News about the Florida Park System

News about the Florida Park System

I am on email lists for a lot of different thing relating to outdoor stuff. I use parks in many systems and love getting the news and updates that come around pretty often.

I was happy to hear two days ago that the folks who make decisions for our parks system here in the Sunshine State are considering re-opening Florida Parks.

It’s not definite and there is no indication of what kind of timeline they’re thinking of if, indeed, they do decide to get things cranked up again.

As I may have mentioned here, my girlfriend and I had a reservation to camp back on the 6th and 7th of this month at one of our fave spots. That would be Wekiwa Springs State Park in Seminole County.

As fate would have it, those dates were about two weeks after all kinds of activities and facilities began to be closed down.

We were very disappointed, as you might imagine when the notification came that the State was closing the door, yet thought that it was probably the only way things could have gone.

We did receive a prompt refund for the reservation fee, but were still wishing that our trip could have gone off as planned.

I will try to reserve again if we do get the green light. That may not be easy to do as I’m thinking there will be a ton of pent-up demand. But I’m sure going to try.

If you’re also here in Florida and would like to read the notice and the potentially good news it contains, just follow this link.

I hope you get to have an outdoor adventure of two yourself. And sooner rather than later.

I’m headed back to our County and/or State Parks just as soon as I can. And you can bet that I’ll let you know about it once I’m released back into the wild!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Earth-lovers are smiling today

Earth-lovers are smiling today

A huge victory today, especially for those of us who care about our Planet. The Supreme Court has ruled that a Utility Co. providing water to Maui County must stop injecting contaminated wastewater into the ground where it eventually reaches the sea.

Because we’re living in the trump era, our EPA had sided with the polluters in this important case. No surprise there. But they’ve now been stopped by the SCOTUS and the utility company must now comply with the law and clean up the water before they inject it into the ground.

The real shocker for me was that Justices John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch sided with the four progressive justices and against the polluters on this important case.

The Hawaii-based environmental groups that brought the suit, nature lovers and clean water advocates everywhere are smiling today.

I have no doubt that the trump-appointed industry lackeys that now run our EPA are pissed today. That really makes my day.

For the details on this important story, follow this link.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

National Arbor Day 2020

National Arbor Day 2020

Yes, it’s National Arbor Day today. But with most of America — and the world, for that matter — staying close to home, celebrating this auspicious day is just a bit different this time.

My celebration of the day this year includes two things. Small things, but things which nevertheless help the cause.

I just made a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation. This is something I look forward to doing each year.

If you would like to do that today, follow this link.

I’m also going to use today’s hashtag from the A.D.F. on my twitter account. And that is: #ArborDayAtHome. When you use that tag, the Foundation will plant a tree for your gesture of support and good will. Up to 50,000 trees.

That’s a wonderful thing.

One more thought: if you’d like to take a look at the blog for the A.D. Foundation, go right here.

A certified, hard-core tree-hugger, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

What next? Bill Gates has some thoughts

Like so many of us, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the last few weeks wondering how our current devastating health crisis is going to affect our lives going forward. 

Our lives and our collective life, together, on this planet.

I just came across an article laying out some of  Bill Gate’s thoughts about where we might be heading and it sounded very plausible to me.

I’ve always respected Bill Gates for his obvious business acumen and the visionary way he led Microsoft in its formative period.  

And I certainly laud Bill and Melinda for taking a wide world view and for their extraordinary philanthropy.

I think his thoughts about the COVID-19 crisis here deserve a very wide reading and I recommend this article for anyone who’d like to read some cogent and well-informed thoughts on where we might be heading.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Getting the Starter STARTED!

Getting the Starter STARTED!

One of the projects I’ve wanted to get done — especially while we all have a lot of time on our hands — is to get sourdough starter actually started!

It’s on the counter now and with daily feedings it should be ready to make bread in a week or so. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, but beyond that it’s really hard to find yeast in the grocery stores right now.

I will let you know how this project goes. If any of you have made sourdough starter and want to share your tips with me, that would be good thing.

