Blogging helps me share things with people. My goal is for you to see something that brings a smile to you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Going to the lake

Like I said before IT'S HOT!!!.

Already this month we've had record breaking highs and its not even officially summer yet.  I just can't get over how hot this month has been.  What makes it so bad is that we've had very little rain and so it just stays hot.  I don't mind high temps as long as it gets cool in the evenings but we are not even having that break.  Its been staying hot all the time.  My air conditioning has been running non stop and I hate to imagine what this months bill is going to be.  I've never recalled a June being so hot as long as I've lived in this town.

Junes official temperatures have been in Shreveport (but I must admit I've seen temperatures higher by two to three degrees than these around town with frequently them being over 100):
Jn1- 93/70;  2-97/72;  3-98/71;  4-98/72;  5- 100/70; 6- ?? (but it was in the 100 range)  7-99/68;  8-98/69;  9-95/72;  10-97/70; 11-95/70;  12-99/71;  13-99/72;  14-100/72;  15-101/75; 16-98/77;  17-101/78;  18-101/79; 19-103/79 (our car said 105).

Yes it has been definitely hot in my area and what makes it even worse is this doesn't take into account what it feels like because of the high humidity we also have. So like right now when its registering 88 degrees the little icon when you click on it says it feels like its 92 degrees. 

When it gets hot like this all I can think about is going to the lake.  The lake I prefer to stay at and visit is Lake Erie where my family has a place. Hopefully I'll get there in August.  I can hardly wait.
Sunset on Lake Erie, Madison Oh
Here's a picture again as to what I like looking at while I'm there.
Sunset on Lake Erie (June 2008)

& another one

Now to get cool I like to remember the last time I was there at Christmas time.  Here's the post I posted during that time on  ice forming on lake Erie.

My favorite picture of that time is this one

Ice forming on Lake Erie
I like this picture so much because you can see the lake is frozen along the edge.  (It always boggles my mind to see such a big lake freezing, but it does because its fresh water.) To the left of the pole near the top if you look very carefully you can see a creek that empties into the lake.  Because of the freezing conditions some of the water emptied on top of the ice along the bottom of the photo and some of it was cutting a channel through the ice to the middle of the photo. This was so neat to watch the water melting the ice down forming a trough to flow through.
  I think the reason this water wasn't frozen is two fold.  First it was faster moving water and second the creek is fed by street run off.  They use a lot of salt on the streets to melt the snow in the area and the salty water has a lower freezing point than the fresh water of the lake.
  I also like the way you can see how big some of the pieces of ice can be on the lake.  I used to think that when the lake freezes it would be relatively flat like a pond but as you can see it is not.  The waves break chunks of ice off and sometimes lifts it over other pieces of ice.  My brother likes to call these ice rafts, I'm sure there is a technical name for this phenomena but I don't know whats its called.  These rafts of ice also has waves breaking on them thus building them up and making them higher and impressive to look at.

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's HOT !!!

  Yesterday it officially got up to 100 degrees in Shreveport, LA.  Today in my car, the external temp read 101 degrees.  It just seems like it is just too early in the season to be hitting these temperatures.  I know on Saturday we had record breaking temperatures based on this article in the Shreveport times- Record-high-set-Saturday.

I envy the people up north complaining about the cold, at least you can put on cloths and bundle up.  I'm just very grateful that I have a good air conditioning system. 

I sit here drinking my cold drink and muse why people are so skeptical about global warming? 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Crepe Myrtle

   When I walk I notice that certain blooms fade away but yet there is always something else just as beautiful to observe.  Right now the Crepe Myrtles are starting to really become spectacular  plants to observe.  The thing about Crepe Myrtles is it seems to me if the plant gets plenty of sunlight it blooms early and more at the same time. Less sunlight it still blooms but not as prolifically as others that get the light.  Here's some more information on  Crepe Myrtles  from Wikipedia. 
  In my neighborhood there are two trees that really caught my attention lately:
Watermelon color Crepe Myrtle

 Here's a close up of the Watermelon color Crepe Myrtle.  Isn't it spectacular.

 And this is the other medium pink tree that caught my attention.  It's not quite to the peak as the other one but it is still just as beautiful.  Just give it a couple more days.

What amazes me so much about them is the fact that there is such a variety of colors one can see. Other amazing things with Crepe Myrtles is that with some of them the color changes with time or they have more more than one shade of color in the same area of the branch or tree. 

 Here's two different color trees next to each other showing how they can vary in color.

A lot of people like the white ones around here.

Same tree with a close up of a branch in bloom.

But I like the ones with a hint of pink in them better when looking at them from a distance like this one below.

 Here's another bush with just a hint of pink to it.
 And here's another closeup of one of its branches.  If you really look at this one you can see the different colors on this same plant. 

I do have a tenancy to like the ones with pink in them more.

