April 26th, 2023
Why oh why oh why would Sam be on the phone out there on the trails in a forest instead of just hiking and taking photos and enjoying a beautiful day? Hmmmm? Any thoughts? It is definitely unusual behaviour.
While you mull that question over I will also apologize for two Photo Safari Reports in a row. Also not my usual sort of thing. Generally I only inflict upon you, my loyal and faithful readers, one a week. But this one was a rather different hike and I wanted to be sure I got it all written up before I had forgotten any of the salient details. In fact, I think I will call it A Different Sort of Hike.
The hike started out much the same as every hike with Joy and I choosing a destination, driving there, loading pockets (me) and backbacks (Joy) with all the necessary stuff, then slinging our cameras over our shoulders and our cares far away and hitting the trails with enthusiasm and energy. That part was exactly the same as always.
The first thing that was different this time was that we decided to commit to one and only one trail. Normally we start out that way but then get distracted with interesting things and wander off here, there and everywhere. Nope, this time, we were determined. One trail and one trail only. With that thought in mind we opted for the yellow trail which is a 5 mile commitment. No worries. We can do 5 miles with no problem. Off we went on the yellow trail which is a giant loop. This is what the markers look like. They aren't huge but usually, they are easy enough to spot.
I say usually because one of the things that changed was the landscape itself. Very Different! Right away we found devastation of some sort:
Yikes! What happened here? This isn't leftover hurricane stuff. Normally this area would be so green and lush! More like:
I think that threw us off a little bit. At times it was even hard to determine where the actual trail was as opposed to where it wasn't. However, we saw greener areas ahead and forged on. Eventually, with great relief, we got to the prettier part of the trails and continued on, always staying on the yellow trail. Follow the Yellow Brick Road!
We got lots of insect pictures. And that was different too. A delightful difference:
We saw lots of birds! We saw Birds in the air (for once I was able to track birds in flight! woohoo!):
Birds in the water:
Birds in Trees and bushes (and two on the ground):
Some pretty botanicals too (of the bugless variety):
And two gopher tortoises, one big and one little:
And I'm sure you will agree that after seeing and photographing all of those wonderful things and walking all of those miles which involved many hours, it makes complete sense that we would be getting tired. We were really glad that we were near the end of our hike. Except that, the end of the hike didn't look like the beginning. In general, when you hike a loop, the end looks very much like the start just backwards, which is what we anticipated. But, but, but, it was not. And that was Very Different.
Instead, somehow, mysteriously, we had moved from the yellow trail to the orange trail. Odd. But no big deal, we've been on the very tiny orange trail many times on our way to somewhere else. So down the ravine on one side and up the ravine on the other and we should come out at...where the heck were we? How did we get on the green trail? No matter, we've been on the green trail plenty of times too. We know the green trail. And onward we trudged, for another hour only to find ourselves back at the beginning of the green trail. What? How did this happen?
At this point, I would like to mention that the hurricane last autumn did some real damage to the park and not everything looks exactly the same as it used to. And some of the markers were obscured (or perhaps destroyed?) by fallen trees and brush. Also there are always changes going on, controlled burns, new trails being created, old trails closed for one reason or another. Consequently, many of our usual points or reference simply weren't there. More differences and this time in a bad way. Oh dear.
We were both very dirty, very tired, foot sore and thirsty. We had been hiking for more than 5 hours and 7 miles and we were done. The thing we needed at this point was clear directions to get back. No more circling.
So I did what any normal reasonable person would do. I called for help.
I don't know about any other state parks but in Florida here and there throughout the park are benches. And on each of those benches is a plaque that has the Ranger Assistance Call number on it. And, equally important, a bench number. We were at Bench #13. Which, as it is a low number, seems as if it ought to be close to the beginning, right?
It was wildly embarrassing. We aren't newbie hikers after all. And it wasn't our first time hiking that park or even that trail. I have no idea how we got all ishkabibbled. But the fact of that matter is, that is the fact of the matter. We had no idea how to get back. If we were not so tired, it wouldn't have been such a big deal. We could have just done the trial and error method. You know, keep trying various paths until you finally get the right one. But we were done. In fact, we were over done.
