Archive for April, 2013


Storm

Across the field they came.

Slamming into the ground and raising the dust that had settled over thousands of years.

Wetting things cracked and dead. Making black puddles on the land.

Things that had long since given up emerged. Beady eyes shone red in the darkness.

Things cried out. Things older than the earth itself.

Everything awoke to the sound of thunder.

The storm approaches.

“We will miss you.”

That’s right. I won’t say who wrote this to me today. That would be tattle telling. I will say what it meant to me.

It meant the world. It meant that the team that was heading out and leaving me behind at the office would miss me. And I them.

It’s funny how our team functions. It’s almost organic. Like a living organism that has a life all its own. We feed it our personalities, we care for it with our passion for our work, and water it with our symbiotic natures. That, my friends, has made one strong living thing. TEAM

I will hold the fort down in the office. I will answer emails and keep moving some project work forward. I will think of them on the river. I will miss them. I will miss the their input.

They will work on the river. They will think of what I might say about something in the field. They will miss me. They will miss my input. 

It’s not what you plan to do when you go to work. You plan to work, get paid, go home, pay bills, and wake up and do it all again. With us, it’s not that way. We wake up, We go to work, We LOVE our work, We LIVE our work, We get paid, and we can’t believe it!!

After having done many things in my life to make money, I can honestly say that you are a fool to continue feeding your passions and dreams to a time clock. You should stop now. It’s simply not good for the living thing. It’s not good for YOU!

So, think about what you wanted to truly be when you grew up. Think about how you can make yourself happy. Think of how risky it might be and what amazing adventure and excitement might come with that kind of change.  

And then reread this – and think of how amazing it is to be a part of something alive….that makes you feel alive. Even when you can’t be there. So, you just gonna sit there? Read this again!!

Then – go out there and make it happen! GO ANYWHERE!

Ahhhhh….Arcadia!

That’s right, Arcadia, Florida. It’s not only home to some amazing ranchers and farmers who grow and raise our food. It’s home to some of the most amazing vistas, intriguing swamps, and enchanting historic Florida sceneries.

Kristen and I have spent most of the last week working in the swamps. Yes, it was hot. Yes, it was filthy. Yes, it was amazing.

What I wanted to share today was that we were surprised on the last morning by none other than genuine Florida cowboys. Horses, dogs, hats, and all.

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They rode away. Dogs leading the riders.

 

We were investigating a particular stream corridor when they came upon us. It stopped us in our tracks. First were the pack of dogs. All were dirty and romping through the wet grass. All were different. Then came the men on their horses. Complete with straw cowboy hats and bandanas. They reined up next to us to see who we were.

They asked if we had seen an

y head of cow in this area. They told us they had only 54 but need to pen them. They stared at us. We stared at them.

Of course we sometimes forget that we are dressed like crazy people covered in mud. Two women looking that way could be quite perplexing on a Friday morning in the morning fog!

We informed them that we were studying the swamps. Kristen asked them a couple of questions while the dogs all tromped at our feet. They asked if we wanted a dog to which we replied no thanks but they look like good dogs.

A must read for all Floridians!

They left. Turning their horses and the dogs. We wanted to go after them. Wanted to ride with them and see what cowboys do. Wanted to ride while the dogs ran with us in the morning fog. There was something age old….rustic….nostalgic in their words and clothes. Something was there that we have read in books like A Land Remembered.

They seemed like old souls of Florida still riding and penning. It reminded us that lifestyle is still very much a thriving part of Florida. It’s not just history. It’s modern. They just haven’t made any technological advances that can beat a man, a horse, and a pack of dogs!

It’s not often we get the chance to interact with people in the field. It left us feeling a little melancholy. The riders and dogs in the mist of a hot morning. I hope they penned their cows.

 

  That’s right! That’s a mouthful isn’t it? Well, what we do can be summed up in this amazingly complex word OR we can bring it home by reminding everyone about their childhood.

Remember the sandbox and water hose days? You sat in your summer clothes dirty or sandy using the flow of the waterhose to make paths in the sand or dirt. You dug moats on the beach for the waves to fill to protect your castle. You splashed in puddles and connected them by digging runs from one to the other to see what would happen.

