Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My Obfuscatory Sentence

Obfuscatory Sentence - A long sentence with no apparent meaning, often containing made-up words and a straying from the original topic.

I had to write an "obfuscatory sentence" for my creative writing class this week, and I was so pleased with it I thought I would share it with you. I am delaying the post about the hard freeze because my pre-calculus homework took a long time to do, and I don't have time to write it tonight. (In case you haven't figured it out, I write my posts ahead of time and just publish them early in the morning.) So, now for my obfuscatory sentence...

The capitulating water ventriculated through the incredible bolzaca of sitrentoc trees, through the compenzulation of yufurbenators that bolezened high into the menzaca, through which the flewbers flewbed and the geebers geebed, as the bloibers bleebed and the bloobers bloobed, as if they had some kind of happiness unknown to man, but kind of known to women, especially to liberal femenists who delight in the kind of bleebing and bloobing that so many find beautiful, but so many others find as disgusting as the pile of feces that was left by your little dog in the living room over one week ago, and the smell and the stain that is left behind afterward.


More on this tomorrow morning!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Gone Away...

Work, school, moving, cleaning, etc. etc. I REALLY needed to get out into the swamp and I finally did yesterday. More on that later.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


This is a part of an article that appeared in the December 14th issue of the San Francisco Chronicle. It is a truly intriguing and amazing story...

A humpback whale freed by divers from a tangle of crab trap lines near the Farallon Islands nudged its rescuers and flapped around in what marine experts said was a rare and remarkable encounter. "It felt to me like it was thanking us, knowing that it was free and that we had helped it," James Moskito, one of the rescue divers, said Tuesday. "It stopped about a foot away from me, pushed me around a little bit and had some fun."

At about 8:30 AM on Sunday, 11 December 2005, a crab fisherman working the open waters east of the Farallon Islands, about 18 miles off the coast of San Francisco, spotted a whale that had become entangled in the nylon ropes that link crab pots. The whale was a female humpback, about 45 to 50 feet in length and weighing an estimated 50 tons, who had likely become snared while traversing the humpbacks' usual migratory route between the Northern California coast and Baja California.

A rescue team was hastily assembled, and by 2:30 PM divers had evaluated the situation and determined that the imperiled whale was so badly entangled in the crab pot lines that the only way to save her was to dive beneath the surface and cut the nylon ropes that were ensnaring her. As James Moskito, one of the rescue divers, reported:

"I was the first diver in the water, and my heart sank when I saw all the lines wrapped around it," said Moskito. "I really didn't think we were going to be able to save it."

Moskito said about 20 crab-pot ropes, which are 240 feet long with weights every 60 feet, were wrapped around the animal. Rope was wrapped at least four times around the tail, the back and the left front flipper, and there was a line in the whale's mouth. The crab pot lines were cinched so tight, Moskito said, that the rope was digging into the animal's blubber and leaving visible cuts.

Four divers spent about an hour cutting the nylon ropes with a special curved knife, a risky undertaking since a single flip of the gargantuan mammal's tail could easily have killed any of them. Eventually they freed the humpback, a feat that a representative of the Marine Mammal Center (MMC) in Marin County described as the first successful attempt on the West Coast to free an entangled humpback.

The divers told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter Peter Fimrite 14 December 2005, that the whale seemingly thanked them for its deliverance once the rescue operation was complete:

The whale floated passively in the water the whole time, Moskito said, giving off a strange kind of vibration. "When I was cutting the line going through the mouth, its eye was there winking at me, watching me," James Moskito said. "It was an epic moment of my life."

When the whale realized it was free, it began swimming around in circles, according to the rescuers. Moskito said it swam to each diver, nuzzled him and then swam to the next one.

"It felt to me like it was thanking us, knowing that it was free and that we had helped it. It stopped about a foot away from me, pushed me around a little bit and had some fun. It seemed kind of affectionate, like a dog that's happy to see you," Moskito said. "I never felt threatened. It was an amazing, unbelievable experience."

