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Apalachicola in Fall
September 29, 2008
This past weekend we drove up to Apalachicola National Forest, which is way the heck up in the panhandle of Florida, a good 8+ hour drive from our house. We really should have allotted more time to this trip, but I had a three day weekend and Chris took the day off and we went for a long adventure. It was really his choice of a trip for his birthday (which is tomorrow!), similar to my Sarasota trip for my birthday. I don't have a lot of time to blog about it tonight so I will post a sampling of the photos we took. We stayed for two nights, did an 8+ mile hike on Saturday, took lots of photos and enjoyed the cool weather up there. It was in the high 50's at night on Friday night!! BRRR!
Seriously, the happiest dog ever!
I played with sunset photos both nights. I tried over and under exposing. This is a stop or two underexposed to capture the reds in the sky.
The tired pooch on the way home! He crashed before we did last night when we got back!
It Really Is Fall!
September 25, 2008
It really is Fall! The goldenrod is in full bloom and we had had a blast of cooler air this morning. Though it is still warm in the afternoons, it is getting better.
"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air."
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
We're heading out to enjoy the fall. See you next week!
Fisheating Creek in September
September 22, 2008
It was much different this time around, considering the creek was flowing full of water.
In a few months we're going to make an expedition out of it, get dropped off further up stream and camp overnight.
Am getting a bit chunky. Hrmph. Though I am rockin' my A&M Galveston shirt.
Chris was an excellent paddler while I took photos. We switched back and forth on the way back. I had some issues paddling too fast and then having to maneuver around some tight spots.
We played with the red filter on the way back, though the changing needles on the cypress were gorgeously colored and we wished we had of stayed in color.
This photo has not been processed, well, none of them were, but Chris took this one and got this amazingly blue sky. He has been doing this lately and we need to learn to recreate this.
If you live in Florida this is a great place to check out and you won't be dissapointed! We hope to make it to the Peace River and Turner River in the cooler months and maybe get some more photos. Chris and I are hatching a plan that in maybe a year, whenever we get a portfolio of photos together, that we will launch a website of our photography. We need some improvement still, but I think it is possible. We don't plan on making this our living or anything...at least not for a long time, but it would be fun to make some extra money with it. If I can ever get some art together I will put that up as well.
Anyway, thanks to Michelle, Erin and Jen for supporting the Galveston Humane Society!
The Newest American
September 21, 2008
Eliana had to come back in this past weekend to do a very special thing. She became an American citizen!! So, on Friday night we met her and her sister and her friend Anastasia at a Thai restaurant in Miami Lakes to celebrate! She said that the top countries that had the most becoming citizens were her native Columbia, Cuba and I think Haiti. It was very exciting to hear her talk about the speech and how after all the crap she's had to go through with INS to get to this point, it was all better at the end when she got her citizenship. The cool thing is she became a citizen in just enough time to register to vote so she can vote in her first election! How cool is that???
On Saturday she came over to hang out with Baloo for a few short hours before heading back to Marc in Seattle. Over dinner we talked a little about her trip and it has seemed to exciting so far, though it appears there may be more in store when they return. All of the little stories and happenings that occur on a trip, well, they build into story potential. I can't wait to hear more about it! I do know, Eliana is an excellent 'green' role model. I am trying to do a little bit more on the green side of things these days.
It was cuddle city with Baloo.
Look at his ears! They stayed that way for several minutes!
Baloo needs to join Lickers Anonymous. He is the lickiest dog I know. Ok, I know three Boston terriers in Texas that can lick up a storm, but Baloo licks his paws, licks you, licks the carpet, licks the blanket, jeans, shoes...whatever! He loves to lick!
After I took Eliana to the airport I went and got my hair cut! It feels nice to have it short again. Ahhhhh! I then went in search of shoes for my reunion and the wedding I am in and came up with nothing. Are there no modest heels around right now? Is that not the style? I don't want to kill my legs with super high heels! Agh! I dropped in Whole Foods and managed not to spend much and just grabbed a snack/dinner since Chris was watching the Aggie/Hurricane game with some friends. Then I worked in the yard a bit, separating out some Arkansas traveler tomatoes that were growing by leaps and bounds and then I sowed seeds in the ground for the veggie garden. Carrots, mustard greens, peppers, eggplant, herbs, just to name a few. I hope they do well!
Today we went canoeing at Fisheating Creek, paddling about two miles up stream and then chilling easy on the way back. I'll blog about that a little later this week.
Oh, the donation of sales from my shop is extended until next Sunday! Thanks!
The Need to Do Something
September 18, 2008
As more reports on damage to homes of people that we know, the more I feel a little helpless. I wish I could do something and I can't. Even if it was just to help throw away ruined items, or help clear debris from the yard. Anything. More photos are coming in and I think the most shocking photos are still the complete obliteration of Bolivar Penninsula. Had the eye not gone directly over Galveston and gone over Surfside, would Galveston have looked like this??? Quite possibly more damage than what was done, for sure.
So, instead of twiddling my thumbs I am going to offer something that I've not tried before. It isn't like I have this huge blog readership but I'll do what I can do. From now until Sunday any sales from my shop will go directly to the Galveston Humane Society. I will be donating some of my own money as well. So, donate and get a little something while you are at it! Samson, Leo and Baloo want their furry counterparts to have some food, shelter and medical attention that is needed.
Thanks y'all!!! Please pass this on to your friends!
Headbands and other ramblings
September 16, 2008
I have headbands!!! They are in the shop now! WOO! The lacy ones appear smaller because they stretch more and the other ones don't have as much stretch so I have to do them larger to actually get them to fit. I am still playing with the design of these and will probably evolve a bit more before I get them where I like them all the way. But, I welcome guinea pigs!! ;)
I have a lot on my mind today and think maybe I should keep some of it for later in the week, but oh well, I'll just try and get as much out as I can.
First: My pastel photo from the other day made the daily click over at Shutter Sisters. I didn't even know until I saw a comment on the Flickr page and so I am kind of ecstatic! If you don't know what Shutter Sisters is, they formed a few months ago of some highly talented photographers to sort of build up the base of women photographers on the internet. A sort of inspiration/learning center, if you will. I really thought I was out of their realm, but this was a pleasant surprise! I am a big lurker at their page, commenting sometimes and always envious of the gorgeous photos that are posted.
Second: Eliana was telling me some awful news the other night that made my heart break a little bit. Inti Wara Yassi may not exist much longer. There are sort of two parts to this story. The first part is that the area of up front that houses the clinic, kitchen, dorms and other buildings was being sold by the lady who owned it. Luckily the website says they were able to raise $30,000 in a matter of a few weeks and I believe able to buy that parcel. The other bad news was that the rest of the land that the refuge is on is leased from the town of Villa Tunari and the town was planning to just build a road right through it to go to some other town (though I'm trying to figure out what town because it isn't like it is very populated). An email she forwarded me last night from another volunteer clarified it a bit and apparently the townspeople didn't know that the mayor was trying to do this and they were not pleased. So there is some hope in it all, but it is all very disappointing. I have to look at the time we spent in Bolivia as very special and probably a once in a lifetime event. I don't regret going at all and wish I'd of had more time to see the country. Last week I was reading about turmoil in the country again and then last night I received an email from the state department from when we registered with them for our trip, warning tourists and Americans to leave because of the rise in turmoil and potential for a civil war. It doesn't bode well for the country at the moment.
The only good news is that I did get to see a photo of Luna, one of the puma kittens that we saw in March, and she is so big now! If I get permission from the person that sent Eliana the photos I will post the photo so you can see how big she got! The other kitten unfortunately died several months ago because the formula they were using was not sufficient for the pumas. Eliana and I chipped in some money for this special milk to send to Bolivia and apparently Luna did really well on it!
Third: Several weeks ago I saw links on various blogs about a couple who were involved in a plane crash in August. I finally got around to checking out the blog, called the NieNie Dialogues and was immediately intrigued. Mostly because here was this gorgeous girl raising these four adorable children and she was younger than me. Sometimes I get mystified that people are having kids when they are younger than me and I forget that I am 28. Anyway, her husband had learned to fly and both of them and the instructor were involved in a crash in which the instructor died and the couple have bad burns. The website dedicated to the family is here. I've been pouring through the archives when I get a chance and the funny antics of her kids just crack me up! Anyway, there will be an Etsy sale to raise money for their surgeries, skin grafts and other medical bills, next week along with other things you can do if you are interested in supporting this family. The blogging community always amazes me, reading what others will do for each other.
Fourth: I put together a small playlist of songs I was loving on Sunday while doing some creative stuff around the computer room. I hope you enjoy! My new love is David Gray!
