Saturday, August 13, 2016

Revisiting Revels' Pond ~ Saturday 8/13/16

This getting up at 6:15 a.m. and exercising during the day business is working: I'm sleeping well at night!  I fell asleep before 10 p.m. last night and slept until 8 a.m.!

Greg had said he was going fishing this morning but he was still in bed when I got up. I brewed coffee, got on my laptop and earned some Swagbucks, and when he got up at 9 a.m. he announced that he was going fishing anyway, so I decided to go with him.

The kids were still in bed so we left them a note, had a PBJ for breakfast, and headed out to Revels' Pond in the Richloam Management Area in Sumter County.  It's about 20 minutes away from our house and where Greg fishes all the time.  I didn't want to fish, just sit and read my book or perhaps take pictures.  In the end, I just walked around the whole time and took pictures of flowers and bugs. No birds :(  I'm posting them in the "Nature" section.  I took most pictures with  point and shoot camera and some with my dSLR, although on automatic mode.

I emailed Middle Son to ask him which lens I would need to get so I can picture bugs from a distance but still have the camera be able to zoom and focus on them, but he said I just needed to get closer to the bugs and get comfortable with shooting in manual mode. I have no idea what I'm doing in Manual mode and can't get the camera to focus on anything so I'm going to ask him to give me practical lessons in the field and I'll pay him.

I really didn't do anything else today but process my photos while playing DVDs of Law & Order: Criminal Intent on my laptop.  Greg worked in his shed and the backyard. He started our generator, both with gasoline and with propane gas (a maintenance task he has to do every month), took down the large branch that had fallen from a tree but gotten caught into another and tried to fix his weedwacker.

I'm posting my To Do List but I don't expect much will be crossed off today!

To Do List :
  • Crafty/Creative:
    • Finish painting squirrel sign and assemble it
    • Make a lightbox to take better pictures
    • Melt down old candles and make into one or two new candles
    • Make "No Soliciting" sign for front door and another one for the other front door (we have two)
  • Cleaning/Decluttering:
    • Dust the entry room, breezeway, bedrooms (including son's fan)
    • Declutter linen closet
    • Clean kitchen cabinets
    • Clean out the printer stand, including school paperwork folders
    • Declutter the top of the fridge
    • Mend items in mending basket (add Greg's hat)
    • Declutter exercise room (including storage bench)
    • Do the dishes 
    • Vacuum living room
    • Sweep breezeway
    • Sweep and mop kitchen
    • Sweep and mop downstairs bathroom
    • Spray bleach in shower stall
    • Scrub downstairs toilet
    • Fold laundry
    • Put laundry away
    • Make a car deodorant pad for my SUV
    • Clean the fridge
  • Cooking/Baking/Preserving:
    • Dehydrate pineapples 
  • Entertainment
    • Plan an outing to Leu Botanical gardens or Bok Tower Gardens
  • Errands:
    • Take items to the dump
    • Take donations to thrift store
  • Gardening/outdoors:
    • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
    • Research cone flowers and their care and plant them somewhere - Transplanted them in larger pot.
    • Scrub patio pavers with bleach to remove mildew (this might have to wait until the months when it's not quite so hot!)
    • Fertilize the raspberries - I'm thinking about pulling them and putting more roses in pots in their place.
    • Add mulch to the vegetable garden - I will do this once I have replaced the broken self-watering bins
    • Pull unwanted plants from center "planter" in the backyard, add soil, plant flowers, add edging around it (watch out for large roots that would be in the way). Make planter with other materials if edging doesn't work. (this will have to wait until Fall when it's not so hot and when I can plant wildflower seeds).
    • Divide and repot the aloe plant
    • Plant more okra
    • Trim grass behind the hedge
    • Trim weeds alongside the berm
    • Find fish emulsion and use on plants
    • Spray water on the hibiscus for aphids and mealybugs
    • Pull the rest of the dead tomato plants 
    • Check on the passion flower vine
    • Check on the seedlings and water as needed
  • Health:
    • Call gyneco to make annual appointment
    • Use recumbent bike 
    • Do 5 min of strength exercises  - Done (counting carrying my folding chair AND backpack and camera equipment while I walked for 90 minutes)
    • Log food into My Fitness Pal - Done
    • Record exercise in Walgreens Balance Rewards - Done
  • Maintenance:
    • See if I still have mildew-resistant white paint for bathroom ceiling
    • Get Greg to replace the ceiling tile in the entry room
    • Test the batteries in all 3 smoke detectors and replace as needed
    • Vacuum fridge coils
    • Greg to call plumber
    • Have Greg removed fallen branch from side of shed - done
    • Wash the bathroom ceiling with bleached water
    • Remind Greg to re-secure chicken wire to AC unit and also to block off opening under front of the house
  • Technology/Paperwork:
    • Caption old pictures that have already been scanned
    • Scan more old pictures
    • Create spreadsheet to track IRA contributions using ALL our old tax returns - Started but need to do more research.
    • Figure out if we should contribute to regular  or Roth IRAs for 2016 and fund them - I guess I need to wait until tax time next year, actually. I'll have until April 15, 2017 to fund 2016 IRAs so I need to work on taxes way sooner than I did this year so I'd have time to fund the IRAs and THEN file my taxes.
    • Download all May-July photos to my external drive
    • Back up my external drive to my other external drive
    • File the remaining loose recipes that I organized already in appropriate recipe binders
    • Purge filing cabinet
    • File paperwork
    • Write new letter to great grand aunt
    • Submit Clearasil rebate
    • Look at sample ballot and research local candidates
    • Connect the Ethernet Switch to the router
    • Reconnect my External Drive
    • Back up my laptop
    • Input receipts in spreadsheets
    • Pay credit card bills that have come in

