Dinner Island: Part 1

I found Dinner Island WMA while on Google Earth one day. I am always looking for new places to explore, parks to see and find the little out of the way places no one goes to. Well, this is one of those places, especially when it isn’t hunting season. A long road winds its way through the property, and you can get out and hike through any of the hammocks any time. Cattle ranching is also done on the land so cows are very prominent as are deer and hogs. The last two you’ll see more in during the non-hunting times. Oh, turkey, too. If you’re lucky maybe a bobcat or panther and probably bear live there, too.

We went a few weekends ago with our friends Kathy and Randy for a long day of photography and relaxing in the very cool weather that had come through.

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Chris sneaking back over the fence after trying to chase down an otter. The canal the otter was in was full of water hyacinth and provided perfect cover for the otter.

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We found a few horses that were friendly and asked for a nice head rub….

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and one apparently developed a fondness for Kathy!

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One thing I love about Florida is being able to walk in the wilderness and run into citrus trees of all sorts. Usually they are sour oranges, ones you want to cook with and not eat straight, or grapefruit. When the Spanish came to explore Florida they brought citrus with them and thus after many years of colonization, settlers planted citrus near their homes and even Florida’s Natives utilized the fruit in their hammocks and tree islands. It’s a real treat to find some citrus after a hike, but on this day, it was even more awesome to find lemons!

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Really, really, good tangerines!

Grapefruit Belly
Kathy developed a grapefruit belly!

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This trio of bandits eluded us for a bit. They had scampered across the road, catching Chris’ eye and we thought they were maybe otters. After walking for a bit down the road, poking our noses in little openings in the bushes we got flushed them out and they trotted down the road.

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Well, you’d hope people wouldn’t litter!

We found three baby raccoons running down the side of the road and Chris got the better photos since he was on that side, but I snapped what I could. They were so cute!

Stay tuned for Parts II and III! Macro and sunset shots…!

Ashleigh update: After having a collapsed lung on Saturday, it has since reinflated and everything seems to be going as well as possible with her blood work and x-rays, etc. Her kidneys are functioning and now I think they are working on the other end of things—check out how tiny her diapers are! That’s a tiny little behind! One day at a time…

Monday Garden Musings

It is fairly quiet in the garden these days. After the cold snap, everything took a hit. I like this time of year because it isn’t so overwhelming. The grass doesn’t grow 10′ in a day and the vines aren’t trying to suffocate each other. It’s more relaxing.

A little bit more reverse lens technique for some closeups:

loquat fly
A fly buzzing the loquat flowers

Plantain flowers

Hibiscus grandideri about to bloom

A less mature H. grandidieri blossom

chalice vine
Chalice vine


Variegated vanilla

A little fern, a little recruit…

I’ve been enjoying these garden blogs lately:
Chiot’s Run
The Inadvertent Farmer
Fennel and Fern: they have a blog but it appears their site is down at the moment.

A little weeding did me good this afternoon. A turn in the garden is what I need to do more often.

Blogging is my Scrapbook

Going through my old scrapbooks the other day I realized that blogging has become my scrapbook. I abandoned the hardcore scrapbooking phase I went through a few years ago and it seems that it has been reflected here on my blog instead.

amber bluestem

It has changed for me over time, blogging. I remember the days of blogger and live journal and it was quite a different era. There weren’t any pro-bloggers, people who made money writing. These days it seems there are people making money at writing on their site, giving their opinions, and while all of that sounds great, I’m glad to just be here writing for myself.

cypress reflection

I think the future of my scrapbooking will be writing here, sharing my photos—because I thought the other day that sharing photos is one of the reasons to blog. I love taking photos. Then, what happens when I download them and then they sit on my computer or hard drive and languish? Gone are the days of photo albums and sharing photos in that manner.
For Christmas we made books for our parents and my brother and SIL. It was nice to see them in print, some sort of validation if you will.

The other day, on the deadline date for the Stranger Photo Challenge, I rushed to a nearby park hoping to gather up my guts and ask someone to take their photo. It’s one thing to casually take photos, but to ask someone to take their photo—it was painfully difficult for me. And I couldn’t do it. I had many opportunities, but I just couldn’t. It seems so ridiculous to even say that. I think the part about it is that it is a bit weird, you know? Going up to someone and asking to take their photo. Meghan did it great, I think. At least she has a good excuse, she’s starting a photography business, something which I haven’t begun to even think about.

I much prefer taking photos of animals and landscapes, they don’t look at you strange.

CNN had an article the other day about Twitter, here. It really summed up how I felt about Twitter. I keep resisting the talk in the blogosphere about getting on Twitter and how it helps businesses and getting more readers, this and that. But, what about next year? MySpace was the rage, Facebook, now Twitter. I want people to come here to read, not read on Twitter. And I don’t want to be that connected to posting.

For people who do use Twitter, what do you think? I just found Posterous today, via another blog, but I wonder about it, too. Again, it’s taking you away from the main site of a persons blog. It’s great for people who don’t have their own blog or their own space, but what about everyone else?

Now my brain hurts from all of this thinking….

Have a relaxing Sunday.

Washed Up

I’m a little lonely today. It’s cloudy outside, the sun hasn’t peaked out and said hello, the cats are curled up, and everyone is out somewhere, doing something and I’m not.

Reviewing the rest of the Cayo Costa photos make me a little depressed. Call it two weekends of not getting outside, that’s probably my problem.

So, I’m savoring the washed up fauna that found its way onto the shore…

sea star

crab 3

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oyster catchers
Oystercatchers…the first time I’ve seen these birds.


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A gannett…not sure if it was injured or feigning injury, but it was nice to see the bird up close.


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An ancient animal, horseshoe crab…

crab hand


crab 2



washed up
Even the man-made objects get washed up…

I keep staring

All I’ve done is keep staring at the photos of Ashleigh. It’s surreal to call my mom up and hear Zoe talking and carrying on in the background. And then there’s 10 and 3/4″ long Ashleigh. The whole thing is magical in a way. She’s here, she’s alive and as tiny as she may be, she’s already a fighter. I already envision her sitting in her room with her big sis, playing dress up or house and then getting into some sort of mischief.

I get to meet Ashleigh in about three weeks for an already planned visit at home. Until then I am looking at photos and calling in throughout the day. I’ve been going through some nicknames for her, two-ton tiny, Smurfette, little giant….I haven’t found a good fit yet. And with her name being Ashleigh I keep putting on a Scarlett O’Hara voice and saying it how she did–maybe her nickname should be Belle (as in Southern Belle). Belle also means beautiful—and that she is.

And now—video!! You can bet I’ll be reloading these in the days to come.

Regularly scheduled blogging will return soon, sprinkled with Ashleigh updates.


Just quick update and I will write more later, but my brother has some photos up on his Flickr here. Check out the one with his hand at her feet—that gives you some scale!

A teeny, tiny little blessing—she’s going to be an astronaut…or maybe President. 😉

1 pound 1 ounce

Ashleigh Ryon has arrived….3 months early but she’s doing good so far. Mom and baby made it through everything well. I got to see a text message photo of her—tiny but she looks like Zoe!

My brother is going to put a post up with photos and video later tonight so I will link to that when he does.

Until then, they still need thoughts and prayers—they have at least two months of NICU time ahead of them.

Tomatoes Make Me Happy

Wrinkly Tomato

I’m going through some older photos from the past years. No tomatoes this year. But, they make me happy. They are the perfect plant, I think. They smell divine, their fruit is delicious and they are just so pretty.

Cherry Ranch 204

We still have tomato sauce from last year. Not a jar of spaghetti sauce bought in this house all year!

My mind is wound up these days.

I follow Chris Guillebeau in my email and have been for awhile. He said something in a recent blog post that stuck with me:

“The road not taken.
The destination not explored.
The adventure not pursued.
The life unlived.

If we’re going to lose sleep over something, it seems to me that those are the things that should keep us awake.

Life is dangerous. It’s risky. It’s worth it. ” via this post.

And a little Rilo Kiley helps, too.

Meh Monday

My mind isn’t here, for various reasons but one of them is because my sister in law, Stephanie, is in the hospital right now. I’m getting my information second hand from my parents, but from what I understand she went in for a check up and found out the baby hadn’t grown in the past three weeks. She’s 26 weeks. After some tests they found out not enough blood was getting to the baby and well, there are various things going on, but the important thing is that it is possible this baby may be premature. Possibly as early as the next few weeks or six weeks from now, that is unless they can get everything on track and keep on a good progress.

So, my thoughts are over in Texas at the moment and if you are so inclined, send good thoughts and prayers their way. We don’t want little Ashleigh to be born too early! And we need her momma to rest up and stay healthy.

Think about the Samson, too, he went to the vet for a dental cleaning and he’s still all woozy and funny acting. I’ve gotta play nurse with him and shoot him up with pain meds and antibiotics. They had to extract an infected tooth. Poor fella.

I think this is a chocolate in bed while watching tv kind a night.

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