What are those strange birds? Guinea Fowl!

Guineas

Guineas

 

You may have seen these strange birds around farms wandering about outside of any fencing and wondered what they were.  These birds have been used for years by farmers for a number of purposes.  They voracious insect predators.   They are valued for controlling ticks, lice and other parasites that may infect both humans and their livestock.  Organic farmers look on them as a great means to control garden pests that not only include insects that damage crops, but also slugs and other organism.  They are seen as an alternative to expensive and potentially damaging pesticides.  These birds are noisy when there are strange animals and strange people near their homes.  This makes them valuable as intruder alarms.

Guineas are also valuable as a food source.  They are an excellent source of “dark” meat.  They also can be prolific egg producers which are also edible.

A desirable feature of these birds is that when they are raised in a coop on a property and regularly fed by their owners they will return on a daily basis but allowed to free range about the owners property.

If you are looking to supplement your chicken coup, Guineas are a great addition.

 

 

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A Quick Guide to Plats of Survey – Part II

In Part I of this article we looked at the general information on a plat of survey.  Now lets look a the drawing itself.  We find that the lines representing property lines are drawn with bearings and distances indicated with each line drawn.  These are usually drawn and then each line is annotated with bearing and distance.  An example of bearing and distance might be N 66° 0′ 0″ E  1245.01′.  This can be read more descriptively as North 66 degrees 0 minutes and 0 seconds for a distance of 1245.01 feet.   The distance is easy to understand but the direction might use some more explanation.

You can probably remember your high school teacher expounding on angles in terms of degrees.   You may recall them articulating that a circle is composed of 360 degrees.  You may have had a boy scout compass on which direction was expressed in an azimuth of anywhere from 0 to 360 degrees.  While most of us are familiar with degrees, many are not familiar with bearings.  Look at the figure below.  You will see three directions displayed as degrees in the familiar 360 degree format.

Directions in degrees

The directions shown are for 66 degrees, 165 degrees, and 330 degrees, all using a 360 degree circle for direction.

Plats of survey rarely use degrees.  The usually use a system of bearings based on deviation from north or deviation from south.  A direction that is expressed as a standard bearing is also based on a 360 degree circle but uses different points of reference.  A bearing of  N 60 degrees east means the direction is 60 degrees to the east of north.   Likewise a bearing of S 15 degrees east means the direction is 15 degrees to the east of due south.  The same three directions as stated in the previous example of 66 degrees, 165 degrees and 330 degrees can be expressed in their bearing equivalents of North  66 degrees East, S 15 degrees east, and North 30 degrees west, as shown in the diagram below.

Directions in Bearings

As you can see from the diagram, the same angles we expressed in degrees are now expressed in bearings.  You may be wondering why anyone would use a system of bearings instead of degrees.  This is somewhat anachronistic.  Surveyors of old used this system because it was easier to compute areas and closure ( more on this subject later ) using the bearings rather than degrees.  While almost all calculations done today are done with computer programs, we are left with the customs of old.

In looking at plats you rarely find the bearings expressed only in degrees.  Usually you will find the bearing expressed as degrees, minutes, and seconds.  Minutes and seconds are divisions of a degree with one degree equalling 60 minutes and one minute equalling 60 seconds.  This derives from early nautical derivations and again is somewhat anachronistic.  Bearings will always begin with either S or N, followed by the degrees minutes and seconds, followed by E or W.

Now lets put it together.  Below is a representation of a property with 5 points, each seperated by a distance and a direction given in bearings.

Five point plat

Think of each crosshair as a relative direction guide with North being towards the top of each crosshair.  Like most plats the “calls” are clockwise.  “Calls” are the stated direction and distances on the plat.  That is to say that the direction of travel and distance from one point to the other and back to the beginning is in a clockwise direction.  The text is also oriented in the direction of travel.  Plats do not have to follow this convention, but most do.  It is easy to see if this is correct by looking at the drawing.  The direction of travel from point 1 to point 2 is Northwest and this coincides with the call since the first and last letters of the direction are N and W respectively.

As a note of interest, if you encounter a call that is in the wrong direction, the direction of travel can be easily reversed by simply exchanging both directions on the call.  For example on the plat above the direction from point 1 to point 2 is N58°42’45″W.  If you wanted the direction from point 2 to point 1 you just reverse the directions, or in this case to S58°42’45″E.  Remember to change both directions.

This concludes Part II of our quick guide to plats of survey.  Stay tuned for the final part of this blog which will explain errors of closure, calculation of acreage, curves, and special considerations.

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Georgia Land News: A Potpurri of Postings

As I look around and try to keep up with all the happenings in land and acreage news, I realized that there is really no good source for compiling all of the relevant news sources and articles for the topics of interest to me.  I figure I can’t be the only one with this problem.  As such, I think I’ll try to aggregate a list of some of the more interesting articles to me here for ya’ll about once a week.  If you find it useful let me know in the comments.