Monday, January 22, 2007

Just a "Thank You"

Okay, so maybe this is a desperate way to conjure up something to post, as I am trying to keep a steady record of daily posts going. There are a few things I'd like to say...Let's have fun with the bullets shall we?

  • It is amazing to see my blog grow. Every week I get more and more visitors coming, and it's amazing to see an average of 40+ views a day on here now. It is a cool feeling to know that 15-30 different people a day are reading your ramblings.
  • I am sure Google is partially to thank for all the readers, but I know that my blogging friends are truly to thank. I would like to thank all of you who read my blog, especially those of you who have linked to here. I truly appreciate it.
  • For now, as I cannot think of any particularly interesting post, I really encourage you to take a look at the blogs on my blogroll. It is TOUGH to get on my blogroll, and I only put a few of the blogs I read every day on there. If there is a blog on my blogroll, you know it is a good one.

Thank you all very much for reading, and I'll be sure to have something at least remotely interesting to post within the next couple days :-D

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Okay, I am Breaking the News

If you read my comment on thingfish's Taming of the Band-Aid blog, you already know this news, but just in case...


I am moving. Don't fret, though, I'm staying in my home! I am leaving my house, but staying in my home. I will be moving to somewhere here in my part of Florida...hopefully to a place with less people and less traffic (for now at least.) My parents want a bigger house (God only knows why) and both my mom and I want a more peaceful place than where we are now...we want to live on a swamp.

So, maybe, hopefully, my surroundings will include more of nature than it does now.

For now, though, I apologize for the fact that my posts have been rather un-interesting in the past week or so. I have not been in the swamp for 3 weeks now, so I don't have too many stories to tell you. My dad and I are planning to get out next week, and maybe I can get some interesting stuff for you.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Dream

By: Wendell Berry

I dream and inescapable dream
in which I take away from the country
the bridges and roads, the fences, the strung wires,
ourselves, all we have built and dug and hollowed out,
our flocks and herds, our droves of machines.

I restore then the wide-branching trees.
I see growing over the land and shading it
the great trunks and crowns of the first forest.
I am aware of the rattling of their branches,
the lichened channels of their bark, the saps
of the ground flowing upward to their darkness.
Like the afterimage of a light that only by not
looking can be seen, I glimpse the country as it was.
All its beings belong wholly to it. They flourish
in dying as in being born. It is the life of its deaths.

I must end, always, by replacing
our beginning there, ourselves and our blades,
the flowing in of history, putting back what I took away,
trying always with the same pain of foreknowledge
to build all that we have built, but destroy nothing.

My hands weakening, I feel on all sides blindness
growing in the land on its peering bulbous stalks.
I see that my mind is not good enough.
I see that I am eager to own the earth and to own men.
I find in my mouth a bitter taste of money,
a gaping syllable I can neither swallow nor spit out.
I see all that we have ruined in order to have, all
that was owned for a lifetime to be destroyed forever.

Where are the sleeps that escape such dreams?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Arachnophobes Beware

I found this guy out behind my grandma's garage in October. He had strung his web between the garage and the chainlink fence next to it. For size comparisons, he is about the size of the palm of your hand...slightly larger with his legs spread out.

Banana Spider: I never learned the scientific name, and don't care to look it up right now.

While I was back behind the garage, I saw some old cane poles hanging on the wall. I used to use those old cane poles to catch catfish, bass, and brem out of Bernie's Hole in St. Augustine. They are now bonded (permanently, I believe) to the wall with spiderwebs. I really ought to throw out our fancy rod/reel gadgets in favor of these...There's just something about fishing with a cane pole that makes it special...not to mention easier.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

So you really wanna know?

This is my OPINION! I want to lay that out on the line. This is not a factual statement (of course, most of this blog isn't.) You can take this or leave it, but I feel that I must clear up my belief on this for all of you.

So, the difference between a Yankee and a Northerner.

If you have read yesterday's post, you probably took note of the fact that I compared this latest developing boom in Florida to The War Between the States, and called it an "invasion."

This, in my opinion, is the fundamental difference between a Yankee and a Northerner.

