Monday, October 31, 2011

Mailbox Monday: Pictograms


The knob is a polished stone.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blue-Stripe Ribbon Snake

Down at the lighthouse at St. Marks, we stopped to look at this snake that was dead in the road. Back home, we identified it as a blue-stripe ribbon snake.

We read that it in Florida, it has a rather small area where it may be found, and where we found it was just right. Well, except of course in the road was not the best place, since it had been run over!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The 900th Post: Monarchs on the Move


On Sunday afternoon, we went down to the St. Marks lighthouse again to check on the migrating butterflies. The last time we went, it was very windy and there were next to no butterflies at all. The Monarch Festival was this past Saturday, but we were tied up with other commitments. Anyway, since we go so frequently, we usually avoid the crowded days.

Sunday was just about perfect, weather-wise, and the butterflies were out feeding themselves silly on the wildflowers along the dikes. While the one above was visiting the horsemint, most were found on the saltbushes. The honey-like fragrance of the saltbush flowers was carried by the breeze, adding to our enjoyment. The butterflies seek the sunshine, so the harsh light can make photography tricky but I got a few shots worth sharing.




The blue in the picture above was actually the sky reflecting off the pond water, while the blue in the one below is the sky.


There were dozens and dozens of monarchs by the shoreline, having one last meal before they began the long flight across the Gulf to Mexico. We counted 35 in this one bush--- and that was not likely all of them.


We even saw one monarch that had been tagged for tracking it. There were also sulfurs and skippers and fritillaries.

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It has been almost four years since our kids came to us and said they thought we were "interesting enough" that we should write a blog. It would be hard to imagine higher praise from your young adult children! They set us up on Blogspot and so it began. This post, as titled, is the 900th published one. 

Who knew a quiet girl would have so much to say?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mailbox Monday: Tin Roof and Tin Man


This nice, home-made mailbox has its own tinman standing guard.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Disoriented

I went home to see my dad and brother last weekend. It is close to 300 miles from here.

Sometimes it seems even further.

Sunday morning, I woke up in the bedroom where I spent most of my childhood nights, to the sound of sandhill cranes. They do not even visit Tallahassee and  I do not recall them ever being a part of my childhood. When did they start wandering through the neighborhood?


As I left for Tallahassee, down the road a couple of houses, I passed a fall display, complete with scarecrows, pumpkins, and hay bales. Somehow, it just doesn't seem to work with the background of tropical palms, hibiscus and banana plants.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Have They No Shame?

B and I were in Wallyworld picking up some turtle food when he noticed this product on the shelf.


Yes, it is a stick. 

(For your pet bird to perch on.)

Pardon me: It is a "natural branch."

For four dollars and sixteen cents, plus tax.


It is also imported from China.

The part that really cracks me up is that it states on the card that no tools are required.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Little Gray Fox

This little guy was crossing the road near our garden and stopped to look both ways before taking off at a run and disappearing into the cover of vegetation.


Interestingly, there were two spotted fawns just ahead of it.
Also, one morning last week, I observed a red fox running across a wide lawn as I drove to school.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Spoonbills


I love spoonbills and they are infrequent visitors to our area, so spotting this trio in a very secluded spot at the St. Marks Refuge was such a treat. This was as close as I could get and I had to shoot between lots of vegetation to get this. Clicking on the picture will  help you see the unique bill that gives them their name. We  have only seen them down there a couple of other times in the past decades. As I said, they are "infrequent."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

You Could Get Crabs

You could get crabs in these port-a-potties at the coast. But not the kind you think of.


As we drove by, I saw at least a dozen fiddler crabs skitter up under the doors. 
 I took  the picture below of fiddler crabs another time but it demonstrates why you might want to sit very  carefully. 


Monday, October 3, 2011

Mailbox Monday: Immodest Mermaids


My sister, who sent me the picture, named this mailbox Conjoined Mad Mermaids.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Now You See Me, Now You Don't

These large Rocky Mountain mammals were in a case in the visitors' center for Mt. Evans.



We looked and looked--and looked!-- for mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer and moose. We saw the last three, but never a goat or sheep. The word we finally got was that they do not come down to lower elevations when they have their babies and it was that time. Some people had seen some sheep high on Mt. Evans the day we were there, but we did not.

Below was our only moose sighting. It was far, far from where we were on a road and this is the best shot I got.


So we will just have to go back!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dead, But Most Are Still Standing

The pine  beetle has really taken a toll in the evergreens in Colorado. Dead trees are everywhere, sometimes in large stands. These mountains should be green, but they are covered in  dead trees.


There is evidence of foresters' work to reduce some of the fuel around; we saw large stacks of wood that was cut. We are told that the piles and stacks are burned after the first snow falls.


But we also saw the remains of a (relatively old) fire. (To read the sign, click on the  picture.)





In the Betty Ford Alpine Garden in Vail, we came upon this sculpture, created in response to the millions of dead and dying trees in Colorado.





As you can see, these are very large trees.




It is very sad to see the change.