More Critters in My Florida Backyard

Almost a year ago I wrote a story “Discovering the Critters in My Backyard.” It is about the famous “Burrowing Owl,” the official bird of the city of Cape Coral in Florida, USA. I now live in a new place in Cape Coral which is adjacent to a canal and a new critter has now shown up.

Green Iguana in my Backyard

There are many canals in this community and in them one can routinely see fish jumping and occasionally a larger creature such as a Manatee! Two days ago I discovered a Green Iguana sunning himself on the seawall in my backyard outside the screened pool area.

This story is about the Iguanas which are now found throughout Southwest Florida.

Continue reading “More Critters in My Florida Backyard”

My Blueberry Popsicle Memory

To me it seems that childhood experiences often feel different as I age. By that I am not necessarily referring to things just being relative to my size. More so, I have a realization that memories I have as youngster are often similar, but different, in reality than what I experience in the same circumstances as an adult.

While growing up in Somerset, Pennsylvania, there were always many nearby places of significance to me such as Forbes Field, Carnegie Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, Fort Necessity, our family cabin at the farm, and the Somerset Little League baseball field.

And today there are newer places of significance such as the somber Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville.

Flight 93 Memorial (c)

Just as my perspective of memories has changed somewhat, I am certain that young people visiting these and other places in Western Pennsylvania will see them differently than their memories as they grow older.

One such memory forever etched in my mind appears to be very similar to reality today. My father had a fascination with going to Kooser State Park which is about 15 miles from Somerset. Kooser is located in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, not very far from Seven Springs Resort. Dad loved having outdoor picnics there and occasionally we stayed in a rented rustic cabin in the state park. A blazing fire in the fireplace was always part of going anywhere with my Dad.

Kooser State Park Beach

The park also has a small sandy beach (pictured) which seemed larger in the day. Spooky, dank, smelly outhouses were available to relieve oneself and have since been replaced with more modern facilities. The memory I have most is that the mountain spring water that flowed into the swimming area was on the “Polar Bear plunge” side of cold! I speculated it to be a few degrees above freezing although I am certain it is more.

On exiting the water at Kooser in my younger days, my brother Dave was often light blue as he shivered to shore, reminding me of a blueberry popsicle. The only respite for relief from the cold while in the water was when someone left a warm spot and quickly moved away as to say “not me!”

As interesting as I find this memory and others, I know my readers have similar stories of how they recall experiences from their childhood differently as adults. As in other stories I encourage each of you to document a recollection so your thoughts not only bring a smile to your face but also to others.

My Adventure at “Ford’s Garage”

IMG_2543American industrialist Henry Ford was the founder of the “motor car” company which today bears his name. During the cold winter months in Michigan he lived in his estate in Fort Myers, Florida. Not far from his Winter home is one of a few pub-style automotive restaurants known as “Ford’s Garage.”

Continue reading “My Adventure at “Ford’s Garage””

Splinters in the Dock, My Boating Instruction Experiences

A few months ago while visiting my friend Coconut Pete in Cape Coral, Florida, I decided that I wanted to learn how to operate a motor boat. I also decided that I would tackle this bucket list item on the Florida coast rather than a mountain lake near my apartment in Asheville, North Carolina.

My friend Pete owns a boat. This story is about my adventure learning to captain his twin engine Hurricane.

Continue reading “Splinters in the Dock, My Boating Instruction Experiences”

My Safari Exploits… A Jungle Journey

IMG_2705A few days ago I scoured the mountains surrounding Asheville, North Carolina on safari. Passing by lumbering black bears and the garbage-fattened raccoons, my quarry remained elusive. How could this be in the United States?

The places my quarry always dwelled were void of its presence, without a hint of its flushing past. Yes, the shelves were empty and no toilet paper could be found.

Continue reading “My Safari Exploits… A Jungle Journey”

The Conch Horn Sounds at the Mermaid Parade

Young and Old Dress in Their Costumes 

Even on the darkest of days one can find amusement and a smile in Matlacha Island,  Florida, USA.

I have found little amusements around the world. In Portland, Oregon, “Voodoo Donut” contributes to “America’s Capital of Weird” and in Panhans, Lower Austria, “Nude in the Sauna” creates a totally unexpected surprise.

More Local Onlookers Dressed for the Mermaid Parade

Recently, I have written about Coconut Pete and the Turtle Races which also provides a lot of laughs on Saturday evenings at Bert’s Bar and Grill in Matlacha, Florida.

Yesterday, I ventured to Bert’s to once more watch the turtle races only to find they had been cancelled because across the street the “Parade of Mermaids” was taking place.

This story is about the fun, annual costume contest featuring contestants as well as onlookers in Matlacha.

Continue reading “The Conch Horn Sounds at the Mermaid Parade”

Discovering the Critters in My Backyard

IMG_1395 (1)
Cape Coral Burrowing Owl

As a youngster growing up in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania, seeing “critters” in the backyard such as rabbits, squirrels and occasionally a deer was commonplace. It just seemed to me that almost everyone had critters of some sort in their backyard.

Having traveled many places in the world and observing different animals, I developed an appreciation for the diversity of wildlife on every continent. Few animals are the same around the world. But they certainly are interesting. Everywhere there are new critters to discover and enjoy. This story is about discovering the Cape Coral Burrowing Owl.

Continue reading “Discovering the Critters in My Backyard”

Enjoying Mediocrity with Coconut Pete at the Turtle Races

In the 1960’s there was a popular television series called The Beverly Hillbillies. In it Uncle Jed, a poor mountaineer, lived a peaceful, mediocre life in the mountains before striking it rich one day. That day was when “Texas Tea” bubbled up from his ground when he was shootin’ at some food. On moving to “Californy”, he and his family found a whole new world of swimmin’ pools and movie stars.

IMG_0906Similar to the Hillbillies, my good friend “Coconut Pete” moved to Florida where he found a whole new life in which he could go back in time to a simpler way of living the way Florida used to be.

One of his favorite hangouts is “Bert’s Bar and Grill” in Matlacha where every Saturday evening turtle races are held. This is my story about Coconut Pete’s favorite saying “enjoying mediocrity” and the turtle races at Bert’s.

Continue reading “Enjoying Mediocrity with Coconut Pete at the Turtle Races”

Nurturing Giant Pumpkins – Part IV, The Final Episode

IMG_0848 (3)
Giant Plastic Pumpkin in Hendersonville, NC

Several months ago I began my ongoing tale about the exploits of my brother and several of his neighbors to grow giant pumpkins in their North Carolina neighborhood. This blog story is the final one in the series about the adventures of the pumpkin growers and their gourds.

Continue reading “Nurturing Giant Pumpkins – Part IV, The Final Episode”

A Fireworks Display for My 100th Story

Statue in Mijas Pueblo, Spain

During the past five years I have blogged about my adventures and observations of places, people and their cultures. To my surprise, my stories have been read by people in 73 countries around the world!

The worker statue in Mijas Pueblo in Spain reminds me that most of my stories sprang from adventures and explorations. These adventures began on the side of a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Southern Spain.

This story, my 100th, is like a fireworks display… lighting up the sky with brilliant flashes with loud blasts! It commemorates those stories that I find most enjoyable.

This story is dedicated to those who have encouraged and inspired me to write and to those who read what I have written.

Continue reading “A Fireworks Display for My 100th Story”