Sunrise in the Florida Keys

Sunrise in the Florida Keys

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sleep in and Miss This?

 

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, Okeechobee, Florida  (high 71, low 38)

Our run of hot weather is over (thank goodness).  We’ve had afternoon temperatures in the mid 80’s for the past few days, and that makes it a bit too warm for afternoon hikes. 

A cold front came through last night, bringing a little rain, and now we’re going to get back to high temps in the 70’s.  Much better!  Of course it’s also going to bring in some cold night time temps, so we’ll have to have a little heat at night.

Our pattern while on the prairie always  start out with us getting in the truck before sunrise and driving the main road in search of wildlife.

We always see deer.  In fact we saw some sleeping yesterday right in the campground.   No pictures since it was pretty dark.

We love watching the sun rise over the prairie.  Some mornings are better than others.  This one was one of the best.

The full moon is waning, but still very pretty.

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If you sleep in, you miss this!

 

sunrise over prairie

After the sun rose, we went on to discover a few more interesting things.

These deer were huge and probably the biggest deer we’ve seen in Florida.  It was a bit foggy, so the picture wasn’t great.

two deer on prairie

The Eastern Meadowlark really are active in the mornings.  There were a lot of them out nearby the road, and each one singing.  It’s quite lovely with the early morning sun and hearing  many, many  Meadowlark, all  singing their own little song. 

Eastern Meadowlark

Here is the infamous Ms. Hawk waiting in the exact same place for her man!   She seems to know me and doesn’t even bother to fly away.

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A turkey vulture posing nicely.

Turkey Vulture

After our morning sunrise drives, we usually take a morning hike on the prairie.

Lots of pretty flowers.

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The past two nights we’ve had happy hour with fellow bloggers Tricia and Dan from Down the Road with T & D.  They are staying here for a few days before heading over to Jonathan Dickenson State Park.

It was nice to get to know you two!   See you down the road.

Dan and Tricia 

Our two weeks here are going by much too quickly.  We both love it here and will hate to leave……except that we have a trip to the Keys to look forward to!

 

and to borrow a phrase from Judy.

 

The end.

 

rabbit leaving

Tricia and Dan just stopped to say good-bye on their way out and said they saw the missile launch.  Cape Canaveral is not that far and with the dark prairie skies, it was very visible.  Bummer…we missed it.  They said it was incredible!   Oh, well.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Holy Humping Hawks!

 

 Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park  (high 80, low 54)

I am hoping I have resolved my 403 error with Google and this will post.

The weather has been perfect, and I hope it holds out because we have a lot to do before we leave.

The only problem we’ve had is that the days are too short, and we run out of day before we run out of things to do.  It’s so much nicer when the days are longer.

We’ve had some wonderful happy hours by the campfire, with a beautiful full moon.

This shot was taken through some tree branches and made the moon look kind of different, don’t you think?

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Every morning, at the crack of 6:00 ish, we were up and on the road for a drive along the 5 mile campground trail. It’s still dark but the beautiful full moon lights the way. This road is a great place to see wildlife and we always see something interesting.  We always take another drive just before sunset.

During the day, we do hikes.  There are miles and miles, and miles of trails.  Two women that are camping nearby, got lost on horseback the other day.

Before daylight, we see lots of deer and rabbits and we think we saw a bobcat one morning.   I didn’t get a picture before it scooted across the road and into the prairie.

The full moon soon gives way to a foggy sunrise.

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As the sun came up, the fog burned off and it was the beginning of another beautiful sunny day on the prairie.

We saw a flock of White Ibis.

flying Ibis

Along the road we saw this Red Shouldered Hawk perching on a fence post.  I almost didn’t bother to stop for a photo because she didn’t really  look that pretty and I’ve seen SO many hawks on this prairie.

But…the good little photographer in me wouldn’t let me stop without a picture, and boy was I glad I did.

Red Shouldered Hawk on Prairie

While I had my eye in the viewfinder taking pictures of her,  Al said another hawk flew right beside me.

He landed right on top of Ms. Hawk.

mating Red Shouldered Hawk on Prairie

I was already focused on the female hawk so getting some action shots was easy.  Holy humping hawks!

mating Red Shouldered Hawk on Prairie

They fooled around a little, the male flew off and then the female followed him.  We decided not to follow as I don’t think think they had finished.  :)

It’s definitely mating season in Florida. We think the Caracara are also building  nests, and we believe we have discovered where one of them is.

I’m going to keep this short to see if it will post.  Between my 403 error and slow internet, it’s been a challenge.

Monday, January 28, 2013

403 ERROR

 

I got the dreaded 403 error when trying to publish the blog on Live Writer.

It took me a while to remember the error is due to running out of storage on Google.  I then remembered an e-mail I got recently from Google.  I need to let them know what I want to do on my account, but my internet here is so slow that it’s just too frustrating to deal with.

I am not sure this blog will post even without any pictures.  Let’s see if I can post a blog without pictures.

I guess I won’t be posting any more blogs from the prairie.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Day on the Prairie

 

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

We hit the ground running as soon as we got here and haven’t stopped since.

We’ve been done a lot of hiking since the weather is now cool enough.  The last time we were here was June and it was hot and humid.

We’ve seen a lot of wildlife.

I haven’t had time to identify this guy.  I’ve seen this bird before but darned if I can remember what he is.

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We had to search a while but we finally spotted a Crested Caracara.  This one of my favorite birds.

It was windy and he was having a bad hair day.

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We spotted this large flock of birds.  Haven’t had time to identify them either.  Any ideas?

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We sat outside last night, had happy hour by a campfire and watched the sunset.

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The moon was full.

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This morning we went on a swamp buggy tour of the prairie.  This time it was given by one of the park volunteers.  He was very knowledgeable and did a good job.  It cost $17 per person for a 2 1/2 hour trip.

 

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The last time we were here we got to do the tour with the park biologist and we were searching Swallow Tailed Kite nests.

We didn’t see as much wildlife as we had hoped, but it was a great chance to cover a lot of ground in the prairie.

Some of the prairie is wet.

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and some of it is dry.

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More pictures later. We have internet service, but just barely.  It’s a little slow posting with too many pictures and I’ve probably already exceeded my limit.

Friday, January 25, 2013

This Was a Bad Idea

 

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park (high 75, low 50)

 

We didn’t get a very early start yesterday leaving Tampa.  We had been sitting in the same location for about 6 weeks, so we had really settled in.  It took a while to remember how to get ready to get on the road, and of course we had to wait for Baxter to do his morning business and poop out a rubber band!

We planned to top off our propane tank on the way out.  We wanted to be sure we had plenty of propane if it should be cold enough that we’d need to run our furnace.  We never quite believe the gauges telling us how empty or full the tank is and I don’t think we ever even checked the gauge.

Quail Run has a gated entrance where you have a garage door style clicker to open the gate.

They have a propane refill station right outside the entrance gate, but it’s on the wrong side….unless you go out the in gate.  There is a big oak tree that makes it difficult to exit the correct side and move left to the fill station.

We spoke to a lady at the office and asked if we could exit the entrance side.  She said ok but to let us know so that they could have someone to help us so that no one tried to enter the park when we were there.  After we hooked up, we called her and told her we were coming. Long story short, the automatic gate started closing before the motor home had gotten through.  I was standing outside and got the pleasure of watching the gate close into the side of the MH.  Ugh!!  I grabbed it trying to pull it away before it banged against it again.  About that time one of the owners came by and opened it again. 

This was not a good plan.

Fortunately, the gate hit the trim piece on the side that acts like body side molding on a car.  It left some white paint on that piece, but it didn’t do any other damage.  We may be able to rub it out.   All that trouble to find out we only needed 1.4 gallons!  

 

The rest of our 150 mile drive to Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park was uneventful.

I guess we got lucky, because the 5 mile campground road was nice and smooth.  Sherry and David had mentioned that it was in terrible shape when they were here a few weeks ago.  As it turned out, one of the camp hosts just re did it on Wednesday! 

We were here last June, and chose the same site.  It took our satellite dish a little while to lock on and for a while we didn’t think we would have satellite. It finally locked on and we have satellite, and even internet,  although it’s only 1x.  Other than being out of level, we’re good.  We’ll work on that today.

We couldn’t wait to get outside and explore, so we took a walk on a trail by the campground.

It didn’t take long until we started seeing wildlife, although so far not as much as we did in June.

This Red Shouldered Hawk seemed to want his picture taken as he kept flying right in front of us and landing.

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I believe this next bird is an American Kestrel.  He was high up in the top of a tree and I had some trouble holding the camera still enough to zoom in enough.

