It’s Saturday and I’m NOT at Silver Springs State Park

It’s Saturday and I’m NOT at Silver Springs State Park

I do work on weekends these days. Not sure what it would take to change that. It’s an issue I’m working on.

If you’re mostly an outdoor dog — as I am — there’s one advantage to having your free time falling on week days: it’s easier to book campgrounds and you won’t be crammed in to beautiful natural  settings along with 10 bah-jillion other nature lovers.

I understand that but it’s still hard for me sometimes be getting ready for work when most folks are in full-play mode. Heavy sigh…

Here’s a photo I took at Silver Springs State Park just east of Ocala. This was almost exactly six months ago today; it was a very nice outing, indeed. I would so love to be there right now. Or maybe on Monday, when fewer outdoor enthusiasts would be enjoying the sights along with me!

Happy weekend, folks. I’ll be posting again before too long…

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile in full-work mode

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

Fave Fotos: hitherto unpublished pix from Wekiwa Springs State Park

Fave Fotos: hitherto unpublished pix from Wekiwa Springs State Park

Never did get these up here on my blog. It’s time.

These are from my second trip to Wekiva Springs State Park this year. Some of these, I think, show my best work. Not sure why I waited so long to get them up here.

Here in Central Florida, we haven’t had a break from near-constant rains in a while. This Monday was somewhat less wet than most days; we did get to see the sun for several hours. But it’s been dreary weather around here for about three weeks now and I’d love to see it end. Yes, I know we needed it.

I rarely make plans to do outdoor stuff when the conditions are like this, and that’s the main reason I’m feeling this way and whining about it. So my strategy to deal with it is to dip back into the picture box and enjoy some photos from an excursion not too long ago where everything — including the weather — was damn near perfect.

In this second shot I didn’t get quite as close to the terrain. I like the way it turned out. It’s quite possible that the next time I get a chance to scratch the outdoor itch, I’ll be heading back to Wekiwa Springs. Not only is it a first-rate site for shutterbugs, but they recently completed some extensive renovations to the camp grounds and I’d like to see how that turned out.

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Some good stuff for nature lovers and folks who like to capture such things with a camera. I hope these pics help to bring a few moments of serenity to you today.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile in dreary O’do

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Trips to the Beach On Those Cloudy, Overcast Days

Trips to the Beach On Those Cloudy, Overcast Days

 

Trips on days like that can be nice.

I made it to the beach on one of those days about two weeks ago. I was sure that I’d get wet but my beach jones was so bad that day that I pointed my car towards the Beach Line Expressway and hit the gas in spite of the really, truly dire forecast.

I’m glad I did. I did get rained on but it was less severe than I expected and the rain held off until I’d grilled my awesome Johnsonville Cheddar Smoked Sausages, cleaned up and explored the beach for about 20 minutes with my Canon. Canon Power Shot, to be more precise. (Just for the record, the fine folks at Johnsonville have not offered me anything to mention one of their great products. Nor the folks at Canon, for that matter!)

It was a very worthwhile trip. And I’m grateful to Mother Nature; her timing was damn near perfect.

Here’s my fave shot from this brief outing. I love shots that re-create that feeling of exhilaration I get every time I get to the bottom of one of those ramps and the planks give way to sand. Only sand. It’s like being launched into Neptune’s domain.

As I put together this post today, I’m having trouble pushing away those familiar and persistent beach cravings. I’m overdue. Because today’s my Friday, my chances of being able to scratch that beach itch soon are very good.

I’ll be sure to take some pictures.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Mr. Gator Hangin’ Around at the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Brevard County

Mr. Gator Hangin’ Around at the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Brevard County

Saw this gator playing peek-a-boo among some aquatic plants. Had my trusty camera at the ready, so I got off a shot or three. I’m liking ’em and thought I’d pass some of them along.

Before too long I had a chance to get Mr. Gator up close and personal as we used to say. Here’s one that I think fits into this post quite well.

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And, of course, when I say “up close and personal”, I’m talking about the magic of my zoom feature and NOT about me creeping through the wetlands hoping to get much closer to my scaled, reptilian friend…

I got quite a few shots today at this cool spot and some of them are totally blog worthy. I’ll be posting later with more of those.

One of the things that made this trip especially fun is that I wasn’t trying to get to this “new” spot at all. (Of course, by that I mean new to me.) I just happened to stumble across it while cruising on a stretch of Wickham Road which was unfamiliar to me.

Ol’ Bulldog is so set in his ways that he rarely does things in that fashion; but he liked the way it all turned out, so he’s all about spontaneous fun now! Well, okay, he’ll try to do a bit more of that, at least…

I hope you’re doing some outdoor stuff. Here in the Sunshine State, it’s pretty damn hot, but there are still plenty of cool things to do all up and down this state. You just have to make sure you bring along the goofy straw hat, sun block, shades and something to drink. Yeah, that’s the formula!

And, of course, be sure to bring along your camera!

 

“Bulldog Ben” back home in Orlando

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Red Nose Day is Tomorrow! Better Get Your Nose!

Red Nose Day is Tomorrow! Better Get Your Nose!

It’s just about here. Tomorrow, May 24th is indeed Red Nose Day and remember it’s all to benefit kids.

Many different businesses and people are participating in the very cool fundraising event. Here in Central Florida, folks often associate the well-known pharmacy chain Walgreens with Red Nose Day as they’re doing some great publicity for it and their stores are the easiest way for folks to get their nose.

Some may not be clear on exactly where the funds raised are going. The answer is Save The Children and that’s an org I support without reservation. The specific objective for this promotion is to end child poverty. Yeah, I know; that’s a tall order. All the more reason to support this event.

I first came to support Save the Children from a door to door solicitor. Although I had reservations about whether S.T.C. would raise money that way, they do, and I’m glad I chipped in. (By the way, I don’t know if they still do, but they did in 2014.)

If you’re in Central Florida and you’d like to participate, go to any Walgreens and get your nose on. Literally.

I didn’t realize that they’ve been doing R.N.D. for 25 years now. If  you want to know more about this very worthy event, just follow this link.

I’ll see you tomorrow! And if I do, we both should be looking a bit like my friend Alli from Slow and Low Barbecue in Cocoa Beach!

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“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Fave Fotos: Crow with Attitude at The Brevard Zoo

Fave Fotos: Crow with Attitude at The Brevard Zoo

And speaking of the Brevard Zoo! That Fave Foto is a pic I love from my trip to the Brevard Zoo three or four weeks ago that I think is well worth a look. This dude has a ‘tude, wouldn’t you say?

That was a very fun and productive trip; the critters — for the most part — were very cooperative, the weather was perfect and I saw some new things I couldn’t have seen in previous trips. What’s not to like? (Well, the zip line damn near killed me, but it was still fun!)

I hope your hump day is going well. I’ll be posting again before long. I just might have more to say about that totally exhausting but totally fun zip line adventure…

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Bulldog Really, Really Loves the Brevard Zoo

Bulldog Really, Really Loves the Brevard Zoo

I really love going to the zoo. I’ve been to four zoological parks in the last couple of years. And even though I can say I liked them all, I must add that the Brevard Zoo in Melboure is definitely my favorite.

One advantage they have over some other parks is that it was well-planned right from the very beginning. Some parks expand gradually and that’s a whole ‘nother thing, as the saying goes. So the B.Z. offers more than many of the others and each area or attraction flows naturally into the next one.

There are two different boat rides where visitors can get a different perspective on each area and the featured critters. Many zoos have one, having two here is very cool. And the train ride is lots of fun. Below is the rider’s view from the front train car. Because this visit was in late October of 2015, close to Halloween, they called it “the boo-choo train!” How cute is that?!

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A highlight at any zoo is seeing the primates; the monkeys, orang-utans, chimps and so forth; the Brevard Zoo is the only one I’ve visited that features the Siamang. This species looks to this layman something like a scaled down gorilla and I find them terribly interesting. They’re a type of gibbon and are native to Malaysia, Thailand, and Sumatra. They’re deathly afraid of water and can’t swim at all, so in that particular exhibit, zoo-goers are pretty close to the animals as the not-so-large moat is all that separates you from a siamang; there is no high fence.

There is an exhibit that features animals — and even botanical specimens — from the Caribbean and it’s no surprise that the zoo folk who designed this part of the park chose to wrap a pirate theme around it. I can’t remember any of the critters feature there, but here’s a couple of shots of mine that I like especially from the part of the park.

 

If you have small children, there is a splash pad here, right behind the pizza place. All zoos seem to have these, and it’s something parents of small kids like. They have a challenge course with very good and very high zip lines; that’s a fine addition, I must say. It is a separate business with a separate admission charge. You can do the zoo and not the zip lines or vice-versa. It’s a very full day if you or the kids opt for both. I did the zips and lived to tell the tale! They are NOT for the faint of heart! I just had to buy the tee shirt that says I got through the course!

One thing to add: I’m an annual pass holder and think it’s a very good value. If you’ve never gone that route, please know this: if you hold an annual pass to any accredited zoo, you receive half off when you visit any other one! I love that; it’s just one more reason to patronize a zoo in your neck of the woods.

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile