November « 2009 « verdure
various adventures
Sunday, November 29th, 2009

We’ve gone to several parks this month. Here are some of the better pictures I got:

Hillsborough River State Park

This is probably a Racer, like the smaller version we saw recently in our front yard.

With the recent rain, the resurrection ferns were still green. These and other epiphytes cover the oak boughs at this park.

Upper Tampa Bay County Park, Nov 26

Downy woodpecker, the smallest woodpecker in North America, and very energetic. It was hopping around one of the pine trees affected by the controlled burns.

White peacock butterfly. We also saw a few common buckeyes, and a pink rattlebox moth.

Weedon Island, Nov 22

Improved yellow crowned night heron pictures. The crouched one with the red eye was very close to where I took the first yellow crowned night heron pictures as few months ago, so it may be the same individual. It’s amazing how much neck they untuck with they spy a snack.

Sawgrass Lake Park, Nov 14

Baby alligator. We saw three adults in the park as well, sunning themselves. Perhaps it was a bit too cold for hunting.

Three turtles and green heron. These were pretty far away and I didn’t notice the middle turtles at the time. Now I wish I’d spent a few more pictures trying to get the exposure better.

Caledesi State Park, Nov 8:

Gopher tortoise. This little guy (or girl? Aren’t you supposed to be able to tell by length of tail? I see no tail in any of my pictures, though I wasn’t trying to shoot for that at the time) was on the side of the road near the ferry dock. The grass it’s in is what passes for lawn here. We saw another, much larger gopher tortoise on the island, but I didn’t get any good pictures of it.

Oyster catchers. While not terribly shy, the last time we saw these was in December of last year.

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Monday, November 16th, 2009

My grandmother died last Friday. I can’t say that we were close. It’s been several years since I’ve visited that side of the family. From what I’m told, the personality I knew had slipped away a while ago, and she lately required a lot of care for a body whose mind wasn’t there. This last stage of passing sounds honestly like a positive thing for everyone involved.

I’ve been looking through the pictures I have of her and her family, most collected (in embarrassingly poor quality) for a slideshow created for her and my grandfather’s 50th wedding anniversary. The most recent, post slideshow, is from around 2006. In the span of a few moments, the snapshots transform her from child to newlywed to elderly woman. I only experienced the latter part of this person, and have a hard time imagining what the earlier parts would have been like. Generations speak across wide chasms of world views, the human condition colored by vastly different assumptions as to what is obvious and relevant. And eventually, there are only fragments, and those younger fill in the gaps with both the familiar and the foreign, painting a picture that those who experienced it might not even recognize.

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backyard happenings
Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Right now there is a squirrel throwing acorns on the awning over the back door. It’s really loud. The squirrels don’t particularly like us, but they seem especially perturbed by this kitty cat, which has been coming by for pets, and maybe food, but moreso the attention.

A couple of weeks ago this polyphemus moth fell from the oak tree, disoriented and seemingly unable to fly away, probably near the end of its life. It’s the largest moth I’ve ever seen in person.

The Newcomers Survival Guide to Florida Gardening says that fall is when you plant most of your vegetable garden, so we are trying again. The chives are actually holdovers from the spring, having perked up a little lately, but still not doing well enough to harvest from. Basil is in the blue bin behind, and is doing the best of the plants we’ve started from seed. We also have started tomatoes, carrots, yellow squash and lettuce. We bought a roma tomato and parsley as plants, as so far the plants we’ve boughten (not started from seeds) have been the only ones we’ve gotten to harvest from.

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