Subscribe to my Feed
March 26, 2009
While I was in DC a month ago I started a small rose drawing. It was on a rough piece of grey pastel board and I intended to do a pencil drawing. Once I started I realized that grey with graphite just doesn't look right. *duh*. The piece was about half finished, a very small board, and I sat down last night to finish out the pencil part. When I realized my grey on grey mistake I knew I wanted to go over it with pastel. After I finished the pencil part I pulled out my Nu-Pastels and proceeded to 'paint' away with the pastels. Here is the result.
The matting is done through Flickr Toys, it isn't matted in real life yet. I still need to sign and spray it. I will eventually put it on Etsy, but I would like to see if I can actually do more art work soon and have a few pieces put up. I enjoyed doing this yesterday and probably spent a hour on it to finish it up. This is my third rose piece and as much as i love roses and have the itch to continue, I need to branch out a bit. I am planning on starting a softshell turtle drawing and I have an acrylic painting of an iris I started months ago that I wasn't happy with so I stopped working on it. Maybe I can salvage it and work on it again soon.
In other news, I went to my second dentist appointment in a week today. I started going to a new dentist that is closer to my house and it was also because the other dentist I started going to here for about two years told me I have a cavity last year. Now, I have never had a cavity in my life, not even in my baby teeth. So, trust me, I was shocked and wanted a second opinion. Unfortunately in the world of insurance you have to wait a year to get x-rays done again because they only pay for once a year and I didn't feel like forking my own money over for that. I wanted a second opinion! Well, last week I went and was told my gums were horrendously receding in many places and needed a deep cleaning under the gums to get them whipped back into shape. She did half my mouth and it was not pleasant. I went back today for the other half and met with the dentist, who did proceed to find 3 cavities. *bummer*. However, they weren't in the areas that the other dentist talked about. So...I don't know. But I do feel like I trust this dentist much more than I did the other one. The hygenist is super nice and numbed my mouth up good so she could scrape the teeth clean, but it still hurt. I used to like the dentist. Now it is torture! So, my advice is to keep your gums in shape and brush your teeth often! Goodbye goal of making it to 100 without a cavity. :(
Blue, Green and Soaring High
March 24, 2009
So, in the midst of learning to knit I had to make something instant in crochet. Knitting is getting to me. It's too difficult to get the needle into the yarn, then fuss with moving the yarn to the other needle and then worry about a stitch dropping, because God-forbid that happens, I have to start over since I do not know how to pick up stitches yet. Trust me, learn to crochet first. It is so much easier!!! One hook, a multitude of stitches without having to drop and if you drop stitches it is simple to pick back up. Anyway, I used this same pattern to make this hat awhile ago. I had some extra yarn hanging around from my headband days last summer and wanted to use it up. But, I'm not too sure how I like it with my hair being shorter. Now, Chris is asking me for a hat so I have to find some brown/taupe wool yarn for him because he wants it toasty. I haven't made anything for him before. If I ever learn to knit well enough to do a sweater I shall make one for him. Which, will probably be in 10 years before I can master knitting. When I learned to crochet I told a few of my closest friends that I would make them blankets and finally after six years of crocheting I finished the last blanket this past Fall. Now, I am only planning to do some scrap yarn granny square afghan's that I can work on in my spare time and baby blankets for only a very select few people. Blankets just take a lot out of you! And you really have to be in the mood.
I was out in the field for work today and took some photos. Ahh, spring!!! I am loving the blue skies with the greens of all of the new vegetation on the trees.
Isn't it gorgeous?
Speaking of spring, I noticed yesterday that the gladiolus are coming up. Or one. A few weeks ago I searched for the bulbs in the ground to see if there was any activity and nada. Last week for several days we got a lot of much needed rain and I think that helped the bulbs out. I also noticed some other miscellaneous seedlings coming up that might be from some wildflower seeds I threw out with them!
Not quite in focus (you try photographing a moving object...!) but love the feeling of the hawk soaring in the air.
The hawk had friends, too...
The swallowtail kites are back! Unfortunately they weren't really in the range for a good photograph! Drat! Will have to track them down soon to get some photos. I also have to say Chris' 5D is spoiling me. My ability to zoom in on photos without pixelating isn't good. I want a 20 megapixel camera! *whine*. ;)
March 22, 2009
Chris, me and a few other orchid nerds went back out to the slough he found the Cyclopogon elatus. I wanted to see the orchids up close and I also needed a good hike. I haven't been in Fakahatchee in a good bit of time, maybe almost a year. Something made me anti-Fakahatchee there for awhile. Maybe it was the heat or water, but I was up to it this time because it was mostly dry. Anyway, we checked the orchids out and had already made it back to the car and then out again to look for another rare plant that someone had told us about and we realized we'd counted culverts wrong and we were in the wrong spot. We got back up on the tram and started counting again and then I got down to verify the number of culverts and it was wrong and when Chris helped me back up we turned and realized there was a panther on the trail! We stopped for a second to watch, Chris reminded me that I had the small camera in my pocket and I got it out and tried to take some shots. It looked like the panther wasn't going to really go anywhere so Chris had time to get out the 5D and put on the 300mm. He eased down the trail snapping photos and I stayed behind for a few seconds and then decided to follow behind him, leaving the rest of his backpack in the middle of the trail. We did this little following game for about 5 to 10 minutes and walked around a quarter of a mile. I was a decent bit behind Chris because I didn't want to scare it off while he was taking photos, but at the same time I was concerned that the panther would turn around! The cat just moseyed down the tram, poking its head into the bushes to look for I-don't-know-what. Then, it just got tired of us following and it just trotted off, just like a little Leo we know! It was awesome! This makes #4 for me and #5 for Chris. Our first three were seen all together in the middle of Janes Scenic Drive a year ago.
Chris was not this close, he was able to zoom in with Photoshop so that you could see the panther better.
The video was shot on his 5D and it is a bit wobbly from the lens, excitement and the wind. I shot some other videos on the Fuji, but I will have to see how good those even are.
We topped the day off with a late lunch in Everglades City where I chowed down on seven stone crab claws. Mmmmmmmmmmm! I think they rank better than lobster. (sorry Eliana. At least they get to keep one claw.)
March 20, 2009
Like I said a few days ago, the American Orchid Society is closing it's gardens in Delray Beach at the end of May. Chris and I just started going to it back late last year when we were looking for something to do during the weekend. We caught it during an orchid show and sale and so the place was packed. When my mom came to visit a few weeks ago we had a slightly rainy morning and decided to head up there before the bottom really fell out. We've been trying to get mom into orchids and she has a few at home that are doing pretty well, but it is hard to simulate the tropics in the middle of Ft. Worth. Sure, it gets hot, but it isn't quite as humid! She's done pretty well keeping them alive and they are growing new leaves, but she wants them to bloom! Patience is a virtue for orchid enthusiasts! Anyway, this time around it was fairly quiet and we had a lot of room to wander around without bumping into anyone else.
Mom loved the orchids!!
I barely did anything in Photoshop with this, a smidge of contrast, but the sunlight was hitting this water lily in an awesome way that day.
There are a few others that I took in addition to the ones from when we went the last time if you click on one of the photos and see the rest of the set.
So, I sorta learned the knit yesterday. Eliana came over after I had a dentist appointment and we sat and I tried to knit. It really helped to see a YouTube video and watch her do it. I can cast on and do a knit stitch but it isn't pretty and I am no where near being good at it! I'll keep practicing! When I get better I will officially say I learned to knit and cross it off my list for the year!
And last but not least, Chris was featured with Mike Owen on a local NBC affiliate in Naples about the orchid he found.
March 19, 2009
In the garden:
Black Sapote seedlings. Tropical fruit that is common down here, sometimes. Decided to see if they would sprout...and they did. Not sure what I will do with them!
Sometimes pushing through the dirt is the hardest part...
And then the whole gang comes out of the soil.
A week ago these onions were in a bag at Home Depot. Today they are on their way to becoming part of a salad.
Last year, perhaps this same bird, made a nest in our ric-rac cactus basket. The nest never came to fruition, but this year we noticed momma was back and all of a sudden a few days ago we noticed the birds, which are much bigger than I expected, so they must have hatched awhile back and are now just big enough to see.
There were two and I couldn't see the second in the nest until this morning when I was on the porch and saw this one sitting in a cypress tree that we have in a container with the rest of the plants. It was hopping between branches, partially flying. I was concerned that it had fallen out and really couldn't get around and that Baloo or one of the neighborhood cats would get it so I asked Chris if I should try to put it back in the nest. I made sure momma was gone first and put gloves on and got the ladder. I searched in the same spot for it and then found it sitting prettily in our ylang-ylang tree, at the base in the container. I picked the bird up and missed one of the wings so one was free and it was enough to scare me into letting it go. It flew a few feet away and then hopped a little. I tried to get it again but it just flew and hopped back towards our banana trees. It was getting too close to the other fence and I was afraid it was going to go into the other yard, and despite my best attempt to shoo it back towards the nest area and containers, it of course, went into the other yard. Drat!!! I felt so bad, but was relived with momma dove flew down to make sure the big, bad human hadn't hurt it. *doh*. Next time I'll be sure to watch it longer to see if it moves around well. I checked this evening to see if I could find it but haven't had the luck yet. Hopefully it will come back tomorrow.
I have other garden photos that I will post tomorrow, and all of the other photos I still promised. Gah, I am so bad!!!
Been obsessing over:Regina Spektor's Samson, U2's Silver and Gold, Jenny Lewis' Born Secular, particularly the drums toward the end, Coldplay's Life in Technicolor.
March 17, 2009
My husband is pretty cool, and slightly dorky, but he knows that. I mean, I am dorky as well, so not that it bothers me. Sometimes dorky becomes cool, such as finding a rare orchid. An orchid that hasn't been seen in 40+ years and then wasn't seen before that for 80 years.
I still need to work on photos from when my mom was here, but I've been spending a lot of time in the yard lately and then trying to catch up on other things. Hopefully this week I will get to them. Some are from the American Orchid Society garden in Delray Beach, which I just found out is closing at the end of May. Bummer! Especially since we just purchased a year membership back late last year. Oh well!
I'll leave you with Chris' Fakahatchee sunrise.
The Big Lug
March 4, 2009
It is so easy to not blog! I almost got up from eating my sushi and not even bothering to blog! But, I promised and here I am, trying to keep my promise.
On our way back from backpacking we stopped at Jonathan Dickinson State Park to meet up with Marc and Eliana since they were doing some geocaching and hiking. Or rather, Marc was geocaching and Eliana was hiking with Baloo. We ended up running into another geocaching friend of ours and it seems it was a popular weekend to go out. It was good to see Baloo again because we knew he'd of liked the backpacking trip and all of the hiking. He would have probably have tried to fetch the armadillo's!
Baloo was all about giving the love, like always.
He can't keep his tongue in his mouth!!! *lick, lick, lick*
We did about 5.5 miles that day, walking in the northern reaches of the park and only saw people on horses at the beginning. I think they were celebrating the Ocean to Lake Greenway and many of the horses were slightly afraid of the big bad Baloo, but most kept on walking by even though Baloo wanted to make friends with many of them.
We found a pine lily seed pod! It was neat seeing the seed pod since we'd found all of the flowers this past summer.
My bee friend wouldn't sit still long enough to get a decent picture, so this is all I got...a bee butt!
There were a ton of these ground orchids along the trail. I think they are Calopogon pallidus.
Tons of sundews were growing along the ground. Sundews are a carnivorous plant and are common in JD.
Eliana kept leaning over to Marc to sip water out of the Camelbak and I thought it was a funny scene. I'm happy with how the desaturation turned out!
Tonight I ripped out the Granny Smith tomato, it was going downhill and put in the Fife Creek okra seedlings I started. I also planted some cowpeas/black eyed peas along the chicken wire fence that guards the garden. I'm not even sure if it is the right time or not, but I also started some pumpkin seeds for fun. *why not*!!?? Hopefully in a bit I will start having collards, peppers and then carrots will be ready to pick. I've got a few small leaves on some onion seeds that I hope will finish coming up. Now that Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday I will have an extra hour in the evening to do some watering and pittering around in the yard. And Baloo can have his walks again! Right now he plays outside with us for awhile, but he really needs his mile walks!
March is here
March 3, 2009
It's March! How did that happen? I've been so busy, mostly work busy. It really started at the end of January but I came from back DC and hit the ground running and then had a lot of field work to do and was subsequently exhausted most evenings and there was little time left for blogging. Then my mom came to visit this past weekend and so now I need to catch up on all sorts of things!
I guess I will take it slow since I figure I have a lot to blog this week so I will limit today to our short backpacking excursion to St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, also known as the Sebastian Buffer Preserve, last weekend. It was on my list of things to do this year and we haven't been back since we moved to South Florida almost five years ago. There is a lot of preserved land in that area and I like that there are hiking trails available in the area. I called in advance to find out what I needed to do and found out that there were only a few pack in spots available. All are remote camping locations and do not have potable water or a bathroom. Make your own and use a tree!!! We got up early on Saturday morning and drove the three hours up to the preserve, paid our fee ($4 a piece per night) and then decided to take the longer route of approximately 8 miles to get to the Eagle Camp. We were only about a mile in when we spotted our first scrub jays of the day. I've seen them in fleeting glimpses in the past, but never this close, or through a lens.
I zoomed and cropped this one so you could see the colors better. I was using the 100mm macro while Chris was using the 75-300. Several of them had bands on their legs.
At our campsite we found lots of armadillos and they are so loud! Chris set up a hammock for us to laze about in during the afternoon and while he was looking for a place to make water and taking photos I crawled in the hammock and tried to nap. The armadillos didn't seem to want me to do that, though, and a few times I thought it was Chris coming back.
On the tomato front, things are slowly winding down here with less production and some plants starting to wane. I am starting okra and cowpea seeds and trying to get some other things in the garden going. I probably have enough lettuce to pick, lettuce from a container at the store, and the collards are slowly growing. I think my carrots are doing decent and I need to figure out when I pick those. It won't be a bountiful harvest, but I am excited to see how they do. I also started some pumpkins and am trying some tiny pumpkins I had as decoration on the table for fall.
A little teaser for later this week...
Feels Like Summer
February 15, 2009
It's mid-February and it feels like summer! (oh, and hi! No, I haven't dropped off the planet...just have had blogger's block.) Last week I was in Washington, D.C. which was surprisingly mild for winter. The past two times I've been during the same week, there was ice and snow on the ground and it was bitterly cold. This time it was tolerable without a jacket in some afternoons, but it was still cold. I got back to Florida and I am having feelings of June!
DC was nice and I got to meet up with three friends while I was there. One I met up with and I haven't seen her since we graduated college. It was good to catch up with her and she showed me a part of DC I had not seen before, Chinatown.
Not much of the area is really 'Chintatown' as it has become a lot of up and coming restaurants and it has the Verizon center where the sports leagues play games. But, the Chinatown sign is still there and there are some Chinese restaurants and businesses in the area. We wandered around the area and found Ford's Theater. Yes, the theatre where President Lincoln was assasinated.
Across the street is the house where he died.
Tours are given during the day, but we were there unfortunately in the evening.
On Wednesday evening, after my conference was over, I decided to take a leap and find an REI. Chris and I was looking for some new gear and it's hard to really tell what we want online. South Florida has a very meager selection of outdoor stores. We only have a Basspro Shop and a Peter Glenn, but both don't have the best selection. There was an REI about six miles from my hotel but it required me to take the bus. I have never ridden a bus and so I really didn't gather enough guts to do it in the end so I found one that was within walking distance of the metro. Of course it was on the last stop north of the University of Maryland. I even called the stores just to make sure I could walk from the metro, that there was access and to check out what kind of area I would be walking through. So, I took the 45 minute ride up the metro and exited the metro and the proceeded to panic because I'd exited on the side with the parking. I tried to walk around and I remembered from the maps that I looked at there was a road and the metro was in the way of my crossing. So, I call them back and have them clarify for me how I could get there and they tell me there is a tunnel that goes under the metro and pops out in the park and then I walk through the housing area. *phew*. I made it to the store and only had an hour before I had to turn around and get back on the metro so I could meet my friends Meghan and Jesse on another end of the line in Maryland. That required me to go back into DC, switch lines and hop on for another ride. Luckily they were there waiting for me when I got there and we set out for a seafood restaurant.
We ordered a half dozen of blue crabs and proceeded to make a mess out of our table. I have never eaten the inside of a crab before and I'd had a bad incident with a soft shell crab before, but luckily this wasn't like that! It was too bad that the crabs were devoured so quickly!
Meghan and Jesse live in Annapolis so they took me downtown to get some ice cream. This is the Maryland state capitol! It's interesting to think there is something else political so close to DC. It's almost like DC squashes everything around it. It was a cold night but we had ice cream at a great little ice cream parlor that had a trademark of putting spoons on the wall.
After the ice cream we went back to their place to hang out for awhile. Last year Meghan and I met in DC. We ended up at a Borders to look at creativity and art books and we bought Wreck This Journal, a journal in which you unleash your creative energies. It doesn't necessarily mean it will produce anything, but when you don't know what to do, when you want to sit with a pen and write or draw, this is a perfect solution for getting angst out.
One of the prompts is to wear the journal. So, we wore them as hats! I know, we are *so* creative! hah! At least it was fun! It was too late for the metro so they drove me back to my hotel in DC.
Now, I'm here writing and smelling the tomato sauce on the stove. Chris is out at Fakahatchee Strand right now, or rather, he should be heading home. I spent the day doing chores, grocery shopping and a little bit of reading. I am finally the 'owner' of the Canon Rebel XTI. Chris got his 5D in the mail on Friday. I haven't played around with it yet, as he is still working out all of the settings. So far it looks neat, but it is so heavy. But, hey, we won't have to fight over a camera any more!! Tomorrow is a day off work so I plan on doing some yard work early in the morning and then maybe seeing a chick-flick. There are several out right now but I can't decide between Bride Wars, Shopaholic or He's Just Not That Into You. Hrmph? Any recommendations?
February 6th, 2009
Hello, blogland! I haven't felt much like posting this past week. Just been 'here'. I haven't really had a whole lot to say, either. Last week was three intense days of field work, followed by a nice cold blast this week and so the garden has been neglected, art hasn't been done and I've been mostly a bum.
On Tuesday I went and picked a bunch of Galapagos tomatoes to dry in the oven. Last year we had good success drying Togo Trifle and Ceylon Red varieties of tomatoes and we thought the Galapagos would do well dried. I sliced them in half after washing, put them on a cookie sheet, doused them with olive oil, chopped up some fresh garlic and basil and put some dried oregano on it as well, salt and pepper, too. Then turned the oven on to the lowest setting, 170*, and let them sit there all night. Wednesday evening we had to put them on for a few more hours in order to get enough of the juices out so they wouldn't mold.
This is the end result! They taste very good, too!
The other day I came in and found Leo and Sam laying like this on the computer chair. It was pretty hilarious because Leo was sleeping exactly like that. Of course two seconds after I snapped a photo he decided to move, but it was quite funny! They are such dorks!
Marc and Eliana are back in Miami. I hadn't gotten to see them until today when I met Eliana and her sister after work to get ear medicine for Baloo. It was so good to see her and we didn't have hardly any time to talk. And if you look at the photo of Eliana on the park bench in that blog post, that's pretty much how I found her when I gave her a welcoming hug. So much unsaid, so much going on.
I plan on updating my Etsy shop tonight and tomorrow with more tomato seeds. I think probably 4-5 more varieties. So, check back on Sunday if you are interested in some tomatoes for your garden this spring!
Oh yeah, Kylen received the butterfly drawing! Michelle took some cute photos of her 'opening' it!
Playing Catch Up
January 31, 2009
I know I haven't been around much in the past week. I think the end of January blues came in, coupled with a long work week in the field. I had three days straight of full field days and I was too tired and sore to even do a lot in the evenings. I'm still trying to catch up on laundry, which could have been done on any evening this week, but I was super lazy. Chris has been working on cleaning his tank up and taking it down so he can sell it. Chris has had aquariums ever since I've known him and we've had this 180 gallon tank for about 5 years now. Almost two years ago there was a mishap with a fusebox and it caused a coral die off (if you want to really believe in global warming, see an aquarium go too warm by just a few degrees...you will lose your corals!) and so Chris finally decided to take the tank down and sell it so that he could buy the new Canon 5D. So, for the past two weeks it has been aquarium cleaning all over the house and that is finally going to wrap up this weekend. The upside of this aquarium going down and coupled with it being winter, we got our electric bill to under $100! I haven't seen that in 7 years! To show how out of it I even am, I'm not even really sure how the garden is doing! I've poked my head out a few times but nothing really big. I was hoping to get out there today for a bit, but we got a cold front last yesterday afternoon and I don't know how chilly it will be. The upside is the sun is out!
I have too much on my to-do list. Laundry, listing more seeds, cleaning up the bathrooms, I want to start some new art. I finally got Kylen's drawing off to her (it's a surprise, Michelle, don't tell her! Ooh, it would be fun if you did a blog with her opening it!) and we need to do our taxes as I finally got my W-2. *crossing fingers for not paying Uncle Sam*.
January 27, 2009
This past weekend we ventured up to Gainesville to meet Marc and Eliana since they had made it back to Florida. Chris and I had been wanting to go up to Payne's Prairie for awhile and so we asked them if they would like to meet us and check it out. Our main reason was that we wanted to see some whooping cranes. Whoopers are highly endangered birds, with only about 500 or less existing in the wild or captivity. There are breeding programs out there and the birds in Florida do not migrate and stay in Florida year round.
So, we drove up late on Friday night, about 4.5 hour drive, and reunited Baloo with Eliana. Baloo was slightly confused, I think, which 'mom' does he go to? He went to Eliana and licked and loved on her, but it was a little confusing for him to figure out which bed he should jump on. We hit the sack since we planned on getting up early on Saturday morning. The early bird catches the worms around Payne's Prairie! And, that is an understatement.
It was very foggy when we arrived at the entrance and the large live oaks were draped with Spanish moss which created an eerie, peaceful feeling. As soon as we got out of the car we heard the sandhill cranes in the distances. We weren't the only ones there, many other birders and photographers were already on the trail that passes the Alachua sink and on to where a huge sandhill crane rookery exists. In the fog we were spying sandhill cranes flying, trying to decide if there were any whoopers in our midst.
This is one photo, but there were thousands of sandhill cranes in the rookery. They would take off for another area, land to check out what was good to eat in another, fight over territory, honk to the others and it was a sight to see.
Now, I've seen maybe 10 to 20 cranes together before, but never this amount. It was truly awesome!
Marc has influenced Eliana in birding and so they were spotting all sorts of birds and crossing off some from their life lists.
We walked to the end of the trail (yep, I'm wearing my dorky Bolivia hat finally!) and looked on the overlook trying to spy wildlife. Just before the overlook was a huge pile of buffalo dung. Yep, there are buffalo in Florida! Payne's Prairie also hosts wild horses left over from the cattle ranching days of the area. More on those later! We didn't see buffalo that day but on Sunday we spied some in the distance!
We had been looking all morning for whooping cranes, knowing they would be distinctly different from the sandhill cranes, but still thinking we would see them when the light would hit the grey feathers of the sandhills just right. I was holding the camera when I looked to the northeast and saw these two coming my way. I couldn't believe it, whoopers! Now, I am fairly certain I have seen them before at Aransas Wildlife Refuge when I was younger, but I am not sure. At least now I can say I've seen them!
They flew right in front of us, and I was snapping as fast as I could, hoping my shutter speed was right and that I was getting a good photo!
And then they dissappeared off behind some marsh plants.
We decided to leave and get some lunch and on our way to lunch we spotted a pond in front of a hospital that had hooded mergansers. I've always wanted to see these birds!
After lunch we went to the pond to check them out. They were kinda shy and kept swimming to the opposite side of the pond, unlike the ducks and geese which were very human friendly (looking for handouts probably!), and so I snapped some far-ish photos. I zoomed in on Photoshop on this next one.
very interesting aren't they???
After our bird adventure we went to pick Baloo up from the hotel room and take him for a hike. We hit the Chacala trail at the main park entrance and did about 5 miles, which was paired with the 3 from the morning, making a long 8 mile day for us. Baloo had a good time, only picked up a few ticks and enjoyed chasing many large sticks! He loves sticks!
On Sunday morning I was the lone person to sleep in. The other three got up even earlier than the day before and went out to see if they could get more photos. Here is what I missed:
Wild horses. I did see one the day before after we'd left the main entrance and were about to cross the Prairie on 441.
Worthy of a calendar, eh??
Chris took this one and turned up some color in Photoshop to create this morning sunrise look. It turned out pretty cool! If you look you can see through the nostrils!
After a lunch at a pizza place in Micanopy (Mick-an-opie) we said goodbye to our North American traveling friends so they could finish their last week on the road before arriving back in SoFlo. Eliana has taken up knitting so she is going to teach me and I am going to teach her crochet! ;) There are tons more photos but I tried to pick the best ones and I know I missed a lot. Maybe I will do a follow up post soon!
I've got a lot coming up in the next month. I'm heading to D.C., my brother, sister-in-law and niece are coming to visit, my mom is coming to visit and lots of other things to get going on!
January 21, 2009
It seems like for the past two years someone I know, whether they be a close friend or relative or someone I was once close with in highschool or college, has a baby every few months. There were people earlier than that, but it has really picked up in the past year. We're coming up on 7 years of marriage in June and I can recall that summer getting the "When do you think you'll have kids?" questions and saying, "Oh, maybe in five years or so". Well, it's 'or so' now. I said that for several years until I would say this past year. I think what has hit me is that I will be 29, and that two close friends had babies and one super special, little goddess was born.
I look on Facebook at my fellow classmates and see their five to seven year olds and cannot believe they have kids that old. If you'd asked me 7 years ago to have a kid, I would have felt very out of place. I was just not ready for that. I was planning on going to grad school (what happened to that?), getting an awesome sea turtle job (until I realized I'd have to be poor, or Chris would have to make beaucoups of money), and just hanging out with my husband. And that's mostly what we did! And still do! But, there are times when I am reading these cute little mommy blogs, which seem to be from these seemingly perfect little Mormon girls (seriously, it all seems so pretty!) and I get this twinge. Like, why can't I have that? They get to stay at home, sometimes homeschool, and maybe have fun little outings with their friends. Me, I wouldn't get to stay home and I wish I could homeschool (I hear too much crap about SoFlo schools) and the closest friend I have in Florida is traipsing across the country with her boyfriend and the other two friends I have live in South Miami and I hardly see them. So, there I present issues.
Let this be known, I am not pregnant and there are no plans at the moment. I'm just sort of thinking 'out loud', if you will. I'm not even sure where I am going with this. I guess, I want a baby, but I want it to be perfect??? Because, it does pain me to think that I would have a baby in this house where we rent and not to be able to paint and decorate a room. That sounds stupid, doesn't it? My best friend rents (have several bff's if you must know) and she is raising a cute little girl! So, why am I even letting that be a deciding factor? Pretty dumb. Oh, then there's the hour commute to work and the hour commute home from work. yeah. I'm also pretty sure I may be disowned by certain family members and bff's if I have a baby in Florida.
My plans for my 'baby': take it to see ghost orchids when it is 3 months old. Or however old it is when they are blooming. Camp. A lot. Sit in a pretty little carrier while I talk to the tomatoes and water the plants. Hang out with me and Leo while we draw (Leo likes to sit in the chair directly behind me, or sometimes tries to sit on the piece while I draw). If it's a boy, it goes fishing with Chris. If it's a girl, it goes fishing with Chris. It's going to learn lots of scientific names and be incredibly dorky, but a very cute/beautiful dork. And it will have the sweetest little cousin ever. Or cousins by the time we ever get around to it. I may have another niece or nephew! hah!
So, really, I just needed to get that off my chest. Perhaps it should be in a paper diary instead of out here on the 'net, but maybe I'm looking for feedback or cyber hugs or something along those lines. I'm not quite sure. I just felt the need to not post beautiful flowers and decadant tomatoes tonight.
A Good Day
January 20, 2009
What a good day. It was a day of change and hope and forward thinking. Nothing will happen over night. I will get mad at him, too, when he fails on something. But, I feel so much better about where we are going and where we will be in four years. Looking out at the crowd on the tv, it reminded me so much of the movies and one replays of speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. and other political rallies in the 60's. The crowd, the passion, the faces. I always wondered if I'd see something like that in my lifetime. I was listening to NPR on the way home, the commentaries of various reporters, and what one person said was that most of the crowd reflected joy. I have to say, I shed a few light tears in the corners of my eyes, but mostly I had a big grin on my face. I am happy! Perhaps I am too much of a dreamer and idealist, but I believe that what you think and what you hope that not dwelling on negativity will produce a positive effect. People dwelling on his race too much, he's just a person, a human being, and saying all sorts of race related things regarding his inauguration.
Today I am proud and happy. It's a time of action. Pick a cause and go for it. I'm contemplating a backpacking trip to raise money for MS. Maybe re-do the segment of the Florida Trail through Big Cypress. I haven't even talked to Chris about it yet because I thought of it a few days ago. I gave $20 to Christine's walk, but I feel a little helpless at the moment. I'm still ruminating on it, but I'd like input if you think this is a good idea. And if you want to join, let me know.
I finished a drawing finally! Why it takes me decades to start and finish something is beyond me, but here it is, Kylen's Cassius Blue Butterfly, pencil on claybord. I'm overall happy with it, though I feel a little off about the stick that the butterfly is sitting on. I'm not even sure you can tell it is a stick or a blob. I just need to get it matted and off to Michelle so she can put it in Kylen's room. (that is if Kylen approves!).
Alas, I am in need of the gym and plan a hard work out this week. I bought The New Rules of Lifting for women and I've thumbed through it and finally decided to follow the weight lifting plan set up. I am in serious need of losing the 10lbs I put on over the past 1.5 years, and then other 10 I put on over the three years before that. I miss some of my clothes!!! I plan to pair it with some light cardio warmups and racquetball. Racquetball is a good workout and even though I blow at the game, it is fun...mostly! I do feel a little bad for Chris because I make him play down many, many levels!
Samson, Leo and Baloo say hello!
The Love of a Dog
January 17, 2009
Marc and Eliana's trip will be winding down shortly. Two weeks, really. Last year about this time they asked us if we could watch Baloo while they went on their trip. We had met Baloo once at Jonathan Dickinson State Park for a geocaching event and he was a blast. Loveable and fun! We debated for awhile and didn't make a decision until we were about to leave for Bolivia to meet up with them in La Paz. Once we arrived there we told them of our decision. We went through all of the possible questions, wondering if he would get along with the cats, or really the cats get along with him. A few weeks after we got back from Bolivia, Eliana came over with Baloo and dropped him off and went through the list of things to do for him. His food, his allergy shots, just in case medicines, all the little things. We were going to have a test run with Baloo for the month of April while they went to Grenada. Samson wasn't a happy cat and Leo was even worse. But, slowly they came around. It was working out and we decided to just keep him for the rest of their trip.
And here we are, 10 months later, and we have fallen in love. Now I understand why Eliana was so upset to leave him, why she called and emailed to find out how he was, how she would say "BALOOOOOLOOOOOLOOOOOLOOOO!". Now we know.
Sometime last summer Eliana sent me photos of Baloo from her iphone. Chris and I were blessed to see Leo as a baby, but Samson we always wonder what kind of fluff ball he was as a kitten. Seeing these cute little Baloo photos are so fun!
A little baby!
This is his friend Nala and you can see how small he was compared to her! Eliana says Nala was an even better dog than Baloo, but I don't know how!
So, this year we have gained a 60lb friend who most of the time has been very good. Sure there have been the stealing cat toys, annoying the cats, knocking the bed a few hours too early in the morning for food, putting his head on the bed and whining to be let up, begging for treats, jumping in front of Samson at the back door to be let out, muddy paws on my kitchen floor...but all of it is made up when he puts his face next to yours and licks you or lets you bite his cheeks. Oh yeah, he has delectable cheeks! He's been our hiking and camping companion and made friends wherever he goes. He's taught me that I people can be very mean without knowing a dog at all. I suppose that can be equated with humans, too. I've been told that a dog is sort of a test for having a kid. I don't know if I've passed with flying colors, but I can understand why they say that! At least he doesn't need to be burped and held to be fed! He burps himself...and let me tell you about his farts. I'll just leave it at that!!!
He's a good dog, stinky and all. ;)
My friend Sara has been designing some awesome jewelry lately! I am in love with all of her earrings! She recently did a post on her blog about my tomato seeds and so I thought I would reciprocate with a post about her jewelry. I've bought two bracelets from her and I love them! I just bought a pair of earrings off her too! She's an excellent artist and I highly recommend her if you are looking to update your jewelry.
These amaryllis are blooming, almost on their way out now. They had been in a container for awhile and I just moved them to the front bed. I haven't been doing a lot in the yard, but I plan on doing some on Monday morning since I have the day off. Lots of tomatoes still. Chris has been making tomato sauce and I've done some salsa and am making chili right now. Smells good from here!
Have a good weekend!
January 14, 2009
I am so tired tonight! A long day in the field coupled with a few late nights makes for a super tired Misti!!
This week I have watched three sad, depressing movies. The first was Masterpiece Theater's Tess of the D'uberville's. I read the book the summer between eighth and ninth grade and remember liking it, however I didn't remember the whole story. Two Sunday's ago I watched part of the first episode and then had to get online to 'remember' the rest of the book. I was in for it! Here come the tears! What a sad, depressing book. Tess just never had a good chance. And that Angel Claire. What an idiot. I wouldn't take him back. Pshhhh! (FYI, not going to spoil it for you, but you are welcome to wikipedia it). The movie was beautifully done and the acting was great. I love productions like these!
The second movie I picked up at Blockbuster, And When Last Did You See Your Father?. I admit, I picked it up because Colin Firth was on the front. Yes, yes, for shame, I know. BUT, it had Jim Broadbent (aka, Bridget Jones' dad) and then I read the back of the movie and saw that it looked really good. If you are looking for an obscure film, I suggest this one! Another side to Colin Firth!
The last one I watched was The Duchess about the life of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire. Keira Knightley did a great job in this movie. What a life she lead! What a rotten scoundrel of a husband, too! Of course I had to wikipedia her as soon as I finished watching the movie. Apparently some very famous names descend from her heritage, including Princess Diana. I highly recommend this movie!
I finished reading Harvest for Hope and started Liquid Land: A Journey Through The Everglades. I am really liking the book as it is easy to read and there is a lot of information I didn't know. There are some things I am a little skeptical on and that is mostly because it goes against what I have heard through my job. However, it seems some of his information comes from 10+ years ago when he cites interviews or actual field trips into the 'glades that took place back in the early 90's. The book says it was published in 2003, and though I tend to think that was last year, it was six years ago now, which is hard to believe. A lot of things have changed in Everglades Resortation since then. Honestly, I don't even think I will see the 'glades restored. I never saw it prior to its downward spiral, but I wonder how many levees I will see disappear and how many endangered species begin to thrive again. The book is divided into sections, the first discussing the overal history of the Everglades, the second discussing major animal species, and the third where everything is going. I live a stones throw from one of the conservation areas and I know my house used to be a peripheral cypress area. You can see these old cypress strands in bits and pieces around Broward county, usually next to a convenience store or something like that. Some parts of the book anger me. Mostly because of the stupid little things that have created such an imbalance. One of them was that they were still building canals and levees in the early 80's and ten years later they launch the whole let's rebuild the Everglades thing. *doh*! The other was reading that (I can't remember the date correctly..) sometime in the 40's or so there was a disease in cows that was thought to be spread through deer ticks. So...the state and ranchers etc decided that wiping out a huge chunk of the Florida white tailed deer population would be a good idea. The disease wasn't even from the deer apparently, so of course the panthers suffered only relying on wild hogs for a food source and so on and so forth and then a nice little domino effect. It's really amazing what environmental damage has been done.
And speaking of idiotic moves, if you've been down State Road 29 (for the locals...) you will have seen they have put up a panther fence the entire length practically. This is to keep the panthers 'safe', but really, you are just caging them in and every other animal. Sure there are a few wildlife passes, but really, now? Not to mention, it looks ugly and it now prevents access to Deep Lake. So, are they trying to keep us out of Big Cypress Nat'l Preserve? The only other way to get to Deep Lake would be to come off of Birdon Road somewhere and hike it in several miles, bushwhacking and trailess. And to boot, they are contemplating doing the same freakin' thing down Tamiami Trail. I'm not sure on the amount of fence or where, but I am livid about that. Get typing. BCNP info.
In other news, my brother is blogging now. Be sure to check it out! I forsee many gardening posts shortly as well as adorable Zoe updates!
January 12, 2009
Chris and I have been playing racquetball a few times a week. I am a very bad player and not much of a competition for him, but I am slowly learning. It is a very good workout! My goal last week and this week is to score five points in a game with him! So far I have made it to two points tonight. He can be brutal! So, I will soldier on until I get better.
If you are a reader of my blog but read via a feed reader, stop by and take a look at the new layout. Not that much has changed but I have a new banner, changed the colors up and perked it up for the new year. I am still working on changing all of the links over and need to work on the archives. The archives, by the way, don't go reading those! They are really bad! As in, I am a horrible writer and you can tell that I've changed who I am directing my blog to. Yeah. That's ok, it is nice to go back and read through them. I will be breaking down the past two or three years because they are photo heavy and will need to be broken down in order to read them without tearing your hair out from being slow to load. The other years had photos but I think they were either stored on the previous blog that they were on or I uploaded them to somewhere else and the links are broken now. Oh well!
I will do a better blog in a few days. Until then I am letting you know that I am having a little bit of a sale on my Etsy Shop. To get Buy 2 get 1 Free on Seeds of Equal or Lesser Value, type in 'ilovetomatoes09' into the message to owner box when you purchase the seeds. Purchase the amount you want, and then in the convo box tell me which seeds you would like. DO NOT BUY THE 'FREE' SEEDS! Just buy the two packages and put the one you want in the convo box. I'll leave this going until the end of the month so that those who are going to start getting their garden ready for the spring can be prepared. I highly recommend trying a tomato grown in your own yard. There is nothing like it and you won't regret it! They are very simple to grow, I promise! Here's an easy guide! Now, get gardening!!!
January 9, 2009
Is it apparent I have an addiction? I think the addiction is the color, the variety, the taste. This one is called Fantome du Laos and this is its actual color. White with a smidge of green. I haven't tasted them yet. We will be saving seeds and Chris wants to make some sauce from it tomorrow.
The pepper is our first from the garden. I'm not sure on the variety, but I do know that peppers are almost like tomatoes in their addictive abilities. The come in beautiful forms and colors that entice the eye. Who would think that some pretty purple pepper is mouthwatering hot??? The two jars on the left are tomato sauce that Chris made. We've eaten two jars so far, one in lasagna and another in pasta. The three on the right are salsa I made last night. I envision lots of tomato goodness put by in the next few months. I would like to try some other recipes such as chow-chows and maybe some tomato, corn and bean salsa. Probably some pickled onions and tomatoes, too.
This weekend we are going to do a little hiking. I need to spend some time in the yard and time working on art. I really have to start being more diligent about that. Sitting down for thirty minutes a day to do a little bit. Once I finish this drawing I would like to do one small piece a week for the next month. Something like a 6x6 inch pastel or painting, just to get the juices flowing. How can I ever get better if I am not ever actually doing art?
Marc and Eliana are in DFW right now hanging out with Chris' mom. You should check out their latest post from Aggieland! Tomorrow they are headed to Ft. Worth to do some sightseeing and meet my parents, then they are off for Houston and then to Louisiana. Soon they will be home!
I am dreaming of a homestead...
January 7, 2009
Hey there! How's it going??? This little red winged black bird was very nice about posing for Chris and many other photographers at a wetland park in Palm Beach County.
This place is very popular with the migratory and wading birds as seen here with some blue herons building a nest. He got quite a few beautiful photos of the birds!
And check out the beautiful blue eye of the anhinga!
So, while reading The Heirloom Tomato I was overcome with the desire to have a humongous plot of tomatoes. Tomatoes of every color, size and shape, even if they weren't too terribly tasty or not. I mean, this book is so beautiful. Somewhere along the way there are three or four varieties of 'peach' tomatoes. Tomatoes that resembles peaches in their outer appearance and in taste. Peaches are up there on the top of my favorite fruit list (strawberry, peach, mango, blackberry...fyi), and I am personally partial to Texas Freestone peaches. That aside, I had to find these tomatoes! There was one variety called pêche that seemed to be very rare and she only listed two seed sources. So, off I go googling these two seed sources and one contradicts what I am asking, seeming to think that I am asking about the juane pêche, yellow peach, so I am not sure on that source. The other souce didn't have it listed. We ended up finding a Canadian seed source of what we hope to be pêche, and then I also bought juane peach and peach blow sutton. So, three peach tomatoes in my yard next year!
Also along the way, and I had seen this name a few times before on the 'net, was the name Ben Quisenberry. His name is invoked many times when discussing heirloom tomatoes and I found out that this man has been gone since the mid-eighties when he died in his late 90's. He grew for many decades heirloom varieties that would have surely died out had he not meticulous kept them going through his small seed company. How cool to be known for saving so many heirloom varieties that would have gone extinct 50+ years ago when hybrids became more common. In my reading online I also found this and then a subsequent link on that page which discusses seed saving and the ubiquitous company Monsanto. I'd heard various things about the company and the more I read the more I really want to grow my own food! Apparently they are taking over seed company after seed company, creating a monopoly on many seeds that commercial farmers use in order to develop GMO's (genetically modified organisms) and then create a patent on them. It wasn't until the 1980's that patenting a living thing was legal in the US. So, over the years they've developed corn and other crop seeds that are resistant to chemicals like RoundUp. The stipulation is that you cannot save their seed. You must buy the seed year after year. Seed saving for crops has been around for millenia and many farmers were upset about this. Some still saved seed, some didn't save seed but were still legally prosecuted for having the seeds on their land. The thing is many GMO seeds are now contaminating non-GMO crops anyway due to natural migration through wind and animals, so it isn't like some of these folks are doing it on purpose. I think if you just google the company and/or the news you will find plenty of stories on this. Anyway, I received Harvest for Hope via BookMooch a few days ago and started reading it today and Jane Goodall discusses this in her book. One farmer in Canada Perry Schmeiser was an unfortunate target of Monsanto and fought back. What happened was that he was growing non-GMO canola for many decades from seeds that he had saved and perfected over the years and the company supposedly found their GMO on some outlying areas of his farm field, which of course were not planted there with his knowledge. Probably some unhelpful birds did the deed. Isn't that ridiculous??? Upon checking out his website I saw that Mr. Schmeiser seems to have won a victory last year with Monsanto having to clean up the GMO canola from his field!
So, reading all of that and I am not even a quarter of the way into the book, but it has me rethinking food! We canned spaghetti sauce from our tomatoes and it is so good! I am going to can some salsa tomorrow night. (Curt, I need your tomato juice recipe). I suppose I can slowly add more organic and natural items into our groceries. I think the biggest thing will be the meat products. The way the animals are treated....
