I am always finding lost things on my runs – and I seem to specialize in mystery shoes! This poor soul was in the parking lot near my car when I returned. It was not there when I arrived – or, maybe it was and I just didn’t notice because it was still o’dark-thirty 😉 Hope the tiny-footed owner returns for it.
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This is the final installment of my first field trip with the Florida Master Naturalist class (Coastal Systems Module). Last time, we explored a few critter encounters at Bowditch Point. Now we’re going to continue on our journey over the hill, through the dunes and onto the beach.
The day was getting pretty warm, and a few of the plants had an “aromatic” (translation: unpleasant!) odor. I believe it was the plant described to us as a “stopper” plant, used by the Calusa natives once upon a time to make a purgative drink.
The Estero Island Garden Club created a butterfly garden at the top of the hill.
There’s a statue of a child fishing in the butterfly garden at Bowditch Point Regional Park. I got a kick out of the fact that they use a real branch as a fishin’ pole 🙂
I’ve written of the EPCOT mystery shoes before, as well as a few non-Disney pairs of mystery shoes. But here’s a new pair – the Bowditch Point Mystery Shoes! They were on a bench near the butterfly garden while our guide was walking us through, and still there an hour later when I came through to take some pictures. Ya gotta wonder…
There are a lot of coontie plants at Bowditch Point Regional Park. I believe this one is a female. The cones are shaped differently for a male. No I’m not kidding – male and female! This is called a dioecious plant – that’s Greek for “two houses”, and it means that the plant is either a male or a female. The Seminoles dried and ground the roots into flour and made it into bread. I’ve heard it referred to as arrowroot too, but there’s another plant called that… confusing, the world of botany! I guess that’s why people like to use the Latin names. There are no mistakes when you stick to the Latin names. So I’m told!
You’ve heard of it all your life and now you’ve met one – it’s the prickly pear cactus! A few years back, I saw some of these fruits for sale in Publix but didn’t have the guts to try them. One of our classmates said he’s tried them and he felt great after a few days of eating them – I think they have anti-oxidant properties. Anyhow, the tortoises love ’em so they can’t be all bad, right?
Railroad vine is related to morning glories and so is their behavior – they are open during the day and close up once night falls. The Latin name, ipomea pes-caprae, relates to the shape of the leaves. Google Translator is telling me “foot she goat”, so I guess the leaves are supposed to look like a girl goat’s hooves (so what do a boy goat’s hooves look like, then?).
Sea grapes grow in a bunch but you can’t really pick ’em that way. They don’t mature/ripen as a bunch; they are individuals and each decides in its own time when it is ready to be ripe. That’s why you generally see only some missing from a cluster; the other ones weren’t yet ready to eat!
This tree is called the strangler fig. It’s less than 20 years old and stands pretty much on the crest of the hill, spreading shade in a wide swath. Migratory birds like to stop and rest in this tree, for the fruits are nice to eat. The seeds are spread around via bird poop. Sometimes, the poop lands on another tree, where the new baby strangler latches onto and eventually envelops the host. As you can see, they have a pretty aggressive root system, too. I find it funny that one of my Florida landscape plant books identifies companion plants for the strangler; I’m fairly certain it’s just going to kill all its friends so I’m not getting the point…..
Well, here’s at least one friend that the strangler won’t bother to strangle – a coontie grows low and spread out in the considerable shade. Our guide pointed out how different it looks from the ones in full sunlight. It definitely looks to me as though it is reaching around to find some sun.
This plant has so many names, where do we begin? Chinese lantern, common ground-cherry, husk tomato (I’m told it tastes like a tomatillo), sand ground-cherry, bladder cherry (it floats)… a lot depends on where you live, I guess, when it comes to common names. Gopher tortoises like to eat these, too. I guess it makes sense – it’s certainly low enough for a tortoise to munch upon.
These daisy relatives are called dune sunflowers. They pop up basically everywhere in the coastal system and they flower year-round, with just a bit of a break in the winter time. They are also related to Indian blanket flowers.
Because of the way the tides flow around this area, Bowditch Point gets eroded and the sand is carted away by the sea. Periodically, the government will decide that “renourishment” is in order. The get a barge and a bunch of pipe, park the barge out in the bay and pipe in sand from “out there” somewhere. On the one hand, it’s intrusive to the environment and counter to what Mother Nature seems to want. On the other hand, Lee County is pretty dependent upon tourist dollars and cannot afford to have any of their public beaches get washed away. I checked this out pretty thoroughly before determining that the pipe was NOT bringing in quantities of good shells. Then I headed for the parking lot.
