Monthly Archives: October 2011

Washing Ashore on Siesta Key Beach

I love things that wash ashore. I only wish I had been there for this one.

Lego Man washed ashore Siesta Key and I think that’s where he should stay; on Siesta Key.  There are plenty of places to display the statue.  The public beach area or the Village are probably the best two areas so everyone can visit him.  Otherwise, if Lego Man has to leave the Key, Sarasota has a wonderful section of town along the Bay at the Marina and the entrance to Bird Key and Lido Key where they display sculpture art. I think that would be a fun place to display Lego Man.  Hopefully, though, Lego Man will be left on Siesta Key and I will get to see it when I return to Sarasota for my next visit.

Rainbows in my house

Twice a year I have the pleasure of finding rainbows in my house.  Tons of them.

As the sun swings to a particular southern bend each Fall and Spring, the rays come dancing through the palladian window above my east-facing, dining room window and bounce off of the crystals hanging from my chandelier.  What abounds is a magical display of colored light only a Disney fairy cartoon could duplicate; but this is real.

Light scattering from my lamp crystals

My house has an open floorplan so the colorful display does not get trapped in one room.  Everyone in the house can enjoy the view together.  I’ve found these rainbows on the wall of my dining room, the lampshade in my living room, across the top of my sofa, centered on the fireplace screen, scattered through out our homeschool classroom and kitchen, and a stray streak brushed across my farthest bedroom wall. 

Rainbows on my back door

The house is so speckled with light and fantasy that one could only tryto wait patiently for the unicorns to start galloping happily throughout.  Well…we have a lively, black dog happily greeting us each morning, but she’s hardly the image of a unicorn.

Rainbows in my bedroom

The light show lasts for about an hour, slowly reaching the ultimate climax of full spectacle, then dimming slowly to an end.  Only to begin the same time the next morning.  I love having rainbows in my house.

Bunny Nature Notes and More

I have a question for my biology friends:  Do bunny families poop together?  Strange question but hear me out.  While cleaning up after my dog in the back yard I saw nearby three piles of fresh pellets.  There was a pile of large pellets, a pile of medium-sized pellets, and a pile of tiny pellets; all equally fresh looking.  Kind of reminded me of the story of Goldilocks. I’m looking forward to hearing an response.

In other nature notes, my science friends might also like that I found a fairy circle in the backyard.  If you don’t know,  fairy circle is a ring of mushrooms.  This was particularly interesting to us because Travis had recently studied fungus in his Biology class and now we could see what the book had talked about.  I have a brick patio and found a fairy circle in the patio as well.  That’s rather weird having mushrooms growing between the bricks.  The bricks are not mortared together so anything grows between them.  It’s always been a chore to weed the patio.  I’ve tried weed killer before but they just grow back. Now that I have a garden off the patio, weed killer is definitely not to be tried again.  The bricks are also mossy.  It’s rather pretty when the weeds are at bay.

I took down the hummingbird feeder.  They just disappeared as abruptly as they appeared.  I’m told a few linger here in the winter but I don’t want to feed them from a dirty feeder.  It’ll be clean for them in the spring.

Lastly, a ton of pine needles fell last week when the front came through.  Getting the boys to rake is difficult.  But I’m allergic to pine and I can’t handle it; they’ll have to…tomorrow.

Oyster Gardening 2011

Once again we decided to be oyster gardeners for the summer.  The family with the pier we used last year said we could use it again. 

cage cleaning

 I rounded up 4 other families to help out so we could take turns.  Every 5th week we would go clean the oyster cages, remove preditors such as crabs, worms, and oyster drills and scrub the crud off of the oysters and spat.  Spat is what the growing oysters are called from their larval stage.  They settle on a hard surface (in this case an old, full-sized oyster shell) and grow. When all were clean, we measured a sampling of the spat.  The measurements would be sent to the Auburn Shell Lab and they would keep a record of ours and other oyster garden statistics from around the Gulf for their research purposes.

We found this guy in the cage

We’ve had fun this summer and the oyster garden season is coming to a close.  They’ll be picked up by the Auburn researchers in a few weeks.  Shortly after they’ll be added to a reef in the Mobile Bay.

Cleaning crew takes a rest


Even the dads helped out. This is my husband, Gary

Oyster gardening was a fun homeschool science project for us.  Austin is studying Marine Biology this year and it just added to the education.  For Travis, well, he likes to do the scrubbing but he learned some things too.  Other families involved with our oysters used the time to learn and to enjoy the outdoors.  The Bay is really shallow and makes for a great place to kayak, canoe, fish or swim and some of the families took advantage of this.  Oyster gardening is a highly recommended activity.

For more information, and if you’d like to get involved next year check out

Some of the neighboring piers were also oyster gardens

A fishing we will go…

My friend, Ann, and I lead a 4-H club here in Fairhope. Last week we all attended a fishing workshop at Bass Pro Shop. The kids (and moms) learned about the different types of fishing rods, lines, weights, hooks, and bait in addition to tying knots. The boys and girls also got a chance to practice casting.
So, we decided to meet this week at the Fairhope Pier to practice what we learned. The day is absolutely gorgeous (even better than that). A front had come through taking with it the heat and humidity and the bugs. While a bit chilly, the weather didn’t bother us. The sun was very warm.
Some of the kids didn’t have rods; they came out hoping to borrow one or just watch and have fun.

A great day for fishing

The fish were not biting. The water level was really low and while we camped out, not quite in the middle of the pier, even those fishing at the end were not catching anything. But we had a good time.
One mom asked if anyone wanted to fish with her daughters rod, since she was taking a snack break. Of course the offer was taken upon quickly and with a quick and fierce cast, the baited hook, the line and the rod ended up in the Bay.
We all looked down and were able to see it. The best way to get to it was to walk out from the beach since it was rather shallow.
A gentleman had his casting net with him and stopped to help. With several tries, he got the rod’s hook attached to his net and slowly pulled in the line until the rod lifted out of the water.

Pulling up the rod by pulling up the fishing line

Cheers arose from the 4-H members and the crowd that had gathered behind us.
Safe on land, the rod was found to still have enough line in it to continue fishing.

Happy to have her fishing rod back

As to add some comic relief, as the gentleman walked back to his fishing equipment, he accidentally kicked a small tackle box that had been lying in the walkway. It went over. Thankfully, there was a ledge along that side so he hopped the railing, got the box and came back over the railing.
We were so grateful that such a sweet person came to our rescue. Who ever you are, thanks a lot. We’ll pass the favor along to someone we find in need.
We still didn’t catch any fish. We got some windburn, maybe some sun on our faces and some great memories.

Coastal Bird Fest 2011

Eastern Screech Owl

Coastal Bird Fest 2011
This year, Bird Fest was on my son’s birthday. He is an Owl enthusiast so we had to go and see which owls were on display: mostly Eastern Screech Owls. The others were caged, awaiting the raptor show which we couldn’t stay for. All the birds in the show are unable to live in the wild, whether it is due to an accident or illegally raised by humans or bred in captivity. Before we left, I was able to snag for my son an owl t-shirt. Enjoy our pictures.


Fall Butterfly Migration

I was told the best place to see butterflies in the fall migration is at the Grand Hotel at Point Clear.  It’s a beautiful weekend and although migration peaked last week, Gary and I made a trek to the Grand to see the butterflies.  It helps that their gardens are butterfly friendly, as we saw a good amount of them flitting about and feeding.  We enjoyed the sight. 

In the spring, I’m told, the best place to see the migration is at Ft. Morgan.  We missed the peak last year but, again, enjoyed what we saw.  One day I’ll make to the migration on time.