The Chasm(s) Revisited

IMGP3298There were certain promises made that Scenic Highway in Pensacola would be reopened by the 30th of June, so of course, when I got there in early July, one of the first orders of business was to check the progress.  I already knew it wasn’t finished, but I was interested in seeing how they would fix it.  I thought perhaps they would just make a bridge of that portion of the road.

IMGP3309We set off down the railroad tracks, since they haven’t been letting people walk up to the holes lately on the street.  From this vantage point, we could see the new, much larger drains they are installing . . .

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. . . as well as the retaining wall that they are building . . .

IMGP3399. . . and the mountain of clay they are using to fill the holes.

IIMGP3338t was much more exciting to look at when there were huge holes and vehicles in the bottom, but seeing how they are building the soil back up and creating retaining walls was fascinating.  Later on we were able to walk up to it on the highway, and we could see that they have filled the holes up to the height of the retaining wall.  I didn’t get photos of that, though, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

IMGP3322While we were down there, a train came and my very photogenic nephew stood watching it.  Have I mentioned lately that I love trains?

IMGP3366 IMGP3343 IMGP3402One of the most exciting developments is still the new beach the storm gave us.  Escambia Bay’s shore has been disappearing for most of my life, beginning with one hurricane or another, so a little bit of beach showing up is wonderful.  It looks to me as if it is growing, too.

IMGP3361 IMGP3360For some reason last night, as I posted this, I wrote that the Clay Hills of my memory were demolished by this storm.  That was not true at all; they are still there.  However, this storm did wash a lot of the clay from the nearby terrain out onto the sand, where it is drying and curling.

IMGP3393As fun as it was to explore, it was a hot, hot day (102, according to my car), so soon we turned and walked back down the tracks, past the spot where my grandmother’s house once stood, and back up to my mother’s house.IMGP3413


IMGP3119Lately I have been dreaming of mimosas.  Yes, but that is not a mimosa, you may say.  That’s actually a silk flower, mimosas are yellow.  That may be true, but I grew up calling these mimosas, as do many others in the Southern US.  I love these flowers, which seem to bloom forever during the spring.  The trees burst with them, the blooms staying vibrant for weeks.  I always think, I’ll have to get photos of those tomorrow.

IMGP3106And then they begin to fade.  This year I noticed it in time, before all the color was leached from the blooms.

IMGP3112The funny thing is, it is not MY mimosas I am currently obsessing over, but the yellow kind.  These grow in France apparently, and are actually Acacias.  That makes things a little confusing.  When I googled mimosa, I came up with many similar flowers, but the only kind with mimosa in the name is Mimosa Pudica, which aren’t trees at all, but low growing herbs.  In any case, it is the French mimosa that has been haunting my dreams, without me ever having seen it in person.

IMGP3120You see, several months ago, I received a sample of a perfume named Mimosa Pour Moi, that smelled heavenly.  It smelled like cherry Jolly Rancers, but in an amazing way.  Unfortunately, the perfume is beyond my means, so I will just dream a little longer.


Rain Falling on Cedars

IMGP3021Technically, the rain had already fallen and it’s only one cedar, but that just doesn’t have the same ring.  In any case, when I came home yesterday afternoon after a thunderstorm, the sun was shining through the rain and lighting up the branches.

IMGP3032For some reason, we think of evergreens as something you only see at Christmas time, but they are beautiful all year.  Like my roses, my cedar tree is one of those things that make me happy to see my house.



What’s Your Superpower?

IMGP3001Today I find myself again at the Haile office, which is at least interesting on a Saturday morning while the market is in full swing.  I got here a few minutes early so I could spend a minute or two looking at the market, at least the part right outside my office door.

IMGP2991 IMGP3008 Although this is not strictly a farmers market, fruits and vegetables do make up a large portion of the goods for sale.  I’m not sure of the rules here, whether these are all locally grown or not, but they are vibrant and fresh looking.

IMGP2989 IMGP2995Right now there are melons galore, ready to cool you down in the heat of summer, which somehow still isn’t quite here in the ordinary Florida way.  If you are from the north and looking for a Florida vacation, now is the time to come down.  It’s been in the 80s for the most part lately, which is rather miraculous in June.  I’m afraid it’s too much to hope that we can have a truly mild summer, so for now I’m enjoying what we’ve got.

IMGP3010After looking around a bit, I went back inside and opened up the office, then looked across the street and saw this:IMGP3014

Back outside I went, camera and wallet in hand, hoping for a chance to sample such unabashed southern joy!

IMGP3012Alas, it was not to be.  The vendor takes only cash and I had only cards.  The flavor of pecan wood infused into bacon will have to wait for another day, but knowing that such a thing exists has filled my heart with joy.IMGP3015

Ticket to Ride!

IMGP2952Soon after I moved to Gainesville, I bought myself a Bianchi hybrid bike with the intention of riding it all over Gainesville.  The problem is, I am a little scared of the roads here, and I didn’t really have the time to build up the stamina to get anywhere very far away.  Then my son borrowed my bike and it got stolen and that was the end of that.

IMGP2958Recently my youngest had to have her road bike fixed AGAIN (she’s a little hard on it), so while I was at Bikes + More, I ordered bikes that we can take to the trails.  They are finally in!

IMGP2960We headed over to Loblolly Woods on NW 34th Street to test them out today.  I was completely pitiful, puffing and wheezing within minutes, but it was so wonderful anyway.  Being on a bike feels so free, like summer days in childhood.  How do I let myself forget that?

IMGP2969It seems like we forget a lot of stuff as adults about how to have fun.  I am charging you, dear and faithful reader, with the onus of going out and having fun this week doing something physically taxing.



IMGP2877It rained yesterday.  That happens frequently around here, but the clouds were dense, and the sun was low behind them.  There was a beautiful grey brightness that caught my eye, so I grabbed my camera.  First I tried to take some indoor photos, but it was a little too dark for those to work well, so I went outside.IMGP2879My yard is a little bit redneck.  Vines and wild things sprout all around it, and I don’t do much to get rid of them.  They creep along my back fence, which will probably need to be replaced soon, but for now has a certain amount of charm.IMGP2889They climb along my shed, and every year I make some attempts to rid the shed of these vines, but the vines always win.   The truth is, I like a little bit of wilderness in my yard, so I don’t try hard to tame it.

Going Buggy

Gainesville seems to have bugs everywhere I look lately, even more than usual.  Most of them I would rather never see again, but dragonflies always delight me.  They are everywhere right now, even my own back yard.

IMGP2785This little guy was just hanging on on a grass stalk, watching me.

IMGP2774They make great subjects because they love to pose on things.  This beautiful blue one casts its shadow on one of my chair.

IMGP2833They also come in a lot of different colors.  The blue and red ones are what I see most often, but there are also green ones, brown ones, and yellow ones.  This is one of the brightest ones I have ever seen.

IMGP2761It’s fun to watch dragonflies flit around, dashing and darting with their wings catching the light.  They can be amazingly quick, and nearly impossible for me to capture as they fly, but fortunately, they take frequent breaks where I can sneak up to them and shoot them.



Home Again

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Traveling is always fun, but it feels good to be back home again.  I braved the biting flies, which seem worse than ever this year, to go visit my lake.  It was calm today, with no alligators.

IMGP2682An egret hung out on the other side of the lake, far enough away that it is just a white blur on the green background.

IMGP2697After hunting around for fish, it took off and flew away.

IMGP2704Honeysuckle fills the air with childhood memories.  As a little girl, I would sit within the shade of an immense tangle of honeysuckle so big it had formed a child-size dome.  It was my playhouse, better than any manmade hideaway (although our treehouse was awfully nice as well).


Feeding Time

IMGP2622My daughter lives on acreage with cows, so one of the things she does is feed the cows.  Of course, they are cows and there is grass for them to eat, but their diet is rounded out with either leftover produce or cow feed.  Don’t ask me any more about that, because I don’t know what cow feed is.  The cows like it though, and gather around the fence when they sense it is time for feed.

IMGP2640There is a new baby out there, but he’s pretty shy and tends to stick close to his mama.  He’s big enough now to actually eat with the other cows, although not so big that it’s his main food.  These cows aren’t dairy cows and they aren’t grown for meat, they just get to live here so that the land is agricultural and the taxes are lower.  It’s not a bad life for the cows.

IMGP2650Even Duke, the bull, seems to think it’s a pretty decent way to live.

After the Party

IMGP2591My daughter, who now wears mud boots to work and takes care of animals for a living, has always loved dressing up.  She also loves ceremony, so of course, she loves tea parties.  She doesn’t often have the time or the money to entertain on even the smallest level, but this time, she managed to prepare a tea party full of wonderful food and drink for us.

IMGP2597The table was beautifully set, and we had not only tea but prosecco floats (one whole Italian ice, hibiscus iced tea & prosecco) as well.  Of course, I didn’t even think of photos until we were winding down and the pink of the floats was illuminated by the bright window on the other side of the table.

IMGP2606The refreshments were wonderful, since this is my daughter we are talking about.  She made a feast for us all, with beautiful cucumber sandwiches (note:  those cute little square cocktail breads at the grocery store are really, really dry and blah).

IMGP2601Amazingly, we did not eat all of the almond cake filled and frosted with apricot whipped cream. Maybe because she made so many?

IMGP2603The beautiful spread included cookies from the local Italian bakery, which were properly demolished, and local honey from the beekeeper her boyfriend works for to sweeten our tea.

IMGP2610As wonderful as the food was, relaxing in pleasant company was the best part of the day.



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