May 22, 3019 – The House Next Door

A small bulldozer had smoothed out all the piles of dirt before I got outside with my camera. I was not long after that a crew of men arrived and began setting up the form for pouring the concrete. They were playing happy Mexican music on a radio. They pounded thick stakes in with huge sledgehammers. Two men stood facing each other and alternated pounding the stake. Sorry I missed that great picture.

This is what the house looked like at the end of the day.

These are the parts of our house construction that we missed when our house was being built, so it is fun to watch it happen next door.


May 18, 2019 – Dirt and Moon

We repeated our walk through the new section and across the golf course this morning. The first thing we saw when we went out the front door was a dump truck dumping dirt in the lot next door. (Can it be called next door when it does not have a door?) They ended up dumping nine dump-truck loads.

The lot at the end of the new street is a more-or-less pie shape that ends in a really sharp point behind our house.

When the new neighbors move in, this will be their view of our house.

We sat outside and watched the moon rise over the distant trees.

Full Moon Rise
Full Moon
Full Moon
Full Moon

I may have posted more moon pictures than anyone wants to see.

May 17, 2019 – Walk Around New Section of our Development

We have been watching tractors pushing dirt around across the golf course for months now. It is almost ready to start building houses. Now the roads are paved so Andy agreed to take our morning walk down our street and turn into the new section, then cross the golf course back to our house. It was a new perspective. The house on the far left in ours.

Two Sandhill Cranes were also out walking early in the morning.

Sandhill Crane

This is the view the new neighbors across the way will have of our house. Almost.

The golf course pond was full of birds.

Reddish Heron

The multi-colored Ibis are juveniles. They turn all white with black under the wings when they mature.

A good-sized flock was foraging on the golf course. I wonder if they injest pesticides there. I’ve read that the Sandhill Cranes are commonly seen on golf courses in Florida.

That walk turned out to be one mile.

A little bulldozer came and started pushing dirt around on the lot next to us! One of the men told me they were clearing up all the vegetation (weeds and grass) today.

Our view is going to change with a house very close to us.

A house next door and a whole row of them across the golf course. The neighborhood will be different when we get back from our summer road trip.

Trip to Marathon, Florida

We have been so overwhelmed with medical appointments and issues for the past six months that we have not had time for a trip to the keys for a look around. We’ve been here for about a week now and will head back north on Wednesday. This is not the time of year to visit the Florida keys. It has been hot. Even though it seems bearable with a nice breeze, I can feel the sun burning my skin.

I was craving seafood and had to go to Sparky’s for fish tacos the first day. Another day, we ate Hogfish sandwiches at Keys Fisheries. Today we ate with Jim and Bettye Chaplin at Burdines. Tomorrow, our last day, we are going back to Keys Fisheries for more hogfish. My stomach leads the way.

We have stayed inside (in the air conditioning) in the heat of the day, and I have caught up with my Florida Keys Concert Association ticket sales records.

I do have a few pictures to share.

Our RV lot looks kinda bare with the small RV and no car, screen room or patio furniture. Hurricane Irma stripped a lot of the mangroves bare of leaves. We still have some behind our site, but it is not the lush jungle it was before Irma blew through.

This is how the mangroves look behind the lots between ours and the ocean.

I was dismayed to see this “castle house” under construction down the street. I should have taken a picture of the other side. It has a large bas relief shield with dragons on it. Fanciful maybe, but not fitting with the island vibe at all. I made some snarky remarks about it to Andy the first day.

We took a drive through our favorite picnic lunch spot, Oceanfront Park, behind City Hall. It was damaged beyond use and the picnic pavilions on the water’s edge have a plywood barricade in front of them. We have been going down to the waterfront in our RV park to sit and watch the ocean.

This iguana was on the rocks across the canal from us.


One day, there were seven or eight crabs on the rocks below where we were sitting. They are super skittish so I was lucky to get any pictures of them.


I just love those bright red legs!

Black Mangrove Blossoms

The Black Mangroves behind our pad are in full bloom, but you have to look closely to notice. The blossoms are tiny.

Another day, it started raining on us as we walked to the waterfront. We turned back, but the rain came harder. We took shelter under the castle house under construction. As we waited for the shower to pass, Andy said I can’t complain about the castle house anymore.

The photo does not show it, but it was raining hard at that moment.

May 1, 2019 – Venetian Gardens Park

It was as perfect a day as days can get for lunch and a walk in the park. And, we didn’t waste it. This grill was in front of our parking space

Looks as though there was some excitement at this picnic grill recently. Having seen all the stuff people put in barbecue grills up in Big Creek, I surmise that it could have been just about anything.

