You guys... it's 4:34 p.m. and I'm finally sitting down to type today's recap! I have so many pictures to share :) It's been a great day and I hope yours was as well.
I got up at 6:46 a.m. Why 6:46?! Because my alarm rang at 6:45 a.m. and after I turned it off, I layed in bed thinking "I'm not going fishing. I'm going to stay in bed and sleep in!" because I hadn't gone to bed until 2:00 a.m.! But a minute later, I thought about all the fun I had yesterday so I got up anyway.
Greg and I went fishing (see at the end of the post). Well, he fished and I collected all the trash that I could see (I had brought a trash bag and a kitchen glove) and took photos of fauna and flora, as usual.
We got back at about 10:30 a.m. I recharged my camera batteries and watered the garden while they were charging, had lunch, and then my daughter and I left for our Lake Apopka Wilderness Drive. I had wanted to go to the Emeralda Marsh Wilderness Drive instead since I didn't know that one, but I'm glad I looked up another site for the actual address because I came across a press release dated April 2016 that stated that the marsh would be closed for renovations during all of 2016! It would have been a 45 minute drive to it that would have left me very disappointed!
My daughter drove my SUV so I could take all the pictures that I wanted. Remember how the speed limit is 10 mph and it's an 11-mile drive? We stopped so many times that it actually took us over 2 hours to complete the drive! We had such a good time and got to see cool stuff, and almost all of it is documented at the end of this post as well. Almost all of it, as I was too slow to capture some of the action at times, which is frustrating but I'm not a National Geographic Wildlife Photographer, after all!
As we started driving home, Greg texted me that he and our son were going to Dick's Sporting Goods to look at fishing and archery stuff so I texted back that I had a $10 off $50 coupon for Dick's with me and offered for them to meet us at Bruster's Ice Cream so we could all have a snack and I could give them the coupon. So we did that. It worked out great because I was going to use a BOGO waffle cone coupon so I was going to have to eat a cone of ice cream and I really shouldn't, so since Greg and our son were there, I got the BOGO cones for the kids and bought Greg a "stand alone" waffle cone and I just took a small bite from everybody else's cone :)
So now it's that late and I'm pooped and I still have to recap my day, post all the pictures, cook dinner... lol. We'll see if this actually gets posted tonight!
- I had several coupon inserts in the Sunday paper (I paid just 1 cent for a 1 year subscription to the Orlando Sentinel).
- There's another magazine available for me to read for free via my library/Zinio... more recipes? I need to keep this for when I'm finally back to a better weight!
|"Grocery bills: are you normal?" ?! Hmm no, no I'm not!|
- Greg and I had breakfast at home: he made us PBJs because I didn't feel like cooking anything and he didn't want to either!
- I brought along the picnic that I had prepared for yesterday's fishing trip... but once again we got home before lunch so we didn't eat it!
- We stopped by RaceTrac and got free drink refills for our expedition. We brought our son's cup along so Greg got 2 Diet Dr.Pepper refills for himself, and I got a Diet Mountain Dew for myself, as a change. I redeemed a survey reward code for a free blueberry muffin, and we shared it later on, on the way home.
- Greg caught a huge large mouth bass! Well, it looked huge to us: 18 inches and 2.5 lbs! He cleaned it and I will cook it for dinner. I'm counting it as 2 fishes since it was heavy, so now he only needs to catch 6 more fishes in a year for us to break even on the fishing license.
|Well, what can I say? He didn't go to fish cutting school :) It still was a lot more fish than it looks. I should have cooked only half of it and frozen the rest...|
- While he was fishing, I uploaded new offers to SavingStar and also new coupons to my CVS app (it's good that there is indeed cell phone service at the pond!).
- We stopped by RaceTrac again on the way home, got more free refills for us and a free frozen drink refill for our son, and I redeemed another survey reward code for a free Monterey Chicken Hot Roller Grill item for our son's lunch.
- For lunch, Greg cooked his squirrel that he had "harvested" yesterday. As for me, I had the sandwich that I had packed yesterday morning and other things.
- I reused some rain water to water a couple of potted plants, and refilled the jugs with water collected in a bin at the leaky garden faucet (it only leaks when it's on).
- I washed the older cats' litter box and finished a cat litter jug by changing their litter, so I saved the jug to refill it with rain water at a later time.
- My daughter and I didn't take the toll roads to come home.
- We stopped by RaceTrac to get a free refill for me. My daughter was going to use her June free 32 oz drink coupon from her app, but when she checked, the coupon hadn't appeared in her app yet; I bought her a drink and had them scan my loyalty number so I earned the points and received a receipt with a survey to earn another freebie :)
- I used one of the BOGO coupon I found yesterday at Bruster's today. The attendant asked me if I had a loyalty card and since I didn't, he gave me one. You get a punch for each item that you buy, and after 9 punches, you get a free small cone. So he punched it 3 times for today's visit, and when I mentioned that I had bought 2 cones last week, he gave me 2 more punches (I had just put $1 in the tip jar so I think he was being more accommodating because of that!). So we already have 5 punches and I still have 2 more BOGO coupons.
- At Dick's, Greg ended up only buying hooks and fishing weights so it was pretty cheap (less than $4.00) and he presented my loyalty card so we earned a few more loyalty points. He returned the $10 off coupon to me.
- He got gas for his truck so I have another receipt with which to take a survey and earn a freebie!
- For dinner, Greg and shared the bass that he fished today (I breaded and pan fried it with some Cajun Seasoning) and I cooked more pasta because the kids want pasta and meatballs. I also reheated the broccoli that Greg had taken to work by mistake on Friday, but none of us were in the mood for broccoli so it's going back in the fridge.
- It rained tonight, finally. Not a ton of rain, but it's something.
- Gas to get to the fishing pond and back and then to go to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive and back and for Greg to go to Clermont and back! Good thing we met our "No Drive Days" goal earlier this year!
- Water to water the vegetable garden and refill the self-watering bins. We're supposed to get big storms today but I'm glad I watered anyway because Greg said it was pouring about 1/4 mile away from our house when he got back from Dick's, but we got maybe 3 drops at our house!
- My daughter and I took the toll roads to get to Lake Apopka Wilderness Drive.
- I bought her a 32 oz fountain drink at RaceTrac since she didn't have the freebie coupon on her app.
- We got ice cream (well, I didn't) at Bruster's.
- Greg bought more fishing hooks and weights.
- Bath & Body Works is having their semi-annual sale and my local store is open... oh this is bad! I'm going to stop by this week and get their Lilacs candle as a treat for myself because it's going to be 50% off and I won't have to pay for shipping. Yay!
- Hmm, I don't think we had any?
- Repacked a picnic
- Picked up trash at the fishing pond
- Refilled the hummingbird feeder
- Refilled the bird feeder
- Watered the garden
- Cooked dinner
- I had a PBJ for breakfast
- Mid-morning snack was about 1/2 a blueberry muffin (a large one)
- For lunch I had a turkey and cheese sandwich, 1/2 cup of Southern-style potato salad from Publix and a cup of grapes.
- For mid-afternoon snack, I had a small bite of 3 different ice cream cones and 1/4 of a chocolate castlette baked by my daughter yesterday.
- I didn't exercise (save walking a little in the forest this morning) and I didn't log my food intake today. I'll start again tomorrow. I'm still wearing my insoles but not when I'm at home.
I had a big day today!
So we went back to Rebels Pond again. We left earlier today and got there at about 7:45 a.m. We didn't see the turkeys, probably because I was indeed ready this morning to snap their picture should they be on the path. They are contrary birds!
When we got to the parking area, we were delighted to find ourselves the only ones there again. Greg decided to try fishing from the "small spot", where I had seen the gator yesterday. It was still there but Greg wanted to try that spot anyway. I decided not to set camp there, lest the gator decide to charge (it could happen!), so I kept myself occupied by collecting the trash that other people had left there (I had brought a large trash bag and a glove so I could do this) and I also walked a little in the forest bordering the pond and took some photos of plants.
|Wild Bachelor's Button|
|Wild Bachelor's Buttons|
|Wild blueberries (I wish I had found a whole patch of them!)|
|Our friend the gator|
|View from the "small fishing spot"|
|I think this is Mexican Primerosewillow|
After a short while, Greg texted me (I was right behind him but he thought I was further away) that he was moving to the other spot on the other side of the pond. I trailed behind him as I was taking more photos, and when he got to the access road, he spotted a deer standing there! He texted me to alert me and tried taking a picture with his phone but it's pretty blurry. The deer was gone by the time I got there. Poop.
|Doe (a deer, a female deer!)|
|Picking up trash. I left with most of the large trash bag full!|
|I wondered what bird had lost this feather...|
|Same unknown kind of flower as yesterday but this one had a seed pod attached to it.|
|Fruit of the Sweetgum|
|Yellow Meadow Beauty? (not sure)|
|I wonder if this is Sky-blue Lupine?|
|Could be Yellow Vigna...|
|A mushroom of some kind...|
|Darn, that water hyacinth IS invasive! Here is started growing on land and then expanded into the pond.|
|I'm not sure what this is. Will come back to update if I ever find out!|
|This trumpet vine blossom feel to the bottom of a pine tree and looks like it's growing right off the ground!|
When I got back to the pond, I immediately noticed that Greg was struggling with a fish! Woohoo! It was a large one indeed and he reeled in an 18-inch, 2.5-lb large mouth bass! We were so excited, lol. I rushed back to the truck to get the cooler that I had brought along while he took care of the fish. We spent more time at the pond after that but he didn't get another one, and the reel soon became all tangled so we decided to go home. I think it was about 9:45 a.m. when we left, and we were happy to realize that we still had the whole day ahead of us!
