Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Weekend Jaunt To South Florida

Sorry I've been missing in action for the last few days.  Took a run down to South Florida to the Myakka River State Park near Sarasota.  The occasion of this jaunt was the annual Florida Envirothon competition.

In a nutshell, the Envirothon is an environmentally-themed high-school competition where students compete with each other in five knowledge areas:  Aquatics, Soils, Forestry, Wildlife, and a Current Topic, this year's topic being Non-Point-Source Pollution.  Non-point-source pollution is pollution that cannot be traced to a single source, i.e. runoff.  Currently, it is the single biggest source of water pollution in the U.S.A.

I serve on the local Envirothon committee and wanted to make an appearance at the state competition to cheer my team on.  The state winner goes on to the national competition and if they win there, international competition.  I don't know the results yet, but I do know that our team won one of the categories but finished out of the top three overall.  Oh well, it was a good effort and the perfect excuse to visit my old buddy Punch who lives in the area.

Mr. C's big adventure, in pictures:

First stop:  After a long haul down from Baja, a nap under a shade tree on beautiful Tampa Bay overlooking the Skyway Bridge before the final leg into Bradenton/Sarasota.
Got up early Saturday morning for the ride out to Myakka State Park for the competition.  A view of the Myakka River.  The water is lower in all Florida lakes and tributaries than I have ever seen it, but still a beautiful sight and still plenty of alligators to remind you of where you are.
Sunday morning Punch and I decided to take a ride to the Sarasota waterfront.  Sarasota is really a beautiful city and Sarasota Bay a favorite anchorage.
An old salt rows ashore.  In the cage in front of him is his Cockatiel, Lucy, his best and only companion.
On the return trip I couldn't resist a photo of this stunning field of day lilies in Citra.  This is the second time I have been fortunate enough to see this splendid sight.
Decided while in the area to scoot over to Cross Creek and the homestead of Marjorie Kennan Rawlings, author of The Yearling.  It's really a pretty nice cabin considering.  Rather larger than this photo of the kitchen door suggests, but not grand by any stretch.  Back in those days, no electricity, no indoor plumbing, no running water, unless you were fortunate enough to afford an artesian well which drew water from the high pressure Floridan aquifer.
The tenant cabin on the property gives you more of an idea how close to the earth most people lived in those days.  Scratching a living out of the central Florida jungle must have been close to living hell... or paradise depending on how you looked at it.  One thing's for sure, every time I visit one of these old homesteads it gives me a renewed appreciation of air conditioning.  I grew up in a house without any and can speak from experience.

24 comments:

  1. Not to be confused with the Envenothon, a daylong celebration of the nation's top snake handlers.

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    1. Not confused but the snakes sound like a lot more fun! Certainly better photo ops

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  2. Glad you had a good trip. Nice competition to cheer on. Those pics are stunning. Love the one of the bearded man in the boat.

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    1. I liked that one too. He was quite a character. We spoke with him briefly when he came ashore.

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  3. I woulda swar the Cockatiel was named Bob.

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    1. Everything human is pathetic.
      The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow.
      There is no humor in heaven.
      Mark Twain

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    2. You can't fool me, you got that off of a cereal box

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  4. Loved the pictures! Too many times, tourists never see the "old Florida" that still exists, the one past the beaches and highrises and amusement parks.

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    1. Thank you Pixel. You're so right, although there really isn't much "old Florida" left.

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  5. a slice of Florida I'm not familiar with..not that I've been there..the pictures are lovely...and the old dude with the bird..looks like an old spanish soldier.

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    1. Well come on down sometime Granny. Of course, you can pretty much see the same thing on the gulf coast of Texas.

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  6. An old salt rows ashore.

    If I am very lucky I will someday look a lot like that guy.

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    1. Be careful, you might get what you wish for!

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  7. So the old man and the sea was not a Hemingway ideation eh? What was punch going on about your pictures being better than his...


    I can tell you where all pollution comes from...some bastard making money at the expense of every other creature on earth.

    Low water tables in Florida? how can that be...lack of hurricanes?

    Judge me not it's 0745 and i have been awake for 23 hours.

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    1. Guess I had better run over to Punch's and see what's going on. Doesn't sound like him at all. You are spot on about the source of pollution. Lack of water in Florida... too many yankees with their straw in the aquifer.

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  8. Interesting. I never heard of this sort of competition before, but I'm glad to hear high school students are pursuing those interests. Your pictures capture more of the heart and soul of Florida that I like to see. Our son and his family live near Orlando. Whole 'nother world there.

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    1. Yes, it's a great competition and the kids are really into the environment. Our hope for the future. Totally agree, Orlando is a whole other world. I remember it before Disney. As close to paradise as there was. A beautiful little town in the middle of lake country. Poof! All gone.

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  9. Beautiful pictures. And congrats for the environmental work you're doing.

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    1. Thanks Tom. Keeps my mind off of the other crap.

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  10. beautiful images and thoughtful reflections. i appreciate the look of the sun and sky all the more since i am presently visiting family in newfoundland (the far east of canada.... a rock in the north atlantic) and we are enjoying below zero temperatures. brrr. nice travel log and a wonderful reason for traveling.

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    1. Would love to be there... but maybe a little later in summer. I've always wanted to go to Cape Breton. I love the music.

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  11. I've seen the "other" Florida on trips with the boys when they were small. I think the old Florida would suit me a lot more, these days. Nice shots, Mr. C.

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  12. Hi Mr. Charleston, your photos are fantastic! Any chance I could use the photo of the Skyway Bridge on my website? I have a small accounting firm and would like a non-hazy shot of a local landmark for my new website. Thanks!

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