Click THAT'S MY WORLD and then on any of the links that bloggers from all over the world have added to this interesting meme.
It would be nice if we could say that our world last week had involved boating on the beautiful River or exploring some of Florida that we haven't seen yet -- or even sitting on our deck looking at our canal. But they say that maturity means being able to defer pleasure and we are nothing if not mature. (Very very mature.)
So instead, our week mostly involved removing a large tree stump from our yard, pouring a new concrete slab between our house and our next-door neighbors, and repairing some of the patio on the dock-side of our house.
Or, to be more exact, supervising those jobs.
Also, because of the untypical cold winter (before we got here), all of the plantings around our little house were dead as could be when we finally got here last month.
That made us feel less guilty about doing something we'd planned to do anyway!
We are so happy to have this job done. After ten years of living in an RV, we have no desire to pull weeds or plant flowers. We did a lot of yard work when we owned our two stick houses -- and it was wonderful to have big yards when we were raising kids.
But I can't say that either of us was super-talented at gardening. It was an easy job to give up.
Now, we garden the RV way, which in our case means admiring other people's hard work. Next season maybe I'll buy a couple of hanging baskets -- that will satisfy any latent green-thumb urgings.
Here's the Upriver Canal, which we'll now be able to enjoy from our newly-renovated deck. (Our cottage is down the canal at the far end.)
EDITED ON APRIL 9 TO ADD INFORMATION FROM OUR GRANDSON RYAN who sent us this information in a comment.
THIS IS A KNIGHT ANOLE LIZARD. The Texas lizards that Ryan has (click here) at his home in San Antonio are green anoles (the bottom left photo on that post is one).
I love learning new things about nature -- especially from our family expert! Thank you Ryan.
Just one of our neighbors at Upriver Resort. He drops by pretty much every day.
For SHADOW SHOT SUNDAY hosted by Tracy at her blog called "Hey Harriet."
This is a sky view from Matlacha on a good day. This little fishing and artists village is on Pine Island about 20 miles down the road from Upriver.
It wasn't as blue a couple of weeks ago when we had out-of-town company. That was the same weekend that we had eight inches of rain in one day! Oregonians are used to rain, but not that kind. Up there in the Pacific Northwest, it's more a slow and steady drizzle than that kind of gully-washer. So it wasn't the best weekend to show off for company, but the important thing was that we got to see them of course!
Putting on brave island faces, as the wind almost blows everybody into the gulf are Jeff and Cyndi (our son-in-law and daughter from Oregon), Bill, and our grand-daughter Kelsey (who lives in Charlestson SC now). Visiting Charleston and seeing Kelsey and Bradley's new house there was the primary reason for Cyndi and Jeff's trip. It was a nine-hour side trip to see our new (smaller) house. That was a nine-hour trip in pouring rain for them though!
We also managed to get across the river to Manatee Park in between downpours. These endangered creatures tend to congregate there because the water is warmer (it is runoff from a nearby power plant). We saw quite a few manatees, but they pretty much stayed just under the surface of the water. They're really fun to see though and realize how huge these creatures are. We saw one mother and baby. Aww!
Below are the girls getting up close and personal with a (FAKE) alligator as we walked around Manatee Park.
We look forward to future visits when -- I'm sure -- the weather will be more cooperative.
All of our days are watery while we're here at Upriver. For other WATERY WEDNESDAY posts visit this link.
We are currently at home at the "Canal Cottage" -- our park model at Upriver RV Resort, in North Ft. Myers Florida.
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Florida. Strawberries. March! Yummm!
These are growing behind the farmstand nearest to our Florida home. The berries are full and sweet; the cold (before we got here) and all the rain don't seem to have hurt the crop at all.
We used to do you-pick berries when we lived in Oregon -- now I do you-pic(ture).Back then, strawberries were a favorite because they are the first to ripen and that meant summer was almost here. But back then -- and back there -- they ripened in June! We were lucky to have shortcake on Father's Day. This isn't the first Winter/early Spring we've spent on the Gulf Coast, but we still marvel at having local berries this early.
Visit Mary right here at Work of the Poet for more RUBY TUESDAY posts.
I'm not really a book blogger, but I read them on the Internet. As a result, my To-Be-Read list has grown and grown. On this book blog, I just read: "Essentially, people could totally stop writing books for the rest of my life and I'd still never read everything I want to read." For sure, I could have written that! There is so much I want to read and mean to read someday, but new books keep turning up. So it's a never-ending challenge but one to enjoy along the way!
We went to our nearby branch of the Ft. Myers library this week, signed up for our card, and checked out our first stack of books. So now seems like a good time to do an update on this challenge. Originally, I thought I'd list the books on this sidebar, but that began to get too bulky, so I took the list off-line. (It's on Typepad, just not published.) I like keeping a list though -- and just started another of favorite not from the library books. (Apparently I have a slight case of OCD, but I'm loving every minute of it!)
I read eight library books between the first of the year and February 9, when we hit the road, leaving behind our access to Fern Ridge Library (that's it in the picture above). The economics of using the Library is readily apparent, since Bill read probably one-and-a-half times the books I did! We have differe-nt tastes in reading and only one book that I read was also on his list. So that would add up -- even at used boook prices - and we might never have found the best ones in a used book store. In fact, we decided to support our local library in another way and we made a small contribution to the Fern Ridge Friends of the Library (not nearly equal to what the books we read while we were there would have cost).
Here are the highlights from the January/February list. The blue links will take you to the AMAZON page for each book, where of course you can read real reviews.
SOUTH OF BROAD. This is the book we both read. We'd just seen a review of this book when I spotted and snagged it off the new arrivals shelf. Pat Conroy is a wonderful writer and we both enjoyed this book a lot. It is set in the 1960s, an era we remember. Some of it was probably a little unrealistic for the time -- but it is a novel after all! And while we have read all of Conroy's novels in the past, we've only recently visited South Carolina for the first time. (Our granddaughter and g-s-i-l live there now.) And so we enjoyed even more the sense of place that Conroy is so good at. Even though we're sort of gypsies at heart, we're both fascinated by people who love their own part of the world.
LIT I read Mary Karr's first memoir "The LIar's Club" and was blown away. Her second one was interesting and fun to read. This one -- not so much. I think she's about memoired out.
DON'T LETS GO TO THE DOGS TONIGHT. I read a review of this memoir on Margot's blog which you can find by clicking on the blue here: JOYFULLY RETIRED. Margot's was one of the first book blogs I found somehow in wandering around the Internet, so all of this is really her fault! Thank you Margot (sincerely)!
I would never have heard of this book nor its author had it not been for Margot's review and I loved it. It's a very different look at growing up in Africa. Go get it at your library!
LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN. This book had been on my TBR list for such a long time I didn't even remember what I'd heard about it or where the recommendation came from. But I'm glad I looked for it because it is the best novel I've read in a long time and definitely my top recommendation on this list. Read the first Amazon review -- apparently the book was one of its top 2009 books -- and go check it out (one way or another).
I also read THE LOST ART OF GRATITUDE by Alexander McCall Smith -- part of the Sunday Philosophers Club Series (Isabel Dalhousie). Always satisfying reads, although I don't love this series as much as I do his Ladies Detective Club.
The rest of the eight were pretty much forgettable -- what I call girl-mysteries (cozies or accidental detective series -- hardly any violence except to people who really deserve it.). Sometimes I need those kind of books, especially after I finish a better one -- that I'm not ready to let go of yet by focusing on another good book. And at least by listing them, I'll be less likely to pick up the same ones again Although it really wouldn't matter because "forgettable" is the operative word for this genre. Those are also the kind of books I tend to read when we're on the road -- so no more of them for a while now I hope!