I’m looking forward to actually baking the bread. If I’m doing this right, I should be good to go in the next week or so.

I love to bake and this will be a new wrinkle for me. Getting yeast this way — which is sometimes called “wild” yeast — is a step, I think, in becoming a “real” baker.

Not that I haven’t already paid my dues!

Hope your Saturday is going well! And I hope that you’re finding good things to do while you’re staying in.

“Baker Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Looking for Lost Apples

Looking for Lost Apples

Did you know that there was a group of dedicated botanists and nature nuts who spend a lot of time scouring the American northwest looking for lost apples?

Well, I didn’t either!

But there is and I just found out about these folks and the work of the Lost Apple Project by reading an article I found in a friend’s tweet.

It’s by far the most interesting thing I’ve found while web-surfing for quite a while.

It was from reading that article that I learned that North America once had around 17,000 named varieties of apples and that botanists believed that all but around 4,500 had disappeared.

And folks who work with the non-profit Lost Apple Project have been trying to find, identify and preserve as many of those lost varieties as possible.

It came as very welcome news that they’ve had quite a bit of success this year; the article mentioned that they’ve come across at least ten varieties this season that were previously thought to have been lost.

Being the ardent nature-lover that I am, it was such a good thing to hear that the L.A.P. has been very successful of late. You might say that 2020 has been a very fruitful year for the folks at the Project!

To read the article in its entirety, follow this link.

And here’s a link to the Facebook page for the Lost Apple Project.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Ben is not the owner of the banner photo and believes it to be covered under Fair Use

It’s World Health Day

It’s World Health Day

The 7th of April is World Health Day each year. It’s always a good time to show appreciation to our health care professionals but it seems all the more appropriate now that COVID-19 is ravaging our world.

Nurses have been there for me in a big way the four times I’ve been hospitalized. One of those involved major surgery and — although that was a very big deal — the care I received from nurses, doctors and techs made a tough situation bearable.

I’m thinking that most of the folks who may read this could say something similar.

I know that many of us have been watching more news than usual while we’re in the middle of this crisis. I certainly have.

It’s striking to me that many in the field — nurses especially — are literally laying their lives on the line to care for their patients.

If you know a nurse — or anyone in the health care field — now would be a good time to show your appreciation for all they do.

A good time to tell them of your appreciation.

A good time to possibly bring over a meal, to watch some children while Mom or Dad is putting in insane hours to care for us.

Especially if they’re living apart from family members now in order to lower the risk of inadvertently passing along a dreaded virus.

There are so many in that work dealing with a lot of really, really big challenges right now.

I’m so grateful today for our health care professionals. And I’m most certainly going to make it a point to speak those words of appreciation whenever I can.

Ben Lawrence Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Header Photo from DailyNurse.com

Serenity is a Full Moon

Serenity is a Full Moon

Like all of you, I’ve been a bit stressed in the last month or so. And I was really looking for something that would help me banish the stress-monster for a moment or two.

About 30 minutes ago, I noticed that a beautiful full moon had just popped over the neighbor’s house. So I grabbed my trusty Canon and took the pic that’s now living at the top of this post.

I hope you’re feeling alright on this lovely night. I’m not exactly a paragon of serenity, but I’m feeling better than I was a little while ago.

And there’s nothing wrong with that!

“Moondog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

You Can’t Go to the Zoo Today

You Can’t Go to the Zoo Today

Going to zoos is — without a doubt — one of my most favorite ways to spend an afternoon.

But, as you know well, it’s something we just can’t do today.

Fortunately, I’ve been to zoos many, many times and have some good photos of those visits.

Today’s banner photo is a pic from a 2017 trip to the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida. It’s a pic I like a lot.

I’m delighted to be able to say that I went on four different outdoor adventures in the last three months, while we could do such things without fear of compromising our own or others’ health.

And, yes, I’ve got plenty of photos!

So I will be posting about said adventures soon.

So the fine foto of my feathered friend above is the latest pic from one of my nature excursions.

And it most certainly will not be the last even if it takes me a while to escape the confines of my home!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile