Thursday, April 30, 2009

Maria's Seafood

I bet many of you know where this photo was taken! It's a wall at Peg Leg Pete's.

Maria's Seafood Market, the top sign on the wall, is one of the local's favorite seafood markets in Pensacola.

[You didn't really think I'd leave that snakeskin photo up long for folks to see first thing, did you?]

Unpleasant surprise

You'd think that strange-looking grey rope in the yard had just blown in from somewhere...until you look closer!

Ugh...not a happy camper right now! Logically I understand that snakes help us keep the beach rat population under control, but that doesn't improve my 'ugh' response to this 4 1/2 ft. snakeskin.

A morning walk

What a beautiful morning for a walk to Range Point. The sky was full of fluffy clouds and a perfect time to lean back against a tree and enjoy the view overhead

Another shot of a sparse Coral Bean flower nearby.


Goldenrod is blooming here and there on the island, including areas around Range Point. It adds a lovely splash of yellow to the landscape.

I feel a bit sorry for goldenrod because it frequently takes the rap for ragweed, another plant which causes a lot of problems for allergy sufferers and just happens to bloom at the same time. Ragweed has airborne pollen, but goldenrod pollen is heavy and sticky, and is carried by insects. So next time you see goldenrod, just enjoy!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Evening reflection

"Only let the moving waters calm down; and the sun and moon will be reflected on the surface of your being.”

~ Jalal ah-Din Rumi (1207-1273)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On the dock

"I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.

~~ Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Coral Bean plant

This indigenous flowering shrub which I've posted about before is called red cardinal, Cherokee bean, or coral bean, depending on what part of the country you're from.

The red flowers stand out brightly along brushy banks and wooded areas of the island. Since they flower early in the spring, I enjoy taking photos of them, but could never quite figure out why one of the names it goes by is coral bean...until now. Yesterday I had the "ah ha" moment!

As I walked closer to get photo I saw many of the shrubs had small gray pods hanging from the stems...

and some had even burst open to show...coral-colored beans.

The 'beans' are extremely poisonous. In fact, the Wiki article I linked to above stated they are poisonous enough to have been used as rat poison in the past. Yet it goes on to say that Native American Indians used various other parts of the plant (roots, leaves, etc.) for medicinal purposes and even made beaded necklaces from the beans themselves! Go figure!
Obviously you would have wanted to stay on the good side of the medicine man/woman back in the day!
So enjoy your walks, enjoy the wild flowers, but don't taste the coral beans.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Goombay Festival, Day Two

The music at Goombay was so great yesterday that we decided to come back with chairs and spend a couple of hours just enjoying the experience.

Folks loved the enthusiastic steel drum band from the University of Georgia.

Scott and Charlotte Field kicked back and enjoyed the calypso sounds and beautiful afternoon on Devilliers Street.

A group from the University of West Florida took over in between sets and entertained the crowd as they filed down the street making sweet music with their steel drums.

She's feelin' the groove and brightening our day!


Hey! It almost looks like me. Just make that a diet coke and add a camera.

The most exciting thing that happened today was that I met PJ, a lady I've been wanting to meet for a long time, a very talented local photographer who manages several blogs. You'll be hearing more about PJ soon.

A strange coincidence that, never having met, we each knew who the other was, and I grabbed another photographer who happened to be standing nearby (a visitor from Germany, no less) to document the occasion for us! Please be sure to check out PJ's blogs. I barely keep one going, I don't know how she does it with three!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

2009 Goombay Festival!

Today was the first time I have ever attended the Goombay Festival in Pensacola. Thanks to the suggestion of one of my blog followers, Tony Miller, I decided to check it out after I came back from the Scratch Ankle Festival in Milton this morning.

Thanks, Tony!

This weekend is actually the 3rd Annual Goombay Festival. It has become the second largest gathering of steel drums in the United States. The festival location is at W. Belmont Street and N. De Villiers Street.

When I arrived, the Foley High School Steel Drum band was playing and these kids were hot, hot, HOT! I loved them! It would be great to hear them perform for us at Bands on the Beach.

This looks like so much fun, doesn't it? Somebody want to hold my camera?

This fellow was quite a performer and had lots of personality. I'm not sure what the instrument is, but it's sort of like a xylophone of gourds.

Hey there again, Leigh Ann! Leigh Ann (in the brown sundress) came up to say hello shortly after I arrived at the festival and I was really surprised that she knew who I was since we've never met. Turns out she's been a blog follower for quite a while and said my hat and camera were the giveaway! Girl, you get the 'Nancy Drew' award!, is this little princess a cutie or what! She loves to dance and was really enjoying the music.

What a face! I'm sure we could come up with a caption and market this photo. Isn't she a hoot? This is what happens when baby can't get down and dance. And as we all know, "Nobody puts Baby in the corner."

I had so much fun today that I'm skipping the Flora-Bama event tomorrow as planned and coming back to Goombay with a beach chair. So if you see a lady with a sunhat and a camera, grooving to the music of those fabulous steel's probably me.

Scratch Ankle Festival 2009

It's time for the Scratch Ankle Festival in Milton, Florida again! It runs through 6:00 p.m. Sunday. I really liked the new tee shirts this year.

Nice looking produce was available. Milton has a small farmers' market set up a block off of Main Street on the weekends in the summer.

Folks were chillin' out on park benches along the Riverwalk, eating, and listening to live music.

There didn't seem to be as many arts and crafts this year, but there were plenty of food vendors.

Folks were having a good time.

Proud to be from Milton!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sand Blackberries, Part II

Remember my post from March 20th? Well guess what those lovely little sand blackberry flowers around Range Point developed into? Yup! Luscious ripe berries -- and yes, I did stop to eat some this morning.

Guess I'll be taking a colander along on my next hike and gather enough for a cobbler. Spring on the beach. Life doesn't get much better than this.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I like LaMar!

I was invited to a reception held this evening for Maureen LaMar, the new Executive Director for the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce. What a lovely person! She may have spent much of her childhood in Alaska, but she gives off born-for-the-beach vibes. She's also down-to-earth, energetic, knowledgeable, and personable. I give her a thumb's up already!

You may read more about Maureen in the current edition of Island Times, by clicking HERE, then going to page two.

Tea time

I forgot to post this interesting photo a week or so ago, but I still wanted to share it with you. When I was taking photos from a Portofino unit I noticed the water in Santa Rosa Sound had turned the color of tea. In the years I've lived here, I've never seen it look this way, so I quickly wrote a couple 'experts' to see what was going on.

Mark Nicholas, a biologist at Gulf Islands National, and Chips Kirchenfeld of Coastkeepers both wrote back to explain recent flooding of major Alabama rivers had resulted in large amounts of suspended sediment washing into Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound. That sediment contained high levels of Tanin, a natural product from leaf material breaking down (stay with me - think Earl Gray tea leaves). So, in a way, our water turned to tea!

Mark added that although it is a natural watershed process, it can get compounded by all the lawn/farm fertilizers and herbicides that get washed along with it.

Click on the photo to see our Santa Rosa 'tea'.

Signs of spring

You can tell it's spring when the Dollarweed starts popping up everywhere!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Panhandle Butterfly House is open!

It was opening day for the 2009 season at the Panhandle Butterfly House in Navarre. They will be open until Labor Day: Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Sunday noon to 4:00 p.m.

This year my mother was able to attend and see all the work they've completed on gardens. It looks great!

The plants and the butterflies are lovely. It's a good place to discover what type of plants you might enjoy having in your own yard, especially if you are interested in attracting butterflies or hummingbirds.

A beautiful Julia (Dryas Iulia).

We'll be seeing many Monarchs make their way along the coast as they migrate.

This Zebra longwing is stunning. It is the official Florida state butterfly. Unfortunately we don't see a lot of them in the area.

Another Julia.

To my mother's delight, a Julia landed on her hand and sat there for several minutes.

I love the large variety of flowering plants at the Panhandle Butterfly House almost as much as the butterflies!

A colorful Strawflower.

Click on the photo to see more detail on the Monarch above. She looks like she's wearing a tiny fur cape!

I didn't learn the name of this delicate-looking flower. [NOTE: I have the best blog followers. This flower was identified by both Scottie and Claire as the spider flower, Cleome.]

A hardy geranium.

Look at the way mother has her hand positioned. Do you think she's trying to coax another butterfly?

Inside, there is a huge collection of butterflies such as the one above. Some are huge!

Please take time to visit the Panhandle Butterfly House in Navarre this summer. Since the road from Pensacola Beach to Navarre Beach is now open, it is a beautiful and much shorter trip!