Tag Archive | wildlife

It started with…I got to get out of here!

Someplace away, serene, peaceful and all alone

It all started with a shared scream, “I got to get out of here!” COVID-19 has turned the world’s human population into the same class of sheltering animals as earthworms and moles. The Chinese Crud, the more accurate, but less politically correct title for the plague afflicting the world, keeps humans playing hide-and-seek. The Geezer and Mrs. G had enough of the same four walls. In unison, they announced their attentions. The question was where to go and be safe. My keen canine intellect knew just the place! Amity cabin. It’s the perfect place to travel to and be more isolated than at home. I’ll explain.

The little cabin in the Mississippi woods. It is located on a 40 acre lake in the middle of 400 acres with only the owners home to share it.

The Geezer loves to fish. He has tarpon and snook in the canal behind our Florida home. But, he loves to catch bluegills, crappies, and bass just as much. We visited this fishing and hunting paradise a couple of years ago when we made a pilgrimage to Mrs. G’s birthplace in Laurel. That’s in Jones County Mississippi, the site of the recent Mathew McConaughey movie, “The Free State of Jones.” The whole family fell in love with Amity, but it was I that remembered its beauty and haunting serenity. Mark one up for canine superiority. We drove straight through, 12 hours, to minimize exposure to the virus. Below are some of the pictures of our weeks stay.

What we came for: A bunch of 8 inch bluegill for a tasty supper. They’re loads of fun when caught on a light flyrod and a rubber spider. Caught tons of these we returned to Lake Fredrick.

 

Follow tracks like these…

Tracks like these…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The unspoiled woods that cover the property are a wildlife lover’s nirvana. We saw many deer, turkeys, pond birds, song birds, etc. Quail? Mrs. G whistled up Bob White and I thought we were in an outtake from Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” The track below was made by a big bruiser!

Big ol’ Buck tracks

Mrs. G loves all the flowers. Her particular favorite are the Magnolia blossoms that adorn the numerous waxy olive leaved trees. The one below was the size of a bucket.

OH, MAGNOLIA!

When all is said and done, that’s 800 miles and three woof’s later, there’s no place like home.

Me, back in Florida…with all my things!

 

The Geezer will be out and about in a safe manner this weekend. He’ll be speaking at the Authors for Authors, Writers Conference in Melbourne, Florida this Saturday. Registration is open at 8 AM, at the Hilton Rialto. Hope to see you there…from behind my mask.

 

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Escaping the Chinese Crud – Getting away from it all…

Hiding from the Corona Crud – Our “stay in the car” trip

After a while, you just have to get out. That’s what we did! A week ago the Geezer, Mrs. G, and me crawled into the car and headed out. We went to the site of the Geezer’s latest book, “The Grave with Greener Grass.” It certainly put us in a position to observe social distancing and isolation. Kenansville and Lake Marian are in south-central Florida. They are in an area that has escaped the growth much of the state sees. In other words, it hasn’t been spoiled…yet. Geezer said he hadn’t visited the area he used to fish, for thirty years. He was ecstatic observing how little it had changed! As he remarked, “It is wonderful to see there are still places God and nature created that man hasn’t screwed (My word, not his) up.”

The trip was not without its problems. Mrs. G and the Geezer aren’t short-sighted. They realized the need to minimize potty stops. Food and drink intake was severely limited before and during the eight hour trip. Nature doesn’t relent. When you got to go, you got to go. Face masks, gloves, aerosols, none of them leave you with complete peace of mind at the gas station, etc. that becomes a pee stop. Finding open businesses, ones that looked less likely to be infected, and that had facilities available for use, just weren’t plentiful.

Lake Marian – Paradise fishing resort, one very few access points to the lake

Lake Marion’s shoreline is 95% the way nature made it. Gators, snakes, turtles, frogs, otters, herons, cranes, ducks, and other wildlife are the only over population to which its waters are subjected. It is “old school.” Oh yes, there are plenty of bass, specs, and bream swimming around. You can truly “isolate” here.

The Paradise Inn – Lake Marian’s, Ritz Carlton

We visited what would equate to the setting of the main character’s ranch gate in “The Grave with Greener Grass.” The Geezer’s (DL Havlin) novel is the first in a planned six book series featuring redneck light hero, Sly Harrell. A former operative for the DOJ and a defense firm employee where he did industrial espionage, Sly owns the ranch and runs a business the specializes in “finding things.” (Hence “The Finder” series) This is what its entrance looked like.

