Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive ~ Sunday 5/29/16

I went to bed at 11:30 p.m. last night but I couldn't sleep so I went back downstairs and put on an older movie on Amazon Prime, "The Firm", and apparently promptly fell asleep because I don't remember any of it. I woke up at 1:30 a.m. and went to bed. I didn't switch the mattress and continue to be uncomfortable. I think it's because my lower back got used to having the back of the futon to rest against as I sleep on my side and now that I don't have it, I can't get uncomfortable. I would have to put the bed against the wall, but the shape of the room is awkward and if I did that, I would lose wall space for other furniture.  So I might dismantle the futon and take it upstairs. We have two of them anyway. Or maybe I'll go back to sleeping downstairs. We'll see.

No plans for today.  I shall try to accomplish some chores. It might rain this afternoon, one weather app says it might, the other says it won't. It's more humid outside this morning so I think we have a little bit of chance. I forgot to water the garden last night so I'm going to water it now, just in case.  Update: it didn't rain at all.  The weather radio came on at 6 p.m. warning of a several thunderstorm, but that was to the North of us, darn it.

Chores That I would Like to Accomplish This Weekend:
  • Bake chocolate chip pumpkin bread - Done
  • Work on a menu for the week
  • Vacuum fridge coils
  • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
  • Iron
  • Sweep laundry room
  • Finish letter to my great aunt
  • Clip and sort coupons 
  • Caption old pictures that have already been scanned
  • Scan more old pictures
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach to remove mildew
  • Get new potted flowers for the patio
  • File paperwork
  • Enter some Coke codes into MCR
  • Finish painting squirrel sign and assemble it
  • Create spreadsheet to track IRA contributions using ALL our old tax returns
  • Look into fertilizing the raspberries
  • Move the extra veggie "tents" to behind the shed and the peat moss into the small side shed
  • Put the extra edging behind shed
  • Trim weeds alongside berm edging
  • Add more mulch to berm
  • Harvest basil and dry it in dehydrator
  • Research bird feeders at Ace Hardware
  • Connect new propane tank to barbecue and test it
So... I didn't do much of anything in terms of chores but I still have a day left in the weekend... and then the rest of the week. It's not like we ever run out of chores do we?

10:45 a.m.  Received a text from my BFF that she had lost her job.  They can't afford the loss of income but she is upbeat and has started putting feelers with former colleagues.  She had been unhappy at her job anyway so we're both hoping that it's the impetus she needed to go on to bigger and better things, which she deserves.  She used to be an executive, went to a time-sharing position to be able to be with her kids more, lost that job, ended up becoming a receptionist at the school her kids attend so at least she could get them there and back as there isn't a bus available and her husband works in another direction altogether, was given more and more responsibilities, among others the yearbook for the whole school.  She is just a great person, she deserves far better than that and I hope the right employer recognizes it.


  • I had brewed coffee yesterday morning but forgotten to drink it so I'm drinking it this morning.

  • I forgot to mention yesterday that I refilled the hummingbird feeder with the rest of the homemade nectar and fed the candied ants to the lizards and birds.  This morning, the feeder is full of ants again!  I need to see if there's a way to prevent this as I'm wondering if it's bothering the hummingbirds.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards and a few Swagbucks.

  • Dinner tonight will be cheeseburgers and fries. I'll also make a side salad.

  • I uploaded new offers to my CVS app, new digital coupons to my Walgreens account and my Publix digital wallet, and printed just 2 new coupons from Swagbucks.  Still no Kraft BBQ sauce coupons.

  • The newspaper only had one coupon insert today along with a couple of Publix flyers with store coupons on them. I clipped very few coupons.

  • I mixed 1/2 gallon of water to 1/2 gallon of whole milk to stretch it.

  • I reused water to flush the toilet and collected more water in the shower to flush the toilet again at another time.

