Welcome To My Blog

Weekends are for wandering Wisconsin. That's what Rick, my guy, and I do. Occasionally we wander during the week, too. Sometimes we just drop in on other people's lives.

This blog is my way of sharing where we've been, neat places and things to do that we've found.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Flora and Fauna - Florida Style

All of this snow in March has me longing for our days in Florida last month. So, as a reminder that spring will arrive one of these days, I thought I would share some photos of the flora and fauna of Florida one last time.
Bougainvillea at the Edison and Ford winter estates in
Fort Myers.
We loved being able to go to Farmers' Markets several days a week. One vendor in Punta Gorda had these beautiful plants for sale.
 Our own Dane County Farmers' Market, the largest producer-only market in
the nation, will soon move outdoors. Opening day for the market around
Madison's Capitol Square is April 20.
These plants were for sale at a local flea market. I also picked my own
strawberries at the same market. The berries were being grown hydroponically.
Art fairs, car shows, and antique fairs were abundant in Florida - some in conjunction with Farmers' Markets, others were stand-alone.
This scene greeted us in Placida at a Saturday art fair. As a vintage camping trailer
 enthusiast, I had to snap a picture since the pink flamingo (especially the plastic variety)
is the "official" bird of our ilk.
We learned about cypress tree "knees" during a tour at the Babcock Ranch Preserve.
These knees are part of the root system of the cypress and not the start of a new tree.
Our guide gave us a great deal of information about alligators during the tour. She even gave us the opportunity to touch this two-year-old. An alligator's belly is soft. This is the part where alligator shoes, boots, and wallets come from.

One can tell how long an alligator is by measuring (or estimating, since you don't want to get too close) the distance between its eyes and the end of its snout. Convert the measurement in inches to feet. So, if only the alligator's head is visible in the water, it's easy to tell how much of its body is out of sight. Kind of like an iceberg. Alligators are the least dangerous during the winter months. Because they are cold-blooded animals, they're not able to digest their food as readily in cooler weather so they eat less in the winter, including humans. Regardless of the threat this animal may pose, it's against the law in Florida to annoy an alligator during any season.

Another interesting tour was on a boat where we saw a very small part of Charlotte Harbor. Charlotte Harbor is an estuary with the Peace, Caloosahatchee, and Myakka Rivers emptying into it. This estuary is second in size only to Tampa Bay about 100 miles to the north. 

We were treated to a show by several dolphins that live in the Harbor.
I think this one was doing a back flip near the side of our boat.
Manatees are another animal that one associates with Florida. We had heard that the animals are not native to Florida, but that's just a myth, I found out later. Where best to see this water relative of the elephant but at Manatee Park north of Fort Myers. It was late afternoon when we stopped in and I think the manatees were taking their afternoon siesta. Not too much action in the short video I shot.

My last post about Florida wouldn't be complete without a little whimsy - and some of the "created" fauna and flora of the state.
This turtle makes its home in Englewood in front of the Arts Alliance of Lemon Bay.
I couldn't resist buying a lovely cloth purse created by one of the Alliance artisans with this print on the flap. 

We were so delighted with what we found and the people we met in Florida this year that we have decided to really practice being snow birds. We will return to the same area (Charlotte County) next year for four weeks!

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