A Yankee is someone who invades a land with the express purpose of taking advantage of it for their own personal gain (I am NOT referring to Iraq here, by the way.)
A Yankee is someone who comes to a land and tries to change things, to mold them into how things were where they came from, with complete disregard for the inhabitants of that land.

A Northerner is somebody who had the misfortune of not being born in the South. They are a person who respects others, who works hard, and who does not take advantage of others. Basically, they're Crackers without the good food, the....no, scratch that....they're not even close to Crackers...but they're pretty dang good!!

Abraham Lincoln was a Yankee.
Ted Kennedy is a Yankee.
Bruce Maguire (former St. Johns County commissioner) is a Yankee.
Unfortunately, it's the Yankees who control most of the power in this nation. People like developers...

Paintsmh, you are a Northerner.
My sister-in-law is a Northerner.
Ya'll are not Yankees.
I can sense in both of you a respect for others and a hardworking spirit.
And that is a BIG complement.

That, in MY OPINION, is the difference between a Yankee and a Northerner. Take it or leave it :-D

Thank you all for reading,
And I love you for taking the time to read my ramblings...
No matter how wrong or screwed up they may be :-D

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Why I am an Environmentalist

My friends often call me a "tree hugger" and ask me if I want to "save the whales." Well, yes, I love to be in the woods, and I do not want to see them gone. And, yes, if a Right Whale where to wash up on St. Augustine Beach, I would be there to help get it back in the water. However, I do not participate in the blind environmentalism that many people in this country do (*cough**cough*Al Gore*cough*)

Seeing the destruction of natural areas in Florida is horrible, yes, but this is only a visible symptom of a deeper problem: the destruction of a people...a people with unique lives, values, and feelings. I am one of those people...one of the last of my people.

I visited a subdivision last Saturday that is being built on a potato farm that a member of my family used to own. Seeing the cookie-cutter houses on a piece of land that my family has owned for centuries did not sit well with me.

It was a farm. It wasn't a forest with Gophers and woodpeckers, and it wasn't a swamp with Bartram's Ixia and gators. It was a dang potato farm...bad for the environment.

So, what's the problem?

You can set aside nice little preserves to protect plants and animals. You cannot confine a people to a "Florida Cracker Preserve" or a "Minorcan Island." You get to a boiling point, and once it is reached, a culture will disappear forever...It will become blended with the invading culture, or it will be spread out to the point that it dies out within a few generations. This is what happened to the Native American peoples who were able to survive the illnesses that European invaders brought with them. They are fortunate, though, in that they DO have reservations just for them...Lucky souls.

The saddest thing to ever occur in my homeland since the destruction of the Timucuans or the displacement of the Seminoles, is the ongoing extinction of the Florida Cracker and Minorcan cultures...Much more sad than the ongoing extinction of the Gopher Tortoise.

These people moving into these cookie-cutter subdivisions, these people moving from whatever cultureless landscape from which they came, will never understand the pain of watching their culture get destroyed by foreigners. It's the modern War Between the States...It's an invasion.

This, my friends, is the reason I oppose development. I love the swamp, I love the woods, I love the mighty St. Johns, I love animals, I love plants, I love gators, I love ancient cypress trees, I love all this...But I love my people more.

If only they felt the pain...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Here Lies Our Family History

We went down to Mill Creek on Sunday to look at a house that my brother and sister-in-law are renting in one of those new developments (more on THAT tomorrow.) My family used to own most of the land in that area (my GGGG grandfather had 640 acres.) My great-great-great grandfather, Domingo Pacetti, received 50 acres from his father, on which he raised his 300 head of cattle (I told you we were crackers!) That area is now...ugh...But I digress...

While we were in the area, we decided to stop by Mill Creek Cemetery, where we knew much of our family was buried. In fact, I knew that Domingo was buried here soon after our trip to The Mission a couple months ago (I don't know why my parents thought so surely that he was buried there.) Anyway, we found a few things there that I thought I would share with you.

