Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

While I have the time and ambition, I’ll finish up the pictures of places I went with Bob and Misty so she can sincerely regret going back to snowy St. Louis!  Misty and I both love lighthouses and this is the second one we went to and climbed all the way to the top.  She saw some more on her way home along the Panhandle, but this one is the best.   Here’s Misty and Bob with the sign.  Another gorgeous day!

Bob & Misty by sign

I like what this sign says.  Click on it to read the creed of the Lighthouse Board.

Bell & sign

Pic on left is looking up from the bottom and on the left is looking down from the top.  203 steps.  Phew!  Looks kind of like a Nautilus shell.

Looking up Looking down

Here’s Misty and I at the base . . .

 Kathy & Misty at base

. . . and at the top!

Kathy & Misty

Here it is in all its glory.  Rigging and scaffold for repairs.

Ponce Light 1

Tiny moon!

Ponce Light 7 with moon

Views from the top.  Russel and Greta at the bottom in second pic.


Very cool to be able to drive down to the beach where we saw Black skimmers, hundreds of them!

Black Skimmers

Here’s Bob and Misty’s Odyssey, living up to its name.

Odyssey on the beach

Last glimpse of the Light from the beach.

Ponce Light 8

That’s it for Misty and Bob’s big adventure.  Thanks for stopping by.  As always, comments are welcome.

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Castillo San Marcos

I finally got a chance to finish processing the pics of places I took Misty and Bob to see while they were here.  When we went to St. Augustine, we finished the day at the Castillo San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the United States.  Saw it as a child about 50 years ago and it is still impressive.  Click on any picture to see the details and then back to return.

First up, Bob and Dee looking out at the Bay.  Cold and windy, but sunny.  You can wander all around the outside for free.

 Bob & Dee

These are pictures of the Castillo.  You can see how big it is with Bob for scale.  The second pic has a chopper flying by, a nifty juxtaposition of old and new.

Here’s the moat.

Castillo 5

This shows gun emplacements and the cannon ball oven.  Balls would be heated to red hot and then shot at wooden ships.  Pretty effective.

Castillo 4

Construction began in 1672.  This is a closeup of the coquina used to make the fort.  "Coquina" (Spanish for "tiny shell"), is a soft limestone made up of broken shells and sand cemented together by calcium carbonate, essentially creating a natural form of concrete. The stone for the Castillo was quarried on nearby Anastasia island.  When under siege, the English cannon had little effect on the walls of the fort. The coquina was very effective at absorbing the impact of the shells, allowing little damage to the walls.


You can read more about the Castillo at http://www.nps.gov/casa/index.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castillo_de_San_Marcos.

Thanks for stopping by.  As always, comments are welcome.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blue Springs Manatees

The day after Bob and Misty arrived in Florida, we drove over to see the Quilt Shop of Deland and took a surprise trip to Orange City to Blue Springs State Park.  I didn’t tell them we were going to see manatees, but when we entered the gate, there was a big sign with a silhouette of a manatee on it.  On the door by the ranger was a sign, “199 spotted today.”  So much for that surprise!  We got out and walked around, first down to the boat dock on the St. John side of the log boom that keeps boats out of Blue Springs.  Man, that water is blue!  The middle pic is Anhingas.  They wouldn’t spread their wings out to dry.  Click on any pic for a close up detail and then back to return.


Misty and Bob were impressed by their first up close look at a Live Oak.

Misty & Bob

Misty and me at the first viewing platform.

Misty & Kathy

And now for the reason we went.   Here’s our very first manatee.  All by himself, but he was not alone!

Manatee 1

The first pic is one cruising by and the other pics are of groups of them, ten or more.  The last pic shows one sticking his nose up for a snort of air.


This pic shows our first alligator lounging in the shade on the shore.  Looked kind of like a log, but a guy there kept insisting it was a gator.  Why he was in the shade, who knows, but looking at pic on monitor Russel knew what it was without being told.

Gator 1

Our second gator was lounging on a log in the sun.  Looking at the pic close up, the pattern on his back is clear.

Gator 2 

Here’s a pic of the fishies that swim by the hundreds in the springs.  Not sure if they were catfish or not.


This old fella was snuggled up next to a log right next to the shore.  On the close up, you can see the scars on his back from close encounters with boat props, the leading cause of manatee deaths.

Up Close

Have to tell a funny story on Misty’s sister.  When they visited Sanibel in 2009, they paid $50 a head for a boat tour to view wildlife, including manatees.  Nada.  I took Misty and Bob to Blue Springs and we saw a hundred manatees and some gators for the park entrance fee of less than $10 a car.  Of course, the manatees aren’t there all year round.  They gather in this spring every winter as the temp stays at 72 degrees, a lot warmer than the St. John River.  Here’s a pic of an information sign.  Click on it to read it.


That’s it for our trip to see manatees.  Misty and Bob were thrilled to pieces.  Still need to blog Castillo San Marco and Ponce Lighthouse.

Thanks for stopping by.  As always, comments are welcome.

(-: ¸.·´* .·´*¨¨)) -:¦:- ***
-:¦:- ·· ((¸¸.·´* .·´*((¸¸.·.·´ *-:¦:- ... :-)

St. Augustine Light With Misty & Bob

On January 8, I took my St. Louis friends Misty and Bob to see the lighthouse and and the Castillo San Marco in St. Augustine.  Misty and I are both lighthouse nuts, so every pic you see of Misty, she is grinning!  On the way there, I told Bob to pull over, pull over.  There was a bunch of birds on the side of the road, birdfooting around some crops.  From where we sat, I thought they were sandhill cranes.  After looking at the pictures at home, I realized they weren’t and looked them up.  Wood Storks!  Around them are cow egrets.  Click on any pic for a closeup, then click on back to return.

Wood Storks 2 

Then we went looking for St. Augustine Lighthouse, not sure which way to turn once we got off the causeway.  Easy decision as we could easily see it from the causeway, sticking up off to our left!  It was even more impressive up close!

Light 1Light 2 

Here we are at the base entrance with Bob standing by the Christmas tree at the base of the stairs..

Misty & Kathy at entrance Bob & Tree

These next pics wouldn’t get in order for me.  First is the view of the stairs looking up from base, second is about half way up looking down, third is Bob from the first landing and last is the view from the top all the way down.  Not for the faint of heart.

This was as high as Bob would go, about two landings up.  Not the 13th floor, just the 13th stop on the guided tour.

Misty & Bob

Proof that we made it to the top.  Cold and windy, but gorgeous!

Misty & Kathy

Here’s our views from the top, including Bob on the porch of the lighthouse keepers’ house.

This is a lovely little garden off to the side of the keepers’ house.  You can see the gnarly live oaks with their resurrection ferns on the branches.  It has rained recently, so the ferns were nice and green.

Garden & trees

Here’s the First Order Fresnel Lens from the inside.

Fresnel Lens 1st Order 

Misty on the porch of the keepers’ house.  Amazing that this was a burned out hulk in the 60’s!

Keepers' House

These were the first pics I finished processing.  Will finish up our trip to St. Augustine with the Castillo pics soon.  Going to work on the manatees at Blue Springs State Park first.

Thanks for stopping by.  As always, comments are welcome.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Shoebox Swap, Part Two

As promised, here’s the rest of the pics I took at our Shoebox Swap on January 8.  Misty is back home in St. Louis and I’ve got caught up on some stuff.  First up, the exchange cards.  Our theme for January was “Postage.”

Tange had a spare swap sample and since we aren’t anal about the theme, she used this for her exchange card.

Tange's Valentine

Patty did this four seasons of stamps card.

Patty's All Seasons

Here’s Melanie’s birdie on a branch with a pansies love stamp I have to find.

Melanie's Bird on a Branch

Lona made this collage, slipping some stamps in to fit the theme.

Lona's butterflies

Here’s Holly’s Love postcard . . .

Holly's Love Postcard.

. . . and Jeannie’s African “Pachyderme” stamp.

Jeannie's African stamp 

I made this sympathy card using a postage template and scissors.

Kathy's butterfly stamps

Helen made this love card with the same template.

Helen's Love Stamps

Ella made this bright card using foreign stamps.

Ella's Travel Stamps

Cheryl was visiting us and brought this Asian-inspired card using the postage template, I think.

Cheryl's Asian stamps

Misty brought this Springtime card using the template.

Dee's Flower Stamps

Here’s Helen working away on a swap.


Jeannie scored something at the used stamp sale that made her happy!

Happy Jeannie

Ella and Cheryl smiled for me!

Cheryl & Ella

Holly and Pam are engrossed in their swaps and ignoring me.

Holly & Pam

Therese and Linda smiled for me.  Misty is in the back working on my swap.

Ursula & Therese

Patty, Theresa, Janice, Lona, Ella and Cheryl, all busy.

Theresa & Janice

These are the pics Helen shared with everyone.

I’ll be sharing pics of the places we took Misty and Bob to see:  Lighthouses, manatees, beaches. 

Thanks for visiting.  As always, comments are welcome.

(-: ¸.·´* .·´*¨¨)) -:¦:- ***
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