The ranger who answered the phone had every right to call us idiots but refrained. Instead he was very kind, very helpful and gave us clear and relatively easy directions back. I repeated his directions and he confirmed that I understood him correctly. He asked for my name and phone number (don't want anybody lost in the park after dark! That's when the big critters come out to play!) which, of course I happily gave.
Okay. With the directions clear in my head, we set off for what we desperately hoped was the last leg of the trip and this time, with far more confidence, even though our butts were dragging big time. Huzzah Huzzah, it worked. Once we were in the car and on the road, I called the ranger station back to let them know we made it out safely (so they didn't come looking for us) and thanked them in a bigly huge sort of way.
It was quite the adventure! So much for the plan of staying on one trail eh?
Anyway, it's all over and done and we got back safely and I suspect that we won't be hitting those particular trails again for some time. I promise you no more Photo Safari Reports this week and possibly not next week either. We'll take a little break from that.
Hugs all 'round and Peace!
April 24th, 2023
Are you ready for another Photo Safari Report? I hope so because I have one for you. And I'm calling this one, the Last Perfect Weather of the Season Hike. A long title to be sure, but accurate. I do not honestly know if that was the actual literal last perfect weather of the season, but this time of year it starts to get iffy. Mixed in with the very nice days are a few not so nice days. We have occasional rainy days, gloomy days and the worst of the worst, the humidity begins to make a reappearance.
It's not August horrible yet by any stretch of the imagination and the temperatures are not spiking into the high 80's or 90's yet. But as the weeks of April begin to lean toward May and May stretches her little arms out to June the nice days are fewer and the hotter, more humid days increase until suddenly it's July and every single day is hothothot and humidhumidhumid and there is the strong possibility of some sort of precipitation.
This was NONE of those days. It was, as I said, not merely a nice day. It was absolutely perfection. It wasn't too hot or too cold. There was a lovely gentle breeze the entire time. And the fragrance in the air was almost too good to be true. Heaven on a hiking trail. We were gone for many miles and many hours and if it wasn't that we both had other things that needed to be done that day, we would probably have stayed a lot longer.
Also saw some very cool stuff. I nearly called this the Woodpecker hike because we saw so many of them. Mostly we saw Red-Bellied Woodpeckers which is the sort that used to live in our courtyard so I'm sure you are familiar with those.
But to our delight and surprise we also saw a red-headed woodpecker, our first this year. (To be fair I think Joy may have seen one or two when she hikes in other places on her own but it was our first seen in any of our usual hiking spots). Such a pretty little birdie
There were other birds to be sure, lots of crows and vultures and cute little warblers of one sort or another
But the biggest surprise was near the end of our hike. We were very near the entrance when we found our first Bluebird of the season (once again, probably not Joy's first of the season, but definitely mine) Bluebirds make me smile. Probably because of the old fashioned associations that go along with it. You know the one, the Bluebird of Happiness! What a cutie
Enough with the birds already, I can hear you thinking. So okeydokey, we will move on to maybe some pretty botanicals? Sure why not?
We are starting to see more and more butterflies and dragonflies but I haven't quite gotten the hang of capturing them. (They move so fast!) I managed to get one, which was a surprised because it was a very Green Dragonfly who was in a very Green area. So the result was a surprise - a happy one to be sure!
I suppose the rest of the photos are just rando's though as we all know, those are always my favourites. And now that I'm sorting through the rando's, well, it's mostly trees and photos of the trails. So here are mostly photos of trees and trails!
And there you have it. The Last Perfect Weather of the Season Hike. You know, since Joy and are are currently limited in where we can hike, you would think that every time we went out, we would see the exact same things. I admit there is some repetition, after all it's hard to tell one crow from another or one palm tree from another, but I am continually surprised and pleased at how much difference we find from one Photo Safari to another.
I sincerely hope you aren't weary of seeing my Photo Safari Reports because I am absolutely not tired of doing them. :)
April 20th, 2023
What was the name of the night time talk show guy who had the bit on "stupid human tricks"? Maybe David Letterman? I think that was it. It was a clever (and sometimes mind boggling) regular segment. Everyone on this planet has at least one sort of stupid human trick that we can do. Usually the trick - or ability - is a fairly useless but at least mildly interesting and unusual ability like wiggling your ears or quirking one eyebrow independently of the other or being able to touch this tip of your nose with your tongue.
