Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Missing the Blue: The Story of My Life These Days…

One day a couple of weeks ago, I was perusing my Facebook page and came across an announcement from Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory that there was an influx there of Blue Morpho butterflies.  I was feeling a bit better from the cold that has plagued me since the beginning of the year, so that sounded like a good field trip for me and my daughter Carrie.  We found a date when we were both free and I drove out to Northampton and went on to Magic Wings in South Deerfield.  I didn’t realize until we got there that it was Martin Luther King Day.  The place was full of kids.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I think it’s great that kids go to Magic Wings and places like that, but it does make the place more crowded.  Oh, well…might as well enjoy it anyhow.

You know me enough to know that the one thing I truly enjoy about outings like this is that I can take hundreds of photos.  That just makes me happy.  I was so looking forward to capturing that magnificent blue on those Blue Morpho butterflies.  Well, what I didn’t realize is that you only see the blue while they are flying.  Once they land, the wings go together….ZIP!  And all you see is the brown that is the underneath.  With the remnants of my cold and the crowded conditions slowing me down, I got ZIP!   I shouldn’t complain.  There are many butterflies who probably envy that nice brown bottom of the Blue Morpho because it is beautiful in its own right.  But I was disappointed.  I wanted that blue.

The beautiful underneath of the Blue Morpho.  
The best of a bad batch!  At least you can see the blue.
We did see other cool things that day, including a new family of Bearded Dragons and a really cool fern frond that was beginning to unfurl.

The Hibiscus flowers were a nice bright spot on a very dreary, very cold day.

But I am disappointed that I couldn’t get that blue.  Seems like the story of my life these days.  I started out 2013 with that darn cold that is just now beginning to go away.  Then managed to pick up a stomach virus.  So missing the Blue Morpho is just par for the course.
  Things can only get better….right?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Graveyard fence for Friday Fences...

Here are some photos taken at the Chestnut Street Cemetery of Old Apalachicola.  I love these old places and could wander around them for some time without getting bored or running out of ways to take photos of them.  This cemetery was simply lovely.  What a wonderful place to spend eternity.

This is a close up of the detail on the gate above.

Linking to Friday's Fences.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A few more from Apalach...

We really had a nice time in Apalachicola, Florida.  It’s not the Florida most of us are familiar with.  There are no Disney characters, no high rises blocking the view of the water, no chain restaurants (except for a Burger King on the way out of town to the west).  It’s charming.

Here’s the house we stayed in.  We chose this particular house because we could take the dog with us and we loved that wrap-around porch.  Well, we were very pleased with everything about it.  It’s a beautiful place built with a liberal use of “Pecky Cypress” -- boards that are pocked with holes caused by an underwater worm.  It makes for an interesting and unusual interior.  Here’s the link if you would like to see more pics of the place:  http://www.vrbo.com/443440

Apalach supplies 90% of the oysters in Florida.  I am not an oyster fan, but I do like honey.  While we were there we learned that the only places in the world to find Tupelo Honey are in Apalachicola and along the Nile River.  We stopped at the Piggly Wiggly and picked up a couple containers as souvenirs.

It’s a good place to hang if you like birds.  We saw untold numbers of pelicans and cormorants along with others we weren’t able to identify.  One day while we were driving along I spotted a Bald Eagle flying overhead.  That was cool!

This isn't a Bald Eagle...it's a Cormorant.
One nice thing for us being in the Florida Panhandle is that my nephew Neil and his wife Winona live near Destin, Florida, which is about two hours west of where we were staying.  Sounds like a long way, but it’s a way longer way from Massachusetts, so we took the time to go to Shorty’s Surfside in Grayton Beach to see Winona and to hear Neil play with his current band, Franko & Fiends.  Great fun! 

If you want to go to an actual beach when you are in Apalach, you need to drive about ten minutes to St. George Island.  We know that the beach is Olive’s Favorite Thing, so we took her over so she could frolic in the waves for a little while.  She’s actually on lead in this photo, but I cloned out the leash.  She wanted to feel free for a change. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Life and Times of Olive the Pug: Dog on the Move…

The word “go” makes Olive tilt her head and turn around in circles.  So she was plenty happy, after she saw the bags go into the car, when she discovered she was going along on our trip to Florida.

It took us three days to driving to get to Apalachicola, Florida from Central Massachusetts.  That’s three days of sleeping for a dog.  But once we got there, she perked up plenty.  Here are some of Olive’s favorite things about the trip.

