Sorry, I haven’t had a lot of time to blog here – I’ve been enjoying the trip. We flew from Las Vegas to Birmingham Monday evening. The top pic. is sunset at Las Vegas. Monday was a beautiful, sunny day and I did take pictures, which I’ll add to the blog when I have time.

At the Birmingham Airport you walk past a wall of plants. It’s 400 feet long (a football field is 300 feet long goal line to goal line), 15 feet high it and contains more than 60 species of plants. There are 8,000 individual plants. It was designed by a local quilt artist local quilt artist (Murray Johnston) and a Canadian design company named Green Over Grey. It includes plant life from the local North Alabama uplands, through the state’s river valleys and farmland and plants from the Gulf of Mexico coast area.

The plants need to live in an area with mostly moderate and constant indoor lightning and be relatively low maintenance.

Birmingham, with a population of 196,910, is almost exactly the same size as Grand Rapids. Birmingham was founded in 1871 – AFTER the Civil War – with the merger of several small towns. It was famous for it’s steel factories and has been a railroad hub.

The greater Birmingham area has been hit by two F5 tornadoes; one in Birmingham’s northern suburbs in 1977, and second in the western suburbs in 1998. The area was hit by an EF4 tornado which was part of a larger outbreak in April 2011. There is a 2nd “tornado alley” that runs from Central Mississippi to northern Alabama…with tornadoes possible in the late winter to mid-spring and sometimes in the fall (November).

The average high/low temperature in Birmingham in January is 54/36 and in July it’s 91/71. The hottest ever was 107 and the coldest was 10 below zero (!) in the famous cold outbreak of Feb. 1899. Significant snowfall is rare, but the biggest snowstorm in Birmingham was 13″ on March 13, 1993 during the famous “Superstorm”. That storm produced shovelable snow all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.

More later – thanks for reading my blog.