One of my more useless "stupid human tricks" is that I can write and read forwards and backwards. Writing backwards is called Dysgraphia and even though the ability is effortless and natural for me, it has never once in my entire life come in handy except as a parlour trick. Dang.
One of my more useful stupid human tricks used to be Very Handy indeed and it involves maps. (I will reveal the actual "trick" later in the post). For those of you younger than my own children, before the advent of computer micro chips and cell phones and GPS or NAV systems, finding your way somewhere unfamiliar involved a map printed on paper. Shocking, I know! They were available for purchase almost everywhere. Gas stations in particular always had a rack of them. Or a person could buy a huge spiral bound book of maps called an Atlas. Ours were printed by Rand McNally. Funny the things a person remembers :)
Because we travelled a LOT when I was a kid, we had a lot of maps. And they were used and reused and re-re-used until the paper they were printed upon became very soft and apt to tear. We had many a map that had been scotch taped repeatedly but tape when I was a kid wasn't forever. After a relatively short time it would yellow and lose it's stickiness and fall off the paper requiring a re-taping and then a re-re-taping and the times in between the taping meant that we had to be extremely gentle when handling.
They started out small and crisp and tidy in a cleverly folded rectangle:
But when unfolded, opened to the size of the entire table top! Which is rather cumbersome while driving a car. Fully opened it was about the same size as a cars front window! Yikes! So normally, whoever was manning the map - the navigator - would refold the map into a much more manageable size revealing only the immediate section needed.
And then as the journey progress, the map would need to, once again, be refolded showing the new 100 or so miles of the journey. Over and over this would repeat until the original folds of the map were indistinguishable from the newly created folds. My terrific stupid human trick? I am able (still to this day) to refold the map into it's originally intended shape. Holy Cats! Yeah, I know, that doesn't sound like much does it. But I promise you, way back when, that was a skill baby!
It didn't matter how fragile an old many times used map was or how many tears now existed on the edges and within the folds or how many new foldy lines existed, somehow I was always able to recreate it to it's pristine original little package. Taadaa!
You Scoff? Hah! Obviously you never did a cross country trip in the car with my Dad behind the wheel, trying to beat his old time while my mother was singing at the top of her voice and my sister was needing to pee but trying to hold it and the dogs were dashing back and forth from side to side of the car getting nose prints all over the windows and a cat or two was roaming loose and a there was a gold fish in a cool whip container on the floor. I did it and I did it right every single time.
I was almost always the appointed navigator in the car. It was probably mostly due to my stellar map folding abilities but also because of my awesome map reading abilities. I adore reading maps. Calculating the approximate distance from where we were to where we were going by using my finger and the "legend" at the bottom of the page.
There is so much unexpected information on a papermap. The GPS can probably tell you the name of any businesses in the surrounding area but the papermap tell you About those businesses or attractions, restaurants, etc. There is always a list of all of the towns in whatever state your map represents and you can find it easily using the letters across the top and the numbers down the side of the map. Waitsfeld Vermont is at E-8 , so I find the E and the top and the 8 on the side and where they meet, yup she is...Waitsfeld Vermont. Coolio. Works every time.
On the GPS on my phone or the one in the car I see our immediate area, on my big old papermap I see the entire state and all of the rivers and mountains (labeled of course), the big cities and small towns, the highways and byways and dusty dirty roads.
I know which roads are Toll Roads and where the nearest airports are and I even know the general population of every city in the state. I can find rest areas and I know the elevations and which roads are closed in wintertime. Right there are the Ferries to get you across bridgeles areas and state parks and alternate routes and Scenic Attractions Galore!
If I wanted to camp (which is silly because I never want to camp) I can find all of the campground options. If I wanted to contact the Department of Historic Sites, the phone number and website are listed right there on the map. Hunting and Fishing licensing and regulations.....yup that's on the map too.
I especially liked reading the names of towns and streets as we zoomed down the road. Often I would read them out loud just to hear how they sounded. I always looked for the names of people or places that were familiar to me. And in fact, I still do that. We have driven down many a road that was not where we needed to be just because of it's name. Humphreys Drive? You better believe we are going to check that out!
And eventually we would reach our destination and everybody and their dog would pile out of the car and finally I would have the space I needed to spread out that map to it's full size once again and refold it back to the way it started.
Clearly this is not an ability that gets much use these days. But nostalgically, it is somehow still and always connected to my childhood and is therefore of great importance. The ability to refold a papermap. HAH! What a stupid human trick. Or wait. I wonder if that is connected to ability to properly fold a fitted sheet? Hmmmmmm
April 17th, 2023
Normally, at this time on a Monday, Joy and I would be deep into our Photo Safari, happy snapping everything in sight. We would already be dirty and our shoes and socks would be soaked from walking through dew-heavy grasses. (It's a wonder we don't have trench foot!) However, in the rather early not quite light today, we both, in our respective homes, woke up to full orchestration thunder and lightening and pouring rain. Joy texted me first to cancel just ahead of me doing the same. So there goes our Monday morning plans. Time to fall back and regroup.
So today I think I will write up our last Photo Safari instead which was finishing up the Lemon Bay hike we began the week before. If you follow that. I'm not 100 percent certain that I do. At any rate, I am calling this the Lemon Bay Hike Part II because we literally finished what we began the previous week.
As I stated in the last photo safari report last week, the Lemon Bay Hike was one of discovery. Neither of us had even been there before so we had no idea what to expect. Since this was our second visit, it was mostly about finding out what else was there waiting to be discovered. As you can clearly see in the photos below, we 'discovered' a small wooden bridge fairly early in the hike.
And then there was my personal goal. I was determined to find water. Where the heck was the Lemon Bay part of the name? I could see it on the birds eye view map that I looked at on the computer at home. It was right there, about an inch and a half away. But which path should we take to get there? How could we, as hikers in the preserve, manage to find the actual Lemon Bay? A bay is a relatively large body of water which would make it hard to hide, right? We kept thinking we were close, perhaps around the next turn or over the next little rise? But no. This was the ONLY water we saw and it was just a little peek-a-view:
Pretty enough for sure, but dang, what a disappointment to have traversed trail after trail, path after path, over bridges, up (admittedly small) inclines and down into gulleys and then leave having never seen the actual Lemon Bay. Drat.
We did however stumble across a large concrete structure in the middle of nothing out there. It looked like a very strange garage. A discovery to be sure and a rather mysterious one at that.
I managed to capture more insects than usual so that was a nice treat. There was one doggone dragonfly that I absolutely could not get a clear shot of. The wind was blowing just enough that the blade of grass he was desperately hanging onto kept swaying, first one way, then the other. I'll include the best blurry shot of that for absolutely no good reason at all:
I don't know if you recall or not, but at the previous trip to Lemon Bay, we found a tree with not one, but two eagles in it! And they were up close and personal which was very cool. This time we saw only one of the eagles. No idea where the other one was.
Naturally I captured some pretty botanicals. I love everything out there and try very hard to get pictures of the best stuff, but let's face it, things that don't move are my photography jam:
What else did we discover: Let's see, there were a lot of gorgeous paths and some very interesting trees:
A few other things that don't fit any other category really, so here you go, have some rando's:
So that's about it. I think I've pretty well catalogued all of our discoveries now from the Lemon Bay Preserve (Parts I and II) hike. We had a great time, as we always do, but I think we about covered it and probably do not need to return there for awhile.
Since we weren't able to hike today, I'm not positive when we will be getting back out there, but for sure, we will at some point. And then, of course, I will write about it, so stay tuned!
Hugs all 'round
April 13th, 2023
There an old Gene Autry song, "Back in the Saddle Again" which most of you probably never heard. (Who the heck is Gene Autry?) Never mind, I remember the song, and that was the song that came to mind when I got the email from my boss at the museum asking if I thought I was ready to return.
My answer was a rather tentative yes. In my heart I was ready to get back to it but I wasn't sure if my brain was up to the task. After all, it had been .................. awhile. This would actually be my second return. January 10th was the original date of the Great Museum Redux. After being gone nearly an entire year on a series of medical leaves of absence, on that sunny Tuesday early in 2023, with both excitement and anxiety, I stepped back into the museum to see what had changed, what hadn't and how much I remembered.
As it turned out, I did fine. I remembered most everything I needed to, learned quickly anything I had forgotten and the things that were new and I was delighted to be back at it. My boss got me integrated back into the schedule and things were looking good. The very next day, January 11th, is when I tripped and fell and broke my arm in two places and was back out for another three months. Dang.
