Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Friends of all sorts and that haircut

Wednesday & Thursday
February 26 & 27, 2014
Blue Springs State Park
Orange City, Florida




It is a foggy morning at Blue Springs. 

The air is full of water and the rain seems only seconds away.  David is getting ready to go into DeLand to get his monthly blood draws and to get his hair cut.  This may be the first none home haircut he’s had in over 30 years.   I have always cut his hair.  It was wavy and soft and easy to cut.  After his stem cell transplant his hair grew back with a very different texture.  It was more coarse and frizzy.  When he decided he wanted it cut, I was afraid to try it since I knew he didn’t really want to cut his hair at all but it had become too difficult to take care of.  So off to the Hair Cuttery he will go.

He is getting ready to leave, this is always a long process, when I go down for my morning walk along the spring run.  Fog always makes familiar places and things seem eerie.


The walk from the campground to the spring run.DSCF7847



The spring run at the mouth of the St. John’s RiverDSCF7854




Looking up the spring run toward the spring.DSCF7862





But fog or no fog, a guy’s gotta eat.  He just may have to look more closely to see the dinner.DSCF7897




The manatee too are very hard to see in the fog. 

The spring water is dark in the fog so unless they come very close to the surface I can not see them.The ranger I ask says he counted eight manatee today but the only two I see are Pixie with her tracking device and a friend.  You can see the tracking device here.  She tows it after her.  It is attached just above her tail with a soft band.  It is not “heavy” and goes beneath the water if she goes far down.  It looks like a giant bobber.




While I’m watching Pixie and friend, I hear what I recognize as pileated woodpecker calls off to my left.  I find there are two birds and they don’t seem to be drilling a hole for a nest but rather just throwing the bark off the limbs of a live oak near the boardwalk.  Looking for breakfast I assume. Their rapid fire motion makes it nearly impossible to get photos of them at least with my camera.   But they are so much fun to watch.   They do rapid fire hammering.  So fast you almost can’t see it.  And then they throw their head to one side or the other as if looking to make sure no one is observing them.   Back to drilling, throw the head to the other side.  I love watching these giant, easy to spot woodpeckers with their jungle like call.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to call them all Woody.  At the farm we had a resident pair that often hung out in the trees in our backyard.  It’s like seeing old friends.




So fast the camera can’t catch it either.DSCF7882









The sprinkles start before I get back to Winnona.


It isn’t long before the rain pours down.  It continues all day.  David returns from DeLand and takes some “after” pictures to go with the “before” shots.  He took the before in the early morning with no interior lighting.  The after shot has to be taken with the interior lighting.  It’s too dark not to.  So even though it is the same shirt, it doesn’t look the same color.  Perhaps the “antique” look gives the wild hair a bit of an advantage.

He doesn’t like the haircut. He knew he wouldn’t  Too short.  It had just gotten to be too much trouble to take care of.  I do think the before picture is about as good as that uncontrollable hair ever looked. With a hat on he often looked like Bozo. I have to agree that it is too short.  But I think at least I will like it in a week or so.   How about you?  Want to vote for which David you prefer?








I have the answer for what to do when it rains, visit with friends.



I rained yesterday afternoon, all evening, all night is raining when I get up.  So I give up my morning walk for the first time this visit.Hope the manatee won’t miss me.

We laze around and have a delicious pancake breakfast.   In the afternoon just as we are about to leave, the rain quits.  We are off to a Seafood Shack that had been recommended to me by some local folks and is about half way between us and Laurie and George Owen.  

We met Laurie and George at two early RV Dreams Rallies and have been keeping up with each other ever since.  We had just bought Winnona and she was on her maiden voyage at the first rally.  We had just gone full time for the second one.   Laurie and George were engaged to be married and buying their RV for future full timing in the future.  They had a few of those life events that propel folks in things earlier than they planned but they seem very happy about it all now and are currently work camping in the Ocala National Forest before moving on in April to work camp at the Thurmond COE campground in South Carolina.  Then in September they will begin their first stint at Amazon taking care of everyone’s holiday orders.   These guys are really well organized.  I still have no idea where we will be on May day this year.

We have a wonderful time talking with them about all things RV, everyone’s future plans, the state of the world and medical care among other things.   The food turns out to all be deep fried in the same batter so that my onion rings and oysters taste about the same.  That is a disappointment but the company is not and we hang around for several hours before finally saying “see you later”.   I’m sure we will too.    We both said we would get the waitress to take a picture of the 4 of us but we were so busy having a good time that everyone forgot.   Thanks to David for taking this one just after we arrived.   And thanks to Laurie and George for a fun afternoon.  You guys are officially the first people to see the “new” David in person!! Smile



The Rest of the Story

Tuesday February 25, 2014
Blue Spring State Park
Orange City, Florida



Remember those 433 pictures I told you about yesterday in my post about the morning?


Well here is the afternoon part of the story.



We put the kayaks in at the Blue Springs boat ramp which is beyond the end of the spring run and the tour boat dock.  It is just a lazy paddle on a lovely afternoon.  No destination in mind.  We turn left out of the boat ramp in the St. John’s River and paddle just a small distance to what is known as the lagoon.  Sometimes there are manatees there feeding.  Not today but there are many other things to hold our interest including the beautiful day itself.








I admit, I get a little fixated with this Snowy Egret. 


David is paddling all around the lagoon while I’m sitting right here watching the antics of this beautiful bird.  At this point the wind hasn’t picked up so it isn’t difficult to stay in one place.















Is he talking to me?







Eventually I move on join David in circling the lagoon.







I move around to the other side of the lagoon and get fixated again on this little composite band.  The leader is the Great Egret, his followers 2 adult and one juvenile white Ibis and one lone moorhen.   Like the Snowy Egret they let me float my boat very close to the shore as long as I don’t move – hold the camera to your eye and no paddling.











Further on down the shore a great egret is hanging out with some coots.







I think spring has sprung here.  I’m seeing lots of pairs of birds today including these hawks giving each other the eye.








We’ve made the circle of the lagoon and I find this anhinga on a branch near the mouth where the lagoon joins the river.  Look at that eye.






Around the corner and back passed the boat dock we go. 


Black vultures are drying their wings.  I’m used to seeing cormorants and anhingas doing this but I had no idea that the vultures had golden tipped wings.  Maybe they aren’t drying their wings, maybe spring has them displaying for each other.  I don’t know.





After we pass the boat launch, we pull over at the roped off mouth of the spring where people are gathered often during the day in order to see the manatee and perhaps have them swim under a boat on their way out of the spring.  No luck today.  I’m pretty sure all the manatee are already out feeding.






Some nice digs, but even so, I wouldn’t trade my wheels.


As we round the bend in the river and head in the direction of Hontoon Island, I spy this piece of park property.  I wonder if it is the park manager who is the lucky ducky that gets to live in this little river front spot.  The sign says park boundary no tresspassing just to the right of the dock.   




A little blue heron is concentrating on his fishing at the base of the seawall.  I am able to get ridiculously close to him too.  This is the thing I love most about kayaking.  If I just float along and don’t paddle, very often the birds pay me no mind at all.








David didn’t stop as long to look for manatee as I did and he is further up the river. 


We aren’t going as far as  Hontoon Island today.  I want to have an entire day to do that paddle and some hiking in the state park there.   I find him waiting for me under the speed limit sign.   These are posted all along the river in this area.  Most but not all boaters pay attention to them.  Sadly the majority of manatee deaths and injuries are due to blunt trauma with a boat hull.  The scars you see on their back are from cuts, some quite serious, from the boat propeller.






While waiting patiently :-)  he takes these two pictures to share with me and now with you.  Pretty good entry in the kingfisher contest. 






I get side tracked yet again.

We make a left hand turn off of the river and down a meander which goes in a loop and rejoins the river back down nearer the boat dock.  I’m not sure why David waits for me since once again  I  get stuck.  This time in a smaller lagoon watching the turtles and spying the coot.  He looks so cute there.  










How about this trick?




When I get back on track and start down the waterway David is on, I find him sitting in a gorgeous setting among the cypress trees which he loves.







Now this stop is even more wonderful and really fascinating.

I’m still behind him as we approach these two spanish moss draped trees where again I get way laid by two Great Heron love birds.  Look high up in the tree nearest the water.  They are the two dots you see.







The trees are gorgeous and make a lovely setting for the soon to be heron rookery.









At first there is only one bird.  Then the second, probably the male, flies in and begins to do his flashy stuff.   He flies off and comes back several times.  She waits.











She must have given him the go ahead because the next time he flies off and comes back he has nesting material in his mouth.




The two I have been watching are in the top of the tree.  At first I think the nest below them is theirs.  But then I see a third heron fly in, go to that nest and stick its head down in as though it might be feeding some young or perhaps just working on the inside.









This is my pair of love birds.  If you look closely you can see the material he has brought back and is carefully placing as the start of the nest.  Look at the very tip of his bill and the clearly cut off end of the branch he is trying to place.




My arms are telling me it’s time to be on my way.


This is fascinating.  Unfortunately my arms are getting tired from holding my camera and binoculars face up for so long and the afternoon is waning so it’s time to go catch up with David who has come back to see what could have happened to me this time.  


A little further along, I see this anhinga drying his wings.  His hair looks like perhaps he is a young bird or he’s had a rough swim of it today.  Just look at those eyes.   They are so striking you can even see them in the picture of him drying his wings.











I take these last few pictures just before we are back in the river.
What a great day it has been for doing some paddling and a lot of watching.












We do finally get back to the dock where we tie the boats up awaiting their next trip onto the St. John’s.  Two days of rain are predicted so a paddle up to Hontoon Island State Park will be postponed.  Today has been a stunning afternoon on the water and I hope you’ve gotten a good sense of the amazing beauty without having to look at all 433 pictures.   What were your favorites of the ones I chose for the rest of today’s story?