Monday, November 29, 2010

Mailbox Monday: Water World

This picture was sent to me, along with the text.


An employee of German postal carrier Deutsche Post DHL  arrives to deliver mail from her flat-bottomed canoe in the narrow canals in the Spreewald Forest on April 9, 2010 in Luebbenau, Germany. She has been delivering mail via the waterways for 20 years and is the only postwoman in Germany to deliver mail door to door by boat. The Spreewald Forest is interlaced with canals that are still used by locals for delivering goods, ferrying tourists and even collecting garbage. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Seeing Stars

Our son and daughter-in-law accompanied us on a trip down to the lighthouse. They had not been in quite a long while and requested the excursion. We do not take much convincing to go.

We walked along the muddy shore by the lighthouse itself. The tide was way out.


Son, D, found a small sea star above the water line.


Here is the underside.


He took it back to the water after he took these pictures but was uncertain as to whether it was still alive. Sea stars are not at all common on our beaches.  I hope it will live.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Our Black Friday

While some spent their Black Friday looking for deals on alligator shoes and munching on left-over turkey, we spent ours observing some wild turkeys and alligators at Payne’s Prairie (and driving a few hundred miles.)


On our drive back to Tallahassee (and through Gainesville), our son directed us to a part of the park we had not seen before: La Chua Sink. It was a popular spot today. We counted 52 alligators enjoying the warm temperatures and breeze in our brief hike. There were alligators in many sizes.

100_3041  Look closer at the belly on this one!100_3043

This one still has its immature stripes.


Supposedly you can also see the wild horses and bison from that spot. We saw some sign, but no large mammals.

There were a number of wading birds. I was amused by this female anhinga sharing a stump with a large turtle.


It was a really cool spot and we will want to go back.

But despite all these gator pictures:

GO SEMINOLES!! Beat the Gators tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Bizarre Bazaar

B and I went to the Bizarre Bazaar on Saturday. It was held as a garage sale at a community of old warehouses that are now artists’ studios. We did not find anything we needed but we did have fun looking around a little shop of resale items—mostly vintage things.

Where we parked were these interesting notices on the side of the building.




I forgot to ask him what he saw!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turkeys and Eagles


The story goes that Benjamin Franklin proposed that the wild turkey be named as our national bird. Of course, you will already know that the bald eagle was out-voted. We eat turkeys. Though they did not attain that status, I would venture to say that more Americans have seen turkey (at least in its sliced form) than eagles.

In our wanderings around north Florida and south Georgia, we often see wild turkeys. In fact, there is a driveway on my way to school that I check every day for turkeys. (Those are wild turkeys, but they are fed like other wild birds by the residents.)

Well, last Sunday we did not see any turkeys, but we did see six bald eagles down at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge.  It is possible that one of these we saw twice in different locations. One was a juvenile and still in its big, brown look.  On our way out, an eagle flew over the road and into a pine, some distance away. There, another adult eagle was already perched. They faced each other for a while. I had already decided that even twelve times larger was still a very small picture of even birds the size of eagles, but they waited so patiently, that I decided to get out of the truck and go for it.


This is the cropped one.


It is not the first time we have photographed two together but I think these were closer together.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mailbox Monday: Another Stumper

I don’t really know what I’m looking at here.


It reminds me of an old-fashioned telephone.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fall Colors Have Finally Arrived

We had some much-needed rain on Tuesday. Depending on the location, it ranged from an inch or so, to over three and a half inches. Our yard received something in the middle of that but our school rain gauge measured 3.6 inches.

By Tuesday night, you could see the grass greening up and by Wednesday morning, the leaf colors had popped. When we walked around the block on Thursday evening, I carried my camera.

The hickories and grapevines are golden:




Some maples are turning yellow:


While the native maples are more multi-colored:


The dogwoods are crimson:


But the winged sumac is spectacular!





I am thankful to live in a part of Florida where there are at least three seasons.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

X Marks the Spot

While sitting at the picnic table in Greenville, B noticed an unusual configuration to the train tracks. They ran two sides of the park-- but not parallel. Over at one corner, the tracks junctioned at a (close to) right-angle intersection.


We decided we had never seen this anywhere before.


Look at what they had to do with the ties to support it.


