Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

September 30, 2014

Come Meet the Betelgeuse

The USS Betelgeuse AK-260

Yes, I have been away.
But I was not sitting around eating bon bons~
This is what I have been doing for the past week.
It is the Tribute Web site for Walkingfox to his Ship and Service in the US Navy.
It seems the ones that we have just renewed for 2 years at Network Solutions,  have had the Front Page Extensions completely disabled, meaning that I can no longer work on any of our highly over paid Web sites ($139-$150 per year)including this one.
No, we will not be renewing anything with them again.
One really nice thing about having this site on Word Press, is that now people can come and comment or write  to him.
If you are a Military Veteran or, maybe even just curious, you may like to come take a look.
Hope you enjoy it.
He was very proud of his years in the Navy and like both, yes I have two Fathers, the Navy was the choice for all three of them, for service to their Country.
This site was made under my name, but it ALL about him and the Navy.
I was just the builder who put it up.
I also sadly, cannot click like on any of the pages, for that reason.
Please come meet the Betelgeuse:    http://ussbetelgeuse.wordpress.com/

September 26, 2014

Monsters of Marianna

The Florida Dozier School for Boys in Marianna
Dining hall construction with “White House” in background, 1936
Picture credit: Wikipedia

This story has been percolating in my head and heart since we moved down here nearly ten years ago,
it is not about Florida Wildlife it is about Florida Monsters.
But just like the Wildlife here that I am devoted to writing about, these children also had no voice.
If you blink as you drive West on Interstate 10 near Tallahassee in the Panhandle of Florida, you might miss Marianna.
This is a sleepy little town, that until we moved here and began seeing the News stories, had held only one memory,  it was the town where we always stopped to eat at a place called Po – Folks.
Po – Folks  has  great country-style southern comfort food and a really friendly staff.
Absolutely nothing there, or anything that you see as you drive through, could possibly tell you about the dark, ugly secret this town once had.
Now when I think of Marianna, it will forever be because of the horrible, hideous stories continuously being splashed across our TV News Stations.
You see in  Marianna,  there used to be what is called a Bad Boys, or Reform School and it was said to be the biggest one in the entire United States.
You know, the kind of place where troubled children get sent to because no one can control them, or worse, wants them.
Some of them were orphans, others were just confused and needed guidance and help.
This House of Horrors  is/was called the Dozier Boys School and it was also a place of torture, abuse and death for many who were sent there.
It is also said that the KKK were very much a part of the crimes here.
The school was opened in 1900 and closed in 2011 amid a flurry of accusations, threats and lawsuits.
Then Governor Crist had it all investigated, but as usual in this place called the racially oppressed and color divided State of Florida, this ugly mess was claimed to not have enough, or sufficient evidence to go further.
Those in control stepped out, hopeful it would all go away.
But not so fast, some survivors started making a lot of noise and some people were listening to their stories, better yet they were believing them.
It has been reported that almost 100 children died while this school was in operation.
Then several years ago a team of Anthropologists from USF in Tampa went to Marianna and began a dig.
The Dig team was led by Associate Professor and Forensic Anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, who had known about the school and wanted to see if something could be found.
Because my field of Education at College was in Anthropology and the majority of my Nursing experience was at a State Rehab Center in California, this story was of great personal interest.
One of the many sad  things about this story,  is the name that was given to the place where so much of the abuse happened, it was called the White House.
So, the survivors of this school nightmare, call themselves the White House Boys and they are determined to not only expose the crimes, but to shine a bring light on what happened there.
This time, they want to see justice for the victims and punishment for the perpetrators, if any are still alive.
These few survivors of unspeakable abuse want, need, to be assured that this can and will never happen again, anywhere.
The White House Boys also want an apology, as well as, who can blame them, compensation from those who kept the secrets of the Monsters of Marianna.

Places to learn more:
Read the Full USF PDF  Report here:  Dozier School Report
Florida School for Boys – Wikipedia
Florida to exhume bodies buried at former boys school
Remains of 2 more boys identified at closed Florida boys school
Boy missing since 1940 identified at closed Florida boys school
Florida’s Dozier School For Boys: A True Horror Story
Abuses at infamous Florida boys reform school even more widespread, report says

September 18, 2014

Finally, We Have A Baby!

one two
four three
We have decided to call her/him Ishi, after the last of the Yahi in California.
She/he also appears to be the only survivor.
All pictures credit: Walkingfox
Because  you asked, here is more about Ishi, last of the Yahi.


