Tell me a Story: October 2021

Saturday the 9th was a long day and well into the late night. Just around 11pm, we became grandparents, as Luka made his debut into the world. I waited up and Amy and Daniel face timed me shortly after he was born. Can I say I fell in love. I absolutely did.

Monday was a holiday for me and I decided to do a quick walk in the morning and then be ready to go and meet our little boy when he arrived home in the evening.

While walking I was giving thanks for the safe delivery, and just taking deep breaths and communing with nature.

Today as I was editing the images, I was thinking it is less about the critters and more about the backgrounds. Minimally, we are seeing signs of fall and I am enjoying the change of season. I cannot wait for winter to reach Florida.

This little Green Heron was hiding out in the long grasses while it’s partner in crime was wading in the waters.,
I love the blending of the colors in the back ground and the softness of the Anhinga.
I took this image a few weeks ago for 52 Frames, but wasn’t totally happy with it, so I took it again,
I came across another Green Heron just hanging out.
There was an abundance of female grackle out this particular morning. I love the colors in the background of this image.
Dragonfly were hard to find today but again I love the weird background that has shown up here.
Another female grackle just hanging out looking for my dragonfly.
It seems like the 4 spotted pennant was the dragonfly of the day.
Clearly this Female Grackle is a mom with teenagers because she has that mean look in her eyes.
I love the faded grass and the bokeh in the background.
Time is everything and I did not see this pod dropping to the floor.

The highlight however, was not in the park but rather in the parking lot. A few had already spotted it and if they had not seen it I probably would have walked right past the the trees but luckily curiosity got the better of me and I turned around and looked at this Red Shouldered Hawk.

I am in awe of how nature is created. The feather’s color distribution is fantastic and so impressive.

Thanks for joining me today on my walk. If you are a sunseeker like we have been, please consider using sunscreen that provides a significant cover, watch out for odd looking moles, and educate yourself. Australia, Florida, California are listed as the top 3 places for melanoma. I am going to add South Africa to that listed because where we grew up the climate is exactly the same. See a dermatologist and get yourself checked out. Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer and we are dealing with this right now. This was the first thing I did since Richard came home in February after his melanoma Stage 4 diagnosis. I am good, but the peace of mind is so worth it. While the medication has shown some positive signs of working on reducing the melanoma, we have to be aware that melanoma is very unpredictable and you honestly need to take care.

Thank you for joining me this month.  This is a circle blog so take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Beth of Beth Williams Photo Blog is up next. I look forward to reading what he has to share.

30 Minutes in the Life: October 2021

One day in the life of a Southern Magnolia flower. I spent a busy week’s vacation helping my daughter with our 12 day old grandson. Included in the week were sleepover’s and some super late night early morning sessions. Typically I took him after his 9pm sleep so that my daughter could catch up some sleep. He however, had other ideas and instead of him going to sleep he was wide awake at midnight. I have told him we need to be awake more in the day and less at night. However, this week has been an absolute blessing and I have loved having that little man sleeping on my chest.

In-between, all of that this year has been dictated to by Richards immunotherapy treatments every three weeks, and we try if we are going to go somewhere to travel about 8 days prior to the next treatment. I think we were spooked by the first adverse reaction and have been cautious on making sure that we have passed the 8-12 day mark before we head out.

This weekend we headed up to see our son and his wife in Lake Placid, Florida. This is a sleepy little hollow with not a lot going on but I was excited to see that he had a bloom on his Southern Magnolia tree. From what he tells me the flower only lasts a day. So I have tried to capture the various stages of the bloom from all the other buds on the tree.

On the tree are a number of buds that look like the photo above.
When we arrived on Saturday the flower was already loosing it’s stamen. The plant has the stigma above on the cone and the stamen below.
By Sunday morning it was already dying
Obviously other flowers have bloomed and died and are starting the drying out process
What fascinated me the most was this post flower cone that was pushing out seeds.
I have never seen this before.

Nature is beautiful and at best is one of the most incredible parts of creation for me. I am always blown away by the incredible stuff I see when I am out walking.

This month it looks like I am the only one blogging and I will be planning a sabbatical for the group through the new year. While I may continue to blog under this name, I am tired, the group members are tired and I feel like a good rest for the balance of the year.

Thank you for joining me today. Have a great week. Look out for another blog on the 31st.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tell me a story: August 2021

I feel like I am always doing a nature walk for this group, but honestly that is what I did this week. After being quarantined for 2 weeks, and then an additional week while Richard was quarantined to make sure that he had not caught it from me, and then a baby shower following that, I really have not done anything else.

I had the opportunity to meet an old friend for breakfast on Friday morning. I have not been able to see her since her husband passed away earlier this year from Covid. We have tried to schedule a time but it kept getting postponed. By finally that time of blessing happened and I loved just being able to sit and spend time with her.

After breakfast I decided to take a walk through the wetlands. I needed to stretch my legs, and also to walk that food out. So that is what I did.

The wetlands is really quiet now. The wood stork have finished breeding and moved on and while there are still a few nesting birds, the amount is minimal. But I hoped that I may find an iguana and some dragon fly. I was not disappointed. Here are some images from my walk.

