Heading back to Tosohatchee!

Heading back to Tosohatchee!

Haven’t been camping in about three months or so and I’m going through withdrawals! No, that’s not a joke!

So I’ll get my next “nature hit” in about a week’s time and I’m all jacked up over it!

I like the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area for camping. This will be my fifth trip out to this choice nature spot and my second camping outing there.

You may remember from a previous post that you need a hunting permit to hunt Florida’s WMA’s  but not to camp. You just can’t camp in any hunting season.

It’s quite primitive. No hook-ups of any kind. Porta Johns and no showers. So it’s real camping. I’m one of those campers who carries a boat load of propane and every kind of battery powered device know to man, so I do just fine in these spots.

It’s also a time to take a jillion photos, so that’s a big part of the allure of camping for this puppy. I’ll have plenty pix to share on the other side of this very welcome outing!

If you love Nature like I do, make sure you get out there in the middle of it soon! Your Mother’s calling…

And you best answer!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

Sheldon is New at the Zoo!

Sheldon is New at the Zoo!

There are three fine zoos within easy driving distance of my part of Florida. I love them all.

The Brevard Zoo in Melbourne is a real pleasure. I’ve spent many hours there checking out the wildlife and I’ve done the zip line, too. A fine facility from start to finish.

And now they have a new dragon! No, I’m completely serious!

His name is Sheldon, he’s an 11 year-old Komodo Dragon and you can find him in the Lands of Change exhibit!

If you’re anywhere around Central Florida, take a trip to Melbourne and pay a visit to Sheldon!

And tell him Bulldog sent you!

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Deer in the Enchanted Forest

Deer in the Enchanted Forest

That seemed like a catchy title, so I went with it!

Alas, there are no actual deer in this forest. Let me explain…

I did a photo feature in mid-September about a little oasis of tranquility close to my neighborhood and about 200 yards from one of Central Florida’s busiest highways.

It’s just a patch of serene and unspoiled nature, and it’s situated on the southern edge of a development known as “Deerfield”.

As I took a second look at the photos I shot on that lovely September afternoon, two more  pix jumped out at me faster than a frolicking fawn on a frosty February morn!

The first is the lovely banner photo you saw when you clicked over just now.

And the second is the image of that beautiful and bucolic scene you see below.

Deerfield-shoot-9-5-18-wrkd-2b (17)

I hope you find some beauty in your world today. Maybe in an unexpected place. Maybe even close to home.

I hope you take a second look at something familiar and see something of great value. Something, perhaps, that you’d passed over before.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Don’t Worry, Bee Happy!

Don’t Worry, Bee Happy!

If you read much news and you’re pay attention to anything relating to ecology, no doubt you’ve heard that bees are not having such an easy time these days.

It’s not so easy to be a bee, trying to live, thrive and survive!

So much has been and is being written about it. I’m not going to try to add anything original to the discussion

I did, however, come across an interesting article recently which talks about one group in the Netherlands that is working towards making it easier for bees to work their magic.

I recommend the feature highly. It’s from NBC News and will only take about two minutes of your time today.

If you’re inclined to dig just a bit deeper and get some very good practical tips on how you can do your part, you’ll find some great info here.

I have read quite a bit on the subject and without “beeing” Debbie Downer, I will say that the outlook for bees and for anything related to protecting the natural world and our environment is not so good.

But having some practical tips at hand is a very good thing to help any of us who’re concerned and paying attention in our efforts to get things moving in a better direction.

 

 

“Beedog Ben” Basile

 

Ben is not the owner of this fine photo. He found it here.

 

Beauty in the ‘burbs!

Beauty in the ‘burbs!

It’s such a marvelous thing when you find amazing natural beauty in unexpected places.

About two miles from the neighborhood where I live is a web of subdivisions all tagged with the Deerfield name. There are four or five different subs all told; it’s a fairly large development.

On the southern fringe of the complex–yes, off Deerfield Drive–the developers created a large urban wetland that rivals any natural space I’ve seen in Central Florida.

It’s quite beautiful and I’ve often thought that the area would be prime for a photo shoot.

Well, one day last week, I finally got off my fanny and took about 150 shots.

I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Here’s another shot I like a lot. At this point, I was probably fewer than 40 or 50 steps into this lovely space.

It’s too much fun when you’re taking pix to play tricks with shadow and light. I love to shoot in early morning or come out to catch those last two hours of daylight in order to have the most fun possible with shadows.

I’ll get one more in before I publish this post and get on with some “other stuff” that’s calling out for my attention this afternoon. This one captures for me that feeling of blossoming serenity that filled me when I first walked up on this wonderful oasis of tranquility that sits less than a quarter mile from busy John Young Parkway in southern Orange County.

