An Announcement & Daily(ish) Thankfulness List #5

Dear Readers,

I will be leaving for Ohio (well, Georgia first, then Ohio) tomorrow morning, so I will have lots of pictures to share with you all once I get back!  I know I still have to share my pictures from St. Marks, but that just means you have a lot to look forward to. 🙂  Anyhow, here’s my thankfulness list.

  1. That I found my 16G USB Drive.  I hadn’t seen it in a couple months so I was a little worried that I had lost it for good, but I did find it yesterday!!  Now I’ll have a place to put all my pictures from this trip!
  2. I’m getting a camcorder!  I was discussing the name with one of my family members and we realized that it probably is a mashup of Camera and Recorder! Cool, right?  My parents are paying for most of it, but I’m chipping in $20 and paying the $10 for the 16G SD Card.  So I’m really excited!  We’re getting it later today!
  3. May.  Goodness gracious I love our cat!  I was the first one up this morning and she followed me everywhere, inspected the fridge while I got breakfast, (cold pizza from dinner last night!) and bodyslammed me twice!  I’m used to her attacking my feet, but she just slammed against me like a football player!  It was a little startling, but also hilarious.  And she looked up at me like it was the most normal thing in the world! Hahaha.
  4. Our church family.  We played basketball last night with 3 families from our church, and it was super fun.  There were about 25 kids there (including the five of us), but many were small children and babies who didn’t play.  The dads played while the moms watched, and we all had a grand time.  😀  Shoutout to my sometimes teammate Emily (Molasses) who played wonderfully!  🙂

I think that that’s all for now.

Squid

Tallahassee Trip: Day 1, Part 3 (Spiders)

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This was the first spider that Dad saw, the first of many to come.  I love the sun on the web…

The underside of the Bermuda Silk Spider – Nephila Clavipes – Banana Spider- Hurricane Spider- Golden Orb-Weaver – Giant Wood Spider.  I found a lot of names for it on Google. 🙂

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Tiny butterfly the size of a half-dollar.

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These I recently read are Gulf Fritillaries.  Check out the blog where I learned about them!

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I love this dragonfly shot!  The bokeh is quite pleasing.  (bokeh = blurry background)

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Another Bermuda Silk Spider Nephila Clavipes – Banana Spider- Hurricane Spider- Golden Orb-Weaver – Giant Wood Spider.  But, do you see the smaller one above the large one?  In every single web they were there, so I started referring to them as the “henchmen” for the bigger spiders.  But then Dad realized that they were the males!  So, um, still sort of henchmen I suppose.  But I still cannot get over the cool pattern on the underside of these spiders!  So intricate!

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Then an Arrowshaped Micrathena, which is an awesome name if you realize that Athena from Greek mythology was a weaver, and is credited with transforming a young prideful girl named Arachne into the first spider, giving them their Latin name.  I won’t give the whole story here, but here’s the link to the full thing: Myth of Arachne.

Arrowshaped Micrathena
Arrowshaped Micrathena
Bermuda Silk Spider Nephila Clavipes - Banana Spider- Hurricane Spider- Golden Orb-Weavers - Giant Wood Spiders
Bermuda Silk Spider Nephila Clavipes – Banana Spider- Hurricane Spider- Golden Orb-Weavers – Giant Wood Spiders
Bermuda Silk Spider Nephila Clavipes - Banana Spider- Hurricane Spider- Golden Orb-Weavers - Giant Wood Spiders
Bermuda Silk Spider Nephila Clavipes – Banana Spider- Hurricane Spider- Golden Orb-Weavers – Giant Wood Spiders

In this fourish-foot-tall cave/tunnel (my dad is 6’3 for reference) I had a very mentally traumatizing experience.  Dad had gone around the cave/tunnel while I wanted to walk through it.  I was a little worried about snakes, so I ended up running through it with my eyes on the ground.  That turned out to be a bad idea, as I ran into a spiders’ web, activating their defense mechanism.  What?  You want to know what the defense mechanism was?  Fine, I’ll tell you.  They (about 3-4 very large spiders) started jumping around and spinning their web to scare me away.  I am not ashamed to say that it worked very well.  I ran out of there as best I could in such a small space with uneven ground.  I ran around the path and found Dad, where I recounted my tale of horror and calmed down a bit.  After a few minutes I could appreciate the humor of the situation but still was wary of what may lay ahead.

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Thankfully, the next critter we saw was one who was a) more scared of us than we of him, b) harmless, c) one we saw in broad daylight.  A Five-Lined Skink!  I’ve previously posted about this little guy but these pictures turned out a lot better because I didn’t have the shadow from the screen on him and this guy was full grown while the other was a juvenile I think.

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Here’s the first of my mystery birds.  Again, a big thank you to Gabriel for identifying these for me.
This guy is probably a Cape May Warbler.

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Here’s a leaf.  Not a hard thing to identify… 🙂  I just liked the sunlight on the leaf with the dark tree in the background.

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We passed a beautiful Cypress grove.

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A tiny brown Anole…

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Dad pointed out another skink while I was shooting the anole.

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We saw a sign in the middle of a small ravine that was pretty far away and I guessed that it might have been saying “entry prohibited”.  After a picture, we saw that I was right!  Who would have thunk?

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I thought this was cool… The top of it was resting on another tree, so it hadn’t quite fallen over yet.

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I haven’t done a Hearts In Nature post in a while, but I found one there!

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As we were walking along we saw our 5th spider (not counting the ones in the cave) which was a Daddy Longlegs.  Dad tried to pick him up but dropped him.

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Take 2 worked and I was able to get a fun picture.

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Spider #6 was a beauty…

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So that was really fun, and a bit frightening, but the day wasn’t over yet.  We’d see many more spiders, a giant red bug, and lots of birds!

Squid

Tallahassee Trip: Day 1, Part 2

Welcome to part two of the first day of my trip!  Today we explore the amazing Florida Caverns!

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During our guided tour through the Florida Caverns, my dad and I expected to hear that they were the result of “millions of years”.  But surprisingly, we didn’t!  Not once!  The guide said, “A long time ago.”  That is true, because that can mean 6,000 years ago.  And, I overheard him talking to a couple on the tour and said something to the effect of, “If you believe what the geologists say…” which makes me think that maybe he didn’t believe in what the evolutionists tell him.  So that was cool.

These specific caves were discovered by the CCC under FDR’s New Deal program, and the young men who found them nick-named the different “rooms” and rock formations.  I’ll include the names that I remember with the pictures I took of them.

I can’t remember this one’s name, but I thought all the stalactites were cool-looking.

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This one is the Wedding Room.  Can you tell why?  Our guide said that a couple did actually get married in there. 🙂

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A tunnel that we did not crawl through…

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These are perfectly natural stalactites… 🙂  Actually, in between the lights is a dinner plate that the original miners would use to reflect the small amount of light from their lantern into the large room around them.  Cool idea, right?

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Because of the darkness I was shooting at very low shutter speeds, resulting in lots of blur if I wasn’t careful.  I wasn’t careful here, but I like the effect it produced.

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Our tour guide actually did have quite a distinctive southern accent to match the hat.

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There was one rock formation nick-named “Jabba the Hutt”, and it was either this or another one.  I’ll point out the other and you can decide which you think is most appropriate.

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This formation and others similar to it are formed of little tiny “micro-pools”.  They were very sparkly but I had a hard time capturing that with the settings I was at on my camera.

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Dad and I had some fun with the gaps between rooms.

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I would insert his picture here, but WordPress’ media library won’t let me.  So, sometime later, in another post perhaps.

I thought of the Maze Runner when I saw this one… does anyone agree?

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This is the other formation that might have been “Jabba the Hutt”.  Which one do think works best?

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This was a column, (when a stalagmite and stalactite meet, they’re called a column) but something happened underneath this cavern’s floor and the floor shifted, resulting in a fracture.

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These were called “curtains”.  Smaller ones are humorously called “cave bacon”. 🙂

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These were fuzzy, but not from mold or anything.  I should have asked why…

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The Winter Wonderland room I believe. Or maybe it was called that at one time but they changed it… I can’t remember.

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The red glow is not natural, it is from a spotlight.  There was a green one too.

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More micro pools.

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I tried to capture the water droplets on the stalactites.  Our guide said that the water was actually very clean, and drinkable, so we were free to try and catch some in our mouths.  I was more worried about my camera, truthfully, but I did try to catch a drop.  I didn’t position myself properly and missed the drop, but Dad got a picture of me attempting it.  Let’s see if WordPress will let me upload it… Nope!  Oh well, it was cool.

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We did see two little bats flying around, and I took a picture of the sign in the museum so I’d remember the name. 🙂  Eastern Pipistrelle Bat.

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So that was my experience 63-64 feet underground!  Next time you’ll see the lush forests and giant spiders of the Florida Caverns national park!

Squid

Tallahassee Trip: Day 1, Part 1

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It was amazing what a difference being in the Panhandle of Florida makes to the landscape of Florida and the flora and fauna found there.  I mean, (as my Dad reminded me) we are in the sub-tropics, and Tallahassee isn’t.  Anyway, the hills were so cool. 🙂
We found our hotel all right, and everything there worked out.  Saturday morning we were off to the Florida Caverns State Park!  But on our way there we got a little sidetracked… we found a train!  It was near some baseball and football fields, and seemed to be a type of playground for kids.  But that didn’t stop us!  We had such a fun time taking pictures of each other!  When you see me with my camera, then Dad is taking the picture with his camera.  When I don’t have it, then he is using mine.  Well, enough of me; enjoy!

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We were talking about escaping slaves, homeless people during the Great Depression, and other people who have to jump up onto similar cars like the one we were in, and that inspired this one.  My dad is 6’2, but that was still quite a height!

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I love the hay bales…

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I love my Converse!

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Dad shooting me… 🙂  The baseball field is in the background.

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More Converse, but on the old wood flooring this time, giving it a rustic look… 🙂

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When I took this I didn’t realize that it looked like I was wearing an old-fashioned blouse and skirt!  Haha!

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On the engine…

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Dad’s driving!  Oh no! 😀

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Then an artistic shot.

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Dad’s on the engine, so who’s driving???

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More artsy shots.

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I thought the caboose would be a nice ending for this post.  You’ll see the caverns next time!

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Squid

Stalling…

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I am still trying to go though all of my pictures, so I am going to stall for time by posting the last pictures I took in the sub-tropics, AKA the Friday before I left.  First was the Crepe Myrtle.

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Then a juvenile Mockingbird. (Or just a very unkempt one)

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I played with the white balance on my camera…

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Back to the Mockingbird!

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I wish I knew the names of the flowers I shoot…

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Or the dragonflies…

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On our way to our hotel room in Tallahassee, we stopped at a gas station and Dad saw this awesome moth!  It was so huge!

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That’s it for today, stay tuned for more!

Squid

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