Monday, September 30, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

Double Birdie

I spotted this bald eagle back down at St. Marks hanging out near the eagle's nest that last year  had been leased out to great horned owls.

After I took the picture, I noticed that there was not just one, but TWO eagles in the picture.
When we came back by, the two could be seen a little better.

And, finally, both of them.

Maybe they are not leasing out their nest this year.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Verdi, the Bullfrog

I wrote a while back that we had a bullfrog living in and around our little goldfish pond by our front door. Well, we are pretty sure that  it is a "she" and she has continued to reside at our address since June. She has continued to grow and is now larger than my fist--and I do not have small, dainty hands. We think she is just nothing short of awesome. The other day, I caught her sitting under a porch rocker. I took the first shot through the window since I was not sure what other opportunities were ahead.

I went out through the garage and, as I  approached, she remained in  her  spot while I took the shots below.

Verdi,  by the way, means "green."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

OTB: Osprey/Thunderbird

I had to laugh at this osprey posing as a thunderbird down at St. Marks.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Nothing Drab About This Mourning Dove

Beautiful, from head to toe. 

Confession time: When I was a little girl playing on my front porch, I used to listen to the mourning doves and I thought they were crying cows!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tail-draggin' Dragonfly

B and I were walking around the block last night when we observed a bug drop from the sky and land awkwardly on the road. Curious, we went to investigate and found it was a dragonfly. B easily picked it up.

The clear wings and rusty coloring were impressive.

Once I had taken a couple of phone pictures, B tried to set it on a brick mailbox. 

It had become "attached" to him. Even when he held his  hand upside down, the dragonfly would not turn loose. B had to gently scrape it off ----and then it flew away.  It seemed strong, so we will never know why it suddenly dropped from the sky.

At home, I tried to identify this dragonfly and I think I got the Family, Libellulidae, which turns out to be the largest family of dragonflies in the world, with over 1,000 species. They are also known as skimmers. They have life cycles that include eggs, nymphs and adults. Nymphs live in water and eat everything they can get their jaws around. We have found them in Florida waters before. I have even mistakenly put them in aquariums with other aquatic life,  only to end up with a well-fed dragonfly nymph and little else.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Savoring the Swallowtails

I confess that I have never been skilled at photographing flying birds. It is not for a lack of trying, but somehow, either by the camera or the one holding the camera, the focus is invariably wrong.

So I usually just admit this and watch flying birds instead of trying again to capture them digitally. However, when we came upon six swallow-tailed kites flying  over a pasture, I just had to give it a shot. These are the only two worth showing of all the clicks of the camera-- and they are not great. Swallow tails are probably my favorite Florida bird and they are only here for a few week during the spring and summer. By August, they are heading south on their migration to winter in the Caribbean. I love them for their form, for their grace, for their illusiveness.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mailbox Monday: It's a Dog's Life

My sister took this picture and sent it to me, along with the following:

The one with the dog chasing the cat had a real pitbull close by and an old farmer. At first I was afraid the pitbull would run over and jump in my window, but then I realized the pitbull was older than the farmer and didn't get off the porch.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Casting Comfort

Yesterday at school, one of my kindergartners got a finger squished in a cabinet door. It hurt ---and she cried big tears. Eventually, while cuddling her on my lap, I asked if she would like something cold to put on it. She said she would. I opened my tiny refrigerator to find few options. Then my eyes fell on a large margarine tub full of home-made playdough. I took out a small lump  of the very soft, very cold dough and carefully molded it around the poor finger. I said, "There! You have a pink cast." She was immediately comforted and proud to show all her friends her "cast".

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

About Sprouts

We like alfalfa sprouts on sandwiches and salads, but we find it impossible to use up a pint box before they start to age. Many years ago, we had grown our own on the kitchen counter and I decided it was time to try that again. I recently searched for and purchased a bag of sprouting seed in the local hippie mart. The store has sprouting jars for sale and the instructions on the bag match the jar. But I had a memory of sprouting alfalfa seed on a new, rinsed kitchen sponge. I sprinkled seed on the wet sponge and then sprinkled water on the seed. I watered the seed very lightly each day. Here are the results after one week. You can see the sponge gets stained from the chlorophyl.

After the harvest, I put the plastic dish in the dishwasher to sterilize it and rinsed the sponge, removing any plant bits. I microwaved the sponge to kill most bacteria and started again.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mailbox Monday: South African Style

Our son has been in South Africa for the past few weeks, working on his research for his PhD.  He sent this picture of a portable post office.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Watching and Watched

On a recent trip to St. Marks, B and D went down a weedy path to the river's edge.

I stayed on my usual spot at the spill dam. Water was still pouring over, though not with the torrent of the last time we had been there. As B caught a pretty little bass,

I watched a pretty little gator. It was certainly no yearling, but it was small, as local gators go. It was floating just above the dam. The reflection of the reeds makes it look like it is afloat in a corduroy and rick-rack pond.

I watched as it swam a little toward the dam. 

Then it settled back down...

to watch.

The gator below was quite near the road, just around the corner from the visitor's center, in a flooded piney woods---a place we don't  usually see gators. But then that spot is usually high and dry. For the record, we ended up with 26 inches of rain in our little rain gauge at our house during the month of July.