Deerfield-shoot-9-5-18-wrkd-2b (28)

 

May you be blessed with some serene scenes and moments of intense tranquility today.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

National Wildlife Day is…

National Wildlife Day is…

National Wildlife Day is… well, it’s complicated!

September 4th has been the day to commemorate National Wildlife Day each year, having been established back in 2005 by animal behaviorist Colleen Paige.

As you may know, there’s no shortage of days to celebrate a million different causes; many of them help mightily to get people’s minds, hearts and contributions focused on an event or a cause; some of them are very worthy, indeed.

National Wildlife Day would fall very close to the top of this dog’s list! It’s an occasion that’s very, very close to my heart.

So Colleen Paige, the founder of this noteworthy day, came to believe that, moving forward, it would be advantageous to celebrate the day on February 22nd to honor the memory of Australian zookeeper and conservationist Steve Irwin on his birthday.

Mr. Irwin, admired and loved by so many in the conservation community, entered the world on February 22nd of 1962. So he would have turned 56 this last February had he not died unexpectedly on September 4th of 2006. Yes, that was exactly 12 years ago today. 

Yes, it is complicated! To sum up where we stand with the celebration of National Wildlife Day right now: today is the day we’ve been celebrating NWD for the last 13 years. It’s the first September 4th since the change was declared, so although “thee day” will be coming around next February 22nd, five and a half months from now, it’s still an awesome thing to celebrate wildlife, advocate for policies and things that make it easier for wildlife and even throw some dollars in that direction, right now, today!

Visit the page for this fine and extremely worthy commemoration by  clicking here.

The World Wildlife Fund is a very well-known org doing fine work in this area. I’ve supported them and invite you to visit their site today.

Partnering with local zoos and wildlife parks is another effective way to help expand your awareness about wildlife and to help them survive and thrive!

If, like me, you’re in the Central Florida region, you may want to visit the sites for the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford or the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne by clicking in the appropriate places above.

Happy National Wildlife Day! Sort of!

 

Doing what I can for the cause today, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Lone Cabbage Fish Camp

Lone Cabbage Fish Camp

If you live in Orlando and go to Cocoa or Cocoa Beach very often, you’ve passed Lone Cabbage Fish Camp, no doubt.

There are several ways to get to the Cocoa area from O’do and I’d venture to say that SR 520 is the most common route if you’re not fond of tolls. The Beach Line Expressway has them, but SR 520 does not.

Lone Cabbage is that little outpost of civilization on your right as you’re crossing the St John’s River and entering Brevard County.

If you don’t turn in at Lone Cabbage in search of an air boat ride–yes, they certainly do those–you’re most likely on a quest for good, local seafood and a beer or two to wash it down.

I had lunch at Lone Cabbage yesterday after about a thousand trips to Cocoa Beach over that well-travel road and I’m glad I did.

I ordered the Catfish Dinner, took it just the way it comes–with hushpuppies, their seasoned fries and slaw and chased it with a Coors Light. (No beer taps in this well-worn and very authentic joint, but about 15 different bottled brands.)

The Catfish was good and the fries were above average. They had lived under a heat lamp just a few moments too long by my standard, but when you sit down in a busy eatery at straight-up noon, that’s how it usually goes.

I love a good, freshly-made cole slaw and theirs was tasty and not overly-sweet. When the sugar kicks all the other ingredients into the back seat–something that’s far from rare in many home-style restaurants–I don’t like it!

I’d like to think that an establishment with cabbage in the name joint would have amazing slaw and although that’s not the case, it’s certainly not a situation where this often under-appreciated side dish warranted “points off”!

Yikes! I’ve become a “slaw snob”!

My impressions of Lone Cabbage Fish Camp are just fine so far. To have a more complete picture, I’d like to have more than only one dish and check out the air boat rides as well. But based on poking around the site and the County Park next to it a couple of times and patronizing it once, I certainly can recommend it. It’s well-known around the East Central Florida region and has been busy the times I’ve stopped by.

The next time you’re breezing down SR 520 mid-way between Cocoa and Orlando, stop in at Lone Cabbage and take in this landmark. You’ll pass a small Brevard Co. Park, James Bourbeau Memorial, where there is a public boat ramp and public rest rooms.

LoneCabb-airboat-rides-sign

And right next door, you’ll find Lone Cabbage. The basic boat ride does not require a reservation, but the bigger packages do. The minimum wait is 30 minutes. The perfect time to grab a quick lunch!

To visit their site and see more about LCFC, including the menu, just click on this link.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile