Saturday, November 1, 2014

Demolishing History -

It's an old house dating back to the 1880's and it belonged to an historic family and has historic designation.  Yet all of that is not enough to save it from demolition.

Sadly this grand old lady of a house will be torn down to make way for . . . are you ready for this ? . . . a Racetrack gas station ! 
As I took these photos and thought of what was being lost, I found tears forming and cascading down my cheeks.  Such a loss . . . a page gone from the history of Manatee County . . . a grand house that no future child will ever see or have knowledge of.  How can nobody care ?  The truth is that Manatee County is eyeing the taxes that they'll be getting from Racetrack and our politicians feel that money trumps history any day any time !
Photos above and below show the historic information plaques and stand proudly outside of the Historic Reasoner Homestead.
The Reasoner brothers were pioneer nurserymen, started one of the first mail order plant catalogs and introduced many new plant species into the country.
The property abounds with palm trees and gigantic ancient oaks, dripping with Spanish moss.  A yard that was once immaculate is now neglected and overgrown with brush and weeds. 
I suppose these enormous old oaks will be sacrificed to make way for another concrete paved  gas station.  We already have 3 other gas stations all within half a block from this historic house.
 The grand old house has been boarded up and is falling into disrepair. 

 I always dreamt that, had I the money, I  would have purchased this beauty, restored her to her former glory and turned her into either a B & B or perhaps a tea room.  But it was only a fantasy.  The property sits within a prime commercial area and Racetrack paid 1.2 million for the property.
When the Grand old Lady was built she was out in the country and was the pride of Manatee county. She was Manatee's finest, largest, grandest residence.  But time plows its way through history, the city built up around the grand Lady and the present owners found they could no longer afford to pay the property taxes.  Unfortunately the county sat back and didn't lift a finger to try to preserve this bit of history. 


Good Bye old house, so long to your past and the very history that helped to make Manatee County, Florida what it is today. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


So now you see, dear readers, the old skeleton pine that once stood against a crystal blue sky has become a Demon Tree.  
 In the evil darkness of moonless nights the Demon Tree, though dry and dead, captures the souls of any being that might foolishly wander a bit too close.  Its limbs, like snakes, reach down to ensnare its unsuspecting victim, while its roots suddenly emerge from the pliant earth like tentacles, grasping their prey and pulling them down, down, down into the earth around it.  Any scream is quickly silenced by the soft sandy soil that lies beneath its roots.    
Then savagely  . . . it devours them.  Human flesh and blood and bones and the very essence of living spirit, gone within a few torturous seconds.  Only the soul remains, forever trapped within the Demon Tree.  Unable to see the light of day or tell their loved ones what befell them, they languish within the old, dead skeleton of a tree. In the evil darkness of moonless nights one can hear the low moans and groans of those lost souls whispering in the wind.  But beware ! Should you hear these whispers dare not venture too close to see from whence they came, lest you should become the next lost soul of  . . . The Demon Tree.  
Happy Halloween Everyone


watch out for . . . 
The Demon Tree
Bwaa-haa-haa-haa !

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Start of a Vision

Back on October 16th I posted this photo of a dead Florida Slash Pine.  For 7 years I passed this ghost of a tree and promised that someday I would bring my camera and brave traffic to capture a shot of it.  I had a plan, an ultimate image in mind, but sadly the years went by and each time I drove past the corpse of this ancient tree I found myself without camera.

Finally one day I actually drove home, got my camera, returned to where the tree was, braved crossing a very busy street and started to take photos.  Drat it All!  I had left home with my camera but failed to retrieve the photo memory card that was still embedded in my computer! 
So back home I drove.  Unlocked the door to the house, rushed into my office-den-studio-hobby-workroom, removed the memory card from my computer,  inserted it into my camera and then rushed back to where the tree, unconcerned about my trials and tribulations, was patiently waiting. 

Eventually I took several different photos from several different angles and locations, even crossed the busy street yet again in order to get photos from the backside of the tree.  That last part was not such a good idea as the vacant lot was overgrown with brush and weeds and full of sand burs.
I ended up with those thorny stickers on my tennis shoes, my socks, the hem of my skirt and even on the underside of my skirt . . . which I discovered uncomfortably later, when I went to sit down in the seat of my car and felt pin like jabs at the back of my knees.
But it was worth it.  I at last had the photos that for 7 long years I had yearned to capture.  I chose the one with the best angle and did some cropping and editing but I think you can see where I'm going with this.

