Alabama was commissioned in 1942 and served in World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. She was decommissioned in 1947 and assigned to the reserve duty.  She was retired in 1962.  In 1964, Alabama was taken to Mobile Bay and she was opened as a museum ship in 1965. 

This ship played a key role in the battle for control of the Pacific Ocean.  To learn more, go to

This ship is the centerpiece of the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.  Other displays here include the submarine USS Drum and more than a dozen historic aircraft.  Among the aircraft on display at the park are a B-52 Stratofortress, an A-12 Blackbird and a Redstone ICBM.  To learn more about this Memorial Park, go to

Laurie and I were out for a drive on one ‘tough’ winter day here in East Tennessee and we came across this huge flock of starlings… There had to be over a thousand birds in the air, in the trees and on the ground.  These photos can’t really capture the sight…

FYI… A large flock of starlings is called either a ‘murmuration’ or alternatively, a ‘chattering’.

Same day…suffering through another ‘nasty’ winter in East Tennessee!  I can assure you that we do not miss Chicago weather…

This is a view of Tellico Lake which Laurie took as we drove across the US Hwy. 411 Bridge.  The lake is technically a reservoir established by the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1979 with the completion of Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River.  The lake covers over 16,000 acres and has 357 miles of shoreline.

On another day, driving along the side roads in Meigs County these 2 horses took a moment to check us out… Laurie loves horses!

This is the Rhea County Courthouse in Dayton Tennessee.  This courthouse, built in 1890 – 1891, was the site of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial.
Formally known as a case entitled “The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes”, this 1925 trial involved a substitute high school teacher, John Scopes, who was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act.  That act made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school.  The trial was deliberately staged in order to attract publicity to this small town. 

The trial served its purpose in that it drew intense national publicity.  Reporters flocked to Dayton to cover the big-name lawyers who had agreed to represent each side.  William Jennings Bryan, three-time presidential candidate, argued for the prosecution, while Clarence Darrow, the famed defense attorney, spoke for Scopes.  Evolution vs. Creationism is still an ongoing debate today.  Although the case didn’t really settle much, it did mark the beginning of a steady decline in the teaching of creationism.   

This beautiful and impressive home is located on a small country road not far from Lenoir City Tennessee.  At the very least, judging by the chimneys, the front part of the home to the left is very old.  At this point I haven’t been able to identify this property and its history...

It always amazes us when we drive down any roads in East Tennessee… Even in out of the way locations, there are homes of one sort or another and wide open expanses of land are a bit unusual.  This property isn’t far from the big home shown in the previous photos.  The property sits on a ridge, it’s extensive, and you can see the Smoky Mountains on the horizon…

Birds, birds, birds… That’s how I’m ending this posting on my blog site...with lots of birds!

In this photo we were driving down a country road and we were ‘barked at’ by this group, (aka. a ‘confusion’), of Guinea Hens.  My mother had a small flock of these birds up in Michigan and they tend to act like a watchdog.  They’ll ‘bark’ at anything that disturbs their vision of normal.  I recall one time when my mother’s Guinea Hens barked at a raccoon road kill for two days as they regarded it as a threat!

These Helmeted Guinea Fowl were originally native to Africa but they have been domesticated and they can be found in many countries around the world.  They are voracious consumers of insect pests and some farms keep them around as a natural way to protect their garden plots.  Guinea fowl are well-suited to consuming massive quantities of ticks, which might otherwise spread Lyme disease.

This is a photo of just a few of our neighbors… These hens are crossing the street by our driveway.  They are part of a very large ‘rafter, gang or posse’ of turkeys which lives in the woods around us.  I’ve counted as many as 30 birds in one grouping.  Female turkeys can weigh a little less than 12 lbs. and males (Toms) can weigh up to 24 lbs.

This scene photographed by Laurie seemed ominous!  Did this swarm of Black Vultures know something that we didn’t?  We do know that our home sits up on a hill or low ridge and these big birds use the natural thermals to gain altitude.  Unfortunately, they also like to perch on rooftops…and one of our neighbor’s roofs is stained by these bird’s frequent visits.  

These big birds can weigh up to 6 lbs., they can reach 29” in length and they can have a wingspan of as much as 66 inches.  They range from the southeastern USA all the way down to the tip of South America.  A flock of vultures is properly called a ‘venue’, but when they are circling as shown in the photo, they are referred to as a ‘kettle’ of vultures…

That’s about it for now.  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by to check out our photos!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave   


  1. Wow, lots of great shots. Love Jeff Davis's home and also the one near Lenoir with all of the chimneys. To inject a little sense of humor - I would hate to have to paint either one of them :)

  2. Hi There, Someday, you two travelers need to take a trip down to Amilcalola Falls State Park and Fort Mtn. State Park in GA.. Both are beautiful--and if you go that direction in Fall, they sell the best apples in our area near Ellijay... Orchards all along the road!!!!

    Great pictures. Sad about the beautiful home on the gulf coast. That storm really destroyed so much beauty.

    Thanks goodness that we only have 2-3 starlings here. That is ENOUGH.. I cannot imagine a 'chattering' of them!!!! Yipes.

    You should hear how our GPS pronounces Rhea County.. She says something like Ru-He-uh.... ha ha ....