Thursday, March 29, 2012

Turkeys On the Move

As B and I made a little trip out to our vegetable garden, we stopped to watch eight turkeys feeding beside the  highway. Of course, they were making a run for it before I could get my lens  open.

On the trip back, there were two HUGE toms on the other side in the woods but that picture did not turn out at all. They did not get big by being trusting.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Swift Swifts

My dad and I sat on his front porch last week and watched a large flock of chimney swifts feeding on insects, as they flew as erratically as bats. They remained high overhead. I only caught a small portion of them in this picture and, even though I zoomed, they were  high, as I said. But you can get the idea, or you can click on the picture to get a better idea.

It was quite a "herd of birds!"

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cherokee Trees

Cherokee rose is one of the native wild roses here. We have one that runs high and cascades off the trees out front. It blooms without fail every spring.

Each blossom is only slightly smaller than my palm.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Sign of Spring?

I was on this playground at my school when I noticed this tree. This deciduous oak has yet to leaf out, but but you can see it is "bearing fruit." I counted nine playground balls stuck in its branches! I told some of my kindergartners that now we know where balls come from: they grow on trees!

I couldn't get a single kid to buy it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Crazy Carrots

B brought these home from our garden. Tell me those are not some crazy carrots!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Purple Graze

You may remember how large the purple cabbage plants were in our garden, even before they started to make heads. The plants were three feet across. Here is one we harvested that weighed in at over 5 pounds.

I love the pattern when I cut off a slice.

This, we made into coleslaw.

Another day, we cooked it up sweet and sour, German style. It was really tasty, too.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hail, Yes!!

On Wednesday evening, B and I were driving back home from town when the sky looked very threatening. I opted to drive home the back road that looked like it might skirt the darkest area. We got further than I expected before we got into the rain. But we ran into hail before we got home. Just after we pulled into the garage, the rain and hail really picked up.

Of course the hailstones melt quickly, but you can still detect the layers of ice in this little one.

It collected in the grass and on the front walk.

It collected on the screen roof on the back porch.

It was the most we have seen since we moved here about 15 years ago. It was pretty exciting but we were glad that it was not any bigger. The young tomato plants in the yard did not show any damage.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Going For the Gold

On St. Patrick's Day, B and I went for the gold, while wearing green. Our clothes did not start out green, but mildew stains soon turned them that color.

It was way past time for some exterior spring cleaning: specifically, the vinyl siding on our house. The Florida climate encourages a particularly stubborn rust to grow on houses here. This rust is not impressed by pressure-washing. It is not impressed with cleaners that say "spray on and rinse off." This rust must be sprayed and then scrubbed hard with a firm brush. It is dirty and exhausting work, involving a high ladder.

We did one long, tall, windowless wall and it took most of 5 hours. Today after church, we did a small wall that was mostly windows. Piece, by piece, we will get it all done and we will once again live in a yellow house instead of a rusty one.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's St. Patrick's Day and the First Snake of the Year is Here

St. Patrick may have removed the snakes from Ireland, but sometimes I have to wonder where they all went. Maybe our house.

This first snake of the year was a leprechaun size. Here is B trying to shoo it away from his shoes. (His dirty boots were there nearby.) He was using a receipt. This snake was much smaller than a pencil.

I put my phone down beside it to show just how small it was.

 It was a ring-necked snake. We have seen several of them over the years but this may well be the smallest.

With some patience, B was able to direct it out of the garage and into some leaf litter. 

I saw this on Pinterest and just needed to share it.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Beach Finds

The same morning at Vilano Beach, we found this huge barnacle---that was still alive--
and this sizable stingray---that wasn't.

I flipped it over to see both sides. We took a picture of the barnacle and returned it to the water.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Seeing Stars

  One morning while the tired new family was trying to recover in the hospital, we decided that they did not need any visitors: they just needed to rest. (Of course, we know there is no rest to be found in a hospital!) B and I made a plan to go to the beach for the morning. We drove out to Vilano. A storm had come through the night before with crazy winds and waves. The tide had run high and we found four of these perfect (dead) sea stars at the high tide line. In the bright light of the sunshine, they appeared black and tan. Once we had them in the car, we could tell they were actually purple instead of black.

They dried on the dashboard over the next few days, without even a trace of an unpleasant odor. The colors faded but they are still lovely. As we left our son and his new little family, I gave him one of the sea stars and told him it might be a keepsake found when our little star was born.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Birth Announcement

B and I have been a tad preoccupied lately assuming our new roles as grandparents. Our grandson arrived early March 3rd over on the east coast of Florida and we spent a few days over there getting acquainted and helping out any way we could. We are so glad that we were able to be there at the hospital when he arrived and so thankful that his parents wanted us around.

For the longest time, it was hard to believe that he was actually on the way and that we were on the way to becoming grandparents. Some parents our age seem desperate for this occur but that was not the case with us. To be sure, we were  thrilled with the news, but we had not been spending time wishing it would happen before it did. It seems good planning on his parents' part.

Admittedly,  we are somewhat biased but we think he is quite a handsome fella; and he has charmed anyone who has seen his pictures.  At this time, we choose not to show him in this blog, so you will just have to trust  us: he's a keeper!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Cat in the Hat, Sans Cat

So today is Dr. Seuss' birthday and children all over America will be celebrating by eating green eggs and ham, making oobleck, planting trees for the Lorax, and of course wearing large, striped hats.

I recently came across this store display of hats. The sign designated them simply as "church hats." I was amused with how large and elaborate they were --and astounded when I saw the prices went as high as $130.

I was looking at some fancy Easter bonnets, for sure! But a couple of the red ones were almost high enough for the Cat in the Hat to wear for the birthday celebration.