We would like to introduce our first Gopher Tortoise birth here.
She/he was found yesterday when I took Breanna out, just after lunch.
We are not sure of her/his sex, but this is what we have waited for since moving in here in 2004.
We found no others, only this one.
Gopher Tortoises normally have between 3-15 babies, so we sadly fear the demise of her siblings.
It is said that anything and everything,  eats them as soon as they hatch, most do not make it until their first birthday.
From what we have learned from other pictures and information, this one appears to be about two years old,  as they are said to grow about an inch per year.
If any others are found, they will be announced here.
But for now, we are so thrilled to have at least one child from Harriet, whom we have fiercely guarded, loved and protected since we came here nearly ten years ago.
Finally, we have a baby!

September 12, 2014

Puget Pride

Killer Whales or Orcas
Picture credit: Robert Pittman NOAA

This story is for Adam,  whose heart is as big as the Ocean, the Orcas and all the sea creatures that he loves so much.
Killer Whales or Orcas are the largest Dolphins.
This beautiful mammal is an intelligent, fun-loving, playful, family oriented and devoted Sea Creature or Cetacean.
And for the first time in years,  this week a new baby has been born to a group whose terrifyingly low numbers, leave many to believe that they are not long for this Earth.
The new baby, who is  a member of  the L Pod, was born  in the waters of San Juan off the Washington State Coast., known as Puget Sound.
This new calf is a member of Southern Resident Killer Whale  population whose  numbers are currently at about 79, with  two having  been listed as missing.
The Killer Whales in this area are members of the J,  K,   or L pods.
The new baby or calf, is number L 120 and its birth is cause for sheer delight, extreme joy, laced with a more than just a bit of trepidation.
The newborns in this area and of this particular species, do not have a good track record for longevity.
Many of them die in their first year of life.
There are multiple reasons for the tremendous decline in Killer Whales here:  the Exxon oil spill, and the lingering deadly aftermath of it, as well as the now near extinction of their favorite food, salmon, have sent them as far away as California to eat.
This critically Endangered Whale is the victim of yet one more example of Human cause and effect:
oil spills, over fishing, military and tourist conflicts, greedy marine facilities who take them prisoners to perform.
We love to adore them in captivity, watch them on film, and take boat trips out to see them in the wild.
Yet we completely fail to comprehend that what we are doing,  is killing the Killer Whales.
We are simply,  ignorantly,  loving and crowding them to death.
But on this day, far away,  in Washington State,  there is reason for Puget Pride.

Places to learn more:
Killer whale – Wikipedia
Updated photos: Eyewitness describes birth of orca in Puget Sound waters
Down to Earth: Patti Goldman on Protecting Orca Whales
Puget Sound’s endangered killer whales continue decline
Exxon Valdez oil spill
Puget Sound orcas feeding in California — again
Orca calf born to Puget Sound resident L pod
Puget Sound orcas retain protection under Endangered Species Act
Newborn Orca Seen Off Washington Coast In Puget Sound Pod
Census: Orcas declining in Puget Sound

September 5, 2014

Megalopyge opercularis

Megalopyge opercularis
Picture credit: Wikipedia


Thank you so very much to Walkingfox for alerting me about this story just now.
This is a very short post because it is so important and just learned about.
I also wanted to alert as many of you, as soon as possible about this.
On our local WFTV News earlier today, was a report about, don’t laugh, a fuzzy caterpillar that is very scary.
Its scientific name is  Megalopyge opercularis  and it has been found in Florida.
DO NOT TOUCH  it under any conditions.
This thing is nasty and its bite will do you great harm.
Even though it is fairly small, at about one inch long, it is the most poisonous Caterpillar in the United States.
This is not a joke, take a look at the pictures of the victims in the links below.
You, your pets and your children need to be on high alert for this creature, every single time that you are outside in your yards,  or where ever.
Please watch out for it and if any of you should come in contact with it, follow the directions on any of these links included below, immediately.
All I can say is YIKES!
And, Welcome to the Tropics.
Places to learn more:
Southern flannel moth
Puss Caterpillar or Asp — General Information
Florida’s Puss Caterpillars Pack a Venomous Punch
Doctors: Don’t pet fuzzy caterpillar
Megalopyge opercularis  –  Wikipedia