a second look, blessings, connections, coping, courage, facing facts, finding my way, friends, fun, growing old, history, leap of faith, learning, life, life goes on, live and learn, making memories, perseverance, photography, second chances, sunset, technology

Things have changed…

I wrote my tag line, “Life on my own, on the Nature Coast of Florida”, on the fly in a class I took on How to Start a Blog. We walked out of that two hour class with the bones of a blog in our laptops, all we had to do was write, so I did. And I have enjoyed it a lot. But lately I have been feeling like a bit of a fraud. Actually I have been feeling that way for a while now. After all, once I moved two years ago I assumed that my new county wasn’t considered part of the Nature Coast. But I checked with Siri just now and she says I’m good. Not a fraud, at least not over that part of my tag line.

But the ‘on my own’ thing isn’t as true as it used to be either. I am still on my own, but against all odds there is now someone sharing my life, and also sharing my photo ops. Another photographer, so the whole being out for photos, and also processing them later on, is lots more fun these days. And we are on the cusp of our first adventure together, heading off to visit relatives and take pictures along the way. I probably would have bet money against this ever happening, but it certainly has been a welcome addition to my life in general. So that ‘never say never’ thing? Well, I guess that’s good advice…

'scene' along the way, a second look, coping, Florida landmarks, Just do it, learning, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, sunset, technology, unintended consequences

Outsmarting technology…

Turns out I’m not smart enough to outsmart technology, although I outsmart myself regularly. I’m back home on my desktop computer and I can’t get a start page to write a new blog post. More correctly, I’m on my phone at the moment. if I start a post here can I open it on the computer and finish a post? Guess I’ll find out.

And the answer is no, I couldn’t. So how many devices does it take to write a blog post? Three, so far. I’m now on my laptop, the pictures were in my desktop, but I bought a flash drive the other day so hopefully I’m good.

I have asked for help from WordPress twice so far with no response. And since I pay to upgrade so that anyone nice enough to bother reading this doesn’t have to see ads, I would hope that I rate a response from them. At least the post-storm sunset from Hudson Beach was nice. A low tide view when I had expected lots of water. And I almost gave up, but it did, finally, get pretty.

The new USB drive didn’t work, just saying. It was too new for this old laptop. But I found an old one that did work. Sometimes us old things do manage to save the day, at least when they stick together. Or something like that…

'scene' along the way, changing times, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, friends, history, learning, live and learn, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park…

If I had read the signage at the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park I might have looked at the site a little differently. Old ruins are frequently the subject of photographs, and this one was only a short distance from Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park and required only a walk across the road to see it in its entirety. So it was a no-brainer to drive the two miles and see what was there. But in looking it up this morning I found myself surprised to read that it is the ruins of a forced-labor farm owned by David Levy Yulee. Once Florida became a state Yulee was elected to the Senate, and after Florida seceded from the union he became a member of the Confederate Congress. That he was an ‘enslaver’ was startling to read, maybe because of the terminology, or maybe the current political climate is making me take these statements less for granted than when read in a textbook years ago. He is also given credit for helping establish the network of railroads which became a boon to Florida’s economy. There is a much bigger story represented in this small space than I would ever have imagined.

a second look, black and white, brainstorms, fantasy images, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, learning, live and learn, perseverance, photography, technology

Black and white…

I think I liked it better when I saw life as if it was black or white, right or wrong. Of course I was just a kid then. It didn’t really take long to see the 50 shades of gray for every subject under the sun. Life was simpler then.

But in this case black and white refers to a class we took on Saturday, on black and white photography. I haven’t been drawn to that genre exactly, but as I listened to our leader Jeff, I thought of a picture I’d just taken at Bok Tower Gardens and couldn’t wait to come home and see how it would look in black and white. I was quite happy with it, and with several others I took that day. Plus, as I edited with a friend I was taught a much easier way to save my photos for the blog. It was a fun morning and I was quite pleased with myself until I realized that I’d gotten confused, (who, me?), and had put the last few days’ photos onto the ‘wrong’ external hard drive, and my new way of doing things had gotten a lot more confusing. Operator error, the story of my life.

