Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye to Charlotte and 2007

This week, we say goodbye to 2007, and we said goodbye to "Charlotte" as well. Our garden spider in the kitchen window disappeared about a day after this photo was taken. Frankly, I thought she was either very sick or deceased here since we had never seen her "frozen" in place on her back before. She did survive through Christmas, and she leaves an unknown number of children in three cocoons that she wove into the eaves.
Happy New Year for 2008!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Little Lost Cat at Home

Remember the Little Lost Cat that was looking for food and attention? Here she is at home, peeking out from beneath a curtain. She joined two other cats already in our household, so it has taken awhile for one of the others to accept her and to complete the adjustment.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Covered by Moss

After seeing some other photo bloggers' pictures of hoarfrost, I noticed this dogwood tree in Old Live Oak Cemetery just covered in a frost-tinted Spanish Moss. It almost looks like hoarfrost...from a distance.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Bright Camellia

A pink camellia is entwined with Spanish Moss at Selma's Old Live Oak Cemetery. While the resting place is known for its spring beauty with blossoms of azalea and dogwood, it possesses a haunting grayness during the foggy, cloudy days of winter...that is, until the wanderer comes upon a camellia. This camellia bush is located near the Elodie Todd Dawson monument that was featured in an earlier post this year.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

View from the Red-Brick Path

A narrow, red-brick path leads from the St. James Hotel terrace to the park benches in front of the Bridge Tender's House for a good view of the Pettus Bridge and Alabama River. The red and white stripes are part of the American flag that flies at the bed and breakfast. This photo was taken in early December when there were still a few leaves on the trees.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Pigeon Cote

Ever had pigeon for dinner? Apparently, this bird was an item a century or more ago. This old pigeon cote on the grounds of Heritage Village is an historic structure. It was built back when pigeons were raised for food. To see more pigeon cotes, some of which are centuries old, follow this link.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Doll for Christmas

I wonder how many little girls received dolls for Christmas today. When I was little, a new doll always awaited me beneath the tree. That was back when Barbies were newly popular, and while I had several beautiful dolls, a Barbie wasn't one of them, although I did have a Barbie Fashion Shop. Strange, huh? So today, what did I get? My very first Barbie doll!
Yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus!
I hope that all of you who celebrate Christmas had a truly memorable one!

Monday, December 24, 2007

For Unto Us a Child is Born

"For unto us a Child is born; unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder. These will be his royal titles: 'Wonderful,' 'Counselor,' 'The Mighty God,' 'The Everlasting Father,' 'The Prince of Peace.'"

I chose this Old Testament verse from Isaiah 9:6 as an illustration of the Christmas story. The birth of Christ fulfilled numerous prophecies that were written hundreds of years before the actual event in Bethlehem.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Last Day to Shop

From this angle, the Christmas tree at City Hall looks almost as tall as the building. The municipal complex anchors the downtown shopping district, and oh my goodness! Monday is the last day to shop before Christmas! Now I wonder who is just getting started buying Christmas gifts today.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Services

The arched doors of First Baptist Church at Lauderdale Street and Dallas Avenue will open for Christmas services Sunday. The Sunday before Christmas typically draws large crowds, and many families gather for Christmas dinners and reunions... as will my side of the family.

Friday, December 21, 2007

First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church is "the church under the clock" and sits at the corner of Broad Street and Dallas Avenue. It is also "Home of the Carillon," and hymns peal from its bells at designated times. The church first installed a carillon in 1948. It was dedicated in memory of the victims of World War II. The latest carillon was dedicated on Sept. 11, 2002, in memory of the victims of 9-11. The clock tower can be seen in the background of many downtown photos including the one posted yesterday.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Red and Green

Downtown Selma is filled with red and green both with real flowers (foreground) and artificial Christmas wreaths with red bows. It's a festive sight, even on a cloudy day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Downtown Lights

The Christmas lights downtown have been sparkling since late November. On this particular Friday, the parking spaces are filled with cars of restaurant patrons and a Christmas play at the Performing Arts Centre.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Cattle are Lowing

