Same time next winter … Say Goodbye

Sandy & Trooper -2

The street won’t be the same for next six to seven months. The May sun is warming and our winter residents are leaving this part of Florida like cliché “rats leaving the ship.” Well, they’re not rats. Most are very nice dogs and their attendant humans.

Easter is like a giant gong that sounds and points RVs, SUVs, Pick-ups, and just plain cars north on I-75 and I-95. There are going away parties: Mrs. G just came home from one. Trooper, Lucy, Manny, Sparkle, and several more of the members of the Canine Hambone, Chowder and Marching Society are leaving. Sniffing mail-box posts, fireplugs, and palm tree bases just won’t be the same.

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Back home again on old Barrancas

They’re back! The annual gathering of Night Herons and Green Herons have their nests build and we’re waiting for the blessed event. This the sixth straight year the families have returned to perpetuate their species in the mangrove bushes across from our house. We’ve located four Night Heron nests and the Greenies have three this year. Any time a boat goes up or down the canal, the grumbling from the birds about the invasion of their privacy is profound.

The Geezer and I marvel at what these two species put together and call nests. It’s difficult to two see how the birds keep their eggs safely in them. They manage quite well … natures wonders never cease. The Geezer spends time watching these birds and he is amazed at how lightly they land in the flimsy bushes and move around without destroying the small structure of twigs they call home.

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The Geezer says he knows how this night heron feels waiting on the stork

One thing that we witnessed together last year we may never see again. The Geezer kicks himself every time he thinks about what we saw and which he didn’t get proof pictures. I add a paw or two … it was a great missed, once-in-a-lifetime, opportunity. There was a noisy ruckus in some bare limbs right above the canal. A large black racer (snake) was trying to get to one of the nests to rob eggs. It started as a battle between one of the Night Herons and the snake. Peck, strike, peck, strike, peck, strike. Then another Night Heron entered the fray. Peck-peck-strike-peck-peck-strike. Then the most amazing part. A Green Heron got its beak busy. Peck-peck-peck- strike-peck-peck-peck-retreat. Too late, the three parents killed the would-be child killer. Watching two different species partner up to defeat a common enemy is something I never have heard before.

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Madonna and Justin showing off their plumage!

It won’t be long and it will be the cheep-cheep season.

New Neighbors

There goes the new house. We have one in our neighborhood. Mrs. G and I have watched our new neighbors struggle to build their home. When I said “there goes their house,” I meant that literally. We have watched them build it piece by piece. Our new neighbors are a pair of Ospreys who have selected a dead pine tree directly across the street from our house.

The Geezer says our new two birds are intrepid builders. He’s watched them fend off another pair of Osprey and an outsized Bald Eagle that all decided that pine was where they wanted to live. The nest, mom, and dad are shown in the following picture. I mentioned the county noise ordinance, but they don’t pay any attention. They’re better than the morning alarm clock I understand how the “Screamin’ Eagles” got their name.

Osprey

These birds are my alarm clock EVERY morning

 

The Geezer is at the Crowley Museum this weekend.

That’s where he’ll be this weekend. The #Crowley Museum is one of those places that few human folks know about and that lots of human people should. It’s a living photo of history within a two-and-a-half hour drive for those living in communities from Marco Island to Clearwater and into the center of south Florida. I love that kind of place, but unfortunately, I’m on guard duty this weekend. He’s listed by his author name on their program – DL Havlin, instead of his more descriptive title – Geezer.

 

One of the structures at the Crowley Museum

The Crowley is a late 1800’s frontier town that’s been restored to preserve the area’s heritage. It even has some of the cattle breed the Spanish brought with them in the 1500s that was the foundation for Florida’s first important industry, “ranch herding.” One reason I’m not going is all the farm animals. Chasing is irresistible.

The event for this weekend is the Southwest Florida Heritage Festival. There will be all kinds of demonstrations like squeezing sugar cane and making syrup from the juice just like Florida Crackers did using draft animals and wood fires. Other exhibitions include spinning, whip making, bee keeping, noodle making, pioneer cooking and more! Here are a few pictures.

 

Museum Exhibit – Whip that gave birth to the term “Cracker.”

Transportation – 1880’s Florida style. One of a multitude of exhibits (as they were) at the Crowley Museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar Cane Press

A place to think and stink back in the day.

Irma was rough on this wonderful example of Florida history. It has just recently been reopened after the extensive work done to put it back as it was! I highly recommend you stop by and see this fascinating bit of Americana. The Geezer will be presenting two historical talks at the Crowley Learning Center. “The Loyal 14th Colony: Florida in the Revolutionary War” will presented Saturday (2/24) at 11:00 AM. He’ll talk about “Florida: The Forgotten Years – 1865 to 1920” on Sunday (2/25) also at 11:00 AM. Both presentations have power point programs with them and the old boy will stick around to answer questions and chat afterwards. He loves that. The Geezer (DL Havlin) will be there both days open to close. Instructions to get to the Learning Center are available on-line and will be at the event.

The Crowley Museum is located very near Sarasota. Exit I-75 on to Fruitville Road East. Fruitville dead ends into Myakka Road. Turn right.  The road twists and turns for a few miles to 16405 Myakka. That’s about 13 miles from the #210 exit off I-75. It’s on the left side of the road traveling east. There is a website with more info. It’s http://www.crowleyfl.org .  GPS should get you there. Come see him this weekend!

 

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A day at the fair …

Englewood Florida’s “Cracker Fair” was a great event. Heavily attended, its organizers deserve to take a bow.

 

Wow! The event I attended over the weekend gets a five bone award on a five bone scale. It had something that all who attended could enjoy. Woof-woof for the “Lemon Bay Historical Society Cracker Fair.” Everything from demonstrations of pioneer living, to the wildlife that Florida’s early settlers had for neighbors entertained and educated. You couldn’t help but be impressed by the folks who made up the very large crowd. I spoke to men and women from nine different countries. (Count ’em – England, Canada, India, France, Denmark, Germany, Columbia, Switzerland, and South Africa.) Like you’d expect, many canines took their humans to the cultural event. I had a chance to bark with breeds from – Boxers to Yorkies – with Chihuahuas, Bull dogs, German Sheperds, and many others mixed in. Of course, other Goldens were well represented. I distributed my canine cookie recipe to so many, I almost ran out of the cards it’s printed on. Below are some interesting pics from the fair.

 

This hawk checked out the spectators. Old talons was part of the wildlife exhibit.

“Who dat?” The wise old owl asked about an admirer. Wildlife was there courtesy of a wildlife rescue/refuge group. They do great work!

There wasn’t a negative about the fair. The result on the Geezer … that’s another thing. It will take a month for the swelling to go down. He was the featured speaker during the town’s history week at Charlotte/Englewood library a few days before and many people stopped by to tell him they really enjoyed his presentation. (At that point, an air-compressor hose was attached to his cranium) A couple individuals asked him to speak to their organizations. If that wasn’t bad enough, four people who have read his books stopped by to buy more and tell him how much they loved his stuff. That last part, the loved his stuff, was bad! The compressor fired off. Putt, putt, putt, putt……… Next, two placed orders for a book he’s in the process of finishing. Compressor. Faster.  Buttabuttabuttabutta……….. Finally, one person left her name with a standing order for each new book when it comes out. Compressor. Race. Bbbbrrrruuuummmmmmmm………. The old turkey will be hard to live with for a while. If I can find a large pin, I’ll puncture that balloon – that is if I can find a way to shelter from the gush of hot air that will rush out at hurricane force.

The Geezer loves history and the culture of ALL of our past. He believes that choosing to ignore history insures the same mistakes will be relived. Ignoring or “deleting” what’s happened won’t change one thing and only drastically increases the probability of an instant replay.

The Cracker Fair is all about history. Some intrepid re-enactors sweated and sweltered in the Florida sun so the visitors could get the flavor of the times. Below are a couple of gentlemen who were walking, talking history books. They added mystic and ambiance besides answering questions about the time period.

Infantryman Gene, a friendly fellow from the Florida militia, circa 1860s

Here comes the cavalry! An officer from the same period. One neat guy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worse, the Geezer will be speaking at the Helen B. Hoffman Library, located at 501 N Fig Tree Lane, in Plantation, Florida, Monday 2/12 at 10 AM. He’ll be speaking about “The loyal 14th colony: Florida in the Revolutionary War.”

I may need a blimp tender to hold him down after that.

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Sometimes I’m so happy I could just s _ _ t!

“Sometimes I’m so happy I could just s – – t!

I finally was able to get to the computer to write a post! The Geezer has been so busy he’s hogged the keyboard ever since Christmas. The old boy is finishing two books. He’s doing a final edit on one and completing the last chapters on the other.  The months of December through April are Snow Bird season so that means he’s busy on the speaker’s circuit. Most “events” are held during that period because there are up to a third more folks that can attend.

It’s also the season he gets to enjoy seeing his long-lost schoolmates and friends. The old boy really loves that. He’s had three visits in the last four weeks.

You’d think this would give me more, not less, opportunity to blog. Nope. Two things have occurred to keep this from happening. First, because he’s been so busy, he has switched to a lap top and takes it with him. Second, and this one I can’t even complain about, he has been able to take me with him on a lot of events lately. If I complain about that, all the moaning and grousing about being left at home will have been wasted.

My two favorite friends in the neighborhood are away on trips. Manny, the Chichichua is off on a cruise through the Panama canal. It will be a while before he or Sarge comes back. Sarge is my German Shepard friend who is visiting relatives in Colorado for a month of skiing. I can see his humans on skis, but even though Sarge is an athlete that vision is a bit much. That leaves Fifi and Lucy. Fifi is the typical conceded Poodle who knows everything and has done everything better than you and Lucy the Cocker Spaniel owns a mouth that may be the first perpetual motion machine ever invented. It is tough spending time with them. I try, but boredom is better.

Being careful to avoid complaining about all the travelling, I told the Geezer, “Geezer I’m bored. Can’t you find a way to let me get some computer time? I’m tired of doing nothing.”

“Why are you unhappy? Seems to me you have it very good. All you have to do is watch the Osprey’s nest across the street, see the mullet jump in the canal, sleep on your cushions, and ride with me when I go to speak. You like all those things, don’t you?”

“Well, yes.”

The old boy had me boxed in and he knew it. “So, you should be happy, right?”

“Right.”

“Good.”

You know, sometimes I’m so happy I could just s _ _ t!

 

Note: Come see the Geezer and me at Pioneer Park in Englewood, Florida tomorrow. He’ll be there all day.

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