Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In the sunshine

"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and try to follow them."

Louisa May Alcott

Pink Muhly

A beautiful grass in bloom at this time of year is Pink Muhly, which appears to do well on the island. I've seen it in many yards and have a start of it in my own. With plumes like pink clouds or cotton candy, your eyes are naturally drawn to this plant which can be a focal point in your yard.

Bottlebrush Tree

This beautiful photo was taken by Lila Cox, a resident of Pensacola Beach, who has bottlebrush trees in her yard. I've been wanting one ever since a visit to The Butterfly House in Navarre and saw one in full bloom.

Knowing that Lila has not one, but four in her yard; plus an e-mail from Theresa Friday, an agent for the Santa Rosa Extension (Residential Horticulture), saying bottlebrush trees only get to a height of 8-10 feet in this area (they grow to 40' in Australia), assured me this would be a good addition to my yard.

Hopefully I'll have a lovely butterfly garden by next spring.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Love for the ocean

"The biggest sin in the world would be if I love my love for the ocean."

~~ Laird Hamilton

[Note: If you click on the photo above, it will enlarge. If you enlarge it, you will see a dark speck in the middle of the photo, slightly above the horizon. This tiny dot is not a speck of dust on my lens, but a Gulf Fritillery or Monarch butterfly. I mentioned recently that the island has been covered in beautiful butterflies -- Monarchs have been migrating -- and this is a testament to that fact. Even at the beach and out in the Gulf of Mexico you could see them. So, 'note to self', if you are planning a visit next fall, check the estimated arrival of the Monarchs!]

Across the grain of sea winds

"And which one of us wouldn't soar if God had thought there was merit in the idea? So, when we see one of those great widespread pirates soaring across the grain of sea winds we thrill..."

~~ Roger Caras

Portofino Pumpkins

The Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce meeting was held aboard Portofino One this morning. As members arrived to sign in at the Lifestyle Center, we were treated to a delightful display of Halloween pumpkins designed by various departments, including housekeeping, landscaping, Portofino Adventures, tower and unit maintenance, etc. You may pick your favorite:

Hmmm...Pamela Lee Pumpkin, perhaps? Or Mae (Intra)West?

Ayyyyy, matey. It's Porto the Pirate by Tower Maintenance. Didn't I see him at the Paradise Grill last week?

Lovely Pumpkahontas is searching for her John Smith.

Love the door-stop nose! But the mouth is a bit reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter. Yikes!

"If I only had a heart!"

You're under a Rasta

Shiver me timbers, does that pirate have a pet Gour'vocado!

Why do I find Blue Man so disturbingly scary? Perhaps I was chased by a mop-topped snorkeler and a baby alligator in another life. Or is it the teeth?

Now you're talking! I love party beads, even on my pumpkins!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

At last!

At last we're back to beautiful days in paradise. Gone was the rain, the storms, the high winds, the colder air, and the red tide. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll just hush and let you see for yourselves.

Gulf Fritillaries

The island is alive with Gulf Fritillaries now. Wherever you look, the air is full of them. I don't think I've ever seen so many.

Watching them flit around my yard has given me incentive to plant a butterfly garden in at least a small corner of my yard. Today I went to Olive Road Nursery and bought two Butterfly Bushes (Guinevere) and planted them. The Gulf Fritillaries were beginning to check them out as soon as I finished despite the fact there was only one bloom on each plant.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sunshine at last!

"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary."

~~ Aaron Rose

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Clearing skies

At last we're seeing blue again! We're due to have a beautiful weekend and, hopefully, warmer weather.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

On high seas

Heavy rain continued overnight, but slacked to light sprinkles by mid-morning. The wind switched and is now blowing cold air from the west. {{{shiver, shiver}}} It's down to 59 degrees at 9:30 p.m.! (I can just see the e-mails from my Minnesota and Wisconsin blog-followers tomorrow.)

Surfers claimed the high seas today as red flags flew, but few others braved the beach on the east end this afternoon.

Beauty Berry Bush

I discovered a beautiful bush today and luckily a Gulf Island National Seashore ranger was able to identify it for me. It is a Beauty Berry Bush.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Beach is Back -- almost!

Yesterday morning was beautiful on Pensacola Beach. After a walk, I came home and washed windows, finishing up just in time for another round of rain to move in. It appears we will have rain off and on for the first part of the week, then a cold front will move through.

Just get me back out on the beach!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Beach is Back!

My first walk on the beach in ages! Well, perhaps in days, but it seems like ages. The red tide seems to have dissipated with our record rainfall and the beach has been swept clean. For those of you who may have missed it, Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach (unofficially) recorded two feet of rain in two days.

Gone is the murky-colored water which was brought about by the red tide for a several days. Almost gone is 'Lake Via de Luna', which is what Via de Luna looked like on the east end of the island as water from Sugar Bowl's spring-fed pond overflowed into the main road.

But most importantly there are people back on the beach, enjoying themselves and taking advantage of this gorgeous day.

