Sunday, February 26, 2012

What does Helen know I didn't?

We almost regretted our trip to Florida because weather in Virginia wasn't really that wintery. Oh, well ...

It came down on Sunday evening the 19th.

In no time there was a blanket over everything. Quite cozy. 
Monday morning. Yes, we don't really have to do the snow removal ourselves, but James felt like it ... instead of going to the gym.
Yes, that's me. Standing in the garage with a cup of tea, haha.
My poor daffodils. Happy to report that they survived it though.

Ash Wednesday! James and I packed the car, went to the 7:30 am service at our church and went on the road to Nashville from there.

William wanted to see Grandpa and Omi again. We had not seen him in a while.

Helen came over with him in the evening. Silly me took only one picture.

It is heartwarming how his face lights up when he sees us.
Thursday and Friday we went at 10 am to pick him up. He was waiting for us at his door with his 'laptop'.
 Grandpa is the buckle-upper.
 Yeah, playtime.

Friday we went to the Olive Garden in Mt Juliet for a late lunch. You can take that child anywhere. He is so good.
And this is the most amazing thing. Yes, what does Helen know I didn't? After lunch you change him, lay him down and tell him it's nap-time. Grandpa puts a little elevator music on his iPad, William talkes a little and then just talls asleep. I couldn't do that with my children.

And yes, this is a German baby sleeping sack. His great-grandmother sewed this one for his mother. Or was it for his Aunt? Have to dig up some pictures.
Sleeping in the middle of things!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mini vacation - Florida - Day 6

Friday February 10

Our last morning in Key West. Sitting on the porch having breakfast. And then the sky opens for a downpour. I think it is supposed to make our parting easier.

Mmhh, I don't think you see the water coming from the gutters if you don't know where to look.
We have plenty of time until we have to be at the Miami Airport so we stop again at the Everglades National Park. On Monday we had decided to drive the whole way (about 38 miles) to the other end of the park on the Gulf Bay and then make our way back making as many stops depending as we have time. It was a good plan because there was one trail left close to the entrance which we could do now. Gumbo Limbo Trail! Gumbo Limbo is the name of a tree species. 
Couldn't see the spider but the web was so beautiful in the sun, almost like a CD.

We saw three of these Zebra longwing butterflies dancing around in the middle of the hammock but they came never close enough for a photo. They had a strange way to fly and it was fun watching them.
Since we had enough time we did the Anhinga Trail again which starts from the same parking lot. Today was very different than it had been on Monday. Time of the day was different and it had rained a lot since then so the water level was higher.
A vulture.  On the parking lot was a warning that they cut and destroy the rubber on your car like your windshield wipers. Luckily they must have been somewhere else.
Today the water was much clearer and we even could see the fish.

A snake!
I made a big bow around several alligators right next to the walkway. You would not believe how close some of the other visitors got to them though. Even with little children.

On Monday the female anhinga sat on the nest. Today it was the male So, they are sharing duties.
Showing off his teeth.
Come a little closer.
You had to take your time and keep looking. Some of the animals were not so easily seen. We have all heard about camouflage. 

A big mahogany tree. This is the farthest north they  grow.
Its seed pots. The ranger told us that there are lots of seeds inside. The pots open and the seeds twirl around to the ground. She says it is a lovely sight.

Outside the park and on the way to the airport we stop at "Robert is here". A nice fruit and veggie place.
Couldn't help myself. Had to buy some key limes. 
But there were lots of other nice fruit I had never seen before. And they had tastings.
And they sold gigantic milkshakes with lots of different flavors. James had sapodilla.
For more info about sapodilla   click here.

Mine was key lime since I had promised no more pie, haha. On the drive I had seen a sign:
Prevent scurvy  -  eat key lime pie!
I certainly did a lot prevention this week.

Returning the rented car, the flights, all went fine and we reached home shortly before midnight.

Saturday afternoon: thunder and snow.
And it is very, VERY cold on Sunday.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mini vacation - Florida - Day 5

Thursday February 9th

We can't go to a gym on this vacation but we certainly get our exercise. Today again we walked all over town.

This is Fort Zachary Taylor. Construction started 1845 for defense of the coastline of the United States. Due primarily to the lack of materials, it took a long time and finally was ready by 1860 to hold troops and cannon.

For more info click here.
Tidal flush latrines. There were two ten-seat latrines in the fort. They were designed so that the out-going tide would "flush" them. However, the tidal flow was insufficient which resulted in mosquito breeding and yellow fever.

Is Pelli ready to defend the United States?
No, just doing tourist things. Look, another cruise ship is in the harbor today again.
People were getting ready to put up stands and stalls for the Civil War Heritage festival starting tomorrow. 
Behind the Fort a beautiful beach. I love the stand of pine trees. Plenty of picnic benches and even BBQ pits.
Lovely breeze and shade.

James has a dip in the ocean. I thought it would be too cold and didn't bring my swimsuit which I now regretted.

But I was not bored because there were plenty of birds around. This red headed woodpecker entertained me nicely.
Ah, yes, should have borrowed Sarah's camera.
Another second and my feet got wet.

We walked and walked and it was lovely to look at things.

We came to several dead-ends which made us retract and walk even more. We saw a US Coast Guard ship which looked like you could visit it ... but they charged for it ... too much. Since we already paid for it with taxes, that didn't seem fair.

Next we passed the Eco Discovery Center and decided to enter. It was quite small but very nice. I liked the ocean water aquariums where they nurture damaged corals the best.

We passed a bakery. I was craving a coffee. Didn't have one for several days (tea in the mornings). And guess what ... they had key lime pie. My third piece this week. And last one. I promise. It was good. We took all back to our B+B and enjoyed it on the back porch. Lovely.

James asked again our B+B people for a recommendation for dinner. The previous evening had been such a surprise. It looked like such a hole in the wall that we would have never chosen it. And it had been so great.

Well, recommendation for this night was "Azur" and it was great again. We had a brisk 15 minutes walk into the neighborhood we would have never found ourselves.

James had the day's special: Hogfish with roasted red beets etc. I could see from my seat that the special was already crossed out but James got the very last portion. Since we never heard of hogfish we googled on it and here he is: 

I got the mixed seafood risotto. I ate it ALL up except some of the rice. So good.

And then a brisk walk back to the B+B past the cemetery this time. A little eery. The night air was lovely.