There’s a shower and a foot sprayer behind me; to either side are little picnic areas and pretty flowers. It was a long morning and it was getting REALLY hot. I decided I was ravenously hungry and proceeded to meet friends at Jerry’s on Sanibel for lunch before heading home. Thus endeth the first field trip – but fear not, there’s more where this came from – stay tuned!
One of my favorite authors has blogged about one of my favorite Disney characters – Alice In Wonderland 🙂 I was kind of surprised, because Paulo Coelho’s Character of the Week is usually one of his own characters from one of his own books. But this week, he chose Alice – and he’s got a few choice quotes from her in his post as well!
He reminded me of one of my favorite pieces of Disney art work, which is hanging in my “long-ass hallway” (a ridiculously long, empty, bowling alley of a hallway in my home). It’s a series of Disney first day covers, issued by the US Postal Service in 2005. Here’s the part that features Alice. You can tell it was a long time ago by the price of the stamp! I don’t think Disney could have made her any sweeter or prettier, do you?
(You can also see the reflection of my fingers on the camera, right around the Anaheim, CA postmark LOL)
Last spring, Alice In Wonderland merchandise was a big presence in Walt Disney World, probably due to the imminent release of the updated version with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. There were all these “flatsy” versions of Alice and her strange pals, including this version of the Cheshire Cat (above).
On a subsequent trip, I ended up purchasing the more conventional Cheshire Cat. He fit quite nicely in my toy chest with the rest of the gang I’ve assembled over the years.
And finally – only a few short weeks ago, I was in Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney and caught this comical little scene. Someone had posed a leering Cheshire Cat on the arm of the huge Duffy bear that stands in an alcove in that store. Meanwhile, Duffy appears to be placidly unaware that a demented maniac has commandeered his limb. This is the cleverest thing I’ve seen in Disney since the Canadian mystery shoes 😉
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🙂 Long time readers might remember that I once posted about shoes I’d discovered in the O, Canada! pavilion at EPCOT. I was at Walt Disney World one fine day last spring with my friend Debbie who happened to spot the shoes lying on a rocky ledge into which water from the falls poured. You can click here to see some photos. If you read a few of the comments, you will understand that Disney Cast Members who work in the O, Canada! pavilion seem to know all about the shoes and indicate that they will take the secret to their graves.
By the way, the next time I visited was December, and the shoes weren’t there, but I found another strange item in an out-of-the-way place. I guess you never know what’s going to pop up next in O, Canada!
When comparing pictures in this post to those in the post from last year, you can see that last time the shoes were perched on the craggy ledge of the cliff. However, this time the shoes are bobbing perilously in a shallow pool that has formed on another section of the ledge. How, I wondered, did the shoes get into the pool? Did one of Florida’s exotic water fowl land there and knock them in? Were they transported by human hands? Telepathy? Mice? Yes, mice. Haven’t you seen Cinderella? If they can sew a ball gown, they’d have no problem moving a pair of shoes!
I do think there is something very strange afoot (no pun intended… ok, maybe just a little). What were the shoes doing there in the first place? Was there foul play involved (note I did not say “fowl” play, for that would make two allegedly unintended puns in a single paragraph, and we can’t have that)? How did all those Cast Members happen to show up at my blog MONTHS later to make cryptic remarks and never explain themselves or the secret of the shoes? Are these the SAME shoes I saw last year, or are they a different pair, owned and lost by a different doomed soul whose single misfortune was to have apparently wandered onto the wrong craggy rock!
What do YOU think?
What is the significance of Canada’s magical mystery shoes, and how did they get there?
Are they just a prop – official or unofficial – or are they the actual shoes of a real, live person?
Is it a guest prank? A Cast Member prank? Not a prank at all?
The plot – it thickens! 😀
You want me to be happy, don’t you?
DON’T YOU? 😉
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© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
🙂 A waterfall splashes down the side of “the Canadian Rockies” in EPCOT. But, hey – what’s that up there on that ledge?
Wow, it’s shoes! Did someone go swimming, perhaps? Or did some Rocky Mountain hiker drop them from on high? Or maybe this is the handiwork of some rather high-spirited Walt Disney World guests. I doubt I’ll ever find out! My friend Deb first spotted them, and then I confirmed it with my 10x optical zoom. Fun stuff!
You want me to be happy, don’t you?
DON’T YOU? 😉