Archive for June, 2007


Grimes Glen

June 29, 2007

The kids and I went to this great little spot about an hour south of our house. It is a well hidden gem. Off the fairly busy main street of a very small town, is a dead end street with a small parking lot at the end. From the parking lot you can follow a trail up a relatively small stream to a couple of striking waterfalls.
Here is a picture from the footbridge (shown below), looking upstream.

This is also from the footbridge (looking downstream). Check out the tree sticking out of the bank of the stream. As I looked at this tree I wondered why it didn’t fall into the stream.

Here is the footbridge. It isn’t quite as rickety as it looks, but it does bounce as you walk across it.

This is a cool little rock bridge that someone made, leading to a small, wooden bridge.

A little ways down from the little stone and wooden bridges is a patio. There is a large area covered with large, flat pieces of shale with stone benches around the edge. Kyle and Erin are standing near a small fire pit.

This little guy was hanging out in the fire pit.

This is the first of the falls that we saw. I think I read somewhere that it is 60 feet high.

As we were walking along we saw a lot of wildlife. I almost stepped on this critter as he skittered across the path. He stopped on leaf and let me get a good picture.

This is the second waterfall we came to.

The plunge pool at the base of this fall was much deeper than water at the base of the first one. There was also a cave…

On our way over to check out the cave, Erin and I saw this creepy creature. I am not sure what it is, but I didn’t want to get too close.

Here is a close up of the face of the wall near the cave. I love that you can see the layering so clearly in the sedimentary rock. If I was still teaching this would be a must do field trip!

While we were wading back across the plunge pool, two young guys came along and climbed up this “hill.” There were ropes anchored at various points that they grabbed onto and pulled themselves up. Kyle was very disappointed when I told him it was too dangerous to continue. There are apparently one or two additional waterfalls further upstream, but the climb up is extremely dangerous as you can see from the picture.

Here’s a path across the edge of the plunge pool. I opted for a wetter, but more stable route.

I don’t know what these flowers are but they sure were pretty.

The kids had fun just playing in a shallow pool near the “patio” pictured earlier. I guess Kyle was demonstrating that he has rocks in his head. Actually he was hiding from the camera.

Sarah found a horse shoe.

Erin posed as we crossed one of the bridges on the way back…

…then Sarah had to pose as well.

I took this from the wooden bridge looking toward the stone bridge.

Erin found a thinking spot on a stone bench.

Erin being Erin…

…and Sarah being Sarah.

Kyle with the rocks in his head again!

We missed this tiny waterfall as we were walking upstream, but we did catch it as we went back downstream.

The last two pictures here were taken from the edge of the parking area looking downstream.

This adventure was so fun, that the kids actually thanked me for taking them there. They were pretty exhausted though and all 3 slept almost the whole way home.


Last Day of Reunion 2007

June 25, 2007

I know this post is dated the 24th and here it is the 28th when I am posting it, but things were a little crazy the last few days. I hit the ground running when we got home. We landed back home at 4:30pm, went straight to my in-laws for dinner, and then I had to be at work at 5am. I worked Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. In addition to my goofy schedule, the temperature in my bedroom (where my computer is) has been in the 90’s…too hot to do anything! Anyway, without further ado, here are the pictures from our last day at the reunion 2007.

Friday was the last full day that we were all in Daytona. I took the boys to the mall and then I went to the Flea Market with Kristin and the girls. When we got back we hung out and chatted.
Jerry and Irma took Alan and Eli to the Flea Market Friday morning and came back with an iguana that they named Izzy.

Here is Izzy hanging out on Alan’s shirt.

Grandma was much more brave than I…she held Izzy.

I’m not sure you could call this “holding” but Izzy spent time with Grandpa as well.

Jerry and Irma also brought back a couple sharp knives for grandma which she displayed for us to see. Hmm, looks a little dangerous!

Irma’s new shirt. The fabric looks like it would be wonderful to wear.

The kids went swimming in the pool before dinner and Erin learned to swim!

Chelsea was wonderful with my girls. She took them to the pool and kept a close eye on them. The girls really enjoyed spending time with her.

Irma shows off her Texas style…great hat Irma!

Sarah loves the water, but she got a horrible sun burn even with sunscreen. I saw some 70 spf at a store in Daytona. I guess we will have to go with that next year and put it on every 30 minutes.

Eli enjoyed the pool an awful lot too. All the kids got along so well, it was a very enjoyable vacation. Erin and Eli are pretty close in age and Sarah gets along with kids of all ages, so they all swam and enjoyed each other’s company.

At one point, on my way back to our room, I was able to get a great shot of these pigeons. Normally I don’t get excited about pigeons, and I certainly never take pictures of them, but these birds were pretty cool. Even if they were just scavenging/begging for food!

After dinner we went to the beach and took pictures with the ocean as a wonderful backdrop. Some of the pictures were silly, while others were more serious.

Here is a picture of the whole gang. Some poor guy took pictures of all of us with 4 or 5 different cameras. He was a very nice guy and patient as well.

A picture of the “kids” and the “parents…”

…and the “kids” families…
Amanda and Jim

Taylor, Chelsea, and Amanda

Taylor, Jordan, and Chelsea

Irma, Jerry, Eli, and Alan

Jim and Amanda with Hannah

My nutty bunch (including me)

David, Hannah, and Jennifer

Steve, Jordan, Taylor, Chelsea, Kristin, and Karen



June 21, 2007

Each year several members of my family go crabbing during our reunion. A few years ago, they encountered a rather large crocodile which led them to find a new place to go crabbing. I had never gone crabbing and all 3 of my children wanted to go this year, so I decided I would go and just take pictures. Well, I got caught up in the idea of catching one, so I grabbed the net, stood on a small rock, and fell in. I did catch a crab, or rather a small crab landed on me when I fell, but I managed to cut my thumb open , scrape up both hands, and bruise my back way up high right along my spine. Needless to say, I am quite sore, and struggling to type this with a bandaged, throbbing thumb.
March of the crabs… This is near the area that we went crabbing. These little guys are much smaller than what we were after to catch. When we got too close, they would all disappear into the sand en masse. I had never seen so many crabs altogether in one place.

When we first arrived, Jerry caught a small crab that he let the kids hold. Sarah got pinched so she dropped it and then picked it back up again, along with a bunch of sand. Erin decided that she was going to try to grab a crab herself but instead, one grabbed her. When she pulled her hand back, the crab had such a grip on her finger, that it’s claw broke off, but the pincher didn’t release, so she had a crab leg stuck on her finger. She was very calm, but obviously uncomfortable, so I called my father over to pull it off. I did not, however have the presence of mind to take a picture of the claw on her finger with either of the 2 cameras that I was holding. I was too concerned for her poor pinched finger. After the claw was removed, she carried it around for a while because she thought it was cool.

This shows a much bigger view of where we were. Just to the left of the center of this photo is a blue heron standing in the water. Great Blue Herons are among my favorite birds.

The jetty where we were crabbing is very near the lighthouse that Sarah and I visited the other day…

This crab did not want his picture taken. I sat very still waiting for him to surface. Once he surfaced, he kept moving and turning just so, so I could not get a good picture of him. He is just left of center in this photo.

Irma was trying to catch a crab using Alan’s shoe. She was not very successful in her endeavor. Right behind Irma is where I fell. You can just see that there are a few rocks in the water.

I did manage to get a picture of the guy that I was trying to catch. Fortunately, I had handed my camera to Taylor when I took the net. I really want a new camera, but that was not the way to get one!

This is very similar to the rock that I cut my thumb on in the water. I don’t think I cut myself until I tried to get back up. Everywhere I tried to put my hand it was sharp. I didn’t even realize I was cut until I noticed blood all over my shirt.