For some reason, I can never remember the name of Limpkin. We see several every time we take a walk in the park and then have to look it up again. Limpkin. Limpkin. Limpkin.


There were three or four of what I call odd ducks roosted at the water’s edge. Surely there is some Mallard in there.

Odd Duck

This Purple Gallinule walking across lily pads was most entertaining. By the time it disappeared into the grasses, it was running.

Purple Gallinule

The Red Heron, not to be confused with a red herring, looks a lot like a Little Blue Heron, except for the red neck and head.

Red Heron

A Great Blue Heron was standing majestically along the shore as we walked by so, of course, I took some photos. The most interesting one was when it stopped being majestic and scratched its chin.

Great Blue Heron

The Gallinules were abundant and active today. Their feathers were iridescent in the bright sunshine.

Purple Gallinule or Moor Hen

I saw this egret catch a frog. Swallowing the frog was a different story. We stood and watched for a long while as the egret seemed to have succeeded only to spit it back out and start over.

Great White Egret with Frog

The problem seemed to be the frog’s front legs which kept sticking out at the top of the egret’s beak.

It was a dexterous trick to spit the frog out and flip it around to a different position.

The egret’s throat was bulged out. I was feeling a great deal of pity for the poor frog. I hoped it was dead early on.

Poor frog. We watched it go in and out of the egret’s mouth until we got tired of standing there. We walked on and did not see whether the egret ever got its lunch down to its stomach or not.

I have never seen a gallinule with wings spread like this. This photo will make a great addition to my bird-butt collection.

Purple Gallinule

There must have been some pest annoying it. We saw a lot of flapping and scratching before moving on.

The red heron was just a shiver of feathers the moment before I snapped this picture.

Red Heron
Venetian Gardens Canal

At one point a gallinule seemed to be fussing at us as we began to cross a bridge. Then I spotted a nest in the weeds. There were at least two black fuzz balls in there, but I could not get a good picture of them. Ah, spring! I love babies.

On the far side of the bridge, a newly-hatched Common Gallinule/Common Moorhen was out of the nest and on the lawn. Two siblings were at the edge of the nest, not quite ready to conquer the grass.

Common Moorhen with Chick

It is about the size of a newly-hatched chicken.

Moorhen Chick

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a turtle with so much moss on its shell.

Fuzzy Green Turtle

Some water lilies at the edge of the lake are in such shallow water that the flowers do not sit on the surface. This one was about a foot above the water.

April 15-16, 2019 – Daytona Beach, Florida

We went on a vacation! A short vacation. Three nights at the beach. Though, some might argue that you can’t take a vacation when you are retired; we are always on vacation. We did vacate our house and stay in a resort. Son Mike had been staying with us for a few days while working on brother Paul’s house to get it ready to sell. The night before we were to leave, and Mike to return to Virginia, I got an email saying we got a free upgrade from one bedroom to two bedrooms. So, we invited Mike to stay a few more days and go to the beach with us. I didn’t have to twist his arm

Ocean Walk is right on the ocean boardwalk in downtown Daytona Beach. I did not like the news that our unit was on the sixteenth floor. I’d rather stay on a floor where I can jump out the window, if necessary. Since I am not really hung up on it, I didn’t complain. The view was nice. When I looked down from our balcony, the people were small. It took two photos to capture the pool deck. To the left, a kiddie pool, a hot tub, and a resort pool.

To the right is a “lazy river” stream for floating in inner tubes. I wanted to try that. Then there is another hot tub and another resort pool with a tall spiral sliding board. There are also several more hot tubs close to the building that do not show in these pictures.

The historic Daytona Beach band shell adjoins the resort.

Daytona Beach Band Shell

Here is some of what Wikipedia has to say about it:

The Daytona Beach Bandshell is an amphitheatre in Daytona BeachFloridaUnited States. It is located at Ocean Avenue, north of the junction of Main Street and Atlantic Avenue. On March 5, 1999, it was added to the U.S.National Register of Historic Places. On April 18, 2012, the AIA‘s Florida Chapter placed the Daytona Beach Bandshell on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.[2]

In the 1920s, residents of Daytona Beach considered this area to be run-down and held discussions on ways to improve it.

In 1936, WPA workers began construction on this community-use project that was to cost Daytona Beach $84,000, the federal government $184,000, and be completed in 1938. Originally known as “Broadwalk”, common usage gradually changed the name to the boardwalk.

The first facility constructed was the 48 foot by 114 foot natural coquina rock bandshell which seats 4,500. This was begun in September, 1936, and was completed in time for the first program to be presented on July 4, 1937. Open air concerts, as well as other programs, are still presented in the bandshell. The other structures in the boardwalk area are a clock tower, kiosk, concession facilities, restrooms, subway entrances (now closed), and an elevated walk from Earl to Ora Streets.[3]

There is a nice lawn between the band shell and the city clock tower.

