You are currently viewing archive for February 2014
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
I'm happy to report that Zaph is his old self again. What a relief.

Winter continues here in the land of snow and ice. While Ed and I were in Florida we saw a photo of a huge snow drift taken in Bruce County. The Canadian Flag and Go Canada Go was painted on it. Last week we decided to go looking for the snow drift (a neighbour told us where there was an eleven foot drift).

We drove north through the town of Paisley and eventually found this drift. I would love to have seen the machine that had cut through it. This was an amazing drift but not the one that was posted.

We decided to take a different route home and came across this drift. Not as tall as the first one, but I'm pretty sure it was the one we were looking for. The writing was faded but the flag was there and so was the Go Canada Go ---- just as I remembered it.

One of the branches of the Saugeen River flows through Paisley, and it has a small dam on it. Ed thought It was photo material.

Over the last couple of days we had above freezing temperatures and some rain .... Ok just a degree or two but with the rain it was enough to melt some of the snow. We can see the top board of the fence in the backyard, the hot tub has emerged and the road is mostly clear. I found the storm drain on the road and cleared the snow off it giving the water somewhere to go. For a day there was hope that spring is on it's way. Unfortunately, winter has returned. The temperature has dropped and it's snowing. It is February after all.

As life is a little slower in Walkerton, especially in the winter, I'm only going to my blog once a week. I'm sure no one wants to read my "snow complaints" on a daily basis.

2014/02/13: Zaph Update

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Zaph continues to improve. He dragged Ed and myself around the block a couple of times today. He's walking more like a hung over sailor instead of a drunken one. Smart dog is sticking to the mats I've put down on the floor and staying away from the hardwood floor.

Ed decided to look for the backyard today.

You can still see part of the fence the surrounds the vegetable garden but the fence dividing the backyards is pretty much gone.

That's the picnic table under the bump.

The snow loves to drift by the kitchen door. Ed decided to dig a trench to the door and clear the snow touching the door.

2014/02/12: Home

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
We arrived home today. Watching the weather forecasts paid off. On Monday, we left St. Augustine in sun, drove through about an hour of light rain in the early afternoon and arrived with the setting sun in Beckley, West Virginia. It was below freezing in Beckley with a dusting of snow on the ground but the room at the Howard Johnson's was warm. On Tuesday we left Beckley in sun, saw a few snowflakes in Pennsylvania and was back in the sun when we arrived in Burlington in the late afternoon. Given the winter storms of late, we couldn't have asked for better weather.

We stopped to visit my mother in Burlington. About 11pm we decided it was time for bed. Zaph tried to stand and promptly fell over. Other than lack of balance, Zaph seemed OK. After managing to get a few hours sleep and determining the Zaph was the same, we decided to hit the road and drive to our vet's office in Hanover. The vet's not sure what's wrong with Zaph but thinks it could be an inner ear infection or Idiopathic or “Old Dog” Vestibular Disease. We left the vet office with antibiotics for the possible ear infection and hopes of improvement in the next day or so if Vestibular Disease. The best way to describe Zaph is to say that he looks like a drunken sailor when he tries to walk.

Good news, by bed time Zaph was starting to walk better. He still falls over if he tries to shake or scratch while he's standing.

Are you wondering what our yard looked like when we arrived home?


Our neighbours, Rob and Ellen given perspective to the size of the snowbank. Rob says the snowblower can no longer blow snow over the snowbank.

2014/02/09: Last Day

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Where'd that scratchy throat come from? I started the vacation ill, I don't want to end it that way.

The sun is shiny today and it's in the high 60s --- the weather we had hoped for. Ed decided to sneak a bit more geo-caching in --- we found 10 so he owes me a Dairy Queen. After geo-caching, I decided to take it easy so Ed took Zaph and Caity for one last beach walk.

One of the spots geo-caching took us to.

The surfers were out today.

People were out enjoying the sun.

