Author Archives

Erin

I coddiwomple through life, guided by my love of nature and insatiable curiosity.

Shadow Tail

IMG_6702

Eastern Gray Squirrel, Sarasota, Florida December 2019

While bird watching at a park, I came across this attractive squirrel who was people watching. Instead of scurrying off, it was gracious enough to pose nicely for me. The prolific Eastern Gray (Sciurus carolinensis) is the most common of three squirrels found here in Florida (the other two are the Fox and Southern Flying).

While this one wasn’t sporting the biggest appendage I’ve ever seen, the genus name is quite apt; the Greek root words, skia and oura, translate as shadow tail.

 

Eat It!

IMG_5721

Sign at Myakka River State Park, Sarasota, Florida December 2019

After working in the environmental education field for two decades (and being a bit of a word nerd), signs like this really make my skin crawl.

I’m not alone in my reaction. I recently had a chance to visit with two of my former colleagues and we ended up swapping work-related stories: In answer to a question about a mushroom on a nature hike, Jeff replied, “Well, technically, everything is edible. Once.” Which is in a similar vein as one of Julie’s favorite sayings, “The poison is in the dose.” Because even water can kill you, if you drink too much of it.

There is a huge difference between poisonous and venomous: if you bite it and it kills you, that’s poison; if it bites you* and kills you, that’s venom (so yes, you could eat a venomous animal, if you were exceptionally careful, but I don’t recommend it). Then again, you’re dead, what do you care?!

*Or breaks your skin in some other manner.

I Found Treasure!

It has been one whole week since I moved into my new little home here in Treasure Island* and I am finally settling in. I am renting part of a triplex that was recently renovated: new blinds, kitchen counter, oven/range, bath vanity, toilet, water heater, and a/c/furnace. The only tricky part was that it was unfurnished.

My new landlord is a very nice man who offered to help me move in. He was taken aback by how little I had (just clothing and some personal belongings that fit in my car). Thankfully, I found some good deals on furniture nearby, I still need a dinette set but my sofa sleeper gets delivered next week.

The neighborhood is mellow and quiet, my neighbors are nice, and the grocery store is a mere four blocks away but the best part? I’m only a five minute walk from a beautiful, white sand beach!

*Treasure Island received its name after a publicity stunt planned by a creative hotel owner. He “discovered” several treasure chests (that he had planted earlier) on the beach.

Happy New Year, Y’all!

IMG_6725

Nature’s Fireworks, Sarasota, Florida December 2019

Forgive me as I repeat myself, I find this song’s message just as relevant now as I did last year at this time. I wish all of you a bright and wonderful new year, full of magical moments and love! ❤

“So as we raise our glass, to the midnight fireworks blast,

leave our troubles in the past,

hoping this year is better than the last…”   

The Paperboys are an amazing band from the Pacific Northwest and I highly recommend seeing them in concert if you ever get a chance.

 

Lame Limpkin

IMG_6550

Limpkin, Myakka River State Park, Sarasota, Florida December 2019

I felt fortunate to spend a bit of quality time last week with this Limpkin (Aramus guarauna). It is the closest I’ve yet seen one, the others I encountered during my last trip to Florida were much more reticent to being photographed.

Two things I would’ve liked to have experienced: their limping gait (hence their name) and their wailing cry. I’ve read that you can often hear them before you see them. While it shares a common ancestor with cranes, the Limpkin is the only extant survivor of its lineage. Unlike cranes, which are resourceful, unfussy eaters, Limpkins primarily specialize in apple snails (up to 70% of their diet).

IMG_6514

For Perspective, This Bird Stands Over Two Feet Tall with a Wingspan Over 40 Inches

This one’s missing toe may be the result of a turtle attack (the birds often stand on floating vegetation and are therefore susceptible to turtle bites).

What Accent?!

IMG_5795

Beach Art, Treasure Island, Florida December 2019

This fun sand art made me chuckle during my beach stroll this afternoon. On my drive out here last week, I stopped overnight in Baton Rouge. After eight hours of fighting through road construction and heavy traffic I was exhausted, so I walked across the street from my hotel to a little pub for a burger and beer.

The beer was ice cold, the burger was tasty, and the staff was friendly. So overall, a pleasant evening. The only oddity? Three people asked me if I was from up north, because of my accent. Umm, what?

It took everything I had to not snort beer out my nose – I don’t have an accent, y’all do! Also, this country has other directions beside north and south (like west, for example). Oh, whale!

 

What A Gift!

Yesterday, I  stopped off at a park to stretch my legs and enjoy the warm, sunny afternoon. As I wandered around a pond I came across a Little Free Library in the shade of a giant oak. Of the odd assortment, one book jumped out at me:

IMG_5738

Intriguing Title

Curious, I took the book over to a nearby bench and dove in. The Instructions page made me chuckle, especially rule number 4: Instructions are open to interpretation. Life is much the same, no? In the ensuing pages, I discovered a bit of wisdom, a dash of whimsy, and a smattering of art.

Based on the various handwriting samples scattered throughout the book I am at least the fourth person to have interacted with it. And yes, I did make a few additions before returning the book to the library to start its next journey. While I enjoyed the experience, it was the message inscribed in the back of the book that was the most memorable:

IMG_5751

It is essentially my wish for all of us: “May your coming moments tell a story with sharing, and a journey worth living.”