Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dune Sunflowers

Dune Sunflowers are beginning to bloom on established plants around the island.

Dune Sunflowers are wonderful for holding sand in place in our yard and really brighten up the landscape. They may get leggy at the end of the year, especially after a long spell of rainy weather. Not to worry, just pull up the old plants, and...

In the spring you have a yard full of volunteers sprouting everywhere.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Far away!

I wanted to let my viewers know that I´m in Mexico for a few days, enjoying a vacation of my dreams, visiting several Maya ruins! Right now I´m in Mexico City. Tomorrow morning I leave for Veracruz.

Before I left Pensacola Beach, I drafted a few shots to post in my absence, but now I must decide whether to start a new blog for all my vacation shots! It is easy for me to snap 50 or more photos when hiking around the island. Just this morning, I took about 150 at one stop.

See you soon! I mean, ¨Hasta la vista, mis amigos!"

Bottlebrush Tree

I´m so excited to see my very first bloom on the Bottlebrush tree my mother bought me for an early Christmas present last fall.

This should be a real draw to my butterfly garden when more blossoms appear!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Indian Hawthorne

The island is abloom with Indian Hawthorne! In almost every direction you look, you can see them. They are available in dwarf varieties or regular shrubs, and I've seen two gorgeous plants in my neighborhood that have been pruned into trees.

My yard is no exception!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

End of a walkway

"Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of beginning."

~~ Natalie Goldberg

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A stop by Casino Beach

What a beautiful day on Pensacola Beach! It's still a tad chilly, but the high winds we've experienced for several days have finally died down. Islanders tend to hunker down when cold winds come sweeping in from the north across Santa Rosa Sound. I'm definitely no exception!

Take a good look at the pavilion on Casino Beach. You won't see it empty this way for long. Spring Breakers are already filing in and filling the beaches.

Bands on the Beach will kick off its Tuesday night concert series at 7:00 p.m., May 6. Those who attend will be able to hear the United States Navy Band and see the unveiling of the United States Coast Guard 'Pelican'! May will be designated Military Appreciation Month on Pensacola Beach this year.

As you can see, we have quite a bit of sand to sweep up now!

One of our four new lifeguard stations at Casino Beach.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Change of direction

The wind has finally changed direction and is now from the north. Sustained winds have dropped closer 10 mph, but there were gusts up to 38 mph overnight.
The surf is beginning to flatten due to the north wind and we are due for a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Flags and kites

The red flags continue to fly on Pensacola Beach. Sustained winds were reportedly 25 mph+ from the south and gusts over 35 mph.

A couple of kite surfers venture into the Gulf of Mexico, but don't stay long. This sport obviously requires good physical conditioning, strong swimming skills, balance, coordination and a sense of adventure. In other words, not a sport for me! I'm completely content to photograph them.

Red Flag Days

Strong winds from the south are whipping up waves in the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the Panhandle area is under wind advisories, high surf and coastal flood warnings.

Lifeguards patrol the beach area to keep people out of the water, which wouldn't appear to be a problem looking at the surf. Unfortunately, Pensacola Beach had its first drowning since September 2005 last weekend - on a red flag day such as this.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

She Who Loves the Beach

I rarely gush about things other than the beach, but this weekend I discovered the most amazing artist - Suzy Toronto - a true kindred spirit for all sisters of the beach! Below you will see one of her great, whimsical prints which I bought this weekend.

Suzy has all sorts of gifts on which she displays her art. I couldn't resist a couple of her luggage tags.

Check out more of Suzy's delightful prints with their stories, gifts, and how they were inspired:

Wonderful, Wacky Women

I call this Suzy's "She" category: She Who has Arrived, She Who Loves the Beach, She Who Believes in Herself, She Who Loves to Dance, She Who Writes Her own Story. There are so many more in this section that I can't even list this all, but each is unique.

Tingle Heart

Beach Babe, Gathering of the Goddesses, Live Every Minute, Foolish Things, Make Waves, and Age is Nothing are among the many available in this category.

Divas of the Deep

You'll love her Queen of the Seas, Loving Life, Love the Fin You're In, Girl Fin, Sisters of the Sea, and more.

I hope you take time to look at Suzy's website and check out some of the gifts. You'll definitely leave her website smiling!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival

I can't believe I forgot to remind you about the Fairhope Arts Festival which took place this past weekend. It's a fantastic event and well worth the drive from Pensacola to Fairhope, Alabama.

Fairhope is located along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. Its streets are lined with trees and hanging baskets. Bricked sidewalks were left ample room for plantings of colorful flowers.

