November 26, 2015 – Orlando, Florida

Happy Thanksgiving from the Misovec/Kaoris Clan

b Misovec and Kaoris Clan Thanksgiving

OK Beth, from left: Andy’s brother Paul, Andy’s daughter Kathy, Granddaughter Elizabeth, Son Andrew (father to the three big kids), Daughter-in-Love Joanne Kaoris Misovec, her mother Elsa Kaoris, baby George Kaoris, George’s father and Joanne’s brother Dimitre Kaoris, Dimitre’s wife Carey (sp?), grandson Andrew, Andy’s first wife Margaret, grandson George, Andy’s son Mike, my empty chair, and the top of Andy’s head.

We gathered at Disney for an extended-family Thanksgiving holiday. That’s the top of Andy’s head in the foreground and, of course, I am behind the camera smiling.

 

November 24, 2015 – Ocean Park

I spent most of the morning working on personal business rather than THE BOOK.  We met Ruth Olsen at the tax office to transfer the title of my Sunfish sailboat to the yacht club educational association.  Banana Split will now be used to teach children to sail.

b Ruth and Andy at Tax Office

I spent and hour or two reading and signing the contract to get the book published.  That is self-published.  I did not think it worthwhile to attempt to go the traditional publishing route. I did work on THE BOOK for a couple hours, but still did not get anything accomplished. Then, I spent several more hours extending the RV extended warranty.

We found a new place to take a walk today and I can’t believe we had not checked it out before now.  Ocean Park is behind city hall.

There is a very nice, if short, nature trail with many plants and trees identified.  I was fascinated with the red water in the solution hole.

b Red Water in Solution Hole

A solution hole is an indentation in the limestone that is naturally lined with vegetable matter and does not drain the water out the bottom. We saw bright red water like this in the botanical garden in Key West last year.  I don’t recall which plants cause it though.

The picnic table pavilions are right on the water’s edge.

b Picnic Tables on Ocean

This is where we are going to eat our lunch tomorrow.

b Picnic Table on Ocean

Four or five large birds were wading on the flats and eating their lunch.  I zoomed in to get a Great Blue Heron and a Great White Egret in the same picture.

b Great Blue Heron and Great White Egret

After watching the birds for a while, we walked along a canal to find the kayak launch. It is a great floating dock very close to the water’s surface with railings to hang onto while climbing in and out of the boat.

b Kayak Pier

There is even a board in the water at the end of the slip to hold the kayak steady in the process.

b Out of Canal

There are also a couple of picnic tables overlooking the canal.

b Picnic Table on Canal

While I was standing on the pier, a white bird flew close by me.  I thought it was one of the great whites and zoomed the camera to the end of the canal for a picture.  It turned out to be an ibis joining the others on mangrove roots.

b Ibis on Magrove Roots 2

They were so cute that I took another picture when one more landed.

b Ibis on Mangrove Roots

There is also one piece of sculpture in the park. A fisherman with a trap and a bucket of lobsters. He is not life-size but maybe three or four feet tall.

b Lobsterman Statue

We’ll have to wait and see if there is anything else for me to take pictures of tomorrow.

 

 

November 23, 2015 – Crane Point

Our first outing of the day was to the dentist to get our cleanings.  I have had some terrible sensitivity for the past few months and Dr. Kiefer found a crack in a tooth.  He says I need a crown.  It could turn into a root canal too. Really, it hurts the purse more than the mouth.

I spent the rest of the morning studying Extended Warranties for the motorhome.  Here’s the thing: reading insurance-type documents makes my eyes snap shut. And the price of the policy is enough to take my breath away. Andy took me out of my misery by suggesting we go to Sombrero Beach to eat our lunch and then Crane Point for our walk.  He didn’t have to ask me twice.

After several weeks of rain, heat, and high humidity, today was spectacular. We got our favorite picnic table at the beach.

b Our Picnic Pavilion

I spotted this Great White Egret as we were walking back to the car after we ate.  It was at the same spot as the Little Blue Heron the other day.

b Great White Egret

Since I was on the pier in Sister Creek, I turned and took a picture aimed out at the ocean. That’s our favorite picnic pavilion on the left.

b Sister's Creek

Crane Point Museum and Nature Center is a 63-acre preserve and one of my favorite places to walk.

b Crane Point Museum

We walked out Crane Road to Crane Point.

b Crane Road

I love the Florida Thatch Palm leaves and take more pictures of them than anything else when we walk around Crane Point. The leaves are a couple feet across.

