Sunday, January 8, 2012

2011 ends in Florida

View of the saw grass glades from the top of the levy at the edge of civilisation in Weston Florida
Keith and I had the good fortune to get a week in Florida for Christmas from my Mom and with his help I got to fly down and stay a week in a very nice time share apartment. We for the first time in our 13 years together spent new year's eve in a different place. It was great fun seeing bright sunshine warm temperatures and fireworks mixed with holiday lights on palm trees and balconies. I also acquired a new Kodak point and shoot camera from him for the trip and future documentation of our creative projects. I used it down in Florida and brought back several hundred images of the cool stuff we saw and experienced on our visit. I don't want to show them all in one post because I am still editing them and it's too many so I will begin with the sketches and location shots of our first couple days.

We arrived in the afternoon after getting up very early to meet the requirement to be screened early for the flight out of National Airport in Washington DC. We picked up a rental car from Enterprise after a lengthy ride in a cab out into the city of Fort Lauderdale.
It was a nice little Dodge and then ventured to find our home for the week in Weston at the intersection of Alligator Alley and the Vacation Village complex of 20 plus time share buildings right on the edge of the Saw grass region of the everglades. This entire area was stolen to make space for new construction from the natural shallow waterway of the grass covered everglades and is subsequently under a 99 year moratorium on new building as the nation tries to restore the water flow of the glades. It was filled with lakes and ponds and canals of water going along all the roads. The Levy we visited and saw from the air as we flew out and over the airport before landing. It was exciting to see where we were headed from the air before we drove there. We went grocery shopping and found registration eventually and got to our 4th floor unit by about sunset. The first night we unpacked and made dinner and got settled in and fell asleep pretty early.
Keith caught in caught in the headlights with the rental car he drove us around Florida in and a branch he found of dried leaves. 

Living room area with door to the deck that faced east. Internet connection was important to allow Keith to keep posting photos of his daily ikebana arrangements on the 365 days of ikebana. 

Giant King sized bed we had in the bedroom with a door to the deck 

view of the Vacation Village Heron II building and our pool. Our Heron I building looked the same as this one 
Keith collected some flowers from the hedges around the community for his ikebana 

I sketched the flowers he brought in in the glass of water on the table

Jasmine flowering was my first sketch of the trip

I took along a new panel of crazy quilt to embroider on the trip.

sketch of flowers and lily pods all from the time share gardens

delicious pears we at as desert with a galette each night

sketch with dried leaves and pod found on walks in Keith's ikebana 
Then on the second day we went exploring right in the area. I noticed on the map a state park across the highway from our development called Markham park. It was a 5 minute drive from our apartment and we wanted to get out and take a nice walk somewhere besides the long heavily landscaped boulevards of the community. As luck would have it the park was on the edge of the Saw grass glades and backed up to the 30-50 foot tall levy that keeps the flood waters out of the city. We got in for $3.00 and asked where we could walk and were sent to the "nature walk" area next to the levy which was planted with native plants and flowers and was "safe" but told to be very cautious if we went outside the park because wild life was everywhere. Alligators and snakes and scorpions... and the park couldn't be responsible if we got hurt or eaten. So we watched our step very carefully. The view didn't look very interesting but on closer inspection we discovered thousands of tiny flowers and lots of beautiful orange mostly butterflies! Birds and no snakes or gators. We spent a couple hours in the sun enjoying taking photos and walking and just soaking up the 81ºF afternoon sun. The trail was mowed and about 4 feet wide and the levy had a big gravel road on top and the sides were trimmed so we could see down into the watery saw grass areas and back to the other side where there was a canal and campers at it's edge.
orange butterfly on a wild flower 

the trail through the nature walk area was well mowed and the shrubbery was about 3-5 feet tall on either side. 

beautiful tiny wild red tassel flower 

water level ruler at the canal by some control equipment and a cross over to get to the levy beyond. 

Egret on the edge of the canal across from the camping area. We saw it from the top of the levy.

White egret on the edge of the canal didn't mind us 15 feet away

bright sunshine made it hard not to squint at the camera but what a view! 

saw grass and water lilies in the shallow waters with a few cattails  on the edge we learned later cattails are not native to this area and are considered invasive plants that crowd out natives...

tiny black butterfly wasn't bigger than my thumb nail

honey bees were collecting 

butterfly on a red wild tassel flower 
There were so many butterflies and they were flitting around these white wildflowers it was hard to catch them still because they didn't tarry long on any one flower. Getting close was essential because from a distance they just blended into the scenery of green and white with dots of color. The bright sunlight made it hard to see them without careful attention. It was a great way to begin our vacation out in nature and away from the noise and city life we normally lead. Warm weather and the breezes of soft fresh air and all that at the edge of civilization safe in a great little state park. It was a magical way to being the visit and then after dark we found the movie we have been waiting to see. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. We ate and went to see it for New Years Eve. Got home before all the excitement of the last minutes of 2011 and shared a nice supper with sparkling cider.


Sujata said...

Happy New Year!
I can look at your sketches and water color forever!
You are so talented!

Frederick said...

Thanks Sujata! Happy new year to you and your quilting family I think this is going to be a great year!