The ranch gate – the prototype for Sly Harrells property

The trip went well, and my humans began feeling adventurous. They decided to take the unmitigated risk of eating at an actual restaurant! (TIC) They stopped in the wonderful little town of Frostproof. The old main street is a photographer’s delight…it is like stepping through a time portal into the 1930’s. Located on “the scenic highway” in that quaint little city is the Egg Works, a place the Geezer loves to eat lunches and breakfasts. It was opened…he couldn’t resist the stop…and Mrs. G had to go. Try the Philly Cheese Steak! It is outstanding.

One of the Geezer’s favorite places for breakfast or lunch!

“After the ball is over” – The Egg Works after hours…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Grave with Greener Grass” is hot off the Geezer’s keyboard and was just turned over to his literary agent in the last two weeks. It’s a mystery/suspense novel with a lot to please reader’s who like to think. I’ll let you all know who the publisher will be and when it will be available. That is as soon as I know!     WOOF!  WOOF!

 

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Remembering —-

Me with my mom, Breeze, and my brothers

Being sequestered in the house has given me time to remember. Memories are great things. They’re one of the few things that can’t be taken from us. I want to share a few of these with all of you in the form of pictures. They are snapshots from my mind. I hope you enjoy them.

Chating with my sister Gracie on a visit to her home in Jacksonville.

Watching the last space shot leave the Cape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 In the photo above. Gracie is my half sister – we shared the same mother. She owned a couple of humans in the Jacksonville area. We loved to play together. The picture was taken in a park on the St. Johns. Every time I see the shot of the space shuttle it saddens me. Why was moronic decision made to scrap our space program? We don’t have to move backwards for the rest of the world to go forward. Horrible decisions made by past politicians sent away our space program and our manufacturing. The Chinese/Corona crud has highlighted how idiotic these actions were.

Sunrise over the Atlantic

Some things are hard to picture in words. A sunrise like the one above and a sunset like the one below fall into that category.

Sunsets are mind quieters, particularly one as beautiful as this.

There are those experiences that always stay with us. The pictures below are reminders of two memorable ones that I’ve experienced.

 

Ain’t I boootiful — chomp, chomp? – Gators like dogs but not in a good way!

The Night Herons raise a new generation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing memories with others! Isn’t that a great part of life? Some of my friends and my human’s friends are included in the photos below. They are the good times. Remember some of yours while you see some of mine.

Linda and Larry

Chet “Coach” – left, the Geezer – middle, Betty Ann – Right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More friends and more friends and more friends and more friends and more friends and more friends and more friends and more friends and more friends.

My friend for 13 years, Oreo.

 

The Geezer at a Book Club with good friend Babs (left front).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope these pics helped you remember your own good times and good people.

 

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A visit from Freddie the Dolphin!!! (Up close & personal)

Somethings were just meant to be shared. What follows is one of them. The Geezer’s daughter and his grands were down to fish. Yes, they braved the summer heat, rain and insects to take  some fishing trips that the Geezer is famous for — fifty fish or more. Since most of the game fish are in a closed season caused by last year’s redtide, fishing was catch and release. The Geezer looked for and found ladyfish, they provided fast action and spectacular fights.

During our trip we were visited by the Charlotte Harbor Dolphins. The pics and video is of their entertaining antics. The Geezer christened one of them “Freddie the Free-loader.” He said it was the name of a clown played by a Red Skeleton. Of course, I didn’t believe that until he explained it was the name of a comedian from his stone-age past. See the film and pictures below.

 

Hi, I’m Freddie the free-loader!

 

There is such a thing as a free lunch!

 

Lori with a lady – The Geezer’s daughter remains beautiful.

Checking out Freddie and friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are you waiting for Geezer?

“One of these.” Good fish but no lunch for the Geezer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Grand Branden” with a catch.

“Grand Bradley” with a wiggler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Feed me, feed me, feed me, feed me, oh yeah!”

 

I hope you enjoy viewing these as much as I did seeing them!

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To learn more about the Geezer and his books and speaking schedule, visit his web page at http://www.dlhavlin.com  or his blog at    http://www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com .  His new book, Escaping Skeletons, is a must read for history buffs and mystery/suspense enthusiasts.

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A Sad Day …

This was a rookery for night herons and other birds — now its an ugly scar.

I saw my humans cry today. That’s a rare sight. They are upbeat people. However, I understand them and cry too. Last night it was a wildlife haven. Now! What had been a little piece of natures beauty, is now a barren patch of dirt.

For thirty-eight years the mangroves across the canal from the Geezer’s home were a refuge. For nesting birds. For feeding manatees. For the occasional playing otter. For nosey raccoons. For turtles. For doves, kingfishers, cardinals, red-tailed hawks, green herons, and most especially night herons. Eight nesting pairs. I’ve been privileged to share this living canvas for the last twelve years. It was wonderful.