Great grandparents...Great people. My mom loved her Grandma Dora. She was only about 5 feet tall with silver, curly hair. We have short videos made in Mill Creek back in the '60s, when all of the family would be together, and many, MANY chickens would be seen grilling over a fire in the front yard. When Hurricane Dora came through in '64, there was a lot of ribbing going on :-D. My mom loved her Grandpa Harry and Grandma Dora. The house in which they lived still stands, I believe, on a piece of our original 640 acres. It's an oasis right now.

Peter Pacetti (also known as Pedro Pacetti) is my great-great-great uncle. He fought alongside his brother (GGG Grandpa Domingo) in the 2nd Florida Cavalry Regiment under Captain J.J. Dickison (famous in Florida as "Swamp Fox of the Confederacy.")

This intrigued me because I had multiple ancestors who fought in 3rd Florida Company B. They fought in numerous battles, most notably at Chickamauga. I am learning much more about this right now, and I will be able to post much more in depth about their movements in future posts. But for all I know, this guy could be a distant cousin, too.

This right here was a very pleasant and relieving surprise. Do you know what it is? FC, you are not allowed to answer this one :-D

Monday, January 15, 2007

We Found Him!

More on this tomorrow!!

If you haven't read the post about this, you can find it here.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

And now for something completely different...

So in my 7 months of rambling on this blog, you have probably learned many things about me:

1. I am very opinionated
2. I LOVE Florida...It is my home, and it will always be
3. I'm a cracker boy and proud of it
4. I LOVE nature
5. I love to kayak and hike
6. I love the South

So take those little facts and compare them to what I am about to tell you...

Prepare yourself...


I am a rabid hockey fan.
Yeah, that's right, you read me.
I love hockey.
Weird, eh?
You don't meet too many Southern Florida Cracker boys who have a liking of a sport played on ice. Why, do you ask?


1. Hockey is the toughest, most physical professional sport played in this nation(don't you football people give me any crap...you have lots of pads, lots of nice play stoppages, and no crazy Russians.)
2. It is by far the most culturally and nationally diverse sport in this nation.
3. The players are comparatively humble for the most part, and they do not make the HUGE sums of money that a lot of football, basketball, and baseball players make.

So now you know something else about me that I KNOW none of you would have guessed. I can often be found early in the morning or after dark on my roller skates, with gloves and stick in hand, attempting to refine my street hockey skills that I lost a few years ago after I quit playing for a while. I would love to play ice hockey, but I have never seen ice outside of the freezer...and I have never even seen an ice rink before. I guess that's one of the few downsides to living in Florida :-D.

My two favorite players and my favorite coach. (From Left: Sidney Crosby, Michel Therrein, and Evgeni Malkin.)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Square Bagels

This is another one of my friend, Jimmy's, latest observations. He has a very, very interesting thought process, to say the least.

Ok. So I'm at Sergio's house today along with Phillip and Stan. We had just finished band practice, and went downstairs to get something to feast upon. So Sergio reaches into his pantry and pulls out a bag of seemingly deformed bread. After inquiring about the strange yet tasty bread, Sergio informed me that they were square bagels. Yes, square bagels. I told Sergio that the notion was simply preposterous because bagels are round, but upon closer inspection, the plastic bag did indeed say, "Square bagels". This causes me and Sergio to get into an very heated debate over the existence of square bagels, and if the objects that we held in our hands were actual square bagels, or if they were just really retarded pieces of bread. The way I see it, there are problems with this logic. First off, a bagel is defined, according to dictionary.com, as such:

"A glazed, ring-shaped roll with a tough, chewy texture, made from plain yeast dough that is dropped briefly into nearly boiling water and then baked."

Please take careful note of the bold word. "Ring-shaped". Ring-shaped implies that it is in the shape of a ring, which is shaped, oddly enough, like this:

The above image is an actual picture of a REAL bagel. Bagels cannot be square, because a square is shaped like this:

Now, can someone please tell me how the above shape is in any way related to a ring shape? I'll tell you right now; IT'S NOT.

