Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ruffled tailfeathers!

I took my mother to The ZOO Northwest Florida this past weekend. Of all the exhibits, I believe her favorite were the beautiful white peacocks and you can see why. [Click on the photo to see it in more detail.]

It's easy to see where they came up with the phrase 'proud as a peacock'.

The shoes not taken

My mother visited recently, along with my cousin and his wife. One day we were having a lovely time on the beach until we returned to discover someone had taken our shoes -- all except for my mother's little blue polka-dotted slippers! I've never had anything like this happen on the beach before, though I'm constantly leaving my sandals beside walkovers when I'm out taking photos.

I am very appreciative that the culprit left my mother's shoes behind so she didn't have to walk across hot asphalt to the house, but we've had many laughs since that mother's blue polka-dotted shoes didn't make the cut for the sandal thief.

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to my little Shih Tzu, 'PJ' (Panama Jack)! He is six years old today.

Yes, I understand that he is a boy dog and that I have him in ponytails...but the look is just so darn cute on him.

Sugar white sand

The most beautiful sand in the world is right here on Pensacola Beach and Santa Rosa Island. Someday I need to do a comparison shot: sugar on one side, sand on the other, and see which one really is the whitest!

For some of you who may not know: The sand on Pensacola Beach is so white and reflective that it does not absorb the heat or get blistering hot in the summer like other beaches can.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Butterfly House

One of the places I enjoy visiting at least two or three times a year is the Panhandle Butterfly House in Navarre. It is located immediately adjacent to the Navarre Beach bridge, on the northwest corner.

If you are interested in creating a butterfly garden in your yard for Monarchs like this...

You can learn how to create a waystation for their migration from Central Mexico to Canada and back each year.

A Julia...I think. Readers, feel free to correct me or confirm.

The Panhandle Butterfly House can provide information from identification of butterflies to lists of host plants for each type of butterfly.

A beautiful red dahlia attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Volunteers can tell you which type plants attract different butterflies and learn the importance of a "host plant".

Lovely lily pads and a water source for butterflies inside the gazebo.

Red Penta attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

The Butterfly House will be having a fundraiser in connection with the Navarre Fun Fest on May 17 and 18. This will give you a chance to learn more about Florida butterflies and, if you are interested, buy plants to create your own butterfly garden. Just click on the title "Butterfly House" above and a link will take you to their website.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Zebra Longwing

This exquisite butterfly is a Zebra Longwing and it is the state butterfly of Florida! Isn't it gorgeous?

Scratch Ankle Festival

You have one more day to enjoy the Scratch Ankle Festival in downtown Milton, Florida.

The historical society tent displays old photographs and newspapers from days long ago, and you'll see some participants in the festival dressed in period costumes. "Cold lemonade? Cold pickle?" Cold pickle??

Scratch Ankle was the name of the community in its earliest days. Traders or settlers who came ashore were scratched by the dense brambles along the banks of Blackwater River, hence the name.

My mother in front of a beautiful gazebo sitting next to the Blackwater River.

The gazebo offers cool shade and a quiet spot to enjoy the river.

Milton has a very nice riverwalk along the west bank of the Blackwater.

Bagpipers play for a gathering crowd in downtown Milton.

Sunburned cheeks and a blue balloon.

The Flying Pig barbeque?

It was a beautiful day, but warm enough to make this vendor very popular.

Granny Annie showcased her Vidalia Onion Relish, Apple Relish, Pickled Okra, Hot Chow Chow, Hot Pickled Garlic, Tomato Relish, and more!

Little Miss Sunshine!

They brought out the little canons!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fabulous Friday!

It was a gorgeous day at the beach! Temps were close to eighty degrees, with a light breeze. The water was clear and the green flag was flying.


This is one of my favorites shrubs in the yard and they have been blooming for a couple of weeks. Everyone in the area referred to them as pittosporum, but upon researching them further I discovered another name: Japanese mockorange.

It's easy to understand why they would be called mockorange. The blossoms smell very similar to the flowers on my satsuma orange tree.

A few cuttings of pittosporum, combined with a few of my knock-out roses, make a lovely and very fragrant floral arrangement.


Ligustrum are in full bloom now, too. I don't especially like the fragrance of the blossoms, but my hummingbirds do.

A close-up of the clusters.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Today I discovered the first bloom on my Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) 'Guinevere'.

The fragrant blooms are a very deep purple and the plants are getting larger than I expected in the first year. They appear to be salt tolerant considering they are located on the south side of the yard and we have had high winds from the south and southeast on several occasions since they were planted last fall.

My hummingbirds are going to love this plant!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Surveying the coast

It looks as though the coastline of Santa Rosa Island is being surveyed again.

I noticed the St. John Survey boat this morning. I'm not very familiar with boats, but this one must have a flat bottom to get so close to shore.

I've seen the survey team at it before, so I knew how close he'd come before turning around -- on a dime, I might add.

I wonder if they are accustomed to the astonished expressions of people on shore. It's very strange to watch the boat come in so close.

Off he goes again, back out in the Gulf for a quarter mile or more, it seems. Then he turns and heads back again.

Aha! I think I discovered his beacon!

NOTE: Brian Link with NOAA - Navigation Services Division was kind enough to provide a link to their website which explains how and why a "hydrographic" survey is conducted. The boat in my photographs above is not one of theirs, but they do have one in the Pensacola area right now.

NOAA - Hydrographic Surveys

Sadly, it seems I did not discover a 'beacon'. Brian though I simply stumbled across an old antenna stuck in the sand.

Portofino 'brellas

I love the stretch of blue chairs and umbrellas which are set up in front of Portofino each morning. I can visualize myself sitting there with a good book, my tunes, and a nice breeze coming off the gulf, glancing up occasionally to see if dolphins are running up the coast yet.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Red oleander

My neighbor's oleander is in full bloom now. Mine can't be far behind, though they aren't nearly as lush as these. It's been a treat to live next door to someone so knowledgeable about gardening, especially due to the unique challenges of gardening on a barrier island.

Ol' bird

Poor ol' pelican, he looks like he's on his last feather.

Coral Bean

Look! Coral Bean is blooming in Range Point! It's lovely and the bright red splash of color really stands out in shrubby areas.

Sand turtles

First a mermaid, now I discover a sand turtle and four eggs (one partially hatched) on the beach! We must have a sand sculptor in our midst.

One of my favorite beach events is the sand sculpture contest we have in June. This was a great surprise on a morning walk. Thank you to the artist! Please feel free to create more!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ocean's Twelve

Sanderlings are delightful little birds which run ahead of waves as they wash ashore, then chase them back to the sea. In and out they go, searching for tiny crustaceans to feed on.


Look what I found lying on the beach this morning! Poor little mermaid had turned to sand.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Casting a spell

"The Sea, once it casts its spell holds one in its net of wonder forever."

~~Jacques Cousteau

I Do!

"Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls."

~~Kahlil Gibran

Becoming driftwood

Trees killed by Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis are slowly turning into oversized driftwood.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I see the moon

"I see the moon,
And the moon sees me;
God bless the moon,
And God bless me.

~~Nursery Rhyme


This boat came aground at Range Point in 2005 during Hurricane Dennis. The boat was stripped long ago and there is only the shell of the vessel left now.

I know people had waded across to explore it, but this was the first time I'd actually seen anyone there.