The latest journey of 1450 miles was to Sarasota, FL. Click on any photo below to see a larger size
A quick stop in Valdosta, Georgia, to procure some items for a Montessori product let me take a few photos
Massive quantities of Spanish moss in an old dogwood tree
Magnolia seed pod on the ground
We had lunch at the Old South BBQ House where this sign took up the whole wall of the dining patio. The ubiquitous Southern drag races, born of the bootlegger’s mad race to make deliveries and avoid the “Revenuers” enforcing Federal liquor laws, are the precursors of today’s multimillion dollar NASCAR enterprises.
After getting settled in at our Sarasota hotel and setting up the display for the Montessori conference, Gaely and I had a day together to do “dog things”. We walked forever in the soft mild ocean breezes. The temperature was almost too cool, only warming up to the mid 70’s in the afternoons.
We visited the dog-friendly Bird Key Park and Bay Front Park where dogs are required to be on a leash. Gaely sniffed and investigated every trace left by prior canine visitors and looked for lizards to chase. West Highland White Terriers are terriers to the max and they live to hunt and chase and have great adventures. I’m not able to run as much as Gaely wanted, so we traveled north to visit the De Soto Memorial Park, a beach where she could go without a leash and explore the beach unfettered.
We arrived just as high tide was abating
The Park has a wonderful nature trail where signs tell the story
and life size images show the dress and habits of the De Soto expedition
and the Native Americans living there at the time. The De Soto crew took slaves and forced them to work in the service of the expedition. In the lower right hand corner of the photo you can see a pig brought to Florida by the expedition. These pigs ran free and many escaped to start the colonies of wild boars that are now ravaging much of the South, growing to huge sizes after interbreeding with Russian boars, also escapees from wild game hunting camps.
These images are so realistic I almost jumped out of my skin when one would pop up along the trail unexpectedly! Yikes!!
I enjoyed the De Soto Memorial Park more than my poor, solitary dog did, I’m afraid. I just can’t take the place of her having another animal’s companionship. She had more fun there in 2009 when we visited with Patch and she had another dog to stimulate her natural curiosities
She could almost disappear against the white sand beach
She wanted to go hunting in the red mangrove swamp and I really didn’t want that to happen. The mangroves near the beach are very dense and completely impossible for a human to walk through. I don’t know how De Soto and his crew did it. I certainly didn’t want to have to go rescue her in the middle of the swamp! I think this Westie actually grew bored and bothered by the sun and wind. She is 14 years old now and maybe entitled to a grumpy mood now and then.
At home Gaely loves to jump in to our rivers and lakes and have a cool drink while she’s wading around but jumping into the ocean and taking a lap of salt water was not what she was expecting.
Her face says it all: Ick, salty!!!!
I had planned to lie on the beach and spend a couple of hours taking photos and had lugged a water jug, the dog’s water bowl and a fruit drink for me, a towel, my purse and the camera in it’s case. Gaely hates being photographed and I don’t know how she knows that I’m trying to take her picture but she always turns her head away unless I’m very very stealthy.
I got no cooperation with my plans to relax and shoot beautiful dog photos
so I gave up and we moved to the grass covered entrance to the park and lay under the trees, no doubt waiting for something to chase. Again, no lizards! How can that be? There are lizards everywhere in Florida, in fact there must be more reptiles in Florida than there are humans, and there’s way too many humans in Florida. So we walked to the thatched huts the Park service has erected to demonstrate the type of housing of the Native Americans
and there we found the missing lizards! Yay! Plenty . of . lizards. At last.
Back in Sarasota in the late afternoon I discovered a small, partly fenced area that might have been an unpaved parking area. There were hickory trees and date palms and sand right next to the back entrance to a Yacht club and no cars were using the road at all so it was quiet, safe and perfect and absolutely full of SQUIRRELS!
Ahhhhh, a place I could let Gaely off lead to chase, hunt, stalk, and harass the little creatures that were greedily eating up the new crop of hickory nuts.
The squirrels immediately raced up the trees to safety. So, for the next hour Gaely patiently stared up the tree trunks, waiting for the squirrels to give up and come on down, but in spite of a young squirrel’s attempts to reach the ground, she wasn’t given the chance to chase them. But she was happy, very happy.
Even though we all enjoyed being together on this trip and meeting our friends of many years at the conference we’re glad to be home. While we were gone the cucumber and basil plants have been nipped by frost. The fall season is upon us.
Before we left on this trip I found this 1960 photo of Suzy Parker
and saved it because her jacket is longer than the Edit Head pattern I sewed up last year but so similar in the strapped sleeves, peter pan collar and even the number of buttons
Two more sales trips and then we’re home for the rest of 2011. Excellent!