|There was some weed stuck to it.|
|Mexican Primerosewillow (?)|
|My expert in forestry daughter tells me this is probably from a longleaf pine tree|
|And this might be from a sand pine. I'm told I should have looked at the needles because that's really how you distinguish between all the different pines.|
|I don't know what those are but they reminded me of coriander!|
|Found this snake skeleton in the forest, the ribs were pretty long, which means the snake was kind of chunky... then suddenly I thought that maybe I shouldn't be standing there in my sneakers...|
|A flock of... egrets, probably?|
|So relaxing... although today was noticeably muggier than yesterday.|
|I spotted a trumpet vine on a tree on the other side of the pond.|
|Lonely Common Moorhen.|
|Same bird, he followed me and came to perch in a pine very close to me... and was staring!|
|Possibly Saltmarsh Fleabane (also known as Camphor Weed)?|
|Fine-Leaved White-Top Sedge|
|Don't know what this is, but I thought it looked interesting...|
On the way home, I asked him to take a small road that I had noticed ran parallel to SR 50, CR 719. It ended up taking us all the way to the top of the General Van Fleet trail and we enjoyed the drive on this tiny countryside road, bordered by trees on both sides. I thought it was much nicer than very busy SR 50, even though we were just a few feet away.
I took a few pictures of my garden as I watered it, mid-day.
|Another jalapeño plant|
|Baby serrano pepper plants that grew from the peppers I had left there to decompose|
|I have 4 such Ichiban eggplants growing right now. I'm never really sure of when I should harvest them!|
|Supersweet 100 tomatoes ripening (plant from last Fall)|
|Sigh, I need to harvest the lettuce before it all starts bolting. Oh,too late, one of them is already bolting!|
|I don't know what happened to some those Supersweet 100 tomato plants: the tomatoes are double the size of the others!|
|First okra flower of the season|
|The bush bean plants in the self-watering bins are looking very healthy|
|You can't really tell but my peanut plants are looking awesome under my screened area!|
|My pineapple empire! They appear bigger than they actually are, though.|
|This is my okra patch. I'm disappointed that not all the seeds germinated.|
|This is one of my mint pots. The mint was just about cooked! I watered it thoroughly. I hope it comes back!|
|The verbena is doing splendidly, though. This is their 3rd summer... they've bloomed continuously since we got them in April 2014!|
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive
This afternoon my daughter and I went back to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. As she had offered, she drove my SUV so I could concentrate on taking pictures. We actually took 2 hours to drive it, as we stopped very often. On several occasions we stopped to let the cars that were trailing us pass us. We saw a lot of the same sights as last week, although this week I was pretty unlucky in photographing the gators because they would all go underwater as soon as we approached in the car.
We saw tons of ospreys and every single one of them was dining on a large fish that they had caught!
I think that the most excitement that we had was when we spotted a heron catch a HUGE black snake and dine on it. Unfortunately, it was partly hidden by some grass and we had a couple of cars right on our bumper as we tried to take pictures and film it (at that point there wasn't a proper area to stop so we were blocking the roadway). Arrgh. That snake was as thick as my arm, no joking. And the bird gulped it down!
Warning: I didn't post all the pictures that I took but I still couldn't pick between several heron pictures, anhinga pictures, etc... so there will be a lot of repeats, but they're all of different birds.
|Great Blue Heron|
|Great Blue Heron|
|Common moorhen family!|
|Look at the babies up close... they are so fuzzy!|
|A flock of... immature Little Blue Herons? (or great white egrets, not sure, they were far away!)|
|I think this is a molting juvenile Little Blue Heron|
|Glossy Ibis with its baby|
|Female anhinga. I like their two-tone coloring!|
|This Great Blue Heron thought he was the toll taker or something...|
|Osprey enjoying a fish dinner atop a power pole|
|Yes, I know, another Great Blue Heron!|
|Aaaaand another osprey enjoying a fish dinner atop a power pole!|
|I think those might be American Coot juveniles|
|Hmmm, now what could this be?!|
|Baby Common Moorhen|
|Yet another osprey eating its fish atop a power pole!|
|Aargh, you can't really tell but here? he's in the process of swallowing it whole! It might have been a Cottonmouth. (poisonous and its bite can be fatal).|
|One of the canals|
|I couldn't decide if those were the alligator's nostrils or its eyes (and he's sleeping)... but I just realized that I'm looking at the alligator's head from behind! So those are his eyes but the back of them, and the part at the top is its snout.|
|White ibis (juvenile)|
|Double-Created Cormorants (immature)|
|Oooh, a Great Blue Heron AND an Anhinga in the same picture!|
|You know what this post needs more of? Great Blue Herons.|
|I don't know what this bird is. It's driving me nuts.|
|Rainstorm on the horizon|
|and its baby|
If you liked my pictures (thank you), you'll LOVE this lady's pictures of Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (the name of the blog is CatAndTurtle). I just found her blog while looking for the name of a bird that I had seen at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive and she so happened to have been there last month. Her pictures are pretty amazing... of course her camera might just be wayyyyyy fancier than mine. I really have camera envy now :)