Sunday, July 9, 2017

Real Florida Wildlife and Artificial Frogs


Yesterday we braved the heat and went to Alpine Groves Park, a historic site and scenic park along the St. John's River. It's in the small community of Switzerland, named for a plantation owned in the 1700s by a Swiss businessman. (I'm sure that's where the "Alpine" name comes from, too, since there's not a mountain around for miles!) We strolled the shady boardwalk and my nieces went to the playground. We saw butterflies and a striped skink and some interesting flowers, but most of the wildlife seemed to be hidden somewhere, staying cool. Afterwards we went out for tacos -- or in my case, taco salad. It was good to get out and see something new.


While walking with my mom at her retirement center the day before, I found this groovy rock lying on an outdoor table. It was signed on the bottom. Someone's art project, I guess!


And this was my find while walking the dog with my brother yesterday morning. How apropos!


When I visited Jacksonville over Christmas, I took some pictures of some colorful frog statues I found sitting on a bridge abutment, out in the middle of nowhere. I thought it odd, and on this trip I've seen even more frogs spread around my brother's neighborhood -- on bridges, mailboxes and these two on a tree stump near his house. Turns out there's a story behind them -- a retired guy called the Frog Man of Mandarin makes and distributes the amphibians. He apparently even maintains his frogs, replacing missing ones and repairing those that get damaged.


Finally, here's a picture of Queens, my loving tormentor, who also went to the park with us yesterday. She's still very puppyish, as you can see. My oldest niece loves her, but the younger one is a little unsure. She pets Queens but the minute the dog moves, especially if its mouth is open, she backs right up. I guess a dog mouth must look pretty scary to a four-year-old!

9 comments:

A Cuban In London said...

Lovely photos. You must be having a blast.

Greetings from London.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

The Frog Man of Mandarin is called Donald. Surely he cannot be the same one we see on the TV - the one with the golden nylon mane and the appalling manners. No! He wouldn't ever think of doing something as beautifully crazy as the neighbourhood frog project.

Greetings from Lanzarote.

37paddington said...

What YP said. These days I'm never sure whether frogs are merely art. Though these certainly seem artistic.

ellen abbott said...

those frogs are pretty ugly. my daughter had a phobia about dogs. when she was less then two she fell over our friend's doberman pinscher laying asleep on the ground. the dog didn't even twitch but she panicked and wanted up immediately and from that day she would climb me if she even saw a dog in the distance. reassuring her that the dogs we encountered wouldn't hurt her fell on deaf ears. she didn't care, she was afraid. this went on til she was about 12 and we got a puppy. OK, puppies were babies so she learned not to be afraid of dogs.

e said...

I love the variety in these photos, and Queens is adorable but I understand Kate's fear as I developed the same fear around that age due to a German shepherd jumping up after a piece of my sandwich and it wasn't until puberty that the fear abated. I don't ever pet or try to befriend unknown dogs without the owner being present and I feel that a lot of people fail to control their dogs in public or around strangers. And, yes, a dog's mouth does look scary to a little kid...

Sharon Anck said...

Queens looks so cute and very happy in the puppy kind of way. I love that polka-dot rock. You do find some interesting things on your long walks.

jenny_o said...

I imagine your family is happy to have you visiting (maybe even as much as Queens is!). I think it's pretty much universally true that you can't go home, but it's also true you can VISIT home happily, which appears to be the case with you.

Love the polka dot rock, and the apropos beer cap! Great picture of Queens; she has a beautiful coat.

Dave said...

Queens should come and play with Olga!

Linda Sue said...

the rock is such a good find! There is a thing in South Africa called Cape Town Rocks, people paint stones like the one you found and leave them all over the city, take photos of them and document where they were found. Kind of a cool way to interact with the inhabitants there. Hope Dave does not show Olga what you are up to...