Tag Archives: Alligator

What actually happened week one (May31-June7)

Standard

We can plan only so much. We can do only so much. This is what life with a child is all about. It is also what life with a chronic illness is all about. Combined the two and things don’t always go as planned. This is a peak into our summer break, what is planned and followed by what actually happens.

 

Saturday:

Well of course she was up at six am. I let her watch Tv for an hour and realized at seven am it was pointless to stay in bed. We were out the door for a walk by seven thirty. Flipped her scooter up on the bike rack and we we were off. We started the trail at seven fifty. About every mile on this walk is a bench. We sat just about every time for a good ten minutes. I think this is why I did not swell as much. At the two mile mark I started stretching then sitting then stretching some more at our breaks. We stopped under the roadway bridge to listen to the bats and contemplate why we could hear them but not see them. OH but we could SMELL them. We found flowers. We saw a frog. We saw some poop, also known as scat

.ImageImageImage

 

Then we were off to meet my in laws for a belated birthday get together. On the twenty minute drive or so I had the kid read from her chapter book, squeezing it in where we can.We went to Myakka State Park which has both a boat tour and a tram tour. On the boat tour we learned mostly about alligators, the fish that live in the river and some of the bird life. We saw around twenty alligators. We then got on the tram after a short bathroom break. It is funny I have ridden that tram ride many times. It has new perspective for me as an adult as it did as a kid. I was more interested in the pioneers of Florida. It was fascinating the types of jobs that people had, ranging from Spanish moss gathering to Cattle hunters and even alligator hunters. Learned about a tree I never knew about, a water locust, and its big honking thorns. Pioneers used them for a multitude of things after they boiled them in water to get the toxin from them.  It was very interesting. On the way home I also had the kid read some more.

ImageImage

 

We were outside from almost eight am to three pm. When we got home I immediately laid down and medicated.  The kid obviously was still at full steam and went out back to play.

 

Sunday:

We had our normal church morning and then after church a quick grocery shopping run. She also had her last harp concert of the season. All done until next school year.

BeFunky_unnamed (2).jpg

 

Monday:

It was the very last day of school. I originally thought to let her skip. She will have to go with me enough during the summer.

We did not go to the beach.. It was grey and over cast and forecast to rain. We did go for a short walk with a friend. Where we ran into …

 

10418179_707764342604739_3550228963723656907_n

MANATEES. This was an unexpected surprise and a very pleasant one. Other mundane things happened, dinner and showers and such.

 

Tuesday oh Tuesday. I could not have predicted this and its just one of those things. I had severe fatigue. I had a severe headache. Even my own movement made me nauseous. It was completely a Pj and tv day. I did manage to get my daughter to read for an hour. That was about as productive as I got.

 

Wednesday we were not really sure what we wanted to do. Low and behold a message asking us to watch snickerdoodle. Of course we jumped at it! I made my daughter bring her book and a notebook.  While snickerdoodle napped she did her hour of reading. The writing prompt for Wednesday was to write using very descriptive words , seeing the manatees at the park.  There was lots of outside time. We even got a two mile walk in. I forgot how much harder a walk is when you are pushing a stroller. It is such a delight to see life through the eyes of  an almost two year old. Little things are big things. Excitement over trucks and squirrels and flowers and most importantly BUBBLES!

10269587_708878629159977_7198886580806388842_n 10382158_708962979151542_2274865394664472459_n 10383587_708962932484880_690335149086021670_n 10433100_708844005830106_2607194127256125455_n

Thursday started our first math tutor lesson. I did not stay for it as I wanted to get a walk in. I had realized I had not taken a walk by myself for a while and it is a good time for me to get some me time in. When I picked her up she was raving about the math lesson. Math is not as complicated as I think mommy! We got most of our hour reading session done and then had lunch with a friend.  The rest of the day was spent cleaning the house.

 

Friday came way to fast and after a rough night of very high anxiety dreams and then lack of sleep. I was looking forward to taking her to the library for a movie. I needed the calm comfort of the quiet sounds of the library to surround me. I stopped at the quarter book spot because who can pass up books for a quarter? NOT ME!!!  When my daughter found me. She didn’t want to watch the movie alone. Sigh.  We ran into Publix afterwards for lunchables and headed to the next library. This one has a nice pond in front and we say on a blanket and had lunch before going inside to get our hour of reading in.

unnamed (7) unnamed (8)

 

Then my favorite part. I had been looking forward to this part for at least two weeks. A class on archaeology with a real archaeologist!! It promised lots of hands on fun and it did not disappoint.  On the way home she wrote in her journal about what she learned. The coolest thing she liked? A six thousand year old clam shell.

10334443_709932959054544_4678964605543036954_n 10458872_709932995721207_8708732305223837740_n

 

These pictures suck because most of the day I felt off just a bit and had the shakes. Could not seem to get a clear picture for anything.

 

Saturday. Oh thank god we made it to saturday. Oh but wait we have a nature hike planed. I know its a short trail. I know its gonna be hot. I also know the kid needs to get out of the house and expel some energy. She didn’t get up til six forty five this morning. That is almost like sleeping in for her. I woke up and thought, ” she isn’t awake yet….is she sick? I gave her the right amount of benedryl last night right? She was congested. Okay well if she is not awake by seven I will go check on her because if I check on her now , and she is asleep, she will wake up. Seven seems much saner to be up than six thirty.” but I didn’t go back to sleep. Just when I thought I couldn’t stand it any longer… She wakes up and comes to our room. Sigh okay.

Next task: Medicate and caffeinate. (spell check you are wrong Caffeinate is too a word.)

Then scroll the internet while waiting for it to kick in. Hoping it kicks in because man, the ache is bad today. The pain is already high.

I had grabbed some snack packs at Publix last night for today’s lunch so it will be hummus and carrots plus cheese and celery ,apples and grapes. Since we will be outside it is water to drink.

 

unnamed (9) unnamed (10) unnamed (11) unnamed (12) unnamed (13) unnamed (14)

 

I can honestly say it was completely worth it. We learned about Dragonflies, and Damsel flies. The difference between the two. We saw the shells from dragonflies at the larval stage.  We learned that dragonflies are deaf.  It was hot. It was sweaty. There was actually less walking than I had thought there would be so that was an added plus for me today.

We came home and the kid is now doing her writing prompt for the day, What did you learn on today’s walk. She has math home work from her math tutor and she will finish her book today and complete the assignment in the back about persuasive writing. I feel we are balancing the educational with the fun fairly well so far.

 

While it was exhausting it was also a great start to the summer break. It didn’t all go as planned, nothing ever does.

If you read to the end of this….THANKS YOU ROCK!!!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Nature’s Gift

Standard

Today I turned a year older. I didn’t really want presents. I have no room for anything and really don’t need anything. Instead I wanted to go on a hike at a new place with friends. I had seen pictures of a place that was a bit of a drive but still near by that intrigued me. Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. I just can’t even begin to tell you how perfect it was.

There are quotes on plaques at certain spots along this boardwalked path. Between the sighs and sounds of the preserve, and the quotes. Nature was talking to me. Letting me know that I am on the right path and to keep it up. It was nourishing in a way I didn’t even realize I needed.

Image

“You learn that if you sit down in the woods and wait something happens” Henry David Thoreau.

The soft sunlight, the smell of cypress and the chatter of birds in the trees. It was all just so perfect.

Image

“Falling in love with the Earth is one of lives great adventures. ” Steve Van Matre

Its true. It was like falling in love with the Earth all over again. Every step. Every new discovery. Every new enjoyment from the kids.It doesn’t matter that we have lizards and squirrels. These were here now! We saw them! It was right there! Watching their delight was truly a gift. Using our imaginations and just taking our time walking. We even saw a tree looking at us!

 

Image

It was truly an enjoyable walk. It was exactly what I wanted. It was gorgeous weather. The humidity and barometric pressure were steady, important tidbits when dealing with arthritis.  We lost track of time watching the turtle weave around the pond. We delighted in watching them eat the algae.  It was a secure enough trail that we felt confident enough to let the kids wander ahead of us.  Letting them explore and make their own discoveries.

 

Image

 

10173714_703039749743865_8522383269851820552_n

Its camouflaged  very well but I promise you there is an alligator in this picture. We watched him rather lazily swimming around for a bit.

10275932_703039586410548_251955172280329443_n

I can’t even imagine what it was like here even just fifty years ago. These trees are relatively small for cypress. There were some bigger ones. I just love the cypress knees sticking up.

 

10407463_703039866410520_5660083693855392065_n

heron

 

I think one of my favorite things was how many Yellow crown night heron’s we saw. It was like once we saw one we kept seeing them. We even got to watch one eating a fish.

 

It was the perfect escape and the perfect way to turn a year older.

 

We followed this with a visit to Tropical Smoothie Cafe. The kids were super excited for smoothies.  It was all very delicious and the food came fast enough that the kids didn’t get too delirious and were so well behaved. Enough so that they even got cookies.

 

All I want to do is see the river……

Standard

I did not want to go for a walk. I knew I needed to go for a walk, after all it is friday, Frozen yogurt day. I had also had Panera for lunch. I needed to burn some calories. I needed to move for my joints. I needed to walk to help promote better sleep tonight.  I decided I was going to go the the preserve but walk the trail on the other side. I had never walked this trail. Now this might not seem like a big deal. However I normally go with someone when I am doing a new trail. Someone who knows how to read trail maps better than me. I don’t think I read them too good.

This particular trail you park on one side of the road, cross the road and start the trail. However, it is right where the incline of a bridge starts. It’s just a short incline, then the trail. The key is….I would have to cross this again to get back to the car. So I cross the road. Get through the incline, and start on the trail. I am only a few minutes down the trail when a red shoulder hawk flies right in front of me. It then lands close by and starts to call very loudly. So I go check it out. There is a fence between me and him and I stop at the fence. He starts to fly off. I think.. it figures. But no….he could care less about me… There is a female hawk in a nearby tree.

970060_671205222927318_1603244129_n

Hey baby wanna make a nest with me?

1070035_671205242927316_463060210_n

So…do you come to this branch often?

1098544_671204716260702_300380054_n

The whole walk has been made. It was worth it just to see those two. I continue on the trail a bit. I come to a sign. Service entrance only. um… WHAT? So I go back to where I started. I found where the actual trail begins. It was actually a lot less obvious than what turned out to be the service trail. Like I said I don’t feel a whole lot of confidence on reading the trail map, so I am really aware of the markers. I orient myself to where the marker is and where it is indicated on the map. I figured out what my path would be and how i would loop it back around to the beginning. Okay maybe I got this. Off we go.

Its been a bit and here we are at the first marker we come to. The marker 23. Okay. So I am on the right path. I decide I have plenty of time so I want to walk down to the  river and loop back. We come to the next marker, 22. So far so good. Markers 21, comes and goes. In much of Florida our woods and preserves have been invaded by invasive wild boar. They tear up the ground. I guess the trails are very convenient for them as they had torn up quite a bit of this one.

1962664_671204902927350_1006658374_n

For extra fun there is a fresh layer of um dead oak leaves on the ground. This hides some of the little holes. This was turning out to be more of a hike than a walk. Well I will sure enjoy extra hot fudge on my Frozen yogurt. That is how this exercise thing works right?

1978758_671204932927347_1970156810_n

Then there is a little path that veers off….do I follow that? I decide to just stay on the larger path and keep going. Now we come up to marker 18. I am starting to see that these markers are fairly accurate on where I think they should be as to where they appear on the map. This has not always been the case on trail maps.  We come up to a marker…… it says eleven. How the hell did I get to eleven? I just want to get a look at the river and maybe sit a few minutes. I look at the map.  I look back at the marker. Ooooohh not eleven.. That is a seventeen. The top of the seven was just hard to see. Ooooookkkaayy We are good. I follow the map and trail fairly well and even get down to the river. I wasn’t impressed with the view at first.

1514020_671205182927322_1421501768_n - Copy 1947365_671205196260654_1578148280_n - Copy

Then I am retracing my steps a bit which is also what the map indicates you have to do. I find a little beaten down path. It leads right out to the water. There is a slight incline but I really want a good view of the river so I am good for it.

988821_671205136260660_491121527_n

Besides there is a tree right in the middle…I could always just use that to stop my fall right? I could get a little muddy but the water is right there so we are good right?

Lets just say it was worth that little incline.

1394262_671205102927330_1555998629_n  10006362_671205069594000_620733824_n      1907309_671205086260665_1763050846_n

I get back up the incline to the path and my knees and ankles are like…yeah don’t try that again okay? I start off taking the path that loops back.  Marker nine. Check. Marker ten check. Marker eleven. Check. I keep on going. There are some birds calling that I don’t quite recognize and I file it away to go to the Audubon site to see if I can match them up. I came to the next Marker…..or so I thought. Turns out I went the wrong way and ended back at 15. I could have just followed that back. I was determined now though to finish the walk. So I turned around and back tracked and took the right path. Shortly there after I come to marker seven. Between Marker six and five there is a bench indicated and it looks like it looks at the river. So I am going to check it out.

1924902_671204949594012_809620549_n 1912170_671204962927344_985810640_n

Really was worth the little detour. I climbed over those logs a bit and there across the river, was an alligator. The alligator is in the second picture above on the shore. Really he looks like a log. The only difference is this particular log moves, and has teeth.

He really was a tiny alligator. I would have to say maybe four years old or so. When they are younger than four they have stripes. Anyway, it made the little detour worth while. So next marker was five and then four. At three there is another indication of a detour to see the river. So I took it.

10013652_671204832927357_1218616641_n 1976940_671204992927341_293357602_n - Copy

So now I am confident on where I am at I explore some little off shoots. Then the worse part.

1013824_671204816260692_1559038397_n

The incline back to the car. I get to the top of this and I really want to go down the little bit and see the river from the bridge.

It did not disappoint.

1982104_671204759594031_1937374007_n 1891039_671204732927367_1669069722_n 1044002_671204796260694_782732083_n

Hey maybe I can read a trail map pretty good. I do think there would be some market value in an app that tracks your gps on trail maps. Of course then the trail maps would have to be online as well. It would be something I would be interested in, for when I walk the trails by myself.

unnamed unnamed

I like more landmarks than most trail maps put on there. Like you will pass a pile of old cement pilings…..or you will pass an abandoned tank of some sort here. Although how they would depict that on a map, I have no idea. They would probably label it what it was and I would be like well we passed a tank looking thing back there, I guess that’s what they mean.  Maybe on the app that someone could create they could also let others add landmarks. Maybe they would use terms others would understand.  These are the kinds of things I find myself thinking about on my walks by myself.  Birds, trail map apps, pigs, and wanting to just see the river.

1011285_671204876260686_1055252521_n

All pictures were taken by me with my Android Phone.  The river is the Myakka River. This preserve is Sleeping Turtles North.