Saturday, February 16, 2019

Sharp-shinned Hawk

It's WHAT kind of hawk? 

Oh, that's a Sharp-shinned Hawk! 

Well of course we had NO IDEA what it was when we saw it. Since it was small, we wondered if it was a juvenile!

 We see lots of hawks here in Florida but this one was 'new to us'. We had to pull out the 'big guns'! 

The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley 
We have several Florida Identification books but we needed Sibley's!
We were on the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway in a nice open area.

I'm surprised I even noticed it on this bare tree!
And I was so glad hubby was along with his Nikon P900 with better zoom! 

And why is it called Sharp-shinned? 
The information I read said it had featherless legs! Who knew! 

Hubby comes in handy for using his cap to compare the size of HUGE stickery weeds too!

I sure wouldn't put my cute pink cap next to that weed, would you?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE
and I’d Rather B Birdin’.

Friday, February 15, 2019

"My Heart"

I didn't expect to write a post today and it will put some things 'out of order'. I have a scheduled post where I discuss my hiking clothes! 
But when something incredible happens, you have to share!
We hiked on Valentine's Day. Is that incredible? Well, it really was! But that's not what prompted this post.
When I sat down to work on my photos this morning I saw THIS!

My husband took a photo of me with one of my new hiking outfits.
It was a beautiful day here in Florida. Temps in the 70s with clouds in the sky but lots of sunshine too. We got back on the Florida Trails with some old old Live Oak Trees filtering the bright sun through their leaves.

And what did I see when I zoomed in to see what kind of goofy smile I had on my face?

A heart!  A sunny heart!

A heart right there on my shirt.

I didn't do anything to enhance it in this photo. This is just how it looks in the 'straight out of the camera' pic! The sunshine gave me a perfect heart!
(I added the text and heart under the text to match the one that nature gave me)


I hope your day is filled with happy surprises too! 💗

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you all have a day filled with 
  LOVE and Happiness!

I decorated just a little in my living room this year.

The lighting is not great to show this little table (filled with tea cups) behind my sofa so I made mosaics to share.

Wishing you much happiness today and every day! 💘

I’m joining Thankful Thursdays.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Wood Ducks and Yellow Jessamine

We saw so many contrasts on our hike at Blue Run Park in Dunnellon over the weekend.

The Wood Ducks are so colorful that they look artificial!

There are colored leaves from the Maple Trees and new growth in many trees too.

And then there were the vines of Yellow Jessamine blooming throughout.

It was a glorious day to be walking with the swamp on one side and the Rainbow River on the other!

And then to look out into the bare cypress branches and spot an Anhinga through the Spanish Moss,

was truly magical!

I know the weather is still cold in so much of our nation but were you able to get outside over the weekend to enjoy some of nature's splendor?

I’m joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE  and Cooking and Crafting with J&J HERE.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

A Romp of River Otters!

We've seen a few romps of River Otters at Blue Run Park in Dunnellon but I usually get so excited that I don't get good photos.

This time they 'posed' for pics!

Imagine our surprise to get THIS close to them!

And then for them to stop and play alongside the trail was fun for all!

Romp perfectly describes these playful critters!
I did a search for 'groups of animals' and found this neat chart on Pinterest.

So a group of otters is a romp.

A group of Sandhill Cranes is a 'herd' and young birds that have outgrown their parents hang out together in groups of 20, called a "bachelor flock." 

We have seen HUNDREDS of Sandhill Cranes migrating North this week. You can hear a funny 'honkedy honk'  as they fly over. The sound is almost like a donkey braying!

And now if you don't want to see a 'congregation'...

just fly away NOW!

Because a group of Alligators is called a congregation. 

And these are young Alligators, just hanging out, soaking up the sun! (these aren't the babies we are seeing at the small stream but a 'pile' of young ones near the river)

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE
and I’d Rather B Birdin’.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

My name is Lavender Dreamer and I'm a Hikeaholic

Do I want a 'cure'! OH NO! I LOVE hiking and my husband says I'm obsessed! It may be because in January I hiked 23 times! I don't measure distance but each hike is at least 1 hour and sometimes over 2 hours! I don't walk fast. I take my time. I stop and look around and take photos all along the way! 

I mean who can blame me? The weather here in Florida is fabulous in the winter months. It was in the 60s and 70s for most of my January hikes (and it's supposed to be 80 degrees here today).
My favorite trails are near my home. The closest is 3 miles away so that's the one I hike most often. I can park at the trail head and walk any of a number of trails so it's always different! 

When I searched 'hikeaholic' online I got this definition from the Urban Dictionary....
"A person who excessively enjoys to hike. You can often see them mooing at cows, trying to catch a glimpse of a mountain lion, or searching for Geo-caches.
That lady is such a hikeaholic. She's went hiking 5 times this week already, and plans to go today too."
I don't see any cows on the Florida trails but if you change 'mountain lion' to Bobcat, I think the definition hits the mark, don't you? See Bobcat post HERE!
I never expected to meet anyone on the Florida trails but now that I'm a 'regular', I've had a few people stop to talk to me. I see a lot more bicyclists than hikers and a man stopped to tell me that Sandra Friend and her husband John Keatley were coming up behind him on bikes! So I was privileged to meet them and talk a bit... AND thank them! They've written some wonderful hiking books, including my favorite, Gainesville & Ocala Your Guide to the Area's Most Beautiful Hikes. 
I even got to tell them my Bobcat story!

 So my advice to you is to find a hiking trail in your area! It's a lot of fun to research trails online! You might be surprised to find a trail near you. 
But I warn's addictive!
I’m joining Thankful Thursdays.

Monday, February 4, 2019

'Cracker Jacks' A Healthy Snack?

Well, it can be if we make it at home, without sugar!
As all of my regular readers know (since I have probably mentioned it about a gillion times!! lol) , I can’t eat sugar. I’m allergic to sugar. I don’t look at a piece of cake or a cookie…or even a muffin and wonder if I can cheat and have just one bite. I can’t. I will have an allergic reaction. You might at well dial 911! So I’m not tempted by sugary foods.
And since I avoid artificial sweeteners, I’m always looking for healthy snacks! I DO love to snack!

Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks and when I found these Beer Nuts, I couldn’t believe how much my popcorn snack tasted like Cracker Jacks when I added just 2 Tablespoons of them to the bowl. 

This isn’t ‘diet food’. This is a healthy snack! There’s a difference!

My hubby bought these Beer Nuts for me for my birthday and I knew I would be in BIG trouble if I ate right out of the ‘barrel’ of nuts!

So I put 2 Tablespoons into individual snack bags.
That really is perfect for adding to a big bowl of popcorn.
And that’s my favorite way to eat them. 

My hubby loves to do crazy things like this. One day when I looked in the pantry, they were under lock and key 
 with a sign that said Security Cameras in Use! haha!

 Any ‘sugar free’ snacks you enjoy? I’m always on the look out for something besides cheese sticks and cottage cheese!
So where's the photo of the big bowl of popcorn with beer nuts mixed in? 

I ATE IT! hahahaha

 I’m joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE 
and Cooking and Crafting with J&J HERE.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Share the Trail! "The Florida Trails"

It's great to live close to so many wonderful hiking trails! But as you can tell, I have my favorites! And hiking the the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross-Florida Greenway is at the top of my list! 

AND to make it even nicer, sections of it are paved! So it is very popular with the bicyclists. They are very courteous and always speak when they 'fly' by! And I hug the side of the trail to make it easy on them. There's plenty of room and they always say, 'passing on the left' and then follow up with a greeting. It sure makes the hike more pleasant!

So when you see the wide paved trail in my photos, it is for hikers and bicyclists only (not vehicles). 

 Imagine my surprise when I saw a 'boat' coming down the trail!

 Oh, it's NOT a boat? 

There's a bicycle in there somewhere, covered with a wood veneer! Pretty unique, don't you think!

And to include the birds I saw on this particular hike...

House Finches

a 'lone' house finch

and a Yellow-bellied sapsucker

wondering what kind of critter was staring back at him!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE
and I’d Rather B Birdin’.