Tag Archive: chicks

Itchy and Scratchy

That’s right, I’m itchy….and scratchy. No, silly, not the cartoon characters from The Simpsons….SERIOUSLY! I have discovered what happens when you wear far too many layers in the hot Florida sun.

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Prickly heat – heat rash – or whatever you wanna call it! I was trying to be smarter than the average nerd working out in the Florida sun (104 degrees). I wore layers so that I could shed them as I needed. Only problem, you know me, I got caught up in my work and forgot to shed layers.

So, instead, I have this amazingly sexy rash ALL OVER! I hate to admit it – but now is the perfect time – I was wrong! Yep, make your calendars folks and watch the icebergs grow – cause Hell just froze over. I was totally wrong to even think for one moment that I was going to remember my clothes.

“Why, Jacque? Why would you forget something so important to most gals?” Well, I am definitely NOT most gals. SO, while I was busy looking at my survey gear and constructing a designed creek plan, I just wandered around in way too many clothes.

So, lesson for the day, wear the minimum and bring the maximum. Pack it and keep it handy. Remember, weather changes all over the world at any time! Even MyRadar can be wrong….so make sure you have what you need to stay cool, warm, dry, bug free, sun free, and safe! If you aren’t sure, pack more! If you don’t need it, so be it – but if you don too much or pack too little, you might get caught in a storm, or you just might get heat rash!

For those who are unfamiliar, heat rash is simply sweat trapped under your skin. Sounds harmless…

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Now, someone give me some tips for how to treat it!! PLEASE…



Forget Black

The cracks, even the cracks of her feet were black with earth.

Her hair matted with black and hanging limp and wildly at her ears.

Her hands were stained black and there were small scars where the work showed through.

And just when it seemed she couldn’t get any blacker,

her heart stood still with the black mud.

Her eyes shed black tears that smudged her filthy cheeks.

Her mouth oozed.

She had stayed too long in the dark wet. She was one of them.

Yet there she crouched. Sobbing and shaken.

Her precious work torn asunder by those who spoke sharp words of machines.

All she knew lay raped and stranded in the bright sun.

It would be theirs tomorrow. Neat and shiny.

It would be organized and proper and clean.

It was always so sad to see them like this. Naked and lost.

No words would come to stay them from her treasure.

She would silently suffer.

It might kill her….

Yes, she would die if not for the others. They always come.

They take back their own into the dank woods.

Who knows what horrors lie there.

God it must be dreary and strange.

Oh, look, it must be time to go. The sun is sinking.



Looking upstream

Looking upstream

That’s right, I know you are all pouting and say, “Jacque, where have you been?” Well, I

This little guy os growing from our green logs where the creek disappears under a newly created natural bridge.

This little guy os growing from our green logs where the creek disappears under a newly created natural bridge.

have no really great story where I get chased by some wild animal or get lost deep in the forest (we wish right?). All I have is the fact that I have been running around crazy.

Looking downstream

Looking downstream

I thought you all would absolutely love the fact that I am working in a confidential area making guess what….? Ditches! I know you guys understand I believe in a lot of crazy stuff….but…NOT DITCHES.

So, I have taken it upon myself to team with my buddy and boss, Matt to stop the madness. We have begun designing what a dear friend Michelle Sims calls “conveyances”. I call them unditches.

So the basic idea is that we disguise a nasty and boring ditch or gully as a small stream segment. We give it character, habitat, shape, form, and a better function in the landscape. The bugs and fish already love it. I love it. Guess what? I got a sweet surprise birthday visit from 10-20 DEP reps.

The fish will love this pool.

The fish will love this pool.

Now, most folks hate it when they see a pack of DEP nerds coming but I get all excited. I LOVE THEM! There’s nothing like watching them tromp around in the woods downstream in the preservation

and all over the site. The smiles, questions, suggestions, and interest were fun! I love sharing what we do and why….especially with people who care just as much as I do.

This natural system will benefit from more care in the connection design.

This natural system will benefit from more care in the connection design.

IMGP0868That’s right. Last week, I spent the entire work day researching swamps, bogs and seeps. Believe it or not, they are very different.

You are saying to yourself, “but Jacque, they are all muddy wet swampy places.” Sure, on cursory glance. What I have discovered after days in them and loads of research is….

