Unexpected Pleasant Surprise

Good morning. It looks like another rainy couple of days in our forecast. Oh well, I guess it’s better than snow.

We had an unexpected pleasant surprise Monday night. Our son Scott had to go to Miami for work and stopped here on his way back north. He was able to stay with us all day Tuesday. He left to head back home just before lunch yesterday.

We were able to show him around the area. We walked the trail to the eagle’s nest and then went over to the pier for a nice walk. We had not been to the pier yet this year, but we did walk it last year while we were here.

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It was a cool, but pleasant day. We saw lots of pelicans by the pier. One fisherman was feeding them some of his catch. I don’t believe he was supposed to do that, but it was interesting watching the birds fight for a bite. On the other side of the pier, a coot was diving for his dinner. He was quite successful.

We also saw a cormorant perched on the top of a pillar. It is always fun to watch and see the wildlife.

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Pelicans

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Pelicans

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American Coot catching fish

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Cormorant

Loving our lifestyle.
Until next time,

Kathryn

 

 

Eastern Screech Owl

Good morning. Yesterday was another wet rainy day. Today should be a bit better. No sun, but thankfully the rain has moved out for a few days.

In-between the rain drops yesterday, we went up to the nature center to see a presentation about the Eastern Screech Owl. Her name is Archimedes. She has resided in the nature center for many years. As she only has one eye she is unable to survive in the wild. She lost her eye while hunting for a mouse. She wasn’t paying attention to what else was around and was hit by a car. The doctors were able to save her life, but not her eye.

Screech owls, unlike other owls, have perpendicular ears. Meaning they cannot tell immediately which direction a sound is coming from because a sound will hit both ears at the same time (like humans). With other types of owls their ears are at an angle so sounds that are coming from below are heard by the lower ear first and sounds that are coming from up high are heard from the higher ear first. This makes it quicker and easier for them to know where to look for both animals who prey on them and animals they prey on. Screech owls are also much smaller in size than other types of owls. They are sometimes mistaken for a baby Great Horned Owl.

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Eastern Screech Owl

I finished my first pine needle basket yesterday. It’s not perfect, but I am really happy with how it turned out. I still need to seal it with some shellac. Others have used bees-wax, varnish or Mod Podge to seal and protect their baskets. I’m not sure what is best or which I will use. I do know that bees-wax is very expensive but is natural and a highly recommended sealant.

I now know that each basket uses quite a few pine needles. Which means more walks on the trails looking for nice long clean pine needles. I also now know that each basket takes some time to create. With each stitch I take I need to add another pine needle. It is a time-consuming process, but very relaxing. I guess that’s why I enjoy doing needlework.

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1st Pine Needle Basket – 5″w x 2 1/2″h

I won’t be able to start on another basket until I purchase some waxed thread or artificial sinew. But that’s not a problem. It will give me time to collect, clean and prepare more pine needles.

Loving our lifestyle. Have a nice day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

Pine Needle Basket Class

Good morning. This week sure has gone by quickly. I can’t believe it’s Friday already. Not that one day is any different from another for us. Today is going to be a bit warmer than it has been the last few days, so we may be able to sit outside for a while. A nice walk will be nice too.

Yesterday was my pine needle basket class. As I had mentioned before, I wanted to take the class last year when we were here but it wasn’t offered until January and we were gone by then. There were about 25 of us in the class. Two were men. The instructor had many helpers, who had taken the class in previous years, which was nice as they were able to give us the individual attention needed to get us started.

We were asked to bring some pine needles (or pine straw as the instructor called it). We were given a starter kit with a black walnut slice, needle and artificial sinew. She went over all the basics with us; how to collect and prepare the needles to work with. I was glad I had asked questions and looked online prior to class. I was able to have that part done. My needles were cleaned and ready to sew with. The time in class went by quickly. Basket making is a slow process. It takes time to collect, clean and prepare the needles. Creating a basket also is a slow process.