Daytona Beach Clock Tower

There are an ancient roller coaster and this charming hall filled with game machines.

Daytona Beach Amusement Hall

I took this photo from the pier where we went to lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack.

Daytona Beach

We watched a Life Guard Truck arrive on shore, but we could not figure out who they were saving. The bartender told us that there were 72 rescues the day before. Apparently, rip-currents are a big problem here.

Mike and Andy on Daytona Beach Pier

We had walked past the food trucks on the way to lunch and saw a film crew filming a woman showing her food at a table. Mike asked someone on the way back and was told that it was the Food Network filming a show about doughnuts. Mike decided to buy a doughnut but changed his mind when the woman told him it was five dollars.

Food Trucks on the Boardwalk at Daytona Beach

This is the Wyndham resort, two buildings connected by the basement and lobby levels.

Wyndham Ocean Walk
Daytona Beach

This is part of the view from the elevator lobby on the street-side of the hotel. The Intracoastal Waterway is in the foreground. The large, battleship gray structure behind the two buildings in the background is the Daytona International Speedway grandstand. I zoomed a lot.

This is the view of the beach and ocean from our balcony.

The second day, I spent a few hours on the balcony taking photographs of the pelicans flying by. Sometimes they were below us, sometimes they were above us, and sometimes, usually when I was facing the other way, they would come zooming by at eye level.

Pelican Over Daytona Beach

Andy had the best time laughing at me facing the wrong way and missing the photo-op. I caught him when he wasn’t laughing. He must have just closed his mouth.

We were so high that we were level with the airplane towing advertising banners for restaurants.

Later, I took a few gull pictures while we were sitting on a bench on the boardwalk.

It was a lazy and pleasant vacation.

April 8, 2019 – My Tiny Farm

Andy suggested that I post some photos of my garden. And, since I was beside myself when we got home last fall and found most things around the house half dead, showing the current health seemed like a good idea.

These violas were not here last fall; they were half dead when I bought four plants at the hardware store a few weeks ago. They give me such joy; it must be the purple.


The jasmine was half dead when we got home last fall, but has revived nicely. It is loaded with blooms, and the fragrance is heady, especially when there is a little breeze.


The front of the house does appear to have some landscaping when seen from the street. One delight of Florida is that there are at least a few blooms all year long. In Maryland, the azaleas bloomed in the spring for a few weeks. Here in Florida, we always have some flowers.

I walked out onto the golf course to take this picture of the back of our house as the golfers see it.

My messy herb garden is just outside the bedroom. I have failed in my attempt at an artful herb garden. One mistake I made was to plant the mint in the ground rather than a pot (my book says to plant them in a pot set into the ground to keep it from spreading). I don’t think that would be completely effective, based on how my potted mint spread out to the cement slab in Marathon.

Herb Garden

I have never used sage much but had to plant some to go with the Simon & Garfunkle song, Scarborough Fair.


I use basil more than anything else and have learned to make some Killer Pesto by tampering with Mark Bittman’s recipe in How to Cook Everything. My secret: more pine nuts, more parmesan, and more garlic. I don’t puree all the pine nuts either, as I like some texture. I also throw and a handful of basil into my frozen spaghetti sauce when I heat it.


I need to start making iced tea and using more mint in it. The mint is overwhelming the basil. Iced-tea season has not begun yet.

The herb garden has chives, oregano, rosemary, sage, cilantro, parsley, basil, thyme, and an overabundance of mint.

The row of Lantana outside the screen room was three-quarters dead last fall. I didn’t think it would survive. The Lantana in front/north of the house is a quarter of the size of these mounds.


In case you are not familiar with Lantana, here are some close-up pictures of the blossoms. They are about as big as the circle formed by touching your forefinger to the tip of your thumb. Each one seems to be unique in the color arrangement.


My Lantana is pink and yellow, but it comes in other colors. A yard on the next street over has a large bed of brilliant red/yellow/orange ones.

This is my farm on the back/south side of the house. We jokingly refer to it as the “south forty – – – – – square feet” even though the measurements are not entirely accurate. I started the red and green bell pepper plants with seeds from grocery-store peppers. I started the onions from sprouted onions in the pantry. Only two of my grocery-store tomato seeds germinated and those plants are not doing well. I bought three more tomato plants from a garden shop, and all are producing abundant blooms and tomatoes. I made a marigold border to make it more attractive.

Small Tomatoes
Beefsteak Tomatoes

It would be nice to get to eat some of this before we leave on our summer trip. I’m hoping for some hot weather to ripen those tomatoes.