Therefore, the phrase "square bagel" is a paradox, and a logical impossibility.

Now, despite this clear paradox, Sergio decided to ignore basic logic, and insisted that, despite the given proof, square bagels do in fact exist because the label on the plastic bag said "Square bagels". If I took a box of strawberries and labeled it "cherries", would that make it a box of cherries? Of course it wouldn't. It would just make the person who labeled the box a moron.

So, we can now deduce from this logic that the so called "square bagels" are actually just radiation-deformed pieces of bread, and that the manufacturers who made them and labeled the packages are complete morons.

We can also deduce from this logic that Sergio is completely and utterly retarded, and refuses to acknowledge the most basic of logic.

Case closed.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Silver River

I had a very interesting trip the first time I kayaked the Silver River in Ocala, Florida. The trip was made in my old inflatable kayak, which made for a less than enjoyable ride on the river's swift current.

The last time I made this trip, however, was in September in my nice Pelican Apex II kayak. The combination of the extraordiarily beautiful scenery and the swift current made for one of the easiest and most enjoyable kayak trips I have ever taken.

My parents and I woke up early in the morning to embark on the two-hour drive to Silver River State Park outside of the city of Ocala. This is one of my favorite drives to take because it goes straight through the rolling farm country in the center part of the state. It is always nice to remind myself that most of Florida is still rural, a fact that even a Floridaphile like me forgets sometimes.

As usual, we were the first ones to arrive at the park that morning, and, as usual, my dad needed to stop at the bathroom. While my father...um...took care of his business, I wandered over to the little "cracker village" that they have set up in the woods behind the bathroom building.

And they say Florida doesn't have culture!!
The village they had set up was nice, and it consisted of little houses, a blacksmith shop, and I believe even a schoolhouse. But it just struck me as weird, though...whenever I think of Florida Crackers, I do not think of villages. Maybe I'm mistaken......but back to the story.

We parked at the head of the "River Trail," a dirt path that leads through the woods down to the river. We carried our kayak a half-mile to the river, walked back a half-mile, retrieved our gear and said goodbye to my mom, and walked back down to the river with our arms loaded down with assorted kayak accessories. So before we even set foot in a kayak, we had walked one-and-a-half miles, already more exercise than most people get in a full day.

The weather was absolutely perfect for paddling, temperatures in the mid 60s and clear blue skies. We could not have asked for a better day in a Florida September.

Because this is a spring run (a HUGE one at that), the water is crystal clear and very swift (for a Florida river, at least.) We shoved the kayak into the water, and as I climbed in I got the strange feeling that I was floating in mid-air. The water is so clear (and with no reflections because we were in the shade,) that you actually get the sensation you are floating in the air when you first set off. This is a very strange feeling that can last for a while after shoving off. Welcome to Silver River and Silver Springs, Florida.


This boy (girl?) is a Cormorant. You'll find these guys dive into the water chasing after fish, and then pop up a few moments later to breathe. They're fun to watch. There were 4 others on the branch that this guy was resting on, and one of them promptly tried to shoot excrement at us while we snapped pictures. We took the warning and headed on downstream.

Beautiful clear-blue water. The riverbottom in the shallow areas sparkled as if little pieces of silver were scattered about...I would assume that this is what the river is named for.

The reptile action on the river was pretty good. We saw a few turtles resting on logs like this and could see many swimming underwater. We also heard a gator splash into the water at one point on the river. I love the way turtles rest on their bellies and hold their feet straight out like this.

I want to say this is a kind of Water Hyacinth flower, but I am not sure. I am terrible at classifying plants. But the flower is not the main attraction here, it's the rather intersting-looking spider on the stem. I did not notice it until I uploaded the photos on the computer.

This is my favorite picture from the entire trip. The water all the way out to about 50 feet from the bank was perfectly clear and only inches deep. There's just a lot of beauty in this picture. I will leave you to comprehend it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Toilet Paper

My friend, Jimmy, writes some very interesting observations on things he sees in the world. Some of these are absoulutely hilarious, and some of them are so gross and inappropriate that hearing of such things will scar one's soul permanently. This is one he wrote a week or two ago, and I was inclined to share it with you because it's just so darn true. I will post his observation of square bagels on friday, too. Enjoy.

"I'm not sure how many of you do this, but when I get a new box of cereal, pop-tarts, shampoo, or something that comes in a box, I like to read the nutrition facts and such on the outside. Why? Because it's fun.

So the other day, as I was putting a new roll of toilet paper on the toilet paper roll, I realized that I've never actually read the toilet paper wrapping before. Out of sheer curiosity, I took a gander.

There wasn't much of ANYTHING on it, but the one thing that intrigued me was the little section at the bottom that said, "Questions or comments? Call us at -----."

It made me wonder, do people actually call toilet paper companies to comment on the toilet paper? It wasn't anything particularly special; it was a normal roll of toilet paper. But it also brings more questions to mind...

Do people actually call the toilet paper companies with questions?

"Can you explain to me how I'm supposed to work this dammed thing?"

"Do you use organic substances in your toilet paper?"

What's more, are there people who are paid to sit by the phones at these companies all day and answer these supposed questions and listen to these supposed comments? It concerns me that there are people out there who have real jobs, doing something to help the economy and do important stuff, but then you have people who are paid to listen to comments and answer questions about TOILET PAPER...

I now know my future job."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


It's a humbling thing standing next to something that was living when Jesus Christ walked this Earth. It is overwhelming to see something so huge, so sprawling, yet so unknown. No, I'm not talking about my former history teacher, Mr. Sarcasm, I am talking about this cypress tree on Durbin Creek. This huge tree stands as a silent sentinel of old Florida, of a time before European man (yes, this includes my ancestors) came and wreaked havoc upon this land. It stands above all around it, even though its height has been nearly cut in half by a lightning strike. It has weathered hurricanes, been spared from logging operations, seen floods and droughts, and towered over the "development" threatening its very existence. How humbling and what an honor it is to have seen something few people here even know exists. But after all it's been through, a quick push of a developer's bulldozer or a few minute's cut with a chainsaw could completely eliminate it. Existing so long, and gone so quickly. This is an unfortunately common theme in my homeland.

Note: That is not me in the picture. That is my former history teacher Mr. Sarcasm.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Letter to a Yankee (NO comments on the title allowed :-D)

To whom it may concern,

Blood runs through your hands
as money runs to you.
The stain of a million beings,
of a land once living,
enshrouds you soul.

You come for what's here
and change what you see,
and don't care 'bout a poor
cracker boy like me.

You tell us what to do,
you tell us what to say,
and we let you;
that's just our way.

We respect who you are,
we accept what you want,
and you thank us by
ripping out our Heart.

We don't mind you coming
we love to share the joy,
just leave us to our ways,
and listen to a boy.

A Pissed-off Floridian

Monday, January 08, 2007

Green Thumb Update

I consider myself the only teenager within a 20-mile radius that actually grows his own fruits and vegetables...and enjoys it. As you know, I was robbed of my satsumas by an unknown critter and I have had trouble making my Datils produce peppers. When I mentioned this problem to Mr. Stuart Pacetti, he took me out to his garage and filled a bag full of super-phosphorus fertilizer for me. He said that my plants were likely getting too much nitrogen and too little phosphorus, and he told me to go put a handful of that fertilizer on every month or so. Ever since then, my plants have started to pop out lots of little tiny peppers (and a few big ones.) The helping hand and generous heart of a good Minorcan Cracker goes a long way.

These beauties came off of my tangerine tree. We had a bumper crop this year, and I have taken about 150-200 tangerines off of it. But this isn't the main attraction!

This is "Bubba" the Datil Pepper Plant. I planted this guy from seed off my grandma's plants in last March. He's by far my biggest and most robust Datil plant (thus his name, "Bubba") He has a few peppers growing on him now.