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We saw quite a few deer.

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and of course, an alligator.

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I believe this bird is a Savannah Sparrow.  Maybe Judy can verify.

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Here in the prairie we have found the best place to see wildlife is along the 5 mile campground trail.   Last night right before sunset, we took a drive up the road in search of wildlife.  We saw some strange bird we couldn’t identify and some rabbits, but not much else.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

And We Have Lift-Off

 

We’re on the road to Kissimmee Prairie, but our day has not been without a bit of stress.  More on that later.

The big news is that Mr. Bax no longer has a rubber band inside him.  Don’t ask me how I know.  :)   

No, I do not have pictures either!

See ya on the prairie!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rubber Band Man

 

Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 70, low 40)

We’re supposed to be on the road to Kissimmee Prairie State Park, but we’re a bit uncomfortable leaving until Mr. Baxter “eliminates” his rubber band.

We’ve been watching him closely, feeding him lots of spinach, kale and chard…and hoping for the best.  No success yet!  We have about decided to hang out here one (hopefully) more day and see what happens.  I’m going to pick up some pumpkin today and see if that helps.  I had forgotten about that.  Hopefully since he’s such a big cat, (we’re up to 15 pounds now) the rubber band will pass easily through his system.  Bad Baxter!

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The good news is that we have one more day to go to the gym.  This new gym is wonderful and we have really enjoyed our membership.  I love the fact that the aerobic machines all have a TV screen.  You can watch TV, listen to music, play games, or surf the internet all while you’re working out. There is a jack where you plug in your own ear piece.  It sure makes the time pass quicker and I find I stay on the machine longer.  I usually find two TV shows to watch. When there is a commercial on one, I switch to the other.  What normally happens is, I have to exercise until the programs are over.  I watched one the other day about lottery winners. That was interesting seeing how much their lives had changed.   Of course the best part of the gym experience is the heated therapy pool!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Joys of Cat Ownership

 

Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 71, low 39)

We’ve been busy trying to stock up on food and necessities for our trip to Kissimmee Prairie State Park. The nearest grocery store at the prairie is 30 boring miles away, so we’re trying not to forget anything important, like kitty food, beer, vodka, beans, or spinach.  Normally we don’t worry because there is always a grocery store nearby.

We’ve been sitting here nearly 6 weeks, so of course we’re well settled and have that much more to do to get ready for our trip tomorrow.

It would be helpful if we didn’t wait until the last minute to do things, but we never seem to learn.

Al is currently up on the roof lubricating the Winegard Satellite dish.  It made a squeaking noise the last time we raised it, so we decided a little lube might be in order.  Of course, we had 6 weeks to do that project, but we waited until the last minute.  Normal for us.

One of my procrastinated  jobs today is to get the Silverleaf Engine Monitoring system re-installed on my new laptop.  Of course, I’ve also had weeks to do that but again, I prefer to wait until the last minute so that I can feel stressed before travel day.    I’m having problems getting it installed properly, so now I’m waiting for a call back for some help. 

 

Yesterday, I saw a post on Facebook from an old friend from USAA.  He had a squirrel fall down his chimney and into the fireplace.  He needed a live animal trap.  We just happened to have one so we met up with him yesterday to give him the trap and visit a while. It was good seeing him.  I got a message this morning that he was successful and caught the squirrel.  He’ll let him go outside and hopefully the squirrel will be smart enough to stay away from the chimney.

This morning, along with all the other things we need to do, Mr. Baxter decided to eat a rubber band.  Al dropped a rubber band and before he could pick it up, Baxter ate it.

I’m worried it will become tangled around his intestines or something.  I stuck my finger down his throat and felt what I thought was the rubber band, but I was unable to pull it out.

We gave him a can of kitty food, trying to make him sick.  I gave him a handful of raw spinach (his favorite), some chard, kale and finally some freshly washed grass from outside.  I was hoping he would throw up, but nothing came up yet.  We called the vet and they said   they   could do an x-ray and see if it was tangled around anything.  Of course, it won’t be tangled yet…it just got in there.   I think we’ll watch him today and hope it passes.  We may end up staying put another day.  Darn cat~

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Rv Show Goodies

 

Wesley Chapel, Florida  (high 76, low 55)

 

We decided to head back to the Tampa Rv show yesterday.  We were able to get in the second day free, so other than the $6.00 parking it didn’t cost us anything.

