Warm Florida Beaches

Sebastian Beach Waves

View of Sebastian Beach from Pier

Seagull with Mouthful of Fish

Sanderling Running with Waves

Shell Pile-up Near Pier

Brown Pelican Flying

Inlet Side Opposite Beach

Two-Tone Water where Indian River Meets Atlantic Ocean

Gopher Tortoise Eating Grass

The weather is perfect here in Florida!  Migrating birds have arrived, and it is a beautiful time for a walk at Sebastian Inlet State Park.

Florida: Fall Around the Garden

Pink Rose with Rain Drops

Fragrant Yellow Rose

Floating Flower Bowl 1

Floating Flower Bowl 2

Bat Flower

Banana Magnolia (strong fragrance – a favorite!)

Mahoe (Sea Hibiscus)

Tapioca Plant (used to make pudding)

Dwarf Buddha Belly Bamboo

Stapeliad (Starfish) Flower

Blue Dragonfly at Pond

Kingfisher at Pond

Female Quail

We are starting to get our first cool breezes of Fall here in Florida, which makes it great for walking and working in the garden.  Plants love this time of year and grow like crazy!  Click on pictures for more details about the flowers.

Dragon Fruit Cactus

Dragon Fruit Cactus Flowers

Huge Size of Blooms

Pink Ripening Dragon Fruit

Sliced Dragon Fruit Ready to Eat

Sphinx Moth Pollinator (day and night)

Our dragon fruit cactus finally produced fruit! It opened two dinner plate-sized flowers at night in early September.  Each bud was over a foot long!  In the tropics the plant is pollinated by bats, but here in Florida it is pollinated by moths.  Happily I did see two Sphinx moths flying around the flowers in the dark.  

This week we enjoyed eating its beautiful pink dragon fruit.  It tastes something like a slightly sweet pear with poppy seeds.  Our home-grown fruit was much sweeter than the commercial fruit available in the market.   Some great looking recipes are at:  http://www.tfgsf.com/?page_id=546, and an especially promising chocolate cupcake with dragon fruit buttercream frosting recipe is at:  https://sugarandcharm.com/2013/09/chocolate-cupcakes-with-dragon-fruit-buttercream.html

Florida’s Space Coast: Beaches OK after Hurricane Irma

Path to Sebastian Beach before Hurricane Irma

Sebastian Inlet Calm Waves Before the Storm

Shell Bits on Beach

Beach Morning Glory and Hamburger Bean

Bunches of Sea Grapes

Melbourne Beach Waves

Melbourne Beach Dune Erosion after Irma

I am very happy to say that our beautiful beaches here on Florida’s Space Coast still look great after Hurricane Irma!  We were all nervous staring down a Category 5 hurricane  – at times the projected track went right over our coastal area east of Orlando.  There certainly was damage in Brevard County, but nothing that can’t be fixed.  Our house itself is fine, although we do have an enormous amount of yard work to do.  It is such a luxury now to have use of power, water, internet, gas, and grocery stores – makes you appreciate what surrounds you every day.  It was also nice to see people helping one another.  All our animals and birds are back too.  Great to get back to normal!

Tetons: Beautiful Historic Church

Historic Chapel of the Transfiguration

Interior of Log Cabin Chapel

Chapel’s Altar View

Winter Stained Glass

Close-up of Winter Stained Glass

Summer Stained Glass

Close-up of Summer Stained Glass

Solar Eclipse Church Service

Watercolor of Chapel in Winter

 

Grand Tetons on a Summer Day

Trumpeter Swan in Park

While we were in Jackson, Wyoming for the solar eclipse, we stopped at Grand Teton National Park and saw the Chapel of the Transfiguration (built in 1925).  This historic church’s spectacular location is a popular place for weddings in summer.  A special service was held there in the morning before the solar eclipse featuring a reading from Genesis (“Let there be light…..and God made two great lights – the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night and stars – and it was good”).   Perfect reading for the day!

There are two beautiful stained glass windows by Jessie van Brunt inside the log cabin church featuring both winter and summer.  Behind the altar is a window looking out at the Cathedral Group of the Teton Mountains.  What an inspiring place to visit!  More info is at:  https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/index.htm

 

Eclipse – Just WOW!!!

Solar Eclipse Collage

Eclipse Humor: Smiley Face

Eclipse 1: First Contact

Eclipse 2: Three Sunspots Visible

Eclipse 3

Eclipse 4

Eclipse 5

Eclipse 6

Totality 1

Totality 2: Solar Prominences

Totality 3

Totality 4

Totality 5: Regulus on Lower Left

Totality 6: Diamond Ring Effect

Totality 7: Venus on Upper Right

Totality 8: 360 degree Horizon Sunset Glow

Eclipse Ale

Jackson Hole Eclipse T-Shirt

Richard & Pam Winegar’s Eclipse Photography Gear

Eclipse Megamovie Postcard Recruiting Citizen Science Photographers

Eclipse Megamovie Photo Team Pin

There are no words to properly describe the eclipse – just WOW!!!  The collage shows the progression of the solar eclipse in Jackson, Wyoming, on August 21, 2017.  Individual pictures follow (click to enlarge for detail).  Early morning we walked five minutes from our Teton Village hotel to ride a gondola up Rendezvous Mountain.  We set up our camera equipment in a beautiful wildflower meadow overlooking Jackson Valley.  We heard a ram’s horn blown in the distance when the eclipse began.  First contact is seen in the collage photo on the upper left.  Three major sunspots were visible on the face of the sun.  An amazing amount of light still came from only the tiniest sliver of sun.  At totality at 11:34 am it was safe to remove protective glasses and filters and look directly at the sky.  The beauty and magnificence of the sight was jaw-dropping!  Everyone gasped and cheers went up!  Many of us, myself included, had an emotional response – it brought tears to my eyes. Photographs do not begin to capture what the eye can see – the corona’s streamers extend way out beyond the sun and across the sky.  It felt like Star Trek come to life.  At least three solar prominences were visible on the edge of the sun, and the diamond ring effect was stunning!  The sudden darkness of totality brought a chill to the air.  The star Regulus and the planet Venus became visible, and a sunset band of orange extended 360 degrees around the horizon.  After 2 minutes and 20 seconds the light burst forth again and the air warmed.  I will never forget that moment!  I think we have officially become eclipse chasers.   The next U.S. eclipse will be April 8, 2024 in a path crossing from Texas to Maine (https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2024-april-8).

UPDATE October 2017:  We have now received our pin for being members of the Megamovie Photo Team.  Thousands of photographers took pictures of the eclipse as it traveled across the United States.  Our uploaded photos were combined by computer into one Megamovie at: https://eclipsemega.movie/   All of the photos for this first-of-its-kind citizen science project will be archived for future research and analysis. 

Florida: Cocoa Beach in Summer

Summer Walk on Cocoa Beach

Morning Waves

Sanderling Running

Ghost Crab

Florida in summer is a land of ocean breezes, afternoon showers, and warm nights.  A walk on Cocoa Beach in the morning is perfect!

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