Friday, October 31, 2008

Wind accents

"Winds are advertisements of all they touch...

"however much or little we may be able to read them; telling their wanderings ever by their accents alone."

~~ John Muir

Halloween Horrors hit Hilton & Hampton hotels

Don't you just love Halloween! Last year I photographed the Halloween pumpkin contest at Portofino. This year I had a chance to check out the work of both the Hilton and Hampton pumpkin-masters.

The Hilton mummy...

It's the Hilton tower and hotel!

Wow, the Hilton Accounting Department came up with the Aloha Accounting idea. Whoever carved these should try their hand a tiki carving! Good job.

Hilton's Engineering Department, may they R.I.P.

Hilton's Food & Beverage/Kitchen Departments! Look at the pumpkin-burger on the back row!

Yikes! This came from the Hilton Spa Department. Now THAT'S scary! Actually they are incorporating the "Going Green" theme -- which, for those of you which may not know, the Hilton has done! Passing those rigid standards is not an easy task.

Oh, lawsie, this gets scarier and scarier. Hilton's Security Department came up with the 'Psycho' theme!

Over at the Hampton Inn, I discovered a "Pumpkouscious"/Confusious Pumpkin. Darn, I forgot to pick up my fortune cookie.

Mrs. Chiquita Pumpkin wants to make sure all the little ghosts and goblins start the day with a hearty breakfast.

Hampton's In-Room Maintenance pumpkin is going to guarantee guests won't open the door when they come knocking!

Hampton's Front Desk was a bit more difficult to decipher. Upon closer inspection, it spelled out 'Haunted' on the left and 'Hampton' on the right...I think.

Hampton's Housekeeping! I love the star.

Hey! I love the Hampton scarecrow. I felt like I was back home in Tennessee, except our scarecrows don't get so gussied up.

One of my favorites, Sudsy, was creatied by the Hampton Housekeeping Department. So cute.

Thanks to the Hilton and Hampton Hotels for this Halloween treat!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


" Friendship isn't about whom you have known the longest... It's about who came, and never left your side..."

~~ (sadly) Author Unknown

Wondrous beings

"Do you ne'er think what wondrous beings these?
Do you ne'er think who made them, and who taught...

"The dialect they speak, where melodies
Alone are the interpreters of thought?

"Whose household words are songs in many keys,
Sweeter than instrument of man e'er caught!"


The bigger picture

"Are you kiddin' me?"

[Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture to know what's really going on....]

"Birdie! Come here! Come down here now! Come play, bird!"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pensacola Beach Color Palette

I'm always amazed at the beautiful color of our gulf water.

Pink Muhly Grass

Have you noticed the lovely 'clouds' of Pink Muhly Grass blooming all around the island. It's a spectacular plant for this area.

This is a photograph of a few clumps in my yard, which are struggling along. In the spring I need to have an irrigation pipe extended to this area and give them more attention.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


"Leave the beaten track occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do so you will be certain to find something that you have never seen before...

"Follow it up, explore all around it, and before you know it, you will have something worth thinking about to occupy your mind...

"All really big discoveries are the results of thought."

~~ Alexander Graham Bell

Monday, October 27, 2008


What the heck is all this cold air coming into my little piece of paradise!

I took my little pee pup out for 'last call' tonight and nearly froze to death. When I came inside I discovered the thermometer read 55 degrees. Oops! It felt more like 35, but we are still experiencing high winds which makes it feel much colder. Guess we acclimate when we move south, but my Minnesota snowbird friends laugh when we discuss 'cold' weather.

My husband says he would have been wearing tee shirts in this weather when he lived in Chicago. Now, I observe smugly, he's shivering just like me!

It is supposed to be around 39 degrees inland tomorrow night, which could break a record. Thankfully we are surrounded by gulf water which is still around to 74 degrees, so we should be warmer out here on Pensacola Beach. I'm guessing our low will be around in the upper 40's, but I'll keep you informed. In the meantime, I'm breaking out the flannels. Now where did I put them.

What a difference

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday was sunny, warm and calm as I walked around Range Point toward Big Sabine. Today the wind is gusting close to 40 mph and the temps are dropping as the cold front heads our way. I keep my camera inside on days like this. Sand, dust and salt air are not camera-friendly.

Hammocks on the sound-side at Portofino looked appealing yesterday morning. Perfect escape with a good book. This morning you'd probably get flipped over by the stout wind.

I love this stretch of beach on the east side of Portofino. You can take a walk and feel like you have the island all to yourself this time of year.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Overlooking Range Point

Portofino towers overlook the estuary at Range Point and the views can be incredibly beautiful and peaceful on a day like this. I took a walk considerably past Range Point this morning and looking back toward Portofino I saw a Blue Heron fishing for breakfast.

Lemon time

Look! My Meyer lemons are beginning to ripen! I just love having citrus trees in my yard.

Porcupine or Puffer

And you wonder why I don't go in the water! I made a deal with marine creatures. If they stay in their environment, I'll stay in mine -- nesting sea turtles excluded, of course. So far it has worked out quite well.

I'm not sure if this is a porcupine fish, puffer or burrfish. Either way, he was quite intimidating and, I feared, poisonous. He even croaked at me -- enough to send me on my way!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Park East

I drove up to Park East today to check on our last sea turtle nest and was shocked at the amount of beach erosion I saw! Several more feet had washed away just in the past week.

I knew that winds were extremely high while I was gone. I saw Gulf Breeze personal weather station reports online which showed some gusts had gotten close to 40 mph.

Our poor little nest which had already gone through so much was covered once again with 2 to 3 feet of sand. Rangers have obviously been diligent to dig it out each time. We can only hope some will survive.

Looking up

I'm back home from Tennessee! We've been having some rainy, windy weather, but today was gorgeous and I headed out to the beach! Ahhhh....salt air. Things are looking up and so am I in this shot to show you our beautiful sky on Pensacola Beach today.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Trip to Tennessee

I will be leaving in the morning to take my mother back home to Tennessee and perhaps have an opportunity to see some of the fall colors through the mountains. I plan to stay a few days to help her on some projects, then return to Pensacola Beach on October 23rd or 24th.

Like many of you, I'll be checking in on Kirsten's 'Traveling Turtle Girl' blog to see what's happening on the island while away, especially since I am going to miss seeing the last hatchlings of the season. The final nest is due to hatch around October 20th.

I'll be back soon!

Black and Blue Salvia

Here is the latest addition to my garden: Black and Blue Salvia. Aren't the colors stunning? Hopefully, by next spring it will fill out, be loaded with blooms, and attract lots of butterflies and hummingbirds.

Do you see what I see?

This photo was taken about an hour ago at Park East. I walked about 10 feet toward the Gulf of Mexico from the end of the walkover and took the photograph. Click on the photo to enlarge it and you will see something surprising.

If you look at the people around and under the umbrella in the lower right-hand corner of the photo, you will notice there is a huge drop off of approximately 4 - 5 feet where high winds/high surf have caused considerable erosion. If you click HERE to check out my photos during Memorial Day Weekend, you will be able to see how much beach we have lost -- all of it since the first of September during Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Au naturale

The wind has shifted and is now coming out of the north, flattening the waves. Beautiful ribbons of color in the Gulf of Mexico start close to shore with the lightest aqua and get darker blue toward the horizon, accented here and there by a lacy ruffle of breaking waves across a sandbar.

The only thing I have done to this photo is reduce the resolution so it won't be oversized when you click to enlarge it. When you live in a paradise like this, there is no need for Photoshop!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tiny ghost

This was the tiniest of ghost crabs. The only reason I saw him was by his diminutive shadow. Did you know they can scurry along at speeds up to 10 mph! If you've ever tried to photograph one, you probably knew this to be true.

Deep shades of blue

It was a stunningly beautiful day on the beach. Deep shades of blue surrounded us. On mornings like this our sugar-white sand is dazzling as it reflects light.

Life is good.

The Willet

I love to follow along behind shore birds such as this Willet. My knowledge of birds is lacking, but I am learning.

Now if only my photography of them will improve!

Patches of time

What a beautiful start to the day: a walk on the beach.

"Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time, which every day produces, and which most men throw away, but which nevertheless will make at the end of it no small deduction for the life of man."

~~ Charles Caleb Colton

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The 'One'

One of my blog followers noted I was counting down with number of flowers blooms in recent posts, so voila! Here is my favorite 'one' - the Knock Out rose.

This beautiful rose is an answer to prayer for all those who love roses but can't grow them on a barrier island. Knock Out roses are blackspot resistant, drought tolerant, and even tolerate salt air (albeit mine where somewhat scalded in the high winds of Hurricane Ike).

The only problem I have with these beautiful roses is photographing them, as I've mentioned before. Their color is so brilliant that they seem to glow!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blue Sky Vine

Blue Sky Vine is not salt tolerant, otherwise I'd plant one at the foot of the trellis enclosing my outdoor stairwell. It is a beautiful flowering vine which can cover a trellis in a season and can be grown in this area on the mainland.

Purple Coneflower

Though the petals are fading, the cone-shaped heads of these purple coneflowers are spectacular.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Zootography 101

Thanks to Shelley Johnson, editor of the Island Times, I found out about a photography class - Zootography 101 - being held at The Zoo Northwest Florida today and signed up. We had an excellent instructor from Ritz-Wolf Camera Center, Robert Kepko.

There was a good turnout and everyone seemed to have a great time, especially me. Below are some of the photos from when we were treated to a special tour of the Zoo after our class. Be sure to click on photos you like to see them in full detail:

"Hey, lady, spread the word about what a great zoo this is...and try to do something about that loud-mouth kookaburra next door, okay?"

This is definitely not a paper tiger.

I have to get closer...

And closer...

Look at his incredible markings.

What a character! I think I see a bit of Irish in this orangutan.

He loves the crowd.

Ahhh....Mama gives her baby a piggyback ride.

Well, hello up there!

I love giraffes!

Did you know a giraffe's heart weighs approximately 25 pounds! No wonder I love these big-hearted animals.

A beautiful white stork.

Here you can see his black and white wings and pink legs.

A lemur enjoys a snack.

Wait a minute! Don't be chowing down on each other! For a moment it looked like one lemur was taking a bite out of the other, but they were really grooming each other like cats!

Ooooohhh...I think I'll be moving right along. He's staring at me like I'm lunch.

I'm out of my comfort zone around alligators. {{{shiver}}} I always get spooked when I hike around wetlands on the island. I know we have some lurking around somewhere.

An American White Ibis wades through a pond.

Their unusual curved beak makes them easy to identify.

An Australian goose known as the Cape Barren Goose. Its curved bill is the color of key lime pie!

It has such a interesting expression on its face.

Be sure to visit this wonderful Zoo, located on Highway 98. Also, call or check their website for all the special Halloween activities they have coming up this month!

I'm ready for Zootography 201!