Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pineapples in Florida History? What?

Ahh…the pineapple. When I think of pineapples, I am transported to tropical Hawaii with thoughts of cool ocean breezes and exotic cocktails waiting to be enjoyed. How about you?

Pineapple on Parent Plant
photo from Wikipedia

As a symbol of hospitality, I love having pineapples included in my decor. I have some carved in wood or made of ceramics, others adorn a favorite tablecloth and a set of napkin rings and yet another is the motif for my outdoor fountain. Thanks to my friend Lily @ Blahwg-Life on and off the farm, I now have a set of beautiful white porcelain pineapple candleholders! The fact that pineapples remind me of a tropical island, is the icing on the cake.

If you feel the same way, you might be as surprised as I was to learn that  Florida was the first state to commercially produce pineapples!

You can read all about the history of the pineapple in the United States at the University of Central Florida where I read this:

"In America, commercial production of pineapples began in earnest in Florida in the late 19th century. In fact, for a short time, Florida was among the world's most prolific producer's of pineapple. However, by the 1930s, pineapple production in Florida began to fall off, largely due to changes in climate and increased competition from central America and Hawaii. 

According to some sources, pineapples were introduced to Hawaii as early as the 16th century. But pineapples weren't canned in Hawaii until about 1885, and the American territory did not become world famous for its pineapples until Jim Dole founded his highly successful Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1901. Remarkably, by the 1920s, the pineapple was Hawaii's largest industry, and, until recently, Hawaii was the world's largest producer of canned pineapples."

Learning that pineapples played a role in our history was all it took for me to hit The Florida Memory State Library & Archives to search for some images.

I found lots of photos and postcards and thought I would share them with you…

From photo…

to postcard…

Going to Market — Late 1800s

Pineapples of the Florida Keys  c1880

Schooner Lillie of Key West loaded with pineapples between 1880-1900

Sally is standing in her father's pineapple garden in Brooksville, Florida - 1899. He had just put in an irrigation system.

Winterhaven c1880-1900

Agricultural laborers loading pineapples in a field on October 13, 1905

Pineapples in Transport — Volusia County c1910

Pineapple Boat c1910

Pineapple Field  c1920

Harvesting Pineapples in Indian River  c1920

Indian River Pines Label — Eldred, Florida

Fifteen Pound Pineapple Postcard - Postmarked March 14, 1922

Growing pineapples : Florida Postcard - Postmarked May 13, 1937

A good wagon load

Florida Pines

Pineapple Farm in Florida

A Pineapple Field

Pineapple Farm

Pineapple Grove

Whether grown in a field, a farm or a grove, I LOVE pineapples!

Did you know that you can…

Grow Your Own Florida Pineapples!

While pineapples are no longer grown commercially in Florida, our soil and climate make them a wonderful addition to our gardens. You can learn how to grow your own pineapples in Florida on this page at University of Florida IFAS Extension.

"Although pineapples are no longer a uniquely American product, the symbol of hospitality still looms large in both Florida and Hawaii, for the most important industry in both states today is... the hospitality and tourism business!"

That's it for today folks, I have to go now — 

I'm suddenly in the mood for a Pina Colada!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Beneath the Deep Blue Sea

Tartaruga 3
© Marco Paravella

This photo appears in a Flickr Group that I belong to — Ocean Conservation Photography. You can click on the photo to be taken to Marco's Photostream and see more of his beautiful work. This photo was taken on October 19, 2010 using an Olympus E-PL1.

I hope you all have a week as fabulous as this photo!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Song of the Morning Star

Last night I stepped outside to see and feel the Full Moon, but the predawn hours are my favorite time of day, so I waited until this morning to photograph this event.

Just before the sun was set to rise, I grabbed my camera and my tripod and headed outside. The street light reflecting on my neighbors palm tree made the perfect frame for this morning's descent of February's Full Moon.

Speaking of the predawn hours, I wanted to share with you my favorite morning music. I love the Native American flute music of R. Carlos Nakai.

The first CD I bought was Canyon Trilogy back in 1989 and although I have several more now, my favorite piece is still from this one. Star for the Morning Star reaches down to the very core of my soul and touches me in a way that no other genre of music ever has. For me, except for listening to nature, there is no better way to greet the dawn. This music will make you want to head to a lonely beach, the mountains, a river or a stream and just sit and let yourself get lost in what you're hearing and seeing before you. It will wrap its arms around you and provide you with a sense of peace on even the darkest days.

Stressed? Just shut your eyes and envision your favorite place in nature where you wish you were at this very moment and listen to sounds of R. Carlos Nakai…

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Special Valentine for Me!

I couldn't believe my eyes! 

If you were here on Monday, you'll know that I posted my Valentine to the Sea — a heart I did in Photoshop using a photo I took here in Florida last summer along with a poem by Rod McKuen. 

I do love the sea, it has been a constant in my life since I was three-years-old. I feel a connection and am never happier than when I'm strolling the shore here in Florida or sitting on a cliff in California watching the magnificent waves of the Pacific. Much as others will say their mate defines them and makes them whole, this is how I feel about the sea. She has shared my joy and swallowed up my tears when need be.

All mushiness aside, I spent the day on Tuesday at my little secret beach. I was there at the crack of dawn, anxious to see what the low tide would reveal. AND what do I come across? Take a look at this…

The sea sent a heart back to me! 

Like I said, I couldn't believe my eyes. This is going in a frame for sure. If you don't know what this is, there is a clam under the sand and as clams dig, they shoot up water and this action leaves little trails of sand like this, but I've never seen a heart! I know it was for me, I just know it!

My secret beach had other goodies to share and I thought I'd share them with you. I believe the more you learn of the critters that inhabit our ocean, the more you will learn to respect and protect her.

The first thing I came across was this…

This is the egg casing of a Lightning Whelk. Each capsule on this strand contains the eggs with developing embryos of little, tiny baby whelks inside. The mother whelk buries herself in the sand and attaches one end of the casing to a rock or another shell. Each strand will hold between 50 and 200 capsules and each capsule will hold up to 100 eggs. If all goes well, the baby whelks will eventually poke a hole in the capsule and go on to live a fabulous life dining on clams, oysters and scallops.

Over the years I've found plenty of these casings washed ashore, but on this day, I saw something for the very first time — a whelk actually laying her eggs!

From a distance I saw the siphon canal of a Lightning Whelk sticking up out of the water. This usually signals an empty shell and I was very excited, but as I approached this is what I witnessed…

…this was even more exciting than an empty shell to me. I really don't know why she wasn't completely buried, but I'm no expert on this ordeal. I snapped a few pics and moved on. Later, as I made my way back down the beach, I came across her again, this time she was better hidden…

Difficult labor? Who knows, but it was very cool to see this in nature. I made this collage of some photos I found on the web, so that you can see what the whelks look like when they emerge from the capsules…

This is a beautiful specimen I came across with the morning sun glinting off its shell…

I also spotted a live Pear Whelk…

and this is something else I've never seen…

A Lightning Whelk crossing the sandy terrain. This is something you see if you go snorkeling or scuba diving, not just walking the shore. I thought this was unusual, but my secret beach is so cool, I ran across several more making their way around the beach just like me. Were they looking for love? Probably more like breakfast, but it is the week of Valentine's, so you never know.

Then I ran across another hermit crab, if you remember I posted some pics recently of one that sat there and posed so beautifully. Well, this guy was not happy I was there and had a hissy fit. I was trying to get a nice pic of the lovely Shark's Eye Moon Snail shell he has claimed as his own and he kept coming after me. It was like a Chihuahua going after a Great Dane, if you catch my drift.

Crazy Eyes

I named him Crazy Eyes and then moved on to give him his space.

Let's see, this little guy made an appearance…

I believe it is a Mud Shrimp, but doesn't it look like a little Maine Lobster? 

Then this Sunray Venus Clam put on quite a show, wish I had a movie camera to capture his antics. He was flipping and flopping, coming in and out of his shell and squirting water every which way. Between this guy and the hermit crab, it was quite an amusing day.

