Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Well we dodged that bullet. The storm finally tracked west of New Orleans. This was a hard storm to pin down. Unfortunately, it's also a slow moving storm and is currently sitting off the Louisiana coast wreaking havoc with those in its path. I hope it gets going soon and leaves the Gulf Coast in peace. As for us, we had wind, some flooding (not an unusual occurrance) and a whole lot of rain. But nothing damaging.

We spent a lot of sweat equity putting up shutters, moving everything upstairs to a higher elevation, etc. Even though the storm was not a threat in the end, you have to prepare as if it's coming right at you. (Which it was for a time.) Good news is, we are all safe, no damage, and we are cleaning out as we clean up. (During the storm preps we discovered we had entirely too much STUFF. Weeding out the unnecessary is job one. My new mantra is, "I will never plant pots again, I will never plant pots again." (Hee Hee. You just know I will next spring!)  I hope all of my local freinds fared as well as we did. How about it Paula, DJ?

Only 93 days left to hurricane season. I hope this was the last of it.

    Hurricane Isaac  Bye Bye

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Just getting myself back to "normal" and here comes Isaac. Keep northwest Florida in your thoughts.
We are busy with out hurricane plan, batting down the hatches, and packing for evacuation.You'd think it would get easier each time, but my stomach is still in a knot and TWC plays in the background all day like white noise. The cone of uncertainty is large with predictions for landfall spanning from Apalachicola to the Mississippi coast. Coming in at a harmless Cat 1 to a nasty Cat 3. We'll just have to wait and see. Just hope it comes in east of us and at a Cat 1 or better  yet a tropical storm.  Stay tuned.

Monday, July 23, 2012


"I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world."
~George Washington

Last Thursday I boarded one of three buses for the Annual Farm Tour of Santa Rosa County. Santa Rosa County has a total area of 1,173.57 square miles, of which 1,016.93 square miles is land and 156.65 square miles is water.

santa rosa county florida map
Santa Rosa County outlined in pink.

Santa Rosa County can be divided into three distinct sections: South Santa Rosa, which comprises the areas around the bays, the Sound and the Gulf of Mexico.  Central Santa Rosa is the area north of the bays and south of the extensive forests separating it from North Santa Rosa and North Santa Rosa is forest and farm country. It is in North Santa Rosa that we spent the day touring. The rich soil and long growing season make this area a perfect setting for farming. Cotton, peanuts, soybeans, blueberries and hay are some of the crops grown in this area.

We visited a Christmas Tree farm, met the Farm Family of the Year and learned about their farm and crops, met with numerous bee keepers, had lunch at the wonder Farmers Opry, visited the demonstration orchard at the Jay Research Center and ended our day at Holland Farms where we were treated to watermelon, canary melon and boiled peanuts. It was a wonderfully informative day the left me with a new appreciation for the farms and farmers and the incredibly hard work they do to  maintain their farms, tend their crops and raise their families. North Santa Rosa is so different from the sandy coastal area where I live. The coast offers its unique ecosystem of white beaches, sand soils and emerald waters. But North Santa Rosa has its own verdant beauty. Neat rows of crops growing acre after acre, the smells of rich soil, freshly mown hay and a landscape dotted with farmhouses, silos and livestock define this area of our county. 

Here are some of the places and sights we enjoyed on our tour.

 Matriarch of the family who own the Christmas Tree farm shares the story of the farm and the work required to grow quality trees. Hurricane Ivan devasted their trees and they are only now reaching saleable sizes. Before moving here and starting the farm, both she and  her husband worked for the Pentagon.

A well-shaped tree waiting for a holiday home.

 Smaller trees that were planted after Hurricane Ivan.

 Sign on the farm.

Pastoral scenes

 Commissioner Salter presenting the recognition plaque to the Farm Family of the Year.


We travelled in air-conditioned comfort.

 Some of the honey products from local hives.

 Honey "Bears"

 Vintage separator. Honey combs are placed in the basket, hand cranked to spin the basket which motion releases the honey from the combs.

Our visit to the demonstration orchard at the Jay Research Center was spoiled by heavy rain. We viewed the orchard through rain-soaked bus windows.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


"Just because you didn't put a name to something did not mean it wasn't there."
~Jodi Picoult, Handle with Care

We've had a visitor to the yard lately. A lovely redheaded shorebird. I've taken its picture several times, but I'm at a lost what name to give it. I've called on birder friends for help and it turns out there is not a concensus. Some say Little Blue Heron, others Tri-colored heron juvenile. One even expanded on that and thought it a Tri-colored heron juvenile molting to adult plumage. Whatever name it deserves, I'm glad is stopped and visited for a few days. Haven't seen it the last couple of days. Perhaps it flew to place where everybody knows its name.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


"No garden truly blooms until butterflies have danced upon it."
~K. D'Angelo

Today my friend Madame Swallow Tail revisited my flowers. She stayed for quite some time allowing me to take some pictures, but also to just sit and enjoy her flittering and fluttering. Several times I thought she was going to alight on my knee, but sadly that didn't happen. Maybe  next visit.

Monday, June 25, 2012


"Strong winds buffet the sea oats and tall dune grasses, tossing sand and seabirds where it will... ."
~Karen White, The Memory of Water

Took a ride along Pensacola Beach this morning. After stopping off at Native Cafe for breakfast (where the tourists outnumbered the natives by 10-1), we headed for the Gulf Islands National Seashore. As we headed towards Ft. Pickens, we ran into a "Road Closed" sign. So we turned around and headed in the opposite direction towards Park East. Another sign greeted us that said, "Road Closed to Thru Traffic." Well, we weren't going "through" to Navarre Beach, so we circumvented the sign and drove along the shore for awhile. The sea oats are just beautiful and the winds from Tropical Storm Debby had them bending gracefully with the breeze. Thankfully, we left the "cone of uncertainty" and today the skies were blue and the breeze, while gusty, was welcome. It was a magnificent day on our part of the Gulf.

Our breakfast spot.

Sea Oats bending with the wind.

The golden glow of Sea Oats


Tropical Storm Debby has the Panhandle on high alert. The storm is moving very slowly and can't seem to make up its mind where it wants to go. Away would be nice. These two Little Egrets landed on the dock and hung around for quite awhile. I think they were resting before flying into the wind again.

We can hang out here for awhile.

Gee, I'd hate to get my pretty yellow feet wet. But ... we go!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


"Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes."
~Author Unkown

[ot in my case, peppers]

A small glimpse into the garden.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Yesterday hubby and I were busy in the yard. He fixing the sea wall and me watering, weeding, etc. Dakota wanted to play, I mean really wanted to play. She ran circles around us being a bit of a pest. I finally took the collar off her (we have an invisible fence) and told her to go swim. She really likes to swim. Usually she makes a bee line for the water and romps around for an hour or so. Not this time. She walked out on the dock, waiting for us to go out to keep her company, whining for attention. And she waited and whined and waited and whined. Finally, she settled in and soaked up the sunshine. (With her black coat you would think she'd search out the shade, but she just loves to sunbathe) I finally put the hose away and made my way out to the dock to much tail wagging and barks of joy. And as soon as I sat in the chair, ready to toss her favorite ball into the water, she got up, walked down the dock and went upstairs to the porch. Perhaps I made her wait too long. The dog definitely has attitude. :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012


"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
~Hans Christian Andersen

Swallow Tail feeding on Million Bells

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


My lovely basket of 'Pretty Much Picasso" supertunia has gone missing, a victim, I fear, of the backyard flooding. If found please administer TLC. (Note to self: Baskets are lightweight and FLOAT!)

Proven Winners 'Pretty Much Picasso' petunia sports violet purple flowers edged in lime green. It's a great flower for bedding or containers and adds a bright spot to the garden. I'm definitely going to get more, but this time they will go into a heavy, pottery container!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


After yesterday's monster rain event, flooding was everywhere. Records were broken for one day rain amounts. Don't know the exact numbers, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 13 inches.

It's 6:45 a.m. and the skies are dark, there is thunder and lightening and the rain has started again. Luckily, our sandy soil has allowed the water from yesterday to drain away. But the ground is saturated and I don't know where all this water is going to go. The forecast for the week is rain, followed by rain, followed by rain...

Side yard
Front yard
Front yard with newly planted (now drowning) blueberry bushes.
 Back yard.- Bayside

Thursday, June 7, 2012


It's been a while since I had some time to myself. May was the month for visitors arriving and departing. And though the days were hectic, they were filled with that special joy of friendship. Then just as the last of the linens had been washed and the beds remade to await the next guests, I found myself the victim of a nasty summer cold accompanied by daily headaches.It seemed like I was never going to get out with my camera. But, I'm better now and ready to start ticking off some of the places listed on my summer "bucket list." These are some pictures I took before the chaos began.

Visit from a Green Heron one early morning.

We are gathered here together . . .

Stuck that landing, didn't I?

Shake, Shake, Shake, Shake your Booty . . .

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


"The distinctive crest can be raised and pointed when agitated or lowered and barely visible while resting.
~All About Birds - Cornell University.

My gal pal here was pretty agitated. Every time she would start eating the seeds on the ground, a red-winged blackbird would chase her away. After several attempts, she turned the tables and went after Sir RWBB, She raised her crest and put quite a scowl on her face and that blackbird definitely got the message...

...Don't mess with a woman having a bad hair day!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch--we are going back from whence we come."
~John F. Kennedy

My very favorite place in RI is in Newport. Ocean Drive is a 10-mile road that curves and twists with the coastline. The views are spectacular, stretching out to Breton Point and the Atlantic Ocean. We often sailed past this coastline on our way to Cutty Hunk Island or Martha's Vineyard. But when on land, this is the place I most wanted to be, especially on a day like this one, when the skies were dark and the sea was roiling. I love to feel the salt spray on my face and inhale that unique fragrance that is the sea. These are the last images of RI from this trip. I'm not sure when we'll be back there, so the memory of this day will have to last me for awhile. The photos will speak for themselves.