2014/02/08: Rain

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
It's cool and rainy this morning. We had planned to go to a farmer's market but decided against it. As we are leaving Monday morning and tomorrow's weather forecast sounds better than today's, Ed and I decided to start packing today. It was lazy day .... we watched a movie, did some last minute errands, watched some of the Olympics and packed. Hope to have some fun tomorrow.

2014/02/07: Last Trolley Ride

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Our trip is nearing it's end. As the weather was a bit iffy today --- cool and drizzly we decided to head into St. Augustine for one last trolley ride, some shopping and lunch.

John shot of photo of Ed and me in the side mirror so Ed decided to reciprocate.

20140209-20140207__7D_3521.JPG 20140209-20140207__7D_3556.JPG
Early on in the trip, Ed took some photos of this fountain and I posted one. I thought this one taken from the side looked need, so the fountain makes it to the blog twice. Ed modeling a $300 leather hat --- I think it makes him look a bit like the mad hatter.

20140209-20140207__7D_3558.JPG 20140209-20140207__7D_3559.JPG
We had lunch at Harry's Seafood Bar and Grill. They serve New Orleans style food and have a wonderful courtyard. We had hoped to eat in the courtyard but due to the weather opted for an inside table and warm drinks. Ed's Shrimp and Crayfish Pot Pie with Harry's Collard Greens on left and John's Seafood Pasta on the right.

20140209-20140207__7D_3560.JPG 20140209-20140207__7D_3561.JPG
Carol and I decided to split an appetizer and an entree. The photo on the left is Crab & Eggplant Napoleon --- we asked for the sauce on the side. The photo on the right is Crab Cakes with Red Rice and Beans.

Ed and John both really enjoyed their lunches. Carol and I thought the crab and eggplant were amazing. The crab cakes were OK.

2014/02/06: Beaching

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
It's cooler today but the winds were more constant so the boys decided to try flying their kites again. Cait and Zaph decided that they would go play ball on the beach.

I got it!!!!

me too!!!

Happy Ed

Ed don't stand on your kite.

After the beach we drove over to the outlet mall and did a little shopping.

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Another warm day. On our walk to the beach, Zaph, Cait and I noticed the market that was being set up in the county pier parking lot. After breakfast, John, Ed, Carol and I went shopping.

There were great vegetables and some interesting crafts.

Next item on the "clip board of fun" was kite flying. Unfortunately, it was not the best day for kite flying as the wind came in gusts and wasn't steady.

Cait and Zaph played ball while the boys flew their kites. Cait resting by the community dog water bowl. She loves putting her paw in the water while she drinks.

After lunch Ed and I headed off for a walk down the state park beach (no dogs allows which was OK as Zaph was too tired to go for a walk anyway). I decided to see what the water was like.

There were a number of birds on the beach.


As we walked down the beach the sky darkened. Ed and I turned around heading for cover. Didn't make it ..... sat out the storm in a bait shop.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
This morning it was very foggy, so foggy that when I was walking on the beach I could either see the waves or see the buildings --- not both. We postponed our visit to downtown by a couple of hours in hopes the fog would lift.

20140205-20140204__DX_7337.JPG 20140205-20140204__DX_7390.JPG
When we drove in the harbor looked eerie, so the boys went and took a photo of the old Spanish ship. The first tourist attraction we saw when we came to town was the Fountain of Youth. When we bought our trolley package, tickets to the Fountain of Youth were included, so we here we are again.

There were two main attractions for the boys .... the cannon firing (they saw the cannon being fired three times) and the peacocks.


Don't I look beautiful, front ....

and back.

One place we haven't walked yet around was the Mission Nombre de Dios and Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche. As the fog had finally cleared we thought we'd stop and walk around.

The first thing we came to was a platform for a statue but without the statue .... so we made our own.

Borrowing some text from the their web page: Mission Nombre de Dios traces its origins to the founding of the City of St. Augustine, America’s oldest city, in 1565. On September 8, 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés landed and proclaimed this site for Spain and the Church. It was here that Menéndez knelt to kiss a wooden cross presented to him by Father Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales, chaplain of his expedition. It was on these grounds that Fr. López would celebrate the first parish Mass and begin the work at America’s first mission. It was at this sacred spot that the Spanish settlers would begin the devotion to Our Lady of La Leche that continues into the present.

Chapel of Our Lady of Leche

20140205-20140204_IMG_0104a.JPG 20140205-20140204_IMG_0105a.JPG
We went to the Sunset Grill for dinner again --- third time in three weeks. We really enjoy this restaurant. Ed had the Sunset Grouper and I had Fish and Chips, with the coleslaw exchanged for a salad and the chips exchange for Spinach and Cheese Grits. Once again the food was delicious.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Today was sunny and warm .... in fact we wore shorts. First time this trip. As it was such a nice day, we decided to visit the Alligator Farm Zoological Park. George Reddington and Felix Fire began collecting alligators on Anastasia Island and they founded the St. Augustine Alligator Farm at South Beach in 1893. In 1937 the farm was sold to W.I. Drysdale and F. Charles Usina who expanded the farm and it continued to evolve and became a key proponent of wildlife research and conservation.

Choosing the photos for today's blog was very difficult ---- there were 1478 photos to look through and I usually complain when there's over 300 photos to choose between.

American Alligators outnumber all other animals at the Alligator Farm. The Alligator Lagoon is home to 42 American Alligators, the Alligator Swamp is home to over 200 American Alligators and there are nursery areas for the smaller Alligators. We bought some Alligator food and got some interest when we tossed it in the water.

Not sure why this Alligator put his mouth around the other Alligator's nose but a couple of zoo keepers ran to see what was going on when Ed told them about it.

The Alligators love laying on top of each other.

20140204-20140203__DX_6861.JPG 20140204-20140203__DX_7185.JPG
Feeding time. The Alligators will jump out of the water to get a nice juicy rat. At this time of year, one rat will be enough food for one alligator for one week. In the wild an Alligator may not eat at all during the cooler weather.

Alligators and turtles seem to get along. This is one of two Albino Alligators at the farm.

One of the zoo keepers giving a talk at the Alligator Lagoon. It's hard to see but he has a stick in his hand --- his only defense.

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm is now the only facility in the world exhibiting living specimens of all 23 currently recognized species of crocodilian. The Farm is active in research and propagation of endangered species. I believe this is an Indian Gharial Crocodile.

A young Indian Gharial Crocodile being fed a mouse.

A ninety year old female Galapagos Tortoise. These tortoises can live 150 to 200 years of age.

Two fifty year old male Galapogos Tortoises having a chat.

The smallest living monkey is the Pygmy Marmoset. It weighs only about one quarter of a pound.

Geoffrey's Marmoset is a small squirrel-sized monkey.

The Cape Griffon Vulture lives between 50 and 70 years, 40 to 46 inches long with a wing span of 8 to 8 1/2 feet.

In the bird area there was a Cape Griffon Vulture nest with one egg in it. The vulture would sit on the egg for a while then would move off the nest for a while.

20140204-20140203__DX_6486_7_8_tonemapped.jpg 20140204-20140203__7D_3265.JPG
The photo on the left is the Southern Cassowary. This bird is considered the most dangerous bird in the world, they can run up to 30 miles an hour, jump 5 feet in the air and kick lethally with their 5 inch long dagger-like inner claw. The photo on the right is Annie the Macaw.

This is a Curl-crested Aracari. It is found in the south western section of the Amazon River.

Carol found herself a new friend. We believe this is a young male Red-knobbed Hornbilled. When Carol spoke the bird would come to the side of the cage. The older male and female kept their distance.

A lot of local birds nest in the Alligator Swamp, as the alligators keep predators at bay. This is a Roseate Spoonbill.

20140204-20140203__DX_7232.JPG 20140204-20140203__D0H1380.JPG
The photo on the left is a Roseate Spoonbill. The photo on the right is a Tri-colored Heron fishing. He swooped down till his feet touched the water then put his beak down to snag a fish.

A Snowy Egret looking for fish.

