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newly sprouted spring leaves on a Sand Oak (Quercus geminata) at Big Lagoon State Park.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Train Series: CSX Train Yard: Faded Logos

Neither of these train cars had tagging on them,
just their aging logos and other technical information.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Train Series: CSX Train Yard: Boxcar Graffiti: Elmo

This is a companion piece to the April 17, 2015 post, Geepers Kreepers.

Click to enlarge.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Train Series: CSX Rail Line: Train Crossing at Oakfield Road: In Case of Emergency

I'm recovering from a leg injury and decided to take up my photo blog again to get an assist with my rehab. The mind protects what it wants to protect and I thought it would get me out and about more than I would otherwise - and it has. Working around my still cork-screwed sense of balance also makes for some interesting work.

 (Click to enlarge.)
 In any case, for now, this is my new POV.
Emergency numbers are good to know when you're stalled out, as it were.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Piazza Uccello: Through the Window: Bluebirds: Food Delivery, Vivid Edition

Peck peck. Hallo! Piazza Uccello, Bluebird Box #2?

 Here you go, easy does it...

Blue Girl in the 4th? Great, thanks for the tip. ...

Ciao Bella!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Birthday Lunch

My son and his best girl celebrate their birthdays just 4 days apart.
Thursday past was hers and we all met at Four Winds for lunch.

Smoked turkey salad with asiago cheese...

cold drinks...

herbed salmon and artichoke salad.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Because Rabbits

A sea of carrot tops are ready to be harvested and run through the dehydrator. 

The Mother Root

  These are parasitic wasp cocoons attached to some carrot top,
 they caught my attention because they looked like a wad of gum.

A Facebook group I'm in identified them for me, they're beneficial so they've been put in a safe spot until they hatch.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Girl Size

We had a storm that woke me up in the middle of the night and then had me scurrying to unplug everything I could reach. I also thought to go out and take down the canopy over the hot tub. Why is rain so wet?

This was followed by going late in the morning to have blood work done. I blame giving 5 vials of blood on an empty stomach and not having had much much sleep for choosing the restaurant next door, Twin Peaks. Think Hooters goes to Montana.

 The beer wasn't bad.
The people watching was excellent.

Monday, April 13, 2015


The University of West Florida has a beautiful campus, set back in a wooded area away from busy traffic. The other day I photographed this panorama* of the new entrance, Argonaut Village, a shopping center. I'm hoping there will be trees.

*Click to enlarge.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Last Things

In the fall of 1999 my husband rescued a young dog living in a culvert behind a chain link fence in McIntosh, Alabama. The first time I saw him he was dirty and emaciated but I don't think he was afraid. Standing there in the driveway he seemed expectant and curious more than anything else, a personality trait that never left him. I named him Ranger after a character in the Stephanie Plum books I was reading at the time and I can't imagine ever naming him anything else. I didn't know exactly how old he was or what kind of start he had in life but judging from the state of him and the rural area where he was living I guessed he was just one more pup dropped off on a country back road, left to fend for himself.

Maybe it was a kind of survival instinct but Ranger always set his own agenda and I'm no dog whisperer so over time we agreed we were going to accept each other just the way we were and it worked out pretty well for nearly 16 years. We actually had a lot in common: he didn't like having his picture made and neither do I. I'm not all that well socialized and neither was he: the word feral comes to mind. One area where we differed was the subject of bathing; I'm a water baby and he was a hydrophobe in the extreme.

Of all the things we did together any kind of grooming was always his absolute least favorite so I imagine he was always relieved when I loaded him up for a ride and it didn't turn out to be the groomers. He much preferred the drive-through window at the bank. He wasn't judgmental about things, just very particular. I once took him to the vet because I thought the groomer had injured him, maybe struck him, but she said that he just couldn't stand that long anymore, that the arthritis in his back wouldn't allow it. I realized we had turned a corner with Ranger and started bathing him before taking him in to be shaved but eventually I settled for bathing him and trimming him up with scissors while still wet. Trying to do it when he was dry set him to growling and showing his teeth and in any case, his fur was thick and wild and sticky, there was never much I could do with it. Worse still, he always looked so deeply depressed until he was left to dry on towels and then to roll on the rug, trying to overcome this latest indignity.

