Winter Birds at Sweetwater Wetlands (Gainesville, FL)

From a distance, there appeared to be a lot of dead vegetation in the marsh. It looked like scattered chunks of palm bark. Then, in the water, I noticed a duck with a bright orange bill. I lifted my binoculars for a better look, and then realized that the woody shreds were moving. This wasn’tContinue reading “Winter Birds at Sweetwater Wetlands (Gainesville, FL)”

Paper Towel Alternatives

Since the washing machine doesn’t care whether one washes ten hand towels or forty, it’s economical to replace paper towels with reusable bar mops and cloth napkins. Bar mops are small, 100% cotton towels that are super-absorbent and typically inexpensive. I keep stacks of them in the kitchen and use them for drying my hands,Continue reading “Paper Towel Alternatives”

Capo Tower at Guana River

Yesterday, I returned to Capo Tower at Guana River Wildlife Management Area (Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida), which can be accessed by way of the Savannah Loop trail. During my last visit in the fall of 2021, the path to the tower was blocked and under construction. The partial boardwalk was being extended all of theContinue reading “Capo Tower at Guana River”

Walkingstick Rescue

I’ve been partial toward stick insects since my husband and I hiked a Florida park, where sporadic high-pitched whines crossed the trail in waves. Sometimes the sound was nearly imperceptible, then slowly grew in volume. At its peak, the sound matched the whir of green aliens in outer space movies. Late that afternoon, we noticedContinue reading “Walkingstick Rescue”

Beauveria bassiana – An insect-eating fungus

I noticed something along the trail – a 1 cm, white gob hanging from the underside of a palmetto frond. It looked like a small bird dropping, except that it was alone and on the wrong side of the leaf. Something about the curvature of the spot suggested an insect. I’d read that some caterpillarsContinue reading “Beauveria bassiana – An insect-eating fungus”

Paraners Branch Loop Trail in O’leno State Park

I visited O’leno State Park during a foggy, overcast day. My plan was to try Paraners Branch Loop Trail, which I missed during my last visit. I crossed the swinging bridge and stopped to take some pictures along the water. I then took River Trail. After following yellow trail markers for a time, I turnedContinue reading “Paraners Branch Loop Trail in O’leno State Park”

Scenic O’leno State Park

O’leno State Park (High Springs, Florida) surpasses expectations. The road into the park is paved, and the parking lot holds a moderate number of cars. Visitors are greeted with well-kept restrooms, a playground, and an expansive, well-kept picnic area. On this initial visit, I walked River Trail, Dogwood Trail (to Limestone Trail), and Limestone Trail,Continue reading “Scenic O’leno State Park”

Turkey Creek – easy trail through new-growth forest

This week, I visited Turkey Creek Preserve, which opened to the public last year (2021). A dozen years after its purchase in 2009, this 376 acre site remains new-growth forest. It is testimony to the fact that it takes decades to reestablish decimated habitat. There are two trailheads, one of which offers a well-kept parkingContinue reading “Turkey Creek – easy trail through new-growth forest”

My head debates religion

In my mind, I debate the question of religion frequently. It’s not a daily thing, but rather a repetitive one. Buddhism American Style Within Buddhism, each major school of practice has a family tree. Through it, the teachings are traced back to the Buddha himself.  But I find myself unmotivated to learn or even careContinue reading “My head debates religion”