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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wake Up! You Are in Florida!

Probably a Swallowtail
This isn't the first butterfly I have seen, but the first I have photographed this year.  He was really flighty and just wouldn't land.  A butterfly on the wing is really tough to capture on camera.

Outdoor Dining in January!!!

I had to keep reminding myself that it was mid-January.  After 10 years we are starting to forget how brutal Michigan winters can be.

Somewhat on the spur of the moment we decided to go to the new restaurant at Captain Butchers.  Cpt. Bs is a great charter fishing marina and my daughter and her husband had a great time fishing from there last year.  We went down to the docks last year to watch the boat come in and check out the catch.  At that time the back deck had picnic tables on it and the bar served beer.

It is very different now, with a newly designed bar, spacious deck with umbrella tables for 4 and 6, spectacular view of the Indian river and the fishing boats.
Our table.  The Indian river is in the background but sunset made deep shadows.

Crab Cakes, baked potato, and grilled veggies.

He had fried mahi and french fries and veggies.

The deck looking back from the dock.  There he is way in the back corner.
There is also a lovely big indoor dining room but on days like this it would have been a crime to be indoors.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Have to Keep Looking at the Date

India River Drive - where we park along with lots of others
It was SUCH a beautiful day that we grabbed a soft-serve ice cream cone and parked along the river.  This particular parking area is across the drive from the city park and on nice days and evenings you have to circle waiting for a place.  Some people sit in their cars, some go walking with or without dogs, some go out on the boardwalks and just look.  You can see our silver truck right there in the first place. 
Gulls
Great Blue
"MY perch and  you shall NOT chase me away...you with the camera."
I love looking down into the water, especially at low tide like this time today.
Little oysters attach to everything.  Good to see them back after the hurricanes a few years ago

Sometimes my shadow is the only proof I was there.
Good informational poster

Amazing how few people understand this lagoon system.
Back in the car he was waving at me.  I went back and he pointed to a dolphin in the bay.  Once again, the pelicans were moving right to wherever he was.  It isn't that he is kicking up food...that isn't how Pelicans eat.  It really looks like they enjoy riding on the big dolphin's back.  2 years ago I did get video of this phenomenon..
They are beautiful and exciting to watch, but don't make for very good photos.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Go, Bananas..B-A-N-A-N-A-S

When we first came to this house in 2003 there was a big orange tree in the back yard.  It was old and did not survive the hurricane the following year, although we tried to fix it.  Since then I think we have planted 5 or more orange trees and one Key Lime tree.  Right now only one has survived and I don't give that a lot of hope.  We aren't here to water the trees through the summer, and can't keep up the insect control.
The banana grove is to the right of the palm trunk.
We also planted a banana tree. Now, to be honest, that was his idea.  I scoffed, but he has babied the little grove for several years.  When there was threat of frost earlier this year he called his sister to cover the little grove with a sheet.

Now we HAVE bananas!!!!
Green and still growing.  They are supposed to get "normal" size.
The little bananas are still emerging from the bulb at the base of the stalk.  I am just fascinated with the way they grow.  We are hoping they ripen at the right time for the granddaughters when they get here for Easter.

Look closely and you can see a load of little bananas just emerging from the bulb.
 He hasn't trimmed the dead branches yet.  They are just normal.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Concert in the Park

It is hard to take a good photo of the Concert in the Park because of the evening light.  At the point the above photo was snapped the sun was setting quickly and people had not gathered.  In fact, the musical group hadn't finished setting up.

The concerts start at 5:30 and play until 8:00 once a month.  The park has parking on both sides; Highway 1 on one end, and Indian River Drive on the other.  The portable band shell appeared after the hurricanes instead of the ground-level picnic pavilion. 

Our first concert was about 5 years ago.  We saw the gathering, heard the music and stopped as we were driving by. The artist, as had been the tradition for the first concert of the season, was Pete Harris.  We loved the music, semi folk in the Jimmy Buffett tradition.  When we were back home, I googled Harris on the computer and discovered he was suffering from brain cancer and this was to be his last concert.  Days after we returned home in April, he passed away and the area honored him with a huge casual gathering at Captain Hiram's Sand Bar, one of his favorite musical venues.

