Monday, July 29, 2019

July Mosaic Mysteries

I've had such a good month and it's been fun to share my photos here on my blog. I appreciate all of your sweet comments and hope your month is ending with happy times too.

I took photos that I used in my posts over the month to make some mosaics.

I always end up making at least two and this time I liked them both.

Earlier in the month I posted pics of a farm nearby and got a lot of nice comments. But I think I left everyone wondering what I had done with my photos. I went to the farm two days in a row.

One day the sky looked beautiful with big billowy clouds.

But then the next day the cows were in the pasture.

First I took one photo and cropped it until I had just the cow and half of a tree. 

Then I took the field with the pretty clouds in the sky and went to Photoscape, Editor, Object and clicked on the symbol for photo. That inserted the cow on TOP of the field. I made him smaller and moved him to an area where he 'fit in'. And that was how the cow got into the field.

Mystery solved, mosaic created! Enjoy your week! Hope it's filled with happiness and something interesting!

I’m joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE .


Saturday, July 27, 2019

A Pocket Gopher and pretty bird!

It's so much fun to get out in nature and I love taking you along!

Let's drive over to the Pruitt Trailhead of the Florida Trails in my hubby's Subaru Outback and park in the grass. We love this car and even the commercials on TV are neat. Maybe they'll want to film me on one of my adventures in the 'outback' of Florida! lol

If you live in Florida, you'll notice these mounds of dirt along the side of the highways and roads. They are everywhere! 

 But it's a rare sighting to actually see what's making the mounds!

A Pocket Gopher!

My husband did some research on them so I'll steal borrow what he wrote. I know he won't mind. After all, he lets me drive his Outback down white sand roads! 

"If you are new to North Central Florida you may be surprised to see all the little mounds of dirt along the roadways and across some yards as you drive around the area. Most people think they're ant hills but they're not. It's the work of a little tunneling rodent, the Pocket Gopher.
The "pocket" in their name refers to two fur-lined cheek pockets or pouches, which have external openings on either side of the mouth. The pouches are used to transport food and nest material. At only 10-12 inches long from nose to tip of tail they are capable of digging tunnel systems that may extend for 500 feet, although 145 feet is the norm, with dirt mounds every 6-10 feet.

As they dig, they push piles of loose dirt above ground. Their shallow tunnels run parallel to the surface providing access to their diet of roots and tubers. Nest and food storage tunnels are deeper. They will plug tunnel openings to prevent snakes and other predators from entering. Pocket gophers are solitary animals and do not share a tunnel system."

I took 2 short videos!

I hope you enjoy them!

After taking photos and videos of the Pocket Gopher, I walked over to this fence and saw an Eastern Meadowlark singing his heart out. 

 I took a few pics of course.

 And he stayed longer than I expected.

 He has such a beautiful song to sing!

But the video above is from an encounter very near here awhile back.

Have you had a good week, too?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE  

  and I’d Rather B Birdin’.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

What I've been reading

I've been able to take more hikes this summer than I did last summer. If we have a little rain shower, I try to get out after that to enjoy the cooler temps. But I found something else to enjoy too. I check books out from my local library as ebooks and I love to go online and see 'what's new' in books. They have a new section called 'The Great Outdoors' at the top of the website that I love. It features books about nature, gardening, hiking, novels, poetry...all with nature as the theme of the book. I have several checked out right now.

My favorite so far is Forest Bathing by Dr. Qing Li.

Here's a quote, "And even more amazing is the fact that not only do the beautiful and magnificent sights of nature make us feel better, they can actually improve our health. There is no medicine you can take that has such a direct influence on your health as a walk in a beautiful forest."

There is so much great information in this book that I would recommend it to everyone! Even if you are only able to pull up a chair to the window and look outside, it would be beneficial. If you have a bird feeder or some flowers to look at that would be even better.

 I love this beautiful book of poetry by Mary Oliver, Upstream

A few others I've read or skimmed through are How to Read Nature by Tristan Gooley, A Woman's Guide to the Wild by Ruby McConnell and The Nature Fix by Florence Williams. 

 A mystery I just finished was Heart of a Killer by David Rosenfelt. I love all of the books he writes and I'm on the waiting list at the library for his new book, Bark of Night! I can't wait to read it!

What have you read this month? 
Anything you think I would like?

I’m joining Thankful Thursdays .

Monday, July 22, 2019

Summer Fun in Florida

Time for another 'lalalalala' post about the beautiful weather in Florida and how I enjoy it.

We've had just enough rain to keep things nice and green. We need to drive a short distance on this dirt road so it's better when it's not dusty!