One day, we went on a boat ride and Olive was invited along.  When we got to the dock, we discovered that another dog would be joining us.  This is Cooper.  Cooper and Olive decided immediately that they would be friends and both soon settled down and fell asleep.  It’s important to keep your strength up if you are a dog after all.

Pelican and Cormorant living in harmony on the Apalachicola River.
Three days while we were gone, we had lunch at Up the Creek Raw Bar.  This is truly a special place because dogs are welcome.  Olive charmed the wait staff.  They called her by name and brought her bowls of water making her feel like a VID (very important dog).  Now, Apalachicola is the place to be if you are an oyster lover.  Here’s a sample of the oysters Greg got there.  Olive (and I) didn’t want to try them...maybe it would have been different if they were covered in cheese, which is her (and my) favorite thing.

One day while eating lunch at Up the Creek, we saw a dolphin swim by.  And, of course, we saw loads of pelicans and cormorants.  But the best day was the day Olive got to bark a little at (what I think is) a female broad-tailed grackle.  Life can’t get much better than that.

But with all the excitement, it is necessary for a dog to take a nap now and then so at the end of the week, Olive was happy to once again be loaded into the car for the three day trip home.

Seriously, folks, If you like traveling with your dog, Apalachicola is one very dog-friendly place so take Fido along and give it a try.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hunting in Apalachicola...

Here are my entries for this week's Scavenger Hunt.  All of these photos were taken in Apalachicola, Florida, where we are spending a little time.

OUTSIDE: This was taken along the Apalachicola River.

BACKSIDE:  These cormorants weren't going to look at us...

LITTLE THINGS:  A little array of lichen growing on a pine tree...

A CUP OF...  good amber beer at Up The Creek.

REFLECT:  On the grass growing along side the Apalachicola River.



Friday, January 11, 2013

I'm back...

About a month before I had my knee replaced, I saw a article in Travel Section of the Boston Sunday Globe about Apalachicola, Florida.  It sounded to me like the perfect warm weather retreat for Greg and me.  It's in northern Florida so I didn't suspect it would be too hot.  Plus it sounded like it had a lot of cool old Florida charm.  So Greg set about making plans for us to stay for a week to escape the New England cold.

A few days before we were scheduled to leave, I managed to come down with what I am calling The National Cold, because it seems like at least half of my Facebook friends and folks I know around town are in some stage of this miserable affliction.  But, cold be damned...we had plans and having plans means I loaded myself in the car feeling like a deep fried crap sandwich and we set out for Florida.

The good news is that Greg, Olive and I are now here in Apalachicola, Florida, and enjoying our stay.  My cold inches better every day but it is not gone yet.  However, having survived the car ride down I will share with you some of the sights we saw along the way.

The sun begins to set in Pennsylvania.
Hi from someplace in Virginia.
Along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
On a country road off the Blue Ridge Parkway, a couple of guys let us know that we weren't welcome.
This fellow was outside Striplings General Store, Cordele, Georgia.
Olive asks, "Are we there yet?"

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A little of this and a little of that…

I realized when I was looking through my photos that I didn’t share anything from our Christmas celebration.  So here you go… 

This year because I wasn’t at 100% things were a bit on the light side for the holidays, but that didn’t keep me from wrapping things in a “green” way.  Here’s my son Evan with one of his gifts.  When I was looking through a magazine for some kind of decorative something to use, I saw some print that said “ot” so I went with it all the way.  This present was “ot NAVE”.   He figured it out.  Smart kid!

One of my favorites this year was from Carrie who wraps things to within an inch of their lives.  This particular package had part of the present on the outside.  That is the button that says, “I’ve called him Ishmael.”  I love that!  Because I have read Moby Dick all the way through and I loved it!  I wear that button proudly.  She also got me a fish-eye lens (maybe there was a theme there), which I am still trying to figure out…but I’m having fun doing it.

Of course, Olive couldn’t be overlooked.  She got this cool bumper sticker that will be put on the golf cart as soon as the weather permits.  She will be even more proud to ride down to the beach in the golf cart now.

Even with the snow and cold, Evan has been taking her out for walks every day.  She knows she’s a lucky dog.  And though she is smarter than an honor student, it doesn’t mean she can be off lead.  Of course, maybe some honor students could use a leash, too…I don’t know.

Here’s a beautiful female cardinal who has been hanging around a lot lately.  You know, I think the females are more striking than the males.  Sure the males are more showy and colorful but the females have that understated beauty and that fabulous orange beak.

I’m telling you that it’s really cold out there today.  This lamp is probably happy to be covered with snow.  Keep warm, everyone, and carry on.