  • I baked 2 loaves of Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread with the pumpkin purée that I had defrosted yesterday.  I will put one in the freezer (if I can make it fit!).  The purée was made with the carving pumpkins that I had bought last fall.

  • I watched half of "The Firm" on Amazon Prime while eating leftovers for lunch.

  • Mid afternoon, I needed to get out of the house so I asked the kids if they wanted to go for a drive and I was surprised that they said yes.  We stopped by RaceTrac and my son got a free refill with his Sodapalooza cup, and I bought a drink for my daughter. I was still drinking peach herbal tea from home so I didn't get anything.

  • We visited The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive which is free to the public on the weekends. Well, it's always free and it's only opened Friday-Sunday.

  • For dinner, I grilled burgers on the barbecue, along ears of sweet corn.  I also made a salad with spinach, vine tomatoes, black olives and cucumber slices.


  • I watered the vegetable garden for 30 minutes.  The tomato plants that aren't in self watering bins, and the in-ground beans really needed it.  If it weren't for the cost of redoing the bins every couple of years, I might just grow everything in self-watering bins! I should look into making my own out of concrete!  Wouldn't that be something?!

  • Gas and tolls to drive to Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive and then back home again.

  • On the way home we stopped by a new-to-us old-fashioned ice cream shop, Bruster's, and I treated the kids to waffle cones.  I'm not partial to ice cream, but I tasted it and it was indeed delicious. It's ice cream actually made with cream and you can definitely taste the cream.


  • Last night I threw away the bean casserole that no one ate and that had been left on the counter.


  • Watered the garden
  • Made the beds
  • Baked pumpkin bread
  • Clipped coupons
  • Typed a long email in French
  • Cooked dinner
  • Did the dishes


  • I had a cup of generic honey nut cheerios with 0.5 cup of  ~2% milk and some sliced strawberries for breakfast at about 10 a.m.

  • For lunch I had some leftovers from dinner last night: Celentano mini cheese ravioli with just about 1 oz of balsamic pork chop and some zesty stir-fried Brussels sprouts. I also had some fresh pineapple.

  • No exercise for me today but I wore my insoles all day. My foot feels better because I haven't done much.

The kids and I drove the 11-mile Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive.  There were other cars on the drive, which is a narrow stone road meandering alongside the lake and in between marshes and man made canals, but there are plenty of places to pull over and observe so we weren't in each other's way. But boy my car needs a car wash now because it's very dusty. I was surprised by how many birds we saw... I don't know why, I expected that, since it was hot and in the middle of the day, the birds would be hiding? I had neglected to bring my cameras so all the pictures were taken with my phone, and usually by my daughter as most of the action seemed to be on the passenger side!  The phone case makes it very hard to see the display so half the time she or I would be shooting without knowing if we were actually capturing what we wanted, and the zoom isn't great. So the pictures didn't turn out too good. I did use a coloring filter to make them pop a little more :)

Rain in the distance...  a car too.  The speed limit was 10 mph so it took us a little bit over an hour to complete the drive.  We did stop a couple of times but the best birds seemed to always hang out away from the stopping areas so we didn't linger.
Lake Apopka on the left, beyond the marsh

Man made canal alongside the drive
Did we see alligators?  Hmm, yes.  Here is one of them.
And another one...  we saw 5 or 6 of them

Great Egret

Common Moorhen

A pair of Common Moorhens with 3 fluffy babies. I so wanted a closer picture of them but my phone wouldn't zoom farther
than this!

This Florida Softshell Turtle was hurrying to cross the road ahead of us.  Those animals are surprisingly fast!

Hard to tell from the photo, sorry for the grass in the way but those are American Coots

We were mesmerized by this Great Blue Heron's neck... it looked like he had swallowed a branch instead of a snake or something... my daughter thought its neck had been broken. He was not moving, like a statue.

This one had a normal neck.

