Posts Tagged With: Sanibel

Sunset Walk and Family Photos

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Thanks Milissa for letting me grab one of your beautiful family photographs! Just so you know, if you come to Sanibel and want a great family or wedding photograph, Milissa Spreacher Photography is based on Sanibel/Captiva and she is so creative- great with kids and groups! I will be making an appointment with her in the near future for my own silly family!

Jacob (my 15yr old) grabbed my phone and did take a couple of very nice photos-

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Creating Affordable Garden Information Markers and Placards

I am committed to turning my Sanibel home property into a food forest. People always ask- why? I am particularly interested in Florida native plantings. Neighbors ask- why?  One goal for my yard is that every plant be usable to people or animals in some way; as a source of food, shelter, a textile, or companion to other plants. Why you ask? I want to create a way to educate you, and anyone who visits my garden why- and maybe inspire you to do something similar with your yard.

There are several reasons I decided to tackle the ‘food forest’ project. First, I love dirt and I love growing things. I love the creatures that visit my garden for food, water and shelter because of what I grow.

I nurture my connection to God through my stewardship of the earth. I grow intellectually by learning about Botany, Ecology, Wildlife Biology, etc. I am concerned about the quality of food my family consumes.

There are other reasons for creating a food forest. Growing your own food saves money,

significant amounts of money. Residential property is expensive to purchase and maintain! There are property taxes and landscape maintenance costs. Until moving to SW Florida, I had never used a yard maintenance company.. As a master gardener, I’ve always taken great pride in creating and keeping my own gardens. But that was in Southern Maine, and SE Idaho. Keeping a yard neat and tidy in zone 10 is a whole ‘nother world! Maintaining an ornamental property takes A LOT of work, money; and it’s not necessarily an environmentally friendly endeavor.

Creating a food forest using “native” edibles is another goal. It’s good for the planet, good for our health and for my pocketbook. Natives need less water, fertilizer and pesticides than a traditional lawn-scaped home. The more food you grow at home- the less you spend at the grocery. Less fertilizers and pesticides means healthier people and animals- and more habitat for wildlife.  The benefits of using a residential property as a food forest far out way any reason to maintain a traditional lawn-scape. Now I need to fulfill another goal- sharing the value of the food forest with others.

My landscape does not look traditional but it is beautiful. When something is different, it attracts attention. Good! When you look at my yard, you see the beauty as well as educational plant markers and placards that share the benefits of planting a food forest. After the first round of plantings for our food forest in January 2014, I purchased a few professional grade plant markers for the fruit trees. They are fantastic, great looking, easy to read, samplerdurable…and expensive! To stay within my budget for the rest of the project, I have to find an alternative way to label plantings and make placards.http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/

 

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Photo Jun 08, 10 58 37 PMOnce printed, I will use a decoupage technique  to affix the sticker to either a high quality stake, or to a flat metal plate I can use as a tag on a tree or bush.

Curious to get feedback from you about the information I have included, and the readability of the font and layout.

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Do you prefer a traditional black background, or would you like to see the labels in color?  Would appreciate any feedback, and I will post again with a tutorial once I have made the first markers.

Categories: Florida native, Food Forest, Garden | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Florida Native Wildflowers and Their Seeds

Got some wildflower seeds in the mail and decided to photograph the seeds of each variety I purchased.

Florida Wildflower Seeds

Florida Native Wildflower Seeds

Verbesina virginica, Frostweed

Verbesina virginica, Frostweed

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Polygonella Polygama var brachystachys, Thinleaf October Flower

Polygonella Polygama var brachystachys, Thinleaf October Flower

Solidago sempervirens- Seaside Goldenrod

Solidago sempervirens- Seaside Goldenrod

Ludwigia octovalvis, Mexican Primrose-willow

Ludwigia octovalvis, Mexican Primrose-willow

Carphephorus odoratissimus var. subtropicanus- Pineland Purple, False Vanillaleaf

Carphephorus odoratissimus var. subtropicanus- Pineland Purple, False Vanillaleaf

Eupatorium mikanioides-Semaphore Thoroughwort

Eupatorium mikanioides-Semaphore Thoroughwort

Lythrum alatum var. lanceolatum-Winged Loosestrife

Lythrum alatum var. lanceolatum-Winged Loosestrife

Pluchea odorata-Sweetscent, Salt Marsh Fleabane

Pluchea odorata-Sweetscent, Salt Marsh Fleabane

Euthamia carolinliana, Flat-topped Goldenrod

Euthamia carolinliana, Flat-topped Goldenrod

Eryngium yuccifolium- Rattlesnake Master

Eryngium yuccifolium- Rattlesnake Master

These seeds came from the Florida Wildflower Growers Cooperative. All images are taken with an 8x macro on an iphone 5s

Categories: Florida native, Food Forest, Garden | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Curiosity In The Garden

I love it when my sweet cat, Savannah, follows me into the garden. She is an inside kitty- usually very cautious about even being on the enclosed lanai. The only time she ever tries to venture outside is when I go into the garden. Once she is in the garden she loses herself as completely as I do. While she explores I keep an eye on the sky for raptors and enjoy her antics. It’s nice for me to slow down and see the garden through her.

