This gothic-looking church mailbox was in front of a charming place in Seaside, Florida on the Gulf coast.
The roof tiles were copper. Someone spent a lot of time on this unique box.
What do you see?
Is this better?
How about this?
As you can see this American bittern was right by the road. There were cars that stopped to see what we were looking at and we feel certain the occupants never saw it.
To improve its camou, a bittern holds its long beak vertically and blends in perfectly with the reeds. Its eyes are set low on its head, allowing the bittern to see forward when it stands in this pose.
Further down the road, there were two more hunting.
They were both facing the setting sun. I guess that kept their shadow behind them so as to sneak up on prey.
Their diet includes amphibians, reptiles, insects, crayfish, fish and even small mammals. Here is a recording of a bittern’s unusual call; its deep sound resembles some frogs or, some say, a water pump. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Bittern/id
Thanks for reading to the bittern end.
As we watched the beach birds, I was reminded of my playground duties as a kindergarten teacher. Here was a large gull watching as these hyper little peeps (sandpipers) ran back and forth ahead of the waves. One would be more daring. One would chase another. One would run off ahead and one would lag behind.
One just wanted to tattle, but was sent back to play.
But when it was time to go, they came along—in sort of a line.
Here are just a couple of the many interesting things we saw on the shore as we walked.
A cannonball jellyfish. I thought the shape was a combination of Yoda and Darth Vader.
I was struck by the beautiful coloring of this blue crab claw.
I did not collect either of these, as the claw was stinky and the jellyfish was….well, a jellyfish.
But this shell was my prize. It is the largest whole moon snail I have ever found.
The usual ones are little larger than my thumbnail.
A nice keepsake from a nice weekend trip.
While we were on our little get-away, we went for the first time to Eden Gardens, near Destin, Florida. The house dates to 1897 when it was the family home for William Henry Wesley, the second child of Rev. John and Sarah Wesley. This John is a descendant of John Wesley who was the founder of the Methodist Church. (1703-1791) He and his brother, Charles who is famous for his hymns (including Hark! The Herald Angels Sing), spent time on the coast of Georgia around St. Simon’s Island. John served as a missionary and Charles was the secretary to the territorial governor, Oglethorpe. Unlike his more spiritual forbearers, William was a prosperous lumber baron. He logged the forests on his thousands of acres; he milled, planed and cured lumber on site and then shipped it out of Pensacola. This was a bustling operation until after World War I when the 200-year-old trees were gone. William and his wife had nine children in this big house.
The house was sold in the 1950’s and the gardens were planted in the 1960’s. The old oaks and camellias are lovely.
The home overlooks Tucker Bayou which served as the route to Pensacola for the lumber.
This charming, (almost) life-size sculpture adorns the lawn down to the water.
It was an interesting place and we are glad to have gone. I was not able to find the links between this Wesley and the John and Charles Wesleys, but that would be interesting, too.
Along a hiking trail at Grayton Beach State Park, we came across this bench.
It did not require close inspection to note how warped two of the boards were.
Boards used out of doors need to always be placed heart down to help reduce this kind of warping. How disappointing to have made this bench and have it do this. Remember: heart down now or downhearted later.
As we hung around waiting for sunset at Grayton Beach, one of our friends pointed out the pattern in the sand of the drip lines from the deck boards. With the sun low in the sky, the light was right to see under there.
Such a nice geometric grid over the contour of the dune.
On the left of the picture above, you can see some animal tracks. I think I remember that those were bobcat tracks. (We saw a lot of tracks on this trip.) Anyway, these tracks went under the steps and through and out the other side.
It might be a fun place to set up a game web-cam.
I have shared before that I sometimes entertain myself by creating little installations in nature. On Saturday, I briefly enlisted my group of four to help collect items on the beach for a face. We each helped with the arrangement.
Kind of monkey-ish.
Monkey with hair gel and crew cut.
On Monday on our way home, we stopped at Cape San Blas to walk the beach for shells.
Apparently others had made shell installations there.
Large cockle shells had been hung on this palm.
And others were on this dead pine.
This stump had such an animal look to me. At first I was thinking turtle, but then, bear.
Maybe a beartle.
On Sunday, we went to the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin Air Force Base. We had picked up a brochure about it at the park office that said it was open daily except federal holidays. That has apparently changed since it was closed when we arrived and there was a sign to that effect. So we did not get to go inside, but the static display outside was well worth the trip. There were about thirty aircraft surrounding the building. Each had a sign to tell about it.
Now I am not into the details of flying machines and can hardly tell an F-15 from a B-52. (Well, I’m a little better than that!) But they don’t really hold all that much interest for me. However, I understand the hold they have on my guys. B knows his planes and we were with friends who do, too. So I was happy for them to be happy.
To pass the time, while they talked the specifics of each exhibit, I looked for faces. Isn’t that a sweet little face?
This profile is all business. (B says it is Alfred Hitchcock)
Here we have a dog muzzle but his ears must have blown straight back.
Here’s another little happy face.
There is something fishy about this one.
This one is pure insect.
The star of the show for me was the SR-71 Blackbird.
Here it is from the rear:
And here it is from the front:
According to the sign, this type of plane can go up to 2,510 mph and fly at altitudes up to 85,000 feet. In 1990, an SR-71 flew from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. in 1 hour and 4 minutes, which was not its top speed. Mind-boggling facts!
The sculpted contouring on the wings is totally unique. In fact,there was not anything about this plane that looks like other planes to me. Even down to the three tires.
I remember when our sons were very young, how fascinated they were with these planes. It is understandable.
Even if there was not a face on the entire plane.