This Grackle was the first bird I came across in an area that the Wood Stork had vacated.
A Great Egret flying across my view
A juvenile Wood Stork still hanging out.
Alligator Flag creeping into the boardwalk
This looks like a Blue Dasher dragonfly with a badly damaged wing.
This bird is part of the Gallinule Family. I am going to assume it is a junior but I am not sure which kind.
The grasses have grown really high with all the rain we have had and this tricolored heron was attempting to do some fishing.
This picture brought a smile to my face. Yes, there are signs of fall and hopefully this really excessive heat will start to abate soon.
I don’t often see a Common Gallinule climbing on the branches. This is a common sight for the Purple Gallinule though.
Another sign of fall, falling leaves
My first encounter with an iguana but it was a little ways away.
A squirrel who looks like she is feeding babies.
New fern life
And old fern life
A four spotted pennant dragonfly
A closer encounter with an iguana who is in it’s breeding colors.
The peacefulness of the water lily.
Another sign of fall. Yes, Yes, Yes.
I think this is a Flame Skimmer
And then my fun encounter with an iguana. It was in the pathway. I took some photos and took a couple of steps closer and then next thing it squeezed it’s body between the flooring of the boardwalk and the edge of the wooden fencing. You can see the gap underneath my signature.
A close up of this incredible looking creature.
Phew, I escaped that human.
I love when you catch the Glossy Ibis in the sunlight. You can get a small glimpse here but they are so beautiful when the colors in their feathers really shine.
Nature’s still life – although it was on moving water I just loved the combination of natures falling leaves,

Walking out in the wetlands in the mid day is hot, and I have recently actively decided to wear cover up. Learning Richards story, with his melanoma, makes me realize just how important it is to have significant cover when I am out in the heat.

If you are a sunseeker like we have been, please consider using sunscreen that provides a significant cover, watch out for odd looking moles, and educate yourself. Australia, Florida, California are listed as the top 3 places for melanoma. I am going to add South Africa to that listed because where we grew up the climate is exactly the same. See a dermatologist and get yourself checked out. Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer and we are dealing with this right now. This was the first thing I did since Richard came home in February after his melanoma Stage 4 diagnosis. I am good, but the peace of mind is so worth it. While the medication has shown some positive signs of working on reducing the melanoma, we have to be aware that melanoma is very unpredictable and you honestly need to take care.

Thank you for joining me this month.  This is a circle blog so take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Lupji of LUPJi Photography is up next. I look forward to reading what he has to share.

May 2021: Naples Botanical Gardens: Part 2

Leaving the Caribbean Gardens we moved along through the River of Grass area towards the Karen and Robert Scott Florida Garden that features plants that are native to Florida and also plants from around the world that grow and thrive in the Florida Climate. The paths meander through this beautiful vegetation past man made water falls, and thatched roof huts. I don’t know the names of the plants but so many caught my attention.

Again the image of roots in amongst the garden were evident.

Gorgeous colors and beautiful Phalaenopsis could be seen growing from the trees.

The wildflowers made me think of happy faces blowing in the wind.

There were man made waterfalls in the gardens which lent to a very restful stop.

There is so much to capture your interest along your pathway. Vibrant colors and beautiful flowers. Scenic pathways and softly falling water. This was definitely a treat.

Just a reminder, the sun in Florida is super strong. Make sure to put on your sunscreen. Wear sunglasses and use a hat to protect your face. If you have any form of skin cancer or like Richard, melanoma, then make sure you are wearing UV protective clothing when you are out in the sun. Australia, Florida, California are listed as the top 3 places for melanoma. I am going to add South Africa to that listed because where we grew up the climate is exactly the same. Make sure that you are checking your body for moles that look different., or a mole that may worry you. Melanoma, we are told can spill over and travel from a mole site to another organ and go dormant for years. In Richard’s case it was 34 years before the melanoma made itself evident again. Take Care of yourselves. Prevention is better than trying to cure Stage 4 cancer.

Thank you for joining me. You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

May 2021: Naples Botanical Gardens Part 3

I left off at the Brazilian section of the gardens in my last post. Today we venture into the Caribbean Gardens.

The garden shows off the plant life of the Caribbean plantations rich with fruits such as banana plants, papaya plants. There is also succulents and cacti. Richard found a bench to hang out on while he was waiting for me.

Walk with me through this gorgeous garden and enjoy the beautiful creation of nature.

This Anhinga was set perfectly out on the lake sun tanning his wings. Anhinga are interesting. The are often known as a snake bird because that is all you see when they come up for air while fishing for their food. Once the bird is finished fishing it needs to find a place to dry it’s wings before it can fly any distance.

I spotted this pair of Osprey high up on the pole.

While I was busy taking photos, Richard walked ahead to find a shady spot to sit and wait.

Cacti that we found along the way.

As I mentioned before, Roots appear to be the artistic theme in the gardens right now and this is just another beautiful example of what we got to see.

The Caribbean gardens has this beautiful oolite pergola which held me up for a while.

Moving through the garden, Richard was diligent to keep his hat on and look for shady spots to stay out of the sun as much as possible. Before we headed out to the gardens, he lathered himself with Factor 50 sunscreen. We wanted to be able to enjoy this time together in the gardens.

If you are a sunseeker like we have been, please consider using sunscreen that provides a significant cover, watch out for odd looking moles, and educate yourself. Australia, Florida, California are listed as the top 3 places for melanoma. I am going to add South Africa to that listed because where we grew up the climate is exactly the same. See a dermatologist and get yourself checked out. Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer and we are dealing with this right now. This was the first thing I did since Richard came home. I am good, but the peace of mind is so worth it. At this point we have no idea if the medication Richard is on is working, so each day has become a memory making day.

Thank you for joining us. Look back for postings of the previous days.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.