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La Bella Luna November 7, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Nature.
23 comments

Total Lunar Eclipse tonight:

A lunar eclipse happens when the sun, Earth and moon align. During a full lunar eclipse, the moon falls completely in the Earth’s shadow. The phenomenon causes the moon to appear red, often nicknamed a “blood moon.”

When to watch:

The real show begins at totality, when the entire moon enters Earths’ umbra. On Nov. 8, this will occur at 5:17 a.m. EST (1017 GMT) and will last about 85 minutes, ending at 6:42 a.m. EST (1142 GMT), according to NASA. “The moon will turn a coppery-red. Try binoculars or a telescope for a better view,” NASA wrote.

Where to watch:

As long as skies are clear, the Nov. 8 lunar eclipse will be visible from anywhere across the United States and the rest of North America, according to TimeAndDate.com. People in Asia, Australia, most of South America and parts of northern and eastern Europe also will be able to see this eclipse.

Aah . . . that’s bella!

The next full lunar eclipse will occur on March 14, 2025, but there will be partial lunar eclipses before then, according to NASA.

The Power for Good September 5, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Health & Wellness, Humor, Nature.
23 comments

Our electric company, Florida Power & Light, is a force for good.

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In addition to implementing innovative programs to provide energy to homes using sustainable solar as well as programs which allow consumers to recharge EV’s overnight for a low monthly rate (less than the price of a tank of gas), FPL is helping to protect the American Crocodile:

The American crocodile is primarily a coastal species that ranges from Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and even into South Florida. They are typically a gray/green color and can be found in the fresh/brackish/salt water of river estuaries, coastal lagoons and mangrove swamps where they feed on fish, crustaceans, small mammals, reptiles and birds.

Throughout much of its range, the American crocodile was listed as endangered. FPL partners with federal and state conservation agencies to help with crocodile restoration efforts, resulting in the species being downlisted to threatened status. At [the] Turkey Point Power Plant in southern Miami-Dade County, [FPL has] worked for years to help this species rebound. In fact, the 2021 American crocodile nesting season at the plant resulted in a record-setting 565 hatchlings, establishing a historic success in FPL’s management of the local crocodile population.

This video is a pleasant 7-minute interlude showing stunning scenery and heroic efforts . . . by man AND by mama beast!

Go mom!

To read more:  FPL ~ American Crocodile

On a related note, I read a somewhat bizarre news story this week about someone whose emotional support animal is . . . an alligator!

I kid you not!

No, not a metallic sculpture in the garden.

And not a fluffy gator made of sand, either.

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A real live alligator.

With sharp claws and sharper teeth!

Joseph Henney’s emotional support animal WallyGator goes with him almost everywhere, from the grocery store to walks in the park. They hug each other and sleep in the same bed. WallyGator is an alligator.

“When he turns his nose toward you, that means he expects a kiss,” said Henney, 69, who goes by Joie (pronounced “Joe”) and lives in Jonestown, Pa., about two hours from Philadelphia. “He’s super sweet-natured.”

To read more:  His emotional support animal is an Alligator.

OK, so, I would have to be severely disturbed before I would CHOOSE an alligator, crocodile, or venomous snake as my emotional support animal.

Just saying.

How about you?

If you needed emotional support, could you place your trust in a reptilian crocodilian?

Or would you prefer to cuddle up with a cute kitten?

Do tell.

See you later, Al E Gator.  In a while, Crocodile.

Over The Gorge We Go September 3, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Mindfulness, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
18 comments

Are you a sleepwalker?

This is NOT the Airbnb for you.

Do you like to cook on vacation . . . bringing bags and bags of groceries with you?

Ditto.

Afraid of heights?

Do NOT, under any circumstance, rent this place for your next weekend get-away.

On the other hand, this place is PERFECT for those who are physically fit, in good health, and light packers.

Light as in backpacks NOT steamer trunks.

Some experience with flying, base jumping, and skydiving would be helpful.

Ready?

Over the Gorge we go . . .

This Kentucky Airbnb, a one-bedroom, one-bath property suspended high above the Red River Gorge, is an acrophobe’s nightmare.

Reaching your rental requires climbing suspended stairs hundreds of steps long, with more climbing to retire for the evening

Personally, I’d love to spend the night . . . as long as I’ve got a sherpa to schlep my gear!

If you click on any of the links, you be able to see more amazing, cringe-worthy photos.

Aah . . . a September to Remember!

A Day At The Beach August 15, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Nature, People, Travel & Leisure.
23 comments

The beaches of Anna Maria Island have been popular for over a century.

Each weekend, throngs of tourists crowd the beaches looking for sun, fun, sand, surf, seashells . . . and cocktails.

While fashions have changed over the years, growing skimpier and skimpier, the scenery remains much the same.

Are you, perchance, in the mood for a bit of time travel?

Want to enjoy a brief blast from the past?

Complete with lots of black and white photos to peruse?

If so, here’s a recent article from the Bradenton Herald with archival photos taken on our beaches  100+ years ago . . . when sleeping and camping on the beach were still allowed, and clothing was NOT optional:

Anna Maria Island in the 1900’s and Roaring Twenties

And now, back to the present . . .


Aah . . . that’s beachy!

Biking Makes Me Feel Young! May 11, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Nature.
20 comments

It’s National Bike Month.

What a great opportunity to pump up your tires, kick up your kickstand, and hit the road.

Biking is good for your health and good for the planet.  It’s also good for your wallet ~> no need to head to the filling station, saving big bucks!

Since moving to Florida, I ride most days because: (1) Florida is warm year-round; (2) Florida is flat as a pancake; and (3) hopping on my bike to ride up to the clubhouse or around the neighborhood makes me feel like a kid again:

WHEEEE!!!!!

Do you still bike?  If so, share a bike tale or trail in the comments.

If not, want some incentive to get biking this month?  Here’s a score card to play Bike Month Bingo:

To learn more, visit the League of American Bicyclists at bikeleague.org

Aah . . . that’s better!

On Further Reflection October 27, 2021

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Home & Garden, Mindfulness, Nature.
20 comments

While visiting the Panhandle, we sat up and took notice of our surroundings at Goodwood Museum and Gardens.

Goodwood is a terrific place for a morning stroll . . . or hop.

The gardens, while not in full bloom, boasted lots of color.

With a canopy of trees framing the drive ways and walk ways.

Throughout the area, tree limbs reach up and out . . .

Unless they are feeling down and out . . . like this bedraggled limb at Maclay Gardens.

In addition to seeing many towering oaks spangled with Spanish Moss, we also saw the gnarled roots of felled trees.

To give you some sense of the size of this felled tree ~ the fella standing next to it is 6 foot 3.

We also toured several Canopy Roads around Tallahassee, including Old Centerville Road where asphalt gives way to red clay (during the dry season) and, presumably, red mud after heavy rains.

At Bradley’s Country Store, which has been in business for over 90 years, we re-provisioned our picnic supplies AND bought BFF a slice of decadent chocolate mousse cake.

Here’s BFF enjoying our picnic adjacent to The Retreat at Bradley Pond.

The afore-mentioned chocolate cake is sandwiched between my GF pretzels and a bag of Sour Cream and Toasted Onion Joe’s Chips.

Around the corner from Bradley’s Country Store, we saw some friendly burros looking for a handout.  But BFF doesn’t share his food.

Of the many sights (including the Scarecrows) we enjoyed at Maclay Gardens, the reflecting pool in the secret garden was a fave.

But, even better (in my book), was the look we took at the reflecting pond and waterfall at Goodwood Museum.

Aah . . . that’s the ticket!

Wakulla Springs October 25, 2021

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
23 comments

There’s lots to do at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.

Hiking Trails over the river and through the woods.

Watching the water for manatees, mermaids, alligators, and avian visitors.

Boat Rides down the Wakulla River for bird and gator sightings aplenty.

Dining (and lodging) in the historic Lodge.

But here’s a quick tip:  don’t plan to dive into the largest and deepest fresh water springs in the world UNLESS you’re a fan of 68 degree water temps.

After darkness descended outside, we dined inside ~> BFF opted for a French Dip and Fries while I enjoyed a grilled veggie stack (zucchini, summer squash, roasted peppers) smothered in marinara and mozzarella served with two sides.

I chose cheese grits AND smashed red skin potatoes.