And even when it's hot, there are places close by to see birds and wildlife without hiking.

This is the Pruitt trailhead of the Florida Trails and on a Saturday afternoon, there was no one there. 

So I was able to park here and there, get out and look all around. (this is the 'lalalala' part of the experience)

I'm a dreamer so I usually look up in the clouds first!

 Love that airplane high in the sky flying through the fluffy clouds.
I'll try to make a list of what I saw when I do my critters post on Saturday. It was a 'big day' with some neat sightings!

I know it's a hot week for many of us! What do you do when the weather's hot?

I’m joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE .

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Big Buck and Big Bird!

We've had a chance to take a few hikes lately which is always surprising for July! But if we have a rain shower late in the afternoon, the next morning is usually 'tolerable'! So we get up a little earlier and head out! It's usually mid 70s at the start and mid 80s when we finish...which is really HOT! It's very nice when you get home and take a quick shower and sit down with a snack to look at the photos. We have an adapter that connects our cameras to the TV for viewing on the 'big screen'.

We'll start with the Big Buck!

My husband was about 2 steps ahead of me when he froze and pointed into the brush along the trail. 

We took a few photos through the leaves....

 and then we walked a few steps to get a better vantage point.

He was not spooked. The deer here are used to seeing bikes ride by and a few hikers and of course there is no hunting allowed in this area.

He continued to graze, eating leaves and plants as he walked!

What a beauty! And 10 points!!!

 And to include a Big Bird, I'll share photos of 2 Sandhill Cranes we saw at the Pruitt Trailhead of the Florida Trails. 

They were in a shady area and hard to photograph.

 But they sure are beautiful birds!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE  

  and I’d Rather B Birdin’.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Florida Fun on the Farm!

There are a lot of fun things to do in Florida but most of you know that I consider getting out in nature the MOST fun! 

When I volunteer at the Legacy Hospice house on Monday afternoons, I can turn right out of the parking lot and drive a half mile to a beautiful farm. I've seen horses, cows, goats, wild turkeys and hawks in the trees. 

So one day I took a neat photo with big beautiful clouds in the sky.

But then the very next week, there were some pretty cows in the field.

So I played with a photo and put them together. Don't ask me how I did it. I'm still not sure! hahaha! But I used Photoscape and I'm still learning what's possible with this photo editing program.

Lots of beauty at the farm. (and yes, I could stop on this rural road and take pics without any problem!)

 Do you enjoy working on your photos? 
What photo editing program do you use?

I’m joining Thankful Thursdays .


Monday, July 15, 2019

The Gulf Fritillary and Frogfruit!

Did you ever do a post that took on a life of it's own? This one has taken me forever to put together because I keep getting deeper into identification and interesting facts!

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

We went to the Pruitt Trailhead again on Sunday and saw lots of beautiful butterflies and because of the rain showers we had a few days ago, the wildflowers are blooming like crazy again!

 It was very enjoyable and I learned the names of a few more wildflowers. This flower is teeny tiny and abundant!


 (also known by turkey tangle fogfruit and capeweed) 

Hubby and I both got some amazing close ups.

 Which led me to spend time looking up the terms for the anatomy of a butterfly!

 Always something new to learn!

 I found this diagram online.

I’m joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE .

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Blue Grosbeak and the Crazy Heron!

I stopped by the Pruitt Trailhead of the Florida trails for just a quick 'look see'! It was early afternoon and already in the 90s so I didn't plan to hike. But I had my camera to walk around and look.

While I was watching a Heron fly into a tree, something BLUE streaked by in front of me at eye level. He was bright blue and stopped nearby to perch on the fence, but just long enough for one decent photo. We have so many Eastern Bluebirds, Blue Jays and Scrub Jays here that a bright blue bird is not rare.

But this one WAS rare! We don't see any kind of Grosbeak here and this one is a 

Blue Grosbeak! 

I was THRILLED to see a bird I've never seen before! Look at his big silver beak! Amazing!

Oh and back to the bird I was watching fly into a tree! 

You tell me! heehee!

I know it's a Heron and I've gone back and forth as to which one.

I think I've settled on the ID but I'll consider all your input!

What do you think? 

And is he a fluffy juvenile?

 Planning to take on this dragonfly?

Whatever he is....he is the cutest sighting! (well except for that Blue Grosbeak!!!)

Hope you can get outside and look around and see what nature reveals to you!

 I was headed to the shade of those Live Oak trees for these photos!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE  

  and I’d Rather B Birdin’.