  • I brewed a pot of free coffee from Wawa for my breakfast.

  • I was able to qualify for an 80 SB survey so I reached my 2nd Swagbucks Daily Goal before 9 a.m.
  • Greg redeemed a RaceTrac app coupon for a free medium fountain drink on our way to the fishing pond.  I brought water and peanut butter crackers  from home.

  • Greg didn't catch any fish but he found a fishing lure tangled in a tree and later on I retrieved a fishing bobbin from a pond. Free fishing supplies! 

  • For lunch we had leftovers: pulled pork and homemade potato salad.  I also had 2 kiwis.

  • Walgreens released another coupon for a free 8 x 10 reprint (JUSTBECAUSE, exp 8/15), so I ordered a reprint of the rose covered in dew drops picture that I took on 8/9, as some of you had suggested.  I'll frame it with a $1 frame from Dollar Tree and put it in my bedroom.

  • I spent the afternoon watching L&O: CI on DVDs borrowed from the library.

  • I took a RaceTrac survey and earned a survey reward code for a new freebie.

  • I changed my dinner plans and decided to use up the leftovers.  My daughter went to a birthday party at her friend's house so she won't be here for dinner.  I have 2 servings of meatloaf that my son and I are eating and I'm cooking half a bag of egg-free noodles.  I also have a leftover Balsamic Pork Scallopini from Thursday night with some rice. Greg will eat that.  I love it when I have a minimum of cooking to do especially on nights like tonight when I'm exhausted. I can't believe how tired I am when I really didn't do anything!

  • I had Greg sign up for Southwest's Rapid Rewards program so he can start earning miles when going to visit his parents.

  • I entered my exercise in Walgreens Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned (a lousy!) 20 BR points.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits.

  • Greg and I watched an episode of the Great British Baking Show on PBS after dinner.

  • Gas to go to the fishing pond and back.

  • I told my daughter to drive to car to her friend's house even though it's just a couple of streets over. She'll be out late and both she and I don't like her walking alone at night. So that way, she can come back after I go to bed.

