Aug 25

Interesting Pitcher Plant

Florida is host to a lot of interesting plants but I think the pitcher plant is the most unusual.  My sister and her husband bought a piece of property with a pond on it and I was thrilled when I saw the pitcher plants.  I now have a large file of photos displaying the plant and I didn’t fall into the pond taking the photos.  I think this is a nepenthes species.

interesting-pitcher-plant-florida

 

Pitcher plants have a very sweet smelling nectar that lures an insect into dinner.  Along with the plants coloration and sweet smell they have no idea it’s a trap.  The insect lands on the slippery rim and falls in and with the walls just as slippery they have no way out.  It’s the plant that gets to eat dinner!  The pitcher is actually a swelling of the mid-vein of the leaf and the liquid in the bottom is a digestive fluid.  It’s a beautiful and unusual plant but it is a deadly trap.

 

This is the flower of the pitcher plant.  The green ball holds a bunch of little seeds. It blooms every spring and is very colorful.  God’s creation is most unusual and does make life interesting.

interesting-pitcher-plant-florida

interesting-pitcher-plant-florida

 

 

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Jun 09

Barred Owl On The Chipola River

Who doesn’t like to go boating!  Even Mr Orange was ready to go, But I said no because he doesn’t care for water.  It was a beautiful morning for a boat ride. We even brought a picnic lunch.

barred-owl-chipola-river

 You never know what you will see when you are boating on the Chipola River.  My brother-in-law spotted this Barred Owl sitting on a limb out over the river.  Getting the photos in a moving boat with a swift current is a challenge but one that I enjoyed.  As we are circling around under the owl he spooked and I thought he was gone but he just flew to a higher limb farther up river.  OH!  What fun!

The Barred Owl has a call that sounds like “Who cooks for you?  Who Cooks for you-all?”  When they start talking I have to stop and listen, it is one of my favorite sounds.

owl -on-the-chipola-river

They live in large, mature forest of both deciduous trees and evergreens often near a body of water, since one of their foods is fish and crayfish.  Barred Owls also eat small animals and especially rodents.   These beautiful birds nest in tree cavities and mate for life raising one brood each year.

The oldest Barred Owl on record was at least 24 years old.

The Chipola River is a beautiful winding river.  It can be deep with a fast current in some places, then you go around a bend and it has become shallow enough to walk across.  (Of course depending on the level of the river.)   And the Chipola River has a lot of very  interesting critters if you are lucky enough to spot them.

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Jun 09

Armadillos In Florida

Armadillos seem to have a fascination with roads which is tragic since they do not see well and become very confused when confronted by car lights.  They move quick but don’t seem to know which way to go.  When you are are traveling the Florida roads you are bound to come across an armadillo.  People ask if there is such a thing as a live armadillo because so many are belly up on the side of the road.

armadillo-in-florida

I find them to be very interesting creatures.  Their name literally translates to “little armored one.”  They have armor on their backs but their soft bellies are kind of hairy.  They keep their nose to the ground always looking for that grub worm.  The head is a lot smaller than the body with the nose that looks like a pig and is always wiggling like a rabbit.

The armadillo looks slow and awkward, but they are lighting fast as I found out.  An armadillo had her babies under our house and when they got old enough to roam they would come out just before dark.  I learned that if I stood real still they would walk right over my feet and I would quietly bend over and rub it’s back.  If I made even a little noise they were gone.  They are cute.

They are really gentle creatures.  My kitties would walk up to them to investigate and they didn’t seem to even notice the cats.  But they can be very destructive digging holes looking for worms to eat.  They will tear a lawn up.

armadillo-north-florida

 

I really like watching and photographing these curious little critters.

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Mar 07

Chipola River Flood

Most of the time the Chipola River is an enjoyable place to explore by boat, tubing,  swimming or all three.   The river winds it way to the Dead Lakes to empty in the Apalachicola River then on to the Gulf of Mexico. But after four days of heavy rain, it becomes a dangerous place to be.

Chipola River Flood

WATER IS RISING

The streams up river are swollen and rushing toward the Chipola River to empty its heavy load of rain.  The rising swift muddy water of the river grabs what is not tied down.  Trees  are ripped from their resting place and carried toward the Gulf.  Many homes are flooded unless they were built high on stilts and then some are not high enough.  A deck ripped off of a house was seen floating down river with a picnic table still on top.