Although slightly out of focus, this gives a pretty good idea of how big my thumb laceration is. The picture is from about 15 minutes after it happened. I had managed to get the bleeding stopped as long as I kept it up in the air. Now it only hurts a little, unless I bump it or forget and put too much pressure on it grabbing something.

Yesterday the kids and I drove to Ft. Lauderdale to visit my friends Gail and Israel who live in Israel. It just happened that we were all going to be in Florida at the same time, so I decided to take the 4 hour trip down to see them. It was a very nice visit and the drive down and back gave me some good discussion time with the kids. Since we got here we have all been doing things with other family members so we have not had a lot of time together as a family. The trip gave us some time together which was good.
Israel and Gail pose for a picture. It was so good to see them. The last time I saw them was about 10 years ago for Gail and almost 20 for Israel.


Family Reunion

June 19, 2007

While sitting around the hotel last evening, I snapped a few pictures. Then several of us went to play mini golf and I got some great photos of the gang.




and Irma.

Hannah was enjoying the heights as Jennifer gave her a ride.

After dinner we went to play mini golf.
Alan cheers his mom on as she takes a shot.

Crazy golfer, Chelsea, puts on a smile as she waits her turn.

Jordan gives me a silly grin.


Erin and Eli strike a pose between holes.

The girls check out a waterfall from inside a “volcano.”

Jim and Amanda smile over some pretty flowers.

The “noisy” group…

…and the “deadly” group.

Sarah is enjoying herself…

Erin is annoyed at the camera.

I found this pretty flower amid the golf greens. I, of course, couldn’t resist taking a picture of it!

After a hard evening of golf, we needed some “nourishment.”

Chelsea sports a chocolate mustache…

…while Erin eats what looks like something toxic. It was only Lemon Sorbet.

Miniature golfing can be a dangerous sport. The “deadly” group, of which I was a part, hit each other (and the other group) with golf balls on several occasions. Chelsea managed to lob a ball into the parking lot, and many golf balls went “off course.” There was much silliness and much fun!


Ponce De Leon Lighthouse

June 18, 2007

Sarah really likes lighthouses, so she and I decided to go to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse today. It is the tallest lighthouse in Florida, at 175′, and the second tallest in the US. We were both a little uncomfortable climbing the 203 stairs, which have no risers, so we just went in and climbed a few stairs. We did get some great pictures though. The first few Sarah took.

In addition to liking lighthouses, Sarah is a fan of kitty cats, so when she saw this one sleeping outside the gift shop, she couldn’t resist taking it’s picture.

These two boats, above and below, are rafts that floated ashore in Volusia county in the 90’s. The one above looks as though it would have fallen apart in open water. The fate of it’s occupants is unknown. The raft below displays an orange life vest to indicate that the occupants of that raft were rescued at sea. The raft then floated ashore later on.

The rest of the pictures I took.
We took a short “nature walk” while at the lighthouse. Unfortunately, I decided to read the description of it when we were about half way through. The brochure said we might see gophers, armadillos, snakes, and a few other small creatures foraging along the path. Fortunately, we saw no snakes. My screams would have been heard all the way back in NY! We did however see this little squirrel watching us from an overhead branch.

I almost missed this spider waiting in her web, just as we were leaving the nature trail area. It looks like it could be a Black Widow, based on the pattern on her belly. I have never seen a black widow up close though, so I am not sure that’s what she was.

I just thought this was a really cool boat. It was built in the early 30’s. It’s in pretty rough shape, but I was impressed with how well preserved it was.

Inside the Principal Keeper’s house, there were several facts about lighthouses and nautical things. A couple of the rooms showed how the house would have originally been. This bathroom was one of them.

Inside the lighthouse…

Looking UP…

Looking down from about 30 steps up.

And looking up from outside the lighthouse.

Another of the buildings had lenses from various lighthouses. This is one of the lenses.

Finally, there were a couple of anchors on display. I thought they were neat.


Central Florida Zoo

June 18, 2007

Every summer we make the trek to Daytona Beach for a family reunion. This year, Jeff was not able to go with us, so the kids and I decided to leave early and stay with my grandparents for a few days before the reunion. We arrived on Wednesday and enjoyed relaxing for a day. By Friday, the kids were getting a little stir crazy, so I took them to the zoo. I didn’t leave them there, but I thought about it…LOL!

Going to this zoo was really neat because it is not like zoos at home. It is set in a wetland area of Central Florida, and they have maintained the wetlands by putting boardwalks throughout the property for visitors to walk on. Being able to see the natural habitat as you walk through the zoo was really neat.

All the monkeys aren’t in the zoo…

This guy is a Hyacinth Macaw, named Zach. He lost his mate recently and craves attention. If you show any interest in him at all, he will come right down to the bars and sing at you. I found him very amusing because he seemed to be posing for me. Each time I held the camera up for a picture he would hold still for me to photograph him, then he would move and pose again.

This Red Shouldered Hawk was with a handler who shared all kinds of information with us about the animals at the zoo. Unlike zoos near us, this zoo allows volunteers to handle the animals.

This croc is 15 feet long. We were very happy that he was in a well enclosed space. I would not want to run into him in the wild!

Yes, we have squirrels at home, but this little guy was so cute. He came down a tree, across the boardwalk, and then around us all the while acting as if we were part of his natural habitat. I thought for a minute that he was going to walk right up and onto me. I decided I didn’t want whatever was making him scratch so much, so we moved on.

Sarah and Erin were “shocked” to find a dinosaur in the wetlands! The background of this photo lets you see the natural surroundings. In some areas they even labeled some of the native species of plants. I was thankful that they had labeled the poison ivy since I don’t really know what it looks like.

This is the entrance to the sensory garden. If you have ever been to a butterfly museum in the North, you have a good idea of what this exhibit was like. Of course the temperature and humidity don’t go down when you leave though. There were some plants to look at, then some to touch. My favorite was the smelling garden. Finally, they had a small water feature with running water to listen to. Each area had different kinds of pretty flowers and plants. Here are pictures of a few.

Some of the animals in the zoo were just plain funny. I think Emu are pretty funny looking birds…

This tortoise was trying to cool off a little I guess. He was hiding under a bush, but I was able to find a place where I could look straight down on top of him.

The elephants looked particularly warm. This one kept laying its trunk on the log as if it was just too heavy to hold up.

Here are the very lazy kangaroos. No hopping while we were there.

Our final stops at the zoo, were the petting zoo and the gift shop. I have a particular fondness for goats. There is something about their personalities that I just can’t get enough of. Growing up a friend had a goat that would follow us around the farm like a little puppy. Ever since then, I have really liked goats. These goats were just like other goats I’ve met…very curious, and very pushy!

He was “head-butting” the fence.

If I participated in the Wordless Wednesdays, this would be my picture this week!

This guy was so curious, he had to get a closer look at a group of youngsters visiting the zoo.

For anyone who is familiar with the Veggie Tales Silly Songs with Larry…THIS is a Zebu!

I have seen many Llamas…at zoos, in fields, etc. I can’t say I have ever seen one quite this lazy though!


Pretty Flowers

June 11, 2007

Today I went to my in laws to water their plants. While there, I decided to take a few pictures of their flowers. Here again, I am bad with plant names, so I’ll just post the pictures. Their yard was professionally landscaped a couple years ago and my mother-in-law has been planting flowers since then. Her gardens are absolutely beautiful!

Jeff planted this Honeysuckle when he was quite young, and now it is huge. The girls cleaned out the area under it, and planted some flowers. They like to go under the Honeysuckle and play. The wind chime is one the girls picked out and it says “Welcome.”

This is a great little rose bush. I would like one for my house.

These little blue flowers are one of my favorite hidden treasures. They are “hidden” among larger plants in the garden.

I took this picture looking almost straight up in the air. In the middle, just to the left of the two highest points of trees, is a black bird. He kept yelling at me while I was walking around under “his” tree. It took a couple of minutes for me to even be able to find him up there.