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Posts Tagged ‘birds’

Our Thanksgiving dinner spread the length of a couple of tables near a stand of moss covered oaks and cypress. The thought of not sitting at a table with china and silverware at first seemed odd, but then I thought back to the first Thanksgiving. Our setting was much more in tune with the Pilgrims and Indians. This arrangement had an unexpected bonus, too, the chance to meet new people.

The camper in the next site saw the bald eagle as I was moving closer to get a photo. When it flew back into the trees he thought he saw where it landed, so we moved farther into the grove as he told me he had never seen a bald eagle in Florida. He was in his thirties, olive skinned, and his dark eyes lit up at such a sighting. Unfortunately we didn’t see the eagle again. The only birds above us were a flock of buzzards. They didn’t mind having their picture taken.

Do you have any idea how much you can learn about a person in a few minutes while you walk back to camp?

“See that small tent?” he said, pointing to a dark green, small pup tent by the larger one. I’m working on a design for a bear proof tent. That one is much stronger than our large, commercial one, but not strong enough.

“My next one will be made from high tensile strength airplane cloth.” This is where he got really excited. “With that cloth you can make a hole only if you really hammer something into it, and then to rip it takes 600 pounds of tensile strength.”

I took it word for it that that was really strong.

I asked what he did when not designing bear-proof tents. He had been a pilot for a cargo company before the economy went down. Now he buys and sells cars. That led to a discussion of the economy and presidents’ effect on it. We were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but discussed the influence of Obama, the Bushes, Clinton and Reagan, agreeing on some points while remaining a chasm apart on others.

As we neared our camps I wondered about his wife, still sitting in her camp chair. Did she have these conversations with him—or with strange men she wandered into the woods with? And was she hot sitting there wrapped from head to foot in a long garment with a scarf around her head? So yes, you can learn a lot in a short walk in a campground, but you can also end up with a lot more questions than answers.

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I thought the day would never get here and now our trip to Savannah is over.

Train station in Savannah

My long time friend Pat and I took the Amtrak there, and despite our trepidation, we were five to ten minutes early both ways. Another guest at our B&B who came a day later was held up an hour while a bridge near Jacksonville was inspected. For bombs? structural problems? No one knows.

Azalea Inn & Gardens in the Historic District took us back in time with its period furniture and heirloom garden.

Azalea Inn & Gardens

Dining Table

The dining table was elegant. The walls were painted with beautiful murals all around. Oil paint even covered the switch plates! This is where we had gourmet breakfasts and lively conversation with folks from N.C., OK, NY, GA, Washington State, England and Australia. I have probably forgotten some. Oh yes, a few more from Florida.

Happy Hour with with a few very congenial guests

I had a lot of fun with the Joe Biden look alike in left corner. He was a good sport and had been mistaken for him on several occasions, especially just after the election when he was in Bahamas at same time as Pres. Clinton.

Pat

My friend Pat below sitting on our private balcony. We had two bedrooms and a bath upstairs in the carriage house where birds sang at window level as a wakeup call.

My bedroom

This will have to be Chapter I. Next post will be on the beautiful city of Savannah.

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P1060881Did you ever see one of those commercials where they put a car through the changing, violent weather test to see how the finish holds up? You are looking at the human version of that car.

Lake George

Do you see Mickey Mouse in the clouds, too?

Sunday at Silver Glenn, a beautiful spring on the St. Johns River, broiled in 93 degree heat (more in direct sun where we were), but the water was cool as a glass of iced tea. That is where my son’s and a friend’s family and I spent most of the day.

The clouds were billowing and beautiful all day. Since I am surrounded by trees, and see only a pinch of sky to the southeast, the view was a real treat. “They do look like thunderheads,” I told my son, but he assured me there was a zero percent chance of rain for the day. You know what’s coming, don’t you? Traveling back down the river to our ramp, the clouds darkened more and more until BAM! We began to be pelted in the face with raindrops like buckshot. The temperature seemed to drop thirty degrees in minutes and the towels drawn around to protect our bodies had to be rung out every five minutes.

“At least there is no lightn—-“I said just as the sky began to rumble. Time to pull over, but not too close to the trees. After a time, we slowly moved our way along, with the rain still coming down in bullets. Minutes before we turned into the dock, the sun came out. At least we wouldn’t have to pull out the boat in the storm.

Oh yeah, we're screwed.

Oh yeah, we're screwed.

In His defense, I must note, we saw three rainbows as we inched out of the treacherous monsoon. Noah may have fallen for that apology, but we weren’t quite ready. And no, I didn’t get pictures of them. I had stashed my camera in a dry spot seconds before the deluge.

My granddaughter “H-2” shouted over the din as we made our way in the storm, “What does ENDURE mean?” It was on her school spelling list and it suddenly occurred to her she needed to know now. Did we have examples she would not forget! The best was: It is persevering thorough difficulties, such as getting back to harbor in this storm. Somehow I don’t think she will ever forget the meaning of “endure.”

The REAL Florida

The REAL Florida

POSTSCRIPT: First trip on the St. Johns that we have seen not one alligator. Also there were few birds, save a few anhingas and cormorants, unless you count the flock of turkey vultures making themselves at home in the park. Our excellent Otter Spotter, H-2’s cousin spied one of those for us and a couple of turtles. I believe the wildlife decided they will come out when October REALLY gets here.

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Hummer!I don’t promise these are great photography, but they are a triumph for me. I finally caught a hummer on camera. Through a double-pane window  and screen, but I caught him. This is the first time I have seen a hummingbird perch. They are always in a tizzy, flitting from flower to flower. This time he sat right down on my red pepper cage and waited until I got the camera. He wiped his beak back and forth on the wire like a chef sharpening a knife, then preened for a while. I’m in awe. So not good photography, but a great accomplishment for me.

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Peek in the bird box with me today. The chicks are growing.

Peek in the bird box with me today. The chicks are growing.

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This is a preview of new beginnings in one of many wildlife gardens and yards. Stay tuned for coming out parties and first flights (hopefully).

Beginning transformation on wall

Beginning transformation on wall

 

Short time later....

Short time later....

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Chrysalis with Monarch wings showing through

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Titmouse nest with newly hatched chicks

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owls-020-1There is really no story behind this shot. The neighborhood kids alerted me that two owls were in the palm tree, so I ran out with my camera and got this shot of one of the barred owls. She really is a beauty and her cooing who-who’s are soothing music wafting through the orange blossom scent on a Florida day in March. We have wonderful neighbors on this block, and not all of them live in houses.

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