Here we go.

Georgia Property Law: 

Real Estate, Land and Timber News:

Georgia Outdoors:

That’s about all the news fit to print this week.  Have a good weekend!

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Wildlife Photography: Wading Birds on Brier Creek, Augusta, GA

 
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
 

I had hoped to bring you a new post on another area for kayaking and canoeing in the Augusta, GA area.  I took my kayak down into South Burke County in hopes of running down Brier Creek towards the Savannah.  Unfortunately, a great deal of it was simply unnavigable due to low water levels.  After three portages, I gave up.  It probably is navigable when the water levels are up, but they’ll have to be up a good deal before I try again.  Inbetween portages though I did manage to capture a few shots of a couple of wading birds that I can share.

The first was of a Little Blue Heron.  Little Blue Herons are common site in the Augusta, GA area and in the CSRA.  They are wading birds and are most often found around shallow ponds, lakes, marshes, swamps and coastal areas.  They are slow methodical feeders whose diet primarily consists of small fish and amphibians. 

 
Little Blue Heron Head Shot 
Little Blue Heron Stalking, Brier Creek, Burke County Georgia

Little Blue Heron Stalking

Little Blue Heron wading, Brier Creek, Burke County Georgia

Little Blue Heron wading

Little Blue Herons are among the smaller of the heron type birds and can be found in our area mostly year round.  They usually around 24″ to 27″ in height with a 40″ wingspan and weigh in at around 12 ounces.  They are readily identifiable with their solid blue gray body with a slightly darker solid purple head.  They have two tone beaks with a blue gray tip.  If one loiters around you can usually see one snap up a small fish or frog.

I also managed to catch another wading bird from the boat.  A White Ibis.

 
White Ibis Close up, Brier Creek, Burke County GA

White Ibis Close Up

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)  White Ibis are a little less common in this area but can still be quite frequently seen during the summer months and occasionally in other parts of the year as well.  The White Ibis is a wading bird as well.  It is larger and heavier than other Ibis’s with a thicker bill and broader wings.  They tend to be found in alone or in groups in shallow fresh or salt water.  They feed by stirring the bottom with its bill and its primary diet consists of crayfish, mudcrabs, frogs and aquatic insects.

 

Brier Creek, Burke County, GA White Ibis
White Ibis on a fallen tree, Brier Creek
White Ibis wading, Brier Creek, Burke County GA

White Ibis on the banks of Brier Creek, GA

The White Ibis is typically 25″ tall and has a wingspan of about 38″ and weighs in at roughly 2 pounds.

Both are beautiful birds and are quite interesting to watch as they forage through the marshes and ponds for their meals.  If you get a chance you should definitely head out to Phinizy Swamp Nature Park or any of the many nature areas around Augusta and check them out.

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Georgia Wildflowers

Georgia is host to over 300 species of wildflowers.   In our forests you will find flowers everywhere you look.  While flowers can be found in the spring, summer, and fall, summer flowers are everywhere.  Here is a sampling of flowers I found in a meadow in Burke County, Georgia.

Maypop ( Passiflora incarnata )

Maypop ( Passiflora incarnata )

From childhood I remember Maypops more from their oval shaped fruit than from their beautiful flower.  Their fruit pod is about the size of a lemon and ovoid in shape.  The seeds are edible and were eaten by indians, but I confess that I have not tried them.

Morning Glory ( Ipomoea pandurata )

Morning Glory ( Ipomoea pandurata )

Morning Glories grow in almost all of our soils.  There blooms open in the morning and close at night, hence the name.  Sometimes they are referred to as Sweet Potato plants, since their root has an edible tuber.  The tuber however must be boiled and reboiled to be eaten. 

Phlox ( Phlox carolina )

Phlox ( Phlox carolina )

Phlox can be found in meadows or on hillsides.  It can be found in single plants or quite often it is found beds.  Although it is widely used as an ornamental it can be found throughout our area in the wild.

Partridge Pea ( Cassia fasciculata )

Partridge Pea ( Cassia fasciculata )

The Partridge Pea has leaves that look something like a Mimosa tree but never exceeds 4 feet tall.  The plant is sometimes called the “Sensitive Plant” since touching the leaves will cause the plant to fold its leaves to a closed position.

Eastern daisy Fleabane ( Erigeron annuus )

Eastern daisy Fleabane ( Erigeron annuus )

The Eastern daisy Fleabane can be readily found throughout the southeast.  Its flowers are about the size of a nickel with many flowers on one plant.

The next time you take a walk in the woods see how many different flowers you can find.  You will be amazed at the varieties of species.  If you photograph them, you can then use the photos to identify them.  A couple of good sites for wildflower identification are below.

http://uswildflowers.com/stateref.php?State=GA

http://www.southeasternflora.com/

Enjoy our wildflowers!

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