Stroll the streets and enjoy the cottages, homes and buildings now converted into upscale shops.

The face painters are always popular and you can see why. Look at the great job this artist is doing.

Streets are lined with exhibitors. Unfortunately this is one event where a photographer is not always welcome. Artists work very hard and some prefer not to share photos of their creative talent for others to duplicate.

Restaurant row of the festival!

No one is looking at this whimiscal exhibit as I walk by, so I took a quick photo.

A young local artist doesn't mind if I photograph him!

Azaleas, a garden swing, and a patch of shade. Wouldn't this be a nice place to escape on summer afternoons with a big pitcher of lemonade.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Clouds float by

"...The sunsets come
The sunsets go
The clouds float by
And the earth turns slow..."

"White Bird" - lyrics by David LaFlamme

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gold Moss

I discovered a splash of color in my yard this morning. My Gold Moss, a sedum which does well in poor or sandy soil, is looking excellent. It is also attractive to butterflies and birds.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Morning at the Marina

It's a beautiful morning! The sun is out and the wind has died down. Hopefully we will hit sixty degrees today.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Rough surf

This is one of the few photos I captured before the discomfort of nature's sand-blasting sent me running for my vehicle. A break in the clouds gave me the opportunity to see sunlight and reverse spindrift dancing atop the waves.

Wind advisory

I went out to take a few photos this afternoon, but after five minutes on the beach the calves of my legs felt like they were covered with fire ants. I snapped this photo as I was heading back home. The wind has been gusting up to 40 mph this afternoon, covering roads with sand and chiseling away at the dunes, making it look like we're in the midst of a snow storm.

If you're interested in checking local weather click here to see a listing of WEAR-TV weather stations. Pensacola Beach Elementary School (and Gulf Breeze High School) weather stations are most accurate readings for the beach.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Deep Peace

A 'Paddle-Out' was held for Greg Naile this past Sunday afternoon. It was the first time I have observed this special memorial which surfers hold in honor of one of their own who has passed away. This young man must have been very special judging from the large gathering of friends and family and surfers. It seemed especially true upon learning two thousand miles away in San Diego another Paddle-Out was being held simultaneously for Greg.

I returned to same location the next day to take photos of the high surf and noticed a few flowers still floating on the waves.

I wouldn't have thought camellias could tolerate prolonged exposure to salt water and salt air, but somehow a few did.

The words of an old poem came to mind and seemed appropriate:

"...Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you...."

~~ attributed to William Sharp (as Fiona Macleod)


My poor roses took a beating from the high winds and driving rain overnight. The bushes themselves have grown considerably since last year, so I'm hoping they will be loaded with blooms in a couple of months.

"A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring."

~~ William Carlos Williams

High surf

We're still seeing high surf this morning. Strong storms moved through in the early morning hours with winds gusting close to 50 mph. The wind is still high enough to make it unpleasant walking on the beach unless a) you're wearing long pants, or, b) you don't mind a bit of nature's dermabrasion on your legs.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Winter storm

Storms are due to arrive in the overnight hours and continue into tomorrow morning. Winds are out of the southeast and waves look to be about seven feet high, though the angle of this photo does not give you a good view of the surf. Sand is blowing across the roads and surf flags are whipping toward frayed edges.

Rest easy, islanders, spring is close behind.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A study of jellies

Most of the time we just see jellyfish which have washed up on shore. But occasionally water on the sound side of the island is calm enough to capture images of them as they float along in shallow areas. You may click on any of the photos below to enlarge and see more detail.

I waded in and watched the jelly move slowly through the shallow water.

Careful, don't get too close.

It expands, then contracts into this flattened shape.

It pushes itself down to the sandy bottom.

Nearly translucent, its graceful tendrils sway with the current -- beautiful to watch, but keep your distance.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


"Well it's not far down to paradise, at least it's not for me.
If the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility..."

~~ Christopher Cross, "Sailing"

Morgan Park

Every few months I get a hankering to visit Morgan Park. It's such a lovely, quiet area, yet I rarely see anyone there. It's obvious some kind soul(s) must slip in and out to maintain this special place.

I noticed this morning that the Indian Hawthorne is blooming. One small yellow butterfly was flitting from bloom to bloom. Large, gnarled live oaks look like giant bonsai and filter light onto mulched pathways.

Take time to visit this small park, appreciate its beauty and the work that has gone into it. I think you'll be glad you did.

Coming home to roost

Looks like sea birds come home to roost too!