I heard the Geezer remind himself that there was a time when he destroyed a little piece of paradise. That he couldn’t be over critical of others that did what he had done. But when his meditation ended it was with this final thought…”Why do we humans love everything to death?” 

A bird stays to the last as he watches his nest destroyed.

Pictures in better days!

No caption required

A nesting Night Heron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two juvenile Night Herons just starting to show adult plumage.

Where manatees used to play

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve found another word for progress … shit.

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Our Wet Friends – the Manatees out back

They may be hard to see, but there are six manatees in the pic – can you find them?

Sometime it isn’t necessary to go far to enjoy nature and wildlife. The Geezer and I can sit on the back porch and be treated to a spectacle or two. Manatees have chosen our canal as a safe haven and family hangout. The same animals return year after year. Unfortunately, the way we can identify them are the scars on their backs from boats and prop gashes. It, the canal, also serves as a nursery. We’ve seen tiny (for a seacow) babies only two feet long swimming along side mother.

An example of one our friends with wounds from power boats. Its almost impossible to see her two friends.

The most manatees we’ve ever seen in the canal at one time was fourteen. That’s a whole herd. Most of the time there will be three to five. If you visit us you’d have a 60% chance of seeing some of these peaceful creatures. Below are a few more snapshots.

Momma manatees give birth and are raising calves in our canal.

“Nosing up” to the mangroves to nibble on the leaves.

To paraphrase Oz’s Dorothy, “There is no place like our canal.” The Geezer is shuddering at my infringement on a classic.

PS – If you enjoy my posts, tell a friend.

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Speaking of the Geezer he has a new book out called Escaping Skeletons, a novel about Operation Paperclip, the WWII secret program used to spirit Nazi scientists out of Germany before the Soviets could. He’s also teaching, speaking and signing books several places this month. Check his site http://www.dlhavlin.com for information on his latest books and the link for calendar of events.

 

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I was born to be a travelin’ dog.

I love going in the car………….Riding as my humans act as my chauffeur.

There was a song out many years ago with words that said, “Lord, I was born a traveling man.” That song was written about me…of course, I’m a dog…not a human. There is something about a highway running out in front of the car that captivates me. The panorama changes constantly. It’s unending eye candy. I’ve included some pictures of my recent trip to Mississippi that the Geezer made to do research for a book and to get some R & R time.

The Geezer and Mrs. G sit in the front seat and perform their duties skillfully when I ride with them. The Geezer dutifully turns the wheel and works the pedals while Mrs. G feeds me treats. They even have made it easier for me to get in and out. I now have my own personal entrance and exit ramp. Mrs. G tells me they bought it to save their backs but I know better. It was purchased so I can impress as I exit and enter the car.

The open road calls – “See whats over the next hill or around the next curve.”

there are towns to see

and flowers to sniff

 

 

 

 

 

 

there are friends to visit

and historical places to see

 

 

 

 

 

 

I get excited if I even suspect that we’re off on an adventure. Every time my humans get near the car doors I put my nose up to where the door opens to let them know “I’m ready!” If I hear the magic word, load, I know my dream is coming true.

I guess the thing I love most is that I get to be with the Geezer and Mrs. G rather than staying home to guard the house. When we ride, I get in my favorite position and alternate between resting my head on each of their shoulders.

Traveling position 101

 

Did I hear an engine start?

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I enjoy the country!

Stop to smell the flowers — I love the smell of magnolias in the morning.

One good thing that humans do is taking those occasional breaks to recharge their batteries. The Geezer ground away for ten months as he finished two books and was chairman of a (very successful) writers conference. It kept him at the computer and me away from it. Blame my lack of posting on him.

There is the country…then there is theee countreeee! The Geezer and Mrs. G have found a place in Mississippi that is a little piece of nirvana. Its a cabin on a private 38 acre lake nestled in the middle of a 400 acre farm and forest. The fish are so hungry they stand in line to bite your hook. Deer peeked at us from behind bushes, turkey were on parade and there were so many quail the Geezer ran out of pucker whistling to them. Here are a few pictures —–

The lake – peaceful isn’t it?

Dum – dum making Yum – yum

The Geezer fully engaged in what he does well

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here I am watching the most urban event at “Amity cottage” — The Ant Parade.

Amity Cabin, where doing nothing is an art-form!

Ah! I am refreshed. Now let me think of another post before I go to sleep.

PS — Glad to be back!

 

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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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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