gators! OMGOMGOMG! gators!

I’ve dreamed about alligators all my life, weird I know for somebody New England born and bred (but weird is not surprising for me). Mostly they are scary, big, toothy things creeping up on me (that log? nope, alligator), but sometimes they provide powerful personal growth. I’ve managed to ask the dream alligators for a gift, twice, with really interesting results. If you’re interested in dream work, try it. First work on knowing you are dreaming, then work on remembering to ask the thing that scares you for a gift.

I guess I knew they made this noise (some nature show?), but I never heard it before. Wonder what this will do for my nightime entertainment. They also make a fair amount of noise when they’re moving, except when they are just in the water… when they move so silently,

Here’s the first one we heard, right at the sign by the boardwalk saying to “Listen!” I thought at first that they had some recording set up, until I heard it coming from a couple of different spots.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited.
corkscrew alligator
my foot, alligator head

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that’s at least 12 feet of big, and the other is just close

Also heard pig frogs and saw some birds, a black racer, and lots of odonates.

There were several red shouldered hawks that sat pretty close (the Florida form is not as red), a blue-gray gnatcatcher nest (through a scope that the volunteers set up), some great egrets. There’s been a lot of rain, so the wood storks didn’t nest this year and we didn’t see any, nor any limpkins or spoonbills.
corkscrew redshoulder hawk

Some tree snail,
corkscrew tree snail

And, the elusive ghost orchid. OK, actually we just saw the tree where it grows. The photo of the boardwalk sign came out better than my photo of the tree (and as you can see it’s pretty fuzzy)
corkscrew ghost orchid (2)

The Orchid Thief is about this orchid. Just so you know, the orchid here has trip cameras set around it, and it’s really high up in a tree, in a swamp, with a lot of alligators that have been strategically placed near the base of the tree.

If you ever find yourself in Naples, Florida, be sure to check out Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. It’s a fabulous place! Volunteers walk around on the boardwalk and are happy to talk with you. It’s like having your personal guide! They even sometimes give night time walks. Maybe I’ll plan a trip around one of those. Talk about fodder for the dreams, eh?


Well… there has been minimal knitting.

flipper and more

Yesterday we went for a boat ride. I think kiddo liked going fast on the open water, but I could have spent all the time standing on the bow of the boat in the estuaries….
dolphins (23)
(biggify to see the baby’s nose!)

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Swimming in the wake of the boat, and leaping! That was pretty exciting!! We saw a bunch of dolphins on the south end of Estero Bay, and the mama and baby is from the estuary by Wiggins Pass.

The day before, kiddo and I headed up to Sanibel Island to go shelling. A little internet research said the Lighthouse Beach was the place to go.
sanibel19april lighthouse (2)

We got there early, but there weren’t the amazing humongous shells on the beach like people write about. It was still lovely. Because of the causeway currents, you can’t swim there (and besides, it was early and the water, though much warmer than Maine’s coast, wasn’t all that enticing to go in more than knee high). We got a small bucket of small shells, saw plovers (I think they were plovers),
sanibel19april plovers (3)
a live sea urchin, washed up sponges (?? they were heavy!), and early on I just pushed my foot through what I thought was seaweed, but what was really this,
sanibel19april_pufferfish (2)

It was dead, and covered in weeds, but it hurt! I still have the marks on my toe! We also went to the shell museum, which was small but really interesting (kiddo thought so too). We missed Ding Darling, but that’s a trip in itself. I thought Sanibel looked like a great place to really get away from it all and hang in one spot (if you like beaches and birds). I also had to go to the Goodwill on the island. Came out with a cashmere sweater for my bathrobe project.

A couple of days earlier we went to the Southwest Florida Museum of History, which had a King Tut exhibit going (reproductions, so sad, but mom-who saw the real stuff-said that you saw so much more here). They also had a Pullman car to play in… and we did! The sleeping room had a pull down bunk, a small bureau, and a chair next to the bureau. But it wasn’t just a chair… Lift up the seat and it’s the commode!
swfl museum pullman car (2) swfl museum pullman car (3)
And because sanitation is important, once you’re done wiping your arse, you pull down the back of the seat to get to the sink!
swfl museum pullman car (4) swfl museum pullman car (5)

We cracked ourselves up, the kiddo was amused but put on a good teenager face,
swfl museum pullman car

We got our kitty fix,
emily (2)
vatch out, i vill try to suck your blud (Emily)

max (3)
No, really, I’m not looking at your wool, I’m not interested in yarn, no, really (Max)

Off to see alligators (we hope) in a bit at Corkscrew.

morning kayak

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The sun seems to come up late here. This is about 7 AM. I puttered around on the canals, hoping to see an alligator or two.

Didn’t get any good wildlife pics, but I saw a Louisiana Heron successfully fishing. Hmmm… The Audubon site says: The flesh of the young birds (Louisiana Herons) affords tolerable eating. I just wasn’t thinking about eating this bird!

Also saw pelicans, some little terns, a great egret, grackles, weird ducks, and the loch ness monster. Probably was a carp.

lisa vacation 009
I think this one was after my paper cup of cold cereal…

I learned that kayaking (even in putter mode) is one of those things (along with snow shoveling, sweeping, typing, knitting, triceps weight work, lifting my coffee cup) that irritate my tendonitis. …le sigh le sigh…


I started the Prairie Rose Shawl (ravelry link) with some georgeous Madeline Tosh dk just before leaving. I figured I’d work on it on the plane. I copied the pattern out of my book but didn’t read through it before I left. I wasn’t very far along before I found an abbreviation I didn’t know! sk2p. I had to put it down and go buy a book because I’d finished the one I brought on the first leg part of the flight.

I told kiddo I need somebody with internet access to look it up for me (we pretty much live in the mobile dark ages, we don’t even have cell phones). He said why don’t you just ask somebody with a computer? So I saw somebody nearby, and asked if she’d look up a knitting abbreviation, and she was intrigued. She is a knitter! But clearly not obsessed like most of us because she didn’t know one could take needles on a plane, and didn’t know about ravelry (I told her she should join, it is way better than the Lion free patterns she’s been looking at). The connection wasn’t very good, so we didn’t have any luck. I got it figured out once I got here and could look around. I need to work on the shawl with no distractions (ha!) to get beyond some little trouble I’m having… I keep ending up with extra stitches on the row and have to tink back 3 rows to get back to the right number and move forward.

maplewing done and blocked!

Went from 5 feet and 28 inches to 7 feet and 36 inches!

maplewing_done_notblocked (1)
before blocking

while blocking (note the wires!)

maplewing_all_done (2) maplewing_all_done (1)
trying to get all of it in a single photo!

maplewing_all_done (5) maplewing_all_done (6)
spine and points

Overall, I’m wicked pleased. Things to think about… one of the YOs is wonky. One of these days I’ll figure out which one in some experimental swatches. I wasn’t able to block out the points as nicely as some others I’ve seen.

But I love the yarn and its color! I blathered all about it on my Ravelry project page.

Spent too much time today going through summer things (do they fit? are they clean?)… getting ready to go to mom’s in Florida (on Wednesday!!!!!).