Then off in the distance I saw a mound of sand that looked out of place and rather odd. Can you guess what it is?

Here's a closer look…

Barnacle Bill - The Old Man and the Sea

Those familiar with this creature and those who were looking closely at the above photos will recognize this beast as a Lightning Whelk. Can you guess why I named him Barnacle Bill? Ha! Looks like his grandson is there next to him, hopefully picking up some wisdom on how to stay alive long enough to reach this size! He was well over 12-inches, probably close to 14-inches in length.

Let's take a closer look at his "tail" which is actually the siphon canal. Appears as though some form of plant life planted itself and has really grown. Can't say that I've ever seen this before either. Gives a whole new meaning to "shake your tail feathers" though.

So as we head off, here's one last look at Barnacle Bill…

This had turned out to be quite a remarkable day, full of firsts. a few chuckles and an adventure I shall never forget.

Before I left, I found a wide expanse of beautifully decorated sand and left my mark. One that will be washed away with the tide and leave no harm to our precious environment…

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine to the Sea

© 1967 by Anita Kerr, Rod McKuen & Warm Music, ASCAP Copyright renewed. Words: Rod McKuen, Music: Anita Kerr. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

King of the Surf Guitar

Last week was a milestone for me. My son turned 40-years-old…gasp! How did this happen? I now have a child who has reached the forth fifth decade of his life and I swear, it happened in the blink of an eye.

When I spoke with him in the afternoon and he told me his plans for that evening, I had just about the same reaction his friend Nikol had on her face that night…

Your doing what? Your seeing who? Your kidding?

That is soooooo cool!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Venue: The Brixton Club in Redondo Beach, California

Dick Dale in Concert

Dick Dale at The Brixton. Photo credit: My son.

Yep, my son, along with friends and cousins went to see Dick Dale. For those who don't know, Dick Dale invented surf music in the early 60s and is the undisputed King of the Surf Guitar. Dale received the Guitar Legend award from Guitar Player Magazine, one of only three awarded in the last forty years. Yea, the man has some killer chops!

For those who weren't on the beach scene in the 60s, you'll probably know Dick Dale's hit Misirlou as the theme song for the movie Pulp Fiction (1994), starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson.

My daughter's favorite movie of all time, btw.

Now the last time I saw Dick Dale live was before my son was even born! Here's what the band looked and sounded like back in 1963 in the movie A Swingin' Affair


Dick Dale's iconic album Surfers' Choice. The cover of this album was shot at
the San Clemente Pier by SURFER Founder John Severson.

and now…

Photo of Dick and Jimmy Dale at Fender guitar booth at the 2011 NAMM show in Anaheim.
Credit: Fender Musical Instruments Corp.

In a 2010 interview, Dick was ask: Can you speak more about the connection between music and surfing?

"The rhythm that you get is the same thing. The rhythm in that water – nothing comes close to that. Nothing. The rhythm of a beautiful glassy wave matches the rhythm of playing music on an instrument and not only that, but the ferocity of Mother Nature’s ocean is the same thing when you hear my guitar growl…The ferocity when you just get into a gnarly wave that just wants to chew you up and spit you out – that’s my guitar when it starts getting angry. So I tell people, I’m not a guitar player. I don’t know what an augmented ninth or thirteenth is, and I don’t give a shit. I make my guitar scream with pain or pleasure, and that’s what it does."

One of my favorite answers was to this question: If you could give your fans some advice, what would it be?

"If I could convince everybody to go surf, I would. Your body follows your mind…And I tell you, there’s nothing more exciting than dropping in on a glassy wave and seeing a school of fish or a porpoise following you. You can’t buy that. That’s better than any drug. Any bottle of booze."

You can read the entire interview at

So, as far as I'm concerned, I can handle having my son turn 40, when he celebrates by going to see someone who had such a huge influence on my life as a young beach gal and whose music brings back great memories of my youth.

Photo credit: Royce Degrie

Dick Dale the night he was inducted into
The Musicians Hall of Fame
in Nashville on October 14, 2009.

Dick Dale — King of the Surf Guitar!

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Go to the Beach in Style!