Grand Stickwork

A selection of photographs from our February 2022 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

Grand Central is an artistic project adjacent to the Royal Palm avenue. Look at the photograph of the signage for more information about this project

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Neovenator, teeth like steak knives

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Burgeoning Forest Accepted by IStock

Happy News

Getty IStock accepted twelve (12) of the “Burgeoning Forest” photographs featured in my blog. Click Me to visit the original post

Click Me to visit my photographs on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Botanic Royality

A selection of photographs from our February 2022 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

Royal Palm grove (Roystonea elata) in honor of Dianne and Jacob Brown and Mary and Stephen Keating. This grove of Roy Palms was planted in 2002 to commemorate one of the best loved features of the old McKee Jungle Garden. Royal Palms are native to Florida, Cuba and Honduras. They are among the tallest palms in the world.

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Amargasaurus, a “small” sauropod.

References: text is from the park placard with minor edits.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Mystery hole in the ground

A selection of photographs from our February 2022 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

The holes are land crab burrow entrances. The burrows are often several feet deep. These crabs are often blue in color and they eat leaves, fruits and berries. They are very shy, but if you stand still they may make an appearance..

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Baellynasaura, “Big Eyes

References: text is from the park placard with minor edits.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Fishy Business

A selection of photographs from our February 2022 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

Beginning in 2018, McKee Botanical Garden had an opportunity to work with the US Geological survey to inform our visitors about what a healthy native fish population is. Countless human hours went into a fish population program within McKee’s 800,000-gallon waterway system, including the pond you are now looking at. Our efforts were successful and the established populations of non-native, invasive cichlids were eradicated. While we did lose some fish during the project, McKee’s waterways are now thriving with diverse Florida native fish.

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Neovenator, teeth like steak knives

References: text is from the park placard with minor edits.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Grand Views

Brock-Harvey Forest Preserve on an early May morning

Click me for the first post of this series, “Burgeoning Forest .”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Two Snags

Brock-Harvey Forest Preserve on an early May morning

I found these snags surrounded and, at a distance, hidden by the burgeoning Brock-Harvey forest preserve here in the Finger Lakes.

As with burgeon (see yesterday’s blog post), the word “snag” has a long history from a forested northern region of the planet, though it hales from Scandinavian languages rather than Old English and Old German. As a noun “snag” is something with a point and a body long enough to cause inconvenience, the point catching on anything handy. As a verb “snag” is to become inconvenienced by a projecting body.

In forestry, a snag is any trunk of a dead tree. Commonly, a tree top breaks off leaving a jagged point which possibly can become an inconvenience. For birds, an upright dead tree is a blessing, perfect for homemaking.

Fallen, the snag is still a snag and also a home first for fungus. When the work of the fungus is done, the resulting mound is perfect for growing new trees.

Click me for the next post from this forest preserve, “Grand Views.”

References
snag definitions are from the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1971

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Burgeoning Forest

Brock-Harvey Forest Preserve on an early May morning

There is a word to describe the first growth of spring, rare in a way as having grown within the English/French languages without roots from either Greek or Latin, wholly suitable to a forest people. The first growth of spring so impressive it has words of its own: burgeon.

Both as a noun, burgeon the bud itself, and a verb; to burgeon, as in to burst forth. Burgeoning: the process of the act itself.

Click me for another post from this forest preserve.

References
burgeon/burgeoning definitions from the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1971

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Survival

live on a Sky Island

Sky islands are isolated mountains surrounded by radically different lowland environments. The term originally referred to those found near the southern borders of the U.S. states of Arizona and New Mexico with the northern borders of the Mexican States of Chihuahua and Sonora such as the Dragoon Mountains featured in this post. The isolation has significant implications for these natural habitats. The American Southwest region began warming up between ∼20,000–10,000 years before the present-day and atmospheric temperatures increased substantially, resulting in the formation of vast deserts that isolated the sky islands.

This sycamore tree survives life in this ephemeral stream of an Arizona “Sky Island” by allowing entire trunks to die off during extended dry spells. The tree is an Arizona Sycamore (Platanus wrightii).

Informative sign at campsite

Reference: wikipedia article “Sky Islands.”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Around and About Athens, New York, part 2

Real Estate and Ancestors

Pam eventually caught up to report a breakthrough contact made through casual street interactions. She talked to random strangers on 2nd Street hoping to learn more about her ancestor, Jan Van Loon. The breakthrough was a name and phone number of a woman, the daughter of a new acquaintance, and a tip about an old cemetery.

Two people are visible in this first photograph, taken from the south end of Athen’s Riverside Park. Look to the left of the large tree where a artist, under the small white umbrella, is painting while in conversation with a second person. Pam struck up a conversation……

Click any photograph for a larger version

“For Sale: 1825 Federal Home on the Hudson River”

The artist had an easel and a painting in progress, the subjects were yellow irises, part of a formal garden on the grounds of the mansion. We first took it to be a museum or public building of some sort, but were mistaken. It is a home. In the course of a conversation that touched upon Henry Hudson’s 1608 journey up the river (they knew nothing of Jan Van Loon, or of deeper local history in general), and the work of the second man who was the owner of the mansion. Here is more about the place from the Zillow listing. There was no “for sale” sign in evidence.

From the portion of the 12 South Water Street garden on the road. We chatted with the house owners and an artist as he painted these yellow iris blooms.
The Zillow Listing…WOW
” A freshly renovated home and grounds on the Hudson River, at 12 South Water Street, Athens, New York. Barely visible, to the left of the tree, is an artist, painting large yellow irises while chatting with the owner of the property. Here is what the listing on Zillow has to say, “This majestic 1825 Federal home on the banks of the Hudson River was designed by architect Barnabas Waterman for shipping entrepreneur Anthony Rutgers Livingston. Steeped in history, the house has undergone an extensive – yet sensitive – restoration. Enter into a grand hallway with Double Parlors to the right and a formal DR on the left. Original Federal flourishes abound with acanthus leaf capitals and entablatures, Corinthian columns, and intact mantels and molding. The high ceilings and tall windows provide extraordinary elegance, light and comfort. A thoughtful kitchen renovation and 1/2 Bath for 21st century convenience. Upstairs is a Full Bath and four spacious and airy Bedrooms, the Master with ensuite bath. The walk – out lower level features a family room with fireplace, a full bath and the original kitchen with hearth and beehive oven. A stroll past the box-wood garden leads to a 3-bay Garage with Studio and 1/2 Bath above, perfect for artist, home office or guests. Convenient to Thruway, Catskill, Hudson. 2- hrs NY.”

Formal Garden

Restored Hudson River Mansion

Barely a half mile apart, a great distance separates the homestead of Jan Van Loon and the 12 South Water Street former mansion of a shipping magnate including 125 years and the American Revolution.

Stylized Acanthus Leaves grace these Corinthian Capitals

Click Me for “Around and About Athens, New York, part 3

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills