Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Beaches of Manasota Key

One of our favorite beaches is at Stump Pass, at the far south end of Manasota Key.
Since we are a bit ahead of "The Season", and it was cold (72 degrees) all the beaches were nearly deserted and it was easy to find a parking place in any of the beach parking areas.
We usually go to Stump Pass Park via boat, as the park is popular and crowded in January through April when we are here.  There is a nice channel in the bay behind the Key where we can park the boat and take a short walk across the island to the Gulf of Mexico.
You can see the Mangrove roots on the bay side always trying to extend the Mangrove swamp.
Englewood Beach Park is the first park after the bridge that comes onto the island from Englewood at the south end.  Shops and restaurants and seasonal rentals abound in this area.
A boardwalk along the beach connects the various areas of Englewood Beach Park.  Several walkways allow access to the sandy beaches.
The Hermitage is a retreat for professional artists, writers, painters, composers, sculptors, poets and playwrights who come from all around the country and the world to live and work for 2 to 6 week residencies.  It is located just south of Blind Pass Park on Manasota Key.
Blind Pass is one of the most popular beaches on Manasota Key. 
 Manasota Beach Park is the northernmost public beach on the Key.  A large parking lot is located just after the bridge that crosses onto the island on the north side of the road.  Boats can be put into the bay at a boat ramp on the south side of the road.
A wheelchair accessible ramp runs from the washroom facility and parking lot to the beach.
He has found about a half of a water bottle full of prehistoric sharks' teeth.  These teeth can be found on all of the beaches of Manasota Key.
This man is more serious about finding things, with a metal detector in one hand and a shark tooth sieve in the other.  You can find teeth without the scoops, but serious collectors all have the screened scoop on a long handle to make the task easier.
We even found a few shark teeth and a couple of interesting rocks.
It was just about a perfect day on the beach - not too hot, sunny and breezy, and nearly deserted.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Beachcombing On a Sunny Evening

A lot of the time, we don't have much beach at our Georgia house.  The waterlines on the dock supports show how low the lake is right now.
The lake was crystal clear and completely calm this evening, the temperature was around 75 degrees, and I decided to wander along our new found beach seeing what I could find.
 Other creatures besides me have been along the waterfront.  I am sure the raccoons and the big wading birds are enjoying the easier access to all the fresh water clams.
My friend, Lonnie, collects heart shaped rocks.  She assured me that if I looked for them, I would find them.  My first one needed some imagination to be a heart.
The second one was more pronounced, and I could really see a heart in this one.
Oh my, here is another one!  Lonnie is right, they are everywhere!

I took a picture of the lawns that Ron has finished mowing, and got to the top of the hill in time to see the sun go down over the lake.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Back in the South

As we left Iowa, we saw our first weather - just enough clouds and raindrops to make a gorgeous sunrise over Iowa farms, and a rainbow over the cornfields.
The leaves have been glorious all the way from Stevens Pass in Washington through Tennessee.  Around Birmingham, AL, we reverted back to mostly green.
We have to face the fact that our Satsuma tree is now fully a lemon tree.  It is covered with fruit in various stages of ripeness.
The lake is low after a dry summer, leaving us a big beach area. 

The flower beds are overrun with weeds, but the lawns were nicely mowed, thanks to our great neighbors.  
The sumac has taken over Mom's dry creek bed, and the vacant lots were covered with vines and trees.
But after two days of me working in the flower beds and Ron attacking the lots with the Kubota and the brushhog, things are definitely looking up and we are reminded how much we love this place!  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Visiting Family on our Way South

Eastern Washington Family
First stop - Son, Tony, 
Daughter-in-law, Tina
Grandson, Jesse 
Unfortunately, Sara had to go to work, so we only saw her for a little bit when she got home from school.  That is Sara on the left and Jesse on the right in the pictures behind Jesse.
New barn in progress
Bear in progress - Lots of projects in this busy family!

On to Utah
Son, Cameron with grandson, Marcus, and Grandpa doing the male bonding thing watching Saturday football games.
Grandson, Gavin - We became buddies just in time for us to shove off for our next destination.
We went to the "Touch a truck" program at the fire department, where Gavin got to sit in the driver's seat of lots of big trucks.
It is hard when the family is spread out over several states!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fifty Years Later - Class of '62

Time flies if you are having fun - even if you aren't I suspect!  It is hard to believe it has been 50 years since we graduated from high school.  Our graduating class had 28 people - but over the years, many others dropped in and out of our school, and we have managed to stay connected to nearly double that total. Twelve of the people we once went to school with have died.

Our little town has an annual festival called "Railroad Days" in honor of the railroad that once ran through the town, connecting the mining areas of Monte Cristo to the east and our town to the larger population centers to the west.  The only remaining traces of the railroad can be found in the artifacts in the museum in town and in our celebration of it on the first Saturday of October each year.

We started our day at the table of honor at the alumni meeting.  The room was packed with alums from as far back as the class of '36.  The alumni association is very active in providing scholarships to each graduating class, raising money through events such as "Balls at the Falls".  For $5 you can buy an orange ball, which is tossed with all the other balls into the falls.  The first three balls to pass Chappel bridge win cash prizes.  
Vendors of all kinds, music, and games carry on throughout the day.
I wasn't that happy with the pictures I got of my classmates, but here are some (in no particular order).