It was a fun exercise to look for photos with a lot of contrast in them and then convert them to black and white. There will be a further class on editing said pictures, but I couldn’t resist attempting this on my own.

a second look, adventure, bucket list, fun, learning, life goes on, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Riplee…

All that had to cross my mind yesterday was to think of how long it’s been since I’ve been to the zoo and I was out the door so fast that I got there before they were open. Oh, they’d let you in, but you couldn’t leave the entry plaza. But soon I was looking at the orangutans, of course, but I honestly had a very hard time spotting ‘our’ baby. Mom doesn’t hold him in quite the same way these days, he is expected to hang on for dear life as she moves around their enclosure. I saw an especially small baby who was all over the place playing, including as high as he/she could climb, and I finally had to ask a keeper if the newest baby was allowed to play yet. She said that he wants to, but Mom doesn’t let him, so far. And I finally remembered to ask about the contest they held to name this little guy. With a grandmother named Dee Dee, and a mother named Randee, I’m not surprised that the winning name was Riplee.

I only got a couple of shots of little Riplee’s face.
Randee got up in response to one of the keepers tossing pieces of fruit to the group. There were some really great catches.
I didn’t notice any squabbling when one caught a piece, he just got to eat it and the rest tried for the next piece.
What I thought I saw was this orang race over and pose when she spotted this photographer. He had cameras the likes of which I hadn’t seen before, plus he was accompanied by a keeper, so I suspect he’s an official photographer. I’m telling you, she was posing.
And this one also took up this position in response to seeing the photographer. Posing for sure.
This one is very small, especially to see her all over the enclosure, but she sure seemed to be having fun.
It’s more fun to have a playmate of course, and these two were inseparable.
If we had opposable thumbs on our feet maybe we could also do this, when we are young at least.
I thought this was a loving mother’s face when I took this picture, but then they unfolded themselves and the one I thought was the mom hitched a ride on the actual mom.
I wish I understood their relationships to know who is who, they had me fooled.
Even as I took this picture I thought of all the times that someone came up to us in the supermarket in our dental office neighborhood and started trying to show Charley the tooth that was bothering them. He liked to go out to one of the corner bars after work to relax for a little while, but he was picky about which ones to avoid for exactly this reason.
I did walk the zoo of course, but I just can’t stay away from the orangutans for long. In looking at this scene I told myself that we might see a scene like this if we were in Africa. I wasn’t noticing the man-made structures at that moment though.
adventure, Charleston views, exploring new places, flowers, gardens, history, Just do it, learning, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

Middleton Place…

When I told my Uber driver that I was planning to go to Magnolia Plantation he immediately said that I should go to Middleton Place. I have friends who would have planned ahead and learned some of the history of both of these places, which of course I didn’t do. Middleton Place was every bit as beautiful as the day before, possibly because the two gardens are only a few miles apart and full of azaleas. This is the country’s oldest landscaped garden, is what the brochure said, and it’s also a National Historic site.

Welcome to Middleton Place.
Landscaped paths, but which way to go?
I affectionately dubbed this Swan Lake, though the brochure calls it the reflection pond.
More paths, definitely landscaped.
Do I know them? No, but she was cute…
I was surprised to see that you open the gate and walk into the sheep’s territory. I was looking at this live oak before I noticed the sheep, but I took the picture before I realized how many more sheep, and live oaks, I’d see.
Maybe I’ll go this way.
If I got the story straight this is the Wood Nymph, and it’s the only statue that survived the Civil War, and it survived because they buried it to keep it safe.
After a while I have no idea where I am, I just explore the view.
A couple spent a long time trying to point this alligator out to me, but I didn’t notice it until I walked a little further along the path. I suspect it’s not real, it’s too perfect. And I remember an incident where my friend and I went out of our way to take pictures of swans that turned out to be made of plastic. The swan in this post is most decidedly real, just sayin’.
The Middleton Oak. It is estimated to be between 900-1000 years old. Three major limbs have had to be removed. That it was allowed to remain in an otherwise formal garden setting was most unusual for the times. The signage said that this oak served as a trail marker for Indians long before our country was founded.
All that remains of the main house. The paved path at the top of the stairs marks the central hallway of the house that was in burned by Union troops in 1865, and then leveled by the Great Earthquake of 1886.
A wedding would take place here later on. What a great venue.
The views never end.
I couldn’t choose the best view.
Beauty everywhere.
Weavers in action.
I took a close up picture of the House Museum, but I liked this view better.
This little boy told me that his father taught him that if you approach a kitty slowly and put your hand out then he’ll know you are his friend.
My last picture of the day. I might have gotten excited to see the horse and not paid attention to where I was walking, or not, but either way no harm was done.

I hope there will be many more visits to this area in the future because both of these gardens deserve another visit or two, and there is more to see in the area also. I bought a tee shirt in the gift shop that says Middleton Place, because that is/was my kids’s last name, and it was mine for 10 years or so. I mentioned that to the clerk and she asked if I was a descendant, if I had said I was I wonder if I’d have gotten a discount…