Sunday, November 30, 2008

Washington Oaks Beach

I've shown pictures in the past from Washington Oaks State Park, but only from the inland side - there is a second strip of park that runs over to the ocean and contains wonderful coquina rock formations.  To my knowledge coquina is only found along this one strip of Florida's coastline in two counties - maybe 100 miles at most.  Just a perfect combination of the right type of sea shells, sand, and wave action.  There isn't much of it left, so being able to access it in nature is a real treat.  There is another large outcropping a few miles further south but is on land privately owned by an apartment complex so you can't get onto it to view very easily.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mischa's First Christmas Tree

We were hoping that Mischa would be one of those rare cats that are not very interested in Christmas trees... alas, she loves it, or is at least very interested in it and has spent much time sniffing, biting, rubbing against, and sticking her head up into the middle of said tree.  We're going to hold off putting on ornaments for a day or two until she has had a chance to get used to it.  We will not be surprised to come home from church tomorrow to find our path blocked by a horizontal tree laying on the floor in our way...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Why is it called "Black Friday?"  Because it looks like this when you wake up at 4:15 a.m. to go shopping:

But don't worry, you aren't the only crazy people.  In fact, this parking lot at Kohl's was 90% full when we arrived at 5:00 a.m. and the lines were already backed up all the way to the back of the store on both sides with people who arrived when the store first opened at 4:00 a.m.

One of said lines - this is from the back of the store, where the line then curved around the corner behind and to the left for another few dozen people.

Thankfully the stores have all or most registers open even at that early hour so our trip down the line only took us 30 minutes...

Then off to the mall where at least there are pretty decorations:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll

Hope all my US blogging friends had a happy Thanksgiving day - all ya'll that don't celebrate Thanksgiving in your country today - hope you had a great Thursday. :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "S" is for Spaceship Earth

"S" is for Spaceship Earth - the instantly recognizable "giant golf ball" that is the icon of EPCOT at Walt Disney World.  

This 18-story high geodesic sphere is a pentakis dodecahedron, with each of the 60 isosceles triangle faces divided into 16 smaller equilateral triangles (with a bit of fudging to make it rounder). Each of those 960 flat panels is sub-divided into four triangles, each of which is divided into three isosceles triangles to form each point. In theory, there are 11,520 total isosceles triangles forming 3840 points. In reality, some of those triangles are partially or fully nonexistent due to supports and doors; there are actually only 11,324 of them, with 954 partial or full flat panels.

The cladding was designed so that when it rains, no water pours off the sides onto the ground. (All water is "absorbed" through one inch gaps in the facets and is collected in a gutter system - and finally channeled into the World Showcase Lagoon.)

Construction took 26 months and 40,800 labor hours to build.

You can see more about Spaceship Earth here.

You can see more ABC Wednesday here

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The British are coming! The British are coming!

The British are... here...  at Fort Matanzas.  Ok, not really Brits - locals dressed as British soldiers re-enacting garrison life at the fort during the "British Period" when Great Britain had control of Florida after the first Spanish period.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fort Matanzas

A few miles south of St. Augustine, Florida lies an obscure piece of history: Fort Matanzas.  It can hardly be called a fort given its size - 50 feet long, 30 feet wide, with a 30 foot tower in the back half - quite tiny.  Standard garrison was generally only one officer, four soldiers, and two gunners (more could fit if needed).  It was built in 1740 to protect the southern entrance or "back door" to St Augustine and protect Matanzas Inlet after the British under Oglethorpe (founder of the colony of Georgia) used the Matanzas river as a way around the main Spanish defenses in St. Augustine to lay siege to that town in 1740.  It was abandoned after the Spanish ceded Florida to the United States and lay in ruins until the 1920s when it was turned over to the US Park Service and has since become a national monument and is run in conjunction with the larger and more famous Castillo de San Marcos in downtown St. Augustine.  You can visit Fort Matanzas for free (donations greatly accepted), but it does require a boat ride on a park service run ferry that operates every hour on the half-hour.  If you are lucky you will catch them on a day when there are soldiers re-enacting Spanish or British garrisons (as they were this past weekend when we visited).

Tomorrow: The British are coming!  The British are coming! :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

At least they're honest

This from a store in the tourist section of Old St. Augustine along St. George Street - a shop named "Junk".  Good for them.  Honesty like that is rare these days in a retailer. ;-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Net Fishing

While at Egans Creek Greenway last weekend we got to enjoy watching a young man net fishing - he caught at least five or six large fish, so he must be good at it. :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

All taken from the Egan's Creek Greenway, a public nature preserve on Amelia Island near Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Visit for all the great Sky Watch Friday fun.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Lawstude (wonderful blog, you must visit!) left me a comment on Tuesday saying at least there were no snakes... well...

I had squatted down to take a picture of something else and after taking the shot happened to glance to my left and out of the corner of my eye I saw snake skin and was about to jump backwards and hop back up onto the walkway when I realized the skin was empty.  Some good sized snake (water moccasin maybe?) had just recently shed this skin - it was probably at least 3-4 feet long.  Glad it was empty. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "R" is for Roseate Spoonbill

A little taste of Florida fowl this week for ABC Wednesday: R is for Roseate Spoonbill.

Read more about this bird here:

Visit all of the ABC Wednesday fun at

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rare Purple Flowers

The flowers aren't actually rare - it is just a running family joke. :)

These all found in the marsh of the Egan's Creek Greenway in Fernandina, Florida.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

Forecast: Clear, with a few small clouds and a nearly full moon.

Visit the Sky Watch Blog at for hundreds of great sky watching images.

As an aside I may not be able to visit many blogs or respond to any comments until Sunday - busy week and weekend! :)  (Partly taken up with a Flickr group photo walk in Fernandina on Saturday morning - join us - look for the group Jax Field Trips on Flickr for all the details.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don't get too close...

A couple of shots of the ubiquitous Florida alligator.  This one is pretty darn big and probably quite old.  People often get alligators and crocodiles confused - the easy way to tell the difference?  Crocodiles have pointed noses and alligators have more rounded noses.  No more confusion. :)

While gators are not normally aggressive and will generally avoid contact with humans they will certainly defend their nests if you get too close, especially females that have babies.  And they can run very fast for short distances so don't just assume you can outrun them if you come across one in the wild.  

Best option?  Take pictures of them from a safe distance behind protective barriers at the zoo, like I did. :)

Oh, and to offset all of the gator love... GO SEMINOLES! :)