Saturday, August 12, 2017

Off to College! ~ Saturday 8/12/17


She just left 5 minutes ago. I cried, of course, when the car pulled away.  Our neighbor was in his driveway and saw that she had a bike on the back of the car and said "Are ya'll going biking?" so I told him she was moving away to college and I think he was a little dumbstruck. He's seen the kids grow up so when one of them leaves, it hits him too that we're not getting any younger, ha.

Youngest Son got up just in time to say bye to his sister, that was sweet.

After she left, I was feeling a little blue until Greg reminded me that I'll be seeing her tomorrow since I'm driving to Gainesville with Youngest Son to drive her stuff to her.


  • The weather forecast is all gray weather and rain today. Greg is feeling blah and doesn't want to go anywhere. I do, but I don't have the energy to at the same time, so I guess we're staying home.  I have a library book so maybe I'll do some reading.  "Law & Order: SVU" is on all day today but I'm not in the mood for that.  I turned on classical music on Pandora instead.

  • I think I'll make spicy black bean soup for dinner and grilled cheese sandwiches.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits and had enough to redeem for a $5 Amazon gift card, woohoo!

  • I'm running SB videos but once again it's the kind that I have to click on every 20 to 40 seconds.  My first goal today is 88 SB.

  • I had a bowl of rice crispies, a banana and some milk for breakfast.

  • I heated up the free coffee I picked up from Wawa yesterday.

  • After my daughter left, I turned the AC thermostat up to 75F on the far side of the house. It'll stay at that temperature until she comes visit during Labor Day weekend.

  • I mentioned to Greg that the sun had started shining so he said "ALRIGHT! Let's go hiking then, where do you want to go?!", lol. So we decided to go to Colt Creek State Park down in Polk County, since we hadn't been there in a while. I forgot to track exactly how many times Greg accessed a state park to go fishing this summer but it was at least 3 times in June and twice in July so with today's visit, that puts us at $92 that we would have had to pay in separate admissions and we paid $90 for the pass with the military discount and it's still good through February 2018 so we definitely got our money's worth, woohoo!

  • I packed us a lunch and drinks to bring along.  Our son had school work to do so he declined to come along.

  • As soon as we got to Colt Creek State Park, I received a text from my daughter's stepmom letting me know that they were only a couple of minutes behind her and approaching Gainesville. Hmm, thanks?

  • Then my daughter called me to say she got to Gainesville and asked if she could redeem my reward for a free bagel since she had left without eating breakfast. I told her she could :)

  • It had rained recently at Colt Creek State Park so it was very humid and it was overcast, which actually was nice because it didn't feel too too hot.  We walked on the horse trail and there was a lot of water everywhere, but I remembered to wear my hiking boots today so it was fine.  I saw a lot of flowers but only a couple of birds.  At some point, the trail hadn't been mowed so we had to walk through grass that was thigh to hip-high. I was a little concerned about snakes but if we crossed path with any of them, we didn't notice :)  My RunMeter app didn't work properly (lack of a good cell signal) and I think it shorted us quite a bit of distance.  Once we turned around to head back, the sun came out and suddenly it got VERY hot. Ooof, that was hard.  We'd had a piece of string cheese before we set off and weren't extremely hungry when we got back to the truck but we were so hot that we decided to just eat in the truck in the air-conditioning while driving home, instead of having the picnic that we had planned on.  

Lots of water on either side of the trail, and the mosquitoes required us to douse ourselves in DEET spray.

The weather was overcast for half of our hike.  We were commenting on how lucky it was that the sun wasn't shining because it was already plenty hot and humid. Little did we know that the sun was going to come out eventually!

I really enjoyed seeing wildflowers of various colors today.

Leavenworth's Tickseed

Starrush Whitetops

The terrain changed to a wooded scenery for about a mile. The ground was quite soggy and flooded
in places...

There were lots of butterflies of all kinds out and about but they were hard to photograph, for the most part.  I lucked out with this one!

Good thing we were wearing hiking boots!

In another month or so the beautyberries will be a beautiful purple.

There was so much water everywhere that we thought this creek would be high and we would need to use the bridge (where
Greg is) for sure... so we were puzzled to only find a trickle of water. I guess the trail itself is higher than the creek.

I spotted this apple snail in the water of the creek

And huge tadpoles!

We saw some fresh deer tracks but didn't see the deer

We walked further than we've ever walked at this park, even though it wasn't that far at all (3.49 miles according to RunMeter but I don't think it was accurate).  For a while, the trail was grassy and mowed.

I love this picture. Why?  Well, I love the colors and also... there were completely unexpected surprises when I enlarged it on my laptop and looked at it more carefully... (also, these flowers are called "Sweetscent").

Surprise #1: Oooh, NSFW picture!

Surprise #2: a green spider spinning a web

Surprise #3: a cocoon of some kind...

Further down the trail, near some water I spotted this bright pink mass... when I looked it up online
it turned out to be apple snail eggs.
These were NOT muscadine grapes, (I don't think, it was a tree, not a vine), but berries of some kind.

Soon, we realized that the rangers had given up on mowing the rest of the trail.  It was harder to walk in thigh to hip-high grass, especially when the ground was very soggy or flooded, and we were worried about snakes (well I was!). But we persevered because we wanted to reach trail marker #5 before we turned around.

This park is very large. The trail is actually a little over 10 miles long!

Uh oh, what happened to #5?!  I wish these marked the miles, but they were placed at random intervals.
So we turned around.

And as soon as we did that, the sun came out. It was noon and it was really beating down on us, goodness!

When we got back to the road, we decided to take a different route back to our truck and instead of continuing to walk in the wooded part of the trail that is flooded, we followed the road to the main lake and then walked along the side of it back to the equestrian area parking lot, where we had left the truck.

A deep yellow sulphur butterfly was getting its dose of minerals from the rocks on the road

Walking alongside the lake. A youth/family event was taking place in the main pavilion and no one was fishing on the lake at all. Also, there were NO birds.  How odd.

There were several of those burgundy flowers (looked like irises) near the lake, I had never seen
such flowers before.  I need to research what it is. I think it's "Wild Bushbean" (source: Florida Wildflowers, A Comprehensive Guide", p 360).

No action on the lake whatsoever!

We didn't even see any gators!

My sandwich, wrapped in a reusable sandwich wrap. It was nice being in the air-conditioning, finally!
  • On the way home, I asked Greg to stop by Revels Pond, where he fishes sometimes, to check on the level of the pond and to see if there were any birds. The water level was still low and now the water is starting to get covered in algae and water hyacinth, again.  There were NO birds, none.  How disappointing!  However, I found a pair of scissors and a bird's nest that had fallen from a tree.  It was empty. I brought both of those home and I hung the nest from my sign that states "Welcome, every birdie!" in my backyard.
I found it hanging at eye level right in the middle of the trail. Obviously it hadn't been built there, I thought it had fallen from a higher branch.

It's made of twigs, grasses and moss and kind of horn-shaped.

Revels' Pond was also strangely empty. Not one bird in sight.  There were so many water birds the last time we visited!  Also there is algae blooms in the water.

Another cocoon of some kind...

Hey, I found a pair of scissors!

Someone chopped down that tree near the waterline but it remains determined to grow right there anyway!

Last year the pond had a lot of water hyacinth on it (very invasive but so pretty), but earlier this year it was all gone so I guessed that the rangers had removed it all.  Well... it's back!

I hung the nest from my sign. It's too bad the pictures don't pay it justice, it's actually quite nice.
  • At first I thought the nest that I found was that of a hummingbird, but now I'm not so sure.  I tried to identify it on Cornell's Lab of Ornithology's NestWatch, but I can't find the exact same kind.  Also, it seems to have a man-made string or a fishing line from which it was hanging. So now we're wondering if it's a real nest or something from Michael's that someone hung there as a joke?!

  • We stopped by McDonald's to use Greg's BOGO coupon so we could get him and Youngest Son chocolate shakes and me a large Diet Coke. The drive-thru line was very long so we parked and went inside. Good thing too because not only there was no line, but we were told that the shake machine was broken (again!) so we left without buying anything and without being ticked off that we had stood in a long line for nothing. Still, the boys were disappointed. I offered to go to Hardee's to get shakes there but Greg said "we don't have a coupon for a free shake, so no". Frugal hubby!

  • Back home, I texted my daughter to let her know I was back and she called me.  She said she has a lot more storage space than she expected, so I'm definitely to bring her all the stuff that she had piled up in her room.  Youngest Son helped me pack up the SUV and now we're ready for our trip to Gainesville tomorrow.

  • I deadheaded the roses. The marigolds that I had deadheaded have come back very nicely!

  • I tried taking some SB surveys and one of them took all of my data and then gave me an error message right before it was to give me the 75 SB!  I got mad and closed the tab without taking a screenshot so now I can't even go back and put in a ticket. Arrgh.

  • Panera sent me a survey about my visit(s) to the Clermont location. The last 3 times I placed a Rapid Order (for just a bagel!) my order still wasn't ready 10 minutes after my scheduled pick-up time, despite there not being anyone in line at the cafe itself.  So I told them so. They need to train their (highschooler) staff to pay attention to the order and stop socializing with one another.

  • For mid-afternoon snack, I made a large fruit salad. The pineapple is actually not tasting good, it's past its prime, but I'm eating it anyway, darn it!

