Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sandhill Cranes in Pasco County

I found these photo among the last of my non-digital pictures which were just developed. These guys woke me up early one morning and I took these shots from the back of my truck. They were about six feet from me. It was a thrilling morning, needless to say...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Guess Who 's in The Shiny Suit?

I found this old photo in one of my albums and I think it is a hoot. That's the Phoenix Singers in Costa Rica, to give you a hint. The first person to guess gets a personalized CD. Mine, not his!

A Two River Sunday

What a nice day to paddle the Wacissa, and I also dropped in on The Aucilla for a short paddle. The seaweed farmer was out again today. He takes his seaweed to be sold in Fort Lauderdale. He puts six strands to a bunch and sells them by the bunch. The airboats were also out in full force. I counted ten different ones. Remind me not to go out there on Sundays! Blue spring was full of Sunday revelers and I joined the throng to cool off. The tattooed people (they will someday be running things, the tattooed people) were hogging the floating raft, however, so I could not tie up and snorkle over the spring.

I put in about ten thirty a.m. and paddled all the way down past what I think Peggy calls the Island. It was a spot in the center of the river with three smallish cypress trees. The river birds were out for mid-day kippers and the river smelled like turtles. I saw one monster turtle whose head was as big as an otter. I thought it was an otter at first. The wind was blowing downstream and the clouds were very puffy all day. I like puffy clouds. It was only two thirty when I finished my jaunt so I went down M59 to 98 and put in at Nuttall Rise on the lower Aucilla. I paddled up stream and then downstream under the bridge but I felt rather vulnerable and so made it a short trip, since I did not have a map and the Aucilla is very twisty and tricky. I'll have to get Irwin to take me sometime. He knows where the slave canal is.

This week is very busy with my new graduate English class beginning tomorrow. If I like it I will be going for the next six weeks. It might be too much work, though, we'll see. My friend Bonnie did a reading of my fairies Friday night while we were at Linda D's birthday party and my fairies want me to treat it like play and have a really fun time. I also have three opinion writing projects in addition to the usual work. Gulp!

The best part about my summer so far is that my son hasn't asked me for any money and I can save for a new roof. Keep up the good work, Nathan.

So tonight I'll have some spaghetti and watch the sun set from the old hammock. Then I'll knit and do some CEU coursework. I have also been playing with the computer and Audacity. I got a converter jack so I can run my good Shur mics into the computer. The recordings sound so much better! Maybe soon I'll have an MP3 site for my three fans. ...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sandy The Sailor Dog

Here is a favorite image of my pop and his dog Sandy. Sandy was dog mistress of Singer Island for seven and a half years. She went sailing a lot and you can tell she was greatly loved!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hazardous Duty at FPL

FPL crews found this gator in a pipe they were using! Ain't Florida grand?

Favorite photos of the progeny

This is Nathan asleep with Shadow.

Well, I broke down and bought a scanner that is compatible with the computer gear. Now I can scan whatever I want and put it on the blog. Watch out, Nathan! This photo is from about 1985. It is in the back of the Shelby Court duplex. I built Nathan a treehouse behind this duplex. At one point I ran one end of a board through the top rung of the ladder to hold it and then I nailed it up. Needless to say, I had to undo that little move since the ladder was permanently nailed to the treehouse!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Walking Near Sundown

Tonight on my walk I brought along my little Nikon coolpix885 which is what I use for all my photos now since I don't yet have a Canon Rebel. I wanted to photograph the wild places near my home which host many water birds. I saw some wood storks in the slew which runs south into the lower part of Lake Lafayette which is near my home, several days ago and I went out to see if they might still be there.

I didn't see them but I saw this great white heron. The area south of this photo was a sharply contested development for several years and of course, the developers won. All the land was once a dairy farm and when I first moved in I had only cows behind my house. They mooed alot and were nice. Then came the ostriches on the ostrich farm. I hated them. I fought the developers but the truth is anything would have been better than ostriches.

