My workload has decreased by almost one-half. As of one week ago, I have become a hybrid-schooler. I enrolled my three oldest in the public school (please, no flames…I already have enough guilt, but I know my limitations). One of my kindergarteners asked to go as well, so she started last Tuesday; which leaves me with four that are still being homeschooled, plus baby Rey, of course.
While walking Cricket down to the bus stop today, all I could think of was the scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in which Ferris looked up at the clear blue sky and asked, “How could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this?” The weather is glorious! As all of you fine folks have been enjoying your nice fall weather for the last couple months, it has remained in the high 80s and 90s here. Well, NO MORE! FINALLY, I am reaping the benefits of living in Florida. This is the time of year that the high cost of living and the sweltering summers pay off. 70-something degrees, nice breeze, and low-humidity. Yeehaw! ( I LOVE November!)
So, to me, it seemed like a CRIME to not stay outside and enjoy this amazing weather. As soon as Cricket was safely on her bus, the rest of us headed to the neighborhood nature trail until lunch time.
Now, just so you know, I am NOT a fan of spiders — at all. I LOVE animals, but spiders? Not so much. I, however, was blessed by God with a bug-loving…and even a spider-loving child. Lefty, aka the Critter Man, was fascinated by the spiders and spider webs that we encountered today — thus, the following few pictures.
Photo #1, above: I don’t know what kind of web this was, but they were everywhere — hundreds of them covering the grass. There was no “funnel”, just a sheet web.
Photo #3, above: Another large garden spider. This one was more difficult to photograph because of the way the sun was positioned — but it was Lefty’s favorite.
Now onto a subject that I prefer much more than arachnids: BIRDS! (Notice the flamingo at the top of my blog. There’s a reason for that – I LOVE birds!) There were plenty of birds out today, but photographing them would require the use of a really good zoom…which my OLD camera had, but the lens broke and my hubby said he would replace it “very soon” — which was several months ago. (So, honey, if you’re reading this — I would really like that replacement camera you promised me so I can take good close-up wildlife pictures. HINT HINT. Cybernag…) But I did manage to get close enough to an anhinga to get a shot before he flew away. (I believe this is the first time I have ever seen an anhinga with its wings down. Typically they are seen either swimming under water with just their heads and long necks sticking out, or they are seen standing still, with wings spread out — drying off, I suppose).
Wildflowers grew abundantly throughout the trail, often flocked by butterflies and moths.
I was bitten by fire ants while taking this photo — stepped right into a mound!
Photo #7, below: The beautiful Florida wetlands.
I’m just thankful we have the opportunity to enjoy them in style — from a path and bridges, rather than trudging through the gator and snake infested waters as the native Americans and pioneers did!
Photo #10, below: Lefty, reading about, then pointing out, airplants in the trees.
Photo #11, below: An example of one of the many airplants we saw today.
For those who don’t know (I didn’t, until I moved down here) “airplant” or “air plant” is the general name given to any type of vegetation that doesn’t root in the ground. Airplants come in all shapes and sizes and usually just hang off a host tree without causing any harm.
Since they cannot get nutrients from the soil, airplants draw what they need from rainfall and small puddles that have collected on the host tree.
There are over 550 species of airplants that grow naturally in the tropical regions of North and South America. Here in Florida, there are 16 native species.
These are GREAT houseplants for me. I don’t have a green thumb at all, and can (accidentally, of course) kill anything but these. I keep a couple in my bathroom where they thrive on the moisture from the tub and shower steam alone.
Anyway, back to the nature trail…Rey was fascinated by a huge spider web overhead, draped across the entire bridge. (Oh no! Do I have another Critter Man in the making? I fear so.)
I failed to mention that Lefty, aka Critter Man, also insists on carrying Audubon guides everywhere he goes. At one point during our nature walk, I asked the children to sit down so I could take their photo, and while sitting, they all became engrossed in Lefty’s reptile and amphibian guide!
The children are, from left: “Rey” (2), “Dinky Tumblina” (9), “Boo” (6), “Lefty” (8), and “Curly Top” (4).