Saturday, December 30, 2017

And A Happy 2018

 Well guess what - this was Golden Beach on Christmas Day! 

Complete with a sand-and-shell Christmas tree. (Not one I made earlier - we discovered it.)

Meanwhile we hear that, up north, they're buried in record levels of snow. Somehow I think it was a good decision to spend Christmas in Florida.
Though it does take a little getting used to. This Christmas tree, for example, in the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (on which more shortly) was made entirely of...

...epiphytes - plants that live on other plants.

Rather more bizarre were some of the Christmas displays at people's houses. The trend this year seems to be for projectors - no need to climb trees or get tangled up in cable - you just stick a stick in the ground and it projects lights - swirling or still, probably depending on how many dollars you want to spend. A cop-out, if you ask me. But this house had something different. In amongst the lights was this slightly spooky Santa waving at passers by.

On a more cheerful note, back at the Botanical Gardens and my first sight of what are known as Florida reindeer. Note the antlers. Now what would you put out for them on Christmas Eve? Not carrots, surely. For one thing they would clash terribly, darling.

Happy New Year and see you in 2018!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Very Venice Christmas

Dateline: Venice, Florida

And we're all gearing up...
Gift wrapped doggie bones at the Farmers' market...

Rudolph on your mailbox

A Christmas boat parade on a balmy night, under a big white moon, the crowds picnicking by the intracoastal waterway

Waiting an age for the big drawbridges to rise and the boats to come sailing by at last

 Crowds calling out "Merry Christmas"

And the boat crews calling back

 And this one got the loudest cheer

 There were the big motorboats 

 But also three graceful sailing boats

 The arboretum trees all done up in lights, sponsored by different organisations and families

 People going to look, bumping into each other on the dark paths and laughing

They seem to miss the snow up north

No, please, no!

This display was called "Grandpa's Lake". I wonder what the story was there.

Or here

Around our neighbourhood, gardens done up with glittering palm trees

And my favourites,  piglet Santas

Not as many Nativity scenes as in rural western New York but this was a nice one

And of course, this being Florida and yappy dog heaven, (the dog beach is just down the road) the sleigh is pulled by dachshunds

Meanwhile hubby and I have been back in nursery school, gleefully making a stable out of a cardboard box and palm fronds and sheep from packaging, cotton wool and glue

and trying to get our new Florida Christmas lights to stretch around the fat podocarpus by the front door.

Celebrating in a new place is an adventure.  Happy/Merry Christmas to all our friends on either side of the pond!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Florida Flashback: Venice on Parade

The blog is on its travels - shivering in the snow at the moment, so it needs to warm up by remembering that somewhere in the world the sun is shining.
Fortunately I have some photos of the Venice Holiday Parade (in effect a Christmas parade, though it happened the weekend after Thanksgiving.)  It was night but I did my best with the phone. This was the scene before the parade. People were allowed to set out their chairs on the Wednesday evening before the Saturday to claim the best places, just like the early homesteaders.. Did they have a starter's gun?

 It was a lovely, balmy night and we walked past where they were setting up. I think this was one of many Santas, with reindeer and gingerbread house.

A lot of local businesses were involved. This from Snook Haven - an "old Florida" dive. Check the link - you might remember it.

This looks like more Santas and reindeer. Funny how even is warm places there has to be a sleigh. Should be a sand yacht really.

Some authentic Christmas cheer from these people.

Now I'm not sure what these horses with clown riders were about but they behaved very well under the circumstances. (They really should have lit it up better). Fortunately the horses went after the little girl gymnasts doing cartwheels and not before.  Someone followed them with a shovel.

Another Santa sleigh.

This is the ubiquitous Smokey Bear, warning against forest fires. A sobering thought, considering poor California.

An inflatable with a difference advertising a martial arts club.

There were plenty of glittering cars.

Sharky's restaurant pulled along a huge shark's fin. They are debating whether to allow shark fishing on the pier. Apparently greedy fishermen chuck all kinds of sanguinary protein off the pier to attract sharks and it's not very nice for the tourists. Neither are the sharks. Shark conservationists and I would constitute a dialogue of the deaf.

These hula dancing acrobats were pretty good.

You can't see much on this photo but I added  it because it's a local croquet club.with illuminated mallets. You never know what you're going to get in Florida.

The ring of fire was spectacular but I'm not sure what it was for. I didn't see any tigers jumping through it. My neighbour tells me they used to have tigers in the Parade - they were from Big Cat Habitat and saved from various circuses. But now I expect political correctness reigns.

Merry Christmas in Paradise - you said it! It was heavenly to be able to watch in T-shirts and not have to shiver through it all.

Dont know what happened here but it's pretty.

I'm not sure if this was the Italian-American club's giant gondola but they did have one.

And here was a bluegrass band

One that almost got left behind.

It was great fun - though there had been some grumblings in previous years about participants being over-ethusiastic in chucking sweets down from the floats. Whether this resulted in life-threatening injuries I can't say. This year the sweet chuckers stayed at ground level. A nice lady shoved a doughnut in my hand.
But there was an even better parade to come.
Watch this space!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

On Signs and Rabbits

A witty sign spotted at the Farmers' Market.

And meanwhile feast your eyes on the hibiscus I just planted.

In view of the burgeoning and utterly brazen rabbit population, you're unlikely to see them flowering again in your lifetime. The rabbits have decimated the Mexican petunias, which are supposed to be indestructible and eaten all the yellow blooms on the perennial (sic) small petunias, while leaving the pink ones untouched.  They hop around shamelessly in broad daylight and are afraid of nothing and nobody, even the garden hose at full blast.
  While we were up north during the summer, my neighbour tells me a coyote took up residence on our doorstep, snoozing happily. Fat lot of use he was.
  But gardening in Florida has one dubious advantage. Observe the sandy soil. Unlike in western New York, where you're wrangling clay and rocks all the time (no wonder those all farmers downed shovels and headed west) you can dig Florida soil with a teaspoon. How much use it is at growing flowers remains to be seen. Thanks to the rabbits, I'll probably never get the chance to find out.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Little Footprints in the Sand

Who, me?

Probably not.

 This early morning rush hour. It's getting much too crowded.