A special place

"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, it is a special place where I spend my afternoon."

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

That Time Again


     Christmas is here.
     The time's gone by so fast.
     We just celebrated Thanksgiving, but that spirit didn't last.
     The spirit that makes us thankful, for everything that is.

     Look around you.
     You can't help it. There's so much to see. 
     All the life, it's so beautiful.
     And every bit of it's free.
     There are mountains, and fields, and forests we enjoy everyday.
     And it's hard to describe the wonders of a bay.

     So be grateful, and give thanks. You don't need any more.
     Take it all in, it's a gift,
     And you won't find any of it at the store.

     To all a Merry Christmas,  and have a happy New Year.
     Find peace, and be thankful, for all that you've got.
     For the little we've given, we've gotten a lot.

*Sorry it's been so long between posts. I blame this partially on the winter tides. You'll hear all about this very soon. Thanks for your patience and Merry Christmas to everyone.  May the year, 2014, bring you enough laughter to get you through the bluest of days.   Jo Ellen

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A walk on the Beach

   Just sharing our daily walk on the beach. The beach, and what you find, changes with every walk.  Yesterday evening was a day of sand art, blue water, long shadows. and things I've never seen before.
  A walk on the beach is a great way to start the day....

"Home" to a crab
The beauty of the Beach
Sea Turtle

Something different?

    The rising tide will come and everything will change. Tomorrow will be a new day with different things to see.

....and what a great way to end the day.

We came, we played, and we smiled.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Tin Shed

"The Tin Shed"
   The nearest "big city" for the people on St. George Island, is Apalachicola. It has a Piggly Wiggly, a pharmacy, a book store, post office, courthouse, and an old movie theater that has music and plays during the winter months, when the snow birds come.
     And there's no shortage of restaurants in Apalachicola, with some of the best seafood you've ever had. Most of it caught that day.
   At one time, Apalachicola was considered the third largest port city in the Gulf of Mexico. It now boasts a population of about 2400 people in an area of 2.7 square miles.
    Although it still harbors shrimp boats and accommodates vessels coming through needing fuel, Apalachicola is now mainly a port city for tourists.
   Most of the shops are filled with unique souvenirs, antiques, and all different kinds of art, done by one of the many artists in the area. But, there's one store that's different. The Tin Shed.
  The Tin Shed is a store filled with all the things you'd associate with the sea. Nautical artifacts.   
  They've got old maps, buoys, compasses, sharks teeth. Even a few cypress totem poles. There's treasures from old shipwrecks. Large bins filled with shells, sponges, coral, and sea glass sit throughout the store. And on the walls are old pictures and posters, of what Apalachicola used to be like.
   The art of trading is still practiced at the shed too. So the inventory changes all the time. You can go and just look around. You're bound to see something different every time you go. 
  The Tin Shed has been in Apalachicola for over 15 years, and with everything the sea has to offer, I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon. 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Day With Ray

"Let's go for a ride, and I'll show you all the cool stuff to do around here"
   Meet Ray. Ray is my constant companion here on St. George Island. And he's always showing me things that I might not have noticed, if he wasn't with me. When I wake up to his smiling face, and his "ready to go" attitude, I know it's going to be a good day.
   You're probably wondering how a day with Ray has anything to do with island life. Well, life on this island is very much about dogs. I like to think of it as a dog friendly island, for friendly dogs. It's the main reason I started coming to St. George Island years ago.
    I don't know how it got to be this way, but dogs are not only welcome in most of the rental houses on the island, but the beach is their playground. And the stores, restaurants, bars, and special events, have an open door policy for your canine companion. So, if you're not really a dog person, you might find the atmosphere on the island a little overwhelming . As you can imagine, there's dogs everywhere!
  Ray is a native of the island. Being part of a very large family, his future wasn't looking real bright. So he came to live with me, and now, we enjoy life on the island together. 
   Ray has the gift of happiness. It's just a part of who he is every day. He never gets bored. Rain or shine,  Ray sees every day on the island as a good day.
   He's more than happy to entertain himself when I have chores to do. Since it's time for the monarchs to migrate again, chasing butterflies is always a fun thing to do.
    A day with Ray is always fun. Riding in the car is always a good thing to do, as far as he's concerned. Who knows where we might be going. The bank has treats, the stores have treats, and there's a store in Apalachicola, Petunia's, that has nothing but treats. Ray goes in and shops for toys, bones, cookies, and checks out the fashion department, in hopes that some of what he picks out, gets to go home with him. And after shopping, maybe, it's off to the beach. That's the best destination of all.
   The beach is the social hot spot for dogs. When we go, it's hard to get him to leave. There's old friends to meet up with and  plenty of  new friends to be made.
  Some mornings are perfect for taking a ride on the bicycle while Ray jogs along side, stopping here and there for a smell that gets his attention. And it's a great way to see what's going on in the neighborhood. Of course, we'll be going by some water somewhere for him to take a swim and cool off.
   Then there's boat rides. Big boats, little boats, fast boats, slow boats. Ray learned to kayak at a very young age. And even though the hole seems a little smaller these days, he always manages to squeeze in. But an invitation to ride in a bigger boat is never refused. 
    Spending the day with Ray makes me smile. People may think there's not a whole lot to do on the island. But to a dog, there's no better place to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. So, just let your dog lead the way. They'll show you all the fun things to do, and you too will have a smile on your face every day you're here. 
   They can show how much fun it is doing "nothing". And you'll see, it's the little pleasures on the island that will make you happy.
   Taking Ray for a walk at the estuary is wonderful. There's herons that'll stand in the shallows, teasing the dogs that think they can catch them. Flying just out of reach, waiting for the next chase.  Then as the day heats up, he'll go out in the bay for a swim, watch the mullet jump, and check the crab traps. Then take a walk down the trails and check for critters that are hiding in the brush. Or by chance, we might see a bald eagle, sitting in a dead tree.
  So if you come to the island, and you find yourself having a boring day, find someone with a "Ray", and the boredom will end. 
    Any dog on St. George Island can show you the finer points of "island life". The simple things are the most fun. And we like to keep things simple here.





Sunday, August 18, 2013

Take a Closer Look

     Some wonderful things are missed if you move too fast. And it doesn't matter where you are. If you don't slow down, you're going to miss them.
Frogs are everywhere!

   Next time you get out, slow down. Take a closer look. It may surprise you what you've been missing.
   If you live, or visit in this area you may not see a manatee, sitting in the shallow water. It can look like a small sand bar, until you take a closer look. That's why so many of them are scarred by boat motor props.
   A frog can hide in a banana leaf, or a flower, or on your porch, and never be seen.
   A water moccasin can sun himself in the crook of a tree and never get noticed.
  And a gecko can change it's color to go anywhere it wants and stay incognito. 
Don't look too close!!!
       There are so many beautiful and unique things hiding right in front of us. We just have to slow down, and take a closer look.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013


   There's a beach I like to go to that's about twenty miles east of here, called Indian Pass. It's a beautiful beach. And for the most part, there's very few people ever on it. But it has one characteristic that I don't like.    
    People are allowed to use the beach as they would a regular street. No kidding. It's not unusual to be out there enjoying this beautiful place and have a Honda Accord pass by. It's very strange. And originally this post was going to be about Indian Pass. But when I walked down the short path to the beach and saw all these flowers blooming along the way, I couldn't help but stop, to take a closer look at them.
Yellow Button
   St. George Island, along with the entire panhandle of Florida, is far enough north that it has a springtime. The only difference is that the flowers that bloom in the spring. will be around for most of the summer. At least until either a storm surge, or the colder temperatures of winter get them.
   They won't necessarily bloom constantly,  but they'll bloom on and off through the whole summer. So seeing all of these flowers blooming at the same time,  made me take notice.
Beach Morning Glory
  There's no doubt I can identify shells a lot better than I can the flowers in this area. Living in Kentucky for so many years, I'm not familiar with "beach flowers" at all.
   But seeing all of these in such a small area, peaked my interest in the flora here. So, I plan on learning a lot more and I'll be sure to share what I see, and what I learn.
   One of the newest flowers I've discovered is the  Florida Pitcher Plant. It doesn't grow on the beach, but I saw it when I went kayaking at Owl Creek, which is not far from here. There was  this large clump of yellow trumpets in a marsh that really stood out. Because of their color, and the large size of the flower,they're easy to see. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn't know I was going to be writing about the flowers in the area, so I didn't take a picture of them. What makes them so unique is that they don't so much need water to survive, but bugs. On the same lines as a Venus Fly Trap. 

