Posts or Comments 30 June 2022

Archive for "Florida"

Florida &Key West joydeanlee | 15 Apr 2013

Hemingway Home and Museum—Key West, Florida

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Ernest Hemingway’s writing studio

Although I lived in Florida for a couple of years in the late 1990s, I’d never had both time and money…at the same time…to travel to South Florida. Thus in early March when I did have that magic combination, I traveled to both Key West and the Everglades.

Earlier blogs discussed my two ventures into Everglades National Park, but my key interest in the entire trip to South Florida was touring the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West.

I taught American literature in high school for many years. No course on 20th Century lit is complete without some of Ernest Hemingway’s novels: The Sun Also Rises, Old Man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms, or For Whom the Bell Tolls.

My tour guide was quite knowledgeable, making the tour more pleasurable. I could smile occasionally as he told some little tidbit I knew from the years of lecturing about Hemingway and leading discussions with my students about his novels. The guide offered many bits of information that were new to me and made me resolve to read another of his biographies.

The unique polydactyl (six-toed cats) wander the property freely, seemingly oblivious to the tourists. Pampered pets indeed! Cats normally have five front toes and four back toes.

For further reading about the Hemingway Home and Museum, check out

To view a slideshow of other Hemingway Home and Museum, click on any photo.

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The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is home to approximately 40-50 polydactyl (six-toed) cats. All the cats were quite willing to be petted.

Everglades &Everglades National Park &Florida &National Parks/Monuments joydeanlee | 26 Mar 2013

National Parks—Everglades: Royal Palm Visitors Center–Anhinga Trail

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The trail is named after this waterfowl, the Anhinga. The name comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird.

The Everglades is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States.

According to the National Park Service website, the Anhinga Trail is “…one of the most popular trails in the park because of its abundance of wildlife. The self-guiding tour winds through a sawgrass marsh, where you may see alligators, turtles, anhingas, herons, egrets, and many other birds, especially during the winter.”

For further information:

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According to Wikipedia, the name alligator is an anglicized form of el lagarto, the Spanish term for “lizard”, which early Spanish explorers and settlers in Florida called the alligator.

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Alligators galore…plus a couple of waterfowl.

Everglades &Everglades National Park &Florida &National Parks/Monuments joydeanlee | 21 Mar 2013

National Parks—Everglades—Backcountry boat tour

South Florida (mainly Everglades National Park) and The Keys had always interested me. So when I found a short block of time with no house/pet-sitting commitments in early March, 2013, I headed in that direction.

To view a slideshow of the Everglades National Park backcountry boat tour, click on any photo below.

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Mangroves grow in brackish to saline water.

A backcountry boat tour sounded like a good way to get a feel for the Everglades and see native trees and flowers up close. A cold wave had swept into the south, so I’d already planned to dress warmly. Then after a guide at the Ernest Coe Visitor Center near Homestead warned me that it would feel like “Minnesota weather” when we out on the open water, I grabbed a a sweater wrap that is my coat for winter in Indiana.

Thank goodness I took the sweater wrap. You’ll note in one of the slideshow photos that I wrapped myself in the wrap in addition to the heavy cotton hooded jacked I wore. I wasn’t the only one bundling up as you can see from the boat driver’s dog ((Photo below).

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The female boat driver’s dog, who rode with her regularly, was a great distraction for young and old alike.

Family &Grandcats &Orlando joydeanlee | 11 Jun 2012

Grandcats—Max (aka Mr. Skitters)

Max (aka Mr. Skitters) joined the McManus household in the fall of 2011 as their third cat. As with any kitten, he displays lots of energy and wouldn’t let me get near him with a camera. Therefore my daughter Wendy took these photos of Max. (The fact that arthritis prevents my getting down on my knees for this type of photo might have been another reason for Wendy taking the photos.)

Chili, the oldest of their three cats, mostly ignores Max’s efforts to play, but Oscar who is much younger, and previously the dominant cat in the home, is intimidated by the new arrival. Watching the interactions of the three cats provides hours of entertainment.

For earlier photos and antics of Oscar and Chili or my Austin grandcats, check out or

To view a slideshow of Max (aka Mr. Skitters), click on any photo. If info about the photos is not displayed in the slideshow, click Show Info.

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Max displays his flexibility climbing in and out of the chair rungs.