b Florida Thatch Palm

And, I always get a close up.

b Florida Thatch Palm Closeup

The trees were loaded.  I’m pretty sure these are Pigeon Plums although they don’t match all the pictures on Google Images. They are closely related to Sea Grapes and the fruit is an important source of food for migrating birds.

b Pigeon Plums

Porous limestone is what is under our feet in much of the Florida keys.  Treacherous.

b Limestone

b Orange Flower

b Orange Flowers

Crane Point is named for Francis and Mary Crane who built this house in 1949. It is in poor condition and not open to visitors.

b Crane House

I found these mangrove blossoms out at Crane Point. They are very small and you have to look for them.

b Mangrove Blossoms

We stopped in the Wild Bird Center, for injured birds.  Some are healed and released and a good many of them are permanent residents, like this tiny  burrowing owl.  I don’t know how it is possible, but they can burrow tunnels through that limestone.

b Burrowing Owl

There is always a pelican sitting just like this on this perch.  I think it is the same one.

b Sleeping Pelican

Here is a bird that I don’t recall seeing before. It looks as though his eye is in his beak. I can’t find it in my bird books or on line. Anybody know what it is?

b Herring Gull

This is the Adderly House, the oldest house in the keys, outside of Key West. Built in 1903 by Bahamian George Adderly, the house is crumbling.  The woman in the picture is doing some preservation on the tabby.

b Adderly House Touch Up

November 22, 2015 – Mickey Belin’s 98th Birthday

Today was Andy’s 79-3/12 birthday, but he didn’t get a cake. The oven has not been repaired yet. The man came to look at it and said he needed to order a part.  We haven’t heard from him since.

It was our neighbor Mickey’s 98th birthday yesterday.  They had a party for him over at the Dockside Bar.  Sunday night is open mic night and Mickey is a regular over there with his trumpet. He was a professional trumpet player with the big bands back in the day. He is also a World War II veteran. A big crowd turned out for his birthday and he was greeted like a big-time celebrity when he arrived.

Everyone wanted to take his picture and to have their picture taken with him.  Eventually he got up to play and sing.  And, as is his custom, he told a few raunchy jokes before he started.

b Band at Dockside

b Mickey Belin Playing Trumpet

He’s still got it folks.  Everyone in the place was hoping for his longevity and vitality.

Happy Birthday Mickey!

 

 

November 19, 2015 – Sombrero Beach

I spent four hours working on THE BOOK in the morning and then we went to Sombrero Beach for lunch and a walk.  We invited a man and woman to sit at our picnic table with us and ended up having a great visit. Joe and Tina Moore from Savannah, Georgia are here for a two-week family Thanksgiving vacation and had just arrived today by boat. They have rented a house and the rest of the extended family will be arriving over the coming week.

Sombrero Beach is a city park used by tourists and locals alike. For some reason, I did’t take many pictures and the ones I did take were not all that good. We’ll be back there often enough to get more before the season is over.

This is a Little Blue Heron, but was very red.  I spent a lot of time Googling images comparing it to the Reddish Egret, but couldn’t decide.  So, I decided the default is Little Blue Heron.

b Little Blue Heron

The tide was high for our walk again today.  I must have seen this before, but today noticed that a sea grape is growing out of the base of this palm tree.

b Sea Grape Growing on Base of Palm Tree

I worked four more hours on THE BOOK after our walk.

November 18, 2015 – Odds n Ends

I said I was going to hunker down and get busy writing THE BOOK.  Well, I have. This past week (or more) I have been attempting to spend at least eight hours per day at the computer.  It’s a job. For the most part, I have been successful, but there are always little distractions.

I’ve been struggling with the approach.  Patricia, the editor, had encouraged me to write it as a series of essays.  She said to think about the themes in my logs and make each one a separate essay.  Many days I have sat down to do just that, but in the end I get frustrated because my stories gets fractured. I think I should stay chronological and let the themes intertwine and overlap as they do in life. The hard part about that is reducing or condensing my material into a modern (meaning short) book length. I’ve gone back and forth and not settled on either approach yet. What do you think?

We had three or four days of heavy rain and high wind, accompanied by thunder and lightning.  That was helpful for keeping me indoors. So, I’ve been reading my logs, rewriting, and augmenting so much that I wake up in the night and think I am in Big Creek.