     The leaves are very slippery with a sugary substance. The bugs are attracted to the scent on the leaves and can't get off of them. They then slide into the trumpet part of the plant where they're digested. The more bugs, the healthier the plant. Next time I run across them I'll take a picture.
    All the plants pictured here grow out of the sand, and mostly by the beach. And there's many more.. But to have all of these, blooming  at the same time, on such a short path, was wonderful.

"Spider Lily
                                From now on I'll take more time to stop and see the flowers! 




Saturday, July 6, 2013

Happy 4th of July, on the 6th!

   With summer being here, there's plenty of things I want to write about. And I will, very soon. But before any more time passes, I want to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July. The eagle landing in the pine tree, by my house, seemed very appropriate.

"The Eagle has landed"
   Without a doubt, the 4th of July is the most celebrated holiday on the island. The only thing that brings more people here is the "Chili Cookoff". But, this year, the weather was not on our side. Needless to say, with the loss of revenue, the merchants were not celebrating.     
   The parade on the island was put off until the next day, due to adverse weather. It seemed a little ironic, that they'd cancel it because of rain, since the whole theme of the parade is "how wet can we get". It's the biggest water fight you've ever seen in your life! (I later found out, it wasn't the rain that caused them to postpone it, so much as the wind. The  decorations on all the golf carts wouldn't have stood a chance). 

    I was lucky enough, last year, to be invited to ride on a friend's "Gator" in the parade. People come early to get a good place in line for this abuse. The parade's only about a mile long, going around the center of the island. And the line of vehicles vying for a spot in the parade is every bit that long. The first one in line has finished the parade before the last one in line even gets started.
   I had no idea what I was in for. People on the sidelines bring tubs of ice water to refill their monster sized water guns. And the water balloons are brutal. But the people  that are in the parade are just as well armed . Had I known, I would have at least worn a rain coat, and maybe a suit of armor. And the fire department isn't going to miss the chance to use their hoses. So you really have to pick your enemies wisely!
   The fireworks, on the island, were also cancelled. Apalachicola shot theirs off on the 3rd, which turned out to be a good idea. Ray, my dog, and I went to the end of the street and had a perfect view of the fireworks over the bay. They were beautiful. It's nice to have a dog that actually enjoys them, instead of being afraid of them. Maybe he can tell his friends what they're missing!
     So I hope everyone had a good holiday. The summer has just begun! God bless America.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fly Away

    The chicks don't look like chicks anymore. And with as big as they are, I can't help but think that they've learned how to fly, and they just come back to the nest to take a break. But they were both sitting happily in the nest the day I was there and never even looked like they were thinking of spreading their wings.

What's going on down there?
   When I first got there, Mom and one of the chicks were sitting up on the nest, enjoying the view. Then, after awhile, Mom stretched her neck and took a look down into the nest. The other chick was about to get up.
   The nest looks so small now, and as big as the kids have gotten, there's just not enough room for all three of them to sit on top of the nest. So Mom gave up her spot.
   I would have liked to have seen them fly away, but no such luck. And I was there for awhile. But it was satisfying watching them grow up, and knowing that they had made it to this point.
    I'll be back down at the Plantation sometime and I'm sure I'll find an empty nest. Hopefully a hurricane doesn't blow the nest down, and it'll get used again.
  Now I'm waiting for these guys to show up!