Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Round up The Usual Suspects...

I don't know about the rest of the country but March went out like a lamb here in Florida. In a couple of days we went from early Spring to Summer lite and 75 degrees! As always, click each photo for a better view.

The usual suspects have returned to my bird feeder. The backyard bully woodpecker has not changed his ways, and despite being much too large for the feeder, still drives the other birds away and finds a way to eat his fill.

I saw this little miss through a window doing what I call "Cardinal watch." She sat there patiently and allowed me to take as many pictures as I wanted. That is why I call it Cardinal watch because she was not disturbed by my presence, highly unusual, which let me know she regarded the area as her territory.

The garden has begun to come to life. I cheated a little and bought two tomato plants I thought would keep me busy while I waited for the others to grow from seeds.

Both already have blooms and small tomatoes.

The squash too have come to life. Notice how dark the soil is. I always find it amazing that you could almost throw the seeds on the ground here and life would burst from it.

And so, the vision of becoming a backyard gardener is quickly moving from dream to wonderful reality. Can standing with a pitchfork in front of the garden doing "Single American Gothic" be far off?

I was listening to a gardening program on the radio the other day, and the guy giving advice casually stated that tomatoes are generally the gateway drug into full blown gardening. I confess! I have planned and planted so much I am ready to go into rehab... But, before I check myself in I still need to buy and plant onions around my crop as a natural method of keeping pests away. I'm raising my right hand and promise rehab after that!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Small Town In America

I read a little about the town of Green Cove Springs and since I had been working a lot lately it felt good to take some time off during the week. I went expecting to visit their Train Museum but once I arrived, found that the museum is only open on Sundays.

Not to be denied, I decided to walk around and realized I had stepped a little back in time to small town America. As always, click each photo for a better view.

As you can read on the sign above, Green Cove Springs used to be a booming tourist town that people came to for the mineral springs at what was called "The Sarasota of the South." But then the railroads began to route people further south and the town was left behind. The town itself reminds me of mountain towns back in Colorado... isolated and a little slow but in a sleepy, pleasant way. There is something to be said for small town life that makes you remember a simpler time.

This old movie house was closed but just seeing it made me think of how excited I was as a girl to go to the movies and lose myself in the excitement of what was on the screen. These types of movie houses were small and intimate which served to make going to the movies an event, something lost at the Multi-plex.

The City Hall is a prominent fixture on the main road that runs through the town for all the people heading someplace else. It is a beautiful Mediterranean style building that seems almost inconsistent with the old style Florida feel of the rest of the area.

Green Cove Springs sits right on the St. Johns River and behind the City Hall is a little park and a pier that looks out over the St. John.

The park was nice enough with a little stream running through it, but the smell of sulfur from the mineral springs hung in the air.

From the park there is a great view of the St. Johns and a lovely view of the little pier. Evidently this area is a gathering spot in a small town without much happening. I ran into several teenagers just hanging out in the sun.

And then I saw it! Within a block of the river was this beautiful old house that almost had me expecting to see Mark Twain sitting on the wrap around porch. It was the kind of place that sent your mind into overdrive with thoughts of life on the river that Twain wrote about.

It looked like a personal home but I would have given anything to look around inside. I took a side view to give a sense of just how big the house is. I'll leave it to you to guess the number and size of the rooms. If you look closely near the chimney stacks is a deck or overlook and I could just imagine standing there late into the night looking out over the river. Again, a simpler time...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Promise of Spring...

It is the day before the official first day of Spring and I am enjoying a warm, beautiful day. I love this time of year... everything seems to be waking up from the long sleep of Winter.

Even Daddy has shaken off his ground hog status and is planning his next conquest at the Senior Center. And so I thought it only fitting to give you an update on all the doings as the backyard once again comes back to life and I can enjoy, for a few months at least, why I moved to Florida. As always, click each photo for a better view.

Long before the official date the trees somehow knew that it was time and I could see buds. It feels nice most days now to sit on the pergola and watch the leaves develop almost like butterflies coming out of a cocoon.

My old nemesis, the dark spooky tree, that was tamed last year is still there but not much of a threat now.

in fact, so much light now comes through that I decided to make a small garden out of that corner of the backyard. Daddy says I am ambitious in that I have planted all kinds of vegetables to the point of making myself a full time farmer, but I think it will be fun to just go in the backyard and pick food from the ground. I will provide regular updates as it progresses.

The birds have also decided to return and it feels reassuring to hear either the tapping of a woodpecker or the cooing of a pair of wild doves that have taken up residence.

Daylight Saving Time now gives me time in the evenings to enjoy a glass of wine and ponder the plants that did not survive the hard winter,

the flowers that are blooming everywhere (even if they are weeds),

and yes, JLBO, even the makings of the afternoon barbecue!

That is truly the promise of Spring and what looks like a lot of work this Summer...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Off the Wall Sculptors

I guess you could say that I have had enough of cabin fever as the weather warms up because there was an art show titled "Off the Wall Sculptors" at the Karpeles Museum and I decided to go.

You might remember the Karpeles from the handwriting analysis I did on several mystery writers. This was a juried show and promised to be interesting. The sun was shining and it was beginning to once again feel like Florida so why not? As usual, click each photo for a better view.

Unlike the previous visit, there were plenty of others who had the same idea so it was interesting to get other's impressions of the art work.

This piece titled "Lamelliform 200" really caught my eye. It is a striking piece especially when viewed from different angles. I've provided two different views so you can get the feel of how it's shape moves the eye.

I really liked how viewing it from a different angle gives a totally different perspective. The piece is made out of laminated wood.

Another very interesting piece was this owl titled "Owlexander The Great". It really is great in my estimation because he is carved out of a gourd.

The back view really gives a sense of the detail that is involved.

A really whimsical piece was this couch or davenport which looks like it is ready to take flight. I guess that was the idea because it is made out of fabricated steel and titled "Davenportation".

Talk about quiet reflection. This bronze piece "Quiet Repose" makes you want to spend hours just pondering peaceful thought.

Another piece titled "Wings" seemed minimally abstract when compared to the full sized bird in the background. It is welded steel done by the same artist.

Very much like the earlier piece "Quiet Repose" this alabaster piece, while simple, some how caused me to stop and ponder it. There is a quiet beauty to it, and the dark smooth lines causes the eye to almost caress it.

The shape and color of this piece "Eclipse"caught my eye as well. It is wood and welded steel and despite the fact the largest portion is a static wheel, the colors give the impression that the wheel is somehow moving. Odd, very odd!

And finally, the most dominate piece of the show. I say dominate because it was over six feet high and hung from the wall, but looks like a necklace. The title "Rust and Satin #7", made from etched steel, rope, and leather. What do you think?

All-in-all it was a wonderful afternoon and I still had time to do a little walking around. Spring can't be far off...