Where I Was

On Christmas Eve my college son flew from one coast to the other. My stepson and his wife of one year left their home in the western mountains and flew east. Steve and our high school son packed our bags and flew south. We all met on a magical island off of the coast of Florida, where the beaches are covered with shells,

which are sifted over by both human collectors,

and by seabirds.

It is a place to slow down and take walks. One morning you might meet up with a Snowy Egret in the surf.

It is a place where you might look up to see a tree filled with Brown Pelicans,

each huge bird improbably sleeping on a swaying end of a skinny branch.

Take a walk at the Ding and you will see an alligator basking in still water.

Take a drive to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and walk a couple of miles on a boardwalk through an otherworldly landscape.

It’s a place to bring a book (in a waterproof and chic beach bag) and sit and read. It was chilly enough that I needed a sweater, but that was okay. I wore sandals!

We’re back home, and my toes won’t be out in public for months, because this is what we woke to this morning.

It’s beautiful, too, isn’t it?



  1. The snow is beautiful but the beach is spectacular! All of those gorgeous shells and birds. Wow! So happy you all got to go.

  2. Glad you took some time off to warm those toes in the sun, looks like a magical place you visited. We missed you. Happy New Year to you and all the other wonderful beings at Little Pond Farm.

  3. O Terry WHAT an amazing country you live in, to be able to go from pelicans to permafrost just like that. AWESOME. I am so jealous. Happy New Year!

  4. Oh, so many shells and so little time !!! How many pounds of shells ended up coming home to decorate your garden and house this winter and for next summer ? Lovely snow egret as well. Brown pelicans we have around Fort Monroe and the Chespeake Bay bridge/tunnel. They just started to come back this area ten or so years ago, so we have a nice population know.

    • PS, I been doing a bit of research for a friend interested in identifying her own Koi fish and goldfish she received to restock her little pond this year. And I was looking at your own Beast, I was wondering is she a Kawarimono ? Which just means catchall for unknown Koi fish ? Because I con’t find any pictures that look anything like the Beast.

  5. Great photos! I’d like a sunny break, from our gray skies :( Another 1″ of snow last night, the rest had melted. I’d like more snow, but need some sun!!! Your chickens look warm and cozy. The hen cam is too funny!

  6. Wonderful pictures. I had a chemistry professor that looked a lot like that snowy egret.

  7. I am wanting to get some chickens one day and glad to see you have snow ,looking to see how the girls cope with winter ..I’m in Canada….

  8. That’s quite some country you’ve got over there. Lucy will be frothing with jealous rage about all those birds. And look at you, madam, with your painted nails! No snow here yet, just ridiculous wetness and no sign of it stopping either. Send some of that Florida sun over here if you brought any back with you…..

  9. Ah, Sanibel, one of my most favorite places. The white sandy beaches, seashells, birds, warm sun. I’ve always dreamed of winning the lottery and buying a snug little house on Sanibel. I’m glad you got to go there with your family.
    Merry Christmas.

  10. Gotta ask – what lens did you use for the pelicans? I’m in the market for a zoom lens and can’t decide what to get. :)

  11. Love the toenails….ocean blue. Great reminder of your family adventure, even when covered with warm snug sox!

  12. Wow, amazing photos and amazing contrasts. All we have here is never ending rain. I have never known a summer and winter of constant rain like this one in my life time and apparently it is the wettest year on record so it is breathtaking to get a brief a moment to travel with you. I love this post.

    Happy New Year to you all.

  13. Ah, the gulf coast of Florida! Much as I enjoyed dusting off the Nordic skis yesterday, I envy your trip to the magical isles of roseate spoonbills.

  14. Glad you had a nice vacation. Welcome back. My chickens are a bit upset with the ice, run out of thier hutch right into the shed where they spend the day.

  15. What a beautiful place to vacation. Once again you took some amazing pictures. The egret is gorgeous. I did notice the blue toe nails and how they match your chic beach bag. Looks like you had a wonderful vacation.

  16. I’ve been there too! An amazing place. My great grandfather used to go there, so exploring it was doubly fascinating. It also gave me a whole new perspective on those little bags of oyster shell that I buy at the feed store!
    Did you visit the shell museum?
    Glad you are back – I miss your blog when you are away!

    • Wonderful little museum. I learn something new each time that I go. Your grandfather must have been one of the early conservationists!

  17. Amazing pic of the Snowy Egret! Must have been so much fun being up close with all those creatures foreign to your area. Best wishes for 2013, Terry!

  18. A perfect vacation! Everyone together in a magical, warm place! Your photos are superb!!

    Welcome back!

  19. What a beautiful place to spend your vacation with your family. The links to information about Sanibel Island gave me an education. I’d not heard of it before. Thank you for sharing your photos with us as well. The one of that egret is amazing!

    It’s beautiful in your snow-covered back yard. I enjoy seeing that in your photos, too, considering where I live.

    Welcome back. I’m looking forward to learning more from you, reading your stories, and can’t wait to see those April fluff balls. Here we go again!

  20. That snowy egret gives a whole new meaning to snow birds in Florida. Glad you got to be one, too. Thanks for sharing.

  21. So I guess we were very close!. Visiting Sanibel over many Christmas and Spring Breaks led me to end up moving from Oklahoma to Fort Myers when I got out of school. Alas, now that I am here, I keep forgetting to go over the bridge to the island!