Thursday, May 31, 2012

White Castle

Double D decided early in the week that he wanted to take the ferry from Sunshine, LA to White Castle, LA. Discovering that Nottoway Plantation is in White Castle we decided it'd be worth a trip.

The ferry let us off in a little town called Plaquemine (Plack-uh-men). There were signs for historic homes, so not being on a schedule, we explored.

Abandoned home

Front door to above home. What the heck is peeking out the side window?! Yikes!

Side window from same home. I was thinking if I touched those curtains they'd probably disintegrate in my hand.

We became bored of the historic home self-tour so off we went to find Nottoway.

Nottoway Plantation--side view. The home boasts 3 floors, 64 rooms, 6 staircases, 3 modern bathrooms, 22 massive square columns, 165 doors, 200 windows, and a bowling alley.

We ate lunch in the circular dining room. So charming! 

I wish I'd had what Double D ordered: fried catfish topped with crawfish etouffee over mashed potatoes and a side of grilled veggies. Instead, I let the waitress talk me into a boudin po-boy which was NOT good. To make matters worse, they left the casing on the boudin and when I pulled it off it looked like Not appetizing AT ALL. Sorry if that was TMI.

Side view of Nottoway. See the lower level with the dining tables and chairs? That's where we had our leisurely lunch, gazing out onto the beautiful property.
Can't resist the fleur de lis! But why do these remind me of an obscene gesture? Sometimes my mind goes places I wish it wouldn't. :(

One of many huge live oaks on the property. This is one of my favorite trees. The branches dip down so invitingly. 

This is the main gate in front of the mansion. Notice the blue of the sky; that is not Photoshopped, but, confession time: There was a man walking behind the gates, interfering with the beautiful lattice work, so I cloned him out. Buh-bye annoying tourist!

We walked through the gates, crossed the road and climbed the levee for this photo. I was so happy I brought my 35mm lens on this trip. I forgot how much I love it!

And back on the ferry we went where Double D got fussed at by the parking attendant coming and going. The guy gave lousy hand gestures and got a little aggravated with us, but we just smiled. 

As we were leaving, I told Double D that Nottoway would be a perfect place to stay for our 25th wedding anniversary. He said, "Unless we decide to return to Italy." Oh, be still my heart! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Avery Island & job update

Sorry for the overload of posts and photos lately, but I know if I don't get them out there I'll forget about them, just like so many others. I have tons of photos buried alive on my hard drive, poor things. Once it gets too hot to shoot, I'll probably unearth them. Until then, I'm trying to stay current!

To those of you wondering about the job situation, I have a 2nd interview this Friday! This is the one and only job I've applied for as I'm entering back into the job market very slowly. I really don't HAVE to go back to work right now, but I thought I should dip my toe into the waters to see what's what.

Now for the stragglers from Avery Island:
Tabasco sauce is aged in these white oak barrels
Taken with iPhone and processed in Lightroom and Photoshop

Petit Anse is French for "Little Cove"
Shot with iPhone

According to lore, a Chinese warlord sent this 900 year old Buddha to America as a gift in the 1920s. It sat in a warehouse unclaimed until 1936 when friends of E.A. McIlhenny purchased the statue as a gift and had it sent to Avery Island. Mr. McIlhenny loved it so much that he created a zen-like garden around the statue. It is a very peaceful place. I wish the camelias and azaleas had been in bloom. Must be spectacular!

Taken with my iPhone (I was too lazy to carry my camera up the steps!)

iPhone to the rescue again so I wouldn't have to change lenses (I wanted to get more of the scenery). Lugging the 400mm lens AND a tripod in 90% humidity and 90 degree temps is no easy feat!

View from the Buddha structure
another iPhone shot
Egret breeding platform
Couldn't resist putting up another roseate spoonbill

Spotted several alligators throughout the tour of Jungle Gardens. I'm actually kind of bored with them now. :/
Yesterday we went to Nottoway Plantation in White Castle, LA. Warning: photos coming soon! Today we are headed to the LSU Rural Life museum because Double D has never been. I will not be taking my camera since I've shot there several times. It'll be nice to take a break from photography today, but I'll probably feel naked without my camera. :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Egrets of Avery Island

Avery Island is located 3 miles inland from Vermillion Bay which in turn opens onto the Gulf of Mexico. Owned by the Avery family since the 1830s, the island is a salt dome and where Tabasco Sauce is made. After Edmund McIlhenny wed Mary Eliza Avery, he founded the McIlhenny Company and began the manufacture of his famous Tabasco sauce. Edmund's son, Edward, a conservationist, saved the snowy egret from extinction after plume hunters slaughtered thousands of them to provide feathers for ladies' hats. Using eight pairs of young egrets, Edward raised them in captivity and then released them into the Gulf of Mexico in the fall to migrate. The following spring they returned with other birds of their species. Today, several platforms constructed in the marshy areas serve to encourage their numbers. What a legacy Edward McIlhenny left behind!

A few of the breeding platforms

Breeding cattle egret

Cattle egret in breeding plumage

Mama protecting her eggs

Mama inspecting her eggs

Another breeding cattle egret - you can tell by the deep purple around the eye, the deep red of his beak, and the feathers fluffed out. He is signaling to the females that he's ready for action.

Oh, get a room already! lol

I think this is a tricolored heron
We're taking the ferry to White Castle today. Trying to enjoy our freedom before I go back to work.

Edit 5/30/12: I'm going in for my 2nd interview this Friday, so I don't have the job yet, but I feel pretty good about it! :)

Linking up with Wild Bird Wednesday.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rose colored glory

Roseate spoonbills are so fascinating to me. Maybe it's the beautiful shades of pink contrasted with that enormous bill and face only a mother could love. Perhaps it's because they're so animated! They posed, got frisky, sang, played billsies (equivalent to footsies), and even mooned us!

Double D and I pretty much overdosed on birds at Avery Island today. I have so much more, but I don't want to overload you! Some of these (not all) are better viewed large if you have time.

Hope everyone is enjoying the long holiday weekend! We're very grateful for the service of our military and the sacrifices they make every day.

Linking up with Your Sunday Best.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Own Private Assassin

The other day I was admiring my agapanthus and spied an orange, creepy-crawly thing on the petals. Armed with my camera I snapped off several images. Once enlarged on my computer I was able to see in greater detail, and with the help of Google, bingo! I had an ID.

For those of you unaware, let me introduce you to the Milkweed Assassin Bug. It is a beneficial insect to have in the garden since they prey on pests that eat your plants, such as caterpillars and aphids. I have always been a fan of natural pest control, and this little army will keep my flowers looking pristine. Instead of getting creeped out, I now view them in a completely positive way.

 Without further adieu, meet my private army of assassins:

Peekaboo! I see you!!

Hopefully they'll keep reproducing! I now have a 2nd generation in place, ready to go. :)
They can deliver a painful sting to humans if handled in such a way that makes them feel threatened. Please handle at your own risk.

EDIT 10:00am: I got called back for a SECOND interview!!!

Sharing with A Rural Journal, Thursday Blog Hop.