September 14, 2008
All of the Ike coverage has me wishing I knew more about Galveston. Honestly, it seems as if I am seeing more coverage of Houston than of Galveston and I want to see a helicopter flyover of Galveston. The only coverage of Pelican Island where TAMUG is located is that the approaches on both sides of the bridge are damaged heavily and the bridge is closed. I heard from another SeaAggie that the water came up to the new engineering building which is located closer to the water than the other buildings, but that means it is possible the rest of the buildings were flooded, too. The only thing I heard was that the students would be relocated to College Station for the rest of the semester if the damage was bad enough, but considering the living situation in Galveston, it would probably be the best thing anyway.
So, I am going to walk down memory lane a little bit, here, and show a few things that you might have seen on tv as it looked on a normal day.
This is what Crystal Beach looked like 10 years ago. A nice place for a bunch of SeaAggies to have a good picnic one evening and enjoy the day. This is what it looks like today. I wish I could find one of Galveston.
The sunset that day.
The first month or so of school we had a tropical storm come in, Frances, and at first we trudged to classes in the rain and puddles, changing our clothes between classes, but they eventually canceled classes for the last two days of the week and we drove around to look at the storm and the waves. I thought this was bad back then, and we all know what the waves looked like on Friday and Saturday! Around 51st street and Seawall, on the seawall in the groins, lived a bunch of cats. People would feed them and some were friendly, but the cats roamed that area. I kept wondering if the cats moved out of the way of the waves and what happened to them. I don't know why, but this really does make me wonder and I am a bit sad about the thought they didn't make it.
This are the groins that are every so often, maybe 5 to 10 blocks, are placed perpendicular to the seawall in an effort to prevent erosion. Apparently, via reports from several people, some of these rocks made their way onto the road! I have yet to see these photos and I keep looking for them.
And here is a view of the seawall behind me and Chris. (aren't we young!!)
Thanks for being patient during my little trip.
Tomorrow I will unveil some new headbands! I have almost ten more in red, cream, black and pink!!!
A good surprise and a horrible disaster
September 12, 2008
Imagine my surprise at 10:45pm last night when this girl showed up at my door, sans monkey of course. Earlier in the day she had sent me an email asking if her sister could drop by around 10pm to drop something off for Baloo. I told her that I could stay up for her and so I waited. At 10:30 I was getting sleepy and kept peeking out to see if a car had pulled in or not. Around 10:45 I heard a faint "Balooo-looo!" and thought maybe her sister did the same thing for Baloo. A few seconds later there was a pounding at the door and I knew something was up and was surprised when I opened the door to see Eliana standing there with her sister! This wasn't Seattle where she was supposed to be! Apparently she had to fly in for her citizenship stuff and it was vital she had to be here or else she could forfeit her status and the whole shebang! Baloo was so excited to see her and when she asked to take him for the weekend, I was a bit sad and torn. Of course he could go with her, but Baloo is like the fifth member of the house now, so it was sad not to kiss him goodnight or hear him in the morning whining for breakfast and thumping the bed for us to get up. But, it will be nice for Baloo to see her and for us to hang out a bit before she heads back to Marc in Seattle on Sunday.
I am very distraught at the moment as I have been keeping tabs on Hurricane Ike all day. I am amazed at how fast the surge came up before the storm even hit and seeing the flooding and the waves hitting the seawall is very depressing for me. They are reporting major flooding all over and I am checking the Houston Chronicle and the Galveston Daily News for updates often. And so before I got on here to blog I see the title for the front page of the Houston Chronicle stating that Galveston Sinks: Ike 135 Miles Away. Galveston sinks. Wow.
For those who don't know, I lived there for four years during college, Chris for three years, and so it is a second home to me. I have good friends who live in Houston and some that up until recently still lived in Galveston. For two years I lived in the dorm and then two years I had an apartment near, if you see on any reports the talk about Moody Gardens or the executive airport, near there. This morning Christine sent me this link to a video of a helicopter flying over Galveston. Offats Bayou had already seeped onto the airport San Luis Pass Rd was already flooded. You can already see some storm surge photos on Flickr and this photo shows one of the piers prior and during the storm.
I am willing to bet these homes may not be there tomorrow morning.
September 11, 2008
I have been working on an acrylic painting for weeks, off and on, mostly off, but it has been frustrating me a bit. For one, I am wanting to control the paint too much. I suspect I will be going over a few parts I've already done. Tonight I dug out some NuPastels and decided to play a little bit. I am contemplating doing this in a larger size in a few weeks, if not this weekend.
Pastels are fun because they can go loose or tight and are great for little sketches like this. I haven't actually accomplished anything creatively in over a month, since the crochet top I did. I am working on another top but I am at the part where I switch to a Tunisian crochet and Tunisian is very time consumming, not to mention slightly painful. I am sort of wondering if that is what knitting ends up being like! *scared*! I have a feeling I will not be getting a lot done until November. Which means, I doubt I will be making much for Christmas, just buying. Ah, Christmas. Shhhh...I'm having a hard time that summer is over! Where on Earth did it go???
On a more somber note Ike is poised to strike Galveston and Houston tomorrow night. I have a lot of friends and other acquaintances in that area, not to mention our university is located there. They are calling for a 20' storm surge and Chris says that will top the seawall. This means severe flooding. I will be interested to see how this turns out on Saturday morning. On Google Earth earlier today I was looking at the storm and it was supposed to make landfall in Freeport, about thirty miles south of Galveston, and the homes on the beach front there may not be there, or will be severely damaged. Freeport also has a large refinery area. The last major storm to hit Galveston was Hurricane Alicia in the early 80's. I went through at least three tropical storms there that produced a lot of flooding and plenty of beach erosion. We shall see.
September 9, 2008
One of my things to accomplish this year on my 28 for 28 list was to finish reading any books I have started.
Some of these I started awhile ago and others I just started this summer. All but the top one are non-fiction and those are always tougher to wade through. I'll start from the bottom up:
September 8, 2008
"Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?
Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say."
~Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Ain't I A Woman?
Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio
A community organizer among the ranks of Susan B. Anthony, Frances Gage, Alice Paul, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
September 7, 2008
I don't know how we managed it, but we're out of the cone of doom. It really is scary when the NHC puts the path going in straight into Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, as it did on Thursday morning. Then Friday morning it was going to be coming in at Biscayne Bay and whacking Shelah and Christine instead of me directly, and then they slowly kept moving it further south. Thank goodness for that high pressure system that moved from out over the Atlantic to over Florida and created a very beautiful weekend here. That high pressure also pushed Ike to the south and over to Cuba, Turks and Caicos and probably skimming parts of the Keys. They are under a mandatory evacuation today and I just heard a bit on the tv that traffic is outrageous down on US 1. Now the five day track has it looming somewhere in the western Louisiana/eastern Texas coastal areas. Is this the next 1900 Hurricane for Galveston? We will see once it makes it into the Gulf.
Oh, as a note on the photos from Friday, we did not photoshop them. That is straight out of our little Fuji camera and the sunset really looked like that.
Yesterday we drove down to Everglades National Park to do some hiking, or rather attempt to do some hiking on Snake Bight Trail. There is a reason Flamingo was never developed. They are called mosquitos. I had completely forgotten about the mosquitos because they had calmed down in my neck of the woods at work, not nearly as bad as they were three or four weeks ago. This has been one of the worst seasons for them in several years. Chris hadn't forgotten because he had bought two cans of Cutter with 40% deet, and I remembered the second I put one foot out the door and two mosquitos landed on my leg. It wasn't too terrible on the side of the road after we put on our spray, but the second we stepped into the shade of the trail and into the mangrove area, we were swarmed by thousands of mosquitos. By swarmed, I mean, do not open your mouth or you just might have a mouthful of bugs and by swarm I mean, thousands of tiny annoying pests bouncing off you. They weren't biting, though I think a few managed to find some non-sprayed area, but it was absolutely so annoying that about a quarter of a mile in I said I couldn't handle it and I wanted to the keys to go sit in the car. I traded Chris the spray for the keys and started running back to the car. The problem with running is that even though they are still behind you and aren't hitting you, when you stop to catch your breathe you have to open your mouth, so I was holding my hands over my mouth just to catch my breathe. Once I got back to the car they were still swarming me and so I took the spray and sprayed myself again, aiming in the air to get the straglers and then dashed into the car to relax in the air conditioning. Probably the worst mosquito experience ever. Not twenty minutes later Chris was back at the car, too! We were in search of an orchid called the dollar orchid, which tend to hang out on buttonwoods in the mangrove swamp areas. Chris said he made it to some buttonwoods, saw a some plants but no blooms and started hightailing it back to the car because he was having to slow down to amble around the buttonwoods.
So, the lesson of the story is, don't go onto a trail in ENP without full mosquito netting and the patience to deal with it.
After the mosquito debacle we went home and looked around the backyard and found these three new baby loofa's! Sweet!
This is one of our first tomato seedlings to come up, Kellogg's Breakfast. Yesterday about 1/3 of the them were up and now Chris says that all of them are mostly up this morning! WOO! I can almost smell the tomatoes from here!
This was taken last night as we were trying to get some photos for our photography class. This one isn't part of the assignment, but I thought it looked neat with the moon in the background.
Enjoy your Sunday!
A Watercolor Sunset
September 5, 2008
This was our sunset last night. Brilliantly bright red's and yellow's, wishing I could see it on the west coast if it was still the same, to see it over the open water.
We stood out there for a few minutes, enjoying the evening a little bit.
The sky appears on fire, the sun burning the clouds.
We're going to enjoy the weekend, get our plywood for free from a coworker and just watch the NWS and see where Ike goes. We'll know more by Sunday.
Bananas and Hurricanes
September 4, 2008
Of course the big news is Ike. I was woken from my blissful slumber, (ok, it was a sneak in the last 30 minutes slumber), by Chris telling me he was going to work and that we had to get ready for a hurricane tonight. I thought he was talking about Hanna, but overnight they had changed the path of Ike from going through the Florida Straights to going right into the South Florida area. Lovely. And they continue to have it going this way, moving it closer to Ft. Lauderdale during all of the advisories. I should also mention that it was a Category 4 earlier today and should be at the least a 3 when it lands.
The highest hurricane we've been through was Wilma which was a Cat 2, low Cat 1, when it came through and we didn't have power for six days. This has the potential to be Andrew-like, but with more after Andrew buildings. My house, however, is not an after Andrew building and it has a really crappy roof. Tonight we got 20 gallons of gas and will go for plywood tomorrow before the real rush begins. I have a feeling it will already start a bit then. We didn't see too many people at Publix stocking up, just the normal dinner crowd. We've decided a 3 is our limit and staying for a 4 or 5 is out of the question. So, if you or someone you know has a place to go to in N. Florida or S. Georgia, drop me an email at oceanicwilderness at gmail .com. We have two cats and a dog, lots of crap to bring with us and we might be caravanning with some friends of ours who have a baby. So, if you have a room at the inn...that would be nice. I'm still hoping we get by on this one, too. The tomato seeds are just in and I would like a peaceful Fall.
So, there is that. There is also the Republican convention, which I am trying to listen to just to be fair, but it is extremely hard. I listented to Sarah Palin's speech last night and had my bar set too high, I think. I was hoping there'd be more details on what she actually did as mayor and governor, even if I don't agree with her politics. Instead it was a punching fest at Obama and Democrats. I was very disheartened considering how well the DNC did at respecting and building up McCain for his war experience. You can read her speech here if you want. The funny thing is there are so many relatable things in there to Democrats, things that Obama has said as well, such as "Politics isn't just a game of clashing parties and competing interests. The right reason is to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it. No one expects us to agree on everything. But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and ... a servant's heart". There are things that just don't add up, either, which are outlined here. I am going to watch McCain tonight and pray he doesn't come off the way Giuliani did. He was not a nice person. I'll just say it that way. Yikes.
Anyway, away from politics...I could go on and on and on. Here's a cute Baloo video. ;)
Day 1: Tomato Season 2008-2009
September 2, 2008
This is what the yard looked like, finally, after around six or so hours of working on it yesterday. Chris started before I did, working to right the ylang-ylang tree that has been battling itself these past two weeks, as it kept falling over. It originally was in a too small pot and a gust of wind during a rain storm blew it over, damaging one of the roots that had went into the ground from the bottom of the pot. It lay on the ground for a few days until we finally got another large pot for it and it worked well until another gust of wind blew the poor tree over. So, Chris went in search of a barrel pot to put it in and he worked on that for the morning. The rest of the morning was spent weed eating the yard, picking up trash and other debris and figuring out how we were going to set up the tomato pots.
Now, before all of this started I should have known better to put on my hat and some sunscreen, but I wasn't thinking it would go on well into the afternoon. By the time we were through making multiple trips back to Home Depot for this or that (more dirt, mostly), and getting the yard ready for enjoyment in the cooler months of Florida's fall and winter, we were a muddy, sunburned mess.
This is waht I looked like after. Actually, this is semi-cleaned up. I had to wash my arms and chest so I'd be presentable enough to walk into Home Depot without looking like a mudwoman from the Everglades. I told Chris I couldn't believe he let me walk in there like that! I had to scrub myself as good as I did Baloo on Sunday night after his swimming escapdes (see below).
When I planted my gladiolus so late this year I didn't expect them to really bloom, and here it is September 2nd and this one is beginning to bloom!
This is why we had to give Baloo a thorough washing this weekend. We went camping on Saturday night back at Jonathan Dickinson State Park and took Baloo hiking both days. There was water everywhere and he had a ball!
This was the deepest hole in the trail and it was deep enough for him to have to swim across. He was anxious to get going since Chris had traversed it first in order to get the photos.
He drank out of every puddle he possibly could and therefore had to pee constantly. I stopped counting after 20. It was mostly little tinkles, enough to mark his territory from the pigs. He found pig or deer poo and decided he had to rub his face in it! Disgusting dog!!! He was rolling in it like he was the happiest little pitbull on the planet.
We made him sit for some pine lily photos, which were hard to do. He was a pooped pup by the end of Sunday and snoozed the entire ride home. I could barely get him interested to get up to take a shower! Overall it was a good weekend with some thunderstorms on Saturday evening that lit up our bedtime but quieted the neighbors and their music. Baloo met a lot of dog friends as well as people friends and some unfortunate tick friends. We only seemed to have issues with them at the campsite and were constantly picking them off of him. One unfortunately made it all the way home with him and now the poor pup has a little bite mark from it.
That about sums up the weekend. I am in a crunch right now that I finally got my bridesmaid dress for a wedding in mid-October. Let's just say it is a bit snug. Hrmph. I am ready to see my friends and hang out with Zoe a bit.
August 29, 2008
Snails kites, Rostrhamus sociabilis, a supremely endangered bird in south Florida. They feed primarily on apple snails, which are large snails that fit their common name. Due to the draining of the Everglades by building canals and levees, snail kites are affected severely by the high water levels that are sustained at certain parts of the year to due the regulations around the water schedules. Most of this is because of the Cape Sable seaside sparrow, which inhabits Everglades National Park.
Historically they have inhabited an area along Tamiami Trail in the southern end of Conversation Area 3A South, however they have been moving to other locations to find apple snails. Without apple snails you don't find snail kites. At least two other types of apple snails are invading south Florida, non-natives that grow even larger. Though the adults seem to be able to eat them, it is being found through research that the juveniles aren't handling them very well and could possibly perish because the natives are being replaced.
Chris and I have seen a lot of snail kites around the eastern rest stop on Alligator Alley. From what I have heard at several meetings, the snail kite might not be around in the next 10-20 years, especially if Everglades Restoration doesn't start picking up soon. Population numbers are dropping exponentially, yearly.
I shot these photos on the airboat at work. I spotted three yesterday, which is very surprising and the area I found them in I hadn't seen them in before. I was about 100 or so feet away from this one and used the 300mm to get the shots. They aren't the best, but I am happy to have been there to hang out with him for a bit. You can see the rest of the set here.
If you look in the photos you can see some of the cypress are already turning brown and losing their needles. I noticed the bluestems are coming up, but not yet blooming, and goldenrod is popping up all over. These are the subtle signs of fall in Florida. I am ready for it to cool off.
To commemorate the 3 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I am linking my friends' blog again. Aimee went through the storm in New Orleans in one of those buildings you probably saw on tv with all of the windows blown out. Her house was submerged in water and she lost nearly everything. She's rebuilt her life and now is facing Gustav. Start at the bottom of her blog and work your way through it if you haven't the past several years that I have linked it. You will be shocked, dismayed and sad at all you read, but you should read it.
Scenes from an Art Classroom
August 28, 2008
Our second week in our photography class went alright. We had an assignment last week that we did at the last minute on Tuesday night. We had to document a story and so we decided to take Baloo for a walk around the block a few times. It went alright but we left some photos out because we thought we would be judged more on clarity and focus rather than the story part and we ended up in third place for the assignment instead of what I though we deserved, which was first. Oh well, it humbled us a bit. We figured out that all levels are in this class, even though it seemed in the book that each level was a separate class. The teacher takes the first two weeks to go through the menu's on each camera, Nikon and Canon, so it is a bit frustrating. There were a few things we did learn, so it wasn't a complete waste, but it is a bit unchallenging at times. Next week's assignment is 'street photography', ie: what you see in cities or out on the street. Cars, lights, homeless folks, buildings, that sort of thing. It will be different for us since that is not our forte, so I think that will be challenging!
During most of the class it is run like a workshop with people milling about and asking questions. So, I wandered around to take photos in the art classroom that it is held at.
We played with the monochrome setting, Chris and I. The quaint look appeals to me.
This is a color wheel pinwheel. Very groovy!
I'm remembering all of the paint we had on our hands in my art class.
I also remember looking at the soap at the sink and thinking it must've been there for 20 years because it was usually thin and grey from dirty hands. I miss art class.
This weekend is going to have some yard work in it. Preparing for the Fall/Winter veggie season and trimming back some things. The sunflowers Chris planted have done well and it was fun to see them growing. This one is about finished.
Good Things This Week
Expedition: Pine Lily!
August 24, 2008
The best thing about this post isn't the pine lilies, but the fact I can actually see what I am blogging! Our old computer screen had been going downhill for a long time. It was large, bulky and fading fast. Everything looked washed out. I hesitated to see these beautiful pine lilies on the computer screen, so we went to Best Buy and bought a new 19" widescreen flat panel. Wow, what a difference! Our photos actually look good now!!
Chris and I went to Jonathan Dickinson State Park to search for pine lilies again and we hit the same trail, the power line trail loop, to scout it out. The first half mile was unsuccessful and as we approached the second split in the trail Chris said he found one! Sure enough hiding in the saw palmetto was a gorgeous little pine lily!
We crawled into the palmetto to snap some shots and I got a closer look at the plant. It comes from a very small stalk and you wouldn't even notice the plant when it wasn't in bloom. We rounded the corner after oogling at this one and Chris spotted another one, taller and more prominent peeking over another saw palmetto. This one was in better sunlight and easier to photograph.
This gives you some perspective to how they are growing. I was walking around looking for more and walked into Chris' viewfinder.
We dodged clouds all day, waiting for the best time for photos, watching so the sun would come back and light them up. I like how this one glows a bit.
The ones in the open tend to grow smaller, I suppose since they don't have to compete with sunlight. We set the timer for this one. :) I have to remind myself and Chris that we should take more photos of each other! (Eliana, I'm wearing your hat!)
Chris was all about the underside of the plant. It has a unique view and he was lucky to get the pine tree in this one.
This is my bokeh shot. ;) I tried to have a higher aperture number, 8+ if I could, but this I turned down to 2.1 I think. The photography class sort of got me into trying new things.
I really like this one. Chris took it. We actually found six on the trail and then saw two on the way out within walking distance of the road. It's like the flower says, "hello, welcome to the forest". Or, maybe not. I'm just a dork.
When we took these photos we switched to monochrome on the camera and then put on a red filter. These turned out awesome! I really love them and I think I will do some more shots like this in the future.
If you look close on this one you can see some pollen flying in the wind.
So, now I can officially mark three things off my list! WOO! In other news I am painting again! I started something on Friday night. Not sure how I like it so far. I am working in acrylics and am thinking I really like pencil! Also, I'm not sure how I feel about Biden being chosen for Obama's running mate. I need to read up about him. I did however see this. on another blog, which I thought was really funny! He's ripping Ashcroft a new one in a hearing about torture. There's a longer segment that you can find on the Daily Show as well.
Later this week: garden blogging as we prepare for our veggie garden planting next weekend! Oh, and signs of Fall...they are here!
The Sea Turtle Hospital
August 21, 2008
Last weekend Chris asked me what I wanted to do for the weekend and if there was anything on my list we could try and accomplish. Much of my list that involves the outdoors needs to be done during the winter months when it is cooler. I have no interest in backpacking in waist deep water nor do I wish to kayak through mosquito infested areas. So, the obvious choice was head to the Keys and go to the Marathon Turtle Hospital. WOOHOO!
Our first goal was to go down to Big Pine Key and photograph some white crowned pigeons. Yes, pigeons. The white crowned pigeon is very rare in Florida and only found in the Keys and in the Everglades. Their young eat the berries of the poisonwood tree. Poisonwood is very bad. If you were to rate the toxicity of it it would look like this: poison ivy, poisonwood, manchineel. Chris has had some bad run ins with poisonwood and the sores are awful. Very pussy and not fun at all. Unfortunately if you go hiking around Big Pine Key poisonwood is everywhere! We drove around Big Pine and a neighboring island to the south and saw tons of the pigeons flying around. It's amazing how much you miss if you aren't paying attention or just don't know what to look for. We've never noticed them before until we read about them at the Keys Wild Bird Sanctuary in Key Largo.
After lunch we went to the turtle hospital. We mosied around the gift shop for awhile before we all convened in their presentation room for a talk about sea turtles and what the hospital does.
The tour was $15 per person and all of the money from the tours and gift shop directly funds the hospital. The hospital also used to be a hotel but after Hurricane Wilma they don't have the hotel open any longer. After the presentation we took a tour of the operation room and the emergency/x-ray area. She showed us a pretend intibation on a stuffed sea turtle (stuffed animal toy) and talked about the volunteer vets that donate their time and money to help out the turtles. Then we headed back to the turtle area! WOOHOO!
First, we met one of the largest turtles I have probably seen. It was clearly a male from the huge tail that it possessed. You really can't sex a turtle unless you do a blood sample or look at the tail and when the males are at maturity it is pretty much unmistakable. You can read about OD. Dude was one major turtle!
Reminds me of spyhopping a bit.
There was a tank of one to two year old hawksbill turtles hanging out. They were so beautiful, but I had a hard time getting a good photo because of the plastic over the top of the tank.
This dude was cranky!
I wish this had come out clear on all planes, but you do get a good view of the plastron, the underside.
I think this turtle believes he is in the synchronized swimming part of the Sea Turtle Olympics!
They do have two Kemp's ridleys, my personal favorite. They are the smallest and most endangered sea turtle. I wuv them. This one was rather shy and would barely pose for photos.
A lot of turtles get hit by boats. Sometimes they are coming up for air, get knocked by the boat and then the air is lodged into their air cavity. The air bubble then doesn't allow them to dive down to get fish or swim away from a predator very well and eventually it will deform their shell. The gal giving us the tour said they haven't been able to find out where exactly the air bubbles are in order to, I suppose, try and get the bubble out. So, many of the turtles are lifers at the hospital and they do weight down their shells to help them out a little bit.
Sometimes cute little babies are delivered to the hospital because they were lost after hatching or they floated back in for some reason. Usually they try and release them after a few days back at the sargassum line.
Now, this is my friend Joey. Besides being photogenic, he swims in circles! Poor fella has a little problem, but he was just so darn cute! He also had a friend that swam the opposite way!
Tarpon and other fish hang out with the sea turtles in their large salt water pool.
This one reminds me of Crash from Finding Nemo! Duuuudddee!
At the end of the tour a volunteer/worker came in and brought a little baby loggerhead that was all white. This leutistic fella, not albino because it lacked a red eye, will probably grow up at the turtle hospital. Chris tried to get a good photo of it, but he forgot I had it on manual instead of aperture priority so he didn't change the shutter speed and we ended up with super white, over exposed photos! I did photoshop it down to where you can tell it is a white turtle, but it really blows that we didn't get a good photo.
I highly recommend visiting the hospital if you are in the Keys. It goes to a good cause and it is very fun and educational. I only wish I could work there!
On a sad note I am totally bummed about two things:
1: USA Softball Loses to Japan. Their first loss since 2000 and their only silver medal since they've been playing. Bummer. I know the feeling. But, maybe, the IOC will let them stay in the next Olympics??
2: Humpback whale euthanized. I've been following this story since it came out a few days ago. I am very sad that they decided to euthanize it. What I don't understand and never saw an explanation, was why didn't they try to take it to an aquarium or a zoo with a large tank?
A finished object
August 18, 2008
Well, it is done!! Do you like??? I like! heheh! The only thing I am not liking is how to tie the ribbon. Right now it is in the back, but the original pattern shows it in the front. A gigantic bow looks too Edwardian but I don't want it just hanging there either. Hrm.
I added buttons to the front because there was a seam there that didn't look that great. I think the directions should have specifically stated to do a back loop single crochet instead of a single crochet join. It was a bit odd looking but the buttons make it look much better. Now, if I can just keep from spilling something on it or having any animals hook their claws into it!
The other day I came into the computer room to find Samson and Leo cuddling on the computer chair. They haven't done this in ages but I couldn't resist snapping a few photos of them. I also noticed that Leo has started to expand his girth a bit. He's officially out of kitten-dom I think. :( My little boy is growing up. He's such a sweet pea.
See, one big cat blob on the chair! They are such dorks. ;)
Tropical Storm Fay is pretty much a wimp here on the east coast. I'm not sure what it is doing on the west coast. Work tomorrow. Bummer. We did get off an hour early today, but it has mostly just been rain and some light wind. I like a little excitement, but you know this is fine. We don't need anything else.
Tomorrow I'll blog about the weekend. It involves sea turtles!!!! ;)
Waddle On, my friends.
August 15, 2008
I am a penguin. I am so slow, people. Slow. I did my two miles tonight better than on Wednesday night that is for sure, but really 13 minutes a mile won't qualify me for the Olympic marathon. Or heck, probably not even the speed walking events. Dude, 26 minutes for two miles. I didn't walk much, but I did walk a few times. My calves and shins are still working on getting back into the running shape and so they tend to start burning after awhile, so I stop and walk it off for a few minutes. I made it through five songs of Viva La Vida, and added up the times when I got to the car. I ran to Into the Wild on Wednesday and it was actually pretty good to run to and didn't bore me to tears. I mad eit back to the car with lightning dancing in the not too far distance. I think if I can just keep on keepin' on I can get down to a 10 minute mile. I once did an eight minute mile, 5 years and 15 lbs ago!!
Faye seems to want to make a visit. Someone tell her summer is almost over, that's she's not welcome.
August 14, 2008
I feel like I'm in a bit of a fog. I am one sleeve away from finishing the top! I'm excited about it, really, but I was thinking today of all the things I want to do soon. The crochet, the paintings, the quilt I want to make, the garden that needs attention. Not enough hours in the day. Or rather, there are enough hours, there is just that pesky thing called work that takes up the majority of it. I think I am going to paint a bit after I finish the top, get one or two knocked out. Or just do it concurrently. ;) Paint, crochet, paint, crochet. Just being able to finish the top has taught me that I can do it. Garments just look intimidating but I dove right in and did it. The more I look at the stitches the more I realize how basic it all is; it is just a matter of putting it into a nice combination and shaping it to fit. Perhaps one day I'll design my own, but for now I'll stick to designing bags and headbands. The headbands I should actually finish after I do the top. I have five done, but need to get some more colors going.
There is only two weeks left in August. I feel like summer flew by too fast. I want to hold onto the last bits of sun, sans mosquitoes, that I can.
Eliana called today from Alaska to talk to Baloo. This is what he told her:
Haoooooooo! He wants to be a wolf!
15 lbs of Passionfruit
August 3, 2008
I think I have a fortune in those baskets. Passionfruit sell for several dollars each at the store. These are the result of the pollination a few weeks ago. The green ones are from a different vine, a different species, and we have to wait until they are wrinkly before we eat them. Chris made some juice out of the two we had in the fridge today. He said it was good!
We went out to see if we could find any more that had been left on the vine and Chris tossed one to Baloo to play with. Well, instead of playing with it, he ate it! And then Chris threw him a runty one that wasn't going to make it and now he's addicted because he STOLE one from the table! At least we know he's a healthy dog and eats his fruits and vegetables!
We've been getting some zebra longwings in the yard lately. They are very hard to photograph because they rarely sit still, but I've gotten good photos of them in the past.
These are what we found left on the vine after the first go 'round. Now that we've harvested the fruit we are going to wait a few days for more flowers and do another round of pollination! I may be having a passiofruit party!
These are the measley corn cobs that we harvested from the plants. Yeah, they didn't do so hot, but it was fun to grow while we did it. The kernals were already trying to germinate!
Anyone have a recipe for one piece of okra??? Heh! The okra is from some seeds at Fruit and Spice Park that we got back in May. I need a whole bed of okra for any real results. I'll save the seeds, though.
And finally, after almost four years, we have ylang-ylang flowers!! They aren't quite ripened yet, need to turn yellow some, and then I can enjoy the heady aroma daily! This is probably the best smelling plant out there! We need to replant this tree soon into a bigger pot. It honestly should go in the ground, but these trees are hard to find and expensive, so I'd like to keep it around!
Somehow, this little kid is going to have his own kid tomorrow. She's going to be just as cute! Can you tell I am getting antsy. I'm going to have both cell phones out and ready to go! Here's to you bro...you'll be a great Dad! *hugs*
August 2, 2008
Isn't he such a cute doggie???
A sweet, cold nose.
And little beggar eyes that say, "Please, I want another treat, or perhaps two scoops of food???". He has the sweetest little eyelashes, too!
On the agenda today: veg, light chores, scrapbook and some art. I also made four new headbands last night, the lacy kind, in red, pink, natural, and black. I am going to do at least one more of each color in another pattern. I was hoping maybe to get them up tomorrow, but I think I am going to shoot for Wednesday instead, just because I have some other things I want to do as well. I am making these a little more snug, in fact I almost had a difficult time getting them on my head to try it out! But, it is cotton and they stretched enough and now they are good to go. I think the lacy ones are just going to stretch a little bit more than the others, but I'm working on making them better! Today I am making a lofty goal of scrapbooking a zillion pages so I can knock out a goal on my 28 for 28 list. We did sign up for the photography class so I can knock that off in a few months. I am looking forward to the pottery class, but that won't be until the new year probably.
Well, one more cup of coffee and I'm on the ground running!
Been a few days
July 30, 2008
The problem with blogging is that eventually you take a few days off and then it turns into a few more days and before you know it you feel like blogging has just fallen by the wayside. I haven't felt like I had a lot to say lately, though in this post I might be able to utlize my very special pensieve and whisk away some thoughts from the past few days. Speaking of Harry Potter, today I saw the preview to Half Blood Prince, which I think is due out in November. Holy moly, this looks so awesome!!! I have a feeling this will be the best movie yet, and the last one was pretty darn good. The only one that can top it is the final book. This actually put me in the mood to re-read the last book, which sadly enough was a year ago. I couldn't stop thinking about it for days!
This past weekend we went to Key Largo for the day for a little work thing with Chris' coworkers. The company had rented a small boat for the day, taking some people out in the morning to fish and others in the afternoon to snorkel. We also found out a lot of people were staying at the Holiday Inn and making a long weekend out of it, but we didn't have arrangements in advance for Baloo and just made a day out of it. We went with the fishing group and Chris' goal was to catch fish, obviously. I hadn't been on a boat in awhile, or at least a small-ish boat and so I was worried about getting a bit seasick. Luckily I was good to go and we drifted the sargassum line just west of Molasses Reef for awhile. Nothing was biting so we moved in a bit and they droped their lines to see about catching snapper. The water was only 15-30 feet deep in this area so a bunch of us just jumped off the side of the boat for a swim. It was very refreshing! Back on deck, I laid down on the bow while they were finishing up getting all of the grunts off their lines and Chris said there was a sea turtle. It took me a few seconds to spot it and sure enough about 50 feet out was a turtle. It started swimming towards us and then realized we were there and darted underwater. We lost it for a few minutes and it came back up, nibbling on the sargassum line. It was definitely a juvenile or sub-adult, several years old, and probably a green, just because it was nibbling on the weed line and that it just didn't look like any other turtles. I wanted to jump in but decided against it because I knew it would just swim away. This is the second turtle I've seen in the water in the Keys. A few years ago we saw a hawksbill, a small juvenile, while we were snorkeling. That was pretty cool to see, too!
After the fishing trip we went to eat at a little tiki bar we know of and then headed over to the Keys Wild Bird Sanctuary, our go-to for killing some time and because we enjoy it. It is free to go, though they highly appreciate donations. This is a white morph of the great blue heron. They are very rare and we saw several while we were there. There was even one in a cage that was not doing good at all and a volunteer ended up running by us to get some towels and a few minutes later we saw her carrying it back to the lab area. :( I hope the birdy was ok.
The easiest way to tell a great white heron apart from a great egret are the legs and the face. Egret's have yellow legs and these are a greyish color.
At the feeding area on the bay side of the park the tarpon, snook and pelicans were waiting for their daily handout at 3:30pm. Along with them were two small nurse sharks! You can sort of make one out here.
After the bird sanctuary we went to a nursery we like in Islamorada and then went back to hang out in the pool and get ready for dinner. Sunday we hung around the house most of the day and then went to see Batman. Excellent movie! I haven't seen the last several Batman's but this one was great! I did see enough of Batman Begins so I know that Katie Holmes was in it, but Maggie Gyllenhaal was much better as the character.
Last week I started a big crochet project. I was trying to work on a tank that I started last year but was irritating me to no end and Chris told me he hated to see me so frustrated so I figured before I started throwing yarn (which I did when I tried to make a purse from a pattern that was wretched last Fall...)that I should just stop and do something else. So, I decided that I had the right yarn to do a babydoll dress. Scroll about 2/3 of the way down the page to see it. I had bought the Crochet Me book with some birthday money and decided I should make it. It took me almost a week to get the bodice done.
This was my progress as of Monday evening. The bodice was a pain in the butt, lots of single crochets (sc) in the backloop, which really did a number on my hands. I put it together on the ride home from work Monday evening and then went to my knit/crochet group and started working on the main rounds of the body. It is going to take me a few weeks to finish, but I think I will like it. I've already tried it on to make sure it is fitting.
I've actually got several more rows done now. It's about time I did something for myself!!!
What else...oh, Shelah asked what I was going to plant for Fall. If I can pretend that my yard looks all pretty outside, it doesn't and it is a weed nightmare, then I can dream about the Fall. I ordered my seeds from Baker Creek, but there are tons of other places to find good heirloom veggies. Here is what I bought...
Well, I think I better save something for later in the week. I 'talked' y'alls heads off.
Monday is Z day. Zoe day! Plan on gratuitous baby photos for at least a month when she's born. I have to be the aunty who spoils her! Heck, I am her only aunt!
The Wild Garden
July 24, 2008
It's here. The gardening wall. It is so hot outside that I barely have energy to go outside after work. Needless to say the backyard is beginning to look jungle-like. The heat, the humidity, it just makes beads of sweat down my forehead and into my eyes. It's brutal. I'm trying to enjoy the summer, but I am actually looking forward to Fall. I wish I could have Fall with it being light out past six or six-thirty. I already ordered some seeds for the garden for the Fall. I think I will have better luck with many items when we get past this heat.
The first thing I noticed in the yard was that the angel's trumpets were blooming like crazy.
Then I saw the crinum lily that Chris had told me about a few days ago. This is a gorgeous wine color, very pink. I love it! I've had it in this old pink house trash can for a few years and this is the first time it bloomed. I think it came from a garden swap.
We have two candlestick cassia's, or Cassia alata, and this one is still in a container. It is seriously leaning over and needs to go in the ground, but as I said, it is just too hot to work outside. Maybe I'll get around to it one of these days.
This is the back fence area between the banana trees and the vines. The vines have gone insane over the summer. I had cut a grapevine back a year or so ago and it came back with a vengeance this year. It has teeny grapes on it that I hope form more. This really is a jungle back there. Forget mowing or trimming unless it is by hand.
This is a green passionfruit from one of our other passionvines. We have several passiflora's in the yard.
These are the result of our hand pollinating a few weeks ago. The vine is loaded with fruit and I think they are about ready to be picked. You let them ripen until they start shriveling up a bit and then you can cut them open and eat, seeds and all, or make a passionfruit juice.
Chris planted our variegated rubber tree in the ground a few weeks ago, in the place of where a banana tree had died. It was leaning terribly in the container it was in and we just decided to open some room up with the containers and get it in the ground. Eventually this thing is going to be HUGE.
Of course, only we, the variegated nuts, would find a wild variegated ragweed. I had to convince Chris that we didn't need the plant nor did we need to see if it had seeds, because though ragweed doesn't bother me, it would be dumb to have it in the yard. Later that night he complained of watery eyes and itchy nose!!!
Chris and I might be signing up for a photography class next week. We just have to determine what is taught in the intermediate and the advanced classes. I'm excited though!
I'm listening to Norah Jones and it reminded me of a movie I rented a few weeks ago, My Blueberry Nights. Norah is the main character and it was a very good indy flick about a girl who is sort of trying to find her way in life after a very difficult breakup. Jude Law is in it so that makes it even better! ;) Heh! I recommend renting it if you are looking for something different.
My friend had her baby on Tuesday while I was finishing up the blog post. She sent me photos and the baby is so adorable! I was glad I was able to talk to her today. It's so funny, or rather interesting, how so many people I know are having babies. Honestly, it seems like baby central this year. I'm anxious for little Zoe to get here. I am an Aunt who is ready to spoil her!!!!
Myakka River and Jonathan Dickinson
July 22, 2008
So, I'm anxiously awaiting news that my friend Erika has given birth to her baby girl. So far, no news yet. She was going in late last night to be induced. Hrm...hoping for the best!
When we were in Sarasota we detoured on the way home on Sunday to Myakka River State Park to see about getting some photos of Encycylia tampensis, aka the butterfly orchid, in bloom. We were a few weeks too late, as most of the flowers were forming seed pods and were shriveling up. We found a few that were fully open, but not the flush of blooms we were hoping for. There were tons of these orchids in the oaks and I can imagine in June it would have been heavenly.
They have a really cool lookout/aerial walkway in the main tourist trail area. Chris and I got a workout climbing the staircase and our knees were wobbly later on! From above you can see the Myakka River and over the hammocks. It was cool comparing the signs to the actual view, looking for where the various change in habitat was and how it has changed since the photo was taken. More state parks should have this. We didn't stay long since we went over to Venice to check out some shark teeth, which we did find. We'll have to come back here in a few months and go camping, maybe for Thanksgiving, as is our tradition usually.
This past weekend, on Saturday, we went to Jonathan Dickinson State Park in search of pine lilies, since they were on my to-do list for the year. We hiked at least 3-4 miles and found no pine lilies in bloom. We asked the park office when we got there which trails we should try and we did all the suggested ones. It was a brutally hot day and the sunscreen we put on made us sticky when it mixed with the sweat. I am very glad I bought sunglasses before going because the sand trails would have been horrible on my eyes. To the west were some thunderstorms and they never made it our direction, though some of the outlying clouds did cover the sun for awhile, giving us respite from the heat. I reveled in the wind.
Though we didn't see pine lilies we did see a cool spider!
It moved around the flower as I tried to get some photos. I had to get on the ground for most of them.
We also took Leo...err, ok there was a bobcat print. ;) But, it could pass for Leo! Heh!
Well, I did have luck in the headbands, I've sold one so far. Thanks AB! :) I know AB from a forum and she's a great person and I'm excited she bought one. WOO! I have to say, if anyone else buys them, please let me know of anything you think should be changed ie: tighter, looser, yarn, etc. I'm a newbie at this!
I have to look at my 28 things list all the time so I can remember what I said I wanted to do. This weeks recipe was to cook asparagus. I'd never cooked it and so I just followed some directions for boiling it, though I wanted to saute it but I ran out of olive oil. I think I found a new food to eat!! Super easy and fast to cook. I also did w2d1 of my pushups and they are getting tougher, but I feel my arms tightening up again, which is good. I hope it helps my back because my upper back is always lacking support. I'm also including a lot of ab work after the pushups in addition to the cardio. I'm working out a M-W-F routine, or at least trying to. I hate feeling frumpy.
It's almost tomato season. I'm ready!!!
July 20, 2008
The headbands are in the shop here. These are the only colors for now but if I get enough interest I will do more in other colors, but I'll have to go out and get some yarn. I will more than likely get Paton's Grace yarn which is mostly cotton and is the yarn that I used in the lacy green headband.
I have two new plants as well and many other seeds!
Samson helped by keeping my hooks warm. He's laying on them. ;)
Garden Wandering and Beach Bumming
July 18, 2008
Selby was gorgeous for our second visit. We visited last time in the winter and this time several things were blooming that weren't there last time. I love this garden because it is smaller and more intimate. I also like their butterfly garden.
I'm not sure on the caterpillar that made its chrysalis on the pole. The colors are interesting though.
After going to the garden we went over to Longboat Key, searching for a beach to visit before checking into our hotel and going to dinner. We came on a weekend that had a lot of bad weather and storms were all around us. We didn't get to stay for very long because of the storm further north and eventually a wind gust came through and Chris wanted the camera off the beach to keep the sand out.
Not before he got some fishing in, though! He was trying for mackeral and didn't come up with anything worthwhile to keep. We drove up the beach more and stopped on the southern end of Anna Maria Island for more fishing and then continued on our way until we crossed a bridge and we looked north we saw the main bridge over Tampa Bay and realized how far north we were. Driving back south we found our hotel, a cheap Quality Inn, and cleaned up for dinner. We found a place to eat in the information book in the room, Phillippi Creek Seafood, which was the apparent local happening spot. Sure enough it was and we grabbed a table before the real dinner crowd came in. After dinner we drove over to Siesta Key in hopes of finding a good spot for sunset and letting Chris fish a little more. Unfortunately I found it to be very touristy and though the sand was flour soft, there were too many people to really fish and to enjoy the quiet evening. So, we headed back to the spot we had found earlier in the day.