Friday, October 19, 2007


It has been days since I've been able to get out on the beach, first due to the red tide and now due to heavy rains that came in from the Gulf of Mexico.

At the height of the storm on the beach, this is what it looked like from my window. Unofficially we had over 15 inches of rain here yesterday and another 9 1/2 today!

Oh look! We're getting a lap pool!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Red Tide

Many of you may wonder where I have disappeared to, but I assure you I'm still here -- under air conditioning! The red tide has chased most residents of the island indoors. It is not a pleasant time for those who are sensitive and prone to respiratory ailments, especially for those who are accustomed to being outdoors on a daily basis.

We are hoping for a change by the weekend. Those of you who follow my blog, keep your fingers crossed for a shift in the winds and tides. Otherwise, you may start seeing photos of my dog, my travertine tile, my hardwood floor, the view from my windows, my closet, the bookshelves, photos of my ancestors, crossword puzzles...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Butterfly House

This weekend is the special re-opening of The Butterfly House in Navarre which coincides with the migration of Monarch butterflies through our area.

I visited this special place yesterday afternoon and delighted to see the air full beautiful butterflies.

The Panhandle Butterfly House is a waystation for the Monarch butterflies on their migration path. While there, you may also view exhibits of the Monarchs in their larva and chrysalis stages.

It is also worth visiting to see the wide variety of flowering plants and trees that attract butterflies, or learn how to create your own butterfly garden.

An example of some of the unusual flowers you can see. Master Gardeners are available to answer your questions this weekend.

One of the beautiful butterflies which flit from bloom to bloom.

Learn more about the amazing story of the Monarch butterfly's migration through the Panhandle each year.

Another colorful vine.

This is the first time I have ever seen a Bottlebrush Tree.

Please take an the opportunity to visit this lovely place in Navarre. Admission is free, but donations are happily accepted.

Monday, October 08, 2007


"Rosebud!" ~~ Orson Welles

[Note: Orson Welles quote in Citizen Kane did not refer to a flower. A movie classic from 1941, Citizen Kane is one of my all-time favorite movies.]


"Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?"

~~ Rose Kennedy (1890 - 1995)

Sunday, October 07, 2007


"Rescue me and take me in your arms.
Rescue me! I want your tender charms.
'Coz I'm lonely and I'm blue.
I need you and your love too.
Come on and rescue me!"

~~ Lyrics by Raynard Miner

There were some wonderful organizations present for Barktoberfest 2007 in Seville Square yesterday. These not-for-profit rescue organizations were trying to raise funds, recruit volunteers who are willing to serve as foster homes, and find 'forever' homes for rescued dogs in our area. They also try raise public awareness about unethical breeders in Northwest Florida and how to avoid them.

Lucy is a lovely Golden Retreiver available for adoption through Emerald Coast Golden Retriever Rescue Inc.

Samson is another wonderful example of the perfect canine companion available through the Emerald Coast Golden Retriever Rescue.

Sweet-natured Cora sat patiently with her "Adopt Me" jacket, hoping for someone to take her home. You can see in her eyes that she's watching for her "forever" family to appear. And that cute tongue! It looks like she just came home from the blackberry patch!

The adoption board is full of abused, abandoned and surrendered Goldens waiting for a good home.

The NW Florida Great Dane Rescue has so many Great Danes available for good homes. Please check out their website if you are interested in one of these gentle giants. There are far too many Great Danes which have been rescued from unethical breeders who ignore genetic problems in the breed. Trying to produce an all-white Great Dane, for example, generally results in deafness or congenital eye defects. The NW Florida Great Dane Rescue also raises money for corrective surgery in some cases where it may help restore sight. If you do not have room for one of these sweet-natured dogs, any amount of money would be greatly appreciated to cover the cost of food, medical bills, and even things like leashes and collars.

This little beagle mix is available through the Junior Humane Society in Cantonment. If you are looking for a pet, please consider adoption through one of these great organizations.

A rescued dog will definitely leave paw prints on your heart.

Barktoberfest 2007!

"Aye, matey, it's me again! Captain Jack Sparrow!"

What you eat in private shows in public. Who knew they'd take it this far!

"Halloween? Gee, dude, I thought this was gonna be a luau!"


"Is there a doctor in the house?" Ay chihuahua, he's got his hands full right now.

"Don't worry! I'll help you, doctor!"

"I'm here for back-up, too, doctor."

"For eight hundred years I have trained Jedi."

Ahhh look! It's a Black-eyed Susan.

"Is it just me or is it gettin' hot out here."

"Ahhhh...this is better."

"The family that plays together, stays uniform."

"Wow...what IS that, mommy?"

"Yeah, yeah...haven't you ever seen a dog with pink nail polish and a pink tutu before"

"I was a movie stah, dahling. They just don't offer decent roles since Garbo."

"Hey, man, this beats walkin' any day."

One dog too many and out like a light.

Who knew they looked like this before their poodle cut.

Here's what I'm talkin' 'bout.


"Oh man, why'd you make me wear this stupid pumpkin head? My head itches!"

It's not the dog in the fight, it's the fight in the dog.