Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another Rat Tale


It all started with this Christmas cactus which measured over 30 inches across when this picture was taken a couple of years ago. Recently, B had put it in his shed to protect it from the cold. He had carefully covered it. When he checked on it yesterday, he found a critter had gotten into the shed and under the cover and destroyed a large part of the center of the plant.

So last night he set the Havahart trap and baited it with corn chips. This morning he found a large rat inside. It is not as large as the rat he caught in there last year.



As with the other one, we took him away from houses to set it free in a field/woods/swamp area. When B opened the trap, the rat did not want to leave the cage. Finally, it came out in a hurry and....


jumped straight at me!

I, in turn, jumped, too!

It ran up under the truck and into a wheel well, where it seemed content to stay.


From there it would venture out, only to run into each wheel in its turn.





It was really pretty funny. Despite our best efforts, we were out there a good fifteen minutes with B and our son and me all trying to get the rat to run to a safe place.


Finally, after this last shot, it ran down into the ditch where we had originally tried to send it.

B said it had been trying to memorize the tire scent, so it could follow us back home. So in an effort to sidetrack it, we took our garbage to the landfill before we came back home. Surely, there are other friends to be made there.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fall Leaves, Frosted Leaves

The first Christmas that we lived here, B gave me a small Japanese maple. We planted it just outside the kitchen window which faces the front walk. It has been happy there and has required some pruning in its ten years to keep it (mostly) contained in its area. 


These maples put on a show, coming and going. The new leaves in the spring come on red and the old ones turn orangey red before they drop.


Yesterday's light rain brought on a shine.


B's goldfish ---some of which are koi wannabees---live in the little pond.

Many of the leaves dropped in the night. It was a nice sight to look out on at breakfast.



Over a week ago, we had a good frost here in the rural parts of Tallahassee. On what is considered very cold days, the children at my school are kept inside before the school day actually begins. This puts everyone at a disadvantage, as we start the day with children that need to have released a little energy, but have been sitting instead.  On that morning, I met the challenge by engaging my kindergartners in a little impromptu science lesson. We bundled up in all their Florida winter clothes, which took a while since many can't really manage the zippers. I gave each of them a magnifying glass and we went out to explore the frost in the schoolyard.





With the magnifiers, they could see the crystals in the frost. They were SO excited, running around and bringing leaves to show me. It was a large area and it was safe for them to do just that. We don't get snow here, so we have to enjoy what we do have.

Friday, November 28, 2008

On the To-Do List

We drove around the coast last Sunday and out to Indian Pass where we sat by the water and enjoyed a cool-ish picnic.


The land across the water is St. Vincent's Island. It is a relatively large island and part of St. Vincent's National Wildlife Refuge. It is accessible only by boat and no motorized vehicles are allowed on the island.


This is the ferry that takes visitors over for day trips.


One day, we will need to go out there and explore.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Our First Anniversary


Thanksgiving marks the end of the first year of Our Nature.  It sounds so trite to say that the time has flown. But it really has.

I never would have predicted that this would become such an enjoyable part of my year. It has been a blast,as evidenced by the fact that this is post  #155.

And the amazing thing is that people actually read it!

Early in September, our son hooked us up with Google Analytics. This has only added to the fascination. This amazing program tracks the hits on the page. While it does not tell me which computer has visited the site, it will tell me which city and country it was in. It will also tell me the number who are directly coming to the site,  and those that are coming from a referring site and those that were searching for a keyword and what that keyword was. There are other little tidbits, as well.

So here are some of the statistics to date ---and remember this is only back to early September.

There have been 1,335 visits.

The readers were in 452 different cities in 43  countries.


So this year on my "thankful list", is that I am thankful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and pictures on this blog.

Cape San Blas

Last Sunday, with the encouragement of our older son, we drove down a road that proved to be a wonderful adventure and a highlight of the weekend. It took us to the Cape San Blas Lighthouse. It has been fenced off and looked like the keeper's cottage needed serious work, but it was an interesting site anyway.





We found it interesting that the sign said it had been moved six or seven times further inland. We thought you would know how many times a lighthouse had been moved. It would be, after all, a rather major undertaking.

From there we walked down to the beach and were amazed at the  quantity and quality of shells there. Here are the ones I kept. These cockle shells are hand-size!


The wind had died down some and the temperature risen so that some of us shed our jackets and we spent quite some time exploring. Though it was warmer, there were still only a few folks out on the beach.

There was a long tidal pool where I found fairly large jellyfish.



This is the largest intact pen shell I have seen in a while.


Sometime in the recent past a powerful flooding tide had come in and uprooted large trees and tossed them around and pulled down a chain link fence. That only added to the interesting places to explore.


I now have a new favorite beach for shelling.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

St.Joseph's Sunrise

The sunrise over the bay was lovely but the effect was quite brief. I caught these shots before fleeing back to the warmth of the cabin.




I guess the sun managed to get itself untangled from the oak for the next time I saw it, it was high in the sky.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cold and Beachy

Friday night at St. Joseph's Peninsula, the wind was nuts and it was cold, cold.

That evening before supper, we bundled up and walked down our boardwalk and along the bay side beach for a ways. There was a variety of sea life to be found, which is always interesting. On our return, we watched one of the other cabin-dwellers prepare to wind surf. We sat huddled together in our jackets, hats and gloves on our bench and watched his performance.




Even in a wetsuit, he had to be cold. The surf temperature was 63.

The wind was supposed to quit about midnight and let the temperature drop to freezing. Well, the wind was still around 20mph in the morning and the temperature by the time we left the cabin at around ten, was 43. Brrr!

We went off to explore the park, as only one of us had been there in recent years.

As the name suggests, St. Joseph's Peninsula is on a long peninsula which for all intents and purposes may as well be a barrier island in the Gulf. This creates different habitats in different areas.





The dunes are the highest in the state. These signs were being buried on their posts.




I loved the fact that, because of the cold, we pretty much had it to ourselves.

Our sons, surf fishing:


It was amazing to me to find large expanses of beach that had no human tracks, and times when we were the only people we could see or hear.







I took this of our newlyweds through an iron ring I found on the beach.


As far as I am concerned, this is the absolute best way to enjoy the beach: even though we had to keep our jackets and hats on, it was bliss.