The sunset was amazing and I took a zillion photos, most with a tilting horizon, as if the sea was going to run down the Earth. I tried my best to keep it steady on my knee but had very little luck. A blue heron was hanging around waiting for the bait fish that Chris caught, which he gave to the bird, and was a good source of trying different camera seetings. I like to have a low f/stop but I turned it up high with a high ISO and tried to capture the sunset and then have the ocean blur a little bit. It was hard to do without a tripod and so the bird had some blurred parts. Oh well. That's why it is digitial, right?
I have more photos but they aren't downloaded; we had to use another card and so the second part of the trip will be posted later.
It is Summer Baby Watch '08. My friend is going in for an induction on Tuesday and my SIL is going to have Zoe sometime this month, it looks. Early, but poor Steph is having a rough go of it. You are one tough chica to still be working!!! On another note I have about six headbands ready. I want to make one or two more and I think I am going to shoot for Sunday to get them in the shop, or late tomorrow evening. I'll post a blog when I get them in. If they go well I will get some other colors and do some in those. They are an easy thing to do while I am carpooling to work or at lunch and I can usually finish one in an hour unless it is a more diffcult pattern. I still haven't decided on a price, but they will be between $5 and $10. I will also be putting two plants up as well, a rare hibiscus sapling and a division of a rare variegated ginger.
Marc and Eliana are in Canada now. Go check out their blog for all the good and bad they've encountered.
Leo in a Hat
July 15, 2008
I made Leo a hat. Errr...Zoe. Leo said he wanted to model it first, though. I whipped this up on the way to Sarasota on Saturday and put the ribbon in tonight. Leo decided to make himself comfortable on the desk and so he was the first to try it on. I am surprised it stayed on as long as it did.
Baloo came to check it out and Leo threatened with a nose whack if he made fun of his pretty little hat.
I made my first new recipe tonight. Lime sugar cookies from the latest Cottage Living magazine. I am annoyed at Flickr Toys because it kept not displaying a few of the photos and then it actually got to only having one missing and I decided to heck with it! The only one missing was the photo of the recipe, but I have to say, they aren't ones I will make again. They were good, but they were super sticky when I tried to roll them in a ball and they cooked faster than I expected and just adding some lemon and lime juice and zest to a regular sugar cookie recipe will be fine next time around. I only subbed yogurt for sour cream, which could be a part of it, but other than that it shouldn't have made much of a difference. *oh well*.
And finally, a taste of the headbands I am making. They aren't all this pattern, though you can't even tell the pattern that well from this shot. I want to get a few more done before I show them and put them on Etsy. I have plants to add, too. Gah!!! I think I will shoot for a Saturday shop update.
It rained all day today. I mean, all day. Woo for no watering my yard!
July 14, 2008
Last week Eliana emailed and asked if I'd ever made crocheted headbands before and if so, could I please make some in green? Eliana is a green addict. Sometimes you spot her in blue, but green is her signature color. Funnily enough, in Montana I had made a headband one night in my hotel room while watching the Golden Girls on tv. It was out of the leftover yarn from the hat I made and it worked up well. So well that I fell in love with it because I could wear it forever without is slipping or giving me a headache. I love headbands, but after a few hours my head hurts and I just can't stand them any longer. Anyway, because Eliana is such a nice gal, (she adopted a sea turtle for me for my birthday!! I'm a Momma Turtle!!! heh!), I said I could whip some out for her. Chris and I stopped by Michael's and I picked up some yarn that I ended up falling in love with. It's cotton, probably a lace weight/sockweight type yarn and it is awesome!
Well, now I am on a roll! I have a two made and I have hopes to get at least six total in a few days and then get them up on Etsy. Right now the colors are green, blue and white and I can probably find some other colors in my stash. This is an excellent way of crocheting through my stash, especially the smaller portions that are leftover. I also like it because I am playing with patterns and techniques and it is a great way of practicing on a smaller swatch than a larger piece.
This weekend we went over to Sarasota for my birthday. We hit Marie Selby Botanic Garden, or "Mary Selby" as Chris kept calling it. I like this garden because it is smaller than Fairchild and a little more intimate. They have a nice greenhouse with excellent orchids and just an overall good display on the bayfront. We stayed at a cheaper hotel on the mainland and went over to the beach for a bit in the afternoon and then were run off by the rain, so we drove up the coast a little more before checking into our hotel. I took a lot of photos and we did some wave jumping, shark teeth hunting and canopy walking, but I'll save that post for another day when I get the photos uploaded.
This weekend I also finished another book I was reading, Portion of the Sea, by a local Sanibel island author. I had seen the book around Sanibel when we went back in November but I didn't pick it up. I found it on BookMooch a few months ago and decided to start reading it. It was a great novel, a historical fiction, and though I found some typo's, I think it could have been part of the story when the two girls were younger, as in how they would have written, but then again...?? I recommend it if you are looking for a good beach read.
Slowly working on that list. It is going to be a doozy! Samson says "meow".
28 for 28
July 11, 2008
My mom used to always tell me and Curt our birth stories. It was a hot summer the year I was born, like most summers in Texas where temperatures are a constant 100+ for weeks in a row. I envision it like I was there, stepping outside of the womb to see my mom in the front yard of our house in Hurst, Texas and she seems all comfortable with the big belly in front of her, the grass is a crisp, cool green and the sun is beginning to set and you can enjoy being outside. And then there's the labor part which sounds all gruesome enough for me, because I ended up being an emergency c-section. Yeah, I try not to envision the whole c-section part, with a belly open and all the guts and stuff out. Yeah. Nope. Not for me. Alas, I was born at 12:04am at on the best day of the year, free slurpee day at 7-11! :) Just a few minutes earlier and I would have shared a birthday with Jessica Simpson instead of enjoying a birthday slurpee.
So, it seems that I should jump on the bandwagon that I've noticed on several blogs. In fact, I thought about it a bit in June and then I decided to reinforce the idea and just do it. I've made up a list of 28 things to do before I turn 29. Similar to Hula Seventy, Elise Blaha, and Team Clark. Here they are:
A few scenes from the yard last night:
Baby passionfruit. We are hand pollinating the flowers and should have 100+ fruits in a few weeks.
July 8, 2008
1. Roping Nature, 2. You travel far to discover home., 3. pensive pug, 4. Summer at Stricker's Pond, 5. Summer, 6. Summer Berries Red Current01, 7. Summer mood., 8. Summer sunset / Puesta de sol de verano, 9. summer on symmetry Created with fd's Flickr Toys.
This is what I want summer to look like, instead of the hovering indoors during the middle of the day in the air conditioning. The only good time to do anything is after 7pm, and even then it is sometimes iffy. I was thinking about how much I miss Melbourne. Melbourne had awesome summers. We spent a lot of time watching sea turtles on the beach, Chris fishing while I walked or ran down the beach, geocaching when we were in our prime. It also helped that I was home 45 minutes earlier than I am now. It really does dampen the time you can spend after work doing things. Summer has been alright so far. I am enjoying the strawberries, blueberries and peaches and ohmygoodness the mangoes! We tried to pick up some lychee's at a fruit stand the other day but they said they were already out of season. Those are such a good fruit!
I suppose part of my problem is the self imposed deadlines I put in my head. I want to accomplish so much and yet I try to squeeze it into the little bits of time I have. Something has to go. Or I just need to ease up, I guess. I miss drawing and painting, but until I can wade through some more crochet I don't want to sit down and do it. I also feel like decades 'behind' in scrapbooking. I need to go through and organize. Working out. Spending time outside. Eating good ice cream to counteract the working out.
I did finish Zoe's cardigan the other day. The pattern was for longer sleeves and a hoody, but I figured that a cardigan was cuter! This is for a six month old. I have some bright blue yarn I am going to use for a 9 month pattern so she can have another. I am highly dissapointed that plane tickets are so expensive. I reluctantly decided to combine my trip in August into my trip in October, to Texas. I am hoping I can get two weeks off work so I can go to my reunion, meet Zoe, and then be in the wedding I am supposed to be in at the end of the trip. I just can't fathom spending $400 x 2! ARGH! The prices doubled in May. I should have bought tickets way back when.
The other day I noticed our broken 4 o'clocks were blooming, however they had two different colors on the same plant! Cool!
So, enjoy summer with me by listening to my favorite song of the summer: Strawberry Swing on my favorite album of the summer, Viva La Vida. "It's such a perfect day...It's such a perfect day"....
