So, what did we do to while away our time this past month? Well, doctor appointments for the first thing; dentist, dermatologist, optometrist for us, podiatrist, diabetes eye specialist and kidney doctors for my mom, and a trip down to Orlando for Al's sister Sue for her cardiac surgeon follow-up ( She's doing really well!) The veterinarian for the pups' annual visit rounded out the medical appointments. Whew!
Several items also needed doing for my mother this month as well, besides medical needs. She needs a new walk-in shower installed in her bathroom, so we've been getting that all in place. Not knowing any contractors down here, I decided the safest course of action was to go to Lowes over in Inverness, so after several meetings we've got that set and the work will be completed before we leave on 4/21. The other biggie was getting her legal papers in order, so we've had a meeting with an elder-care lawyer and that should be finished by the end of this coming week. See, real life does not end when you decide to pursue your dreams and take to the open road!
We've had several visits this month as well. We had lunch one day with co-workers from Bar Harbor, Flo Ann and Cliff. We drove over to Rainbow Springs one day and had a nice sit and chat with David and Sherry, after missing each other all winter. Friends from New York showed up on our doorstep as well: Jim and Judy stopped on their way back to Titusville from Dallas and showed of his classic hotrod that he's been working on!
If I have it right, its a 1931 Roadster.
Jim even took Sue for a spin..along with her bypass pillow :-).
The first week of March was Al's golf marathon, when our friend Ed comes down from New York and they spend the week playing golf. There are many many golf courses in the area, and they have a great time. Al doesn't do too badly either, considering it's the only time each year he plays!
Right after Ed left, we planned to take the coach down to Jonathan Dickinson State Park for two nights as our good friend and financial advisor Mark and his family were visiting in Jupiter. However, as we know how plans can go awry, we made it as far as Inverness (20 minutes after we started out) when the truck decided to die on us. As those of you with diesels know, all of a sudden an alarm starts binging, and the engine goes into "limp mode" and says "stop safely". Yeah right, on a state highway in the middle of a town in the left lane and no shoulders. Stop safely my foot! Fortunately one kind soul let us move over to the right, and we just made it onto a side road and pulled over before it shut down irrevocably. Good Sam Roadside Assistance came to the rescue, although we did have to wait about two hours until a towtruck large enough to handle the truck and trailer was available. We were towed to Nick Nicholas Ford in Inverness in short order, and they were able to diagnose and repair the problem while we waited.( a sensor went bad and the computer shuts down the engine to prevent engine damage. Lovely thought, not so nice when towing a 40 foot trailer behind you!). It was 6PM though by this time, and still had a four hour drive ahead of us, so we opted just to go back home for the night. We did still have our visit with Mark and his family, but we made a daytrip out of it instead.
We went to the Lakeland Center one night and saw Bill Cosby. It was an extremely enjoyable night, with good clean family comedy. A refreshing change now-a-days! And Al and I had our first experience dining at The Golden Corral!
So, you're probably wondering where's some pictures? One of the fun adventures we had this month was participating in some programs with the Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. They have it each winter at the end of March and have dozens of talks, events and walks to take part in. I thought it sounded fun even though we aren't avid birders, and signed us up for 3 different functions. We did a scrub-jay walk, and got to see the famous Florida scrub jays.
We drove to Half Moon Wildlife Management Area in Inverness, where three families of scrub jays are found. Scrub jays are classified as a threatened species, and their favorite habitat, the scrub oak communities are under continual threat of development.
Our guide coaxed them in, first using bird calls, and when that failed, she blew the car horn! They are bold and curious birds, and come to see who is intruding on their turf.
Peanuts don't hurt either :-). The FWC bands and tracks these birds, which is why they have bands on their legs. They are not prevented from leaving if they wish, though.
They are very pretty, and I was glad I had the opportunity to see them and take pictures. It was also very interesting and informative to go out with guides and serious birders. Wow, the binoculars and scopes they had were amazing.
Two other events we did was a talk about bats at the Chinsegut Conservation Center in Brooksville. They have several bat boxes on property and after the talk they led us out to watch the bats fly out as the sun set. It was really neat, but not good for picture taking. I did find pictures and a video of it here if you'd like to take a look. A bat box that size will hold about 1100-1200 of the Brazilion Freestyle Bats that are found here. That's a lot of bats!
I have no pictures, but we went on an early morning walk to find Burrowing Owls. We found one sitting on a post, but my camera equipment was completely unable to pick up anything distinguishable Again, looking through the ranger's spotting scopes was amazing. I swear you could see a flea on the bird, it was so powerful! We also saw many many life birds, which for us is easy, as we really don't know anything :-). They all seemed excited about seeing the Grasshopper Sparrow, so I guess that was a big deal :-). the most interesting spot we went to was the Brooksville Wastewater Management Facility; there were all kinds of migrating shorebirds in the outdoor ponds. People driving by were slowing down, probably wondering what the crazy people were looking at through the chain fence :-).
My last event I participated in was a photo shoot at the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. Al was working, so I thought I would go and gather some tips on taking photos of the birds. It was fun and I had a good time talking to more experienced photographers. Even though the birds were pretty much a captive audience, I think I took some good pictures, and here they are for your viewing pleasure.
Juvenile blue herons
The alligators were quite active that morning and were doing their croc roars!
The river otters were playful also
I love wood ducks
For some reason this egret liked showing off his armpit :-)
juvenile pelican stretching his wings
a very crabby night heron...he was squabbling with an osprey that is out of the picture
I don't remember what type of owls these are, but they are a pair of cuties.
So, that was March. A lot of real life, and we manged to find some fun in between as well. We have a little more than three weeks left before setting out on our trek west to our summer positions, and I've spent much time working on that as well. this is getting pretty long, though, so I'll leave the travel plans for next time!