This here is "Stumpy" the Datil Pepper plant. My grandma bought this plant as a seedling from a feed store in St. Augustine in February 2006. And, naturally, he was not nearly as healthy as the plants I planted from my grandma's seed. He did not branch out the way he was supposed to, so I had to cut him down to a stump (thus his name) and he is now slowly branching out from the bottom.

I would like ya'll to meet "Shorty" the Datil Pepper Plant. This is another one I grew from seed back in March 2006. He is clearly the shortest of all my plants, but I do believe he is nearly as robust as Bubba. He's got some blooms with their petals falling, so I may have some good peppers growing from him within the next couple weeks.

This guy is named "Skimpy" He's another one I grew from seed. I am a little worried about him because he is pretty skimpy when it comes to branching and foliage. But he DID produce my first full-grown pepper! We'll have to see how he grows out, but I may have to cut him down eventually.

My first Datil Pepper! This thing may look innocent enough, but it is HOT AS FIRE!! My cousin Bradley once ate one of these when he was young, and his face swelled up and burned for hours. You need only one of these to spice up a pilau or a big pot of Minorcan Clam Chowder. Just think, less than a year ago the plant that produced this seed was just a seed inside a pepper just like this.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Post Finished

I have added the rest of the photos to my post on Julington-Durbin Preserve. Enjoy!

My First Puzzler

I went out about a week ago on a cool night and took a look at my Datil plants before I went off to bed. I took some photos with my awesome (chuckle) digital camera, and uploaded them onto my computer. To my surprise, I saw some things I had not noticed when I was actually outside. I admit that this is not the harded puzzler to ever be posted on blogger, but what the heck, I thought I would just throw it out there...You may also notice that little yellow-green orb near the top of the picture. That's my first good datil pepper off of this plant :-D. But that's another story!

So, how many lizards can you spot?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Julington-Durbin Preserve

Julington-Durbin Preserve is a brand new, 2000-acre protected point of land between Julington Creek and Durbin Creek in north Florida. This very diverse piece of land consists of natural longleaf pine forests, sandhill, and swamp. All three times I have been out there, I have seen bear and deer tracks in the road and some monster armadillos feeding in the bushes. The land was originally slated to be a golf course and gated community by the sickos developing the Bartram Park development in southern Duval County (on land from which gopher tortoises mysteriously disappeared.) Fortunately, a deal was worked out with the state of Florida and the St. Johns River Water Management District, and the land was bought for a public park.

My friend, Phil, and I went out to the preserve two weeks ago to walk a portion of the nine miles of trails blazed through the park. The following is a photo essay of our experience. As you read, try to picture this beautiful piece of land as a golf course and a gated community full of manicured lawns and rich people.

Most of the trails lead through the quickly disappearing Longleaf Pine ecosystem that is unique to north Florida and south Georgia. This naturally beautiful ecosystem is home to many endangered animals such as gopher tortoises, indigo snakes, and red cockaded woodpeckers. In some areas, you may be lucky enough to spot hooded pitcher plants with their long, carniverous flowers or the bright fruit of the beautyberry bush. It is not unusual to hear armadillos, raccoons, and deer rummaging around in the palmettos and wiregrass off the trail.

This intriguing wild animal followed me all along the trail. He seemed curious...

This is part of the red-blazed trail. In my opinion, it is the most scenic one in the park. It leads back through the swamp along an old logging road down to Durbin Creek.

This is Durbin Creek about a half-mile downstream from the power lines and the huge gator. Almost the entire stretch of this creek is completely pristine. But look across the creek in this picture. Enjoy the undisturbed swamp while it lasts, because in a few years there will be big docks lining that bank, all thanks to my favorite people in the world, the developers of Bartram Park.

A timber company used to own part of the land the preserve sits on, and there was a cultivated forest of Slash Pines on here. The park managers have taken out the un-natural Slash Pines and have planted Longleaf Pines in their place. In 50 years this forest will be an oasis of natural beauty in a land filled with cookie-cutter houses, rich people, and transplants..."Progress"


I just realized that the links I put on last night's post are a little confusing. What you need to do is, after you click on the link, scroll down below the post, and you will see the posts I was linking to!