food, perseverance, photography, technology, the easy way out, unintended consequences

Food for thought…

Grapes, I can’t get enough of them lately. I don’t know it the same thing applies everywhere, but the grapes I’m buying here in Florida lately are really good. I mean really, really good. So I crave them, and I’m sitting here realizing that this craving is exactly like craving candy or ice cream, or any other ‘sweet’ that I shouldn’t eat. But grapes? It’s fruit for gosh sake, how bad can it be? And considering that this obsession has been going on for a while, what is the equivalent amount of wine that my grape consumption represents? Wine ‘on the hoof’, so to speak. So far I haven’t had to resort to anything illegal to fund my grape habit, but with my reduced hours of work per week who knows how long that will last. I did eat $10 worth in one day, which I only know because I bought them and finished them all in one day. If the 24 hour period spans two days it really doesn’t seem that extreme.

Aside from grapes I do ponder what to eat, but not because I’m craving carbs or anything like that. I just don’t know what to eat, mostly because my diet instruction came second hand from an acquaintance who said that his PA daughter said, “Don’t drink your calories.” Okay, that’s easy, I thought, even though I don’t think that coffee was an approved drink, but no one gets between me and my coffee. Then I asked okay, what do you eat, he shrugged and said “a lot of salad”. I realize now that the reason this all worked for me is because I said to myself, ‘Self, you like salad. And water, easy peasy”! And it was. Had I said to myself that I wasn’t going to ever eat a piece of bread again it would have been harder. A lot harder! By the time that thought crossed my mind I had seen results, and I have no real desire to change anything. So I’ll pull up my big girl pants, which are now held in place by a belt so there is no worry about what unintended consequence putting my phone in my back pocket might cause. You gotta do what you gotta do!1-13groceries.jpgI went grocery shopping today.  This is the mainstay of my diet lately.  I could have added a jar of peanut butter which I spread on the celery, and a can or two of Progresso soup.  I don’t eat much processed food, but this chilly weather has made a nice bowl of soup a must here and there.1-11truthinadvertisingDid I say that I don’t do processed food much at all?  When I do make an exception it usually turns out like this.  I have a little glass pyrex bowl, but even if I had transferred this meal into that bowl it wouldn’t have looked like the illustration.  It tasted okay, and was on sale, and dinner in 8 minutes was too much to resist…

 

birds, Florida wildlife, natural wonders, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, unintended consequences

In search of…

A Roseate Spoonbill… which had been at the top of the list of birds I’ve wanted to see ever since I saw a photo of one on the Florida Birds Facebook page.  So Saturday it was off to Circle B Bar Reserve, where I had heard that my chances of seeing a Roseate Spoonbill were pretty good.  And I did see them, a glimpse of pink through the thick shrubbery lining the trail.  Getting a good view of them was a challenge, let alone a clear photo.  Plus they themselves were mainly hunkered down in the tall grass and not very active in the cold.  Except for one cooperative fella.

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Immature birds have white feathered heads and paler plumage.  They feed by wading and swinging that spoon-shaped bill back and forth in the water to feed on small fish and crustaceans that are ignored by larger wading birds.

At first I was mainly interested in trying to get better photos than I thought I could take.  This interest in birds is an unintended consequence since birds are such a plentiful and interesting subject for photography.  I’m learning a lot.

 

life, live and learn, old dogs new tricks, photography, unintended consequences

Far from normal…

Normal, I seem to come back to that word a lot. I realize this because I’m not just thinking my thoughts these days, I’m writing them down. One thing I want is a normal month. No surprises. No hurricanes.  No breaking a tooth and needing a crown. No hitting a hidden tree stump with your lawnmower, twice. And no especially tragic surprises… like running over your iPhone…

birds, friends, photography, Pine Island, sunset, unintended consequences

Pelican sunset…

Sunsets and sunrises are always so different from each other. At Pine Island you have more people, and more activities going on than the other places that I’ve been, which makes for some interesting photos. But the main event is always the sunset itself. And this one didn’t disappoint.