THERE ISN”T ENOUGH INFORMATION OUT THERE ONE THEM….most especially seepage swamps. So, it will be a personal mission for the Chicks with Ticks to begin to uncover the SECRETS OF THE SEEPS….

It seems that these complex depressions in the landscape are home to some interesting combinations of plants and animals. Some of these are endangered here in Florida. 

But – i thought it would be fun to see what Dictionary.com had to say:




  [swomp]  Show IPA



a tract of wet, spongy land, often having a growth of certain types of trees and other vegetation,but unfit for cultivation.
verb (used with object)


to flood or drench with water or the like.

Nautical . to sink or fill (a boat) with water.

to plunge or cause to sink in or as if in a swamp.

to overwhelm, especially to overwhelm with an excess of something: He swamped us with work.

to render helpless.


 [bog, bawg]  Show IPA noun, verb, bogged, bog·ging.



wet, spongy ground with soil composed mainly of decayed vegetable matter.

an area or stretch of such ground.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)


to sink in or as if in a bog (often followed by down  ): We were bogged down by overwork.

Verb phrases


bog in, Australian Slang. to eat heartily and ravenously.


  [seep]  Show IPA

verb (used without object)


to pass, flow, or ooze gradually through a porous substance: Water seeps through cracks in the wall.

(of ideas, methods, etc.) to enter or be introduced at a slow pace: The new ideas finally seeped down to the lower echelons.

to become diffused; permeate: Fog seeped through the trees, obliterating everything.
verb (used with object)


to cause to seep; filter: The vodka is seeped through charcoal to purify it.


moisture that seeps out; seepage.

a small spring, pool, or other place where liquid from the ground has oozed to the surface of the earth.
There ya go! Chew on that vocabulary for a while….so, sounds like the Chicks will need to do more research!!

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

The Chicks with Ticks will be hosting the  Amec  booth at the February 16th Speak Up at Wekiwa Springs State Park 10am-4pm

Stop in and say “Hello” and see what we do to help keep Florida waters clean.

Schedule of Events

10:00 – 10:30  “Florida’s Unique Wildlife” Program – Nature Center Deck

 10:20 – 10:45    Jim Draper, “Feast of Flowers,” Artist – Film Pavilion

 11:00                    Dr. Jay Exum, Friends of Wekiva River – Main Stage

         Pastor Joel Hunter, Northland Church

         Deirdre Macnab, League of Women Voters

         Bob Graham, Former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator

        Darren Soto, Forida State Senator

        Lee Constantine, Seminole County Commissioner

        Charles Lee, Florida Audubon

12:00 – 2:30       Animals: Central FL Zoo, Audubon, Herpetological Society – Exhibits

 12:30 – 1:15         The Ashley Gang, Live Bluegrass Music – Main Stage

 12:30 – 1:15         “Creation Care” Video – Film Pavilion

 1:00 – 1:30          “Wet to Dry” Guided Hike – Nature Center Deck

1:30                        Alex Bunker, Follow Your Green – Main Stage

         Sister Pat Siemen, Center for Earth Jurisprudence

        Lisa Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper

         Charles “Chuck” Drake, SJRWMD Governing Board

         Preston Robertson, Florida Wildlife Federation

         Bill Belleville, Author

 2:00 – 2:30         “Wet to Dry” Guided Hike – Nature Center Deck

 2:45 – 3:45           The Ashley Gang – Live Bluegrass Music

 2:45 – 3:45           Equinox Documentaries – Film Pavilion

 4:00                        Speak Up Wekiva Closes

 4:30                       Last Shuttle Bus Leaves the Park

All Day: Dozens of exhibits, nature themed vendors, hot food and Wekiwa Springs State Park!

Kayaking at it’s best….


It was as if we stepped back in time under the mangrove trails.

That’s right, the family has taken up kayaking. Oh, we don’t do class 5 rapids or dive off frozen cliffs only to plunge into frigid water. We throw a lunch and some extra clothes into a bag, tie the yaks on the roof of the Trailblazer and head out on our next adventure.


Crabs adorned the mangroves but gave us no trouble!

Our goal? Relaxing, sight-seeing, nature watching, exercise. Our previous experience – NONE!! Well, we have all canoed at some point – but it’s true – you don’t need to be super skilled to get onto a kayak and go where you usually can’t. You need some basic skills and a sense of adventure.

We headed to Wheedon Island’s mangrove trails that were carved in 1927 by the Boy Scouts. There are miles of the shallow, shaded tunnels through the mangroves. You can see birds, crabs, fish, and even get out and explore. We advise looking at weather reports in advance and making quite sure you know to follow the marked trail. Skill level – beginner!

Caladesi Island State Park – put in at the kayak rental place prior to the bridge into Honeymoon Island. Don’t rent there unless you have to – it’s quite expensive. You can buy one used fairly reasonably.

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Caladesi was amazing – ask Mel and Alli

We paddled over the channel (choppy but cool) and beached on the island. We set up our picnic area and got in the yaks to go to the marina and park. We enjoyed a nice beach trip, a great glass of sangria, and some good time with the park rangers. Dolphins swam right by us while we docked at the nice facilities.

Then it was into the mangroves – we enjoyed a short trip although there are miles to explore and even a historic homestead! We saved that for next time. Back to the beach for shelling – amazing and the sunset was perfection! Skill level – slightly above beginner – make sure you have a map and/or compass….this is a gorgeous trip to see some real Florida wild places.

If you have any questions about where to go, check out http://www.floridastateparks.org/ To find the parks that can accommodate kayaking. Or, check online for the coolest adventure spot near you. There are even clubs that can help you plan a special trip.

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The shelling was amazing….

If you are feeling really adventurous, the Chicks will be hosting a special Weekend on the Water in March! More on that  soon. Space will be limited so you won’t want to miss making your reservation! If you like – you can join us at SpeakUp Wekiva February 16th at http://speakupwekiva.com/ Wekiva Springs State Park.

In the beginning, there was John. I am not going to type the last name, just suffice it to say – if this becomes popular, he will want me to put it in. John had these amazing ideas about streams in Florida. He wanted to put together a team to study these streams and them formulate all sorts of amazingly technical data and documentation and formulation and general science that I probably can’t write here so – just some really cool stuff!

John had me – Jacque – and I could do anything. Yeah, I know it’s hard to believe, but that thing you are thinking that I can’t do – well you are dead wrong buddy! I can do anything and I have and will continue to do anything. You see, my dad told me as a young girl that I could do anything…anything in the whole world, as long as I could find out how to do it! So you see, liar I am not!!! I go around doing anything all the time by the way!

So, John needed a team and  he had Jacque. One person is not a team so then he found Kristen, she was a student at a college and she would be mini-John and Jacque would do anything and together they would stomp around the wilds of Florida collecting information and having a blast all for science. John’s idea was that they would do all of this in a day or so (slight exaggeration) and that they would learn some cool stuff.

John was a genius – he was both right and wrong! Aren’t they all! Not only did we spend 3+ years in the wilds of Florida, we learned some really cool stuff. Now, at this point, you, the reader, might sit up and say “What really cool stuff did you learn, Jacque?” and I would say – well, let’s start at the beginning – hmmmm let’s start….in Lakeland. We will start in the office where John is very busy, Kristen and Jacque are eager to start their adventure into the wilds, and time seems to have stopped. The team is waiting for something. Kristen is waiting for instructions on what it is she and Jacque are supposed to be doing exactly – right? I mean, like who the hell just walks into the woods on an unknown wild property, gets to some stream and just starts learning cool stuff……?

The answer may shock you – Chicks With Ticks do!


Tumbling, truckling, the tickling stream passed clear over my wriggling toes.

Cold it was. And hard were the stones under my bones.


Dappled shafts of sneaky sunlight snuck through the laughing leaves.

There I lay

Just born



Alone and wanting for nothing.

Breathing spray and smiling.

A wild thing.

The waterling.

The Compleat Wetlander

The Compleat Wetlander: The Contemplative Blog of the Association of State Wetland Managers

It’s so exciting and flattering when we are recognized  by our peers. Recently, we were chosen as Wetlander’s Pick of The Posts. You should check this blog as there are countless resources for those interested in wetlands. Thanks Wetlander!!

http://aswm.org/wordpress/  Wetlander's Pick of the Posts

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