Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

...And my old man is snoring! When we were first married, that used to bother me a LOT. Now I look at it as a blessing. I hear the gentle sounds of his sleeping and give thanks that I have him here and beside me every night. But I digress...

In my last post, I wrote how happy and excited I was that we were going on a trip to visit Fort Mantanzas National Monument. There was a reenactment planned and we were all looking forward to seeing it. Imagine how disappointed we were when we arrived at the park and found that not only was the reenactment cancelled but also the ferry. It seemed that our area, in fact, the whole of north east Florida, was under a tornado warning! How could that be? The weather was a little overcast, but it was a warm spring 86 degrees, and there was nothing but a gentle breeze blowing!

(We had the radio on in the car the whole way there, listening to our local NPR station and there was nary a word about tornado's or storms mentioned, by the way.)

Ah, well. No one can control Mother Nature, she will do what she will do. We walked down to the Mantanzas River, and explored the shore a little, then decided we'd better have our picnic as everyone had built up quite an appetite by then. And after the food was consumed and our picnic supplies packed away, we walked off some calories and fat by exploring the nature trail.

I took way too many photo's to share here, but I have a few of my favorites of the day.
This is a view of the shore of the Mananzas River. Those big boulders piled up there are coquina, and we debated about why they were piled there. I think they are lfeftovers from building the fort, which is almost right across the river from this point.

Beautiful sand dunes along side of the Mantanzas River. We reached this point from the nature trail, and it's marked for gopher tortoises, but we didn't see any. My granddaughter and I had fun picking out animal and bird tracks in the sand, and figuring out what made them. Two notable tracks we saw were those of deer and and a snake. How awesome is that?

*side note: My granddaughter made a remark about how much fun it would be to go sledding on the dunes. I explained to her how bad that would be for the dunes. Even walking on the dunes disrupts the tiny plant systems that help hold the sand dunes in place, and once they are gone, the wind and water erodes the dunes. She had an 'Aha..' moment, and quickly agreed with me.

We spotted this lizard crawling down the wall outside the visitors center. I think it's a skink, but my granddaughter disagrees with me, even though the area is known for the five-lined skink. Ah well. I have been known to be wrong before, and will be the first to admit it when I am. It was a big lizard though, at least 7 inches long!

I got a little kick out of this sign! I'm glad none of us chose to wear flip flops, but the first image that came to my mind when I saw it was of little oysters chasing people along the shore, snapping at their heels!

This is THE fort, Fort Mantanzas. I know it's not a very good photo, but I did the best I could with my digital camera, and it is quite a ways away across the river on Rattlesnake Island.

Spring has already arrived here in north east Florida, as proof, the fire flowers are blooming, along with some Black-eyed Susan's maybe? I'm not really sure what the yellow wildflowers are, but we have them blooming in our front yard, too.

I don't know what these delicate little pink blossoms are either, but they were blooming all over the yard in front of the visitors center at Fort Mantanzas. I think they are so pretty!

It really was a lovely afternoon, and I am so grateful we went when we did. I'm doubly pleased we came home when we did, too. No sooner had we arrived home and unpacked the car when the skies opened up and it began to storm. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening, too, under the tornado warning, and much of the time with either flickering lights or no power at all. The temperature dropped over ten degrees in less than 90 minutes and I admit, I got a little nervous when the wind really picked up, the thunder was booming and lightning flashing. I got goosebumps, and was so relieved when Mother Nature calmed herself down.

Today promises to be more of the same. We are under another tornado warning until 1 o'clock this afternoon. It's a good time to curl up on the couch with my hooks and yarn, don't you think?


Anonymous said...

What a fun get-away. I feel like I went with you on your excursion. I love reading about different areas of the country and dreaming about places I'd like to visit one day.

Thank you SO much for your prayers. I'm a firm believer in them and can't thank you enough.

Cheri said...

Sounds like a fun day! I hate tornado warnings, so hope you are all safe. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my scarf feature. I am so loving my new hobby!!

Auntdena said...

I believe the small flower are American beauties. At least that is what my mom always called them. You sound like you had a great day!