Andy had done a good job of getting me to take breaks.  I took my camera with me when I went out to stretch my legs. Andy has started taking early morning walks and once or twice this week, I got out of bed to join him.

b Sunrise

We went to the yacht club for karaoke night.  Now, I admit that I’m a karaoke singing fool of the first order. Friend Chrissy took this picture of me singing with Dave Scott.  I guess I didn’t know the words too well; I was clearly focusing on the screen.  I did have a good time and, when I wasn’t up there singing, I was singing along with whoever else was up there.  My throat was raw the next day.

b Dinata Singing w Dave Scott

Here is the view out the front window in the RV park during one of the rainy days.

b View Out Front Window

The garden has been doing well with all the rain.  So far, everything so growing nicely. The basil is ready for some light harvesting and all the tomato plants have blossoms on them. I did pull the rotting coconut out of the square pot and plant some Hawaiian papaya seeds in there.  No sign of papaya trees yet.

b Garden is Growing

One of the reasons we bought a lot in this RV park is that we are about half a mile from the grocery store.  That gives us a good excuse to walk over a mile there and back. I took these pictures here in the RV park as we took a walk. I don’t know what kind of tree this is.  All the long skinny leaves hang straight down making a great background for a butterfly picture.

b Butterfly on Tree

Many of the palm trees have produced clusters of red fruit. Some people call them Christmas palms for the red color, but it could be an African Oil Palm.  I dunno. I do know that it is not a good idea to bite one.  Trust me.

b Palm Tree Fruit

I took the afternoon off work today and we went to Bahia Honda State Park for our walk. It was very windy, which made for surf on the beach.  That is unusual here with the reef a few miles off the islands. Our timing was impeccable and we got there a high tide, which means there was not much beach left to walk on. The high winds and high tide made it an exhilarating walk.

We always see these cone-shaped sponges on that beach, but today there were plenty of new fresh ones washed up.  If I didn’t live in a motorhome, I would figure out how to clean and dry one to turn it into a bowl, or maybe a lamp shade.

b Cone Sponges on Beach

The high winds had blown mounds of sea grass up onto the beach. A sign next to the beach entrance said not to move it because it is important to the beach ecosystem: protects the beach from erosion, has little shrimp-like critters to feed the birds, and fertilizes the shore plants.

b Grass on Beach

b Bird

This little group was hunkered down behind a mound of grass apparently trying to hide from the wind.

b Birds Hunkered Down Behind Beach Grass

An egret was fishing at the water’s edge.

b Egret on Shoal

I’m not sure why I was attracted to this dead tree.

b Log on Grass

I regularly take pictures of these two.

b Dead Trees on Beach

We went to the club again this evening for trivia night.  Our team did win one round, but with no help from me.  I surely don’t know my trivia, especially sports trivia. Tonight, the themes were sports, Thanksgiving, and veterans.  I could not even hazard a guess for most of the questions.

November 10, 2015 – Bahia Honda State Park

Today was our first visit (this season) to Bahia Honda for a walk on the beach.  We picked a hot day to do it.  South Florida is having a heat wave and the temperature was 89 degrees with hardly any air movement. It was also close to high tide and the beach was narrow.

As usual, my first stop was the ladies’ room. I found Andy waiting for me looking at the ocean from the shade.

b Andy Looking at Beach

We walked up the beach until we came to the spot where some dead trees are blocking the dry beach and we would have to take our shoes off and walk in the water to get by.

b Beach Bahia Honda

There were dozens of small shore birds picking dinner out of the grass washed up on the beach. They scurried along in front of us, trying not to let us get too close, but still stopping periodically to pick up some tidbit. If we got too close, they would take off flying just a few yards down the beach behind us.

b Birds in Beach Grass

When we got to the downed trees, we turned around and walked to the west. It was blazing hot in the mid-afternoon sun and I was sweating off my sun block.

This small piece of coral was lying on the beach.  It is only two or three inches across.  I squatted down to get close up.

b Coral on Sand

The western end of the beach has a lot of rocks, but most of them were drowned by the high tide. There were different, larger birds there.  They stood on the rocks a few feet into the water and were not too concerned with us. The sun was just right on the birds and the rocks. It was the prettiest I’ve ever seen those ugly rocks.

b Long Beak

b Short Beak

I must have walked right by this on the way west, but noticed it when we headed back to the car. Someone stuck it into the sand for a nice effect.

b Stuck in Sand

I think I will wait for cooler weather before walking the beach again.