Tag Archive | nature

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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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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Water, water everywhere …… 18″ and still raining!

Water everywhere! This is a picture of Pine Island Elementary School and the road to it. Notice the depth of the water on the Stop and road sign! The entire area is one large lake.

Rain, rain … go away! Come again some other day!

That’s an old saying, but it certainly holds true for a couple of sections in the US today! Those poor people in Houston! We can appreciate what they are going through and we send our sympathy and prayers to them. Here in Bokeelia, on Pine Island, Florida, we’ve gotten a taste of what some of our Texas friends are experiencing. WINK-TV our local CBS affiliate reported we had over 18″ of rain in the last 4 days and we’ve had significant rains since. Water is everywhere! So much so it’s hard for a female canine to find a spot to pee in without having the puddle … ooohhhh, you know!

There’s another reason for Bokeelia to understand the plight of those folks in Rockport, Corpus Christie, and Houston. The last category 4 storm to crash into the US came ashore here and the eye passed over this community. The Geezer went through Charley. What a horrible experience! It took him and Mrs. G two years to really recover and they are still paying for its costs. He posted some pictures of it and some suggestions to help Harvey’s victims on his blog. If you want to see them, click on the link on the left side of this post.

The Geezer had to make a trip out into the storms yesterday to record a radio program. (At WKDW in North Port a trip of around 40 miles) Parts of the trip there and back were better suited to a boat than the car he drove. He took some pics and these are shown below.

Water covering SW Florida pastures. In most places there isn’t a two foot change in elevation for miles. Pity the wildlife that has no where to go!

Water streams across Burnt Store Road, one of the major arteries connecting communities. Water covered highways & streets for miles of his trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People were using canoes and kayaks to get around.

Road pictures. This is Stringfellow Road the main (and only) north/south highway on Pine Island’s 16 mile length.

A “side road” or is that a canal? See if you know where the road is — we didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The picture speaks for itself!

The white and yellow lines were a great driving aid … when the water was shallow enough to see them.

Traveling on the Stringfellow canal. Note that cars were forced to straddle the road’s crown or flood out.

Note! Da coconut, she float. See them … those aren’t ducks.

A palm nursery that won’t need irrigation for a while!

Our neighbors front yard. Luckily we are high enough that 95% of our yard is above water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, we have lots of water … and some problems … but nothing we can’t handle. Do what you can to help those folks on the Texas coast. We’ve been there, done that. THEY NEED HELP. Send your prayers and anything you can spare to them.

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To go or not to go, that’s my question. Not for you … you GO!

 

One of the pioneer houses at the Crowley Museum

One of the pioneer houses at the Crowley Museum

To go or not to go that is the question. Whether to be admired and petted by my many admirers or to risk the hooves and horns of free ranging farm animals … Wow what a question. The Geezer says I can go with him on one of his trips … I always beg him to … now I’m not so sure I’ll go.

The Geezer or DL Havlin as he’s better know, is one of the speakers at the Southwest Florida Heritage Festival at the Crowley Museum this Saturday. He’ll be doing two presentations. One will be “The Loyal 14th Colony: Florida and the Revolutionary War” which he’ll present at 1:30. The other will be on the years from 1865 through 1914. He calls that one, “Florida, the forgotten years,” and his talk will begin at 11:30 for that one.

There will be a large number of fun and educational events held at the Crowley. Don’t miss it! Here is a site that provides more information including directions on how to get there.  http://crowleyfl.org/calendar/heritage-festival/    DL (and maybe me) will be there. There will be all kinds of demonstrations from blacksmithing to pioneer cooking. Live music, too.

Here are more pics taken at Crowley.

An 1800's Cracker Limo

An 1800’s Cracker Limo

"I have nothing to offer you but blood, sweat, and grits" A pioneer kitchen---

“I have nothing to offer you but blood, sweat, and grits” A pioneer kitchen—

What put the CRACK in Cracker -- An exhibit at the Crowley Museum.

What put the CRACK in Cracker — An exhibit at the Crowley Museum.

The Geezer’s latest book has been released. It’s a suspense mystery novel titled The Bait Man. It will be available through your local book stores and on-line in ten days to two weeks.

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They’re too sexy for their feathers … too cute for this picture shoot …

 

Owl in home

Wise young owls … burrowing owls that is. The youngsters don’t quite trust my doggy smile.

 

“I’ll only take a few moments!” – That’s what I yelled at the Geezer so I can send out this quick post. Getting my paws on the keyboard, right now, is like getting any two people to agree on politics. I had to share the pictures of these cuties we saw while taking a ride in the neighboring city of Cape Coral. Burrowing Owls are a protected species and the “Cape” does a good job of doing just that. (Much to the consternation of some home owners and builders) Papa owl is pictured below as he stands guard on his “young-uns.”

The Geezer has been super busy the last few weeks traveling to other states for conferences, historical research for a series of novels, etc. and conducting seminars and speaking locally. He hasn’t done much writing in three weeks and that makes him as grumpy as bear leaving hibernation. This was such a good set of pics I had to get them posted.

 

Owl w-protected sign

Papa owl watching over his family

 

Owl family

The whole fam-damilly – Mom, Dad, and the four kids.

 

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They’re back … and love is in the air!

 

Love is in the air!

Momma manatees give birth and are raising calves in our canal. We have two "toddlers" this year.

Momma manatees give birth and are raising calves in our canal. We have two “toddlers” this year.

Each spring our back yard becomes a nursery/rookery for the manatees and night herons.

Here are a few pics of the returning wildlife. We’re up to eight night heron nests and two extended families of manatees. (Seven in one “herd” and five in the other.) When all twelve are cavorting around our narrow canal we need to install a traffic light. Some weigh well over 500 pounds. In addition two green heron nests are sandwiched in between the night herons.

Nosing up to the mangroves to nibble on the leaves.

Nosing up to the mangroves to nibble on the leaves. Notice #2 up under the bushes?

Here’s a brief film clip of manatees being manatees.

The night herons normally do a good job of hiding their nests so it takes some real concentration to find them camouflaged in the mangroves. We have an exception this year. The pair are real exhibitionists. The Geezer calls them Madonna and Justin. Here are some pics.

Green heron!

Green heron invasion! Sometimes you wish for a camera but…….. A black snake tried to steal this herons eggs, but the whole bird community responded and made Swiss Cheese of Mr. Slithers.

 

Mom and babies - how quickly they grow!

Mom and babies – how quickly they grow!

 

Madonna and Justin showing off their plumage!

Madonna and Justin showing off their plumage!

 

Exhibitionists !!!!!!!!

Exhibitionists !!!!!!!!

 

This green heron looks like he has a hangover in the early morning light.

This green heron looks like he has a hangover in the early morning light.

 

Ain’t love grand?

 

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