The cattle are lowing as they amble toward a tractor (not in view) that will soon deliver them a bale of hay. Supplemental feed will be a daily task until at least the middle of March when there should be enough grass to graze...that is, if this drought breaks and if the temperatures warm to normal. I like the way the setting sun gives a warm glow to the trees.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Now the Day is Over

Now the day is over.
Night is drawing nigh.
Yet the traffic still moves eastbound along U.S. Highway 80 at Marion Junction. The 18-wheelers are headed toward Selma where they will likely truck on to Montgomery or Birmingham. In the background, the sun sets on one of the shortest days of the year into a night that became the coldest of the season. We awoke this morning to a thick frost and thermometers that recorded temperatures in the low 20s.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday at the Pond

We spotted this blue heron (?) wading in a fish pond on a cold, windy Sunday near Selma. I hope some of you bird watchers can tell me exactly what bird this is. It was a little too far off to get a good closeup.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

O Christmas Tree!

The newly renovated lobby of the St. James Hotel on Water Avenue is ready for Christmas. I left the ceiling and chandelier in the photo since they are decorative as well.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Angel in Waiting

"Angel in Waiting" is among the works of art that are for sale at the frame shop featured in yesterday's post. The artist, Teresa Cammack, is the same one who took the first-place photo for the Riverfront Market Day photography contest.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Art, Ornaments and Frames

These Christmas sun catchers are attractively displayed on a window frame in a Water Avenue frame shop. The shop makes room for all kinds of artistic work from the area's creative talents and sells it on consignment.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sturdivant Hall's Christmas Open House

Sturdivant Hall's Christmas Open House is Thursday and Friday. That's when you can tour this antebellum mansion and museum free and enjoy the holiday decorations. If you attend the reception between 6 and 8 p.m. Thursday, you'll also get to enjoy musical entertainment.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas in the Courtyard

It's Christmas in the courtyard at the St. James Hotel. Poinsettias fill the urns, and wreaths with red ribbons decorate the inner balconies. I read in today's newspaper that a local Master Gardener did the decorations. To see the outside decorations, scroll down to the December 10 post.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The St James at Christmas

The St. James Hotel is decked out in Christmas wreaths, and the fountain out front is filled with poinsettias. The hotel on Water Avenue has recently undergone renovation, and its restaurant is expected to reopen just before Christmas. The hotel, originally built in the 1800s, was gutted and rebuilt and reopened in 1997. For a view last May, link here.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Cruisin' Upriver in December

December isn't a usual month to see boats on the river, but the weather has been so balmy recently. Right now, our air conditioning is on...first time I ever remember needing it so close to Christmas. More near record temperatures are expected the next few days, with the thermometer close to 80 degrees F.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Community of Light

The Community of Light, a drive-through display of lights, choirs and a live nativity, brings hundreds of Selmians to Vaughan Place for one evening each December. Luminaries purchased in honor or in memory of loved ones line the lanes. It is sponsored by the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce along with Vaughan Regional Medical Center and the Vaughan Auxiliary.

Friday, December 7, 2007

First Christian Church

Selma's former First Christian Church was organized in the 1850s, but this building was built in 1906. Today, the structure is the New Beginnings Center, which I assume is a church or religious mission.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Walnut

These jumbo walnuts got recycled into whimsical Rudolph Christmas ornaments and are for sale at Holiday House. It's fun to browse a whole building full of crafts that local folks have made. I enjoy their creativity!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Holiday House

Holiday House at the Performing Arts Center is among the merriest places in Selma during the Christmas season. Its halls and walls are decked with ribbons and wreaths, ornaments, toys, jams and jellies, tons of baby things, aprons, birdhouses, nativity sets and just about anything your friends and family can wish for! Many of the items are homemade by area artists and craftsmen, and all are for sale. I found stuffed toy puppies that really breathe, angel ornaments made from magnolia cones, monogrammed checkbook covers, drink holders, and keychains; all kinds of prepared mixes for that holiday cheeseball or salsa, jewelry galore, kudzu jelly and fabric totes. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Old Depot Museum.
Oh! Don't miss the bake sale. There's one each day by a different caterer or civic organization!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Wreaths, Bows and Garlands

Wreaths, red bows and garlands are going up all over Selma, and these are on the side door of the Selma-Dallas County Public Library. Reflected in the door's window panes is the former First Christian Church.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Who was Edmund Pettus?

