Not So Silent Sunday: Breakfast on the Beach

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I went to the beach to take some early morning photographs on one of our last days in Florida before our snowbird flight north for the holidays. There are never many people walking the beach in November because the tourists haven’t arrived en mass yet.

As I walked over the short boardwalk to the beach, my eyes rested on a colorful umbrella and the stuff people take for a day on the beach. This was different, however, because it looked like a bar had been set up – a breakfast bar, sans food. I thought he was getting busted by the Beach Patrol, but no, they were just having a friendly chat.

I sat down by the water photographing the water birds eating their breakfast at low tide, and would occasionally glance over to the breakfast bar. People would stop to chat – obviously he was a regular, someone who lived in the neighborhood and is well known.

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Bloody Mary, anyone? No waiting in line at the bar.

Magic Bananas

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Isn’t it magic – how bananas grow on a tree. I’m so glad I paid attention in biology class in high school because there it is, how nature reproduces itself. See all those little bananas just getting started. See how they grow – so when you want just two from the display at the grocery store, you have to break them off. That dead stuff hanging off each banana is the flower – it comes off easily.

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Who would guess that all those small flowers under the purplish bract will grow into bananas – without pollination.

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These look like they could be ready to pick to ripen in the house. I found these three stages of bananas growing at the Naples Botanical Garden. How they grow is so different than what I am accustom to in the northern part of the country. It seems that it takes being someplace new to help us experience the magic of all growing things.

This is the link to the Daily Post prompt of “Magic”.

Time to Say Goodbye

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We are once again planning to leave Southwest Florida for our migration north to Michigan. Our daughter visited for a long weekend, so I knew my visit to the Naples Botanical Garden last Tuesday would be my last. I approached this visit very differently, even beginning my walk by going counter-clockwise.

It was a beautiful morning; temperature about 65 degrees, slight breeze and low humidity. I stopped in the shade by this lake in the preservation part of the garden. I wanted to hear the birds and absorb the foliage that is so different from the Michigan countryside. I remember how foreign it used to feel and now it is a part of who I am – almost as much as the Michigan landscape.

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My next stop was the water lily gardens – before the sun was too high. There were some beautiful specimens but this is the only one I’m showing today. I am saving one for my next Silent Sunday post – and maybe use some more later. It is funny, though. I have a hard time using photographs from Florida when I return to Michigan. The same is true when I return in the Fall. When I put this problem in print it sounds pretty illogical.

 

I wandered over to the Florida garden where they are growing vegetables this time of year, to be used by the chef at the cafe. It is always fun to see what is grown here. ┬áThe tomato is growing in a raised bed in the Children’s Garden. In the Asian Garden they are growing rice along with other crops that haven’t started to produce.

This last visit for the season seemed to change my brain circuitry in a way that gave me a very different perspective. Someone was watching me take photos in the Florida Garden and when I looked up, she said she was watching me to see what I was seeing. This started me thinking about what draws me into a scene – into a potential photograph.

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I have been repeatedly drawn into the succulent garden and have taken many macro shots of various plants that I find interesting because of color and texture. This time I stepped back and just stood there, observing and thinking about what I was seeing that would pull me in. I am drawn to the blues of the thick-leaved plants that store water. I also love the graceful, sensual curves of the plants. Yes, I will look forward to being drawn into this part of the garden over and over again – and will always feel like it is the first time.

In my last botanical garden post, I mentioned that there was an image involving multiple textures in the orchid garden that I wanted to retake. Of course it is impossible to walk through an orchid garden without taking at least a few photos, but I accomplished my main mission of improving the composition .

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When I left the orchid garden, a left turn positions me to see the cafe – where I could see my table waiting for me. On my last visit I was naughty and didn’t share me scone – so this week I broke it in half so you can pick the half you want. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (everything is better when it is shared).

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Breakfast at Blueberries

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We have a Sunday morning ritual of going to early church and then to Blueberries for breakfast. We never deviate from this routine when we are wintering Florida – right down to what we order. Our ritual has become routine so they no longer give us menus. We start with coffee, and I order two eggs over medium, whole wheat toast, and fruit. JB orders a short stack of blueberry pancakes that come with a hot blueberry compote. I then give him an egg and toast, he gives me a pancake and we both eat out of the fruit cup. Every Sunday – except when we deviate by adding bacon or potatoes. Today we were in an extra happy mood so we added Canadian bacon and a fresh squeezed orange juice.

Anyone driving up US 41 out of Naples can tell that Blueberries is a good restaurant for breakfast because of the people waiting on the porch for their number to be called. We have had other things on the menu – before we settled on our usual. We know the Greek omelette is wonderful, filled with feta cheese and fresh spinach. Friends have told us the eggs benedict is the best they have ever had. We go there for lunch or supper when we are hungry for a gyro sandwich. They make a really good one because the owner is Greek. The service is the efficient and non-intrusive kind that is found in Europe because most of the servers are Eastern European immigrants.

We don’t wait for a table, we wait for two seats at the counter (first come, first serve). We love the counter because we can watch the servers as they efficiently work together to keep the coffee and food moving. Four machines are constantly brewing fresh-ground coffee and whoever has a few free minutes is emptying grounds and starting new pots, even the owner. I enjoy the end of the counter where we can see the dance that takes place as plates of food coming from the kitchen are sorted by order and given the finishing touches, like a shake of powdered sugar, a cup of fruit, a scoop of butter, blueberry compote. Then whoever is available carries them to the correct table – or in our case to the counter.

We love going to Blueberries and have been going for enough seasons for the staff to recognize and greet us with smiles and a warm “How are you today?” We look forward to seeing them when we return each fall. But we also experience an extra joy that comes from sitting at the counter. Maybe you have noticed this if you are a counter sitter. We have the joy of talking with people who are sitting next to us. Sometimes we recognize people who we sat with before and we greet each other – but mostly they are regulars, too; and thus neighbors who we don’t know, yet. Blueberries is the place where we go and feel at home even though nobody knows our name.