Follow by Email

Friday, November 20, 2015

Mid-Week Hooky

Hello All!  I took Wednesday of this week off for some preventatitve medical appointments.  They weren't until later in the day so I took a walk around my little "circuit" that I have.  This isn't going to be a long narrative today.  I just wanted to share some pictures with you.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ohio State University Wetlands

Hi Interwebs.  Did you miss me?  Sorry for not posting much over the past couple of weeks.  I know all of you were waiting impatiently.  There just isn't that many interesting things that I can talk about with my job.  We got back into the groove and already wanting to go back on vacation.  

I took a sick day today because of a medical appointment.  I had a 9 a.m. appointment that I rode my bike to and from.  It wrapped up and headed back to the homestead via my usual route.  I thought about going into work for a half-day, but quickly dispatched that idea.  I think this is going to be one of the last nice, warm days we have here in sub-tropical Columbus.

Live blogging from the veranda of Chez Stover

It has been awhile since I was able to go over to the Ohio State Wetlands and do some birding, so I thought today would be nice.  I've recently started to hear the return of the nuthatches and black-capped chickadees.  I haven't seen too many because I am always on the move, but was hoping to catch something when I slowed my roll.

We live right on the Olentangy (g is pronounced like that in tangent, not tang the drink) River across from the Ohio State University Research Wetlands.  There is a really nice loop around the wetland project, as well as a wooded trail by Clinton-Como Park that makes a nice little birding circuit.  For those of you that are local and familiar to this area, I usually loop around the backside of the kidneys, past the billabong, and then down to Dodridge Bridge.  At that point I take the river trail back up to the north wetlands bridge and then to the Clinton-Como trail.

In the kidneys I was able to snag a picture of what I think is a female wood duck.  They are usually pretty skittish, so I am putting this in the 'W' column.

Wood Duck at Ohio State Wetlands

The river trail was pretty fruitful.  I was able to see mallards, a great blue heron, and a nuthatch.


Great Blue Heron


On the Clinton-Como trail, I pretty much scratched, but was able to get some nice scenery shots.

Paw Paw leaves

Artifact along the Olentangy.  Wonder what it was

Olentangy Trail at Clinton-Como Park

In the words of Ice Cube, I gotta say, it was a good day.  I could have been trapped in a sterile office building, but timed a medical appointment just right.  It was warm and sunny.  I was able to snap a wood duck.  I only dropped half of my omlette on the floor when I tried to flip it like Jacque Pepin.  My trusty sidekick was right there to get rid of the evidence.

As I wrap this post up, the osage orange tree out back is dropping it's fruit.  I sounds like Johnny Knoxville dropping a cannonball off of a four story building.  Mental note- steer clear of the drop zone.  The clouds have moved in and the typical Ohio gray skies have emerged.  Probably until June.  It is supposed to rain tomorrow, but Spectre is released tomorrow, which is a good inside activity.  I think the warm days are far and few between for Ohio from this point forward.  But, I made the most of one of the season's last good ones.  Cheers!  See you on the flip flop side!

Monday, October 26, 2015

St George Island Wrap-Up

Well,  we are back in Ohio.  Normally, I'd have a really bad case of post-vacay blues, but the re-entry hasn't been quite as turbulent as in vacations past.

Someone asked me in a meeting this morning what my favorite part of vacation was for me.  I immediately answered "The eagles."  I got to thinking about my answer as I rode home for lunch.  I have never seen eagles in the wild before.  While never seeing them outside of a zoo setting and then seeing five over the course of a week was truely amazing, I think I have to amend my answer considerably.

This was Foxy's first vacation.  I know, she's a dog.  But Foxy is a part of our family and it was very fun bringing her with us.  She is nine now and she was acting like a puppy again.  Romping and carrying on in the sand.  I think that she understood that we were on a vacation.  It was really good to experience that.
Foxy Cleopatra on a beach walk

There is also something to be said about where water meets the land.  Three of the four elements coming meeting really does something to me.  It helps me find my zen and lifts my attitude.  St George Island was a beautiful place.  The sunrises and sunsets were stunning every day that we were there.

Good morning, SGI!

