Saturday, January 21, 2012

My First Florida Nature Hunt

I didn't set out to do any nature hunting during my recent Florida vacation. Most of my time was spent sitting by a pool... amusement parks...

...or visiting with friends and family. I did spend a day at Clearwater Beach but I didn't bother doing any beach combing.

My girls started to set aside a little shell collection but none of the shells were anything special and they all got left behind.

One of the highlights of my trip was our 2.5 mile hike around the Disney Wilderness Preserve. This mural at the visitor's center showed all the types of wildlife that we might see.

However, the only wildlife we actually saw were a few birds from afar.

And because we were there during the winter we didn't see as much beautiful or interesting variety in flora and fauna as we probably could during other times of the year.

I did get to see my first cypress trees though.

And I spied with my eagle eyes some red berries way up out of reach. You know I'm a sucker for those.

Regardless of what we did or did not see, it was a nice break from the neon lights and highly commercialized community around our condo.  It was a gorgeous bright sunny day - cool in the morning, warm in the afternoon - and the kids got to run around.

Apparently 2.5 miles is a bit too much running even for kids. Good thing we had plenty of extra arms available.

Although I'm pretty sure I should not have been "hunting and gathering" on a nature preserve, I didn't think they'd miss the few treasures I stuffed into the basket of our stroller along the way.

Anyone who lives in or spends much time in Florida will probably laugh because my "treasures" are actually very common place down there. But I took them because I thought they were pretty cool natural elements that could be used somehow in crafting and/or decorating.

The first treasure I gathered was a bunch of huge pine cones from what I believe are white longleaf pines.

The trees were full of them and they were not too difficult to find on the ground.

I'm pretty sure that my "smuggling" these out of Florida and home to MA would be like a Floridian "smuggling" a bag of white oak acorns out of Massachusetts. Big woop. But I really liked the pine cones because they are so huge and it will be fun to find a creative decorative use for them during the fall and winter. Maybe something along the lines of one of these inspirational ideas I grabbed off the web:

Hang individually like an ornament - but where? I think they might actually be too big for this.

Hang in a group from ribbon, in lieu of a wreath? Again, maybe too big for even this.
Gather in a basket with pinecones of other sizes and white lights. I really like this idea.

Tuck into greenery. Ooohh, maybe do window boxes like this next Christmas!

Glitter them? Looks so pretty but not a likely project for me. I don't do glitter. Period.

Cute idea for one

Plant in small pots and line up

Fun for kids to make into turkeys

The second treasure I gathered was a tuft of Spanish moss.

Finding this in Florida is like finding sand in the dessert. You don't exactly have to go to a nature preserve to find it. I actually hate the way Spanish moss looks hanging from the trees.

It gives a ghostly, messy and even deathly look. However, up close, it is soft and fluffy. I know I can buy this stuff for cheap in craft stores or florist shops. Or, for a real rip off, from Pottery Barn for $10/little bag!!!  So I figured I'd take home an authentic native tuft of Spanish moss. I'll come up with a good use for it eventually. Here's one idea I found that uses both large pine cones and Spanish moss. And my shed is actually pretty well stocked with a variety of terra cotta pots. Hmmm....

1 comment:

anshuman said...

The experience shared while going on a trip through a scenic place in florida.

clearwater beach real estate

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