Thursday, September 29, 2005

Sunset on The Alford Greenway

Curly took me for a walk on the Alford Greenway this afternoon. I took this picture of the sky. Curly said to tweak it so it would look more like a Julie Bowland painting, so he did this next one...I am earthbound until the weekend...then back to the rivers and springs.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Stella Guitar

Curly was caught red-pawed trying to make music on my autoharp so I decided to let him buy a Stella guitar from an online auction. I fronted him a loan for thirty six bucks. Do you think he paid too much? While I was watching the Bob Dylan special last night,I heard at least one Stella being played in Bob's early days. It has a distinctive sound which is primitive yet buoyant. This one is a sunburst and it is small like a parlor guitar. It has the word "Pico" carved in it, so Curly thinks it belonged to an itinerant Mexican musician who played in street fairs and restaurants in the sixties in Tijuana.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Wacissa Paddling

Paddling the kayak on the Wacissa today was sublime. Sometimes you can feel the springs all around you in north Florida, rising up from the ground and flowing to the gulf. The rivers boil up with springs from underground and the water swirls in eddies. This spring fed river is alive with birds, mullet, ducks, butterflies, and clear cool water. As you pick up springs, the current increases and the paddling is easy. I put in at the headwaters south of 59 and floated down stream. I took pictures of water birds and investigated the river's estuaries. The wind from the remnants of Rita was blowing upstream making paddling home easy. There were too many airboats at times, though. Where is Whitey Markle when you need him?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Greenway Walking

Curly and I frequent the Greenway for long walks. It has about seven hundred acres and borders Lake Lafayette and the railroad tracks in town. There are still lots of gulf fritilaries and skipper butterflies about and the grasshoppers are thick. Before this patch of land was turned into a Greenway, I used to ride through the Swift Creek Woods and walk in the field for hours.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Stormy Lake Worth

A while back I visited the ancestral condo and I decided to take my kayak into Lake Worth and visit my old homestead from the canals in Singer Island. I found my old homestead and took some photos. The water is choppy but shallow and I had a challenge trying to get a clear picture of The Blue Heron Bridge. I took off from Phil Foster Park on the bridge and kayaked up to my old homestead. As I'd heard, Singer Island is overrun with Iguanas now and sure enough, I saw one. Here is a view of the bridge on my way back to Phil Foster Park. Beyond the bridge is Peanut Island, where John Kennedy had his bunker and the Coast Guard guards the coast from the CG station. I think the Island is being renovated into a park now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Louisiana Bound

Here is a song I wrote many years ago when I lived in Arkansas. I was influenced in writing it by Lucinda Williams. Like most personal songs, it is a mixture of influences in my life at the time.

Lucinda was also living in Arkansas at that time. At a Halloween party we attended given by the writer Jim Morris, Lucinda came as "Wonder Woman" and I came as "Artemis". Lucinda's costume was true to WW and I wore a white tunic with buckskin boots, a silver moon over my head and a bow with a quiver of arrows. Lucinda is one of my favorite blues musicians and such an original. Her father, Miller Williams and I used to run into each other at George's Majestic Lounge. We hoisted a few in those days, together. The lounge had a boxwood tree that shaded the entire beer garden. The conversations at George's were fascinating.

Louisiana Bound (1978)

I'm going down south where the Cajuns go
Gonna poll a piroux down the ole' bayou
Gonna find me a handsome delta boy
In old Lake Charles or Atchfalaya Bayou

Gonna find me a handsome delta boy
I hear they like to laugh and dance all day
Dance a two-step or a Cajun stomp
I'm gonna do the Louisiana romp

These hillbilly boys in Arkansas
Can't play the fiddle or the old squeeze box
They work all day and sleep all night
Saturday night they're out lookin for a fight

They don't dance and they don't sing
I'm going to Monroe or maybe Ponchartrain
Dance around that sparklin lake
Eatin creole and dancing with a Cajun rake

Watch out Opalousa boys
This hillbilly mama gonna show you
What I can't teach the Arkansas boys
We'll make sweet music by a moonlit bayou
Laugh and dance and sing the Creole night away

I'll roll on down through Hot Springs town
Tell Billy Clinton I'm Cajun bound
Pack my dancin shoes and my hillbilly tricks
Gonna show them Cajun boys some hillbilly licks

Going down south where the cajuns go
Gonna poll the piroux on the ole' bayou

San Marco Overlook on The Wakulla River

This painting is entitled "San Marco Overlook on The Wakulla River." It was painted in 1997 by Julie Bowland. It is challenging to capture this artist's paintings in a photo while achieving accurate color reproduction. You can see more of Julie's work here:

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker

One of my life goals is to see an Ivory Billed-Woodpecker. It ranks right up there with buying my first pair of adult cowboy boots. (I ordered them, they're coming.)
The Ivory bill Woodpecker was thought to be extinct about 1944, but recently the species was spotted again in the Cache River Management area of Arkansas.

Earlier this summer I had three pileated woodpeckers in my yard. I began to hear raps and I got out my bird watching binoculars to make sure they weren't ivory bills. Ivory bills have their white markings on the outside of their wings and they are about two inches bigger than a 19 inch pileated. Pileated woodpeckers do not have a visible white stripe on their back when their wings are folded. When they are flying the white is very visible. They hang out about forty feet up in the trees when they are feeding.