Here's another view of the Edmund Pettus Bridge looking toward downtown. Who was Edmund Pettus anyway?
While this bridge today is well known for its Civil Rights history, it's not as well known for its Civil War history. No, the bridge wasn't around during that war, but it is named for one of Selma's most prominent citizens of the Civil War era. "Borrowing" from an article written by my eldest son, Pettus practiced law in nearby Cahawba, Alabama's first capital. When the war began, he organized the 20th Alabama Infantry Regiment and was elected major. During the Vicksburg Campaign of 1863, his commander called him "fearless and chivalrous" and praised his attempt to save one company that was cut off during the retreat. He was promoted to colonel, and after the fall of Vicksburg was promoted to brigadier general. He commanded his brigade at Lookout Mountain, Rocky Face Ridge and Resaca, and after the war, returned to Selma and later was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served with fellow Selmian John Tyler Morgan. When Pettus died in 1907, he was the last Confederate brigadier general to hold a seat in the Senate.
The other bridge across the river on the bypass is named for Selma's other Confederate general and U.S. senator, John Tyler Morgan.

Friday, November 30, 2007

December Theme Day (Bridges)

Today is the City Daily Photo December Theme Day, and the subject is BRIDGES. Nothing better would do for this theme from Selma, Alabama, USA than a picture of the Edmund Pettus Bridge that crosses the Alabama River. Opened in 1940, this bridge became famous during the Civil Rights Movement. I took this photograph from Songs of Selma Park. A similar photo taken last summer can be found here.
Please visit all the other bridges around the world.
Boston (MA), USA - San Diego (CA), USA - Stayton (OR), USA - New York City (NY), USA - Portland (OR), USA - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Inverness (IL), USA - Singapore, Singapore - Stockholm, Sweden - Setúbal, Portugal - Brussels, Belgium - Phoenix (AZ), USA - Seattle (WA), USA - Hyde, UK - Manila, Philippines - Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA - London, England - Austin (TX), USA - Toulouse, France - Weston (FL), USA - Sesimbra, Portugal - Selma (AL), USA - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Saarbrücken, Germany - Cleveland (OH), USA - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - American Fork (UT), USA - Seoul, South Korea - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - North Bay (ON), Canada - Arradon, France - Paderborn, Germany - Durban, South Africa - Philadelphia (PA), USA - Cypress (TX), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Prague, Czech Republic - Portland (OR), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Wichita (Ks), USA - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Petaling Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Grenoble, France - New York City (NY), USA - Nottingham, UK - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Arlington (VA), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Miami (FL), USA - Cheltenham, UK - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Saratoga Spgs. (NY), USA - Las Vegas (NV), USA - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Nashville (TN), USA - Toruń, Poland - New Orleans (LA), USA - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Melbourne, Australia - Moscow, Russia - Trujillo, Peru - Château-Gontier, France - Quincy (MA), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Joplin (MO), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Brookville (OH), USAChateaubriant, France - Chandler (AZ), USA - Stavanger, Norway - Baziège, France - Auckland, New Zealand - Wellington, New Zealand - Ocean Township (NJ), USA - Subang Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Detroit (MI), USA - Riga, Latvia - Nelson, New Zealand - Budapest, Hungary - Cape Town, South Africa - Sydney, Australia - Dunedin (FL), USA - Sofia, Bulgaria - Radonvilliers, France - Turin, Italy - Montpellier, France - Kansas City (MO), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Haninge, Sweden - Wailea (HI), USA - Lubbock (TX), USA - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Terrell (TX), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Budapest, Hungary - Montréal (QC), Canada - Sharon (CT), USA - Le Guilvinec, France - Jefferson City (MO), USA - Saigon, Vietnam - London, UK - Crepy-en-Valois, France - Orlando (FL), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Paris, France - Mainz, Germany - Newcastle (NSW), Australia - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Darmstadt, Germany - Naples (FL), USA - Torino, Italy - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Bogor, Indonesia - The Hague, Netherlands - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Anderson (SC), USA - Melbourne (VIC), Australia - West Sacramento (CA), USA - Christchurch, New Zealand -

End of Autumn

Here's another end-of-autumn tree. I am assuming it's a red maple. We don't have many of those, but this one is really brilliant. This photo is taken outside the Selma-Dallas County Public Library.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kingston's Ginkgo Tree

Hope y'all don't mind one more ginkgo tree! This one is the most beautiful that I've seen yet, and it stands majestically in front of this post-Civil War, Italianate home. So, I just had to stop and take its picture! The home, Kingston, once was owned by former Confederate Capt. Joseph F. Johnston, who later became governor of Alabama and a U.S. senator. Later, it was owned by a prominent Selma physician. This showplace was featured a few years ago on HGTV's "If Walls Could Talk." Now, HGTV will soon be returning to Selma and is actively seeking homes with interesting histories and artifacts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pecan Harvest

Got pecans? You can get them cracked at Holley's Farm and Garden Center in downtown Selma. Here is my batch...loaded in cardboard boxes and an onion sack. The pecans weighed 76 pounds minus a bit for box weight. I paid 25 cents per pound for the cracking and could have sold them to the store for 30 cents per pound. The machines they use crack a pound of pecans per minute.
During these days of the pecan harvest, the place is crowded with folks bringing in and taking out these tasty nuts, which I will finish shelling with the help of my family and freeze for future pecan pies, orange pecan pralines, toasted nuts and as ingredients in sweet potato cake and brownies. Some just might become Christmas gifts.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Zaxby's is Selma's newest fast-food restaurant, scheduled to open Dec. 3. The chain has been around the Southeast about 15 years and specializes in fried chicken tenders, wings, sandwiches and salads. I already like the looks of this place...neat, appealing and minus wild color combinations.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Must be Mistletoe

"From the centre of the ceiling of this kitchen, old Wardle had just suspended with his own hands a huge branch of mistletoe, and this same branch of mistletoe instantaneously gave rise to a scene of general and most delightful struggling and confusion; in the midst of which, Mr. Pickwick, with a gallantry that would have done honour to a descendant of Lady Tollimglower herself, took the old lady by the hand, led her beneath the mystic branch, and saluted her in all courtesy and decorum."
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
After the leaves fell from our maple tree, a clump was left near the top. I have decided it must be mistletoe.

Mistletoe, a parasitic plant that is toxic to humans but provides nutrition for birds, butterflies and some mammals, is traditionally used at Christmas above a doorway so that anyone caught standing under it might get kissed.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Going, Going, Almost Gone

The ginkgo leaves are going, going...almost gone! Rain tonight could finish their fall.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Iron Bowl

This is Iron Bowl Day in Alabama when the Auburn University Tigers meet the University of Alabama Crimson Tide in the annual college football rivalry. The winner claims "braggin' rights" for the next year, and Auburn has claimed 'em for the past five years. Selma is a traditional stronghold for Auburn fans since the late Coach Ralph "Shug" Jordan was a Selma native. The town also has agricultural roots, and AU was founded as a land-grant institution. Alabama has the law school. Both of our state's major universities are about 90 minute drives from Selma.
So which school do I think will win the game tonight?

Well, I predict that A.......... is gonna beat A............!

Oh, the game is known as "the Iron Bowl" because for years it was played on "neutral turf" in Birmingham where a statue of Vulcan stands and where the iron and steel industry caused the town to grow like magic, hence "the Magic City."

