Saturday, April 12, 2014

The struggle ...

I have been taking a bit of a hiatus from blogging. This was driven by necessity when we had company for several weeks, but it was also driven by a sense of weariness. After almost 4-1/2 years, and approaching 700 posts, I found myself at the same crossroads that many others have - to continue or not. The decision is pending.

There are many arguments on the pro side, while the con side also has its share. I have other 'projects' clamoring for attention, and despite man's inventiveness, each day still only has 24 hours. Photography remains a passion (although the flame requires some stoking).

I am overdue visiting those who have faithfully landed here and left a comment - I shall commit to fulfilling that pledge this week.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pair for the course

We visited some friends today who are avid golfers and whose backyard faces the 18th hole of their golf course. The course is home to some rather gregarious sandhill cranes. I opted to bring the camera this time - on the last visit I left it at home, much to my chagrin.

Before long, a lone crane wandered onto the course from between a couple of houses. Grabbing my gear, I nonchalantly stalked him onto the course and got a few shots before I caught a shot (from a golfer) myself.

A little later we visited the ladies' tee-off area on the 12th hole where a female was guarding her nest that contained 2 eggs. As she kept a wary eye on me, I quickly fired off a few shots of her too - I wasn't about to find out how vigorously she would defend her nest. Perhaps in a few weeks I might be able to get some photos of the offspring.

[editor's note: our 2nd set of winter visitors is arriving in an hour; I may not be around much over the next 2-1/2 weeks but may sneak in a visit here or there. I'm told that spring is around the corner ...]

"no clubs required; I own the course ..."
"I zoomed in tight for this shot - no need to aggravate mama"

"Here she is guarding the nest"

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Queen of Palms

In the north temperate zone (this year also known as the north polar zone) I could reasonably expect to see some trees starting to flower in May. I haven't quite figured out what the flowering season is in the subtropic zone. For instance, we have some 'annual' dianthus here that have been blooming continuously for almost 3 years. Hibiscus seem to bloom whenever they feel like it, and that also seems to be the case with palm trees - I haven't discovered their cycle yet either. I'm constantly amazed at God's creativity when I see the variety that exists in nature, whether that be in the plant or tree world, the animal world, landscapes ....

One of our queen palms (Syagrus Romanzoffiana) has been developing several flower pods which are 5-6 ft tall. Today we noticed one that had burst open. In the first photo you can see the large yellow flower and the open flower pod to the left of it. To the left of the open pod you can see another, unopened pod. I'll leave the flowers for a few weeks at which point a heavy cluster of large green grape-like seeds will develop. These will gradually turn an attractive orange-yellow colour and that's my cue to take action. I've learned from past experience not to let them ripen to the point where they start dropping to the ground. They become extremely soft and very sticky, and rather nasty to pick up. Instead I'll position a large garbage can beneath the cluster before it ripens and saw it off so it drops directly in the can - no fuss, no muss, no bother. In the meantime we'll enjoy the flowers.

As I was looking through some shots of this flower, I thought I noticed a smudge in the 2nd photo. Take a look at a crop of that photo (3rd photo below) to see the 'smudge'.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm more of a country boy than a city slicker. I'm happy that so many people love living in the city since it keeps the countryside uncrowded (although I realize some are there only because that's where the jobs are, mostly). However, I don't mind taking the occasional trip in to see the sights.

A few days ago we packed up Sasha and the wagon (I'll have to let you see that soon) and headed for a stroll through a small piece of historic Fort Myers (winter home of Thomas Edison). If you're up for a little nostalgia, listen along to Petula (link below the last photo) while you walk with us ...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Tin Goose and I

I've had a love affair with airplanes since I was a young lad emigrating to Canada at the age of 6 aboard a KLM Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation - that's another whole story. This week I had the rare opportunity to experience the thrill of flying in an even older vintage aircraft - a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor, affectionately known as the Tin Goose. I am indebted to my wife (who spotted an ad for flights aboard the Tin Goose) and 2 of my daughters (who presented me with the flight as a birthday gift).

Should you be so inclined, there's lots of information on this remarkable aircraft online. However, you can follow my experience below:

passengers (9) on each flight attend a brief safety overview (FAA requirement)
before the flight there's an opportunity to make some photos
the 'luxurious' interior - unlikely able to accommodate today's 'carry on' luggage

one of the 3 engines that hurtle you to your destination at 90mph (145kmph)

all aboard and ready for takeoff

captain and co-pilot are eager to go (Note: no locked cockpit door)

doesn't look quite as sleek as today's airliners

ok - check out the view

pulling back into the 'terminal' (ps - no security checks beforehand either)

If you ever get the chance to fly in this piece of history, don't let it go by. Check out this site for more information.