For the last few weeks it has been hot and muggy in Alabama, with sunny mornings and frequent afternoon thunderstorms, often very windy with lots of sizzling hot lightening, loud cracking thunder, and gully washing downpours. Sunday afternoon these silver lined lead bellied clouds were swirling around before the real boss thunder boomers got here.
We have numerous Roses of Sharon growing around our property. Some produce white blossoms, but most of them have blossoms that look like this. We call it a single, because
we have one Rose of Sharon (came within inches of being destroyed by that fallen limb a couple of weeks ago) that produces blossoms with a sort of shrivelled inner blossom, thus the nickname of double.
This is Sargeant Lilly, and in Columbiana, Alabama, she is the law. Not the only one, but if you see her blue lights, she is it. Her work suit, even when it is 100 degrees F, starts with a bullet proof vest. Can't be too safe in this job.
Over that she has an embroidered badge on her black knit shirt, with her Sargeant's chevron pins on the collar. She also had on silver earrings and deep blue sunglasses for the glare. I liked the looks of the embroidered badge.
She wore a metal Sargeant's badge and her sidearm on her belt, and a purple watch and rubber bracelet on her wrists.
I asked her if they could wear shorts in the hot summer, and she said since she was the supervisor, her shift could wear any pants, as long as they were khaki, but today she had chosen the long khakis. After all, it was only 95F when I met her.
While photographing the flower below, we heard the unmistakable, loud croak of a bullfrog. This fellow was lurking in the shadows and let us know we were in his territory (or maybe he was calling the missus.)
Saw this at a fish pond at the Birmingham Zoo yesterday. I admit, until I just looked it up on Wiki-pedia, I thought a water lily was a lotus flower, but the wiki author seemed almost insulted that the two would be confused. I still don't know which this is, but it's pretty neat looking.
This is a couple of not yet fully developed oak seeds. We all know them as acorns. If they make it to fall and grow to maturity, they will fall to the ground. If then they are fortunate enough to get buried by a squirrel and not eaten right away by the squirrel or a deer, next spring they might sprout to become one of these little fellows.
If they make it for several more years, they can start to look like this, a four or five year old oak tree. They do grow slowly.
Give them another 60 to 100 years and they might look like this big fellow next to my house on the left, maybe seventy feet tall and MASSIVE. They don't call them mighty oaks for nothing.
But then one Wednesday night about 10:30, some night very much like last Wednesday night, because of their massive weight, and maybe some internal "character" flaw, they might just decide to shed one of their huge limbs even if the wind is dead calm.
That big limb might take out another limb on the way down, and all you could hear inside the house would be a sort of "Whump." If you are asleep, as I was, you probably wouldn't hear anything.
Fortunately, if you are lucky, those two big limbs could miss your house completely and even your deck might only get struck by the flimsy ends.
After a couple of hours with the chain saw, you might even be able to see your house again, but more sweat and labor would still await, as that once mighty limb is turned into firewood and mulch.
I know this tree has heart rot (it's even hollow at the base) so I should have expected something like this, but now I fear we must take down the whole tree. If that trunk fell toward the house, it would destroy it, and quite possibly kill my wife and me. But the thing I fear the most is not the blazing sun, although this has provided a lot of wonderful shade from the hot Alabama sun; it's the damage to the lawn, the beds and the shrubs that the bucket trucks and tractors will do as they cut this monster down.