June 28, 2017

Doty Stefanotii

This is spring in Florida.

I'm so proud of my stefanotis vine. I've lived here since 2013 and over the winter the vine made some gourd-like fruit, which I quickly researched. I shared one pod (mango-like in appearance) with my friend Robyn, and I kept one for myself. Later in the season I found two more!

The facts are, if you don't pick the fruit, the vine will quit blooming. I did notice that. Suddenly the old leaves across the vine started to turn yellow as well, and this lasted well into the spring.

I noticed it because I thought I had picked its two only fruits. But a month or two later I found three more big pods hanging there! They got snipped off the vine immediately. I set the pods on a table in my house to see what would happen.

Meanwhile I impatiently buried 1/2 the original fruit in my garden at the base of a mandavilla vine and trellis. Nothing at all happened for two months. A couple of weeks ago I discovered about 10 nice seedlings!

A quick Lowe's trip for a small bag of soil and a seed-starting tray and I'm about 50 seedlings away from more stefanotis. The seedlingss in my garden, I've already committed to three friends.

It took a while but look what sprouted in my garden!

April 12, 2017

Spring 2017 - Catching Up

Melbourne Beach, FL
I've been devoting spare time to parents, crocheting, Recipe Keeper, and watching fave shows on Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go. I turned in all the cable TV equipment and cut my bill in half. Down to Roku and computer now. I love it!

I read The Girl On The Train. It was pretty good! Definitely a page turner. I guessed the ending from the start though, so it felt predictable. I wished it ended more creatively.

My story on last summer's Europe trip is still in draft form. The holdup, as always, is photo editing.

Next will be a story on February's cruise to the Southern Caribbean. Until I post that, you can see some really amateur home vids I took with my Samsung S6.  Click here for the YouTube link to that playlist.

Today I squeezed in an hour's walk on the beach. Got my 10K steps in! It was the perfect day for it. No humidity, warm, sunny, breezy, and lots of people to look at since it's a Spring Break week. Above is the photo I took. The sea was aqua and turquoise and blue and green and gorgeous. I'm so lucky to be able to feast my eyes on the ever-changing ocean whenever I want.

November 14, 2016

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge at Kennedy Space Center

Hi folks! Here's a quick post to tell you about our quick birding run through Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

I took my friend Cindy with me to sort of scope out the grounds in preparation for bringing my parents on an outing there. It's an hour's drive from Melbourne so I wanted to make sure the roads were open and the birds were there. (I had heard that the birds have pretty much abandoned the Refuge.)

First we stopped at the welcome center to buy a pass (1 day car pass is $5) and get a map. There's a nice boardwalk that loops through the swampy area behind the building. Cindy and I walked it and were amazed to see a big old alligator sunning himself (it was a cloudy day but whatever) on a wooden platform in the middle of a pond. Many of the plants are marked if you're into botanical gardens and such.

We saw some uprooted trees and wind damage from Hurricane Matthew, but that's expected. They got hit a lot harder up there at the Cape.

We decided to drive on the Black Point Wildlife Drive knowing that my parents would prefer a car ride, and the graveled road was well packed and not at all pitted. And what a surprise we had! There were birds everywhere! We weren't expecting to be so entertained. Our first glorious sight was a flock of roseate spoonbills, which I had never seen before. That was worth the trip for me.

For such a quick drive through the park we managed to spot, close up, quite a few birds. And not one or two -- there were many of each species. My very amateur photos, all taken with my Samsung Android 6 phone, are below.

Great blue heron
Little blue heron
Tricolored heron
Common egret
White ibis
Glossy ibis
Roseate spoonbill
Belted kingfisher
Vultures, ospreys, brown ducks and ALLIGATORS

Speaking of alligators, Cindy witnessed an alligator leaping into the air and flipping into a turn, then splashing down and disappearing in the water. I saw the commotion out of the corner of my eye and when I turned my head towards the loud splash I had missed the sight, but he reappeared about 15 feet from where he started and he was huge. All in all we saw one little alligator, one medium one (in the pond by the welcome center, see photo below) and three really scary big alligators. We guessed that the big guy we saw and heard had caught some food. For such big, ugly motionless creatures they sure do move fast!

The alligator behind the welcome center.

This anhinga was preening and showing the pretty white on his wings.

A group of coots swimming around.

Glossy ibis (foreground) and Little blue heron. Looks like a Great blue heron flying (left).

Group of Little blue herons parading in the center, with White ibis in the foreground.

The roseate spoonbills were all together in one area.

Another shot of the roseate spoonbills.

A close look at a Tricolored heron.

Here's another Tricolored heron.These guys like to squawk.
The Refuge website has a page for road closings and alerts, so if you're planning a trip there be sure to check the park's availability first.

October 16, 2016

Game of Thrones Season 7 -- It Begins


I'm so excited!!!

Game of Thrones Season 7 Teaser

Wow! Very cool. I love that HBO is giving us what we need and want.

Anniversary Number 34

Today's our 34th wedding anniversary. We celebrated last weekend since Ormond had to come down to help with damage control in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Happy Anniversary Ormond!

Not sure what year... mid 2000s
Anniversary 2007
2012 Anniversary
2015, Huntsville