One very unexpected bonus to this trip out for the sunset was a chance to talk with another photographer who was using the enormous lens that I’ve been seeing here and there online. It is a 600mm zoom, which is twice the zoom that my camera has. He said it has 3 levels of image stabilization so even hand held there is no problem with holding it steady, though he admitted that it gets heavy. He showed me a photo of a bald eagle that he had taken earlier in the day, and it was so sharp that I swear you could have counted the feathers. Amazing. He told me to check out his Facebook group, North American Wildlife Photography, to see amazing images of all sorts of wildlife, and I will…

 

dogs, home, nature, photography, rain, storms, unintended consequences, weather

Severe weather alert…

Considering the recent weather in Texas I apologize for using this title, but this summer my phone has gotten these alarming weather alerts daily.  Most of them don’t pan out, or we have a thunderstorm that only last a few minutes, so it’s easy to ignore them.  But a few days ago my neighbor was on her lanai when a tree very close by took a direct lightning strike.  What a sound that made!  So we do need to pay attention when we get the alerts.

We were under one today when Zoe decided to she just had to go out.  That was annoying, but it wasn’t raining yet so off we went.  Then I paid no attention to the dogs because the elephant ear plant next door was blowing in the breeze, so I got my camera to see if I could capture the movement.  Meanwhile, the dogs were merrily swimming, and eating grass, and doing what comes naturally after eating grass.  But I was busy.

Besides the elephant ear plant, there was the sky!  A happy face in the clouds I think.  Plus one cloud with faint rainbow colors!  Dramatic sky, for a weather alert that didn’t pan out.  It cooled off so much I should have gotten the mower out, but that would have brought the rain for sure.

 

And there was one more surprise out there.  But my new little friend wants to keep his presence on the down low.  So don’t tell anyone!ShhWhen I came in I laid my phone on the table and this is what I saw, so of course I had to click…

lamp

Now to get back to writing a blog post, which is what I was doing when I was so rudely interrupted…

flowers, nature, photography, procrastination, rain, simple things, storms, unintended consequences, weather

How not to garden…

I doubt that I’m the only person who has moved to Florida from ‘up north’, who immediately wanted to celebrate this new tropical life we were going to live by planting tropical plants. Except the clerk at the local nursery broke my bubble when he told me that this isn’t a ‘tropical climate.’  How can it not be tropical, it’s Florida?

He told me this because I told him I wanted to take out the past-their-prime evergreen shrubs that came with this house. The ones you didn’t have to do a single thing to and they just sat there and stayed green. Well, not healthy and thriving, but mostly green. No, I took them out and planted a couple of lovely bougainvillea topiaries, braided trunks with a topknot of beautiful purple flowers.  That it had with killer thorns wasn’t readily apparent.  A cold winter destroyed them down to the soil, and they came back as a shrub, with it’s thorns prominently displayed.  And they aren’t as pretty as they should be since they are under the overhang of the roof and don’t get enough rain, or sunshine. Not the right plant or the right location. But they do produce flowers, and long fronds that you take your life in your hands when you try to tame them. I was at the vet with the cat one day and the vet asked, with a degree of horror, if the cat had caused the scratches I had up my forearms. For the first and only time I was happy to say that I was attacked by the bougainvillea.bougainvillea

Next I selected a charming purple flower called Mexican petunia, and planted it as soon as I got it home. Then I looked it up on the internet and discovered that it’s on Florida’s Most Invasive Species list. I don’t have a green thumb, but I am a ‘green’ gardener, with no experience to ever think of a plant as invasive. So confining that plant to the area I intended to have it has proven to be a challenge. But you can’t kill it, I can attest to that. And it’s very pretty, and still readily available at Lowe’s and Home Depot even though it’s invasive.

mexicanpetunia1

I was thinking about hummingbirds when I made my next gardening faux pas. I read that they prefer red, tubular, flowers, and I read the list of suggested flowers but hadn’t bought any yet. Then I saw a neighbor trimming up a shrub that was loaded with lots of red flowers and stopped to talk with her. She had taken some of them from an adjacent empty lot, she said, and they had done very well. But they spread, so she was digging up the ‘pups,’ and she said I was welcome to take some. Never once did I imagine myself digging up pups of my own, but trust me I have.  And have I ever seen a hummingbird? Nope, not a one.

Then there is the dwarf crepe myrtle that I planted in the wrong place.  Just ask the patio guys who had to unload the pavers out front and bring them around back by wheelbarrow.crepemyrtle

So what can you learn from my experience? The short answer to that is to never do what I do.  With the constant rain we’ve had this summer everything has grown and the yard looks like the jungle is taking over, so I have hired someone to see if he can tame it. The problem is that the rain hasn’t stopped long enough for him to come over and check the yard to give me a price, and so it grows and grows.  The last time I had to hire someone to tame the yard they asked when the next time my ‘lawn guy’ was coming.  I told them, “I’m my lawn guy”. I’m not sure but I think they rolled their eyes.jungle