Chipola River

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The Wood Crafter

"The Wood Worker"Looking for wood.

This wood crafter’s name is Don Snyder.   He has been sawing wood since he was a small child when he sat on the wrong end and tumbled down with the limb.  He learned the lesson the hard way, but it didn’t stop him.  Now he is 82 and still sawing.  He has built houses for us to live in and had a business making stakes and laths for surveyors.  For the last thirty years he has made jewelry boxes out of drift wood.  For me the fun part was going out on the waterways with him to gather the drift wood.  I can’t think of anything better than being laid back in a boat, bobbing up and down with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich watching the birds fly over.  He is unable to work with large heavy wood now because of his health, but he is still going strong with little things, like pens turned on a lathe, small clocks and ring boxes.

He made the chest that these camphor jewelry boxes are sitting on.

He kept the natural shape of the wood.

"Coffee Table"

Tables were mostly made of red wood, camphor, and buckeye from California

Box With Three Drawers"

Even my kitties like to check out his work.

"Tea Pots"

"Wooden Birds"

"Wood Pens"

The tea pots, birds, clocks, and pens he turns on a lathe.

"Three Tier Table"

My youngest sister did the wood burning art work on these table tops.

Buzzard is the nick name his youngest son Tom and his friend Don gave him along time ago when they use to hunt wood together out in Ozello Florida.  When they got hungry they just pulled some oysters out of the water and ate them raw.   Yuk.  The nick name is still used today.  It’s a good thing he has a sense of humor.

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Nothing Against Ducks, but…

My Husband and I had just sat down to a hot breakfast when the phone rang.  It was his dad telling us there was a “buck” at the mail boxes staring at him.  Still in my flannel gown I grabbed my camera, put my long lens on and headed out the door.  We are quietly sneaking in the direction his dad was pointing and I was thinking, “what is wrong with this buck just standing there?”.  We rounded a huckleberry bush and to my shock it was a duck!!!

"Duck"

My Husband informed me he did not say “buck”, he said “duck”.  She was cute so I took her picture, anyway.  My father-in-law said “Don’t tell me people are dropping off ducks now”.  She flew away and we went back to a cold breakfast.

Linda Bateman

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What’s Hiding In The Leaves?

"Hornets Nest In Tree"

I would not have seen it if wind had not blown the autumn leaves off the trees.   The hornets nest was about 30 feet off the ground over a swampy area.  It’s probably the same hornets that have been eating my cats’ food.  Hornets like to eat the meat in my canned cat food and I have seen them carry off a cat “crunchy”.

"Hornet Nest"

Their paper-like nests are made of chewed wood fiber mixed with saliva.  I’m glad I don’t have to build my house that way.

"Hornets nest"

Except for the queen that lays the eggs, they all die with the first hard freeze.  The next spring she starts a new nest.  Hornets are not my favorite insect but I never pass up an opportunity for a photo.

At this same swampy place I found evidence of a beaver.  I would love to catch a photo of the creature.  But it was to cold to hide out for very long.  I wonder if he would sharpen my pencils.

" Chewed Wood"

"Chewed Wood"

The beaver has made a dam across a little stream making the swamp a little bigger.  I am not thrilled with that.  We could have problems when the river floods again.   But, if he would grin for a photo I  might let him stay.

" Beaver Dam"

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Santa Photos

"Mr and Mrs Santa Claus"

It was a perfect day at the downtown square in Blountstown for the Christmas Festival.  The weather couldn’t have been better.  A lot of people came out for holiday fun and hoping to find that perfect gift for that someone special, but the children had one thing on their minds: Santa.  Why do I like taking photos of Santa and the children?  To see the happy children with their imaginations running wild about that man in the red suit from the North Pole.  Some are shy and stand back and others can’t wait to sit on his knee to tell what he wants for Christmas.

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Cypress Trees On The Chipola River

"Cypress Leaves In The Spring"

You know that spring is here when the cypress trees put out their bright green leaves.  In the fall, as the weather turns cool, they change to different shades of yellow and brown with a tinge of red.  Their limbs have become heavy with little nuts that fall with a plop into the water, riding the current as they search for a spot to take root.  Before long a new tree is growing on the banks of the Chipola River.

"Fall On The Chipola"

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.  Genesis 8:22

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Tiptoe

Water Bird
An unseen gator might leave
A path through the marsh to the sea.
Its present hidden, There’s danger I’m not kidding,
Remain quiet it will not bid..
A ripple may be a meal to grab or a breeze blowing just a dab,
With a watchful eye dinner will soon be spied.
Only the wise will tiptpe,
And the gator will never know.

Poem by Nancy Stevenson

Photo taken at  St Marks National Wildlife Refuge

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Persimmon Bread

Have you ever taken a bite out of a green persimmon?  Well don’t, unless you want your mouth to pucker.  Fall is here and most are ripe.  If you are one of the lucky ones and have a friend growing the large ones, there are a lot of recipes for persimmons and the pulp freezes well if you don’t have the time to use them now.

Ripe Persimmons

You  can not peel ripe persimmons:  the skin is too soft and thin.  I found that if you take a knife and loosen the stem, then, pull it out, some of the seeds and the hard part of the pulp will come out with it.  Next, hold the persimmon over your colander that is sitting in a bowl and squeeze the pulp out of its skin.  It can get messy!

Top Of Persimmon

Top Removed

Take a spoon and stir the pulp around in the colander until the juice is gone and only the unusable is left.

Putting Through Colander

Now you have a nice bowl of persimmon pulp to use in your recipes.  I made bread.  Yummy.

Bowl Of Persimmon Pulp

Recipe for Persimmon Bread

Ingredients

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup persimmon pulp
1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Oil a 9 X 4″ bread pan.

2.  In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, nuts and cranberries.

3.  In a large bowl, blend eggs, sugar, and oil.

4.  Mix baking soda into pulp, and add to sugar mixture.

5.  Fold in flour mixture.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

Into The Oven

6.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Persimmon Bread Is Done

Slice and enjoy.  :)

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Moods of The Chipola River

Chipola River Bank
The many moods of the Chipola River can change from a sleepy little river meandering around the bend to an angry flood rushing to the Gulf, trying to take every thing in her path.
I love to sit on her bank as she is flowing softly by. In the clear water you can watch the fish playing tag on the bottom stirring up the sand. As I sit in aw of the beauty of nature around me a motion catches my eye, and I watch a school of trout swimming through the river grass swaying in the current as the Chipola heads toward the Apalachicola River.
The dragonflies, their colors shimmering in the sun, dart back and forth without a sound, skimming the top of the water, their wings almost touching the surface. God’s beauty abounds.

Dragonfly On Reed

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Banana Bread

When over ripe bananas go on sale, it is time to make bread.  If the weather is cool, it is even better.  It warms up the house with a good smell.  This recipe is for two loaves of bread.  You can easily half the recipe to make one loaf.

Bananas

Banana Bread Recipe

2 1/2 cups smashed bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees – Grease the bottom (only) of two 9 X 5 loaf pans.

Mix Together:

4 1/2 cups of self rising flour
1 cup of Sugar
1 cup brown sugar packed
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Whisk together:

2 eggs
6 tablespoons oil
2/3 cup of milk

Smashing Bananas

I always smash my bananas first to make sure I have enough for my recipe. They need to be smashed well (like baby food).

Measuring The Flour

Level your dry ingredients to make sure you get the right amount.

Packing The Brown Sugar

Pack your brown sugar solid.

Brown Sugar In Mixing Bowl

I use my whisk when mixing the dry ingredients to remove the lumps.

Into The Oven

Mix it all together – including the bananas – dividing your dough between the 2 loaf pans. Put into oven.

Bread Is Done

Bake for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

I put a cup of walnuts and a cup of blueberries in this batch.  You can mix and match with pecans, raisins, dried cranberries… or whatever your heart desires.

Enjoy

Enjoy or give as a gift for Christmas. It freezes well.

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