The lips on the train wheels ride on the inside of the rails. Each rail has  been cut here to allow the lips to go through the intersection. Extra steel has been bolted in to add more support.

Sure hope someone’s tracking the trains on the tracks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Picnic With RC in Greenville

B and I went for a long Sunday drive on roads we had never been on before. We were guided by our GPS and our DeLorme Atlas of Georgia. Our drive allowed us to wander through five counties in two states.

We stopped in Greenville in Madison County, Florida for our picnic at the little city park. In the park was a life-size, bronze statue of Ray Charles. It turns out that though Ray Charles was born in Albany, Georgia while his mother stayed with relatives, he was raised in her hometown of Greenville. Everyone there called him RC.



I think the sculpture only lacks a little button visitors could push to hear a song performed by the late great RC.

While preparing this entry, I Googled his name and came up with a little video clip on YouTube. The number read: 8,299,562. That is how many hits this one video has had. The song is “Georgia On My Mind.” Who knows--- it might have been Greenville on his mind as he sang.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Snippets of St. Marks

There were six gators sunning (it was SUN-day!) on the same small peninsula on this cool afternoon.


Here’s a great blue heron and the wild blue yonder.


I am such a sucker for muhly grass. I just love its rosy tinted fluff.


As the sun was going down, the breeze had dropped and the water was so uncommonly still; the reflections were so sharp--much sharper than this camera would show.



Besides this, we saw four bald eagles, three deer, a fox, a bobcat, hundreds of coots, and dozens of egrets.

Yeah, it was a good, spur-of-the moment trip.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Big bobcat! During our Sunday drive down to St. Marks the time change made it so it was getting dark when we were leaving. I am always hoping to see a bobcat or a bear. This time I spotted a spotted bobcat in the sand on the marsh. It was frustrating to be able to see it and not be able to get a decent picture in the darkening evening light.

Here it is in its tiger shape.


This one is better for the profile as the grass was not hiding it so much.


As I watched, it walked up to a post and sprayed it to mark its territory.

There was another couple behind us taking pictures. Benny and Sue Byrd were kind enough to email me some of their better ones and even gave permission for me to post them here on the blog.


BCat taken by BByrd

Bcat by BByrd

I told B I went probably 40 years of my life before I saw my first bobcat in the wild. This is the fourth sighting at St. Marks for us.

It is a thrill!

This is one I caught with my camera one evening in February of 2008.

It was near the area where we saw this one on Sunday. I have to wonder if it is the same one. It was a big cat even then.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Vet’s Day


As the wife of a Vietnam veteran and the daughter of a World War II veteran, I want to take this time to say thank you to all American vet’s and their families for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make on behalf of the people of our country. Indeed, people around the world have benefited from the service of American vets. God bless you!


Yesterday on the school news, a child serving as the anchorman, announced that there would be no school today in observance of “Veterinarian's Day.” We were all implored to honor our veterinarians. (Close.)


I told my kindergartners the story of the Pilgrims in preparation for Thanksgiving. When I was finished, one asked, “Is that a true story?” I answered that it was. Another asked, “How do you know?” I said, “My teacher told me and I can read about it in books and on-line.” 

I should have seen the next question coming: “Was your teacher on the Mayflower?”


I could hear the electricians working in my room trying to stifle their laughter.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Congestion on the River

We took the canoe and kayak out to Wacissa on a recent Sunday morning. Here is B fishing downstream a bit in the old Grumman.


Here is the view upstream.

We have never seen so many folks on the river. An outfitter was running a kayak tour.



The water was quite clear. And clearly the invasive hydrilla was in its element.


This shows the sunlight shining down the limestone side of a deep spring hole. There were fish that do not show up in the picture.


Along the way, we enjoyed the usual water birds and turtles and a few gators. In this spot, I caught all three in one picture. (The turtle is behind the alligator, further down the log.)


Here is a better look at the alligator. It was wearing a bit of duckweed camouflage.


The cardinal flowers added a splash of dash to the splash.


The wild rice was attracting bees. The pollen was raining down in off-white dust and floating on the surface.


There is a request from Nestles to remove water from the Wacissa springs to transport for bottling. It does not seem that this can benefit anyone but Nestles. Surely, a bottleneck of kayaks is the only bottle neck that Wacissa needs.