Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Taste of Florida

I'm a Florida girl born and raised. 

Never lived above sea level,

Never seen the change in seasons,

Never felt comfortable with that,

until now.

This past week in homeschooling, we've been studying Florida ecology and I for one, have found a greater appreciation for our state's unique and exquisite biodiversity.

The Pulitzer Prize winning author, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, writer of the Yearling, made her home here and fell in love with this land and its people.

Bright Girl and I read through The Yearling together and had a wonderful time looking up all the diverse flora, fauna, and food described in the book.

Like, what are cow peas, corn pone, and ham hock?

What is a flutter-mill (seen on the Disney film), a demi-john, and a feist?

And, what ever happened to the Florida Red Wolf?

Another good read for the younger children to tie-in with The Yearling is Lost in the Woods. Try to find the "wolf shadow" in the middle of the book.

For ecology, we studied the Indian River Lagoon Activity Book (which can be downloaded for free here), and it brought back sweet memories. 

It brought back fond memories of my sister and I wading into the Indian River, combing through the muddy bottom in search for clams. We picked them up using our toes, and then we'd have a clam bake for dinner with my dad.

A trip to the Brevard Zoo's Florida wildlife exhibit was next in order.

Now who are these silly sea turtles?

We were able to see a real live Red Wolf. These endangered species are very elusive; it kept dodging my camera.

But, finally, I got one good shot.

Then we encountered Florida Gators, the reptiles, not the men charging the 40 yard line in orange and blue!

Bright Girl got a good look at one,

I wondered if it thought she would make a tasty snack.

Gator tail is a "tailgating" appetizer now, but in The Yearling, it was smoked and made into dog food. Maybe in Old Florida, people didn't think it tasted just like chicken.

Check out the tail on this one...

This next animal is not native to Florida, but I couldn't help sharing:

Was this 'the end' of a fantastic week in homeschooling?

Not quite...

On the way back home, as we rocked out to "The Ballad of Jody Baxter" (an Andrew Peterson song inspired by The Yearling), we feasted our eyes on a brilliant Florida sunset.

After getting to know Florida a liitle better, I felt closer to my roots and thankful at last that God set me here that I might come to know Him. 

May we all come to appreciate the place where God has placed us that we may seek His face and do the unique work that He would have us do.

“...he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." (Acts 17:24-27)