Well, we definitely had a couple of down-time months at the end of our stay at Fern Ridge, so we might not read quite as many books each month now that we're here at Upriver, where we're once again busier and more active. But no matter what else is going on, I don't think either of us has ever passed a day without reading at least a little bit, so I'll be working on that Challenge and saving book money for some other fun purpose! It's good to be card-carrying citizens again.
Quite late in posting for SKYWATCH FRIDAY, but trying to get back on track with these pictures of our skies during the past week. Just in and around Upriver because we still haven't had time to do much exploring outside our immediate neighborhood. Soon though!
(Click on that blue link above for the sky -- world-wide.)
We had computer problems this past week -- not exactly a crash really, just the inability to hook up to the Internet. (And without that, the computer is just nothin' but a big old electric solitaire machine!)
But so much better than a crash because we didn't lose anything.
We were busy in our real life. We had company, there were park activities, we are still working on "getting our house in order", we had books, I had crossword puzzles.
We enjoyed sunshine -- and rain*. But even with all that, I still suffered severe Internet withdrawal symptoms.
I use the computer the way I use the car -- no idea how it works or what happens inside it -- I just drive it! Fortunately, Bill understands the technical part of both and knows when he can fix something and when to call in help. This time he fixed it.
It's good to be back; I'm happy we are able to take turns "at the wheel" again.
*(On Friday ,the day after our last post, there was eight inches (8") of rain in this part of Florida! It was running down the streets and catch basins were all completely full. Now, a week later, the sun is shining and there is no sign that the roads here in the RV Park looked more like rivers then.) As former Oregonians, we are used to rain, but not that kind. It's more a slow steady and constant thing up there -- not that much in one 24-hour period.
This picture is from this article in the FORT MYERS NEWS-PRESS .
I am trying to appreciate this quote from author and critic John Ruskin (1819 - 1900):
"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating;
there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather."
But honestly? I think I'd rather have the delicious sunshine!
Louisiana -- a state like no other. For WATERY WEDNESDAY . (Click the blue for more posts from water-lovers from all over the world.)
Memories from our recent short visit and a longer stay a few years ago.
We are in beautiful Florida, but Our World last week mostly involved getting our little house organized. Even so it's great to be here and we'll do some exploring outside of our immediate neighborhood soon! For views of a Wider World click on the blue for THAT'S MY WORLD!
We are at home in our "Canal Cottage" at Upriver RV in North Ft. Myers Florida, after our delayed Fall Roadtrip. And after a little over a week, it actually feels like home. We knew the people we bought the park model from, so for a few days it seemed like we were living in somebody else's house. But now it is beginning to feel like our own.
These pictures are from last spring, after we bought the park model but before we ever actually lived in it. The Boat is not quite ready to be docked at home yet -- but almost.
And that bush in the picture below froze in the cold snap before we got here. We need the space for parking anyway, so we weren't sad about it.
Florida is still a bit on the chilly side for this time of year (for Florida), but that has been OK with us because we've had a a lot to do getting organized and cleaned up after the little house sat empty for so long. So we really haven't had a lot of time to play in the sun anyway.
We're getting the "cottage" all whipped into shape now though and so the warm weather can return any time as far as we're concerned.
This was the quickest cross-country trip ever for us. It was faster driving in the RoadTrek than pulling the Fifth-Wheel! Here's the Link (once more) to the post we wrote last Fall about our decision to downsize our traveling home. (The Roadtrip was delayed after it was posted, but everything else in it is accurate.)
We made it from Oregon to Florida (3,919 miles) in 16 days. I'm sure our grown grandchildren -- or anyone of their generation -- would laugh at that time, but our days of sharing driving and only occasionally pulling over to sleep at the side of the road are long past (if, in fact, they ever existed). We stayed in RV Parks each night. We spent two nights in Redlands California and three in San Antonio TX and otherwise it was just overnight stops.
Our mileage was 16.68 MPG -- pretty good we thought.