Leo says 'mewoooolllo". ;) I love my rag-tag bunch of animals, the herd of two cats and a dog. ;) We're getting some cooler weather and rain tonight so that is welcome!
January 4, 2009
Some of what I picked today. We're picking them early and letting them ripen inside. Bugs are horrendous right now. Something makes a hole, fruit flies go in, rotting fruit on the vine is the result. The large tomato on the left, Mariana's Peace, is rotting and so we are saving it for seeds. I knew it was too good to be true, to have a fully ripened fruit on the vine without any problems.
This is our counter at the moment. Ripening fruit, getting ready to be made into sauce. Chris made some sauce on Christmas day and so far we have had it in regular spaghetti, and then in lasagna. It was best in the lasagna because it was a little bit sweet.
The dark one is Japanese black trifele and the yellow is pineapple bicolor. The small one is Samson's. I decided to grow those seeds out this year just to give a test run to see how they will grow from seed. I am convinced that it is a mix from sungold and pineapple bicolor somehow. But, then again, I really don't know! We'll see at the end of spring! The two large ones were sweet and very good and Samson was good but tomatoey. Which is fine, but it wasn't sweet like the others.
Yesterday morning Chris and I had breakfast at First Watch. It has been open in a shopping strip near me for awhile and I was wanting to go. It was very good! A 'healthy' alternative to IHOP or other places. Chris had an turkey egg white omelette with spinach and I had an eggcrepe with turkey and dill. It was really good! It looks like they have a few in other states as well, so if you seem them in your state, go check it out!
I'm slowly putting new seeds in my shop. Also, if you are interested in the headbands, I am probably not going to renew them when it is time to renew. So, if you are interested in one, get it soon! They are up for renewel in the middle of the month. Otherwise they are going on my head to wear!! I'm not sure I will keep crochet in the shop or not. It is such a time consumming hobby and not rewarding moneywise (but rewarding in other ways).
This week I plan on finishing up a drawing and continuing to drool over some seed catalogs. ;)
Florida Trail: Seminole Reservation to I-75
January 3, 2009
On New Years Day our friend David and his kids dropped Chris and I off at our north entrance to where we were going to hike southbound through the Seminole Big Cypress Reservation, enter Big Cypress National Preserve, stay for a night and exit at the rest area in Collier County on I-75. Two years ago we completed the two southern segments, Tamiami Trail to I-75 and Loop Road to Tamiami Trail. The segment we did was on my list of 28 things to do this year, so I accomplished more more item! WOO!
Anyone have an idea what this is? It is shrubby like and was fairly common along the trail.
The first part what mostly along a buggy road. We didn't see anyone out there, only pine and cypress trees. We did see a panther print in the mud next to a puddle along the road.
It was about 3 miles to the border of the reservation and the preserve and we crossed a fence. You have to have a permit and be a member of the Florida Trail Assocation to cross the reservation, which we did a few weeks ago.
We walked about 1.7 miles further into the preserve to meet at the junction where the blue loop splits off from the main orange blazed trail. We decided to take the blue trail and add a few extra miles onto the trip because from the junction it was only six miles to I-75. We sat amongst some Brazilian pepper for lunch. Not my ideal spot, but I was feeling a little queasy and had a headache and needed to rest. Plus, my back was killing my upper back and neck. The waist strap likes to loosen as you go along and then the weight ends up mostly on my shoulders.
Showy crotalaria, Crotalaria spectabilis.
About a mile past the junction we came across an old CCC cabin. There wasn't much in it, an old couch and the walls were graffittied but that was it. We kept out of it mostly, afraid of snakes.
We decided to keep on going to find a decent campsite for the night. It was a clear day and we'd had a cool front come through and that made the day very pleasant.
Chris has been eyeing cypress domes to potentially explore, as well as to find water to replenish our bottles, and we spotted this orchid. I am fairly certain this is Habaneria repens. There were several plants and then we spotted the next orchid.
Eulophia alta, wild coco. There were several of these blooming too! While Chris was taking some photos with the macro I was sitting on the log and Baloo was looking for shade. We got up and almost had a mishap. A little metal loop that holds the bottom strap onto the backpack had dissapeared somewhere and the pin that goes through the frame came out. We McGuyver'ed it by using a hairpin that I had in my hair.
Baloo was a tired pup! But he kept on going.
We kept walking and walking and walking. We stopped and made water in a little pond alongside the road. I picked ticks off Baloo and myself. We walked some more. Finally we made it to a turn off the buggy road and into a trail that cut southwest across the prairie. We checked the map and sure enough the campsite was coming up
Baloo got to camp and found a toy to play with!
And then promptly passed out.
We made dinner at 3:30pm and then took a nap for an hour. Then we got up and had dessert and some cider before calling it a day when the sunset at 6pm. It was a rough night in the tent with a stinky, bed hoggin', tick ridden dog, and two very uncomfortable pads to lay on. Somehow we 'slept' for 12 hours and made it to the next morning. Chris and I took turns cuddling with Baloo and putting the sleeping bag over the shivering boy in the early hours of the morning. Baloo must have been well rested, however, because when I got up to walk to go behind a tree he chased after me like he was going after a stick! Thump, thump thump!!! Ears flying up, grin on his face, tounge hanging out.
After we had breakfast (coffee singles and oatmeal...I ate out of the package Dad and Curt! Thanks for that tip! I forgot about it until right then!), we left camp around 9am and hit the trail.
We estimated about 3 miles to the next campsite where we would possibly eat lunch and do some exploring.
We made it to the next campsite and decided not to stop. It was only about 1.7 miles to the car so we decided to keep on going.
These are probably very old saw palmetto's. They grow approximately 0.1" a year!!! I don't see tall ones very often, but I have in a few places in Florida.
After coming off the prairie we came onto a cool little mound that had some tropical looking growth on it.
I am fairly certain this is false rosemary, Conradina canescens.
And then we made it back to the end of the orange trail with only about a mile left to walk on it. We had to put Baloo back on his leash because he wanted to go after an alligator that went into the canal next to the road! No gator bait!!
It seemed to go fairly fast, that last bit. We signed the log and found that there were quite a few people out for day hikes on Thursday and Friday.
Baloo was pooped on the way home so he slept on Chris!
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