20140204-20140203__DX_6502.JPG 20140204-20140203__DX_6598.JPG
A Yellow-crowned Night Heron and an Anhinga.

Anyone want to guess if Ed had fun today?

2014/02/02: Geocaching Day

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
In the three weeks that we've been here Ed has only managed to find a few geocaches. So, we decided that today would be dedicated to geocaching. As usual searching for the caches took us to a number of interesting places --- a old Spanish chimney and well, a boardwalk that led to the beach, a park on the inland waterway and the River to Sea Preserve. I think we found 16 caches.

Walking down a beach is always peaceful, but walking down a beach in the fog is even more peaceful.

Birds roosting on docks on the inland waterway.

Ibis's hanging out.

We drove past two birds laying on the ground and I asked Ed to backup. When he realized that the birds were Wood Storks he was pretty happy.

Happy Ed with a cache.

Happy dog on the beach.

Sandpipers dodging waves.

Coquina rock formations on the beach.

This spider crab was left stranded in a pool of water in a rock. He'll just have to wait to high tide to get free.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Kenneth Worcester Dow was born in 1911, the only child of a wealthy businessman. Kenneth's parents died when he was in his 20s and he inherited enough money that he did not need to work and was able to indulge in his passion of collecting. Dow first traveled to St. Augustine in the 1930s. Thoroughly enjoying his visit, he made St. Augustine his permanent home. In 1941, he purchased the oldest home on a block of properties, the 1790 Prince Murat House. By the early 1950s, Mr. Dow had acquired all nine historic homes on the block. He filled the homes with his "collections". In 1989, Mr. Dow generously donated his entire collection of artwork, furniture and other antiques to the Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona Beach, FL. The Dow Museum of Historic Houses was opened in late 2000 after 11 years of restoration.

The oldest homes were built while under Spanish control, and thus were required to built a wall to help protect the city. This is part of the conquina defense wall.

The second-oldest structure on the property is the Dow House. This house was constructed by Antonio Canova in 1839. Mr. Dow purchased the Dow House in 1941 from the oldest living resident in the city, Sarah McKinnon. At the time, Sarah McKinnon was 98 years old and the deal stated that Mr. Dow would grant her life tenancy in the house in exchange for ownership. The agreement was approved and Ms. McKinnon lived to be 103.

The kitchen in the Dow House.

As one of the oldest surviving Colonial structures in St. Augustine, the Prince Murat House is the oldest house on the Dow Museum property. The house was purchased in 1821 by Antonio Canova and is named after its most famous occupant, Prince Achille Murat. A nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, Prince Murat was also the Crown Prince of Naples in Italy. When he moved to America in 1824, Prince Murat resided in this dwelling for several months before relocating to Tallahassee.

An old gate in a coquina wall.

The bedroom in the Worcester house. That's a massive headboard.

The Carpenter's House is characterized by its unique lean and mismatched building materials which were left over from the construction of the Spear and Worcester Houses. The tilt, however, is not a consequence of poor construction techniques; rather, it is a result of the house being detached from its foundation. This event most likely occurred during a hurricane and flood that struck the city in October 1944.

Interesting fountain in the courtyard.

Given the cold we've been experiencing it's nice to see flowers blooming.

One of the streets we walked down today.

An interesting gate we passed today.

2014/02/01: San Sebastion Winery

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
San Sebastion Winery makes it's home in St. Augustine. The winery, part of Lakeridge Winery and Vineyard, opened in 1996 as a way to reach more people. San Sebastion Winery has 6 vats for making wine. The juice is trucked to the winery from Lakeridge, put into the vats to ferment, then put into barrels to age (if a sherry or port) and finally bottled. San Sebastion offers wine tours and tasting.

The upstairs tasting room. Sherry is stored in the oak barrels.

Looking down on the bottling line.

Tasting. Ed and I found a couple of wines we liked. John really liked the sherry, port and mulled wine.

The weather is finally improving, so Zaph and Cait got to go to the beach and chase balls. They really enjoyed that.