So this was my triumphant re-return. I surprised myself by remembering my password to get into the computer (upon my previous return, I did not - that was a whole thing). I remembered all of the names, dates and history of this'n'that and most of the processes and protocols. I definitely lost my "touch" with the various quirky video players and needed help getting those turned on. (dang!) but I'm sure it will all come back to me eventually. On the other hand, I was pleased to see that I hadn't lost my touch with our guests. Without giving it a seconds thought, I stepped right back into that role, greeting, touring, guiding, answering questions and doing all the things a good docent does. Kind of an organic thing I suppose.
The thing I had forgotten, however, was how exhausting it is to be "on" like that for hours at a time. My goodness! Once I got home, I wanted nothing more than silence and a nap. Not water, not food, just quiet and a little snooze. I guess it takes more energy and effort that I realized to be a good host. And that's sort of what a docent is. Or at least it's part of the role.
Hostess, teacher, bouncer, security, fundraiser, housekeeper, secretary, librarian, information desk and retail clerk are only a fraction of what the job entails but I like it. It suits me. And I am very happy to be back in that particular saddle, once again.
On the other hand, the same week, I got very brave and for the first time in a long time, got back into another, different, saddle; the wheel of my car. Yikes. Turns out that I do not like driving any more than I did before. And perhaps a little less. It was such a strange sensation to be in the drivers seat again after so long (nearly a year!).
First of all I had to really gear myself up for it. " You can do this!" I told my reflection in the mirror very firmly. Second of all, I had to remember how to readjust the seat and mirrors. Honestly took me a few minutes and I never did get the drivers seat in the exact right spot which means that I had to sit up Very Straight and Tall to see properly (I had forgotten that there is a button to raise the seat vertically rather than just forward and back - oops) And I never did figure out how to turn on the water sprayer to clean the front window. Oh well.
Then, horror or all horrors, I had to back out of the driveway! Holy Cats. My heart was pounding the entire time. Please don't let there be anyone behind me that I don't see! (there wasn't) And then of course, I had completely lost my touch (that word once again) for the correctly applying the right amount of pressure to the brake pedal and found myself ever so grateful for the invention of seatbelts! I felt like an inexperienced, brand new, first time driver once again. Terrifying.
But somehow, I - very slowly - crept down the street (luckily the speed limit is very low on the island so it didn't bother anyone but the folks who drive too fast anyway) and made it all the way to the grocery store which is all of a mile away. Geez Sam! I had barely begun to achieve some level of comfort behind the wheel when I arrived at my destination with weak knees and my heart pounding. It took two tries to lock the doors when I got out of the car (Pushed the wrong button on the key fob the first time) But the fact of the matter is that I did it. Yay me. I took a deep breath, did my shopping, loaded up the car and after taking a few more deep breaths, made the return trip home safe and sound.
And I haven't driven since. But then I don't need to. Most of the time, other than grocery shopping, I can do everything the way I prefer to do it, on foot. But at least now I know that if absolutely necessary, if it is sadly essential, yes, I do remember how to drive a car. That particular saddle, I have returned to reluctantly.
The museum saddle is buckled onto a beautiful, well trained horse that is a pleasure to ride. The car saddle is strapped onto a recalcitrant old mule that bites.
But I guess the point here is that I am now officially returned to as "normal" as I ever get and that is a nice place to be.
April 10th, 2023
I gotta tell you, when Joy and I found out about this place, The South Venice Lemon Bay Preserve, we were dumbfounded. This place is only about 15 - 20 minutes over the bridge and down the road and yet, I never heard of it before. Neither had Joy. What???
We kind of just stumbled across the knowledge that it existed at all! So many of our usual hiking spots are currently closed for one reason or another and we were looking for somewhere different to go, so out of desperation, I resorted to Professor Google, the keeper of all information. I jumped on my phone and typed in, "preserves near me". A long list popped up, all places we already knew about and, as I said, many of which are not open at the moment. There was a lot of repeat info too. I think I read the name Carlton Preserve at least a half dozen times, and suddenly, this Lemon Bay name pops up. What?
I did a super quickie online look and, yup, it was an actual preserve, in Venice, and, most importantly, currently open. YAY! So on our last sojourn, we decided to check it out. What the heck, why not? If it turns out to be a bummer of a hike, we simply won't go there again. At the very least we will know about it. Knowledge is power after all.
This Photo Safari will naturally be the Lemon Bay Hike. We set out, not quite as early as usual since it was so close by. I set up the nav on my phone to direct us there and we found ourselves meandering through street after street of residences! What? Are you messing with me google directions??
Nope, suddenly, at the very end of, yet another residential road, there it was. We started out very excited at the prospect of discovery! It's not exactly the same as being the first man on the moon of course, but it was our first steps on these trails and we were ready to rock and roll. Or rather, we were ready to walk and look and take pictures!
First things seen? Some gorgeous spider webby things. Dew drops and spider webs and flowers and wow. Hard to find things prettier first thing in the morning.
And make no mistake, even though we were probably a half hour later than usual departure time, it was still early enough to get that absolutely beautiful early morning light:
We heard rumors that there were eagles in this preserve but of course had no idea if it was true and if it was where they nested. It was a big enough place that we might have wandered aimlessly without finding them for a long time. Instead, Joy asked the first person who walked past us. And to our great good fortune, she knew exactly where they were. Of course it isn't as if trails had street signs so we weren't absolutely certain if we were on the right track until Joy whispered to me, "look up" and there they were. Two of them, both at the top of a giant pine tree, one on a branch above the other.
Usually in preserves and parks, when there are protected creatures such as these, there are barriers blocking access and if we manage to see them at all, it's only through the magic of telephoto lenses. But this time they were literally in the tree right in front of us. Wow! Wow! Wow!
We starred at them and they starred back at us. Seriously, they turned and looked directly at us a number of times. Perhaps it's that stern sort of look that they have, but it made me uncomfortable and as if we ought to take our leave. And so we moved on. But still WOW!
We saw other birds, loads of cardinals:
Some lovely botanicals, so many beauties: (it smelled so goooood)
And the ever popular, Rando File:
We covered only the tiniest corner of this new to us preserve so we will absolutely return, probably very soon, to see what other wonders it has in store for us!
Thanks for coming along for the Lemon Bay Hike
April 06th, 2023
The above is a photo of our city hall. It's not a stock photo that I snagged free online, it's the real deal. I've been inside to the information desk many times for many different reasons. Tim has spent a lot of time this past year in the building permits department both scheduling inspectors and asking questions and all sorts of construction related stuff.
But I think the bulk of the time I have spent in this building is at various City Hall Meetings, usually just as an audience member, learning new stuff. I love learning new stuff and when it's about the place we live, yes, I absolutely want to be, "in the know" as they say. But I have also been a speaker at some of these meetings. No, seriously, I have!
Our government is "of the people, by the people, for the people," right? Well, heck, I'm people! That makes me part of the government in a way. Cool.
I was there recently as one of many speakers because I had a thing or two to say. I love that we, the residents of this city, have a time and place provided to say what's on our minds, to express any concerns that we have, to our City Officials.
Nobody is required to attend these meetings, nor are they required to speak at them. We could all just keep going along, accepting everything as given and then grouse about it privately. But I prefer to speak. Especially since there is a system in place to do so.
It is a little intimidating the first time. To say otherwise would not only be silly but an outright lie and of the many things that I am, a liar is not one of them. But this time, I signed right up to speak as soon as I entered the room, then I found a comfy seat. When my name was called, I stepped up to the microphone with no hesitation. I thanked the City Council, straight off, for allowing me the opportunity to speak. Then I said my piece. When I was finished (ahead of the time allowed by the way) I thanked them, and resumed my seat. No heart palpitations, no stuttering, no sweating, just said what I needed to say and moved on. They thanked me, by the way. They are very polite :)
The matter at hand, the concern I should say, for the residents of our street, is that during season (which is now) there is a great deal of traffic on our road, most of it far too fast and most of them blowing through stop signs as if they didn't exist and, because they are rubbernecking the pretty views, often driving erratically. All of this makes for a dangerous road. Dangerous for everyone, but especially for pedestrians as we have no sidewalks. We don't even have shoulders to to road. We just carefully walk down the street and when cars come by, we step up onto lawns or driveways whenever possible. It's not ideal.
Long time readers of my blog might recall that way way back in 2017 a group of Bayshore Dr folks (that's the name of our road) attended a similar meeting with a similar request. And that's where the stop signs came from. The City Council meant well. It was a kindly intended solution. But sadly, it only works if people obey the stop signs. And mostly, they do not.
After the meeting was over and I was back home doing housey stuff, I got to thinking, and as is my fashion, over thinking, and wondering if I sounded like an idiot up there. Did I speak clearly? Did I talk too fast (I do tend to do that) Did I mumble? And what did I look like? Did I make strange faces? Did I make eye contact? Did I gesture wildly? It's not just what you say, after all, it's also how you say it!
Then I remembered that our city records the meetings! AHA! So I went online and looked it up, found it and watched/listened to the entire meeting. Turns out that I spoke clearly 90% of the time, made my points fairly concisely but was a little twitchy. Dang. Oh well, I have always been an animated speaker. Read that as "talks with her hands" BUT I was making a concentrated effort to not flail about as I spoke. I absolutely did not flail. I did twitch a bit though. yikes. Gotta work on that.
Still the message was sent out and my words were apparently good enough that I was quoted (along with the other speakers of course!), multiple times, in a newspaper article (front page! below the fold) the next day. Okay. Not bad.
I have no idea if what we have said has made a big enough impression or not. Time will tell. I know nothing will happen this year. The budget has already been established. But maybe in the near future? Perhaps? Who knows?
It's not like Santa Claus where you ask the jolly red fellow for a Malibu Barbie and one shows up under the tree for you after all. But sometimes, what we've said makes enough sense to enough people, that an effort will be made to help resolve the situation. And in the meantime, I did my part.
It's a pretty good system.
At one time, long ago and far away, my dad was the Mayor of his City. He did a great job and maybe lit the little spark that helps me shine now and again, when I feel like I have something that needs to, not only be said, but also be heard. Just so you know, I felt heard.
If for some inexplicable reason, you wish to watch me talk and twitch at this meeting the link is here. My big mouth starts yapping at the 20:44 mark.
City Council on 2023-03-28 9:00 AM
April 03rd, 2023
Thursday, Joy and I headed out on Photo Safari to a small local preserve called, Curry Creek Preserve. I had just read an article in the newspaper about how several area preserves have recently acquired additional land and Curry Creek was one of them. We were excited to see this new part of the preserve.
As it turns out, while the article was correct, it will be awhile before we can actually walk trails in the additions, darn it. But I suppose that's something else to look forward to somewhere else down the line. Consequently, we expected to see the same sorts of perfectly lovely things that we always see there. Not exciting but absolutely fine. Good thing we didn't bet on it, because we would have lost!
The birdie above it called a Swallow Tail Kite. They spend fall and winter in South America somewhere and then, along about March, they come to Florida to build their nests and start their families. Joy and I saw our first Kites are few years back and honestly, we weren't absolutely certain at first what we even saw. We just knew what it wasn't. It wasn't an Eagle and it wasn't a Hawk or an Osprey though it was clearly a large predator bird. We talked it over and thought...maybe a Kite? We had heard about them, but had never seen one. We later confirmed with the experts that our guess - Kite - was correct (and then we cheered that we had seen new to us bird and had identified it correctly). Yay us!
And then we didn't see another one for quite some time.
We had never seen one at Curry Creek. Until last Thursday. And wow! Not just the Kite, but the kite in a nest! Whoa! And then we topped that excitement by seeing the male Kite bringing more nesting material and delivering it! Seriously, if you look closely, you can see Spanish Moss in his talons. It was so very cool.
I suspect that one of the reasons we rarely see Kites is that they are so very quiet. Osprey and Hawks are such noisy birds. They are always screaming about one thing or another. Kites, on the other hand, are silent. I've never heard a single sound out of them. Also they are always up very high, either flying or perched in the tops of trees. I tend to look either at the ground (so I don't trip over anything) or I'm scanning at relative eye level all around us.
It was really exciting to see something new to us :) Which means this Photo Safari will be called the Kite Hike in their honour.
The rest of the hike, while absolutely wonderful, bordered on ordinary. I will share some of of the other bird photos I got:
Some pretty flowers, always :
A few rando's wouldn't go amiss right about now:
But without question, the stars of this particular show was the Kites. I know, I know, I'm starting to sound like my hobby is birds! My hobby is not birds. My hobby is hiking and taking pictures. But it's extra fun when the subject of the photographs taken while hiking, are of something unusual.
Hope you enjoyed the Kites Hike and shared at least a little of our excitement!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.