The Chipola River crested this time at 28.97 feet which is well below the record of 33.5.  I have lived here since 1997 so I have seen the Chipola rise and fall many times, but when major flooding is on the way I prepare like it was my first because high flooding is nothing to play around with.  In the winter you have to worry about the cold in case they turn your electricity off.  In the summer the worry is snakes running for high ground.  (The only kind I worry about are the poisonous snakes)   Of course, a lot of the roads are closed and some can only travel by boat.

Road Closed

Road Closed To All Cars

 

Chipola Flood

Above the Chipola River

May 26

Worm Gruntin in Sopchoppy

If you like to go fresh water fishing you have got to learn how to grunt for worms. It works!  Some people like gruntin so much they make a living at it.  They spend all year gruntin for worms in the Apalachicola National Forest among snakes, mosquitoes and gnats.  The forest is very lovely and holds a lot of wildlife including the black bear.

 

Sopchoppy is a small town on the edge of the Apalachicola National Forest not too far from the coast.  It is named after the Sopchoppy River which is an Indian name.  The town of Sopchoppy has its “Worm Gruntin Festival” every second Saturday in April.  My husband and I had a booth there selling my my Dad’s jewelry boxes and my jewelry along with my husband’s wood work.

 

Gruntin For Worms

 

Its A Worm

You only need two tools.  A stake to drive into the forest floor and your flat metal bar to make your “gruntin” sound.  And don’t forget your bucket for your worms.

Dec 14

Exploring The Panhandle Pioneer Settlement

"Turkey At The Panhandle Pioneer Settlement"

They call it  the “Good Old Days” when our grandparents lived off the farm, and what they could not grow or make they did without.  When I look at how they lived and hear their stories of times past, it makes me thankful of the age we now live in. 

The Panhandle Pioneer Settlement has demonstrations throughout the year on how things were done in the past such as hog butchering, butter making, blacksmithing, candle making, basket weaving, quilting and more.                                                                                              

 Hog Butchering
Learn how pioneers seasoned, smoked and prepared their food for survival and more. 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, January 15, 2011. (For a fee they will be serving lunch)

I love to go to the Pioneer Settlement with my two nieces.  They get a kick out of play acting which of course gives me lots of photo opportunities.  The old “Shiloh School House” (early 1800 two room structure) got their imagination running wild.

"Stern Teacher"

She is a stern teacher so you had better watch your “P’s” and “Q’s” or you will be in trouble.  I had a couple of  teachers like that when I was growing up.

"In The Corner"

"School Room"

The wall was painted and used as a chalk board.  The boys made sure there was plenty of wood to keep the heater going in the winter.

"Learning To Read"

This is the reading room.  These girls love to read.

" steam Engine"

Here is an old steam engine.  I would hate to keep it fed.  As you can see by the lady standing beside it, it is very large.

"Covered Wagon"

Can you imagine the hardship of taking a journey in this covered wagon?  It would be cold in the winter and hot in the summer. I’m sure the camp fires at night kept families close together.  I’m glad we have the comforts of cars to travel in these days.

I think this is an old grinder.  Can anyone tell me what kind?

"Blacksmith Shop"

The blacksmith shop is very interesting with all the things you can do with a piece of hot iron, hammer,  and an anvil.  The iron has to reach a temperature of 2300 degrees to be able to bend it into a horseshoe.

"Blacksmith"

"Blacksmithing"

My neice would love to try her hand at making a horseshoe.  The Settlement will be giving blacksmith classes  in September and December.  They will be shaping heated iron and steel with hand tools such as hammers, tongs, and chisels on an anvil.  A date has not been set.

"Cobble Shop"

The cobbler shop is where people had their shoes repaired or remade because most could not afford new shoes.  It usually included a small general store.

"Cabin"

Bailey’s log Cabin was built around 1860.  It is a 375 square foot round log  building with deep front and back porches and roof over side steps.

Dec 07

Torreya State Park

If you have an interest in history, you will like Torreya State Park.  There were many battles won and lost.  Steamboats using the Apalachicola River were a common sight and the best way to travel.  You can find lots of information regarding the history of battles online. 

In 1849 Jason Gregory built a cotton plantation at Ocheesee Landing across from the park’s current location.  After the civil war, the house stood empty. Sitting in the flood plain of the river it was flooded many times and was deteriorating.  In 1935 they numbered all the lumber in the house and moved it piece by piece to the park across the river where it stands today.

"Old Picture"

Old Photo of the Gregory House before it was moved.  It sits on the mantel in the house.