Another great part of this trip was the exploration.  We would take roadtrips to different little towns along the Forgotten Coast.  The one thing that remained the same with each stop was that the more you spoke with a local or looked into something, the deeper you can go.  We only scratched the surface of the adventures to be had.  There is also a rich, deep history in this area.  Many times stories revolved around the civil war.  It was a very interesting and different perspective.  It connected me to the history lessons I learned in school on a very real level.

Cape San Blas Lighthouse

Downtown Port St Joe

Me and the Mrs.

Grady Market Apalachicola

Carrabelle Beach

Carrabelle Harbor Marina

Sea grasses at St George Island State Park

Scuttle to SGI lighthouse lantern room

SGI halloween decorations

Thanks for visiting.  See you on the flip flop side!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

St George Island Day 7

Today is our final full day.  We took a really long walk on the beach this morning with Foxy.  I think she can sense that we have only one more sleep here.  After a quick errand we had some lunch and hit the pool at 300 Mile.  This is a very nice condo community.  There are two pools total.  After a couple of hours at the pool, we retired to the crow's nest to enjoy the ocean sights and sounds.

Foxy was planted in her bed on the crows nest and Dar would pop in and out of the sun for the finishing touches.  I wanted to post a little video for all of you so that you can enjoy the sun, sand, and sounds of St George Island.

After a very relaxing day at the beach and pool, we had to start the inevitable task of cleaning up and packing.  Do we go home?  Do I YouTube how to fish in the ocean and clean it so we can stay and be beach bums?  This level of contemplation requires Corona.  

After that sad state of affairs, we drove over to Apalachicola for dinner.  We ended up at Tamara's right on the main drag.  We scored a prime outdoor table along the side of the building.  Darla got the seafood linguine with red sauce.  It had mussels, scallops, and shrimp in it and Dar enjoyed it very much.  What drew us there was the pecan crusted grouper.  It was good, but fried and didn't seem like the best piece of fish.  Our overall experience was good.  We would return, but after we've tried some of the other places first.

After dinner we took a stroll through town to let our food settle.  Dar stopped into the Artemis Boutique to make sure there were no more sales to be uncovered before our departure.  The owner there suggested that we go check out the art opening down at the Bowery Art Gallery.  There were some very nice pieces of artwork in this gallery.
Bowery Art Gallery
We continued to walk off dinner and found some interesting old buildings.  You just have to wonder what their story was.

We also found a raw bar and a Marina/Hotel that will have to be tried on our next tip to the Forgotten Coast.  While we were in the Bowery Art Gallery a fellow patron suggested to check out the Apalachicola National Estaurine Research Reserve.  They were also having a gallery opening.  We strolled back to the car and headed to the ANERR.  

The Apalachicola National Estaurine Research Reserve should be on everyone's must do list while you are in the area.  I could see spending at least a half-day there learning about all of the critters and ecosystems in the area.  The half hour that we spent there this evening sealed the deal that we would return to the Forgotten Coast, if not for this center alone.  Fortunately, there are at least a dozen things on our list to see and explore next time.
Up The Creek Raw Bar

With that, I bid you adieu.  See you on the flip side.

St George Island Day 6.1

This is a continuation of yesterday's post.  After we took a long walk on the beach and Dar took a run, we decided to drive over to Port St Joe.  I wanted to try to find the recently relocated Cape San Blas Lighthouse.  The lighthouse had to be moved off of the cape due to erosion issues.  Apparently, there was quite some contention as to where and who would be moving the lighthouse.  There was a race for grant funding between the City of Port St Joe and the Gulf County.  The county only wanted to move the lighthouse a little more inland towards Indian Pass, and the city wanted to move it to their city park, which is in between the Port St Joe Marina and the Gulf County Welcome Center on Miss Zola's Drive.  Here is the lighthouse's facebook page.

Cape San Blas lighthouse

Cape San Blas lighthouse and keeper's houses

Well, the City actually got the grant funding first and the lighthouse was moved to City Park.  Locals were up in arms about this as well, because why would you put a lighthouse in a park.  Now that it has been moved, the general consensus of most of the folks we spoke with, was that it ended up being a good move and enjoy the lighthouse there.  It actually anchors (see what I did there) the park as being a focal point of all of the festivities and events that are hosted there.

Twice now, I've tackled (more like tagged and ran away) my fear of heights and went up to the top.  This one I was not secure behind glass.  I had to go out onto the precipice.  But it was worth the view.  
Cape San Blas Lighthouse view

Cape San Blas Lighthouse view

Cape San Blas Lighthouse view

131 steps for me to fall down

After the lighthouse tour, we walked around the park.  Along the way we came up to the Port St Joe Marina.  I've always wondered what these big buildings were that were situated along with the marinas.  Holy cow, they are an enclosed shelving system for boat storage.

Boys putting their toys away.

Down by the marina there appeared to be an abandoned sail boat.  Or at least moored in too shallow of water.  I thought it made for a nice shot and was happy with some of the reflection I was getting.
Run Aground

I was also very lucky to get some info about a Roseate Spoonbill and get a couple of pictures of it.  We later stopped into No Name Cafe and the they had an Audubon bird guide.  Dar got 87 books while we were there.  The home territory and migratory area is very small.  Its limited to the coastal area of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and parts of Louisiana.  Unless the Spoonbills are a nuisance bird, this was a rare opportunity, especially for a land lubber like myself.
Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

We went and had a late lunch at Sunset Coastal Grill.  Finally!  Cold shrimp cocktail.  There is nothing wrong with what appears to be the staple hot peel and eat, but I prefer cold shrimp cocktail.  This was by far, the best meal we have had while here in Florida.  We have come to find that when the menu says 'grilled', they actually mean griddle.  Nothing wrong with that, but to me, grill means open grate, open flame.  I had amazing grilled mahi fish tacos.  The fish was so fresh and flavorful, very little seasoning but prepared perfectly.  The soft taco shell was even toasted!  What a great touch.  I will have to remember that!  Darla got the crabby patties and they were delicious as well.  They had a very nice and firm consistency.  The crab pieces were shredded and small, not chunked.  Excellent meal and I highly recommend this place.  Darla even got into the photography game here.
Darla getting creative with some coastal bokeh

This is where our day got immensely more interesting.  A gentleman walked in with a camera on a tripod, camera bag, and some notebooks.  Darla's curiosity was bothering her so she went over and struck up a conversation (more like inquisition) with him.  It turns out it was Dan Anderson, Editor and Publisher of the Forgotten Coast area's Must See Magazine.  What an amazing source of info and wealth of knowledge.  For the better part of an hour, Dan told us all about the area, from history and lore, to the best shops and places to eat.  A tip of the hat goes out to Dan for taking the time out of his day to chat with a couple of Northerners.  Dan, if you read this, we were able to find several past issues of Must See.  And for what its worth, a couple of business owners that we struck up a chat with had nothing but great things to say about you.  Keep up the good work!

Port St Joe has a really cute 4-5 block stretch of downtown area.  Again the boutiques and shops were top notch and Darla investigated each and every one of them.  This afforded me the chance to get a couple of pictures of the area.
Downtown Port St Joe

Downtown Port St Joe

Downtown Port St Joe

Downtown Port St Joe

Downtown Port St Joe

A Studio 35 sourthern remote location?

Downtown Port St Joe

It's not a beach trip without the obligatory buggy.

Port St Joe was a great town.  As I said in my initial blog, the benchmark is St Augustine.  I am not sure that the Forgotten Coast is beating the St Augustine area, but it is giving it a good run for its money.  Dan, with Must See, really put it into perspective for us.  Dan points out that this low key beach life comes at a price.  You wouldn't just move down here and expect to find a job.  Most of the stores are being actively worked by their owners, they aren't absentee.  You also won't find a Walmart, or a Lowe's.  But if you don't need an 87 pack of toilet paper or 812 count of galvanized wood screws in black, brown, and white, then you'll be fine.  

You will definitely want to investigate where to shop.  The last place that I expected to have the best selection of vegetables and other grocery items on SGI was the one gas pump Piggly Wiggly Express.  That's because they are locally owned and operated. They had everything you needed and nothing you didn't.  There weren't 14 manufacturers of sunscreen on the shelf, there were two.  The more commercial competition across the street was a trip I'd like to forget.  Their fruits and vegetables were rotting right on the shelves.  They should have removed and pitched it rather than leave it on display.  That's where local pride prevails.

Sorry for the off-topic tangent there.  As we headed back to beach basecamp I caught a really nice view.  As we pulled up to the condo I was also able to get our crabby friend just as he was preparing to eat his fresh caught dinner of dragonfly.

Cheers!  See ya on the flip side!