Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 17: Constructing Environmental Graphics for Art Outside

The past two days I've been working with fellow SHIRE members to make environmental graphics for the upcoming Art Outside festival. Art Outside is a huge festival of awesomeness and The Wood has a space at the event where they'll be preaching the glorious word of sustainability. These graphics will be used in conjunction with a yurt.

Becca's house. Just wait till you see inside.
Ever try to carry a 10 ft long roll of canvas up stairs?
We projected and traced the shapes onto the fabric.
This morning I cut out what we traced.
I also primed a piece of canvas to test how well it works with the canvas.
Then channeled Jackson Pollock

Check out the photos! Or I'll get upset.
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 9: The Hundred Acre Wood

Today we crossed the Texas border and after driving through half the state, arrived in the small town of Manor. After 2,770 miles, the first part of our trip has come to an end. Although it was night when we arrived, the wood was far from asleep. As I got out of the car, I tried to look around but their three dogs demanded my attention. We had arrived at the Hundred Acre Wood.

Click to see the farm house and its surroundings.
Despite Lizz and Patrick's best efforts, their descriptions couldn't begin to describe the world that I was about to enter. What a welcome change living here has been. The droning of city traffic has been replaced with the dopey mooing of the local cows and my alarm cock has sprouted legs and a wattle. I couldn't be happier.
Romo has fetch OCD.
"Bok bok bok," says one of our three chickens.
George having a yawn.
One of the too-big zipper spiders on our front porch.
Brutis, a great Pyrenees has a territorial radius of 2 miles.
Goats are stinky.
Blackstrap going fishing.
It's been nearly two weeks since I've left the nest. My mind has been expanding faster than a fat kid at Waffle House. I've soaked up beautiful sunsets,  eaten road-side fruits, peered into an alligator's soul, witnessed towns rebuilt from ashes, and savored the finest beignets in the land. I have been consistently inspired by nature's beauty and the ingenuity of man. De'car has halted, and my body may be still but my mind is loosening its belt and preparing to dig into another delicious pecan waffle.

Doylestown, PA to Manor, TX

Check out today's photos! Or I'll turn you into a toad.
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 6: Croquette in Naples

Phil is our host in Naples. Phil says what I think, and that's surprising. Another interesting tidbit about Phil is he owns a car where all of the interior door handles are broken off. What a guy! Phil is married to Rachel, his wonderful counter.

Playing bocce on a court is far superior to the grass!
A furious battle, a brutal finish.
Game Over.
Patrick played like a god and won both bocce and croquette!

Day 5: Florida Everglades and a Drive to Naples FL

Today's adventures further proved that Florida is an excellent place to be (or at least visit). When we finally left the house this morning, before we went to the everglades Sara got us pumped for some bomb milk shakes on the way. We stopped at a roadside stand called Robert Is Here only to discover that they were only open because they were trying to sell a shipment of under ripe mangos – thusly, they were not serving milkshakes. Not even mango ones.

Unfortunately no milkshakes were being served.
So we went around back and fed the animals.
"Don't stick your fingers in, honey!"

Onward! We hopped back in the car and ventured to the Florida everglades. This beautiful park spans a significant portion of lower Florida and is the only ecosystem of its kind on the planet. It is abundant with wildlife and the home of countless plants. When I was young I went on an air boat ride and had a great time. Revisiting the everglades was breathtaking.

The Everglades exist nowhere else on the planet.
My favorite part of this visit was learning about the ecological impact that various practices had on the ecosystem. Before we arrived Sara was telling us how the Everglades are disappearing due to the redirecting of water. Interestingly, this has had a alternate impact on different members of the community. For example, farmers have enjoyed increased irrigation and land capacity, due to the receding waterline from pumping water out of the 'glades. On the other hand, a conservationist would be worried about the destruction of wildlife habitat and loss of animals. By virtue of my interest in the shrinking everglades, I was fascinated by an exhibit in the Everglades' Visitor Center that told the unique story of how the shrinking everglades affected six different types of people.

These are the six personalities you can listen to for the exhibit.

This picture of the exhibit shows the people figures, a geographical map of Florida showing the flow of water, and an interface, which allowed you to choose which person you'd like to listen to. After listening to these six people's viewpoints I was amazed at how many ways a seemingly one sided situation can be interpreted. I constantly find myself thinking that my viewpoint is what makes more sense than everyone elses'. But each of these characters had a completely valid viewpoint, which made a great deal of sense to them. After hearing their reasoning explaining how they felt, I could appreciate their point of view. Perhaps this just speaks to how well this exhibit was designed, but perhaps it's a small example of a larger societal problem of listening.

After the Visitors Center we embarked upon nature!
One of their own.
Snapping turtles are best observed from afar.
Alligators are best observed from up close.
Alligators a plenty!
The boardwalks and grass reminded me of Myst.
Mobile lovers.
Here's the third alligator of the day.
This silly bird had speared a fish and couldn't get it off his beak.
I was blown away by even the smallest wildlife.
Sara getting a closer look at a baby gator we found in the brush.
I was amazed how close some animals would let you get.
After the boardwalk, we walked through a jungle path.
The water was covered by thousands of little plants.
Epiphites are small air plants that grow on large trees.

Leaving Sara's was bittersweet. We reunited with an old friend but leaving is always a bummer. Thankfully we have many more adventures in store to look forward to!

Thanks for having us! Bon voyage!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 4: Florida Rocks

While I could say this for everywhere I go, Fort Lauderdale Florida is a beautiful place to visit – especially after a three day road trip down the East Coast. Sleeping on Sara's futon was just what the doctor ordered. I woke up refreshed!

My tush was glad to sit on any seat but a car seat.

After a delicious breakfast of eggs and Eggos we headed out into the oppressive sun, into the car, and off to where Sara works. Sara is a marine biologist and conducts field research, collecting and cataloging wildlife samples from the surrounding area. These samples provide accurate statistics of the ecosystem's health.

The building where Sara works is on the right.
Her lab was full of lots of tasty ocean creatures.
We went out back to chill on Sara's science boat.
When Sara was done with her full tour, we headed to the beach across from her work for a dip. The water was almost too warm and was pleasantly clear. I wish the water had been a little colder, and we all laughed when Sara told us about how disgustingly hot it gets at the peak of summer. While we were leaving I spotted a coconut and brought him home where he met his fate.

Pioneering a coconut opening technique.
Great success! Beach coconuts rock!

We hung around the house for the rest of the day and I've been using this time to catch up on blog entries. Originally we were planning on seeing a sea turtle nest hatch, unfortunately none were scheduled for tonight. Eventually we got hungry and went out for dinner. A beautiful Rolls Royce was cruising next to us.

The driver said he just finished building it.

We enjoyed some Bubba Gump Shrimp for dinner.
Enjoying the beach. Cat nap after dinner.

Once we got home from our second beach visit of the day, we were beat. More tomorrow. :)
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