You practiced fluvial geomorphology. That’s right. Every kids in the world who moved sand or dirt with water had it going on!

If you want to extend it – think of how everything is connected. Without water (hydro) you have no stream or river. In that water are so many things. It includes chemistry (very fancy and complex science), flora (plants like little algae), and fauna (animals). These things make up the BIO part of our descriptive title. 

Fluvial is of the river or stream. Geo is of the earth. Morphology is the study of changes.

There you have it…HYDRO-BIO-FLUVIAL-GEO-MORPHOLOGY

The science of how water changes the earth and what things exist in that water. It does so fancy – so use the fancy word to impress your friends and family. But know this – some time in your life, you were probably practicing a very special science!

So, a reminder that no matter how old you are, or where you live, you can be a scientist.

So get out there – AND GO ANYWHERE YOU CRAZY MAD SCIENTIST.  

Keeping it Fresh….

That’s right – the Chicks with Ticks likes to be fresh and new. Spring is the perfect time to talk about all things new so we thought you might like to know some of the things we are going to be doing this season.

It wasn't all bad - rescued this Greater Siren from a dried up isolated pond...it was still alive and I was so excited

It wasn’t all bad – rescued this Greater Siren from a dried up isolated pond…it was still alive and I was so excited

  • We will begin shooting a series of short spots for the Polk County Board of Tourism. These spots will focus on Ecotourism and Agritourism in Polk county and the opportunities for outdoor adventures. We are so excited to be a part of the effort to bring more people outdoors to share in our agricultural and ranching history as well and explore our beautiful natural resources.
  • We will be working with some special friends at the Santa Fe Canoe Outpost on some special trips. That’s right – you can take a trip down the river with us and learn to see it the way we do! Plus have a whole lot of fun.
  • We will be looking for opportunities to work with young people on sharing our adventures so that they too can grow their love of Florida outdoors and understand more. If they love it – they will protect it! Also looking for funding to begin an EcoCamp.
  • We will be looking for land owners that are interested in allowing Agritours of their lands. We want to show folks that our ranchers and farmers are a huge part of Florida history. New laws and regulations will help us help them keep Florida waters clean. We want this to be a positive jac+kristen+logorelationship for all involved. How better than to help everyone understand how we all look at the landscape and maybe we will ALL learn to walk in each other’s shoes.
  • Don’t forget we are always looking for crazy adventures to share with you all. You wouldn’t believe all the amazing things we see and the wonders we experience. Don’t be afraid to do it yourself! Get out the and GO ANYWHERE….find you own adventure and share it with us.headstand

Crooked Lake – Babson Park

Lake Caloosa - Crooked Lake

Lake Caloosa – Crooked Lake

Also known as Lake Caloosa, Crooked Lake is a unique site for those of us who think of Florida and think of swamps. It’s white sandy shores and bottom can be seem quite clearly through the crystal waters that lap the shoreline.

San Skink tracks

San Skink tracks

The park that is located off Ohlinger Road in Babson Park, FL is a wonder of nature. Atop the Lake Wales Ridge, the preserve consists of scrub habitat and the beautiful Crooked Lake. You will see cacti, marshes, wet prairies, oak hammocks, and some rather interesting inhabitants.

We found fresh sand skink tracks, gopher tortoise burrows, red sundew plants, and could imagine the scrub jay that must live in the forests of low sand oaks. You won’t want to miss this one.

Pink Sundew - Carnivorous beauty

Pink Sundew – Carnivorous beauty

Hiking is sandy and you want to make sure you have plenty of water and grab a map at the entrance. The kiosk shows how just a small change in elevation in these sandy habitats can create complex environments for flora and fauna.

Don’t forget to walk down to the lake and be amazed that it can fluctuate 20 feet in a season! This park offers a restroom at the entrance, boardwalk along a wet prairie, and more hiking opportunities than you can see in one visit.

 

Take the time to study how amazing our landscapes are!

Take the time to study how amazing our landscapes are!

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