What’s next…?

San Diego Zoo hatches near-extinct ‘tree lobster’ insects

Tell me they eat roaches and feast on mosquitoes for dessert!

Surely they were almost extinct for a reason?!

Near extinct Tree Lobster, Oh Boy!

I saw three ships come sailing…

If you’re familiar with the song – there are only 170 days left ’til Christmas, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The ships I saw were of the feathered variety. The Swallow-tailed Kites are back for their summer breeding season. I wrote a post some months back about the Alien Sighting. I spotted one this past weekend and before I could blink, there were three. The thing that grabs your eye is how large these birds are, and they sail on the air currents with no obvious wing flapping. I stood mesmerized, watching them swirl around like water in an eddy.

Swallow-tailed Kite
Swallow-tailed Kite

Maybe it IS Christmas in July… on Monday I saw a hummingbird (first time EVER in my yard). They aren’t so common here, but low and behold one was hovering near my Parrot Plant.

Parrot Plant (heliconia psittacorum)
Parrot Plant (heliconia psittacorum)

You get a picture of the plant, the bird…too fast for me. Moving right along…

Well, we finally finished the dog! Not to be equated with the week after Thanksgiving when you proudly announce that you’ve ‘finally finished the turkey’. (p.s. only 140 days ’til Thanksgiving)

In the wild and wacky world of show dogs and dog shows, ‘finishing the dog’ means we have a new Champion.

New Champion with our breeder/handler and Judge
New Champion with our breeder/handler and Judge

Gosh, he looks so sweet, and clean in the picture. Who could imagine that he is attracted to black dirt, mud, and loves to dig holes in the back yard?

If I had more time, I would regale you with my latest new job…working for the feds. But I have to head out to my current job. I’m working off my 2 weeks notice, so I’ll have to leave you with something to look forward to ūüôā

Alien sighting!

When I’m outside, I spend an inordinate amount of time looking up. Ummm, I live in Florida, it’s flat.

Craning necks in the flat lands
Craning necks in the flat lands

If I lived in the mountains, I would probably spend more time looking down ūüėĮ

Giving my neck a rest when I was on vacation in Utah last summer
Giving my neck a rest when I was on vacation in Utah last summer

I don’t believe that aliens are going to walk up and tap you on the shoulder, so if you’re going to spot one, they’re going to be up in the wild, blue yonder or under the cover of darkness, in some instances. I spotted this particular alien twice in the last week, between 9:00 – 9:30 AM. To say the least, I¬†am in awe! By the way, this alien has been spotted before, so I was able to find a picture on the internet…

Swallow-tailed Kite
Swallow-tailed Kite (Raptor Family)

I have lived in Florida all of my life, and never before have I seen one of these birds. They are huge! According to what I’ve found on the internet, their body is usually about 22 inches long, and their wingspan can get up to 4 feet. They live in South America, and migrate to the gulf coast states to breed annually. They’re supposed to live in wetlands and marshes, so what he’s doing in my area is a mystery.

Habitat and range of the Swallow-tailed Kite
Habitat and range of the Swallow-tailed Kite

If you want to learn more about this magnificent alien, here is the link: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: All About Birds

Someone left the cake out in the rain…

I took one of the 7 dwarfs (actually a dear friend) to the beach on Saturday. I thought I was taking “Happy”, but as it turned out, I had “Grumpy” with me. It was a bright, sunny, 72 degrees (F.), with a nice cool breeze. Perfect weather!

“Happy” wanted to go¬†to Smyrna Dunes Park, which is the only dog friendly beach within a 100 miles of us. Not that she planned to take her dogs there; she just wanted to check it out. I reminded her that the only way to get there was to take the causeway over to New Smyrna Beach.

Head north once you come to Spring Break at New Smyrna Beach
Head north once you come to Spring Break at New Smyrna Beach

The causeway would mean bumper to bumper traffic. Plus,¬†if you manage to¬†get to the park, you’re on the river side of the little peninsula and would have to walk about a mile to get to the Atlantic side. Walking, doesn’t make “Happy”, happy; bad knees…

New Smyrna Beach is just south of Daytona, where…

73rd Daytona Bike Week 2014 was in full swing
73rd Daytona Bike Week 2014 was in full swing

Once “Happy” considered the throngs of people between her and her destination, she chose to reconsider her adventure. Basically, she told me to figure out where we could go, because it was too nice to sit at home when the weather was beautiful.

I chose to drive us to a more accessible beach at Port Canaveral. There are plenty of restaurants, and a multitude of deep sea fishing boats that go out of the port, people fishing, as well as cruise ship terminals, e.g. Disney, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, etc. If you’re into T-shirts, Ron Jon’s has a store at Jetty Park, which is on the beach side of the port.

One of the many cruise ships that go out of Port Canaveral. The beach is behind the people fishing, on the beach side of the port.
One of the many cruise ships that go out of Port Canaveral. The rock jetty separates the port inlet and the ocean or beach side.

Once we arrived at the Port, “Grumpy” appeared. I don’t think my friend really appreciated being at the beach. She mentioned that her idea of a fun outing would be walking on a nature trail in the woods. Go figure… that’s when the cake started melting.

Cruise ship heading south out of the Port. Probably going to the Bahamas.
Cruise ship heading south out of the Port. Probably going to the Bahamas.

Pics of the day:

Pelicans perched on top of the fish cleaning tables where the deep sea fishing boats dock.
Pelicans perched on top of the fish cleaning tables where the deep sea fishing boats dock.
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Fish cleaning table. Before you toss the carcass, you poke the fish eyes to prevent the carcass from floating to the surface (decomposing gas builds up in eyes). Usually, the pelicans take care of it anyway.

Out of tissues for a while now…Part 1

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Me and Ricochet, training for Winter Classic 2006

My sister and I have had several horses over the years¬†and used to spend every weekend riding, washing and fussing over our mounts or cleaning tack. We began riding at the¬†place where we still board our horses today. The facility, family owned and operated, ¬†is on 20 acres of woods, out in the country,¬†far enough away from the city that cell¬†phone coverage is spotty at best. It’s a comfortable place, nothing pretentious,¬†and the family lives on the property. The owner breeds Arabians, so naturally, we started out riding Arabians.

I’ve had Richie (my nickname for him) for more years than I can remember. His breed is National Show Horse (NSH), a combination of Arabian & American Saddlebred. Because he’s registered Half Arabian and NSH, I could¬†show him in¬†either type of¬†breed events, so I was thrilled.¬†He came to me fully trained in English Country Pleasure and English Show Hack, with a lengthy show record. He’s probably the most powerful horse I’ve ever ridden, a¬†Cadillac ride, and a real looker too. His one drawback…he was ‘over¬†it’¬†performing, that is. He hated arena work and couldn’t wait to get out of the gate. He had been to so many shows, that as soon as we went into the arena, he was ‘on stage’ and started performing his routine on autopilot. Once he finished, he was ready to go back to eating hay out¬†in the pasture. I spent a lot of time teaching him to just walk¬†in the arena, but I had to be prepared for prancing, head-tossing, and his ‘let’s get this over with’ attitude. Eventually, I shortened his arena work and started taking him on trails out in the woods. I had some trepidation about being in the woods with him, because a.)¬†I don’t think he was ever ridden on trail and b.) because there are so many critters: squirrels, armadillos, gopher turtles (yes, horses will even spook over a turtle on the path), deer, and the occasional bird¬†flying up out of the bushes. My concern was for naught; he actually let out a huge sigh whenever we entered the woods and he ‘just’ walked like he was on a Sunday looky-loo. As he got older, I retired him from his show career and we just enjoyed being together and in the woods. As I look back over the time we spent together, I realize he taught me how to hang on for dear life, and I taught him how to relax. We had great fun.

to be continued…

Almost half grown!

The nest is getting a little crowded!
The nest is getting a little crowded!

Momma Dove finally got off the nest and the babies are half-grown! I would check every day, and there she sat, still on the nest. She must have been hiding her brood. Today, I check, and the babies are so big, she can’t sit on them anymore. There are two little heads sticking up. The one with Momma is a out of focus, but you get an idea of how big the babies are in comparison.

Momma Dove must be out grocery shopping!
Momma Dove must be out grocery shopping!
Too coo, coo, cute!
Too coo, coo, cute!

 

Babies on the way…

It’s¬†been almost 2 weeks since¬†a Mourning Dove nested in a corner of the boat house in the back yard.¬†I expect¬†babies any time now! I still feel bad about the Mocking Birds…[sigh]

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