Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Maryland Adventures

A quick photography note: All pictures in this post were taken by Gretchen and/or Kat unless otherwise noted.

We all had a good time in Maryland, visiting Old St. Mary's City and all their historic exhibits and hanging out at Calvert Cliffs on the Chesapeake Bay. I even got some bird pics!

We arrived late Thursday night and spent some time hanging around with Kat's old friend and her husband and baby. After a nice breakfast on Friday morning, we visited Old St. Mary's City and the Maryland Dove, a small ship built to look like similarly used boats from the 1600s (of which there are no photos, specs, etc.):

We also saw some wildlife; I shot this osprey nest about two hundred yards from the boat, just off the shore of the St. Mary's River:I'm guessing that's Mommy on the left, with two nestlings on the right. Daddy was flying around the whole time, but I managed to get a shot of him:
I was hoping to see him dive for some food, but no luck there.

This being Maryland of the 1600s, tobacco was king; this, however, was the king killer:

This guy must've been over three inches long. We were told he was a tobacco hornworm, though his horn is much smaller (invisible, in fact) than the tomato hornworm's. Still, his size impressed me--here's Gretchen's finger for scale:

All around the boat, which was anchored on the St. Mary's River, we saw jellyfish like this one:

We later had to put Gretchen in the stockade:

However, to avoid charges of cruel and unusual punishment, we allowed her to keep her sunglasses in the bright sun.

Speaking of the sun, by this point in the trip we'd each sweated off about five pounds in the heat and humidity of southern Maryland. Boy, was I missing the mountains of PA!

We then toured all these really neat historical buildings, some of which were merely frames constructed on the original sites.

Here, we were in an "ordinary"--a public inn whose rates were set by the local government--checking out some commonly owned weapons of the day. Gretchen got to wear a "lobstertail" helmet and hold a pike:

The girly skirt really completes the ensemble.

I call this one "NRA Mommy" as Kat looks so proud of Em's facility with a muzzleloader:

"Ah wanna make shore that all mah younguns know how to defend us from revenooers!"

My favorite building by far was this woodworking building, where I got to play with a draw knife and sit on a shaving horse, with a couple of accommodating maidens of the day looking on:

The cool part is that, for some time now, I've been looking for the materials to build my own shaving horse. I found some drawings online but they were way more complicated than this one. So now I have a photo and can draw up my own construction plans! (Shhh, don't tell Kat! It's all part of my secret plan to erect an entire woodshop filled with old-fashioned hand tools and benches!)

After a rain-soaked holiday, we spent Saturday helping Kat's friend around her house, painting, etc. However, we were rewarded with some lovely margaritas for our trouble! (no photos were taken, to protect the guilty)

Here's a weird bug we found in the car:

Any ideas on what the heck it is? It was almost an inch long!

On our way home Sunday, we stopped at Calvert Cliffs, a renowned fossil-collecting spot. There's a mile-and-a-half walking trail to the shore, during which I heard some birds--but mostly red-eyed vireos and some others that I just couldn't see, so no pics of them. Still, we stopped at a marshy area and Kat got some nice photos. For all you dragonfly enthusiasts, here are two--one blue and one red (and blurry):

Crazy auto-focus!

Here's a little snail from the trail:

and a little froggy that Gretchen, aka Frog Hunter, caught in a little tire-rut pool in the road:
Here's Em holding him in one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip:
I love how gently she's holding him; he just sat there in her hands, a happy little frog.

We got to the cliffs (finally) but only a short strip of beach was open, as the cliffs themselves are unstable (I wanted to get a pic but was shooed away by a ranger, dangit!). The beach:

Kat says that almost every photo she takes of me when we're on vacation is either me looking up for birds:

or looking down for rocks and stuff. Beginning to fossil-hunt:

I did find a real fossilized shark tooth! But I forgot to get a picture of it. I'll get that, as well as post about my further adventures fossil-hunting, tomorrow.


FranIAm said...

Wow- what a great post!!!
I love the photos... and that froggy in the hand in precious.

Lynne said...

It sounds like a good time was had by all! My family teases me about always looking at birds and rocks too.

word verification:

NCmountainwoman said...

Great post. I had to research shaving horse, never having heard of one. Looks a bit dangerous to me, so be careful.

KGMom said...

Sounds like you are having an appropriately grand time. It's good to get away--even if you do have to leave the mountains of PA!

Susan Gets Native said...

That's where all the fun is...in the trees or in the muck!
(Exhibit A: Your marsh and our tromp through it)

I loved the picture of you and your patient maidens. Now where in the heck are you going to put a woodworking shop? In the OUTHOUSE?

John said...

I don't think I have been to Old St. Mary's City or Calvert Cliffs, but I have been to Point Lookout SP in St. Mary's County. It's a very interesting area as it's in close proximity to both the Chesapeake and the Potomac. And there's a noticeable change in vegetation as you make your way down the peninsula.

Anonymous said...

What a great trip! I love the photos.

I spent summers picking tobacco worms off the plants. Ah, good times.

Anonymous said...

great pictures and you all must have had a great time.

LauraHinNJ said...

It looks like you had a great time, Delia!

ehunter said...

What a fun trip! I love the photos of all the little creatures you find. It's one of my favorite things about this blog.

The frog and the hornworm are cool.

Matty Boy said...

Now that you've published a picture of a gal on the go with a pike, everybody is going to want a pike. Maybe a couple to go with different outfits.

dguzman said...

First off, I didn't get to the fossil stuff yet--maybe tomorrow.

Fran--yeah, that's a great illustration of Em's gentleness.

Lynne--yup! Warbler neck and rock neck.

NCMtnWoman--the draw knife is dangerous. When I first got it, I had to clean the blade and cut my finger almost immediately. OUCH.

KGMom--of course, we brought the humidity back with us. It's very muggy here this week.

Susan--Maybe I'll clear out the old chicken coop behind the crazy uncle house!

John--yes, Point Lookout is really nice; we were there on our last trip to MD. Beautiful place.

DCup--wow, you picked worms off tobacco plants? Was this for your family farm or something?

Rick--we did, except for the heat!


EHunter--yes, I love all the little wildlife you can see if you just look.

Matty--The pike was pretty tough-looking. I want one!

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Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

You kids have all the fun.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what wonderful photos - especially those of the frog in the hand and the jellyfish photo looks most otherwordly

Mary said...

I remember the humidity in St. Mary's City. Spent a lot of time there...

Your photos are OUTSTANDING. Despite the climate there, I miss it.

Earl Cootie said...

That looks like a lot of fun!

And the frog is cute, but you'd never catch me holding it! Ever since a snake shat on me when I was a pre-teen, I've not been too crazy about handling wild animals of any kind.