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Categories: Garden, iphoneography | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘I Love Shelling’ Gets Some Awesome Press!

My favorite blog about shelling on Sanibel got some well deserved press- Just in case you missed the NYT on Wednesday August 7, 2011- I thought you might like to read the article too!

A Florida Island Draws an Array of Seashells and Their Hunters

By    Photos by Angel Valentin

The New York Times

Published: August 7, 2012 The New York Times

“We take our shelling very seriously,” said Clark Rambo, on Sanibel Island last month with his wife, Pam, who blogs about the hobby. Specimens pour onto the beach, in part because of the area’s geography.

Hundreds take to the beach near the lighthouse on this hammock-shaped island, hunching over the sand as they dig, lift, inspect and move on. The position is so common it has a name: the Sanibel Stoop. The beachcombers wave and chitchat but, with their competitive instincts primed, they steer clear of one another’s turf, keeping a sharp eye out for dots or spirals or telltale lumps in the sand.

“We take our shelling very seriously,” said Clark Rambo, who is known as Super Sheller Clark, a moniker used, sometimes admiringly, sometimes grudgingly, by his wife, Pam. “Every day on the beach is a treasure hunt, and that’s what makes it so competitive.”

Stretched out as far as the eye can see are shells — large, tiny, cone-shaped, scalloped, spiraled, white, orange, pink. Sanibel Island, and its neighbor, Captiva Island, just off the state’s southwest coast, are where hunters come for a seashell bonanza. There is no other place like it in the country, and very few places like it in the world. On some days, depending on the wind, shells pour onto the beach in piles, seducing even the most jaded beachgoers.

This has been particularly true in the weeks since Tropical Storm Debby, the late June storm that caused flooding and beach erosion along some pockets of Florida’s west coast but proved a boon to seashell hunters.

Sanibel’s largess is in its geometry: It is a 12-mile barrier island with a distinctive curve. The coastline runs west to east rather than north to south. When storms blow in from the northwest, the waves and currents funnel more than 300 shallow-water species of shells right onto the beach. Other parts of the world, like the South Pacific, may draw more species, but the shells are not nearly as easy to find. They require boat trips and dives.

“There are days here when you have layers of shells four feet thick,” said José H. Leal, the director of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum here. “It’s one of the best places in the world for shelling, for sure.”

Seashells have proved resilient, too. At a time when fish stocks are down and coral reefs are dying, Mr. Leal said seashells — made by mollusks mostly from the calcium carbonate in seawater — continue to thrive.

For some, searching for seashells is a hobby; for others, it is a calling and an obsession that sometimes reaches back generations, with collections passed down like heirlooms. Here, there are shell clubs, shell stores, shell guides, shell excursions, shell crafts and the shell museum.

Inside his shell-festooned house, Mr. Rambo holds dear a black-and-white photo of his room as a boy. The image shows his twin bed, spread with seashells mostly scooped from the Jersey Shore. Mrs. Rambo, an artist, also grew up collecting shells, a shared passion that helped cement the couple’s relationship 18 years ago, despite Mr. Rambo’s being injured during a date.

It happened during a day of shelling on Sanibel early in the courtship; she pushed him (playfully) as he stood, his feet dug into the wet sand.

“My leg did a spiral twist,” he said. “Sounded like a shotgun.”

Now Mrs. Rambo is a sought-after figure on the island — a shell-ebrity, if you will — because of her popular Web site, www.iloveshelling.com. It is routine for her to be stopped to listen to a fan rattle off a list of finds (tulips, conchs, whelks, murex) or to answer a question about where to go and when. (The answer is Lighthouse Beach and Blind Pass, which lies between Sanibel and Captiva at low tide, when the wind is westerly, preferably after a storm.)

On a recent evening, shell hunters hungrily swept the beach with their eyes. They picked up shells and peered inside them.

“Is anybody home in there?” Mrs. Rambo asked. If a mollusk was inside, she placed the shell back on the sand. That is the rule in these parts — no live shelling. Before a 1994 law, people hauled boxes of shells away and began depleting the shoreline.

In front of the lighthouse, a teenage boy picked up a starfish and showed it off. A woman from North Carolina dug a hole. She recognized Mrs. Rambo. “I’ve probably found 15 bittersweets,” Denise Kisko, 56, told her, referring to a scallop-shaped shell. She glanced at a 13-year-old girl who was snooping in her spot. “Don’t you find anything in my pile,” she said, kidding, sort of.

Competition is stiff. The morning last October that Mrs. Rambo found a precious, elusive junonia, a species of sea snail known for its brown spots, she had told friends to meet her at Blind Pass at sunrise. Hoping to beat the competition, she got there before sunrise, with a light on her hat, to hunt solo. She spotted the junonia in a little trench. It was her eureka moment.

“I started screaming,” she said. “I was a shellunatic.”

