Fall in Florida Means Trimming Fountain Grass, Halloween Decorations, and Kayaking in the Gulf!

Wow! What a start to the fall season! I have to say, it’s been a busy few weeks and I haven’t been able to keep up with the blog as much as I would like. Between the extreme makeover in progress in our kitchen and starting a new job, life has been hectic to say the least! All in all, these changes are for the better and I have to say I am in LOVE with how our lives are coming together this fall! I now work in a dog-friendly, relaxed office environment, D started putting floors down in part of our home, and M and I even had time to create hot-dog mummies and bake delicious fall sugar cookies this past week! What more could I ask for?!

When we got all of the kids together this weekend, we knew we had to put up some Halloween decorations or else face the wrath of the Great Pumpkin! Next weekend we will once again be travelling north, so this was our last chance to decorate before Halloween! Early Saturday morning, K and I managed to persuade D to get the Halloween decorations out so we could put up lights, turn on projectors, and push fake tomb stones into the ground in front of our home. The weather was nice and cool during the early hours; I even broke out my insanely basic Bearpaw boots to wear along with my leggings and Patagonia jacket in those wee hours of the morning! It almost felt like it was really fall! The palm trees in our front yard quickly came to life as we wrapped purple and orange lights around their tropical trunks. Our windows also became infested with green-lighted spider webs and spooky orange tarantulas! Eek!!

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A spur of the moment decision led D and I to trimming the unruly fountain grass in front of our home, as well. By this time, the Patagonia and Bearpaws were gone – img_9007.jpgreplaced by a tank top and slides as the sun rose along with the heat index. The children all pitched in to help us get the unruly grass in line – as D would clip a chunk off, I would pass it off to one of the children who excitedly raced over to toss it on top of an ever-growing pile of grass. They wanted to make a pile big enough to jump in, and they (kind of) did! They each took a few turns tumbling into the pile of grass before D ultimately shoveled the heap into the garbage can to be hauled away by the garbage trucks later in the week.

After lunch and about an hour of quiet time, D and I loaded up the truck with kayaks so we could take the kids out for some marine exploration! We planned originally to go to Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, and even took the long trek out there to launch our kayaks. Unfortunately, after getting out and exploring the area, we realized that the walkway leading to the kayak launch was too far for D and I to carry our massive four-person kayak. The big ‘yak is an awesome tool for taking all of the kids out on the water, but unfortunately it’s a bit of a burden to carry more than a few yards. We regretfully loaded everyone back up into the truck and frantically searched google maps for another kayak launch not too far away. Luckily, we found another promising spot nearby and decided to trek our way over to Pop Stansell Park in Palm Harbor.

The launch is North of Honeymoon Island State Park and I’m glad we decided to visit this little place!img_9014.jpg The muddy, primitive boat launch was perfect to satisfy D’s desire to take the truck muddin’ while at the same time allowing us easy access to the water (please note that I use the term muddin’ loosely here – he basically just revved the engine as we drove through a puddle). We just drove the truck through the sand to the water, dropped off the Kayaks, inflated M and K’s  ‘yak, and we were off to explore the ocean! We saw several other kayaks outfitted for fishing as we pulled up. We also saw multiple jet skis, a handful of speed boats, and another kayaking family exploring the cove as well. It seems like this is a well-trafficked launch!

One of the islands we paddled along side was completely covered in Pelicans and Anhinga Birds (sometime referred to as snake birds)! A sign almost hidden in the mangroves told us that there was no trespassing allowed as this was an area protected by the Audubon Society. The birds flew in flocks above us as we watched. The clumsy-looking pelicans spread their wings as other img_9022birds watched us from the safety of the mangrove branches. Besides the birds, the only other wildlife were fish jumping from the ocean in the distance – and there were a lot of them!

When we finally got back to shore, we let the kids splash around in the water  while D and I cleaned up the Kayaks and loaded up all of the gear. The in-and-out here was pretty easy since we could literally pull the truck up right to the water – but there was unfortunately no hoses to clean the kayaks off with. That would have to be done at a later time after returning home. Oh, well. We took a quick stroll along the small dock adjacent to the launch before leaving, and before too long had passed we were back home.

We all took quick baths and showers before chowing down on a dinner of ham, green beans, and potatoes that had been slow-roasting in the crock pot all afternoon. Our kayak adventure had taken a little longer than expected due to the last-minute change in launch sites, so the food was slightly over-cooked. The kids didn’t seem to notice, though, as they chowed down on everything. Whew, that was a relief! Just in case they weren’t full enough, though, I popped some popcorn and set them up with a movie before bedtime. They gladly accepted!

I want to apologize for the lateness of this post! I composed it last weekend and must have forgotten to publish it! Needless to say, we are now back from our weekend in North Carolina and look forward to posting about that in the next few days! Stay tuned!

 

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