We really had fun traveling in the RoadTrek and we look forward to taking it on another trip this summer. On this trip, we found that we'd brought too much of some things and not enough of others. And just about the time we got here, we had finally figured out where everything belonged; we did spend quite a bit of time rummaging around for some particular item we had stashed in the wrong place. Next trip should be a breeze, now that we have the bugs worked out.
I've heard people traveling in Fifth-Wheels or large motor homes refer to it as "roughing it in style" but really when you travel pulling your home behind you're not roughing it at all -- you're just living on the road. Our Fifth-Wheel has everything in it that our stick house did; the only difference was the change in scenery.
This time, with our little RoadTrek, it was a lot more like camping, but with the ease of a soft bed, bathroom and kitchen -- and computer. While we wouldn't want to have lived fulltime in it for years the way we did in the Fifth-Wheel, at this stage it is perfect for the travel we plan to do.
SKYWATCH FRIDAY here. Go. Enjoy. Add your own.
We didn't take any time to play in Alabama this time through, but the skies sure gave us a good show while we drove through the State on the next-to-last day of our roadtrip.
We enjoyed beautiful blue skies all day. It seemed as if the sun began to set just as we drove through the Bancroft Tunnel under the Mobile River. When we came out of the Tunnel, the sky had begun to turn pink.
As it turned out, it didn't really matter, because the next morning it poured down rain, so we wouldn't have been able to walk on the Gulf Beach anyway.
HERE IS A LINK to a post we wrote about our 2005 visit to Louisiana. We weren't blogging back then, but when we started this travel blog, we did flashback posts to some of our favorite places. (Was there even such a thing as blogging in 2005?)
This is the highway over Lake Ponchatrain -- the entry to New Orleans. Although the Highway Department is still working on it, this roadway is all shiny and new since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Unfortunately, not everything in the City has recovered as well.
On our earlier visit, we spent quite a bit of time in Cajun Country, but only a few days in New Orleans. We felt then that visiting the City was a once in a lifetime experience for us -- it was a fascinating place and we were happy we had the chance to spend some time there. But it was not a place that called our name -- not one where we'd want to spent a lot of time, the way we would in the more rural parts of the State.
But just a few months after that visit, the area was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. We were back in the Northwest by then and along with everybody else in the world, we watched with horror as the news unfolded. I'm sure we would have been felt sad anyway, as did everybody with an ounce of humanity. But we have led a sheltered and fortunate life and it was quite different to see the destruction of landmarks we actually recognized.
So this time through, we wanted to get a post-Katrina glimpse of New Orleans and we took a brief detour after we left Houma. We thought things would be pretty quiet in the French Quarter and Downtown since it's Lent and they've just had their Mardi Gras and SuperBowl Parties. (What a big deal that weekend was for this City!)
But what we really wanted to see again was the Ninth Ward. We had read that the area has still not recovered from the Hurricane and we wanted to see for ourselves. The Streets here don't look as good as the bridge (first picture) that everybody who comes to New Orelans sees.
That hurricane was almost FIVE years ago!
It is hard to believe that so little has been done in all this time. And difficult to believe that this can be true in the United States of America. When we were there before, the Ninth Ward was a vibrant colorful area with a lot of history and spirit. We enjoyed visiting it.
Some people never returned to the area after Katrina and probably their homes will end up being condemned (if they haven't already been). So you often see one house still mostly destroyed next to one that is being renovated.
Our guess is that there are at least some "city fathers" who don't really want the area to come back as a residential area. There's no good place for the New Orleans business and commercial area to expand and the Ninth Ward is quite close to downtown.
But we hope that it will be renovated and stay as a historical residential area.
We also saw that the elementary school is reopening (after only 5 years !!!!) and there were signs saying that at least one neighborhood church was renovated and ready to serve the area. And some residential streets were being repaired (but apparently only if they were the ones that led to commercial areas).
Even though we had read about how this area has been neglected and ignored, we had kind of secretly hoped that what we'd heard was wrong. Seeing it with our own eyes was not pleasant, but we really wanted to know.
We were left saddened, a little bit hopeful, and wishing we understood more completely what is going on.