This evening the music was from a very good traditional bluegrass group.  The audience is usually retirees with a smattering of young families and grandchildren.  Although there is a small set of bleachers, and a smattering of picnic spots, most people bring folding chairs of some kind.  There is food available and many bring picnics, wine and cheese, or take-out pizza.  This night we had chicken combo bowls from KFC and stayed in the car.  We could hear just fine but the above photo was the best I could do.
Friday, January 13, 2012

Last Days in Michigan / First in Florida

Photos from an autumn drive along the Lake Erie shore
At the Movies with Grandma

Helping Grandma put out the Christmas decorations

The girls' school Christmas program

My daughter and son-in-law's anniversary cruise

A Gen-stop at Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia

How can I stand not seeing the girls skating lessons for 4 months?

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Step Back in Time

One of the gorgeous historic streets in the center of Savannah
In 1963, we (my children's father and I) visited Savannah where he had a lot of relatives.  I became enchanted with the city...the wrought iron balconies, Live Oaks, Spanish Moss, square parks marching through the center of the city, the old mansions and the simpler newer ones.  Years later I loved finding my children's father had ancestors buried in Bonaventure Cemetery, the very one made famous in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in 1994 by James Brendt. 

We visited the cemetery in the early 2000s on the way to Florida, but it was huge, and I didn't know much about who was buried there.  This year, 2012, I have more genealogical information and knew for whom and what I was searching.
A memorial arch among the family monuments
The Bonaventure Historical Society says this about the cemetery:

"Though not Savannah’s oldest cemetery, Bonaventure is certainly its most famous and hauntingly beautiful. Quintessentially Southern Gothic, it has captured the imaginations of writers, poets, naturalists, photographers and filmmakers for more than 150 years. Part natural cathedral, part sculptural garden, Bonaventure transcends time."
James and Mary Bashlor - Great-Grandparents to my children
I met Mary in 1963.  She was in a nursing home, but on her genealogy she was crystal clear.  I wrote what she said on the back of a post card.  I am looking for that postcard just in case there is some information NOT in this cemetery.
James and Dweese Bashlor
I am assuming this would be James (Senior), father to James above, but the terms Junior and Senior were not used.  I still have to fit these into the family tree with more documentation.
The Savannah River
The cemetery was created from a large plantation on the Savannah River.  There are benches and other rest places throughout the cemetery.  We saw people of all ages walking through the cemetery and enjoying it as a beautiful park, which it is.
Shade, curved roads and walks, bordered family plots create the park-look.
Lichen

Spanish Moss

...hung with Spanish moss

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Why Do I Do This to Myself?????

Tomorrow I will start the task of packing for 4 months in Florida.  By now it SHOULD be just an overnight bag,
But then there are the electronics:
  • big designing laptop with power pack and cooling pad in its own huge backpack with mouse and pad
  • Bamboo drawing pad for the laptop
  • mini-Laptop with power pack and case and mini-back-up
  • Kindle Fire with charger, ear buds, cover and case
  • a one-tere-byte external hard drive with my photos and design elements on it in a gun case
  • an i-Pod with charger and ear buds in a case
  • an MP-3 player with charger and ear buds in a case
  • my "big-girl"camera, 4 lenses, extra cards and batteries, field case, camera case, and equipment bag
  • my purse camera with case full of batteries and cards
  • cell phone with chargers
  • A bunch of converters so I can use the above equipment in the car while we are on the road
  • the wireless printer with it own bag and bag for the power-pack
  • Charging station for many of the above items
  • 6 thumb drives of various sizes
  • card reader for the CF cards my big camera uses

Non electronics include:
  • 2012 Deluxe Planner
  • Address and date book
  • The last of the prescription meds, since I didn't get to a Dr. this year to get new prescriptions
  • reading glasses, and bi-focal sun glasses
  • Side-sleeper pillow
  • my orchid plants in a plastic container with bark-medium

And for the journey:
  • electric car fridge with food
  • thermo bag with drinks
  • a matching bag with plates, napkins, plasticwear
  • blanket and neck pillow for my on-the-road snoozes
  • my purse with money, credit and other cards, and photos of the granddaughters
Oh yes...and a suitcase of clothes I just MIGHT not have enough of down there.

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Laura Lou
Michigan/Florida, United States
I am a retired Middle School Science teacher from Michigan spending 4 months each winter in Florida and learning about a whole new world.
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