Tag Archives: nature

Another Day, Another Adventure

20 Nov

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

Blowing Rocks Preserve 574 S Beach Rd, Hobe Sound, Fl       

Another day, another adventure. My friend Pat and I recently traveled to Jupiter Florida. We had been there a few times before but will always want to come back to visit Blowing Rocks Preserve.

It is a unique park, and odd for a Florida landscape. Each time I visit, it is a different and wonderful experience. This time there was a hurricane near and we knew the ocean would be turbulent and the Rocks of the preserve would be alive with water shooting out of them possibly up to 50 feet skyward, giving me an opportunity for some oh so loved slo mo photography. 

I love any form of photography that reveals nature in ways that we can’t or don’t witness in our mundane life. It was awesome as usual.The rocks are longing to be explored with their tunnels and caves. That is, when the seas are calm. However they can be treacherous if you are caught below and the water comes in. You cannot climb up on them with bare feet and hands. Oddly the rocks are razor sharp. You would think the ocean waves would wear them down and polish them, but instead it seems they are sharpened with every wave.

It contains the largest Anastasia limestone outcropping on Florida’s east coast. The limestone also encompasses coquina shells, crustaceans, and sand. 

I created a 5 minute video of last weeks trip there. Enjoy,

Melody Hendrix

A Love Story

18 Sep

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

Hello. I want to share with you something that has overwhelmed my heart all my life. It is about my love and connection to the natural world. 

As young as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to explore the woods. To me, it was like a treasure hunt. That mystery of life fascinated me, and I was full of wonder. 

I am a native Floridian. Most of my growing up was in the city of Orlando. It quickly grew into a full-blown major city. I didn’t have access to explore nature easily, so as time passed, I would have to go farther and farther to be in real nature. As soon as I was mobile, I would travel to Titusville and go fishing or go to the beach. I longed to live there.

And though I thought my dream life was unreachable, eighteen years ago, I got my wish. Not only did I get to live where there is an endless exploration in woods and water, but I also met the man of my dreams. 

I admit, we met on Match.com, Internet dating. On the second date, I fell so hard when he took me kayaking, caught a fish, and sweetly asked if he could kiss me.

His way of romancing was driving me around the dike roads at the Merrit Island Wildlife Refuge and showing me his secret places. We would look for wildlife, and I, being an avid, passionate photographer, would get fantastic shots out the window of the van. I can’t describe the overwhelming joy of life I was having, and I am still blessed with great riches.

The video lets you experience Titusville and MINWR a little, enjoy its beauty and see some wildlife. I thank God for bringing me closer to Him through His gifts of nature. I feel His gospel in His creations. I pray for protection for all of us in these challenging days. 

Melody

MelodyWelcome! I’m so glad you stopped in to visit. I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
What a beautiful world we live in. We all have that in common. Natural beauty is everywhere, but sometimes we are not connected until we see a picture, taken just right, that makes it really come into focus and be admired. My passion is to make a connection between the lens and your soul. Photography is my passion.
My photography passion began when my Father handed me his old Ricohflex box camera when I was 12.  It was love at first sight. I still have it. My hand was never empty of a camera since.
I am a native Floridian. I am so lucky to call it home. I was born in Orlando BF (before Disney). My family moved to the Winter Park area when I was very young. Central Florida was so simple and quaint at that time. I wandered the streets barefoot with my friends, never worrying that something bad could ever happen. My Mom used to pick the sand-spurs out of my feet. I still go barefoot. It grounds me to earth and connects me to nature.
I have extensively explored Florida and its diverse beauty. So much to see and so little time. I would love for you to join me in my travels through the images I have taken. I wish you could hear the sounds, smell the fragrance and feel the breath of it. But for now we must be content with exploring with our eyes and only imagine the rest.
Thank you for your interest.

Carolina Wren

13 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photo provided by Pixabay

While shy of people, Carolina Wrens seem to like being where people are. If your home is in the suburbs and close to woods and shrubs, you may have the honor of hosting them when they nest in springtime. 

When you hear a sweet clear call that insists you stop, look, and listen, you may be entertaining a Carolina Wren. One of our neighbors had a hanging planter on her front porch with a Carolina Wren nest in it. She greeted the family coming and going and could look out the big plate glass window to keep an eye on them.

We had a Carolina Wren family at our house, too. Our pair decided they liked our back yard. As you know, our yard adjoins a Diceranda refuge, so they didn’t have to go far to find items for the nest. For some reason, we had placed a small plastic table under the kitchen window. It had a plant in a terracotta pot in it. We kept seeing the Carolina Wrens when we looked out the window, but we didn’t know they were building a nest that would be so close to the ground.  We started in right away to worry about cats, snakes, hawks, and any other dangers for the babies we could think of. 

The mother and father worked together on the nest. It looked like a woven bowl with a big enough opening for the eggs and could accommodate parent-sitter taking his or her turn. The one that wasn’t sitting searched for food and brought it home.

 I read that the Carolina Wren eats caterpillars, moths, and roaches, along with other delicacies. For a treat, sometimes they catch a lizard or frog. They get plenty of protein, but they also consume plant material such as fruits and seeds from various wild plants. I don’t think they ever get any chocolate, poor things. Oh well, it’s probably not suitable for baby birds anyhow.

The one thing that surprised me most after seeing three tiny babies was that that the parents not only flew in with something in their beaks, but they flew out that way too.  We talked it over and decided that we probably knew what it was. It looked like a tiny white capsule. What do you think it was? Here’s a hint, it’s something we all have to clean up.

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

ROSEATE SPOONBILL

18 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photo by Melody Hendrix

As we drive through Cape Canaveral, which is also a National Wildlife Refuge, we spot a single Roseate Spoonbill in a ditch, with water up to her knees.  This is the first juvenile Roseate Spoonbill we’ve ever seen. She bends to run her beak through the water in order to scoop a beak full of Roseate Spoonbill food.

We drive past that spot frequently and at first, we felt sorry for the small bird, because she was alone. Being the passenger in the car, I see her almost every time we go by. Lately she has been with a flock of half-a-dozen water-grazing White Ibis. I spot her immediately in the group by the splash of deep-rose color on her wings.  It’s good for her not to be alone anymore. Rosie now has a family. 

“God sets the lonely in families…”

Psalm 68:6 World English Bible

Melody’s Adventures-Mantees

14 Apr

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

Another wonderful adventure in diving fresh water is to swim with the manatees. This is typically done just with snorkeling gear. There are not many places you can do this because in most places it is unlawful. However, in Crystal River, Florida in Citrus County, you can experience one of the most wonderful encounter with nature you can have. 

There are rules and guidelines for interacting with them. Since manatees are an endangered species, they are protected by law. But here your encounter is up-close and personal.  Local tour operators and nature guides provide a variety of options for experiencing these awesome creatures. From swimming, kayaking, and paddle-boarding to snorkeling and diving, there are many ways to meet a manatee while you’re here! You can also rent a boat and spend the day there. This is my favorite thing to do.

I will never forget my first experience. We rented a boat and headed for Kings Bay. It was winter and the manatees come here for the warmth of the springs around the area. Once we spotted some, we slipped into the water with our mask and snorkel.

 The water was a little cloudy and I couldn’t see very far in the distance. All I could see was something huge swimming towards me. I had seen many manatees from the boat, but when this massive creature came into view, fear came over me for an instant. This beautiful creature was the size of a Volkswagen. Once I realized that manatees are such gentle creatures that never intend to harm you, I became ecstatic at the thrill of this moment. I reached out my hand and we made contact with each other. I stoked it’s thick rough skin. It gently turned itself over for a tummy rub. Not all, but many manatees enjoy the human touch. Maybe these are mermaids after all. 

Thrasher

5 Nov

Melody Hendrix

A Time to Live

A very vocal Thrasher enjoying the bird bath.

Image by F McDaniel from Pixabay

MelodyWelcome! I’m so glad you stopped in to visit. I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
What a beautiful world we live in. We all have that in common. Natural beauty is everywhere, but sometimes we are not connected until we see a picture, taken just right, that makes it really come into focus and be admired. My passion is to make a connection between the lens and your soul. Photography is my passion.
My photography passion began when my Father handed me his old Ricohflex box camera when I was 12.  It was love at first sight. I still have it. My hand was never empty of a camera since.
I am a native Floridian. I am so lucky to call it home. I was born in Orlando BF (before Disney). My family moved to the Winter Park area when I was very young. Central Florida was so simple and quaint at that time. I wandered the streets barefoot with my friends, never worrying that something bad could ever happen. My Mom used to pick the sand-spurs out of my feet. I still go barefoot. It grounds me to earth and connects me to nature.
I have extensively explored Florida and its diverse beauty. So much to see and so little time. I would love for you to join me in my travels through the images I have taken. I wish you could hear the sounds, smell the fragrance and feel the breath of it. But for now we must be content with exploring with our eyes and only imagine the rest.
Thank you for your interest.

Bandits in the Yard

14 May

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

A video of Melody’s bandits.

 

Melody
Welcome! I’m so glad you stopped in to visit. I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
What a beautiful world we live in. We all have that in common. Natural beauty is everywhere, but sometimes we are not connected until we see a picture, taken just right, that makes it really come into focus and be admired. My passion is to make a connection between the lens and your soul. Photography is my passion.
My photography passion began when my Father handed me his old Ricohflex box camera when I was 12.  It was love at first sight. I still have it. My hand was never empty of a camera since.
Rocoflex
I am a native Floridian. I am so lucky to call it home. I was born in Orlando BF (before Disney). My family moved to the Winter Park area when I was very young. Central Florida was so simple and quaint at that time. I wandered the streets barefoot with my friends, never worrying that something bad could ever happen. My Mom used to pick the sand-spurs out of my feet. I still go barefoot. It grounds me to earth and connects me to nature.
I have extensively explored Florida and its diverse beauty. So much to see and so little time. I would love for you to join me in my travels through the images I have taken. I wish you could hear the sounds, smell the fragrance and feel the breath of it. But for now we must be content with exploring with our eyes and only imagine the rest.
Thank you for your interest.

Morning High Jinks

26 Apr

I mentioned our rascally squirrels in a previous post this week. They are devilishly clever. They seem to know exactly how many steps one can take out the back door before they need to run.

Last night, I put batteries in my camera (husband wisely insists that batteries not be left in the camera) and decided to try to capture a few shots.

Sure enough, as I sipped my morning coffee, I saw not one but three squirrels. One was on the feeder, one on the bird bath and one on the ground. I didn’t capture the one on the ground as he scampered when he saw me.

I wish the pictures were more clear but it is hard to hold the camera steady and focus. The one on the bird bath was getting ready to dash into the trees and was followed by the feeder thief who made like a fire fighter and slid down the pole!

He didn’t go far though. There were still seeds to eat! He parked in one of the aloe plants we are are rooting and continued eating. Pretty clever to rake some seeds into the pot! Even with his thieving ways, he is cute.

I usually post a Seeking Peace blog on Fridays but the one I am working on still has work to be done…in me. I will give you a hint. It involves fried chicken. Yum.

Florida Butterflies~Hairstreak Butterflies

13 Feb

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

 

The Gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus) is one of the most common lycaenids in North America. Its larvae feed on the fruits and flowers of a variety of host plants including several species. Gray hairstreaks do not prefer one specific habitat. They are widespread in tropical forests and open, temperate woodland areas. They can also be found in meadows, crop fields, neglected roadsides, and residential parks and yards are often homes of this fascinating and rare butterfly. Its larvae feed on the fruits and flowers of a variety of host plants including several species mallows, members of the pea family, buckwheats, clovers, and many other plants.
In Florida, the most common hairstreaks are the “Gray Hairstreak”
The adults are quick fliers and are seen most often between the months of May and September. The larvae of gray hairstreaks, when abundant, can become pests to commercial crops, including cotton, beans, corn, and hops.
 
Habits such as these have earned the caterpillar the common name of “cotton square borer” and “bean lycaenid”. However, I love spotting Hairstreaks in the garden.
The are small and fly fast, but once you focus your eyes on them you’ll see their delightful display of confusing preditors, by rubbing their hind wings together in the typical fashion of most hairstreaks.
This back-and-forth movement makes the tail like extensions on the hindwings look like anntennae, apparently to fool predators into attacking a less vital part of their body. They like to bask in the sun with their head down and hindwings up with it’s false antenae in motion. Below are two videos showing the motion of the wings.
Another very different looking hairstreak is the “Atala” butterfly (Coontie Hairstreak)   Scientific name: Satyrium pruni
Some hairstreaks don’t have tails like the gray hairstreak butterfly. The Atala butterfly is also called the Coontie butterfly because the Coontie plant is it’s host plant.
Sunshine State gardeners have rediscovered the Florida coontie as a native plant well adapted to Florida yards. Its increased use in landscapes has encouraged the presence of the rare atala butterfly. This is such a beautiful and unusual looking butterfly. Even the caterpillars are unusual looking. To me they look like pretty gummy candy.
There are many many different hairstreak butterflies in Florida, some common, some rare and many endangered.
Next week we will look at a few more butterflies and a few more ways to photograph them , then off to another adventure. I’m not sure what yet, but it will be a surprise to even me.

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Dangerous Caterpillars

6 Feb

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

I have moved the Hairstreak butterflies to next week. I thought it would be a good idea to show you some dangerous moth caterpillars before we move on, since we talked about harmless Florida moths last week. Most are harmless, but there are some Florida moths that can cause severe pain and possible reactions. Many caterpillars have hairs or spines. Some contain poison glands. In contact with human skin, they can cause pain, rashes, itching, burning, swelling, and blistering like this puss moth caterpillar.

Avoiding caterpillars with hairs or spines is best.
To treat a caterpillar exposure:

1. If the caterpillar is on the skin, remove it without using your hands!Gently put tape over the exposed area, sticky side down. (Any kind of tape will do.)

2. Pull up the tape, removing the hairs or spines.

3. Repeat with fresh pieces of tape as often as needed to treat the area involved.

4. Wash the area gently with soap and water.

5. If the area itches, put on a paste of baking soda and water.
Use ice pack to reduce swelling.

6. If that doesn’t help, try Zanfel Benadryl or a hydrocortisone cream.

7. If that doesn’t help, try an antihistamine cream. That shouldn’t be the first choice, as it doesn’t always help. Also, some people have skin reactions to these creams.

8. If the area is badly blistered, contact your health provider.

9. Call your health provider about a tetanus booster if your shots are not up to date.

The southern flannel moth, Megalopyge opercularis is an attractive small moth that is best-known because of its larva, the puss caterpillar, which is one of the most venomous caterpillars in the United States. The southern flannel moth (puss caterpillar)  is found from New Jersey to Florida and west to Arkansas and Texas. It is common in Florida but reaches its greatest abundance in Texas from Dallas southward in the western central part of the state. Found on Oaks and citrus.

 
Buck Moth found on Oak and Willow.
The adult buck moths have a flight period that occurs between October and November. as late as December in Florida.  The adults are active during the day and are very quick fliers, and can be found flying most commonly between noon and 2:00 pm in oak forests during sunny weather
Lo Moth

Lo Moth found on Ixora and rose. Adult moths are strictly nocturnal, flying generally only during the first few hours of the night.
Saddleback

Saddleback caterpillar and moth. Host plants are many plants, vegetables, flowers, citrus, maples, oaks, and blueberries.
Spines can become airborne and consequently be inhaled or contact sensitive tissues like the eyes and nose.
Spiny Oak Slug
Spiny Oak-Slug Host plants – Oak and willow, apple, blueberry, sycamore and more.  caterpillars seen from late June to October.

Tussock
 A large caterpillar 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 inches.  Stinging hairs are intermixed with soft hairs in diffuse tufts. Host plants – Oak, willow and deciduous plants.

I love spotting Hairstreaks in the garden. They are small and fly fast, but once you focus your eyes on them you’ll see their delightful display of rubbing their hindwings together in the typical fashion of most hairstreaks. It’s mesmerizing.  This back-and-forth movement makes the moving appendages on the hind wings look like anntennae, apparently to fool predators into attacking a less vital part of their body. They like to bask in the sun with their head down and hindwings up with it’s false antenae in motion.
Please join me next week. We will look at the Hairstreak butterflies.

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody
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