Pileated woodpeckers fly around in mated pairs but this group had a third with them which may have been a juvenile or just another suitor. They stripped bark off the trees around my house, which are mainly live oaks. And their rapping was staccato. The calls of the pileated are very similar I think, but not quite a "kant" "kant".

Imagine little old me seeing an ivory bill woodpecker in my yard. But it could happen. Some undocumented sightings in Jefferson County have been reported. That's one county over. This group of three stayed around about a week and I haven't seen them since. I do expect to see an ivory bill woodpecker. I know I will.

Suwannee Springs on The Suwannee River

Here is a picture of Suwannee Springs taken from my kayak. It is a great place to swim because the water is crisp and cold as most springwater in Florida is. For those of you unfamiliar with Florida springs, here is some background:

Suwannee Springs was a prime tourist destination from 1890 to 1925 as people from all over the country came to bathe in the medicinal sulfur water thought to cure kidney problems, rheumatism, gout, constipation, and many other common ailments of the day. Three hotels and 18 private residences were located on the site during its heyday. The Atlantic Coastline Railroad stopped at Suwannee Station, a mile north of the springs, and ran a spur line down to the hotels.

In 1925 the last hotel burned down and Suwannee Springs ceased to be a year-round resort. The spring house and railroad pylons can still be seen today. Years of unmanaged use caused erosion and a decline in the springs natural beauty. A major restoration to restore the spring and to provide better recreational opportunities was completed in 1996. Work included stabilizing the back-filling areas around the spring; constructing additional parking areas and walkways; and replanting with native plants.

There is a notorious murder associated with Suwannee Springs. In 1941, a young (17) black man was beaten by a white mob, tied in chains, and thrown into the spring where he drowned. The youth had supposedly sent a greeting card to a white girl in the community. No one was ever arrested or punished for the crime. In late 2000, a radio reporter tracked down the aged but still-living mother of the victim, who had moved away from the Suwannee Springs area shortly after the murder. The mother refused to speak with the reporter about the crime; other relatives told the reporter that the mother still feared retribution from the community after 60 years.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Curly Dollar

My pal. Curly came to live with me in July. He is about six months old and was from a litter of eleven puppies. His mom is kind of a "golden lab" and his father was unknown. When he is a little older we are going on the Montel show to find out who his father was by sampling the DNA of all the dogs in his mother's old neighborhood.
Then we will sue for puppy chow, flea spray, and rubber bones.

Curly is a Frisbeeterian. He believes when you die your soul goes up on the roof and you can't get it down. I think he is responsible for the "dog days" this year. 99 degree heat in September. But it's better than hurricanes!

Florida Springs

I like swimming in the Florida Springs. Here is a link to the database. The springs at Ginnie Springs are among my favorites.

Midnight on The Water

Midnight on the Water
by John Croizat

There are times that I am blue
thinking of you and me
At Midnight on the Water
And how it used to be
There are stars among the trees
In some old memories I know
At Midnight on the Water
Not so long ago
Though they're gone like floating dreams
The scenes were there as in a mirror
Made by the moon upon the water
And our love was never stronger
But the picture was broken
by the waves we left behind
At Midnight on the Water
Once upon a time
There are times when I am blue
Thinking of you and me
At Midnight on the Water
And how it used to be
In the stillness of the lake
Where these thoughts take me again
At Midnight on the Water
Do you remember when?
Though they're gone like floating dreams
The scenes were there as in a mirror
Made by the moon upon the water
And our love was never stronger
But the picture was broken
by the waves we left behind

At Midnight on the Water
Once upon a time

A song for The Suwannee River

Good morning!

This song from the Levy Sheet Music collection always puts me in mind of the Suwannee River. Most folks misquote the chorus by singing "Life is But a dream". I like this way better. It is a beautiful song to sing and can be found on the Sing Out website. The Suwannee River has great complexity and character. I'll post some pictures from my various kayaking trips when I figure this process out. This is my first blogging post. I hope you like the outdoors as much as I do.



"When you wish for something to happen, choose the acts which will lead you there."

Title: Gently Down the Stream

Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Words & Music by Nelson Kneass.
Publication: New York: Berry & Gordon, 297 Broadway, 1854.
Performer: Songs composed by & for Geo. Christy and Wood's Minstrels & Sung by them at their Hall, 444 Broadway

Down by the river our log hut stands,
Where father and mother once dwelt
And the old door latch that was worn by our hands
And the church where in prayer we knelt

Years, years have passed since that happy time
And the river is rolling along
And the rippling sound on the mossy bank
Is singing the same old song:

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream
All that's past is gone, you know, the future's but a dream
Row, row, row, gently down the stream
All that's past is gone, you know, the future's but a dream

There stands the tree we used to climb,
And the mill with its rolling din;
And the old wharf boat, there it used to float,
Where the school boys used to swim.

Still the old hut is standing there,
And the river is rolling along;
And the birds and the bees, the blossoms, the trees,
Are singing the same old song.