Friday, January 19, 2018

Featuring the “Ibis”

We started hike #3 at Blue Run Park in Dunnellon by walking down to the boat ramp. The water level has gone down some now. It has been high since Hurricane Irma but we are seeing differences now, in the river and the swamps. I walked down and then just happened to look to my left and saw the most beautiful Ibis, dipping into the water and not at all disturbed by my presence.

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It looks like he’s found a ‘crawdad’ here but I’m not sure.

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What a beautiful way to start a hike!

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He kept posing for us and we didn’t want to leave!

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Here he is going down, almost all the way under to ‘fish’ these shallow waters.

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It’s unusual to get this close.

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I hope we get to do hike #4 Saturday! I’ll let you know!

We had some cold overnight temps but it’s been pretty nice all week and supposed to be in the 70s this weekend.

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How’s your weather now?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.

Monday, January 15, 2018

“The Give Way of Life”

When I was much younger….years and years ago….I was privileged to hear Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong give a sermon on the ‘give way of life’ versus ‘the get way of life’. It made an impression on me that would stay with me my whole life. And it’s helped me live a more positive way of life.

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We all feel sad and even overwhelmed in life and when that happens, it’s a good time to look beyond your own problems and see what you can do for someone else.

It can be a gift of your time or something you know someone else would like and appreciate. Most of you know that I love books so that has become a favorite gift that I give…and give often.

And it’s more fun to sew or craft when you’re making something for someone else. I like to make my friends and family ‘homemade’ gifts and many of you sew for charities too. There’s always someone in need.

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So that’s my little contribution to the PERK project!

It sounds simple….and maybe it is!

Learn to live the GIVE WAY of LIFE!

You’ll be blessed!

And spreading happiness!

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(all photos taken on Hike #2 at the Florida Trails)

Are you taking part in the PERK project too?

I’m joining Stacey and Jemma today HERE

and I’m joining Mosaic Monday HERE .

Saturday, January 13, 2018

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Take a walk with me! It’s the first hike of the new year.

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We’ll walk for 1 hour and 40 minutes at Blue Run Park with the temperature at 70 degrees! Sound good?

I’d just like for you to see what we see in this amount of time. I think everything we saw was on the river side of the trail today. The swamp runs along one side of the paved trail and the Rainbow River runs along the other side. Once we reach the bridge we’ll see even more!

Here we go…

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Anhinga

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Common Moorhen

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Grebes

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baby grebes

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Anhinga swimming by

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and the BEST sighting of the day! A River Otter!

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Our Little Blue Heron…yes, he’s still bright WHITE!

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And now we’re at the bridge looking out at the Withlacoochee River. (70 degrees with a light breeze!)

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And an Anhinga flies over!

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Great Blue Heron

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and another pic of our Little Blue.

We’ve turned around and now we’re on the way back

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Turtle

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Cormorant

Tired yet? We stopped quite a bit to take photos so let’s keep going!

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Cormorant AND Ibis

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Egret

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Pileated Woodpecker

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And a Juvenile Great Blue Heron

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We made it back to the car! WHEW!

(that’s not my car and that’s not my real license plate! heehee)

Want to go again?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Broccoli Cheddar Soup and flowers that bloom!

My Christmas cactus bloomed on Christmas day. It was loaded with buds and it is at it’s peak right now. I placed my Poinsettia on the table in front of the cactus and had all kinds of beautiful color for the holidays.

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And I made the best Broccoli Cheddar soup! I started with the recipe on all recipes HERE….and then I modified it some.

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This is my version….

Homemade Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 stalk celery chopped
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh broccoli
  • 6  baby carrots chopped

          2 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

          and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and celery in hot butter until translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Whisk 1/4 cup melted butter and flour together in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. Gradually pour milk into flour mixture while whisking constantly. Stir chicken stock into milk mixture. Simmer  20 minutes. Add broccoli, carrots, sauteed onion, garlic and celery; simmer another 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  4. Stir 2 cups Cheddar cheese into vegetable mixture until cheese melts. Season with black pepper. Spoon it into your bowl and top with the remaining shredded cheese. 

It sure makes a nutritious soup for these winter days!

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(do you think I have enough butter on my toast? Don’t answer that…it’s a rhetorical question! hahaha)

I’m joining Mosaic Monday HERE .

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Sandhill Cranes

We walked out to the driveway to get into the car and heard the funniest sound….it sounded like honking!

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So we looked up into the sky and watched as flocks and flocks of Sandhill Cranes flew over.

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I went back into the house to put the photos onto my computer to take a better look and my husband came back in to get me.

MORE Sandhill Cranes were flying over!

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Many flew over in a vee formation like geese do.

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I’m showing most of these photos straight out of my camera.

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You can see them the way we saw them.

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And you’ll just have to imagine this part….

Honk Honk Honk!

When I looked back at my photos from last year, I found these from exactly a year ago!

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Sandhill Cranes we saw at Halpata Tastanaki Preserve.

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They aren’t rare to see around here but normally you only see a few at one time.

What a treat to see so many migrating. The other bird we saw migrating over the Christmas week was the American Robin. They showed up by the hundreds on their way South. We saw them every day for about a week and then they were gone!

We’ve had some very cold weather here but we did not have any frozen precipitation or snow like they had in North Florida. I’m glad! And it’s supposed to be around 70 every day this coming week. That’s more what we’re used to this far South! I hope you are all safe and warm! Take care!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Looking forward…..

I love the start of a New Year! It seems like a new beginning…a fresh start.

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Karen used this quote in a post and I fell in love with it.  I put it on a photo I took when I hiked last week. Thanks Karen!

I even love January! Of course it’s easier to love January when you live in Florida. We’ve had a few cold days and nights but we’ve also had lots of beautiful days to get on the trails and hike.

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(hiking the Florida trails by myself)

To really appreciate a ‘new year’, you need to look back and see what has happened this past year and what can be ‘improved upon’! My husband and I survived the worst year of our marriage in 2017. In January of last year, my husband woke up one morning in severe pain. Many of you will remember that I asked for your prayers. He was in pain one day…it was worse the next….and the next….until he could barely move. We had good advice from his son and found a specialist that gave him a proper diagnosis….Polymyalgia Rheumatica. With the right treatments and drugs my husband has found a way to manage his illness and a year later he can do just about everything he did before. I won’t say he never has pain but he can deal with it now. We even managed to get in 53 hikes, the same amount as the year before. Which amazed us! 

I like to write down every hike. I write where we go, what we see, the duration and temperature.

I also kept track of the books I read and ended up reading 70 books last year.

Oh, and I found a new crafting passion….altered books! I’ve made quite a few but I think I’ve lost count.

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I’ve probably made over 20 hardback altered books

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and twice as many little handmade books.

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(many of these are made out of notecards I’ve received and paper I’ve collected)

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So it was a year I wouldn’t want to repeat but I’m happy that we survived. I can honestly say, I’ve learned a lot and I have indeed been blessed.

I want to choose a word for this new year but can’t decide.

Do you have one you would like to share?

I’m joining Thankful Thursdays.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Great Blue Heron

We saw the most beautiful Great Blue Heron on one of our hikes.

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You would think he had mating plumage with the colors around his face and feathers out the back of his head.

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But it doesn’t seem likely in December. What do you think?

A little perspective…

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he was in the marshy area between the trail and the Rainbow River.

We also saw an Eagle as we stood on the bridge at Blue Run Park in Dunnellon.

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Not the best photos but I was excited!

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I know it’s bitterly cold in most of the nation today. (I don’t mean to rub it in but it’s close to 70 here this weekend and we hope to make one more hike this year which would be #53 and match what we did last year)

Stay safe and warm!

Happy weekend!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE.