Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Odocoileus virginianus

These whitetail deer fawns have now lost their spots and are well on the way to adulthood. The twins have been feeding for several weeks at Don and Marilyn’s house across the street. They have been really enjoying the fruit from their crab apple tree.

Here is a little information concerning the reproduction of our West Virginia deer.
Most whitetail deer (particularly males) mate in their second year, although some females occasionally mate as young as seven months. Bucks are polygamous although they may form an attachment and stay with a single doe for several days or even weeks until she reaches oestrus. Does are seasonally polyoestrous and usually come into heat in November for a short twenty-four hour period. If a doe is not mated, a second oestrus occurs approximately 28 days later. Mating occurs from October to December and gestation is approximately 6 and a half months. In her first year of breeding, a female generally has one fawn, but 2 per litter (occasionally 3 or 4) are born in subsequent years. Fawns are able to walk at birth and nibble on vegetation only a few days later. They are weaned at approximately six weeks. Life span in the wild is 10 years, but whitetail deer have lived up to 20 years in captivity.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Folk Festival Picnic

Last Wednesday ( September 20th) there was a picnic for the Folk Festival volunteers at Cedar Creek State Park. Above is the Folk Festival President, Joe Yurkiewicz, doing a splendid job cooking the hamburgers and hot dogs. Below is our mascot, Cricket, who was in charge of maintaining order and also disposing of the surplus grilled meats!

Notice how some folks can not help but make folly when their photos are taken. Here are Dave and Judy Brown

also Judy Meads an Jim Bailey.

Below are a few other photos taken that evening.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Walk on the Beach!

One of the greatest things about the ocean is beach walking. On this day we ventured around the point at the southern most tip of Top Sail Island. The ghost crab above welcomed us. Well, you know the ghost crabs. If careful not to disturb them, one can watch these crabs walking along the beach, facing the moon when it is full. They are called ghost crabs with good reason; they blend closely with the sand on which they live, and are very swift. They seem to appear from nowhere, run, and suddenly disappear again.

How about these large bird tracks that sister Judy discovered?

Below are collections of other finds including sea quirts (tunicates). It is a joy to walk and discover what the ocean brings into the beach.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sneads Ferry

Last Thursday it was raining on Topsail Island so we decided to venture out and drive to North Topsail and onto Sneads Ferry for lunch. These photos show how the Topsail Trio dressed for the occasion. Yes, in their pineapple finery! Mom Meads, Sister Judy, and wife Judy were the fashion hit of Sneads Ferry.

Sneads Ferry is a traditional fishing village located on the New River near the northern tip of Topsail Island off NC Route 172. For those who like seafood, Sneads Ferry takes in more than any other port in the county. Until the mid-20’s shrimp was actually considered a nuisance, but soon its value became known, and the rest folks, is Sneads Ferry seafood history.

We ate at the Riverview Restaurant and found the seafood to be superb!

Topsail Island Loggerheads


special aspect of Topsail Island is the opportunity of observing the hatching of sea turtles. This turtle nest is being protected until the mass hatching occurs. On the Monday that we were on Topsail, a loggerhead nest with 139 eggs hatched. While we did not see the actual “march to the sea”, we were at the nest when Topsail Turtle Project volunteers conducted a nest analysis a couple of days after the hatching. On Wednesday evening, we watched as the volunteers counted the eggs that hatched, those that were not fertile, and helped those young turtles that were still working their way out of the nest to survive. There were four small loggerheads still in the nest and they were allowed to travel to the ocean.>


Currently six of the seven species of sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered. Although the most common species in North Carolina is the loggerhead, five sea turtle species regularly visit North Carolina waters: the loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, leatherback. Green, and hawksbill. Loggerhead, green turtles, and the massive leatherbacks lay their eggs on North Carolina beaches.

The Topsail Turtle Project locates and monitors young loggerhead turtles until they can make their way out to sea, while the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital cares for and rehabilitates injured sea turtles until they are healthy enough to return to the ocean. The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital website is

It is normal to have a varying number of nests each year. Female loggerheads come ashore to nest 3 to 5 times during a nesting year. Each time she deposits an average of 120 eggs; known as a clutch. The eggs will incubate for about 60 days.

When it is hatching time, the baby turtles will emerge together and race to the sea. They have many obstacles to contend with. Weighing in at about two ounces, they must outrun the ghost crabs, shore birds, and wild and domestic animals looking for an easy snack.

Once in the water they must hide from predators such as birds and fish. It is estimated that only one in 1,000 survives the first year and only one in 10,000 survives to adulthood. At that time the females will return to the beaches where they were hatched to lay their eggs. The cycle then begins once again.

As tough as turtles might look with their armor like shells, they can actually be quite vulnerable to injuries. Cold snaps, sharks and run-ins with boats and fishing nets are just some of the hazards that sea turtles face.

That is where the sea turtle hospital comes in. At the hospital, volunteers nurse back to health any turtles that may be ill or injured. The website has photos of current patients that are being treated at the hospital.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Topsail Island, North Carolina

Yes, we spent last week at the Hardman/Wilson house on the sound at Topsail. The beach house that we rented was located on the sound and was just a short walk from the ocean. Here is the house and the view as seen from the back deck.

Located along North Carolina’s southern outer banks midway between Cape Lookout and Cape Fear, Topsail Island is 26 miles of white, uncrowded sandy beaches. Some say the island’s name is related to local maritime heritage. During the Golden Age of Piracy, merchant vessels had to watch carefully so they would not encounter pirates such as Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet. Ship captains who frequented Topsail Island waters began warning their crew to look just beyond the island dunes for the tops of the pirate’s ships.

In 1941, the government seized the island as a place for military maneuvers and antiaircraft firing exercises. After the war, Topsail Island was chosen as the test site for a guided missile testing program known as Operation Bumblebee. When the military left in 1948, permanent residential development began on Topsail Island.

We had a great week with family! In the next blog I will tell of the exciting reptilian adventure on the island.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Flora the Baker

Flora, John, and Rachael visited this Labor Day weekend. One of the things that Flora and Grandma Meads love to do is to bake a cake. Yesterday they decided that it would be time to make a chocolate cake with white fluffy icing. Flora is such a help. Notice below the quality control that goes into the making of the chocolate cake batter.

Now the icing is prepared and yet again there is a need to make certain that all ingredients have been mixed appropriately. Flora is one again the chief icing control person!

The finished product is so yummy. I would say that this was a job well done!