Monday, November 30, 2009

Mailbox Monday: On the Cutting Edge

A saw blade was used for this designer box.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Fire Pit

I knew I wanted to have a fire pit on our porch for warmth and ambiance so it turned out to be the first item we bought as it was the last one on the shelf as summer ended. We do quite a bit of camping and usually have evening campfires and this was pretty much what I had in mind. At some point, I decided that the smoke of a wood fire can be annoying and messy and that I would like to go with propane. We bought it as an anniversary gift to each other. We bought it in the box and while the box was large, the fire pit is quite large! ---“Some assembly required.”


The propane tank hides in a drawer in the base. It is so tall, that I fondly refer to it as the “crematorium.”


So on a Saturday night we had friends over for chili and it was chilly so we got to crank up the fire pit.



But it was especially wonderful for when the central Florida family were up for Thanksgiving; it helped make it more comfortable to eat dinner on the porch.


Later in the dark, the “kids” and B and I enjoyed a few cozy minutes enjoying its warmth and talking before we all went in for bed.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Space Gazing

On Thanksgiving evening, our son D noticed a little blurb on a Yahoo page that told that the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station were going to pass over later. From there he was directed to a page that told the time and directional path of the two, based on specific zip codes.

This night was quite clear. While we have lots of stars visible from our yard there are also trees that block the path described.  So we bundled up the folks and ourselves and headed out into the chilly dark.

We only needed to go a couple of miles out to the church lot on the highway that is beside a large open pasture. From there we had a great view of the two “ships” in orbit. D set up his camera on a tri-pod and this is what he got:

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The streaks show the movement over minutes. The little, almost vertical streak near the center was a plane. The diagonal ones that are so close they appear as one, are the Shuttle and Space Station. Of course to our eyes, they were just bright dots moving rapidly across the sky.

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One was brighter, though they were both bright. We think that the Space Station was ahead of the Space Shuttle.

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It was the first time any of us had seen either of these in orbit. It was really quite a thrill and made for yet another special memory for this Thanksgiving. Even my mother who has macular degeneration was able to see this. Pretty cool.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Grateful For a Great Thanksgiving

I was holding my breath until the last minute but my 87-year-old dad and my 92 year-old-mom got to come with my brother for Thanksgiving. It is a long haul from Polk County to Tallahassee and their health comes and goes ---but is mostly excellent. They had not been to our home in several years and, of course, we had made some changes, most notably the kitchen paint and tile floor and the screened porch.

With our sons and daughter-in-law, we had eight for dinner. The weather even held and we were able to eat on the porch, with the additional warmth from the fire pit and a little heater at mama’s feet.

Here are a few shots, including some that our son took.


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K makes an awesome pecan pie.

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I had fun putting together this tall arrangement of cassia, red shrimp flowers, wheat celosia and grapevine. The tall, skinny vase allowed diners to still see each other.

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Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Proud Parents of Eagles

As the proud parents of two Eagle Scouts, B and I related to these two eagle parents who were watching their youngster fly over the marshes around them.




I do not have the camera to get a decent shot of an eagle in flight, so there is not one of the youngster. Believe me, I have tried before and discovered I do better just to WATCH an eagle flying.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Don’t Mess With Redheads

We had barely gotten started on the hike Sunday at Birdsong Nature Center, when I inadvertently stepped on a red rat snake. I was walking in the lead and looking all around and never saw it until our friend pointed out that I had just stepped on it.


It was apparently sunning itself in what little sun was shining that day. It did not move at all and we were not sure it was even alive until B took his walking stick to lift it off the path. Then it got into its offensive/defensive coil….


and struck at B with a speed and distance that was rather alarming to me.


But still, it is about as purty as a snake gets.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Birdsong on a Sunday

For my birthday, B gave me a membership to Birdsong Nature Center, located just over the state line in Georgia.  My birthday is in May and we had not been up there since. You go mostly to hike and it is way too hot in the summer for hiking and so we had deliberately waited until fall, but it was still later in fall than I would have expected to go. At any rate, we took a picnic and some friends and stopped at Carr Lake on the drive up to eat at the little park at the boat landing.

Birdsong was lovely in its fall colors.

There is an abundance of sumac.


The hickories are gloriously gold now.


We walked on one of the longer loop trails, through pines and hardwoods.