 Or the ones with more red in them like this one.

 Sometimes they can get to be really vibrant red like this one below.
 Sometimes they come in purple or yellow color too.  I couldn't find a yellow one, but I have seen them blooming but I did find this purplish one that was in bloom.

Because Crepe Myrtles blooms so long a lot of people like to use them for hedges or border bushes.  Some can come in small sizes and other can grow to be quite big.  I couldn't find a big one in bloom but here are some small ones.

Here's the Crepe Myrtle that I have planted in my back yard.  They are Party pink in color.  I was told these were bushes and I guess in a way they are because the blooms go from the ground up.  I was also told that they would get to be 6 to 8 feet high at most.  The fence that is behind them is 6' and as you can see they tower over that fence.  I don't complain too much because they are wonderful to look at when they are in full bloom. 

One of the things that concerns me so much is the fact that the Crepe Myrtle is already in full bloom on some trees.  I don't recall trees being in full bloom this early in the year. I usually expect it more toward the end of June.  We have had 98 degree weather and that is unusual too.  (I guess I'm posting these things on my blog so I can keep track of it and next year see when things blooms and compare the timing of the two.  Global warming maybe a factor here.)

Now I'm just going to muse about when they will be in full bloom at my home.  With my luck it will probably be when I'm out of town on vacation.   

(7-6-2011) Its about a month later and here are some pictures of my blooming crepe myrtles in my back yard.  They are not as pretty as they have been in the past.  We've had a couple of severe thunderstorms and the winds have blown the buds off of the plant in places.  I still enjoy them anyway.

 This is what I see when I look out the back door.
  Here's some when you are closer looking up at them.

 Looking from a different view.  This is what my neighbors see when they walk by my house.
 And even closer.  I love the shade of pink that they are.
 Even closer yet. Notice the variation in colors making them fascinating to look at.  No wonder they are called "Party Pink". 
 And closer yet.

PS people who enjoy these trees blooming might also enjoy these two other blogs on blooming trees, Japanese (Mulan) Magnolia tree 
and Magnolia tree blooming
That's it for now, have a great day. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hodges Gardens State Park, LA

This post on Hodges Gardens State Park, LA is really messed up.  I've reposted it here @ Repost - Hogdes Gardens.  Please go to that to read it because it is the way I want it to be.  I've kept this one because I've referred to it on another post where I was having troubles with it.  

Dana at En Tequila Es Verdad has been writing about sentimental sediments and this place definitely has some sentimental sediments for me as you will see.

  The other day I went to Hodges Gardens.  I first saw it in the Spring time and fell in love with it because of all the beautiful azaleas blooming. It is one of my favorite places to visit.

    It used to be a privately owned gardens that was opened to the public in certain areas. I could not believe this was someones private place.  I was so grateful that the Hodges were sharing this incredible place with others.  I found out later that it had been an old abandoned rock quarry that the Hodges had reclaimed.
Here are some pictures of those first excursions to it when it was privately owned. 

Hodges gardens  (4-2-89)  25 Lower level Waterfall & Pool

Hodges gardens (4-9-93) 15 Azalea Hill
Hodges Gardens (4-9-93) 17 pathway to Lookout Tower
Hodges Gardes (4-9-93) Willow point

Hodges Gardens (4-9-93) Flag Island
Hodges Gardens (4-9-93) Map of the Louisiana  purchase on flag Island - With the  in the background

Hodges Gardens (4-2-89) A better view of the map of the Louisiana purchase on flag island
  Then Hodges Gardens closed for a few years and I was very sad I couldn't take people to it and visit it like I used to.  A few years ago the state acquired it and now it is a state park. I only found out it was reopened again this Easter when they started to advertise in the paper about seeing the sunrise there.  I'm so appreciative that it was taken over by the state and is opened again.  It truly is a wonderful place to visit, and should be shared with people.  They have put in some cabins and are doing a lot of renovations to the place so I wasn't able to see all of my favorite spots like flag island.

To find out more about it here's the link:
 or here;

  Living in Louisiana the one thing I don't like is the fact that there are very few rock outcrops.  I miss seeing rocks and the awe and wonder I get from looking at them. Hodges Gardens is one of the few places I've found that actually has rock outcrops because it Gardens was built around an abandon rock quarry.

Hodges gardes (5-22-11)  Lookout Tower on top of the old quarry wall.
 I just had to go and see the quarry wall.  But as I was going to the wall I got distracted by this rock.
( Blogger won't let me use this photo again.   It's so very weird-I recently had access to an IPad and looked this post up and guess what it showed up.  But it had three pictures of certain things.  Here and on my computer only one image if that shows.  I picked this post because it was missing some images after google changed things around.  Now I wonder how I can correct these post since its showing different things with different retrieval methods. )

Hodges Gardens (5-22-11)   petrified Palm wood.
Here's another area where  I was distracted by some other quarry rocks. (see below, blogger is messing with me. It won't let me move the photo to this location)

Here's a close up of the quarry wall.  The first thing I noticed was the red staining on the rock, more than likely due to iron oxide. 

Hodges Gardens (5-22-11) quarry wall with iron oxide staining on sandstone.

 Look at this area with the staining and a fresh cut of the rock.  What I saw was a white sandstone with some high angle cross bedding.  This indicated to me that the rock was probably some kind of beach sand that was above ground when it was deposited.
  Because of the fossilized wood nearby, it reminded me of the cheniers I had seen along the gulf coast when I used to live near Lafayette.  Cheniers are "A long, low 3-6 m high ), narrow, wooded, beach ridge or sandy hummock, forming roughly  parallel to a prograding shoreline seaward of marsh and mud-flat deposits (such as along the coast of southern Louisiana ) enclosed  on the seaward side by fine-grain sediments, and resting on peat or clay.  It is well drained and fertile, often supporting large evergreens oaks or pines on higher area; its width varies from 45 to 450 m and its length may be several tens of kilometers.' (Dictionary of geologic terms.  Rev ed - American Geological Institute (1976)

Hodges Gardens (5-22-11) quarry wall with a fresh cut.

Another view of the quarry wall. The angular cut to it really stood out to me, and also how the vegetation is taking it over so that soon you won't be able to see much of the rocks.

I started to head back toward the car and saw these rocks that had been exposed and weathered for a lot longer than the quarry wall rocks.  There were a lot of tubes going through it.  I took those to be tree roots that had been filled in.

Some other well weathered out cropping rocks. 
Weathered rocks at Hodges Gardens

 The first time I went I was amazed to find petrified wood there and it had always fascinated me.  I couldn't remember how it got to be petrified or the age of it but I did know it had to be Cenozoic in age because all the rock outcrops in the state are that age.  I did figure there had to be a source for the silica.  Was it from hot ground water underneath the area like Hot Springs?  No because there are none of the other features you see with the hot springs. .  Here's some other pictures of the petrified wood.
 The next three pictures are of the same log that you see when you stop at the rangers place to pay to get into the park.
 This was a good angle because it looks like the bark is still on the tree.  When I first saw it I just thought it was a log that was left there, but when I went up to it I realized it was petrified wood that has been beautifully preserved.
 I like this picture because you can also see how you are on a ridge That sticks above the surrounding country side.

 Here's another log that has been wonderfully preserved.  Based on others opinions this was a palm tree, thus indicating that the climate was warmer for this area when it was deposited since palm trees are not native to this area anymore. 

Fossilized (palm?) tree( possible Palmoxylon) at Hodges Gardens

(Blogger is giving me fits again.  I had these pictures in the original post and they were removed I've tried to add them again but now its done it as one big block.  If I remove them  they wont let me add them back again as an individual shot its either all or nothing.  I know some of these re repeats but I can't separate them. 

But first this is a map of the area. As you can see the area is quite extensive and there is a lot area to do different things. 
Map of the surrounding area of the State park for Hodges Gardens

On the day we were there the area had been hit by lightening and the water features were not running especially the ones on the Lake.  Usually there is a fountain running in the middle of the lake.  However we did get to see Canadian geese, with there young ones, which was just as fascinating to watch as any of the water fountains.  (Blogger wont let me get this photo back.)

Hodges Gardes (5-22-11)  5. Going to the gift shop
We parked the car and started at the gift shop to find out what was worth seeing .  That's were we picked up the information on the Gardens. (blogger won't let me use this one)

Hodges Gardens (5-22-11) 17. the Lookout Tower

Hodges Garden (5-22-11)  Looking at the lake from the Old Fashion garden

(or this one.)

Hodges Gardens (5-22-11) 18. The roses in the Old Fashion Garden

Hodges Gardens (5-22-11) 16. Cascade Waterfall

Hodges Gardens (5-22-11) 11. Double stair case bed. (note the water wasn't working today)

Hodges Garden (5-22-11) 25. Lower level pool- with water lilies

 I could not leave the place without getting this picture of the man himself--- .

Hodges Gardens (5-22-11) 10. A. J. Hodges Bust

I couldn't wait to get home and to look some of this stuff up since I had forgotten what I had figured out about this stuff from when I last was able to visit the place.

When I did get home I was disappointed at how little there was about the geology of the area and the state for that matter.
Here's what  Wikipedia has to say about the Geology of Louisiana and the state and the Louisiana link.


