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A Baby Orangutan ~> SWEET! November 3, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Nature.
29 comments

3d-apeBabies are cute and often a cause for celebration.  No matter the species.

For the first time in 25 years, primate staff at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo are celebrating the birth of a male Bornean orangutan. He was born at 8:52 p.m. Sept. 12.  Both 19 years old, female Batang and male Kyle bred in January . . . 

Animal care staff have observed Batang nursing the infant who has been clinging closely to his mother, and they are cautiously optimistic that the newborn will thrive.

The Great Ape House will remain closed to provide Batang a quiet space to bond with her infant.  

To read more and see some precious shots of Batang’s baby boy:

Orangutan Born At Smithsonian National Zoo

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

Plitvice Lakes National Park October 31, 2016

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

If my bucket list ever expands to include Croatia . . . Plitvice Lakes National Park is on my itinerary!

For more amazing images:  Plitvice Lake National Park

Aah . . . that’s better!

Red Tide At Night . . . No One’s Delight October 11, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Less IS More, Nature.
31 comments

Before moving to Florida, I’d never heard of Red Tide.  Well, let me tell you, Red Tide STINKS!

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Red Tide is an algae-bloom that starts far off shore and moves with the tides, killing fish in its wake.  The dead fish wash up on the beach in droves and do what dead fish are wont to do ~> emit foul odors.

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At the end of September, a significant Red Tide bloom made its appearance known to us on our morning beach walk.

P.U.

We held our breath and made a mad dash for the car.

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A few days later, we decided to chance another walk on the beach.

We didn’t bump into any dead fish (they’d been raked up and dumped into a dumpster), but it smelled “fishy” down at water’s edge.  So we walked up near the dunes instead.

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Maybe they better add “NO Red Tide” and “NO Dead Fish” to the list of beach and pier prohibitions!

Aah . . . that’s better!

When A Tree Falls In The Forest . . . August 29, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Life Balance, Nature.
42 comments

Perico Preserve, a bird rookery, opened up across the street from us this summer.  On a cool-ish Sunday evening we went over to check it out.

While wandering the trails, we bumped into this massive tree lying down on the job.

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At first, we assumed it had just recently keeled over due to heat exhaustion.

WRONG!

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After walking underneath the tree’s arching trunk to the far side, we noticed numerous stout branches straining skyward and several muscular roots keeping the tree grounded and well fed.

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The tree did not give up when it fell down . . .

It adapted to the challenges of its new position, refusing to abandon its continual quest to reach for the sun.

Ain’t nature grand!

Aah . . . that’s better!

A “Tardy” Post June 7, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Humor, Nature.
39 comments

I took this photo in July 2012 while “stationed” in New Jersey for several weeks after my dad’s death.  I’m a bit “tardy” in sharing it with you.

At the time, the profusion of Black-eyed Susan blooms whispered:

Think of all the beauty still left around you and Be Happy.  ~ Anne Frank

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Here’s a “tardy” view from our front door of a single bloom.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud, was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anais Nin

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I took this next shot in December 2015.

It’s taken me all that time to get over the shock of stumbling across this shocking Pepto Dismal Pink.

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It looks so much better is “dusty rose.”  See . . . even Flo the Flamingo agrees.

“Yo, Flo!  You’re looking fine-feathered, my friend.”

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Aah . . . that’s better!

A “Catwalk” Through A Cypress Swamp May 23, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
38 comments

When we lived in NC, we spent many wonderful weekends camping and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smokies.

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We loved to pack a picnic and hike to a waterfall where we could park our butts on a big boulder mid-river to enjoy the rushing water (and an adult beverage, or two).  Here, there is plenty of water but waterfalls are few and far between.

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BFF misses our mountain meanders ~ not enough to hike the Appalachian Trail, but enough to wander in the woods and set a spell.  We came close earlier this month.

Wanting to fit in another road trip before Florida temps rose from warm to steamy, we headed to Sebring for a short visit.

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Emphasis on short.

We enjoyed a quick peek at Lake Jackson . . .

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And strolled around the Circle Shops, stopping to visit a pottery studio, before bidding adieu to Sebring.