Please stay tuned to see the vision I've held so dearly for over 7  years . . .

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Matilija Poppy

These are the last of the photos that my sister took for me. 

 I saved the lovely white Matilija Poppies for last as they are one of my favorite wildflowers.  When I was in high school one of my teachers said they were Mariposa Poppies but I have learned (from both my sister Camille and my sister Norma) that these poppies are unique to the Matilija area  and are named after the area of their origin; Matilija (pronounced ma-til’li-ha).   The plants can reach up to 8 feet tall and boast large snow white blooms with vivid yellow centers.
They have become a lucrative plant for local nurserymen to propagate and ship to other municipalities that wish to include these lovely, papery white blooms into their landscape.

Notice the large seed pods of the Matilija poppy plant?

The large blossoms range from 6 to 9 inches across and are not only impressive in size but command attention with their ruffled white petals and sunshine yellow center.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Still Up In the Air

Photo above - Though Scotch Brooms stand out in the background a soft, purple flowered shrub dominates the left, lower corner of the above photo.
We're still winding our way along the curving Maricopa highway, making our way up the Topa Topa mountains above Ojai, California.  My last post featured the bright yellow to yellow orange, Scotch Brooms, this post will feature purple and blue/purple wildflowers.  Unfortunately I'm not knowledgeable about their names and even though my sister told me what many were called, I confess that I quickly forgot their names.  So if you know any of their names please feel free to let me know in a comment.
Photos below are of the one purple plant that I'm familiar with: the Lupine.

The photos that follow are of some sweet little purple wildflowers and some flowers that are more of a blue color.  Both are very pretty and I've no idea what they are called, I should have written their names down when Camille told me but just like spare batteries for my camera, I did not have pen, pencil or paper on hand.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Twists and Turns

photo above - the two lane Maricopa highway leading up through the mountains from Ojai California to Taft. It was a crystal clear day and the yellow blossoms of the Scotch Brooms looked sharp and brilliant against the green mountains and bright blue sky - a perfect day for a drive.
As I mentioned in the last post, the batteries in my camera died, we were a good 30 miles away from town and I hadn't brought spare batteries with me.  However my sister, Camille, volunteered to take some photos with her smartphone and then email me the pictures. So following are some of the pictures she so graciously took for me.  Thank you Cami.  :)


The Maricopa highway twists and turns through beautiful, rugged mountains.  Scotch Brooms bloomed along side of the paved road, making me feel like we were a bridal procession cruising down a flower bedecked isle.  The Scotch Broom is considered a weed and seems to prefer the disturbed soil near the edge of the roadsides.

Photo above - Managed to find a blooming yucca that was close enough to the road to get a good shot of.
Photo below - Saw this unusually flat boulder and had to get a photo of it.

Photo below - Had to get a shot of the looming mountains and the valley below. 
To fully appreciate this vista I encourage you to click on the photo to view it more closely.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hidden Falls

photo above - Mountain ravine with waterfall.

Remember that trip my hubby and I took back in July ?  I must confess that I still have pictures from that trip.  You see when John and I were driving down from Albany California to Ojai, we took the Maricopa Highway and California was fresh and alive from summer rains.  The mountains were covered in green foliage and flowers bloomed everywhere, it was a veritable Eden.   Oh how I longed to tell my hubby to stop the car so I could whip out my camera and take pictures.  John on the other hand was in no mood to stop the car on that curving, 2 lane mountain road, so I sat in silence.

Later, while visiting my sister Camille, she asked if there was anything we wanted to do or any place we wanted to go.  I mentioned the flowers that I saw along the Maricopa highway and how I would have loved to have taken some photos.  Now I should mention that  Camille loves to drive so she happily volunteered to drive us up through the local mountains in order for me to take some photos. 
It must have been some 20 miles or so before we got into the proper elevation where the flora was thick and colorful.  Camille stopped the car at a lovely little waterfall and I took out my little, old point and click camera . . . the one held together with a stripe of blue painter's tape.  As I pressed the on button the camera lens extended with a soft whine and then whined again as it retracted. . . and then nothing.  The batteries were dead , and I didn't bring spare batteries and it was at least 30 miles back to the town of Ojai.  Fortunately Camille had her phone with her so she kindly snapped all of the photos of the Maricopa highway flowers.

photos above and below - little waterfall

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