Amelia SanJon Gallery
Amelia Island Artists
Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)
What was a
warm weather passion with
the Sea Turtles has switched over to more beautiful and equally
interesting creatures. The Sea Turtles I have loved because
the ancientness, if that is a word, of the species. They are
of the only species which was around to see the extinction of the
dinosaurs and yet have flourished until recent times, each might live a
century. With the
butterflies, they live such brief but beautiful lives, with just the
process of change so fascinating to watch. They contribute to the
workings of our natural world as they flit from flower to flower
sipping nectar and spreading the pollen so necessary for all life,
without which it would be a world without flowers, fruits,
coffee; and worse yet, -no chocolate.
This moment, as I type this, in the terrarium beside me part
miraculous transformation begins to take place. The
which had been hanging from his bottom end for a couple of days seems
to be limp and I think, oh dear, it's dead. Then I see the
lime green start to show as his skin literally splits apart.
matter of minutes the skin is a crinkled black wad hanging by the
thread which holds the new chrysalis to the top.
green form starts its dance, twisting, wiggling, gyrating and turning
until the black old skin is shed dropping to bottom of the terrarium.
After two weeks this will be the result. One of our
releases just before Christmas. Such color, such patterns,
such grace as they float with the greatest of ease, going from
flower to flower to feed and lay eggs, starting the cycle all over
How can an artist not want to paint with such inspiration.
Sometimes we overnight them on the dining room table if it
is a very
cold night or if they hatch out too late in the day to take wing before
This one was with us for dinner while Bruce's mom was here.
I bring inside whatever we have blooming outside and put it
the table in case they need a snack. Sometimes if they are
slow, we can trick them into sipping sugar water from a syringe.
This is a sticky wicket in itself. Not aways are we
successful, but sometimes it works.
Often they just hang around for a while looking like a Tree
Ornament, then they will
just be gone. The ones I have watched fly away just seem to
the wind and float effortlessly high above the big Oak Trees in my back
yard and out of sight. They don't seem to fly much in the
or after the sun gets low. I have found them sitting
overnight in one spot clinging tightly to a plant not
until midmorning. We
have only temporarily lost a couple in the house. We
where they disappeared to, but eventually each reappeared on
sitting in the sunlight coming through the window.
dinner came and went as we all gathered at my nephew Chris's home south
of Jacksonville. Lots to eat and a nice visit. A
with a child in the house although she made herself scarce playing with
her friend, another Reagan from across the street.
mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" was what this
Little Snowy Egret seemed to be saying. It was after
and a little time to relax. After all the hustle of getting
for the big day it was nice to have some down time to just show Bruce's
mom around. Unfortunately she thought it was " very
for Florida" even when we thought it was very warm for North Florida in
winter, but this day a cold front did come in.
didn't think it very cold she was freezing. I had hoped to
her to walk on the beach for a little while so we headed on
the park I spot some of our Christmas Fall Color in this Hickory Tree
just as we make the turn toward the beach. Our Fall is late
told someone today we have Fall this week and next week we will have
the beach I find my own forest in the beach trees left by the outgoing
tide. I sure do miss my time here. Unlike last
I kept going, watching the turtle nest that never hatched, this year I
have been too busy to make the time. Instead my fishing trips
have taken me to the marsh, which has been great fun also, but I do
miss the beach.
hope to make it over there (the two blocks) this next weekend
take in all the migrating birds who are visiting with us now.
Many species we don't have other times in the year.
group was a flock of some sort of tern that was larger than our Least
Terns and were not our regulars at all.
yes, then Lisa came to visit the island just after Christmas.
Of course I took her
fishing, and we all gathered to eat our wonderful catch. Keep
mind Lisa's stature and the angle of the photo when you think this
might be over the size limit.
I can assure you it was legal. It was a great catch
Lisa was soooo excited. She even had enough meat left over to
cook for her Grandfather, who has, along with her grandmother, mostly
raised her. Grandfather is in Hospice care right now,
from his wife of so many years because they cannot afford a place for
jointly living together in assisted living with his health issues and
these last few months.
season is in the Fall in the South. Just when I thought I was
just about at the end as I only had about 5 Cats left, a friend brought
at least 20 more to my door and left them with Bruce because of the
cold front headed our way. It took a lot of Butterfly Weed to
feed that many hungry mouths and I had been begging, borrowing
and stealing Butterfly Weed from everyone I knew who had any left.
I tried to be careful to not take it where there were still
caterpillars eating on it. Inadvertently, I managed to add to
the stash of caterpillars even more by finding eggs and tiny
caterpillars on the plants once I got them home. New
resolve: Next year I will have plants galore for them to eat.
I have found out one good thing. Once you cut the
off to feed they will put out roots from the cuttings if
the water. If these all live, then I should be well supplied
Enjoying a bit of time in my backyard one day, I heard this
tapping. I knew the sound, but now to find the source.
Looks like Woody himself is visiting. This
getting thinner and thinner as he sat on the big end and pecked on the
top part where it was hooked into the tree. Better watch
have seen tree cutters make that mistake, but they didn't have wings,
I guess its not quite the same kind of mishap in the making.
new binoculars (Christmas present); the better to see them with.
Year's Day, niece Julie came for a visit. She brought a good
friend Steven and a youngster from their area, (Steven is his court
advocate), that they were befriending. We toured the park and
kite-flying friends again, then we were off to fish. We did
good ones, catching our limit, then bringing them home to deep fry once
again. Deep fried fish and hush puppies, hard to beat. I
start cooking them to be a little bit more healthy, once the "new" of
coming home with a meal-sized quantity of fish wears off. I
one of those enclosed grilles to contain fish while on the main grille,
made like a basket so
that you can flip the whole thing over without the fish falling through
the wires; otherwise, I am going to look like one of those big
round Puffer Fish pretty soon.
Frost was forecast, so I take a longing look at what might
not make it through. My Sky Vine was at its prettiest.
close up of the blooms tells the story of why I like them so much.
They are very orchid like, and although the bloom does not
long, each is replenished by a new one, waiting to take its place as
they make their way down the stem. They bloom best for me in
the winter but are not frost tolerant. They were not
they were "bit" back with many of the leaves turning brown, and the
flowering has slowed with the frost bite.
should have thought to cover these all up but it was dark when I went
out to do it, and I forgot these pretty things further out in the yard.
One made it and one didn't, attesting to the spottiness of
freeze. Of course the one which was sadly all limp the next
was the big beautiful one, while the smaller one is still fine.
The yellow flowers which the butterflies like so much were
causalities of the cold.
One nice shot of the beautiful blossom. Yes, I
know, these are
not really the blossom, but leaves and the bloom is the part in the
my front window, the sun always hits this Sumac, and it just glows as
is starting its "Fall" color transition. Yes, I know it is
Spring but the tree doesn't. Wait until you see this week's
change in it.
of my Chrysalis is doing its change-over, as one next to it failed
to fully shake off his skin; but you can see how shriveled
which what once was
a caterpillar is now. It was all for show. The
self is the true being...or maybe not. They seem to change
clothes as often as a teenager. The terrarium has become a
of webs from all the caterpillar tracks on it, as they roam around
hunting the perfect spot to hang around on and also when they hang
themselves they spread a wide circle of web. We are not sure
that happens. Do they spray the webbing around or do they
it around with their feet before hanging? We haven't seen any
action going on. It just magically appears. If you
move one when it is crawling around you will feel them sticking the
webby stuff to the surface and you almost have to pry them off.
is our menagerie of Chrysalis' at this point. This continues to change
as new ones come up top side and others emerge and get taken outside.
What causes them to all cluster on this end of the tank?
it the sunlight through the window? The slick surface as
to the screen on the other end. We don't know exactly.
we do have 3 which have attached themselves to the screened area today
probably because it is just too crowded on the other end.
been better for us as I have to clean and feed through the other end.
beautiful sunset was happening as I drove home a few days a go.
was not alone in wanting to capture it. I pulled into the
property where Ten Acres' Kraft Athletic Club is located because it is
one of the few places you can get an unobstructed view in my
sun was sinking fast over the calm river and marsh area. With
water sunset you get a double whammy with the sun's reflection almost
stealing the show.
wide view is not always as impressive as you just cannot take it all in
with my camera. A wider angled lens than mine would be
I walk away I look back for the long view, which I love too, with the
trees all siloutted against the pastel colors going from lavender to
orange to yellow and pink to blue. Such beauty; it is hard to
image it can be real, but the camera does not lie...well not much.
(Please take a
moment to consider:
These photo-stories have
always been offered completely free, to simply share the wonders of
nature. Thousands of hours have been
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receive them. So, with the current economic situation if you are able
make a small donation to help ensure the continuation of the stories it
would be greatly appreciated.)