  • We received the two free T-shirts that I had ordered for Greg as part of a Dr. Pepper promo, back in June.  Greg was totally surprised and happy :)  Woohoo for freebies.

  • I earned another 20 Balance Rewards points by entering my weight into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices.

  • I vegged this afternoon, reading blogs and Reddit's Mildly Interesting sub.  I also texted about my daughter a little.

  • What I should have done was transfer the hike pictures to my laptop and researched all the plant names. But I didn't, which means that you just looked at a bunch of pictures without any legends, sorry!  

  • For dinner I made the Weight Watchers Spicy Black Bean Soup and used the bread that Greg had brought back from his camping trip (I had put it in the fridge) to make grilled cheese sandwiches.  I added a little bit of leftover rice to my soup but the boys didn't want any.

  • We watched several episodes of "Silicon Valley" on HBONow.  Greg mentioned, this afternoon, that once we're done with this series, we should go back and watch the rest of Westworld because it's mystifying him that it's rated so high and we hated it.  Sigh.  

  • It's raining tonight. The bad weather had been brewing for several hours with lighting and increasingly darker clouds, but then night fell and I just heard the rain fall. It's not a very strong rainfall, but still, it'll help the garden. And more importantly, it frees me from having to water again and it's hopefully replenishing my rain barrel :)

  • I met my 1st SB goal earlier tonight and I'm within 3 SB of reaching the second, woo!

  • I checked on my daughter via text and she shared that she went out to dinner at Panera's with her roommate from Jacksonville, who she said is actually very nice.  Hooray!  The other roommate, who is the girl from Miami who is a Sri Lankan descent, will move in next week.

  • When your kittens think that they've seen a gnat on your drapes (but what they saw was a piece of lint!)


  1. Aww, Nathalie, don't cry! It's so hard when they move away, isn't it? But you'll see her tomorrow and no doubt she'll be coming home on a fairly regular basis and you can always go to see her. (((HUGS))) Glad you were able to go on a hike and your daughter likes her one roommate. Hopefully, she'll like the other roommate, too. The picture of the kittens is too cute! Such alert kitties!

    1. It's really bittersweet... I'm excited for my kids but I miss them terribly too. I know you know how that feels! It's going to be horrible when Youngest Son moves away. Thanks for the hugs!

  2. I've got to give you and Greg a lot of credit for doing that hike on such and hot and humid day on a muddy trail. I enjoyed your pictures especially all of the creepy, crawlies.

    1. It was a good day to have worn my hiking boots and a tank top, but my feet are killing me today! I can't believe how bad it hurts having not having hiked for a couple of months!

  3. So I'm thinking today you are going to Gainesville. My daughter didn't have a lot of stuff and when I brought her to school, we just had the little Prius and she left her car at home. I remember I was irked because no one helped us carry the stuff in- when my other two went away, there were always students who helped carry things in for you. She did go to some football games- Tim Tebow was there then- so didn't come home a lot. It was probably a better transition that way for the both of us. Your hike looked hot- I'm waiting for some cooler weather although I hate winter. GS says marching band isn't ready but he's still excited about the first performance. I guess I'll go- HS football games don't excite me unless I know the players LOL. I don't! Your soup sounds good- I actually bought a WW cookbook at Ollie's- it is a discount store with great prices. Of course, I have too many cookbooks but I do enjoy them. Have fun in Gainesville!

    1. I did go to Gainesville today, thanks for thinking of me! It was very hot and there were loads of people so I was happy to escape to come home when we were done with the unpacking and the shopping we still had to do, lol. It was easier for me to do the leaving than it was to watch my daughter drive off yesterday :)

      Greg and I loved Tim Tebow when he played for the Gators! Those were some awesome games! I only like watching football on TV, though, because I like the commentary and being able to actually see the ball and the players. I never was interested in high school football. When my boys were in band, I'd show up at the games and chat with my ex-husband during the first half of the game, watch the band show, and then left. Sometimes I'd show up just for the half-time show. A lot of times, I didn't go at all. Nowadays, we don't follow football at all so I don't expect that we'll watch any games this year. My daughter really likes baseball but I hate it. We might go watch a volleyball game together (she used to play volleyball herself).

      I have several WW cookbooks but I rarely use the recipes anymore. That soup recipe is still available on their website. It's really easy to make and delicious! I buy the canned organic black beans at Aldi because they don't have as much sodium as the regular kind.

      I hope you had a good weekend, Nan!

  4. I remember when my youngest son left home to move to Tampa...I cried, too.

    We've never been to Colt Creek State Park. This weekend, a four-day weekend for us, Dave suggested we go there - and then we ended up doing something else on all days.

    1. It's hot and there are lots of mosquitoes right now so I don't blame you! I want to walk the trail again when it's cooler. Much cooler!

      Kids leaving the home, it's so bittersweet.


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