The underlying strata of the state are of Cretaceous age and are covered by alluvial deposits of Tertiary and post-Tertiary origin. A large part of Louisiana is the creation and product of the Mississippi River. It was originally covered by an arm of the sea, and has been built up by the silt carried down the valley by the great river.
Near the coast, there are many salt domes, where salt is mined and oil is often found. Salt domes also exist in North Louisiana.
Due both to extensive flood control measures along the Mississippi River and natural subsidence, Louisiana is now suffering the loss of coastal land area. State and federal government efforts to halt or reverse this phenomenon are underway; others are being sought. There is one bright spot, however; the Atchafalaya River is creating new delta land in the South-Central portion of the state. This active delta lobe also indicates that the Mississippi is seeking a new path to the Gulf. Much engineering effort is devoted to keeping the river near its traditional route, as the state's economy and shipping depends on it.

 So I went on to see what I could find out about the gardens.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Hodges_Gardens_State_Park .  
There were some other links that were good for some additional  pictures and info.  Here's link put out by the tourism bureau .
I like the one by the  the best for its pictures.

As you can see there's nothing mentioned about how the quarry and the rocks that were there forming the quarry came into existence.  
So I went to the state geologic map that I got at a place were Paul Heinrich ( link ) said it was free to use.  I hope it is because I printed it and have scanned it in since I couldn't get it to rotate into the proper position.
Generalized Geologic Map of Louisiana by Chacko J. John
 From that you can tell that the area is part of the Catahoula Formation, Oligocene Series, Tertiary, Cenozoic (abt 37-24 my).
 And below is a Stratigraphic chart of Louisiana. 

Tertiary Stratigraphic chart of Louisiana,

Again this stuff was not of much help since it just names the Catahoula formation and its relationship to the Frio Formation which is found in east Texas.   Nothing about its depositional environment.

   So then I went to a book that I have found very handy in the past.  'Roadside Geology of Louisiana 2nd ed' by Darwin Spearing (2007) Mountain Press Publishing Co. (I must admit I have found these series of books call 'Roadside Geology of (state)' very helpful starting points for learning about the geology of an area you maybe traveling in.)
  Spearing didn't have much but he did have some things.  On pages 14-15 he writes "The Oligocene Catahoula sandstone is a fairly hard rock that supports ridges across central Louisiana.  Its coarse sand was deposited in river channels.  It has been called a rice grain sand because of its large grains.  The Catahoula sand contains volcanic ash, which apparently blew in from the west.  It commonly contains petrified palm wood."
  Spearing was right about the Catahoula forming ridges in central LA as could be seen from when I was there and could look out over the area when I checked into the park.  To me it is the ash in the sand that has harden it to the point where it is more resistant than the other formations that are around  it.   I can accept the ash coming in from the west.  I know that that period of time was volcanically active as seen with the petrified forest remains in Arizona.
  I do have a problem with them being called river channel sands.  I saw little evidence of it.  It went against my sense of reasoning that the Catahoula ridge would be trending east - west when the rivers in the area are  flowing in a north-south or northwest to southeast direction.  Now I have to find other info on the Catahoula sands.  I blew up the section and highlighted the Catahoula sandstone outcrop in pink, so you can see what I mean.
The Catahoula Sandstone
The Catahoula look like they are beach sands just from knowing the depositional history of the area.  I remembered being told by a boss 'to think of all of Louisiana's property as beach front property because at some point in time it probably was.  It just got progressively younger the father south you went.  To really understand what was going on you had to observe the southern part of the state.' So that's whats sticking in my mind when I see this formation. 

So now its onto other articles to find out what others think it is
The USGS writes about it in Mississippi  and is located here.  I still didn't find this very helpful.  I did think it was interesting that they were dating it Miocene in age verses Oligocene in Louisiana.
The USGS also has this to say about it in Texas at this link.  At least in Texas it is Oligocene in age.
I searched the Generalized Geology of Louisiana and found this at the LSU site ( Catahoula Formation link which was prepared by the Louisiana Geological Survey staff. and it says this about the "Catahoula Formation, - consisting of sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone deposited by rivers, with some material derived from the alteration of volcanic ash blown to Louisiana from the west.  Much of the sandstone is hard, and the Catahoula outcrop belt is marked by the most resistant and prominent landscape element in the state." Again River deposits - but I wonder what criteria they used to make this assessment of the sand as a river channel sand and not a beach or chenier sand.

I searched more under Catahoula fossil palms and found this delightful piece by Mike Viney 'Back to Oligocene Louisiana,- Palmoyion of the Catahoula Formation,   2008)  At least in this article it talks about why they call it river deposits and also mentions the beach deposits with the palms growing on it. The good thing is I now know what type of palms those trees probably were (Palmoxylon), and why they are Louisiana's official fossil.

Finally I came across this little article by Paul Heinrich ( that seemed to make the most sense).  It was about fossilized bird tracks found in the Catahoula sandstone (here's the link  again)- again another thing indicating to me its beach and not river channel depostits.

I'll keep on looking trying to figure out more about the Catahoula sandstone it is intriguing to me. Also it is fun looking into all this geology stuff. ..