I went to the meetings and bargained with the developer but when it came right down to building, he didn't have a whole lot of input when the seven dollar an hour chainsaw guys came to clear land behind my house. I managed to yell enough to maintain a small easement between my home and the development which the developer had promised but really didn't give a flip about. Of course, they built five feet closer to the easement than they were permitted to build. They did leave a large area of wetlands undeveloped and these are photos of the area. It is a stone's throw from my home which is on the ridge south of these wetlands.

I like the quiet of wild nature the best, but since I don't have that around me I concentrate on what I can see that is wild. If I hold it in my consciousness and block out the rest, I can live in a space that
is elemental and which soothes me. When it is quiet in nature I am really happy. Add a campfire and a few string instruments and it's heaven on earth.

Someday I am going to visit the Faulkland Islands and Greenland. The wind and the cold and the driving rain would suit me. I have my dad to thank for my love of wild nature. We cruised all over the North Channel in summer. And we sailed down Lake Huron in all kinds of weather.

Day's End

Some days don't seem very productive and the end of the day is a relief. Yesterday, even grocery shopping was frustrating. I did make a spinach lasagna to take to the Sunday Land Co-op dinner. But I spent three hours trying to make the old scanners run with the newer operating systems to no avail. And my new, one finger long, hard drive filled up in two minutes. It took three hours to load a new version of AntiVir on the Compaq. I have hardly played a note in several days. Music is the only thing that will save my sorry attitude...

I resent having to upgrade stuff constantly. I feel like a consumer puppet. Plus, my technical skills are very hard won. I even just discovered that all the lawnmowers that stopped running probably just needed spark plugs! But hey, I've still got the one I poured gasoline into the oil compartment of. I can fix it now that I've discovered spark plugs. Where is JonP when you need him?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

Happy father's day to my dad. He is receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross in this picture for his 47 missions in WWII as a B-24 pilot and squadron leader. His service in WWII helped to defeat the Nazis and end the war. I am grateful for the freedoms I still have as a result of his service. Click on the title and see where he hangs out on the internet.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

100% Employment!!!!!

Congratulations to the tall fellas on Hillview Road! At 6'4" and 6'5", the tallest guys at Hillview Terrace! Formidable....

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

North American Lotus: Nelumbo lutea

The North American lotus is abundant on Lake Munson at this moment.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Tropical Depression One: Alberto

Tropical depression one the first week of hurricane season has an ominous sound. The freakin' thing is coming this way, too. Maybe it will just be rain.

While dining (not "working" on my dinner, Mr. 20 year old waiter, I'm not a steamshovel) with my oldest friend Dorothy (she's 85 1/2) this evening she informed me that we are due for our first storm of the season. Oh happy day! I can hardly wait!

Hurricane season causes me increasing anxiety every year worrying about my worthless home-owners policy: which doesn't cover any storm related damage if there is a tropical depression or worse anywhere in the state within 72 hours. I just hope I get through every year without another roof repair! I rely on Dorothy to keep me up with the latest news since she is wired for cable TV and I won't spend my hard earned money on such nonsense. I checked her lanterns and need to replace the batteries and finish our storm plan! Here is a look at my favorite hurricane site.

Lake Munson Views

Lake Munson is still host to some favorite water birds. The hatchlings are beginning to grow and so you might see a great blue heron with a stripe of white down his back from earlier. Here is what seems to be a baby great blue rather than a little green heron.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Checking my fig trees and other Friday Stuff

I've been away from the homestead for the past five weekends this year and the yard is crying for attention. There is so much to do which I have set aside with all the traveling and this weeknd I'm going to focus on the yard, the grass, the fig trees, the butterfly garden, and maybe even the compost bin! I also have to have the front porch rebuilt but I need to finish paying off the master bath rebuild before I take on another debt!

I put in a load of wash and made coffee. I went out to check the fig trees last night and the crop is good but they seem to be growing more slowly than in years past and are still kind of puny. Too much rain splits the fruit, which was a problem last year. This year I will not have this problem with the fruit. Usually, by mid June they are ready to pick. I have three trees. Two are brown turkey and one is celeste, I believe.

Two are mature and very large and one is still relatively small. I planted them on the south side of my house to get the radiated heat from the brick and on the bermed land for good drainage. But one is too close to the house and is tall but not bushy. I have been meaning to dig it up and replant it but I am sure the roots will give me fits. The biggest tree had to be majorly cut back when Frances came through and the neighbors huge oak fell on my roof and smashed it! The roofers needed to get up close to the roof line to fix it on the south side and the poor turkey fig tree got a haircut!

There is also some kind of animal under the front of the house whch has to be tended to in some reasonably humane way. I can hear him scraping when I am at the computer...

I also checked the butterfly garden and filled the bird feeders which always pleases my resident cardinals. The milkweed is droopy and the old flowers have dropped off and new ones will bud if they get enough water. Of course the lantana is growing like crazy as it does with or without lots of rain! My front yard rosemary is so big that it is extra woody and probably needs a careful pruning which I have never done. I planted it there so neighbors could smell it if they brushed up against it and even pick some for themselves if they felt like it.

My side pond has gotten kind of muddy but the new fish are thriving and I saw them yesterday. I have three. They will probably have babies next year and I can stock my friends ponds again. The front pond was so difficult to manage being so close to the front porch that I dug it up this spring and the rocks are still in my backyard waiting to be made into a new pond. I may map that out this weekend as well.

I intend to cut the grass this weekend and plant calladium bulbs in the front garden around the oaks which I have had in the refrigerator since they went to sale in February. I also have to clean the rest of the leaves out of this garden. Then I may tackle the area where the old pond was which is weedy and very messy. I have to build up the new drainage wall and sod it. My sod from last year didn't do very well I think because it didn't get rooted into the ground too effectively. When I was young my dad used a roller on our sod on Belanger Rd. I just used my feet.

The back yard needs cutting and lots of weeding and I still have to get rid of the poison ivy. The blueberry plants didn't make any fruit this year which was a disappointment. I hope it was just watering but maybe I don't understand how to grow them very well yet. Plants are forgiving and they will often patiently wait until you learn how to care for them properly. My two new pear trees need to be examined and I have to tend them as well. Not sure if I have any pears on them...

I do intend to see "Prairie Home Companion" tonight.....Saturday night is supposed to be a singing session with the girls. I really think the best use of my time on Saturday night will be working with the Boss 532 digital four track to get some tracks recorded and mixed. I just haven't spent enough time with it. I have also intended to find an mp3 site to link to, so some of my music can be more easily shared. Linda and I have been meaning to book studio time. We both have mixing and recording equipment though, but it takes so long for amateurs to make recordings!

I will take some hammock time to finish my latest book and I'll include a list of books I have read lately in my next post. I am sending mom "The Stone Diaries" which I know she will enjoy.

I hope you guys have a productive day and that Jon's first day on the job goes well. Stay well groomed and dress nicely, Nathan. Glad you updated your resume. You need a haircut! I will also send the correspondence from UWF which instructs you as to the issue we discussed last night...

Now on to work!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Congratulations, JonP !

This guy knows a lot about auto parts! Let's make it 100% employment on Hillview Terrace!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Clam Creek

This is a view of Clam Creek and the driftwood which graces the mouth of this tidal creek on Jekyll Island.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Pileated Woodpecker on Jekyll Island

Of the half dozen or so pileated woodpeckers I have managed to photograph this past year, this one came out the most clear. I figure if I keep photographing them eventually one of them will be an ivory bill woodpecker and I'll die a satisfied woman!

The Lost Art of Tie-Dye

This is a tie dye design patented by the fellow behind it. Popular with musicians. He also has banjos, fiddles, mandos, and dulcimers. But he can't make an autoharp. Too bad....

Jekyll Island

I was out wandering again this weekend. I went up to Jekyll Island to meet the parental units at an old hotel reminiscent of The Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island. We went around the island a few times to see everything and I discovered Clam Creek, which is a tidal creek beloved by painters in the south. The little park surrounding it had resident pileated woodpeckers as well as tame rabbits.

On Sunday, I stopped at White Springs to visit . We took a dip in the Suwannee, made a jambalaya and yacked about music on the Satellite radio. I photographed another pair of pileated woodpeckers but of course the photos are blurry because they always seem to soar off just when I get them in focus.

Now I guess I'll hunker down for hurricane season. Nah, I'll play music, kayak, and spring hop all summer like usual.