Don’t judge.

Unlike our earlier hesitation about diving into the Springs, we dove into the food as soon as it arrived . . . before snapping a single shot.  My bad.

As slight consolation, here’s a view of the elegant and historic dining room.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Scaredy Pumpkin! October 21, 2021

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Home & Garden, Nature.
20 comments

On a recent get-away to the Panhandle of Florida, we visited a few state parks, including Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park near Tallahassee where we spied Scarecrows in the Gardens!

The entrance to the gardens, framed by palms.

The gateway, framed with greenery.

Our first pumpkins . . .

We loved the variety and diversity of sizes, shapes, and approaches.

From some kick ass soccer . . .

To Goodwood Guitar players . . .

To sunburned tourists . . .

To AmeriCorps Conservation Members . . .

To trash toting, rubber necking, windmill sporting, monsters . . .

To Forest Rangers on patrol . . .

To Halloween spooks . . .

To Dementors offering FREE Kisses!

But my favorite was the Scarecrow wearing a physician’s plague mask . . .

It seemed so appropriate for the present pandemic . . .

Which hasn’t been a very pleasant present at all . . .

We’ll be glad to see the end of masks, social distancing, and other signs of CoVid-19.

Aah . . . it’s been scary!

The Language Of The Stones September 16, 2021

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Magick & Mystery, Nature, People.
16 comments

I stumbled across America’s Stonehenge while reviewing MONEY’s 2021 list of the 50 best places to live in the US.

Located in Salem NH (about 33 miles from Boston MA), America’s Stonehenge is more than 4000 years old.  Like England’s Stonehenge, the stones have a language of their own:

Built by a Native American Culture or a migrant European population? No one knows for sure. A maze of man-made chambers, walls and ceremonial meeting places, at over 4,000 years old America’s Stonehenge is most likely the oldest man-made construction in the United States.

Like Stonehenge in England, America’s Stonehenge was built by ancient people well versed in astronomy and stone construction. It has been determined that the site is an accurate astronomical calendar. It was, and still can be, used to determine specific solar and lunar events of the year.

This video is an interesting introduction to the prehistoric stone foundations on the site:

To learn more:  America’s Stonehenge.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Elvis Has Left The Building September 9, 2021

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Home & Garden, Nature.
20 comments

In Florida, from time to time, small, friendly, and fearless anole lizards sneak into our homes and wreak havoc.

Well, not really.

They do sneak in . . . but no havoc is wreaked and no homes are wrecked.

For the most part, they are quite quiet and well behaved.

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Despite their polite demeanor, we are inclined to dispatch them back to the great outdoors at the earliest opportunity.

Yesterday, while BFF was at an early morning medical appointment, I walked into the kitchen and spotted one of the wee beasties, let’s call him Elvis, in the middle of the kitchen floor.

As I approached, Elvis retreated and then he turned tail and headed straight for the washer/dryer, disappearing from view.

Point 1 ~> Elvis.

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When BFF returned, he took up patrol duty in the kitchen and spied Elvis in the pantry looking for the peanut butter for an Elvis Special (bacon, banana, and peanut butter sandwich).

BFF “almost” caught him using an upside down clear shoebox, but “almost” doesn’t count when catching lizards.  At the last minute, Elvis darted across the kitchen and took refuge under the dishwasher.

Point 2 ~> Elvis.

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The game remained at a stalemate until bedtime when we left a small saucer of water out for Elvis in case he got thirsty.

Point 3 ~> Elvis.

This morning, we hoped to see Elvis out in the open, drinking from his tiny trough.

No such luck.

BFF peered under the dishwasher and spied Elvis peering back.

No skirmish ensued.

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A short while later, BFF called for reinforcements, “Hey, Nancy.  Come here and get the door.  Elvis is ready to leave.”

Sure enough, Elvis had emerged from under the dishwasher and was now “standing his ground” by the front door.

I opened the storm/screen door to the courtyard and BFF shooed Elvis out of the villa using a piece of cardboard to guide the little guy in the correct direction ~> OUT!

Once outside, Elvis did a little happy dance and made a beeline (or lounge lizard line) straight for the Norfolk Pine.

Inside, we did a little happy dance too!

Aah . . . that’s better!