Never mind that her husband has found four junonia over his lifetime, a remarkable feat he loves to sprinkle into conversations. After he posted a photo of his fourth junonia online, it proved too much for the shell crowd.

“They started booing him on the Web site,” Mrs. Rambo said, with a laugh.

Categories: Shells, Beach Life, Beach Bling, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kayaking Commodore Creek in Tarpon Bay

              

Had fun out on Tarpon Bay today. Put in at Tarpon Bay Explorers and paddled Commodore Creek. It’s an easy trail for the kids; with loads to see and learn.

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Shore Birds

      Black Skimmers and Royal Terns

                Gull and Royal Terns 

     Royal Terns 

         Lonely Plover 

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Childhood Memories of Florida

I was born in 1965, and grew up in Homewood, Alabama. From the time I was a little girl, my family vacationed in the Florida panhandle.panhandle_map

My family, and people we knew went to Ft. Walton beach or Panama City. I didn’t know much about the rest ofpost card of florida with mickey mouse Florida. I knew rocket ships launched from a place called Cape Canaveral; that Mickey Mouse  lived somewhere ‘way down there’ and from TV ads, that oranges grew in great numbers somewhere in Florida. A farmer put a sticker on every one of those oranges before he sent them to our Piggly Wiggly supermarket! Between government land for rocket ships,  farm land for oranges and whatever land Walt Disney had, there really couldn’t be room for much else, right?

APOLLO1lWe vacationed in the Florida in the heat of summer. I never questioned the logic, this was just something we did.  Every year my parents got so excited about those trips, so I too, was thrilled to leave a hot and sticky Alabama for a hotter, and stickier, Florida; where, at the very least, there was the ocean.  Thinking back, I am pretty sure the anticipation and planning of the trip was at least as much fun as the trip itself.  I remember planning all the games we 3 kids would play in the car on the way, what clothes we would wear; packing and repacking our little suitcases and bags to fit everything we would need.

There are memories from so many years and trips, but really, they were all the same. On the day of our trip, Momma spent the morning gathering what seemed like half our house; and the afternoon ‘fixing’ her hair and makeup. She would don a new ‘vacation dress’ just as we were ready to leave. My dad liked to drive at night when it was cooler, so after he got off of work we would load the car and go. In the early seventies we had  a green square-back Volkswagen. In the early eighties, a blue ford station wagon with wood paneling on the side, and jump seats in the back.  All the windows would be down in the car. My sister, brother and I played games to pass the time. We would wag our arms up and down at truck drivers whizzing past us on the highway, jumping up and down (no seat belts in those early days) and squealing with delight when they obeyed our signals and sounded big truck horns. We played I Spy; punched each others arms when one of us saw a VW bug. On the back roads, in the twilight hours, we held our breath and stuck our thumbs to the ceiling as we passed a cemetery. We played at these games till our playfulness disintegrated into irritated squabbling, which would inevitably lead to a smack from one or another parent.  Silence would be ordered, then sweaty, restless napping would eventually fall over each of us.

A 4.5 hour drive to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida seemed like an eternity.  When my younger siblings were sleeping, daddy would let me sit by his side and steer the car.  As far as I knew, I was the one driving, and that was thrilling for a little kid.  Because we always arrived at our destination at night, we smelled the ocean before we saw it. To this day the smell of the ocean on a warm summer night is the most wonderful one I know. Though my parents referred to it as ‘the beach house’, we always stayed at a teeny, pink cinderblock house a block away from the actual ocean.  I suppose, when you only see the beach once or twice a year, that little pink box was close enough to count.

The walk to that crowded beach was always a misery.  It started on the steaming hot pavement and transitioned to sand so-hot-it-blistered your feet (why did we never wear shoes?)  I remember my mom slathering my white skin with coppertone, then tying a big floppy hat to my sweaty head.  I don’t know how vigilant my parents were about sunscreen back then, but we could have protected our skin better had we just rolled in sand after applying the coppertone. We always came home sunburned except for the places where sand had stuck to that oil.

After a day at the beach, there were afternoon naps, charcoal grilled hamburgers or a BBQ chicken dinner, and we had ice cream every night.  There were rainstorms at night that sent us running to the safety of my parents bed.  Thunder rattled that little pink box with wind and rain so fierce I knew we would all wash away by morning. Daddy would always calm us down by counting the time between lightning and thunder. Though we never did so at home, we sat outside in the dark every night with my parents; slapped mosquitos and watched meteor showers, or just counted stars. One year there was a total lunar eclipse. I remember my brother running around with sparklers while my sister and I sat between mom and dad; each of them pointing toward the moon and explaining what was happening.

My memories are bits and pieces of many trips to Florida with my family. Though I live ‘way down’ in Florida, I am grateful to live, full-time, in an environment where my parents, siblings and I shared so many happy times.

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Sunset Kite Surfers on Sanibel

                            

                          

Shot with iphone 4s

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Sanibel Lighthouse Sunset

Shot with my iphone 4s and processed with mobile snapseed.

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