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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Catching Up on Catching Up

It had been standing there for many years and each time I passed its way I would tell myself; "I have got to get a picture of that before it falls down or is taken down with a chainsaw."

It is the skeletal remains of an old, Florida Slash Pine which rests on a vacant lot overgrown with weeds and brush.  Lately I've noticed the wooden skeleton listing slightly to one side.  How long would it be before someone declares it a hazard and has it taken down?

Fortunately I did, finally, get around to taking a few photos of the old  dead pine.  Unfortunately I have been too preoccupied to do any editing of this photo or, for that matter, any photo that I've downloaded in the past month or so.

The past few weeks I've been busy trying to find venues in which to sell my handcrafted jewelry.  I had several leads and went to check them out only to find that there are soooo many jewelry makers doing the same that every place is booked solid and to the point of bursting at the seams with jewelry.  Many venues have instigated limits as to the ratio of jewelers that they'll accept in a show or fair in order to prevent "over representation" of the craft.  Though disheartened I don't intend to dwell on it. 

I've also been away for the past couple of weeks.  My hubby and I decided we wanted to visit some friends that we've not seen in ages and . . . well if we see these friends why not go a little farther and visit so-and-so, and things just sort of snowballed from there. 
In the end we went through some 12 states and put over 4,600 miles on the little rental car.   We rented a Toyota Camry, it averaged about 36 miles per gallon, even at highway speeds of close to 80 mph (other than the stretch in Texas where the posted speed was 80 mph - there we were driving at about 88 and getting passed like we were sitting on a log) .

Hopefully I can get caught up on things, such as sending out thank you cards and emails and taking care of things that had to slide for the last few weeks,.  But I especially want to get around to visiting some of your wonderful blogs and try to keep my own blog fresher and more up to date. Wish me luck on that last bit.  :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Truths About the Everyday Housewife

Hey !  You!  You with the kids running around the house teasing one another,  shrieking and screaming:  
"Mommy make Ashley  give me back my Superhero Golly-Bog Transformer."
 "Mommy Billie just hit me."
 "But Mommy, Ashley hit me first!"
Yeah I'm talking to you, the one sweeping up Fruit Loops from under the kitchen table.
This is the life of most moms and especially the stay-at-home mom.  This is reality.   A stay-at-home-mom isn't lounging on the sofa watching daytime soaps and nibbling on chocolate bonbons.  She's lugging a 30 pound basket filled with dirty laundry to the washing machine.  Instead of wearing opera length satin gloves she 's wearing elbow length rubber gloves and is scouring out toilets, scrubbing  bathtubs and mopping floors.  

 Most of all she's tired. 

Tired of the cyclic routine that seems endless.   Fix breakfast , wash breakfast dishes, clean-up kitchen.  Fix lunch, wash lunch dishes, clean-up kitchen.  Fix dinner, wash dishes, clean-up kitchen.   Tomorrow do the same thing and the day after that and the day after that and the day after that . . .
In the mornings it's make up the beds . . . in the evening she crashes  into bed, exhausted ... the next morning it's make up the beds again.  Once a week she strips the beads , then makes up the beds with fresh clean sheets and launders  the used sheets,  folds them neatly and puts them in the linen closet so they'll be ready for the next time.  This is repeated weekly;  week after week, month after month, year after year.  The repetitiveness is numbingly monotonous.   There are moments when she'd like to scream or even run away, but she doesn't.  She bears the drudgery out of love and devotion for her family.
 She's not one of those gorgeous, 20 or 30 something  models on TV, posing seductively in a form-fitting, low cut, little black dress telling us that if we used this or that facial cream we too will look years younger, be more radiant and just as beautiful as she is.   While Ms. Beautiful Model  is touting a sixty or seventy dollar bottle of potion that's just one part of a multi-hundred dollar beauty routine,  Stay-at-Home-Mom is worrying about how they're  going to afford their monthly  mortgage payments and also pay for little Timmy or Beth's much needed braces.  It's tough living on  one income.  Yes she could go out and get a paying job but she knows most of her income would go to pay for child care.
As Ms. Beautiful Model 's perfectly manicured hands caress a sensuous  bottle of Firming Lotion, Stay-at-Home-Mom nonchalantly sits on her own hands to hide her chipped nails and ragged cuticles and tries to think of ways to live from one paycheck to the next. 
Do we really need meat this week?  How about a big pot of beans and some cornbread?  Later in the week  I could cook up some rice and add the leftover beans to them, maybe splurge on a head of lettuce and make a salad?  Or I could fix a huge tuna and elbow macaroni casserole.
Always struggling to stretch that paycheck far enough to cover expenses and then, just when she thinks she's  got it made . . . Why the blazes does the car need a set of new tires now ?  What do you mean the washing machine is broken ?   Is it just me or does the refrigerator feel a bit warm inside?   

Sure, I've been there, I know what I'm talking about.   I used to laugh with Phyllis Diller (notice I said with and not at) when she told a joke about how she had 5 children and had her milkman deliver  nine quarts of milk.  Six quarts to drink and three to spill. 
I don't think there was a single day that one of my kids did not tip a glass of milk over and I had to run to get something to sop up the flood of milk with before it ran off the table and onto the floor.  Seems I was never quite fast enough so there was always at least one meal that  required my having  to mop the floor around our kitchen table. 
And living on one income, paycheck to paycheck?   I've been there too and know just where you're at. You get that monthly credit card statement and think; "Just a couple of more payments and we'll have all of last Christmas's gifts paid off."   And then it strikes you, "Oh Dear Lord !  In just a few short months it will be Christmas AGAIN !"
 It's like being on a never-ending merry-go-round.  Round and round we go, like a dog cashing its tail.  Is it any wonder that we have those annoying  little lines at the corner of our eyes or those furrowed creases across our forehead?
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