My daughter gave me a very detailed list of instructions in regards to the care of her caterpillar while she was gone. Most thankfully though, he decided to build his chrysalis before she left. So in the invent that he completed his metamorphosis before she returned, my responsibilities were reduced, to snapping some photos, and a safe release. My wife did not fare so well with her charges. She was responsible for Lily's plants, and therefore the bulk of her tears when she got home to find a dead succulent. Drew had already knocked over Lily's carnivorous plant collection weeks before, and my eldest does not use crocodile tears, so her mom was cut deep. Thankfully, I was responsible for a life that seemed frozen in time. I know that much went on inside the little Chrysalis, since the creature that went in bared little resemblance to the one that came out. Babysitting is so much easier when the child decides to sleep the whole time. I picked the girls up Saturday, and by the time I got home from work on Sunday, Lily was showing me pictures of her butterfly. Piece of cake.
Oh my, another eagle, he's not as noble as you think
I know he's really watching me, as he pretends to drink
And so I leave this lake and head to yonder stream
Where I spy a trout, beneath the surface gleam
I circle once, and fold my wings, like Icarus I fall
But unlike him, I'm meant for this, the water is my call
And so with depth and light refraction already calculated
I thrust my talons through the water, till the fish is situated
With flapping wings, I lift my prize and check for friendly skies
And staying low, with stealth I fly, back to young Osprey cries
Calvin "Cheese Grits" Yerke
Best week of their lives, but a long week for me and their mother. We missed our little dorks, and as much as they fight and bicker with each other, the silence is unbearable when they're gone. Plus, I had no one to go outside and play with me. So girls, what was your favorite part about the week?
CG- Good answer
CG- It looks like a lot of fun, but I've only tried it once and did not do well. What kind of fish did you catch?
Drew- Bonnet heads and sharp nose sharks.
Scale-lily- Lizard fish, 6 catfish, 2 Bonnet heads and 1 Black tip.
CG- I couldn't be more proud. Here are some pictures Lily took.
Black Drum can get quite large, and will take a variety of baits. I rarely catch them on artificial lures, but occasionally on a slow moving jig. If you look at his mouth, it's turned downward and so most of the time my bust luck has been with a bottom rigged bait. A shrimp, half a Blue Crab or even clam will work, but the problem with shrimp and clams is that they both attract pinfish and puffers, who are brilliant bait thieves.
Spadefish are beautiful and quite tasty. I usually find them in schools around structure, and am usually targeting Sheepshead when I accidentally and quite pleasantly draw this card. Shrimp, fiddlers and even sand fleas work well.
We usually go after these in the surf and they are quite plentiful here in Florida. Whiting make some of my favorite table fare. It's a mild enough fish that it cooks just as well broiled as fried. They will take shrimp, sand fleas and I have taken some off squid and jigs. The sand fleas are also great bait for another one of my favorite eating fish that we take from the surf, the Pompano.
I loves me a Sheepshead sandwich, and there is art to catching them. My Great grandmother targeted these, and the way it was passed down to me was simple. Use a small, strong wire hook, weight the line down and keep the rod in your hands. You want to stay in contact with the fish and take smooth jerks up on the bite. You are not setting a hook through a plastic bait so don't rip it like you're on tour. The bite can be quite subtle and I do prefer thin wire, but I have had some of the larger Sheepshead straighten my hook into a micro harpoon. Shrimp and fiddlers, or any of the crab species wandering on the docks and the rocks work great. I have also used the flats worms with good results.
I love to watch stingrays fly through the water, but no matter how many times someone has convinced me to try them as food, I have really not enjoyed it. They are amazing animals though and according to a gentleman I was fishing with, they are the reason he no longer wades. That would be hard for me to give up, but then I haven't been stung by one yet.
Blue Crabs aren't just for breakfast any more, and there were a lot of them in the bay when I picked up the girls yesterday. That said, it inspired me to stop in at Cacciatore and Sons for some deviled crabs. You will be hard pressed to find one more packed or with crabmeat chunks that size.
Glad my babies are home, and great pics
I had to take a trip to Sumter County today, and I on the way back I stopped at one of their newer parks on Shady Brook. It's good to see places like this where you have access to what would normally be seen from a bridge on I75. You would normally be driving by at about 80 miles an hour, but here it is, right at the Lake Panasoffkee exit. That looks like a molly mixed in with the minnows, and possibly a Killifish fish on the left.
Its so hot out here, but I rarely come out this way, so I think I'll check the shade.
A wood pecker in the oak grove near the entry to the park; this was the only shot that came out decent.
The next pictures I feel rather ridiculous about. l tipped over this rock and found a clutch of eggs. There was something moving behind the eggs so I touched it's little blue tail, and this skink ran out. The eggs were larger than I would have expected for this creature, but I think they belong to her.
Now here are the eggs and the ridiculous part. I never noticed there was another creature to the left of the clutch till I was downloading the pictures several minutes ago. What a beautiful little toad! Old "eagle eye" Drew would have seen the toad, and maybe that other strange pattern above him. Lily would have wanted to hatch a few of these eggs.
There was more camo going on here and this turtle was a difficult spot.
Hillsborough that is. We checked out Hillsborough River State Park the other day, on our way to see the girl's Nanas. I was trying to keep the hike under two hours so we wouldn't be late, but this is a very nice park that I would definitely like to paddle at a future date. The sign for one of the trails stated rapids and for Florida this is about as fast as you will see water move. The trails are very nice and well kept. There was an abundance of interesting features including large, old growth cypress and limestone protruding from the water.
The water was very tannin rich and that made it difficult to see what sort of fish might be about. We checked some of the quieter pools and feeder streams for Banded and Brown water snakes, but did not see any. The only snakes we saw were two Black Racers, and about 50 dead snakes on the trip there. The slower moving snakes don't fare to well down here. Everyone is in a hurry to get through and past nature as fast as they can.
Lily spotted the strangest thing on the trail, and it looks like a moth that was attacked by a fungus. I remember reading something about this so when they get back we will have to look it up. Great find!
This place is also a hangout for the notorious Armadillos. They travelled in groups out here, and they spook if they notice anything out of the ordinary, but their powers of perception are low. I could get right behind them and if the wind was right they would walk towards you. Once they realize you are there, they spaz and run for cover. Very cute creatures, Drew hopes to see their South American counterpart, the Pink Fairy Armadillo someday.
This place has a lot to offer. There is paddling, camping, hiking, and if your staying there, a really large pool. This would be great to cool off in after a long hike. There was a sign at the river saying closed to swimming, which may have been because of the high water levels and current, but I would prefer that over chlorinated water any day. It was six bucks to get in and worth every penny. We saw a very limited portion of it and it looks like a great place to herp. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes the out doors, or needs to learn to like it. How can you not like the outdoors?