Or did it?

For some reason, every time we go to the Rv show we come home with a bag full of goodies. At least, we didn’t come home with a new motor home! 

Do these Rv shows have such great bargains, or is it that they just present them so well that you buy?  Or is it just that we’re suckers for new gadgets?

We came upon a booth selling these little thingy's that looked like colored plastic straws.  It intrigued us so we stopped to see exactly what they were.

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They’re called  “gripstics” and are actually pretty handy.  Once the guy showed us how they worked, we were sold.

They look like a straw but there is an opening on the bottom with a hard plastic insert.  They are used to seal plastic bags.   Great for chips, bags of lettuce, pet food, and any type of plastic bag that needs to be sealed. 

Do yourselves a favor and check out their website here.  They looked pretty good at the show, but the true test was at home and I’m happy to say they work great.  We always have a bag of pretzels, nuts or something that needs sealing.  I think they were worth the $20 we spent for the large bag.

No, I don’t make anything from the company and are not affiliated.  I just like to share a good product.

 

 

Another Rv show “bargain” we found was 3 nights camping at  Florida Gateway Rv Resort  in north Florida for only $60.  They have lots for sale, and I’m sure they hope to sell you a lot while your are there.    The lots are  are pull thru’s with their own private outdoor kitchen, fire pits and covered hot tub.  They look really nice in the pictures.

It’s right on our way out of Florida and we figured it would be a nice place to stay for a few nights, and the price is right at $20 a night.

 

We snagged quite a few free camping trips, with several for 4 nights.  One is at a Class A luxury Rv resort  in south Florida. 

 

One more item we purchased is a Sewer Solution rv waste water dumping system.  We have been buying the Rhino Flex sewer hoses for a while now and although they are very nice, they don’t seem to last long, and they start leaking.  Sitting out in the hot sun and getting drug over concrete doesn’t help.

The Sewer Solution is a water powered jet-pump system that comes with a 3/4 inch hose that will be easier to store, and hopefully will last longer.  It has no expensive motor to install like the macerator type.

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It was $99 for the show special which included one 10 foot hose.  We opted to purchase another 10 foot hose for $24 more.  The two hoses connect together easily.

The next picture explains how it works.

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The guy that invented it (supposedly) was there demonstrating it. 

He said they were selling very well.

Some people walked by and told us they had one and loved it.

Then the salesman/inventor said he only had one unit left.

Do you think it was a set up?

Okay…we’d better grab it before it was gone.  Talk about impulse buying!

We  haven’t hooked it up yet, but I did some internet research and found some good reviews.  I also noticed they are selling them at Camping World. 

I think it’s going to be good for where you have full hook-ups, but maybe not so good at a campground dump station.  You have to attach a water hose to it (it does have an anti siphon valve) and the water pressure breaks down the solids.  I believe it may take a little longer than just a regular dump, but I could be wrong.

Hopefully, it will last longer.  I believe we’ll still have to have the other kind for dump stations.  We’ll see.

We also bought a nice little folding beach cart.  I haven’t  gotten a chance to take some pics of it yet, but it’s pretty cool, and was only $15.00.  Al used it to carry around our stash from the rv show and he even brought it back the second day.    You could use it for taking a load of clothes to the laundry, or even a bag of trash.  I’ll take some pics later.  We felt it was a great deal for the price.

No more Rv show today.  It’s back to the gym and then start grocery shopping for our trip to the prairie.  There are no grocery stores nearby so we are trying to bring everything we’ll need for two weeks.  Yeah, right.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Celebrity Citing at Rv Show

 

Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 68, low 50)

The cold front arrived yesterday, bringing some wind and rain as it came through.  It got down to 41 degrees last night.

After weeks of 80+ temps and lots of sun, we chose the first windy, rainy, cool day to go to the Tampa Rv show.  It figures.  :)

Dee, from Tumbleweed, organized a get together at the Rv show for some bloggers and others who have known each  other from chat rooms.

I guess about 45 people showed up.  I didn’t bring my camera, but we sure enjoyed meeting other rv bloggers.

