Friday, June 30, 2006

Check it out

If you like creepy crawlies, check out the latest Circus of the Spineless. I managed to squeak in with a last-minute entry.

Palm Friday

A week ago today, this was the view from my window. We were lying in bed watching a World Cup game (atop what we later came to call the bugspread), when we realized that it was an Osprey instead of a gull that kept flying by outside. I never was able to get his portrait. (Serious time lag on the camera - if I manage an action shot you can pretty much be sure it's by mistake.)

I enjoyed this weary-traveller view of Florida anyway. Plus for me, it's got the anticipation of an Osprey written all over it.

After the game, we ventured out. I thought I spied parasitic growths on the palm trees. But no, they were blooming!

Almost all plants bloom in one way or another I suppose, but I tend to think of those with inconspicuous flowers as non-blooming. You never hear anyone rhapsodizing over oak tree blossoms, for example. Before last week I had assumed that palms were the same. Only it turns out that all my previous trips to Florida were just mis-timed to catch them.

They bloom. And this type produced little berries also.

I believe they were Cabbage palms (Sabal palmetto).

* Bugspread = bedspread, with bugs! The Indian River was just at the back of the hotel, and if I'd had a brain at all I'd have realized when I made the reservation that a nice $59 hotel room on the water was too good to be true.

** You never hear anyone rhapsodizing over oak tree blossoms, for example.
Except Dave.

It's Friday

Dont forget the Friday Ark!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Recalled to life

The cicadas (Tibicen sp.?) are emerging. So am I.

Glad to finally be above ground.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Memorial Day adventure

My husband said his favorite part of the whole thing was the sight of me standing in the pouring rain, looking like a drowned rat, holding a dead fish in one hand and a large feather in the other...

Sorry I haven't written in a while. While I've gotten a lot of orders from the BH&G blurb about my soaps*, it hasn't been so overwhelming that I couldn't blog.

But that, in combination with many other things - volunteer commitments, planning for fall products, trying to screw up yet another veggie garden, a pressing Pride and Prejudice kick... well, all of it has added up to no time left to spend here.

After a period of so much rain that we couldn't get the garden in, it turned dry, dry, dry. The creek was down to the perfect level for wading, though.

Off we went in our old tennis shoes, and me in my floppy straw hat. The water was chilling at first, but before long I was edging towards the deeper spots, to cool my knees. (A few weeks earlier I'd tried to wade barefoot, but quickly realized I'd become a miserable old tenderfoot.)

There were many delights. We heard an Acadian Flycatcher in the branches above the creek - a new yard bird!** Found a few little red-rock fossils. Almost stepped on the perfectly intact shed exoskeleton of the largest crawdad we'd ever seen.*** Wild hydrangeas were in peak bloom at the creek's edge. (So many flowering things love edge. Why hadn't I brought the camera?!) Picked up a long feather from a Red-shouldered hawk in the pebbles near a clearing (he was probably doing some crawdad examinations too).

We heard distant thunder. There had already been a brief shower that afternoon. We spoke of turning back, but didn't. The bridge was the goal, and we hadn't reached it yet.

Despite the low creek level, tiny fish were everywhere, sometimes swimming right through our legs. I wished again for my camera - the footing wasn't as slippery as I'd feared it would be. We began to spot iridescent purple and green fish!

"I wish we could catch one," I said. "I'd take it back and get a picture." Two minutes later we saw one shining from the bottom of a deeper pool, on its side and clearly not doing very well.

After a little irrationality (had I wished it dead?) and a little panic (it didn't look ill - was the water that polluted?), I picked it up to carry back. It hadn't been dead long, but still I really wished I'd brought a baggie.

The thunder sounded closer. We had to turn back. The louder the thunder, the faster we slogged. Our feet sank deep into the sand. Grit seeped into our shoes.

It started raining.

As we reached the spot to climb onto the bank, the most active part of the storm seemed directly overhead. The thunder was incredibly loud, and lightning flashed much too close for comfort. We decided to wait it out there in the low area, rather than making a dash for home that would leave us exposed in the open too long.

It rained harder. And harder. I'd recently discovered that a floppy straw hat was better than a baseball cap at keeping gnats away from the face, but for keeping rain off of glasses it wasn't doing much good.

It is a constant comfort to me though, in times like those, that I'm able to say, "At least it's not as bad as that pelagic trip." I may have been soaked to the skin in a lightning storm... I may have been rediscovering just how unbelievably cold rain can be on such a hot day... but at least I wasn't seasick too. And, we'd seen some birds, which was more than I could say for that worst-day-of-my-life-and-we-didn't-even-see-any-birds deep sea birdwatching trip. Oh, and I wasn't hallucinating from an overdose of Dramamine either.

I was glad I hadn't brought my camera.

Even though I failed to get a better picture than this.

* Everyone who's phoned their order in has called it my ad. I can only imagine that the cost of advertising in Better Homes and Gardens must equal that of buying several new cars. Hubby laughs and says I should tell them, "That's not an ad, that's a glowing endorsement!"

** We're kind of liberal in what we consider "the yard".

*** It was perfectly intact until I tried to pick it up, at which point it broke into several pieces. It was so large that I could not have contained it in my palm.