Last week I realized I would have to face his unhappiness one last time but it wasn't meant to make him presentable as much as I needed to memorize him in a way no photograph could convey. By then he didn't want to be touched more than the occasional pet but I was pretty sure the warmth of the water would allow me a kind of last embrace. He seemed to agree and didn't mind it at all. Well, except for being brushed out, he definitely had the last growl on that subject.

The problem with last things is I don't always know when they're going to occur. I unexpectedly lost my rabbit, Landy, four days before Ranger died and the last things I shared with her weren't the kinds of things anyone can plan for. I could and did do that for Ranger and the last thing I chose to do for him was to wrap him in a quilt I made over 30 years ago, a kind of family heirloom, and then bury him near Landy under the Cherokee roses that came from the first home he shared with us. Still, despite all my efforts I don't think there's any easy way to say a final goodbye to someone I love. I can only think that Last things aren't really about goodbye, but possibly more like, "I'll see you later, Kiddo."

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


After having a reaction to an antibiotic, Landy left us, quietly, on Easter Sunday afternoon. I wrapped her in her pink towel and then we said goodbye to our beautiful, beautiful girl.

Keating had his time with her and after briefly nuzzling her he went back into his condo and thumped, just the once.
We buried her under the wild roses with all that is blooming: lilies, dandelions, peach blossoms, wisteria, violets, clover, and tender grapevine. We will miss her terribly.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


I have the best of both worlds, the street where I live and the surrounding area is rural enough that I see everything from wild turkeys and coyotes to whole families of raccoons setting out for an evening's hunt, but I'm also less than five minutes from several shopping centers. Lately I've noticed that I'm becoming a bit more European in my habits, instead of loading up at the grocery store every couple of weeks or so, now, on a day when I'm running several errands, I stop and pick up just a few market items at a time. I'm also shopping in a lot more places locally and it seems I'm also enjoying shopping more, actually looking forward to it for a change.

On one of my recent runs I stopped at the neighborhood Winn Dixie and found these out in front as I was leaving.  I wasn't sure what I was looking at but it turns out they're kiln dried birch logs designed to ignite with just matches. I'll admit I really like the look of them and even the idea behind them but not so much the need for them. I love to camp and to light the occasional friendly fire pit at home but for me building a campfire is at least half of the allure. I'll stick to the logs we've collected from our tree prunings, etc. Besides, birch trees in Florida? Give me sustainable live oak any day.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Tree Grows in Bellview

Pensacola is a town not known for its aesthetics or innovation, it's more practical, rather more LA'ish (Lower Alabama) in feeling and thought. Conservative, safe. So it's no surprise that over the last few years I've seen the growth of small retail stores around town, usually springing up in twos, competing pairs of Family Dollar and Dollar General, doublets sprinkled a mile or two apart. If you miss either you'll soon find two of them later.

More affluent neighborhoods have lobbied to keep them out, usually by citing the serious problem of attracting outside riffraff. Obviously, their frequency argues against that idea; neighborhoods where residents have limited mobility due to income and physical issues tend to congregate elsewhere and they have their own stores. For me, I find that while these dollar stores are not personable or original in design they're probably no worse than the strings of upscale big box stores people are eager to frequent (I rarely, if ever, frequent either.). In point of fact, I would be willing to bet a quarter that most malls can't boast the beauty or friendliness of the many live oaks like those found at this Dollar General in my neighborhood. The franchise seems to have a knack for it, in general, at least in my town. And that has to count for something.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bee Wares

Here at Piazza Uccello we have a laissez-faire attitude toward our bee/wasp populations, as in, I've already taken a hit for the team and nursed my first wasp sting. Unless they're in the tongue of the trailer or near the front or back doors they're pretty much in like Flynn. The carpenter bees are just as bold, making a home for themselves on our front porch (they're going through a relocation program at the moment) but the mason bees have simply disappeared. I did spring cleaning anyway, in case they ever show up again. It's been 6 or 7 years.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Let Us Eat Cake

The blueberries are coming in and though I am not a fan of cake there are always those exceptional exceptions and this is one of them, my fantasy summer dessert, Blueberry Lime Layer Cake, a project in the making.

You can get the recipe and watch the tasty video here:

Friday, March 27, 2015