I  really enjoyed meeting Tom and Marci from Roaming Free 2010. They fulltime with their boys,  who are home schooled.  I thought that was such an interesting life for these kids and picked her brain a little. Homeschooling is not like I thought it was.  She is not personally teaching them. They learn from the internet and dvd’s. I wonder how long until regular schools will be obsolete.  They are currently work camping here in Florida.  I had come across their blog several times before, but had neglected to add it to my blogroll, so I wasn’t keeping up with them.  I’ve since added it and will go back and see where they’ve been.  Nice to meet you Marci and Tom!

We also got to meet Elaine and Rick for the first time.  Elaine is a very nice person and her concern when our kitty Chatty was sick, was very much appreciated!  We may just see them again in the next few weeks.  They are near where we’ll be going for groceries when we’re camped in the  prairie next week.

We also got to see Donna again.  Her blog is Adventures With Tassie.  She showed Al the scars from her two knee replacement surgeries.  He may be in for a knee replacement in the future.  Hope to see you again soon Donna!

We knew we had to meet Jim and Judy from The Meandering Maddoxs.  Jim surprised us a while back by sending us a copy of Adele’s new Cd “21.”  What a surprise that was and it was very much appreciated.  Nice to meet  you both.  We hope to see you again before you head back to Georgia.

Another blogger we met was Joe, from Joes Journeys.  Nice to meet you Joe.  We’ll put you on the blogroll too so that we don’t miss any more of your posts.

We didn’t get to see much of the Rv show, so we’re going back today.  We went into one very shiny high end Prevost.  It had the shiny high gloss cabinets, mirrored ceilings and white leather furniture.  It was NOT my kind of Rv and if we won the lotto, we wouldn’t even buy it then.  It was very pretty outside though.

We had gotten a blog comment from Page wanting to meet us while they were in town.  She and her husband were driving in from South Carolina to do some preliminary shopping for their full time rig.  We met up with them and looked at a couple of Airstream trailers with them.  They really the Airstreams, but they are just at the beginning of their search.  Page has almost got a blog started.  She went so far as to reserve the name.  She needs some encouragement to get one started!   I told her we all love to read about people that are preparing to become fulltimers!  We all decided we were hungry so we suggested Sweet Tomato’s.  They are vegan too, so that worked out well.  We stuffed our faces, and had some good conversation.  We hope to see you guys again down the road!

So…..you’re probably wondering who the celebrity was that we saw yesterday?

Why, it was Al.

When we were sitting with the Tumbleweed group, Al was flipping through the Rv show booklet and I happened to notice a familiar looking photograph.

It was a picture that I had taken about a year ago kayaking in the Keys.

Remember this photo?

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Encore/Thousand Trails puts out a quarterly magazine.  They have a little photo contest quarterly.  If you submit a photo taken while camping at one of their parks, you can win $50 (if I remember correctly) and they will publish your photo.

Well, I submitted this photo, signed over my rights to it and sure enough it won and was published in their magazine.  It’s pretty cool to see one of your photos in a magazine.

Well, imagine my surprise yesterday when we saw this same photo in the magazine the Rv show hands out at the door.

Imagine my surprise again when we went to the Encore/Thousand Trails booth at the Rv show and saw my photo blown up, put on fabric and covering some “walls.”

Here is Al the celebrity standing in front of one of the photographs.

Al posing in front of Thousand Trails photo of him

No, that is not the same shirt.

Al posing in front of Thousand Trails photo of him

There were at least 4 different places there that had this same photo.

 

Al posing in front of Thousand Trails photo of him

 

So Mr. Al is now a celebrity.  If anyone wants an autograph, I’ll see what I can do.  :)

We’re off to go back to the Rv show again.  We picked up a few free camping deals and some show “treasures.”  I’ll tell you about them tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Arctic Blast Coming to Florida?

 

Wesley Chapel, Florida  (high 81, low 59)

Boy do we love this weather.  We’ve had a good run of 80’s in the daytime and upper 50’s at night.   Unfortunately, our favorite weather guy Denis Phillips from ABC Action News says things may soon change.  You can follow him on Facebook if you’re in Florida and want to know what’s going on.  When ever there is some bad weather, Denis will be on FB day and night keeping us informed.  You know how seriously I take the weather! 

We’ve had a strong high pressure system protecting Florida for about 10 days, but it may start breaking down on the 24th and leave us vulnerable for the next big arctic blast.  It’s  supposed to bring some very, very cold temperatures southeast.  How far south is still undetermined.  I even heard single digits are possible in Atlanta!  We’re sure hoping it doesn’t make it here, but Denis thinks north Florida will surely get some freezing temps.  We’re planning on heading south the 23rd…so I hope we get far enough south to avoid any freezing temps.  I kind of wish we were headed to the Keys instead of the prairie.

 

Our geek friend Rick gave me a tip on how to get my photos sized properly for the blog. Thanks so much Rick!

I always post my blogs through Live Writer and it used to be set up that if someone clicked on a photo it would enlarge. 

Somehow, that had quit working and I couldn’t remember how to get it back. I knew Rick did a post on it, but I couldn't find it on his blog.   Rick came to the rescue and sent me the link.  I think it’s working correctly.

Here is the link to Rick’s blog that tells you how to do this.  I see a LOT of Blogs where you click on the photo to enlarge a picture, you get one the same size or even smaller.  Have you checked yours lately? It seems things can change.

I think I got this fixed and to test, I’m posting some old pictures of our Bluebirds at our Georgia house.  This was Daddy bluebird trying to coax “Junior” out of his nest for the first time.  Junior was the only one of 5 eggs to hatch from that batch.  We had a nest box that would open and so you could peek in at him.  We became quite attached to him.  We watched as each egg was laid.  We watched when there were five eggs crowded inside the box. We watch as one hatched.  We kept waiting for the others to hatch, but they never did.  Junior grew up very lonely, but with no competition for the food that mom and dad brought regularly.

 

Male Bluebird feeding Young

These pictures were taken from the motorhome window.  It was parked right by the nest box so we got a really good view.

This next picture is the mother bird, also trying to coax him.  Notice the baffle that Al put up?  It protects the eggs and babies from predators like snakes and raccoons.  We successfully raised many batches of Bluebirds with this method.

Mama Bluebird checking on babies

He’s peeking his head out trying to get brave enough to take the big leap.

Bluebird ready to fledge

I never did capture the moment he took the big leap, but here he is just after he made the big first flight.  Isn’t he cute with his short little tail?

Newly fledged baby Bluebird

awww…..

Newly fledged baby Bluebird

Junior grew up to be a big bird.  We kept track of him for quite awhile because he was the only one from that nest, so when we saw three birds together, we knew one was him.  Other pairs usually had four or five babies with them.

 

Okay…did the picture enlarge when you clicked on them?   That was the point of this post.  You didn’t forget, did you?

 

The Tampa Rv Supershow starts Wednesday.  A lot of fellow bloggers are planning to meet  Wednesday, at 11:30 at the hospitality tent.  Unfortunately, our plans have changed and we won’t be able to make it there Wednesday.  We will be there on Thursday so if anybody is there and wants to meet up, let us know.

If you’re in the area, it really is worth going to this show.  It’s billed as the largest in the country.  Of course the Hershey show also bills themselves as the largest.  All I know, it is a BIG rv show and you can’t possibly see everything in one day.  Even if you’re not in the market for a new Rv, it’s still worth going and you can usually score some free camping nights.

It is very  crowded, so if like me, you will be attending with a while haired old man…..dress him in bright colors because there will be a LOT of white haired old men at the show and you want to be able to pick him out in the crowd!       :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Heat Wave Continues

 

Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 83, low 59)

 

The record breaking January heat wave is continuing.   We’ve had record high temps for this time of year, and we can thank a high pressure ridge that’s keeping the cold fronts away. 

Some people are complaining that it’s a bit too warm for January, and it is, but the humidity is low, so it doesn’t feel like a summer day.  It’s actually been quite nice, especially with the very cool evening temperatures.  Dare I hope for warm weather for the upcoming Tampa Rv Show?  It’s usually cold!

Al started feeling better after his first dose of Aloe Vera, but he wasn’t 100%, so we didn’t go to the gym or to the beach.  We had a  “fun”  day returning purchases we bought and changed our minds about.  Not a fun day for sure.

We came back home and I was “sent to my room” so Al  could watch the football playoffs.  I ended up watching the movie The Social Network again.  I really enjoyed it the first time I watched it and planned on seeing it again some day.  It was about the creation of Facebook.  What an interesting story it was.  I started reading the book on my Sony e-Reader, but it came from the library and it expired before I finished it.  I may try to check it out again and read it while we’re on the prairie.  I’m sure the book would be even better than the movie.  It was amazing how a young kid could have become a billionaire at such a young age.

While watching the movie, I noticed my contact lens was bothering my  eye, so I removed it,  but my eye kept getting more irritated instead of better.    I was pretty uncomfortable, but it seemed to feel better when I stood up, and worse when I laid back down.  I had visions of waking up to a bad eye infection this morning.  I finally decided to take half of a Benadryl and prop myself up on the pillows.  That apparently worked and I slept through the night,  (or at least until Baxter started his his middle of the night shenanigans).   I’m not sure I’ll be able to wear a contact today, but I’m going to try using a fresh one. Fortunately the eye feels much better this morning.

 

A few weeks ago, I decided I needed some sort of a produce stand.  I had  been using a pretty metal colander but it was always running over and the fruits and veggies were just stacked on top of each other.  Often, I would find a surprise at the bottom of the bowl. 

I checked online and found some nice produce stands on Amazon, but  I ended up finding this nice three tier produce rack at Target.

It’s bigger than it might look in the photo.  Notice the large pomegranate, mango and grapefruit on the middle shelf.

three tier veggie holder

Our kitchen sink sits at an angle, so I have a big space behind the sink, and  it fits perfectly.   It’s about 18 inches tall and barely fits under the bottom of the top cabinet.  It works pretty well to keep produce separate and I think it looks pretty as well.   Now that we’re eating vegan, we have a lot more produce and there is not enough room in the refrigerator, so this was a good choice.

I also bought a fold up bamboo dish drain.  I discovered them on Amazon, but I wasn’t sure I would like this type of dish drain and wanted to be able to easily return it if I didn’t like it.  I wasn’t sure how dishes would actually fit on this contraption.

 

lippor dish rack

 

lippor dish drain

The silverware bin was separate and is necessary.  I ended up finding them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  $19.99 for the rack and $6.99 for the silverware bin. 

As it turns out, I like it real well.  It folds up for storage, which is the main reason I bought it.  Normally the dish rack sits on counter, but when I want to take it down, it can be hidden away from sight. 

I was wondering how dishes would stack and it turns out they do just fine.  I think it probably holds as many dishes as the regular kind of dish drain.

I think the folding dish rack is perfect for an Rv kitchen.

 

Baxter was in the posing mode yesterday, so here is a fluffy kitty picture.  Notice the size of those feet?  Notice those big poofs of fur behind his front legs? 

Baxter

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Flu Shots and Popcorn

 

Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 83, low 59)

Al kept hearing how bad the flu epidemic is getting,  so he wanted to get a flu shot.  I’m not a big fan of any kind of needles, so I was dragging my feet, until I started remembering the last time I had the flu.  It was probably 20 years ago and we had been to the 21st birthday party of the twin children of some of our friends.  We all had a merry old time, singing karaoke, dancing, and carrying on and spreading germs.  There may have been some alcohol involved as well.  :)    Anyway a few days later we all started dropping like flies.  I think that was the sickest I’ve ever been.  

So….we both went and got flu shots at our doctors office.  Easy, fast and best of all painless!

 

I stayed home yesterday and did some cleaning and laundry.   I was behind and yesterday was warm and sunny, so I figured I could use my little clothes line that Al made me a few years ago.  We have the single Splendide washer/dryer combo and it’s slow going getting the clothes to dry.  Using the clothes line sure moves it along quicker.

 

Al worked doing his pest control all day, but came home under the weather.  He had a “belly ache.”

Al loves popcorn but popcorn doesn’t love him.  Several years ago he had a bad bout with diverticulitis and ended up on antibiotics.  He was a very sick guy.  He was advised to stay away from seeds and popcorn.  He missed his popcorn, but decided it wasn’t worth the pain.   Until recently.

Now that he’s vegan and eating more fiber, he thought he could have some popcorn.  Last week he ate several bags of microwave popcorn and when he walked in the door complaining of a belly ache, I knew exactly what was wrong.

I’ve learned when he says those words to start doctoring him immediately.  We learned the best thing to relieve the symptoms is Aloe Vero juice and papaya tablets

I had read about this home remedy on the internet several years ago.  He was having a bout of diverticulitis and since we didn’t have anything to lose, we tried it. Actually back then, it was papaya juice, but we’ve since modified it to papaya tablets.  I’m not even sure the papaya is necessary, but we use them just in case.  I believe the Aloe Vera juice is the key.