Austin &Family &Grandcats &Orlando joydeanlee | 07 Feb 2010

Grandcats provide candid moments

Visits in November through January with my daughters and sons-in-law in Austin and Orlando provided many opportunities to photograph my grandcats. I’ve displayed a pic of each of the four here, and then you can click on any photo to see the latest slideshow. Selecting Grandcats (under Family) in the Topics list provides slideshows of all my grandcats taken over the last five years.

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Oscar (McManus, Orlando) knows how to relax. One of his other photos shows that he knows how to r-e-a-l-l-y stretch, too.

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Chili (McManus, Orlando) has mastered relaxation techniques, too. During TV-watching time in the evening, his favorite spot is on a plastic bin of laser discs.


Tia (Abbing/Thomas, Austin) is a delicate lady who enjoys lots of lap time. Here she observes all the action around her from the end table.


Obi (Abbing/Thomas, Austin) has discovered a new favorite spot: under the cover of his futon. Obi has decided that he likes to be with his humans and joins them more and more often, even jumping on the couch with them.

Florida &Orlando—Leu Gardens joydeanlee | 23 Jan 2010

Leu Gardens; Orlando, FL

A mid-January trip to Orlando to visit my daughter and son-in-law included a visit to Leu Gardens ( The air was crisp with a cool wind blowing, but the sun was shining brightly after the previous night’s rain. A great central Florida day!

Our first stop was an indoor camellia show. More varieties than I’d ever imagined. On our outdoor walk we observered many more camellias blooming in spite of the early January freeze which hit the Orlando area.

To view a slideshow of other our visit to Leu Gardens, click on one of the photos below.

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One of the blooms on display during the Camellia Weekend event at Leu Gardens.

As we approached the viewing deck by Lake Rowena, we saw a white egret. On a closer viewing of the area, we noticed the small alligator in the weeds. A perfect afternoon.

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A small alligator lazes at the edge of Lake Rowena

Florida &Gainesville &House/Pet-Sitting joydeanlee | 18 Aug 2009

Beyers pets—Gainesville, Florida–Bean added to menagerie

In May, 2009, I again traveled to Gainesville, Florida, to house/pet-sit for the Beyers family pets. In the year since I’d been there, two of the pets (both dogs) Aubrey and Sara, had died. I missed having them to care for.

In April, 2008, when the Beyers traveled to Hawaii to visit their son, they brought back Bean (their son’s cat) and now Bean is a household member. Bean was so traumatized the day they brought him home after the long flight from Hawaii that he hid behind a bookcase and refused to come out. Thus that was the only photo I had of Bean in 2008. He’s quite well adjusted now and we bonded.

To view a slideshow of all the Beyers pets taken in both 2008 and 2009, click on the photo below.


A very traumatized Bean hids behind the office bookcase.

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A relaxed and well-adjusted Bean enjoys the screened patio with its greenery.

Florida &Orlando–Lake Eola Joy | 10 Sep 2008

Lovely Lake Eola, Orlando, Florida

Lake Eola, in downtown Orlando, is the hub of many activities as new building continue to rise. Check out http://www. for a three-part article on the history and current status of the park.

Click on this photo to see a slideshow of the Lake Eola. Use your browser’s back arrow to return to the blog.

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Florida &Gainesville &House/Pet-Sitting Joy | 28 Apr 2008

Beyers pets–They captivate my heart

I’ve been house/pet-sitting near Gainesville, Florida for the last 10 days or so with five unique pets…but then aren’t all pets unique! Take a look and you’ll see why these cats and dogs have captivated my heart.

Click on the any photo in this post to see a slideshow starring the pets. Use your browser’s back arrow to return to the blog.


Bob stalks some creature out in the wild…well, actually on his screened porch.


Although you can’t see the writing on his scarf, Aubrey wears the Lukenbach, Texas, scarf for he’s proud to be a Texan.


Sara, a special-needs lady, endears herself to all who meet her. Dear Sara passed on to Doggie Heaven on July 24, 2008.


A definite purr-baby who is easily amused, Zoe finds playful activities in the house and and on the screened patio.


Jethro was definitely born to be in high places. Here he has jumped to the top of the highest piece of furniture in the room.


Bean, who is the newest member of the Beyers’ menagerie for a temporary time, was traumatized by his flight from Hawaii to Florida and hid behind a bookcase.