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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Enjoying Spring-in January

I wonder if there is a new baby here
As we headed out to a late breakfast I spotted this stork on the peak of a neighbor's house.  He just looked secure and comfortable.  The first bird I photographed down here and hand fed was such a stork.  Probably this same fellow.
Former Waffle House

We were headed to our favorite Waffle House.  Yes, I admit it...I am hooked on their waffles.  We drove up the highway way past where we usually see the big yellow Waffle House sign.  Then we went back down the same road and there it was...closed and all signs of yellow on the building and sign were gone.

We settled for the IHOP across the street but it was less than satisfactory.  I won't rant here but we will not be back there.
A Bromeliad
The freezing temps late December and two more times to date have taken quite a toll on the plant life.  The mango trees are way-dead.  The Schefflera "tree" outside the bedroom window is so bare-naked I am embarrassed to look at it.  Not a leaf!  But there is a wee bit coming out on one of the branches so I will keep an eye on it.  I hope that tree comes back.  This summer some family staying at the house reported that the tree was covered with long stems of red flowers.  We have never seen it in bloom.

Last year I planted a flat of these around the chimney for color.  "Annuals" I carefully explained to him...they won't be here next year.  But they ARE.  Not all of them but the protection of the chimney paid off.  I only need to plant about a third of a flat to fill it in.
Sand Hill Cranes
We were driving along the parking lot near some stores checking to see what was new and what was closed.  He said, "Shhhh!  Take out your camera and get ready."  He inched to the end of the parking and around to the side.  "Behind those bushes" he directed.  And there was a pair of Sand Hill Cranes.  We see them every year, and have had them in the yard and on our seawall, but getting a close photo has been a challenge.  I learned a lot about the differences between Florida Sand Hill Cranes (which stay here year around, mating and rearing young) and migratory Sand Hill Cranes which migrate here AFTER nesting and raising the young in the North.  The only way we are sure is when we see a pair with babies.  Florida Sand Hills are even more heavily protected than regular Sand Hills.  Good thing, because during mating season their insistent call can carry over a mile and clear your sinuses.
See the little flower bud?

Another angle
I love my orchids!  We transport them back and forth from Michigan to Florida.  They do get rather neglected in Michigan but I carefully removed them from the planting medium, lay them on newspaper in a covered plastic box and brought them back down here in the cab of the F150.  They sat here for a few days since we had company in the house at first excuse, really.  After a few days I did get them planted and outside on any days over 50 and sunny.  His sister said she heard that watering them with ice was a great way to go.  Since water sifts right through the planting medium without even wetting it, and soaking the pots every day was not happening, I tried the ice thing.  I kept the ice away from the plants and aerials but I noticed the bark planting medium was staying damp.

Then today I saw the first flower stalk!!!  I will be taking photos as soon as a flower bet!!!  I have three pots with about 8 plants.  The individual plants are hard to count when they start multiplying.  I will have to do more research as to what species they are and remember the long names.
Sunday, January 23, 2011

Watching the Osprey

Our pair of Osprey

I took this photo around noon on Sunday, January 23.  Since 2003 we have been following this nest, including the year a pair of Great Horned Owls took the nest and raised a pair of young.  This nest is so high the Osprey must be able to see the Atlantic, the Beach, the Sandbar Beaches, the Indian River, and who-knows how far beyond.  I would love to see what they can see.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Keeping in Touch

My shadow at the Wabasso Beach Boardwalk
Friends and family, with only a few exceptions, are buried knee-deep in snow, sniffles, and cold.  Those who aren't sick are trying to care for those who are.

Do I feel guilty?  No.  We suffered through Northern Winter for well over 65 years and now I will be darned if I will feel guilty.

So today, with the temps reaching 80 in our town we hopped in the truck and went the less-than-10-minute-drive to Wabasso Beach and boardwalk.
Looking toward the North

Looking toward the South

I just wish you could HEAR it.
And we busily sent cellphone  pictures to friends and family in the snow.
Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 - The Birds are Back

Comorant drying its wings
I figured there were no new birds to snap, but opportunities are there, still.
The Osprey at the top of the extremely tall cell tower.

This is about the 6th year of nesting in the big cell tower.  The third year the nest was occupied by a pair of Great Horned Owls but they haven't been back since.  The osprey are always fun to watch as they feed, and finally teach the youngsters (usually 2) to fly.
Sunset last night
Heavy clouds today.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Adventure 2011

This is a little out of order, but I lost the photos.  I mean they were NOT in either camera nor on either computer.  Today, 7 days later, I found them on an external hard drive in a weirdly named folder.  I have NO idea...
I guess Guy leaves a poster wherever he has been.

It all started when we saw an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives that featured a "dive" on the St. Johns River near Jacksonville, Florida called Singletons Seafood Shack.
Our lunch destination
Hey!  That would be right on our way to our Winter home from Michigan!!!  So the address was entered into the GPS.  We were within sight of Jacksonville, FL around lunch time the second day of our trip.  We followed the GPS and found ourselves at a ferryboat landing.  BUT the ferry was out of service and undergoing repairs.  Now what?  The GPS wasn't much help.  We drove around looking for something that might help and located a ranger in a State park.  He gave us some good directions but it entailed going back to Jacksonville to cross the St. Johns River via a bridge, then driving back up the other side...all told about an hour.
A Naval Ship Yard
We saw some interesting ships in the Naval Station and wondered if all the helicopter security might have to do with the beautiful exotic-looking stealth battleship docked there. 
Beautiful exotic looking Stealth Ship

Finally we found the seafood restaurant by the ranger's directions, certainly not with the GPS, this time.
There's our truck...proves we were there.

I am not a seafood lover but the smoked fish dip and cracker appetizer was to DIE for!  We carefully saved the left-over and bought two more to share with friends at our destination.
The decidedly UN-fancy front porch
The original owner liked building model ships and had a regular museum.
He had a long conversation when he paid and learned some interesting facts.
More of the models.
Saturday, January 8, 2011

It's That Time Again

Yes...Snowbird-Time.  Some of the "Birds" left the North as early as the first of October, but I love the fall, and then there are the holidays with our we wait until the first week of January.  I had to take a photo of the garden in the North as of January 1, just so I could remember how dull and ugly things are.
West side

East side

This year the ride down was uneventful, good weather, no traffic to speak of.  The gas mileage was very good on the new Ford F-150 truck.  We eliminated one whole gas stop.

We always keep track of the weather in both places so we were aware of the two killing freezes in Florida this year.  What we found surprising was the totally naked "Umbrella Tree". There are tips of green so I expect it to leaf out again soon.  Someone told me you can't kill those things.
We have never seen this tree naked before.

The little grove of banana trees that took a hit last year and rebounded, this year looks extremely sad.
No bananas this year!
Still...with all of our kids fighting snow, cold, and illness we can't complain.  We heard a hint at 80 degrees early next week.
Sleeveless and comfortable!
Finally, today, we took our first drive down Indian River Drive to look at changes.  Oh my!!!  The old grill that has been closed for a couple of years is now looking busy and all spruced up.
And this...I have NO idea!!!
I have nothing to say.

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Gabby Faye
Michigan, United States
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