Okay, usually I sit down and carefully outline my postings.  But today, after enjoying a very warm, balmy Sunday on the beautiful beach at Bahia Honda, I just think I’ll wing it.  My days here in the Florida Keys are numbered, and I am appreciating quality time spent with family, so please excuse me if I just sum up some of the “events” of the last few days.

The other day, we took my nephew Zac to the Blue Hole in Big Pine Key, a special place I wrote about just a few days ago.  It’s always fun to share a favorite little sanctuary with another nature lover.  While there, we listened to a volunteer speak enthusiastically about a place he cared so much about.  While we waited for the “new” alligator to make her appearance, we watched as a variety of rather large turtles competed for prime sunning space on a large rock right in front of us.  Zac, with the smart ass humor of a 28 year-old said, “hey, you can put this in your blog!”  So here I am, doing just that. When we asked about the resident alligator, our volunteer explained she was doing well, and had even managed to attract a mate who is rumored to be a big guy.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, neither one made themselves available for our viewing pleasure.

Yesterday, we enjoyed watching pelicans, and egrets fish in a tidal pool at the end of the road, and then we were greeted by a young iguana sitting on our fence.  And don’t forget about those adorable tiny Key deer that can jump out of the forest at anytime, without warning.  Hooper likes to chase them if she gets the opportunity, but that is not encouraged, and it is not safe.  A neighbor told me that recently, a deer delivered a swift kick to a beagle’s head, causing a concussion.  It’s always wise to keep a dog on a leash no matter how quiet a place seems.

And of course, Hooper is enjoying her extra long walks here, free of the snow and ice she was becoming accustomed to up north this winter.  Yesterday, walking down the road, I was telling my sister how dog-friendly this place was.  Then, as if on cue, a large car rolled up to us.  The driver, a man, rolled down his window and asked if Hooper was a Portuguese water dog.  I confirmed that she was, and he said, “she looks awfully thin, don’t you feed that dog?”  Then, with a big smile, he tossed a large dog biscuit at her paws, and drove away laughing.  Yesterday, Hooper quietly met the mail woman as she deliver our mail.  Before leaving, she tossed a Snausage toward my appreciative dog.  Earlier that day, a sweet older couple offered Hooper a dog treat as they walked past us.  I think Hooper is coming to expect this treatment around every corner!

Around the corner from where we’re staying, there is a miniature “tiki bar” structure in front of a house.  The sign on it announces, “Dog Watering Hole.”  It seems in this place, a dog can have a hang out of its very own.  Big Pine Key always brings surprises, and an opportunity to enjoy a place that is so unique, it really puts the “vacate” in vacation.

But as relaxing as it is here, it also presents a great opportunity to write, and that is something I certainly have done.  My recent postings on HARO.com (Help A Reporter Out) have  introduced some interesting and knowledgable contacts, providing some great inspiration, and information for my National Dog Week project.  Some days all it takes is an enthusiastic “follower” to keep me going as I try to wrap things up. 

Just down the road from here there is a key called No Name Key, with its famous No Name Key Pub, with its walls covered with thousands of dollar bills.  So, in the spirit of a place that just never got around to naming itself, I leave you on a carefree note at the end of a perfect weekend.

Note to David, we really have missed your return visit.  Hope the tree clean up from that nasty storm is going well, and that you’re using this “quiet time” to keep up with the business of polishing those novels.

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