Monday, March 29, 2010

Looking Out from Breakfast Nook

 ....or How to Get Your Heart Started.....

Just after lunch I was wiping off the table in the breakfast nook where we eat.  I happened to glance up and what to my wondering eyes should appear but our old pal, Alley Oop, the Alligator.  He was smiling at me!
I grabbed the camera, all the while hearing in my head Beth's comment from another post,  "Now please step *away* from the water--we really don't want any part of you to become an alligator snack."  I didn't want to become a snack but I did want a good photo!

In the process of opening the door from the Florida room to the outside, the door made a noise.  Before I could raise the camera, he flipped himself into the water with a loud ker-splash!
 He went north on our little lake, pouting all  the while because I had disturbed his sunbath.  Throughout the afternoon, I kept checking.  He did come back our way and was pretty close again but stayed in the water.

Before you ask, I'd say he's about five feet long.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Divers in Our Lake

We've discovered two new members of our Savanna Club revue and both are divers.  However, I don't think I'll strapping on my tanks to join them since we've seen an alligator in the water.

This turtle was on the bank across the way.  You can see he's about as big as those cinder-blocks.  

Doesn't it look like his eyes are closed?
I had to look twice at my own photo to see if this was a two-headed turtle!
Every time I saw a little dark head sticking up and swimming, I thought it was a turtle.....not necessarily !  

There is a water bird called an anhinga that goes underwater to catch food.  I first saw them as we drove across the south part of Florida on Alligator Alley.
They do not have oil glands for waterproofing their feathers like most water birds, so when they swim their feathers get wet. This helps them dive and chase fish underwater.

However when they are above water, they must spread their wings to dry in the sun.  They can fly with wet feathers but not as well.  They hold them so still for what seems like hours.

The long tail has given the anhinga the nickname, "water turkey". It is also known as the snake-bird because of its snake-like neck.   (Snakes??  I don't even want to think about the possibility of water snakes out there!)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Busy Week

Once again our week turned out to be rather busy.  Sunday morning we went to church here in Savanna Club. Everyone was very friendly but the 9:00 a.m. time slot was really difficult for us.  It looks like a good way to meet people but, besides the early hour, we missed having a choir.  

With all the rain, the lakes are up to the banks and the whole area looks really nice so Ed invited George and Kay to to visit to see the lakes in the afternoon.  Sunday evening we went to a potluck at one of the club houses. 

Wednesday evening we went to George and Kay's for corned beef and cabbage.  Kay had seen me making Dump Cake on Sunday so I offered to make one for our St. Patty's Day dinner.  It was a good meal with good company.

Today we took a Driving Course here in our development.  This is through AARP and gives us a little break on our car insurance.  But, it was another early hour - 8:00 a.m.  I could hardly keep my eyes open!!!  The group voted to skip the afternoon  break so we got out at 2:30 p.m. instead of 3:00 p.m. 

The rain storms brought a few leaks where the Florida room meets the house.  The roofer showed us how the people that added the Florida room and carport took a shortcut in joining the roof to the house roof.  We're getting that fixed tomorrow.  

Whether it's a house on wheels, a house in Virginia, or a house in Florida -- they always need attention.  It's better to get things fixed instead of waiting until the problem gets worse.  It's only money, right? 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lois the Musher - Part #2

I predict you will feel cold by the time you finish Lois's latest post  --  Whew!!   Only Our Little Lois would choose to live through something like this! 

Leave It to Lois

My friend-since-first-grade, Lois Brown Horne, has always been known to be curious and interested in MANY things.  She taught home-ec at Buffalo Gap High School for 20 years.  She then went back to James Madison University and became a licensed psychologist, another field in which she has been quite successful.

One of her interests is the Iditarod Dog Sled races in Alaska.  She is a junkie and can tell you all about the mushers and their dogs -  and her predictions.  
"...When I blogged my 2008 trip, I thought it was a once in a lifetime experience. However, rather than 'scratch an itch', that trip only 'fueled the fire' that has, maybe, become an addiction. People (friends now) in the mushing community warned me, but instead of heeding the warning, my sense of adventure was fed by those warnings....."   
The post for yesterday is most amazing and I dare say you don't have too many friends who have done this. Click here:  Magnificent Mushing Madventure (Chapter 1)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

P.S. Alligator Alley

P.S.  Alligator Alley is the road from western Ft. Lauderdale straight across the Everglades to Naples. 
Ahem, that's the end of your geography lesson for today!

Not Alligator Alley But...

I was thinking that there's nothing interesting to share on the blog.  Going to the bank, the bread store, Lowe's, and having lunch at Applebee's (with a gift card from Billie Brown - Thanks, Billie) doesn't make for inspiring posts.  

THEN we came home and Eagle-Eyed Ed spotted something across our lake/pond/water.  We'd heard that there are gators around but I didn't think we'd ever see one.
Can you see him?  Here's a closer view.  
Notice how he's smiling for the camera!

Our nature show continues and we're loving every episode!

Here's another nice shot that Ed got of some bird.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mary, the Merry Mulcher

Our lawn isn't bad but the beds needed mulching. It looked like too big a job for me so we got an estimate -- it would cost $150.00 to weed and mulch. I decided to just start weeding the front section one day.  Gradually, I began weeding a bit each day. 

Then, I decided to get a few bags of mulch and just mulch the frontIf you know me at all, you know that was only the beginning. That looked so nice that I just kept working a tad at a time. 

The neighbors probably found it strange to see some ole gal SITTING DOWN on the ground and working so slowly.  I have to thank Ed for bringing the bags of mulch around.   Every race needs a hare AND a tortoise, right?  Just call me "Tortoise"!
 This is the area under the breakfast nook BEFORE.
  This is the area under the breakfast nook AFTER.

This bed in the back was totally overgrown with grass.
After weeding out bags of grass and weeds, a new bed emerges.

The area beside the carport was aggravating because every time it rained, the water didn't drain properly so I had to go sweep the water and washed in dirt off the cement.  Thanks to Ed's ideas and help, I reconfigured the drain pipe and added in some edging to redirect the water. This is about halfway through.
I wonder if I was a builder in one of my previous lives!

It's such a pleasure to be able see you've accomplished something when you finish  -- as opposed to housework, which just needs to be done again soon.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Bird - WOW!

One afternoon we looked out at the water and saw a different looking bird. It was standing in shallow water and we couldn't tell if it was tall or short.

It appeared to have a short neck.

All of a sudden, this LONG neck shot up!We emailed and sent photos to our friend, Dave Clements, who's an avid bird watcher, and were surprised by his answer.

This is a Great Blue Heron!

Herons snare their aquatic prey by walking slowly, or standing still for long periods of time and waiting for fish to come within range of their long necks and blade-like bills. The deathblow is delivered with a quick thrust of the sharp bill, and the prey is swallowed whole. (That's what he was doing when we first saw him.)

Great blue herons have been known to choke to death by attempting to swallow fish too large for their long, S-shaped necks. Though they are best known as fishers, they also eat mice, insects and other small creatures.

Adults sport a shaggy ruff at the base of their necks.

Great blue herons are 3 to 4 feet tall and their wingspan is 5 to 6.5 feet, which makes them a joy to see in flight. They can cruise at some 20 to 30 miles per hour.

The black plume extending from above and behind the eye to beyond the back of the head is quite dramatic.