We were told that no two baskets are alike. Say you really like a basket you made and you want to make one exactly like it for someone else. Not going to happen. Even though you created the first one, no matter how hard you try the next one will always be a bit different.

I think I caught on pretty quickly. My previous experience with needlework helped. I already knit, crochet, cross stitch, embroider, quilt, sew, bead, etc.. This is just one more type of needlework craft to add to my forte. Will I stop doing my other types of needlework. No, making baskets is kind of messy. It is best to work on outside. But, I will be enjoying this craft now too.

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Start of my 1st Basket and prepared Pine Needles

Loving our lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

 

Eagles

Good morning. It got cold enough last night to leave frost on our car windows. Looking forward to another sunny but cold day with a high of only 55º.

Yesterday wasn’t much warmer but we braved the cold and took a guided nature walk to see an eagle’s nest in the park. We were told this is the female’s third mate. Her other two mates died. We were also happy to hear that she just laid eggs a couple of days ago, so they are busy protecting their nest. With it being a clear sunny day the nest was easily visible with my camera and binoculars. This is our first eagle sighting in a natural setting.

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In the afternoon we went to the nature center for a presentation on snakes. I’m not a reptile enthusiast, but it was very interesting and we learned some very valuable information. Now if I could only retain what I was told it would be great. I do have to say that those who have given the presentations are very knowledgeable. Their time in the field and education is very evident.

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We also managed to fit in a trip to the laundromat. Always a fun time (not), but it needs to be done. We were very tired and ready relax by the time we got home.

Today is my pine needle basket class. Can’t wait. Loving our lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Alligators

Good morning. Another cold morning with a high of only 55º today. It will feel a bit warmer when the sun comes out.

Yesterday was cool but beautiful. The sun was out and not too much of a breeze. We took  long walk collecting pine needles for the baskets I hope to create. We found quite a few nice long ones. It is so relaxing and quite along the trails.

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Monday we went to the nature center and heard the presentation on alligators. They have a couple of babies about a year old on loan. They are so cute when they are babies. We still haven’t seen any in the park, but we are told they are here.

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That’s it for today. Loving our lifestyle. Have a great day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

Great Horned Owl

Good morning. Wow, what a wicked night of storms we had with heavy downpours of rain, thunder, lightning and wind. I’m glad we are about done with it. The rain is supposed to be over soon, then we should have a fairly nice day. No sun in the forecast though.

Yesterday morning we had a break in the rainy weather, so we decided to head to the beach to see the big waves. We timed it perfectly. The sun was out and the temperature was warm but not too hot. The waves were coming in hard and fast. The red warning flags were out. The birds were enjoying the weather too. It is fun watching them run up and down the beach. Sea foam was washing up the shore. We didn’t find too many shells though. 

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Then we went to the nature center to learn about the Great Horned Owl. Her name is Doctor and she is about 3 years old. She was placed here because she had been around humans too long and no longer was able to fend for herself. We didn’t get her complete story because the weather was making her uneasy and she was stressing out, so the ranger had to cut her time short.

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We made it back home just in time for the big storm to hit. We hunkered down for the rest of the day playing cards, reading and watching football. Loving our lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Barred Owl

Good morning. After a few cold days it looks like today will be a nice day to be outside. Our high here in Gulf Shores, Alabama is going to be around 70º. We plan on getting some outside work done along with leisure activities.

Yesterday was a busy day. In the morning we went to the nature center where they had a presentation on the barred owl. This beautiful gal, named Sherlock, ran into barbed wire and was injured. She no longer has the ability to fly quietly (which is necessary to capture its prey) or well and now has a permanent home at the nature center.

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After visiting the nature center we moved to our other site. We weren’t due to move until Saturday, but with rain in the forecast for this weekend and the site vacant now, we decided it was a good day to switch over. This is the site we will be on until we leave here January 1st. We are now on site #281 which is on Gator and is at the end of a loop. From here I can see the water (always a plus) and we are in a more remote area which hopefully will help keep Patty Pepper a little calmer.

We then did our necessary grocery shopping. I said it was a busy day.

Loving our lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn