Monday, May 23, 2016

What I Did on My Summer Vacation (part 3): Mount Dora

We stopped in Mount Dora to visit with some dear friends, and fell in love with the town. Mount Dora is a quaint and historic town which sits atop the highest point in Florida (184 feet above sea level). There are actually some hills here - small ones, but hills, nonetheless. 

We stayed at the Lakeside Inn, which was built in 1883 and is on the US National Register of Historic Places. The building is gorgeous, and made me feel as if I were going back in time.

There's also a steam engine which still runs...

...with an old-fashioned red caboose.

Mount Dora sits on a huge lake - Lake Dora, as luck would have it. Lake Dora is part of the Ocklawaha River basin, which eventually empties into the St Johns River.

In the late 1800's, a canal was dug from Lake Dora to Lake Eustis, which became a haven for wildlife.

We took a guided cruise down the Dora Canal, and were excited to see alligators, three types of herons, and other wildlife.

An anhinga drying its wings after swimming with only its head and neck out of the water. Weird, huh?

The boat was moving and so were they, so I was not able to get clear photos of most of them, but we really enjoyed the ride.

... my favorite bird...

White ibises strolling through someone's front yard.

We went for a walk on Palm Island, a beautiful park...

... with what I believe is a real lighthouse.

Palm Island is a beautiful place to walk and enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

Weekly Quick Collage: Landscape II

Landscape II
collage, 5 x 7 inches

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Read more at:
A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Read more at:
Whether we or our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.
Read more at:
“So, friends, every day do something that won't compute ... Give your approval to all you cannot understand ... Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years ... Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts ... Practice resurrection.”
The Country of Marriage, Wendell Berry          (probably my favorite Wendell Berry quote ever)

"Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”
Wendell Berry

“It may be that when we no longer know which way to go that we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
Wendell Berry

Thursday, May 19, 2016

What I Did on My Summer Vacation (part 2) - Juniper Springs

Juniper Springs Recreation Area is located in Florida's Ocala National Forest. The swimming area, trails, and campground were constructed by Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. I think they describe it well on their website:
"The setting is unlike any other found in the United States, with hundreds of tiny bubbling springs and massive springs gushing out of crevices in the earth beneath a dense canopy of palms and oaks, an oasis within the heart of the desert-like Big Scrub."

 The swimming area is a curious cross between a natural pond and a swimming pool; the bottom is natural, but the CCC put walls around it, and terraced it so that people could sit.

 The old mill house, which works by water coming UP instead of down.

Walking along one of the hiking trails beside the creek.

This is the beginning of the kayak run, which a local kayaker told us was "hard as hell", with many hairpin turns and lots of obstructions to watch out for and get around.We opted out on this one.

There were 3 or 4 different types of turtles of pretty good size...

... and a very obliging and photogenic alligator...

These bright blue spots in the water are the places where water is bubbling up.

Here, I tried to photograph one; the water bubbling up reminds me of the "paint pots" and "sulfer pots" at Yellowstone.

Juniper Spring was a very unique and fascinating experience - a good place to relax, swim, hike, and kayak (if you're very experienced).

Monday, May 16, 2016

What I Did on My Summer Vacation (part 1) - St. Augustine, Florida

I don't want to be one of those annoying people who sit you down and show you hours of boring slides from their vacation. I can remember this being a regular occurrence when I was a child, back before there were digital cameras and computers. Luckily, in this day and age you can look at all, some, or none of them, and I'll never know the difference! Admittedly, I do have trouble leaving things out - editing is not my strong suit.

Drawbridge, St. Augustine

We started our trip in St. Augustine, Florida. The oldest continuously occupied city in the U.S., it was founded by the Spanish in 1565.

St. Augustine is known for its Spanish-colonial architecture and other historical buildings. This is the oldest house in St. Augustine.

Castillo de San Marcos was built from 1671-1675, and is the oldest masonry fort in the country.

Flagler College is just one of many examples of gorgeous architecture in St. Augustine. One of it's buildings is a hotel built in 1888.

We spent some time walking around the beautiful historic neighborhoods...

 Of course, we also went to St. Augustine Beach...

... and the beach at Anastasia State Park.

A live starfish.

Great Blue Heron

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Let's Try This Again...

Somehow, after I posted it, this post just plain got up and disappeared. I knew it was going to bug me until I replaced it, so here it is, again.

Om Mani Padme Hum, 7.75 x 7.5 inches
ingredients: antique book pages, vintage map, magazine cut-outs, image transfers, artist pens,metallic ink

To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others.
                                                                                                                         ~ Buddha

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows.
                                                                                                                          ~ Buddha

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.
                                                                                                                           ~ Buddha

There, I feel much better now!

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Taft Museum (part 2)

The Taft Museum of Art is housed in a building that was built in 1820 and is a National Historic Landmark. Home to the families of several millionaires over a period of more than a hundred years, Anna and Charles Taft bequeathed their home and renowned art collection to the people of Cincinnati.

 The museum opened to the public in 1932.

This post is by no means an overview of the museum's art collection. Being here was a somewhat sentimental journey for me, as I have been here many times before.  I didn't realize it at the time, but I was very lucky in that my parents took me and my siblings to Cincinnati's museums often; it wasn't until I was older that it occurred to me that there were actually many people who never went to museums, though we have quite a few high-quality and well-celebrated ones right here in Cincinnati. (I live just across the river in northern Kentucky.)

One of my favorite paintings in the museum is W. J. M. Turner's Europa and the Bull.  But my favorites pieces at the Taft Museum have always been the exquisite Chinese porcelains, some of which go back as far as the Ming dynasty (mid-fourteenth to mid seventeenth century).

As I walked from room to room, I remembered how the opulence of the house had impressed me as a child; the antique carpets and beautiful furnishings made me feel that I was in the presence of something sacred: art.

Some of the pieces were so ingrained in my memory that I felt I was meeting old friends.

The museum also has a large collection of Limoges Renaissance enamels...

... and murals painted by famed African-American artist Robert Duncanson.

A few more of my favorites paintings:

At the Piano, James Abbott McNeil Whistler

The Cobbler's Apprentice, Frank Duveneck

The Song of the Talking Wire, Henry Farny

I hope you enjoyed going with me on my little trip down Memory Lane. Wishing everyone a wonderful week!