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fall Highlights

The trees in our backyard are about as colorful now as they will get. Here is a dogwood with the yellow ginkgo leaves in front. Our ginkgo tree kind of had two autumns this year with half the leaves turning a while ago and falling and the rest turning now.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thankgiving in the USA when we celebrate the feast held by the Pilgrims and Indians in 1621. We finished our feast with this pumpkin cake, topped with pumpkin frosting and craisins. My sister-in-law brought it and added real leaves and cedar around the base for embellishment.

On that first Thanksgiving, historians tell us that Chief Massasoit and his braves brought five dressed deer and more than a dozen wild turkey. They probably also had smoked fish. The colonists of Patuxet made a pudding out of cornmeal and maple syrup and learned how to roast popcorn . The Indians had shown them how to dry fruit, so they might have eaten blueberry and apple pies. For three days, they feasted and competed in shooting contests with guns and bows. They had foot races and drills, and the festivities all began with a prayer of thanksgiving offered by William Brewster, thanking God especially for their friendship with the Indians who literally had saved their lives by showing them how to survive in the new land.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fall in Fairoaks Square

Some of the best variety of autumn color around Selma can be found in Fairoaks Square. The combination of maples and dogwoods really spins the color wheel. While many of our leaves around Selma are gold, green or brown, Fairoaks really ups the beauty of fall. Fairoaks Square is a neighborhood of renovated Victorian homes that were built between 1870 and 1920. A dozen homes, most in disrepair, were purchased by a local industry in the 1980s and returned to elegance.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tree of Gold

Seems I just can't get enough of autumn colors this year! It's supposed to rain (hurray!) Wednesday and Thursday, then turn cold, so I'd better catch these oranges and golds while they are still around. That blue sky just sets a perfect background.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lapsley Street: Live and in Color!

Byrd Elementary School is almost hidden behind a wall of color. These brilliant hues can be seen all along this section of Lapsley Street.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Autumn Red

Autumn colors are peaking in Selma this week, and here is the brightest red I found. An inch of rain and a couple of frosts really seem to have brought fall in with gusto just before Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Autumn is still alive and well at this little Victorian cottage in Selma's Old Town district. The display of yellow mums and pumpkins just seem to say, "Happy Fall, Y'all!"

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving First!

Christmas may already be in the stores, but it isn't in the air or on the doors...yet! I found this "berry delightful" autumn wreath on a door in Selma's Old Town neighborhood. Our town does itself proud during Thanksgiving. There will be a community-wide Thanksgiving service Sunday night at First Presbyterian Church, and while Christmas decorations are up downtown, the lights won't be turned on til after next Thursday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Reformed Presbyterian Church

The Reformed Presbyterian Church was built in 1878 and is one of Selma's oldest churches. Its Carpenter Gothic architecture is elegant, and the structure is slated to be on tour during the 2008 Spring Pilgrimage.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Cocoon

This photo is grainy, I know, but it is the best I could get of the Garden Spider in My Kitchen Window finishing a cocoon way up in the eave. She's the same spider that we "claimed" as a Halloween decoration on the window screen. Yep, she's still around, and I am about ready to get the broom and sweep her away before Thanksgiving, but she just keeps amazing us with her handiwork! She obviously picked the perfect habitat...away from the wind and the rain and right where the bugs get caught in her web.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

No Excuses!

There is simply no excuse for Selmians not to be physically fit! You don't have to join a health club to walk the track at Bloch Park or to use the exercise stations. It's all free, courtesy the City of Selma and Vaughan Community Health. There is even a station for wheelchair users who can try an upper body workout.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Honoring our Veterans

Selma and Dallas County veterans are honored with a series of monuments at Memorial Stadium. The center monument (with the gas flame) honors the World War I and World War II veterans who gave their lives. Nearby are the Vietnam and Korea memorials. Another one honors Commander Howard Gilmore who commanded the Growler submarine in WWII. The Growler sunk a Japanese freighter and damaged another. Later, Gilmore died in a 1943 attack. Selma also honors veterans with ceremonies here.