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With Sebring in our rear view mirror, we headed to nearby Highland Hammock State Park to do some hiking in the woods.

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Our first hike started out as an easy flat walk along an elevated boardwalk.

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High above the muck and mire.  Just the way I like it!

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Without warning, our easy hike turned into a balancing act along a narrow “catwalk” suspended over the murky Cypress Swamp.

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The catwalk had a handrail on one side and NOTHING between us and the swamp on the other.

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The people who built it must have had a good laugh at the one-sided structure they left in their wake.

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To make matters worse, stuff kept falling out of the tall tall trees because a big storm had blown through the  night before.

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Every time a big limb dropped with a CRACK, we jumped.

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Especially after seeing the creature from the black lagoon rising from the swampy soup.

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To claim the boardwalk for lunch.

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We didn’t see any gators or snakes.

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We were OK with that.

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We did see some interesting hoo doos.

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And pixies hiding among the primordial ferns.

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Eventually the canopy gave way to blue sky and we climbed down from the catwalk to terra firma.

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Happy we lived to tell the tale, we readied ourselves to hike another trail.

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Which turned out to be a very gnarly one.

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After meeting up with this wise old oak . . .

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We continued along the trail until we heard “a bear” crashing through the forest in our direction.

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Deciding we’d had enough nature for one day, we fled the trail.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

 

Bagels On The Beach May 19, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
32 comments

In early May, we went to Einstein Bagels, bought a big bag of bagels and had bagels on the beach at Siesta Key.

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We loved the beach improvements made since our last visit ~ this walkway leads up to the second-story snack bar and concession stand with an amazing view and a diverse menu.

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Siesta Key is proud of its beach . . .

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For good reason.

In addition to miles of powder white sand, it’s “user friendly” . . . with rest rooms, changing rooms, and 800 FREE parking spots (which fill up quickly on sunny days).

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And it boasts a fun and shady playground for tiny tots tired of too much sand, sun, and surf.

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After beaching it for a couple hours, we walked around Siesta Key Village and grooved to fun live music at the SKOB ~ good tunes from the 70’s.  Including Pure Prairie League!

After getting the “munchies” from the college tunes and Woodstock sounds, we chowed down on some mini donuts ~ still warm from the fryer, baby!

No.  I didn’t take a photo of them.  We were too busy eating.

We stopped in Southside Village at Morton’s Gourmet Market.  After sampling some delicious blue cheese from Wisconsin, we bought a chunk of cheese and a bunch of bananas and headed home.

Relaxed and happy.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

What’s your favorite music from the 70’s?

Shakespeare In The Park May 15, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Music & Dance, Nature, Poetry, Travel & Leisure.
22 comments

On a day that threatened rain, we headed to Bay Preserve in Osprey for an Asolo Repertory Theatre performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night . . . with a modern twist.

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The setting for this “in the park” production balanced well with the play’s set design of a summer camp.

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The cast worked magic with Shakespeare’s timeless comedy of unrequited love, pride, pranks, and self-discovery.

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And the rain held off until after the play and reception ended.

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“If music be the food of love, play on.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

What’s your favorite Shakespeare play?

Meeting People For The First Time May 11, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, Nature, People.
32 comments

We went to Heritage Village in Largo on a gorgeous spring day.  Our moods matched the weather ~ sunny and bright.

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We enjoyed our interactions with the docents and other visitors.

With no reason to look through the cloudy lens of past experience, we could just enjoy the NOW as we toured historic buildings.

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We didn’t have any stale baggage (or barrels) to cart around because we shared no history.

Our interactions were new NOW.

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No grievances, resentments, disappointments or expectations marred our view or caused us concern about the future.

We engaged for the first (and last) time without a backwards glance.

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When we bring that same level of alert curiosity to our every day encounters, everything is new NOW.

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No man steps into the same river twice ~ for it is not the same river and he is not the same man. ~ Heraclitus

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Love Like That May 3, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Nature, Poetry.
29 comments

love“And still, after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe Me.”

Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.”

― Hāfez

Aah . . . that’s brilliant!