  • Greg got an email from his mom asking for help with his dad so he booked a one-way ticket to Columbus since he doesn't know how long she will need him.  We decided to use Southwest Airlines since they don't charge you more for checked bags.  The cheapest we could find, flying out of Orlando this coming week ended up being over $300 with all taxes.  Yikes, but it's a direct flight so he'll be there under 2 hours.  But then he has to take a taxi to his parents, which is a 45 minute ride so that's gonna be pricey too. Oh well. Hopefully the flight will be much cheaper when he returns, whenever that would be.

  • Greg and my daughter both forgot to redeem the coupon for the free piece of fruit that was in their RaceTrac apps this week, despite my reminding them of it several times.  Grrr.

  • Fed the cats
  • Went on a field trip with Greg
  • Ordered a free reprint
  • Processed today's pictures
  • Took a customer satisfaction survey
  • Cooked dinner
  • Input my food intake in MyFitness Pal
  • Helped Greg book a flight

  • Walked for 90 minutes, carrying a folding chair, backpack containing such things as a library book, my Kindle Fire, 2 water bottles, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, etc.. and my camera equipment. In the heat!

  • For all the pretty flowers and butterflies that I saw this morning
  • For freebies!

FIELD TRIP: REVELS' POND (Richloam Management Area, Sumter County)

Greg and I visited Revels' Pond again this morning. He wanted to fish, and I just wanted to sit down and relax. I didn't expect to take many pictures, especially since driving in, it didn't look like there were lots of flowers blooming. How wrong I was!

After taking a quick look at the pond and no seeing or hearing any birds, I decided to wander back down the access road, and taking a second look at the ditches, I ended up taking a ton of pictures!  Nothing new compared to our other trips there, and a lot of my pictures didn't turn out because the cameras wouldn't focus due to the direction and intensity of the light since it was about 9:45 a.m. when I started, and the sky was blue without any clouds, but I was so happy to see so many blooming flowers despite the heat.

Here are the ones I wanted to post so I could remember my walk on the access road:

When you first walk or drive down the road, you don't see much. But take a second look...

Maryland Meadow Beauty with an emerald green bee (orchid bee?) on it.

Mexican Primrose Willow

It must have rained there a lot recently because there were mushrooms everywhere.

The pond gator was there...

We couldn't see any fish or birds or anything... it was very quiet.  There were other people at the pond today, but they were at the other spot where Greg usually goes. They left about 10 minutes after we got there so Greg ended up switching spots while I took a walk down the access road.  He didn't catch anything, though.

Moss growing along the roots of a tree on the path to one of our fishing spots.

Shrubby False Buttonweed

I don't know what those grasses are called but I liked the sunlight filtering through them!

I'm not sure what this one is.

But it's pretty and delicate!

Bumble bees were all over these.  It was a little windy so my camera wouldn't focus well.

This rock glittered in the sun. It doesn't glitter in the picture but I like the composition!

Black wasp. Not sure of the correct name for it.

I think this is Lance-Leaved Loosestrife

Climbing Butterfly-Pea

I thought this was pretty and delicate but I'm not sure what it is.

Details... arrgh my camera just wouldn't focus on it!

Grasshopper turning its back on me!

I think this is a Viceroy butterfly.

Bur-Marigold, I think.

Fossilized shell

Another fresh mushroom

Wasp approaching a Peruvian Primerose-Willow

Sadly, I found more trash on the ground where I had picked up more trash several weeks ago. I didn't have a trash bag with me today and there aren't any trashcans there so I had to leave it there :(  I did pick up more trash at the next pond we visited, though, as there were trash cans there.

Water level gauge at Revels' Pond. Compared to this, the pond is at zero or less!

I also went down the horse path for a little bit but there wasn't much to see today.

Spiderwebs on the ground

We got back in the car at about 11:15 a.m. and took the back roads through the Richloam Management Area to the other small fishing pond that we visit.

The dirt roads we traveled all looked like this. At least they were pretty flat since Greg said they
were redone about a week ago.

We had a little passenger on the windshield!
Since we were the only ones on the road at that point, I had Greg stop every time I spotted something interesting to photograph :)

Virginia Salt Marsh Mallow. It was the only one we saw!

My Wildflowers of Florida Field Guide say that the blossoms only last 1 day.

There were several areas off the road with these warning signs posted, but we never saw any hives.


Dixie Tick Trefoil

Bird feather.  I brought it home to the cats.
This is the other pond we visited. I forget the name of it.  The water level was higher than usual and there are a lot of aquatic plants and grasses bordering it so it's hard to fish there. But the pond is stocked with it.  There were lots of tiny and small fish that will grow into larger bass.

Starrush Whitetop

An old and empty shell that I think belonged to a Florida Apple Snail

This big bass always stays clear of fishermen on the other side of the pond, which is inaccessible. It paces back and forth but never ventured where one might catch it!

This water bug was taking a little swim and then decided to take a rest with the help of a nearby stalk.



Black Swallowtail

I think these might be butterfly eggs?
What is your favorite spot to visit when you want to see wildflowers?


  1. What lovely pictures! Everything is so green! I had to laugh at the grasshopper hitching a ride on your windshield!

    If Greg's mom needs his help with his dad, does that mean Greg's dad is back home again? This is such a difficult time for your family. Hope all will be well.

    Nice how the leftovers worked out so you don't have to cook more than some pasta! Good planning on your part!

    1. Yes, Greg's dad came home last week, I believe. Greg received an email from his mom last night in which she said his mental and physical state was deteriorating rapidly and asking for Greg to come. So he was very alarmed because when he talked to his dad last Sunday, his dad sounded very good. He called his sister who had visited his parents just yesterday and said that she hadn't noticed any steep decline. So we think Greg's mom is just overwhelmed. She's all by herself, having to do everything for him, so it's really taxing. Apparently their insurance won't cover the cost of an in-home health aide so Greg will look into it when he gets there. We bought a one-way ticket since we have no idea of what's going to happen when he's there and how long he's going to need to stay. It's easier for him to work "from home" than for his sister who is also 7 months pregnant so she can't help with anything physical such as helping the dad out of bed, etc.

      Thanks for your kind thoughts :)

  2. I love your nature photos. Your blog has become part of my reading/coffee morning ritual. Best to your MIL and FIL. I cannot even imagine how overwhelming it is for her. I couldn't do everything for my dad aka Gpa P without my DH.

    1. Aww, thank you Ms. Sandie. You're very kind and I'm honored to be your morning coffee companion! You are mine too since I usually catch up on my blog subscriptions via Feedly as I drink my morning coffee!

      Yes, I agree that she's got to be exhausted, physically and mentally. Even with your husband's help, I'm sure you are exhausted as well, having to do this and also work. Hopefully Greg will be able to find a solution so his mom gets some relief if his dad is still home when Greg has to come back. Obviously the doctors don't agree that he's ready for hospice care yet since they still had him undergo a cancer treatment this past Tuesday (they're treating him with immunotherapy).

  3. I'm glad that your husband is able to go to his parents' house to help out. I imagine it is very stressful and overwhelming for your mother-in-law to have to take care of everything. It will be good for her to have her son there, helping out. Hoping all goes well.

    I love all your nature photos! I agree with your son, using manual mode will help. I always start out in fully automatic mode with a new camera and then VERY slowly and with tiny baby steps move to more manual settings. What kind of lens do you currently use?

    If you plan to go to Leu Gardens sometime in the fall or winter, when the weather is cooler, let me know. Maybe we could work out to meet there...if you are up to meeting strangers you only know from the internet. ;-) So far, I've met three blogging friends in real life and it always was a fun experience. Plants are a good place to start photographing with manual modes...they don't zip around as much as birds!

    1. I was hoping NOT to have to learn how to use the manual mode but it sounds like I'm going to have to. Right now when I do, nothing focuses at all. I need to do more reading. After all, I printed the whole manual plus other tips from other websites but I have yet to read any of it.

      I'm also a hands-on person who learns better by example so hopefully my son can come over and take me in the field to show me how to accomplish what I want to do with what I have, lol. Plus I didn't want to mess with RAW. I'm all about doing things the easiest way, you know!

      I use a 75-300mm lens right now, that's the one I bought recently.

      I bought the annual pass to Leu Botanical Gardens so I can go whenever. I'd love to meet you there! I find that plants can be tricky too because when there's the slightest breeze or when the heavy bumblebee visit them, they tend to sway a lot. But I have much to learn from you, I think, Pixel!

      Thanks for your kind thoughts about my in-laws. I hope Greg and his sister can come up with something to help their mother. The mixed messages we're getting about his dad's state of health are frustrating too so I think it's good he's going so he can hopefully talk to the doctors directly and find out what the deal is.

  4. Best wishes for safe travels for Greg and I hope everything with his family goes as well as possible. Last minute flights can be so expensive. My round-trip flight to VA for vacation was almost $700!! Luckily I only had to use one of those flights and, since I flew Southwest, I have the remainder banked for a future trip. Since I have plenty of time to plan, that remainder should cover pretty much all of the next trip.

    I'm catching up on blog posts and was amused by your squirrel story -- I think you've outwitted him!

    1. Thanks, Laura. Did Michael drive up and then you guys drove back down, then? I think I'm more worried about the cost of Greg's taxi from the airport (will be be charged for a roundtrip which then would be about $150?!). Southwest's prices for flights back to Orlando seems significantly cheaper at the end of August, of course we don't know how long Greg will need to be there.

      When my dad called me to say that my stepmom was losing her battle with pancreatic cancer, it was 2 days before Christmas. I had to fly to France on Christmas Day and, same thing, didn't know how long I'd need to be there so I booked a return for 3 weeks later. The price was astronomical, I don't even remember how much but it was over $2K. I'm lucky I even got a flight, though. Then renting a car because I needed to pick up my brother from Paris and drive all the way down to the Alps where my dad lives. It was worth it, though, as we got to the hospital where we saw my stepmom and she knew that we were there but by the next day, when she came home to be cared for by the French equivalent of "Hospice" she was pretty much unaware of what was going on. I didn't even get to drive the car much aside from driving down to my dad's and then back to Paris, because Christmas in the Alps means a ton of snow and I didn't have snow tires or chains. It was lucky that there was a break in the weather when it was time for me to leave! Anyway, that was an expensive last minute trip but I'm thankful that we could swing it and that I was able to be there for my stepmom and my dad.

  5. Very pretty. Glad you are exercising and sleeping well. It's nice that Greg is able to go out there as needed.

    1. Yes, we're grateful that his job can be performed from "home" although I don't know just how much work he'll be able to accomplish as it sounds like taking care of his dad is a full-time job. I know that it certainly was for me when I took care of my stepmom in the last 2 weeks of her life. We have no idea how bad off his dad is so I think it's good Greg is going so he can see for himself and talk to the doctors, on top of providing relief and moral support for his mom who probably needs it a lot. When he saw the plane ticket prices he said he was going to drive but it's a 2-day drive just to get there with all the risks of getting into an accident and the wear and tear on his truck so I prefer for him to fly there. Luckily he was able to book a non-stop flight so it's less than 2 hours to get there once he's on the plane. Plus an hour to get to the airport from our house and 45 minutes to his parent's house. So it's still a longish trip but much better than 2 days of driving, IMO!

  6. Your MIL must feel very grateful to have Greg with her right now. Such a blessing to her.

    Glad you decided to go "fishing" with Greg and share your wonderful photos with us all. Love the crystal rock and the path covered with moss and tree roots.

    1. Yes, I think she'll appreciate having Greg over as a buffer for a while, if not until the end. I can't imagine being in her shoes right now. Honestly, I selfishly hope that I go first.


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