This is a Little Blue Heron (non breeding adult)

Hard to see but this black and white bird is a Black-necked Stilt

There were tons of Red Winged Blackbirds.  We also saw lots of ospreys but didn't catch them "on film".  

A couple of  bloopers:

I guess he didn't want his picture taken...

My daughter was trying to take a photo of a white ibis flying right in front of the car, but she
pressed the shutter button too fast and only captured its beak! (middle height, left side)

We also saw a lot of Anhingas but I didn't spot any Indigo Buntings, although with the light we had, it would have been hard to realize that's what they were, I think.  I want to go back and bring my digital camera and make lots of stops! My daughter really liked it so she suggested we should go back together and she drives so I can take the pictures.  Smart one.


  1. Your pictures of the wildlife drive look lovely! I don't know if it is due to the color filter you said you used, but, to me, they look like pictures from a National Geographic magazine or picture postcards! Even the bloopers looked good! My favorite pic is of the Blue Heron with the normal neck - love the ripples of the water and the grasses in the foreground. I keep thinking that would make a great jigsaw puzzle! My second favorite is the picture with the common moorhens. :)

    Did you added more items to your weekend to do list?!

    Can you get a body pillow to keep against your back when you sleep? It won't be the same as having the futon back, but it would be something against which to rest and might help you get more comfortable. Even a rolled up quilt might work?

    Hoping you are able to have a better night's rest, tonight.

    1. After I applied the filter, I was thinking that the pictures looked like those cheap postcards that you could buy in the 80s because everything was saturated back then too, LOL. They would have turned out much better had I used my digital camera, I don't know why I didn't bring it along. I need a back-up camera to keep in the car (but then the batteries would always be dead, probably!). So it's a good thing we're planning on going back next weekend. I hope to take much better pictures then.

      I did add more items to my to-do list but I didn't do anything yesterday and I don't feel very motivated today either although a couple of those things involve me getting up right now, taking 5 steps, grabbing 2 or 3 veggie tents and taking them behind Greg's shed. 1 minute task, tops. Hey! 2 cardinals just landed on the feeder next to the tents...

      A body pillow is a great idea, why didn't I think of that? I just gave mine away to my daughter, though. I'll try a rolled up blanket. Thanks, Bless.

  2. What a great driving trail. Those are great photos...better than no photos and certainly better than my photos. I don't own a fancy-dancy camera like yours, but I appreciate that you share your photo logs with us. I enjoy seeing all your photos, even the ones of your own backyard. Your daughter is one smart cookie to suggest she will drive next week.

    1. I'm glad you like traveling with me as I discover new-to-me places around Florida. I feel bad having told a lot of people that I thought Florida was pretty ugly and boring. I just didn't realize all that there was to explore, I guess.

      I'm very pleased that my daughter really enjoyed the drive as well. She was telling me that every time someone said they were "really into the outdoors" she thought it was boring, but yesterday, as we drove together and I pointed out birds and told her what they are, she realized (like me) that there was so much that you missed in your own backyard, so to speak, because you didn't pay attention and didn't know what the fauna and flora was so you didn't take an interest in it. But I think I sparked an interest yesterday and she's really looking forward to going back. I was so thankful that she offered to drive so I could take the pictures because I was thinking that if I went back by myself, I'd be limited to whatever pictures I could take at the stop areas... which weren't necessarily where the birds were hanging out!

  3. I absolutely love your wildlife pictures. I am a bit late looking at these this week. Amazing as always. I have just shown Ben and we said if we make it back to Florida we would love to go to your wildlife park. Xx

    1. How fun would that be! There is much to see beyond the theme parks, much more than I realized and I've lived here for 30 years! If you come back you should go visit Gatorland in Kissimmee. I'll bet Ben would love it (and probably all of your boys too).

      This summer, I want to try and take an air boat ride. I'd like to have my youngest son come along but he claims he's afraid of boats and water. I have to find an angle to entice him to come with me. I think it would be so fun. My daughter went on one with her dad and she said it was great.


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