Thursday, November 6, 2008

Flying What??

I said I wanted to get more involved with the Native Plant Society and that's exactly what's happening. First the plant sale (if I forgot to tell you, we had a very large native plant society plant sale at the USF Botanical Gardens and I volunteered for it). Here are some pictures from it:
And no, these are not native plants, but they were really beautiful and also being sold at the sale, so I took pictures.

And now, before I knew what was really happening, I ended up on the board! They invited me to a board meeting to see what it was like. It was held at Troy's house and wow is his garden breath-taking! Here's just some of what I saw in there:
And here's what else he had:
Yup, those are BABY FLYING SQUIRRELS! They are the southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) to be exact. He owns a landscaping business and unfortunately while doing a job one day, his crew cut down a tree with a nest holding these two cuties. And of course, once the nest is down, it's unlikely the mother would return and be able to care for them in the same capacity. So Troy is fostering them until they're big enough to fly free! Of course, I couldn't keep my hands off them and I offered to feed them for him while he showed off his garden. They were the cutest things! I thought about stealing one (perhaps not the best idea I've had), but they seemed really happy in his care and I decided to just get some pictures to remember them by.

Do you see what I see?

I was recently doing some field work in Winter Haven, FL (woohoo! finally some time in the field for work...I live for this!). My field partner, KT, and I were taking groundwater samples when KT looked up and said "oh, my, do you see that snake?". Where? Where? I don't see it!! (can you see the snake hiding in this vegetation?Well, I didn't either. Until she pointed out a nice little snake climbing in the tree about 2 feet from my nose. And here he is! How cute! He was just hanging out and trying to blend in. You can see from above that he really did blend in very well, but once I put a flash on him, he really lit up. How beautiful!
This is a yellow rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata), distinguished by his color and the black racing stripes down his back. Hehe, and check this out - the yellow rat snake is also called a Chicken Snake! Is that because he eats chickens or because he's a scaredy cat?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Honeymoon Island...romantic solo trip

The other weekend I drove up to Lake Shore Camera Exchange in Palm Harbor to attempt to get my Panasonic Lumix camera fixed. It was a gift from two people who are important to me and somehow in my excitement to take pictures at the beach one weekend, I got sand in know the kind, the really fine beautiful Florida sand. Well, long story short, the repair people up there told me that sand is pretty much the end of days for a camera and it'd be easier to replace the camera than to fix it. What a bummer.
Do you know what this is?

Well, luckily, I took along my DSLR Canon Rebel XT, so while I was in that part of town, I ventured over to Honeymoon Island for the first time. What an amazing park! Apparently it is the most visited Florida State park and was voted to have the best beaches in Florida. That is definitely obvious once you step into the visitor's center which is the most elaborate and expensive visitor's center I've ever seen at a state park, but somehow they also constructed it so that it really fits into that landscape, so it's a great asset. I didn't stay very long, but I took a little walk around the bay side of the park with my camera (see collage at top of post) and then ventured over to the beach side to find a couple surfers. And you'll be happy to hear that I didn't get sand in my nice camera and I still salvaged a beautiful day.

Ski Bunny Attack!

This year for Halloween, Simon and I took a road trip to Jacksonville for the annual culmination of the football rivalry between the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs at the "world's largest cocktail party". This year we stayed out of the rambunctious crowd and had a lovely somewhat relaxing weekend of sipping beers and hanging out with friends. Want to know what I dressed up as??

I was a 70s ski bunny and Simon was Reverend Run
Here's the relaxing part:

America's Wang Moving in the Right Direction

So this is my first election for which I voted as a resident of Florida. The first presidential election I voted in was in Pennsylvania in 2004 for the Kerry vs. Bush election. It's pretty exciting to be voting from a swing state. I feel like my vote actually counted more than if I had been living in a very Republican or Democrate biased state. So I marched my little butt out to the polls on Nov 4, 2008 at 6:45am...a time of the morning that normally finds me very grumpy...but yesterday I could barely sleep through the night I was so excited to get up and go mark my very own scantron in favor of my candidate of choice.
Then, yesterday evening, I picked a barstool from which to watch the results at one of my favorite stomping grounds - Yeoman's. Everyone in the bar was really amped up and anxious to know the potential of our next 4 years in this country. And boy were we excited to find out the winner...OBAMA!! Yay! My vote actually counted and it appears so did a lot of other people's in crazy ol' Florida!! What a victory!

Check it out!