"Gregory House"

This is the back of the Gregory house as it stands now in Torreya State Park.

It is a lovely park with a birds eye view of the Apalachicola River.  There are hiking trails that will lead you down to the river.

"Apalachicola River"

They got the name of the Park from a rare tree that grows in the area.

"Torreya Tree"

"Torreya Tree"

"Torreya Tree"

 The “Torreya Tree” is very lovely.

"Torreya House Front Side"

This is the front of the Gregory House which overlooks the river.  It is a large house with very high ceilings.

You can view a lot of interesting antiques inside the house, some are original and some has been donated.

"Old Sewing Machine"

This old sewing machine sews from right to left instead of up and down like they do today.

"Dating Candle"

I’m glad the “Dating Candle” is not used today.  My dates would have been very short.  When a young man comes to visit their daughter they set the candle to the length of time they want the man to stay.  The candle can be adjusted up and down.  When the candle burns down even to the first ring it time for him to leave.

"Old Piano"

An old square piano.

"Ladies Spittoon"

A ladies spittoon, although I don’t think spitting is very lady like.

Torreya State Park is located near Chattahoochee Florida, in the Florida Panhandle.  It is about an hour’s drive west of Tallahassee, Florida and less than two hours from Panama City.

Nov 04

St Marks National Wildlife Refuge

A fun place to explore is the St Marks Lighthouse at the St Marks Wildlife Refuge.  It is located on the Apalachee Bay/St. Marks River in St Marks (Wakulla County) Florida. This beautiful area is home to many animals and birds including alligators, Canadian geese and eagles.

St Marks Light House

Before you get to the lighthouse there is a picnic area on this very pretty little inlet beside the road.  It has live oak trees with their large limbs outstretched with Spanish moss waving in the wind beckoning you to stop so we stopped on the way back  with our sandwiches and chips.  We set the food out and then it happened!  We were attacked by millions of “no-see-ums” that were all teeth.  Needless to say we ate in our cars after we got through slapping and scratching.

Keeper's House

If you like history, you can find 465 years that includes the stay of the first two appointed governors of west Florida, cannon fire, pirates, sunken ships, Indian wars, Friars, executions, invasion forces, and a place that twice served as a temporary seat of government.

St Marks Lighthouse

The tower is 73 feet tall with a focal plane of 82 feet.  The tower is attached to the 1 story duplex/brick keeper’s quarters, constructed in 1843. The station was established in 1831.  The existing tower was first lit in 1842 and is still operational.  It became automated in 1960.   The tower is white with a black lantern.  Its shape is conical.  It presently has a 5th-order lens.  The foundation is made of stone and the tower is made of brick.

Confederate soldiers tried to blow up the tower during the civil war to keep it from serving as a navigational aid for Union forces on the St Mark’s River.  Repairs to a large hole in the side of  the lighthouse were completed at the end of the war and a keeper’s dwelling was attached.

Feeding the birds

There were a lot of hungry birds looking for a hand out.  My daughter put crackers on her grandpa’s hat but they refused it until it was put on the ground.

Birds On Hat

Bird And Hat

The alligator wanted to join in, but I just took his photo and told him it was against the rules.

Croc

Oct 29

Marianna Caverns

When you enter the mouth of the cave its like being in a new world.  At first there was this creepy feeling of being closed up under the earth.  But I got over that in a hurry with all the amazing things to see.  Then with camera in hand I got excited over all the photo opportunities.  Who would of thought all this was under the ground. You go down about 25 feet but it feels deeper than that.

Going Down Into Caverns

The path down can get slippery so wear tennis shoes.  The cavern is about 1600 feet long with quite a few twist and turns.

Neices In The Caverns

My nieces enjoyed the trip down under also.  We had a good guide that explained how the cave formed and what the formations were; such as stalactites, stalagmites, columns, soda straws, flow stones, ribbons and draperies.

Caverns

You can also see fossils like seashells and a sharks tooth in the walls.

Caverns

This bat was posing for its photo.  But I think the creature just want to sleep.

Bat

I have been to the Marianna Caverns in Marianna Florida quite a few times now.  I always find it interesting and continuing to add to my photo collection of the Marianna Caverns.

 

Oct 20

Surprise Roll in the Hay

As I traveled to Georgia last Sunday to visit my daughter and grand-daughter,  I found this roll of hay with a pair of legs poking out on Hwy 27.

Hay Stack With Legs

It was late but I had to get a photo of it.  It looks like some one went to sleep on the job!

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