Happy Birthday to Stephanie, my sister in law!! Zoe's Baby Momma!! :)
July 6, 2008
Yesterday we got up before dawn to drive down to Everglades National Park to meet a friend of Chris' to go see some Vanilla barbellata, leafless vanilla, in bloom. Now, it was a beautiful morning when we started out, even if I didn't get breakfast (grumble...), but the hike out wasn't too bad to start, at least until we had to go off the trail. ENP is characterized by a lot of solution hole caprock, or karst, and it is just plain holey! Watching your footing is a big deal because you can easily fall over or even break an ankle or leg. It wasn't too far out to the site, but enough to be a bit of a pain to get to. Once I got there I started feeling bad, Chris' dad was already feeling bad because his sugars were too low, but mine were starting to get low and it was so hot and humid, even that early in the morning. I looked, I smelled, I sat down and fell asleep. Eventually I laid down on my backpack and dozed while those three were shooting the flower. It wouldn't have been so bad had I had breakfast or it not been so humid. I can't believe how hot it is this summer, but really it is just the same as last summer. The flower smells really good, probably one of the better smelling orchids I've sniffed.
On the way back to the car we ran into the stilts we saw on the way in and Chris took some photos.
We hit a gas station back in town for drinks and empanada's to last us until lunch time and then went over to RF Orchids.
We were walking into their main vanda section and this little kitty comes trotting over to us, up the orchid bench, across some small vanda's and over to us to be petted. Now, Chris opened up a can of worms when he exclaimed that she was so cute and we had to take her home!!! So, I was delighted and held her the whole time, wondering if we could really take her home! She purred and meowed and was just a sweet little thing. We were about to leave and in the parking lot I asked Chris if we could really see if we could get her and so he made me go back in to ask. I found a lady who had brought us some yummy lemonade and talked to her for a minute about the cat. She's only been there about 10 days and was horribly scrawny when she came. Now, she has a fat tummy and was just so sweet. I asked and she went to ask the owners but they declined. They had give some others from another litter out but they liked her. Chris went online when we got home and found she's already a star on their site! " LuLu. I named her Penny. They named her Lulu. She's totally a Penny to me!
At least after the rains the evenings aren't too bad. After dinner last night we sat on the swing out back, pollinated some passionfruit so we could have a lot of fruit in a few weeks, and Chris mounted an orchid. I think I'll play in the yard again tonight. I'm trying to enjoy summer this year. Last year I just wanted Fall to come as quickly as possible. This year I'm not into rushing it, just maybe having a cold front appear out of nowhere.
At a forum I am on we're discussing late 80's and 90's things we remember, a lot of it music. Some of it I had forgot, like this: Elastica--Connection. This reminds me of BH 90210! Heh!
4th of July
July 4, 2008
Chris and his dad got up early to run to some nature centers in West Palm Beach while I stayed in bed and mosied around the house and put together the potato salad. There aren't any set measurements. You just put it all in, taste it and see how you like it.
First, assemble your ingredients. Sure, you can deviate, but it won't be Misti's Potato Salad! ;) Off screen are some already opened ingredients that I wanted to use up first, so I didn't necessarily use all of these.
Boil your eggs.
And your potatoes. I cut them into fours this time for a quicker cook. It took about an hour for them to cook.
Go eat some breakfast. I made the biscuits while coffee was brewing and doing some dishes. Check email and lounge with cats.
Dice up the potatoes into smaller sizes. Careful, it's a bit hot still!
Add in the eggs and onions. I used about half the onion.
Pile on the mustard, dill relish, s&p, onion salt, Everglades Seasoning, Miracle Whip and bacon pieces. Use the real pieces instead of the fake bits, please!!!!
A healthy dose of white vinegar. I would guess it is a half cup to a cup of it. Use more or less to taste.
Mix it all up!
Give it a taste! You must taste from several areas to make sure you have balanced flavor. Mix it up more if you need to. Don't feel bad for looking like a bum, it's a holiday!
Sit down for dinner eight hours later after the salad has been in the fridge all day. Eat the yum-o ribs that hubby made up and used Stubbs seasoning with it. Oh, Stubbs is this totally awesome, Made-in-Texas, bbq sauce/marinade. Mmmmmmm! Enjoy!!!
Ok, is my family drooling???? ;) It's a bit rainy here so we aren't sure if the fireworks are going to make it tonight. We might sit out front for a minute and see. Otherwise, it is early to bed for us anyway. We're meeting down at Everglades NP in the morning with someone else to go see an orchid. We're getting up at an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning to do it, too.
Hope you all had a great 4th of July! Happy Birthday Eliana!!! :)
Four Day Weekend
July 3, 2008
I took a four day weekend for the heck of it. I really needed some rest and relaxation, some fun and excitement, and some times to wind down a little bit. Chris' dad is here for the long weekend so we have some plans around the area. Today we didn't do a whole heck of a lot. I cleaned the house this morning and we went to lunch at the Char-Hut. They have Birch Beer there, which is like rootbeer, but purple and a little bit different. It's very tasty! We went to see the burrowing owls at a nearby park and Chris and his dad took a lot of photos. I stayed in the car and crocheted. I was losing steam fast, headed downhill for a nap, which I took when we got home. It rained, thundered all afternoon. Dinner was at the little Italian place next door and we settled in for the evening. I'm making potato salad tomorrow to go with our ribs for the 4th. So, Chef poster person, I will do a little potato salad post tomorrow! Now, I don't know if I should give my trade secrets away, but maybe I'll share a little. ;)
I sat down at the computer and the picture window was up and I saw this photo. Chris took these prior to going hiking awhile ago, but I hadn't seen them yet. They are so adorable! This is little Pink Nose, Leo. I always like the way the hairs on his nose crawl up his face.
See, they love each other! Even if Sam gets the "Mrrrrrr" action going sometimes when Leo starts annoying him. They are such good little buddies!
The gladilous I planted sometime in late April, early May have begun flowering. One plant has already finished but two have bloom stalks and another is going to bloom in a few days. I am glad I put them in the ground this year instead of leaving them in a pot. They tend to rot in the pots and the soil here is so sandy that it will be well drained for the bulbs. I'm actually surprised they are blooming this late. I was just taking a chance by putting them in during late spring.
This is a variegated daylily that we found today at a plant nursery on the way back from the park. This is probably more than I should have spent for a daylily, but, hey, it was variegated!
We also harvested two citrus, a key lime and a variegated pink lemon. The key lime I grew from seed several years ago and it produced a fruit. It smells so good that I can't wait to eat it!
I forgot, I finished Atonement and started and finished A Walk in the Woods. Atonement was ok. Personally, I liked the movie better. I thought the movie actually portrayed everything splendidly, the characters, the war, the dress. The book, though written well, was lacking something. I thought the young sister was more annoying, less naive than in the movie. The second book was pretty funny and awesome, though I was annoyed with the writer a few times, because it is told from his own perspective while hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail, he was quite rude to some people. Sure, I would have shaken off a few of those who had latched on, but there were some times he was downright rude. And, though he considers he hiked the trail, I don't consider it. He hiked parts of it, not the whole way. Sorry, in my eyes, it is like finding parts of a geocache and then saying you found the whole cache. No. You didn't. Oh, right, I forgot, I read another book this week too, The Measure of a Lady by Deanne Gist. She wrote A Bride Most Begrudging, which i loved, but this book had some farfetched parts in it, or at least to me. One of the characters, at 15, and new to San Francisco during the 1840's, within a few months of arrival becomes a 'kept woman'. That and a few of the conversations were forced, but overall it was a light, fluffy read. Now I started A Portion of the Sea, which is a Sanibel book. I saw it when I was there last November because it was a local author who wrote it and I decided I didn't need to get it. I found it on BookMooch and it was a signed copy too! So far, so good! I'll keep you posted. With all this reading, I need to get back to art work. I'm catching up on my paper adventure scrapbook and trying to wrap up some crochet. I'm already thinking abour Christmas presents because it is six months away, far away, but still close enough to sneak up on me and become November and I'll start scrambling to finish things!
July 2, 2008
If you've seen the ICanHasCheezburger website and the IHasAHotDog websites, you can appreciate this. Ah, I love that you can turn your Flickr photos into an LOLCat! hehehe!
A Florida Journal
A Moxley Baby
Anything but Ordinary
Clyde and Niki Butcher
Digital Flower Pics
Do What You Love
Eat What You Love
Florida Native Orchids
Hip City Cruz
Life Less Ordinary
Marc and Eliana
Meghan Senkel Photography
Post Punk Girl
Recipes Randy Cooks
Space Coast Eco
Space Coast Beach Buzz
The Art of Life
The Whitlock Family
Wolfie and the Sneak