The first time we tried the aloe vera and papaya, we were able to avoid another round of antibiotics and he started feeling better almost immediately.  After that he started taking aloe vera juice  every day until he read that you shouldn’t take it that often.

He’s back on the aloe vera.  If he starts feeling better we may do something fun like go to the beach.  If not, we’ll be staying home.

We’ll see, I guess.  In the meantime, he has agreed maybe he will stay away from popcorn.

 

Can someone remind me how to make my photos so that when it’s clicked on, they enlarge?

I thought I had mine set that way but I clicked on a photo yesterday and it stayed the same size.  

 

No, there’s not a full moon right now.  This is just another picture I found when looking through old photos. 

 

IMG_0258

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fetch

 

Wesley Chapel, Florida  (high 83, low 59)

I believe Florida currently has the best weather in the country.  I hope it lasts.

Al and I are early risers.  We always have been.  That’s not to say we get motivated early, but we’re up and drinking coffee usually before daylight.

The first thing we do when we get up, is play a quick game of “fetch.”

It started a while back when we were trying to make the bed.  I make Al help me since it’s about 1000 times easier making an rv bed with two people!

We start by pulling back the covers and smoothing the bottom sheets.  Well, the sound of that gets Baxter excited, so he flies onto the bed and hops around like a crazy cat.  He pounces on and bats anything and everything moving.  It’s extremely difficult to make a bed with a 14 pound cat pouncing on your every move.

Al started throwing a q-tip on the floor so that Baxter would go after it instead of help us make the bed.

Baxter fooled us though when he brought the q-tip back and dropped it right back on the bed.  The game of “fetch” was born.

So, now the game is,  smooth the sheets as quickly as we can before Baxter hears us, wait for Baxter to pounce, throw the q-tip, quickly smooth the sheets some more, this time a little faster, throw the q-tip and repeat.  It usually takes 7-8 times before we can get the bed made.

The next picture shows him as he has just dropped the q-tip.  He’s waiting for Al to pick it up and toss it again.

Baxter playing fetch

This next picture is the q-tip falling in mid air.  I just wasn’t fast enough to get one with it in his mouth.

Baxter playing fetch

It’s become a fun game that we look forward to every morning, and it gets the  bed made!

The next picture is a few minutes later when he has his typical Baxter attitude.  It looks like he needs his butt smacked!

Baxter

Yesterday morning, after playing fetch, drinking coffee and reading blogs, we headed over to the gym and got a good cardio workout and then a nice swim in the pool.  We skipped the weight machines.  You are supposed to give your muscles a day of rest between weight lifting routines, and both of us felt our muscles were crying for a much needed rest.

 

We grabbed a quick lunch from Subway, came home and Al broke the toilet.    We have a Thetford Ariia II automatic toilet.   We’re not fond of the mechanics of this thing, but it’s a nice quality china toilet.  It has a one button flush, which I guess is nice, except it makes a lot of noise.   If anyone out there has one of these things, have you got any tips on how to quiet it down or better lube the valve?  You have to keep the valve lubricated and we had let it go too long I guess, and the valve wouldn’t open.  Uh oh.  We finally found that there was a manual release valve.  Thank goodness!  After Al released that and lubricated the valve, it started working normally.

 

After the toilet emergency, we headed over to Mom’s house to take her to her doctors appointment.  She has the greatest doctor. He reminds me a lot of Dr. Welby.  Remember him?   Dr.Cichon  never rushes,  and spends whatever time is necessary when he sees patients. He even gives the older people a chance to answer his questions, in full……and you know how long that can take.    :)

So….since we got squeezed in at the last minute, and he does take plenty of time with each patient, we ended up waiting over 2 hours just to see him.  It was worth the wait though as he adjusted her thyroid medicine, and gave her a prescription for Tamiflu, just in case she should get the flu.  It’s supposed to shorten the length of the flu if you should get it.  Of course it can have some  serious side effects, so it’s not something you should take unless necessary.

She also got a script for a Shingles vaccine. He said the thought Medicare was now covering shingles vaccines because of all the flu outbreak. 

 

It was a  very long day.  Mom can be tiring sometimes.  We were glad to get home.

 

Al is off today doing some pest control accounts and I’m going to try to get caught up on laundry.  It’s sunny and warm so I’ll be able to use my little clothesline.

Happy Friday.