We stopped in the house to sit at the bird window for a while, but the birds were elsewhere.


Tomorrow’s entry will be about the more interesting/exciting minutes of the afternoon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mailbox Monday: Happy Turkey Day!


So, let’s talk a little turkey:

Yesterday made our second anniversary of Our Nature.  This is the 398th post. ---And we’re still having fun!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Bradley’s Country Store has been around a long time, as evidenced by their sign: since 1923.


They specialize in sausage. Once a year in November, they have a fair of sorts. We had not been in a few years and decided this was the year to go back. It was predictably crowded and fun. The setting is lovely. Look at the backdrop of live oaks behind and above the cloggers.


We saw some boys who had escaped the crowds and were enjoying the long, low branches.



There were the usual arts, crafts and food booths but there were also demonstrations. This man was using an antique forge—made by Sears.


This woman was re-caning antique chairs.


This man was cooking kettle corn in a large cast iron pot.


Though there were pony rides and carriage rides, this little guy had the coolest ride in the place.


His dad had made this monster wagon with parts he found on EBay.  It even had a fold-down, FSU/camou awning shade. It is one of a kind, for sure!

There was was lots to see and buy at Bradley’s. We came away with some mayhaw jelly.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Love That Mushroom Compost!

There is a mushroom farm in the neighboring county and we have in the past bought some of their compost from various venders. It has been about three years since we did this. So it was time. On a recent  Saturday, we went to a landscaping company just a mile down the road and got a shovelful.



It is GOOD stuff, though fragrant.


Once home, we broadcasted it into bushes and butterfly gardens and bulb beds, using pitchforks, shovels, buckets and wheelbarrows.

We are creating new beds around the new screen porch and so we put it there too.


On Sunday, B tilled it in to these new beds to mix it with the builder’s sand.


We are on our way to some good growing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big Spider

There is a gap somewhere in the screen porch that allows critters to get in. When we find them,  we carry them out. This spider was quite large.

The multipurpose net was just the thing to take this one out.

Though it does have a fiddle-shape on its back, I don’t think it was a brown recluse because they are usually much smaller.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Aerial Acro-bats

On this perfectly gorgeous evening, three bats accompanied me on my neighborhood walk. One was larger than the other two, so I am not sure if there may have been more than one species. They kept me entertained the whole time with their amazing aerial acro-bat-ics that rivaled any air show I have ever attended.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mailbox Monday: Okay! Whatever!

This one is down the street from us and we have often wondered about it.


And this eclectic collage is different:


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Watch Your Step With Walkingsticks


I was cleaning out some cast iron plants (Aspidistra elatior), and came across this walking stick pair. The male is really hard to see as he is tiny relative to the female. While I thought they looked like walking sticks, I was not positive and so I wrote my resource at IFAS and here is his response:

It is the twostriped walkingstick, Anisomorpha buprestoides.  In the case of the pairs, they are mating, and the smaller one on top is the male.  It's a common walkingstick in much of Florida, but you do have to be careful with them.  When disturbed, they will spray an acidic defensive chemical from the end of their abdomen.  They often aim for the eyes, and the chemical can cause pain and possibly temporary blindness in small animals.  Pets often experience this.  They feed on foliage, probably of various hardwood trees and shrubs.  I've kept them in captivity for a while and fed them oak leaves.  In the populations around the Ocala National Forest, the stripes are a much brighter shade of cream/white than in other parts of the state.  There's an excellent article about this species on the web at


I had no idea.

The webpage describes how awful the spray was for one man’s eye.

So, keep an eye out for walkingsticks ---and then to keep your eyes, keep your distance.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Such a Pretty Scar

While hiking at the coast, we noticed this old cedar tree  had recently had a large limb torn off. All that brown on the ground is the limb.

But look at the beautiful and fragrant wood that was revealed.

We were amused to see an opportunistic palm was growing in the fork. A bird had probably dined on one of the palm fruits and then perched there and made the seed deposit.

Friday, November 13, 2009

P-P-P-Piglet Prickly Pear

A couple of weeks ago, B and I took a Sunday afternoon trip to the lighthouse. The prickly pears were blooming. Actually, I guess that would be “fruiting,” as the blooms are gone now.

This cactus reminded me of Piglet from the Winnie the Pooh stories.