Amelia Island holly

Amelia Island holly
Amelia sand dune

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Sea and its Gifts

The sea feeds our spirits as nothing else can.  The picture above is of one of my twin nieces
who are in love with the ocean.  Still only 4 years old, their innate knowledge feels
the peace, the sounds filling them.

I am the same.  Here on this Island, surrounded by the sea, one can often see dolphins
dancing just off the shore and, if one is very lucky, one can see a whale.
We have seen the trail of a space ship heading for the unknown, too, all the way
from Cape Canaveral.  Gifts.

The Island feeds us in so many ways, it is a sweet chore each day 
to remember to quietly give thanks.

Anne Morrow Lindberg wrote in her "Gifts From the Sea"

"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or 
too impatient.  To dig for treasures shows not only impatience, but lack of faith.
Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches.  Patience and faith. One
should lie empty, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea."

Enjoy this video and the music, it is
a gift from Amelia Island to you.

Monday, March 25, 2013

How Does our Garden Grow...

I have written of the Amelia Garden show where we bought our herbs and tomatoes and a few other things.We have been keeping them safe in their pots waiting for the
 right time to transplant.  All the while, like many gardeners this time of year
 we have been itching to get our fingers into the soil.  
Veteran gardeners here tell us that it is safe to do that for many plants,
 only after St. Patrick's Day.  Up north it was only after Memorial Day.
 Mother Nature tricks us with her taunts of warmer weather now and then.

This year we are excited to have a vegetable plot and Norm has it planted.  He is
now a Master Gardener  and I am a consultant from our years of gardens
in New England.  I did not create this sweet scarecrow but she guards the entire area.
I wonder if she is too friendly?

Here is our resident farmer getting his rows ready and weeding out unwanted greens. Someone said that there is no such thing as a weed: everything has a purpose.  Already in the garden are kale, escarole, green onions and carrots.  Poking up and testing the air they encourage us.  When we brought the herbs in the back of the car, three kinds of basil perfumed the air.  Lemon balm, because it can spread uncontrollably, will stay in a pot at home.  I love lemon balm, you walk by it brushing it to release its odor.  True aroma therapy.  I do miss my great big herb garden up in New England, but like all all of creation, there is a time and a season. We also kept nasturtiums at home. I plan to freeze them in ice cubes to liven up cold drinks, and to use them in salads, as they are edible.

Amelia Island is not fully tropical. we are at the northern tip of coastal  Florida.  We have our seasons, though New Englanders would laugh at our winters...still it does get cold.

Will keep you posted on our garden doings in the posts to come.

Enjoy your Monday and the week!  We had storms and electrical storms all
weekend but today the sun is shining in a blue sky.  A walk is waiting for us.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Birds of a Feather

                                                 photo by Angi Souza        

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
                                                    Emily Dickenson

Our Island constantly delights us with wild birds of all types and feather.  I am always reminded of Emily Dickenson's lovely poem when I come upon a feather that has been left as a gift.  We have
peacocks roaming about our home, sometimes we see them and sometimes there are
just two little messages.  We never do see the big wonderful plumes, just these.

All of the feathered guests are attracted by our backyard birdbath: we do not put out food as there is usually plenty around to satisfy them.  
We have had big peacocks in the bath and tiny bluebirds and even three hawks at one time
 in its cool water.
When I find that last photo I will share was an event for our back yard.

Of course, these feathered friends are also wonderful impetus and models for art.

This is a photo of a blue heron (I think, must brush up on my birdnames), I captured digitally in the Greenway here on the Island.  The Greenway is a dedicated preserve going right through the island where wildlife abounds and where one can walk (carefully).

The photo reminded me of a painting I had done a few years back from a photograph I took of
a stately heron waiting for a bite of lunch.

 I call the painting The Sentry,  it was a watercolor I later sold.

The Sentry
by artist
Sandra J. Pineault
watercolor on smooth paper

I achieved the landscape using saran wrap which is a fun way to get marvelous shapes and colors.

There will be, you can be sure, more to tell of the wildlife here on Amelia.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Off the Beaten Path...Treasures

Even though Amelia Island was a favored haunt for pirates and folks still believe in buried treasure, this is about a treasure of a different kind.  Treasure that one finds when heading off the beaten path.  Norm had found a list of small parks in our area within a short drive and suggested we go off to explore.
This is the treasure that we found.  When you go looking be sure to keep your eyes sharp.
They are so easy to miss. 

The first is Goffinsville Nassau River Park and Boat Ramp
The photo ops here were perfect, starting with this one.
This is an ultra quiet park. There were only a few fisherman fishing off
the ramp.  This is not the ramp.  This was a scene on private property just
to the right of the park.  With an artist's eye, I reveled in the
shapes and forms.  When I downloaded the pictures, I had discovered treasure!
Still in my mind....someday I will paint this.

The Park is located on Old Nassauville Road...keep your eyes peeled for it.

Below is the main boat ramp: there is another smaller fishing ramp  nearby.
The sounds we heard were
mostly the gentle lapping of the river sipping at the shore...

A second treasure surprise awaited us on SR 200 in Yulee: 463039 to be exact.  
Again: watch for it!

What a sweet little discovery!  Not very big, but get that camera out and be sure to read the signs.

Believe it or not, the great environmentalist John Muir actually walked through here....that was a new one on me.  He walked from the mountains to here!  The other bit of news was that right off this walkway is a treed path  where there was a right of way for the railroad built by David Yulee. It went all the way to Cedar Key on the opposite coast.  Cedar Key is of interest,  because the tragic
town of Rosemont is nearby.  Do read the history of that town. 
The railroad helped to save a lot of lives there in the 1920's. 

                    The path of the railroad is ghostly now but read the sign to find out more.

It was a cold wintery day here in Amelia when we went off the find these places but we both felt
it was a soul enhancing day of beauty and history.  

Here is where you can find more details.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Moment of Tranquility

When we feel like getting away, but not far, we head for the Mayport St. John's Ferry off island
and take a 7 minute breather on a ferry boat.  Slow and stately, we are watched by the pelican sentinels on either side of the piers. If in luck, we get a great shot like the beautiful one I got of this pelican skipping along the water,  My photography Mom always told me....just keep snapping. It worked!!

The Mayport St. John's Ferry is the
last remaining one in the entire state
of Florida and precious to us all.  It offers an alternative to 28 miles of highway drive.  But, more than that it lets you breathe and enjoy the antics of dolphins and pelicans.  Ever notice that pelicans have all kinds of different markings on their heads and necks....hmmm, have to look that up one of these days.  There have been threats to stop the ferry due to budget stuff but a hue and cry goes up and the funding is found.  Hmmmmm.

Meantime there are 7 minutes of just the sound of the boat moving across
the river and the flapping of wings.  You slowly get off the boat and make your way along the river still enjoying the quiet before getting into more traffic. Before that though meander along the shoreline where only a fisherman or two dots
your view of the wide St. John's.

I love the St. John's Ferry....perfectly goes with "feeling groovy".....
                                                          brings out the poet in me...


Sunday, March 10, 2013

A weekend happening

The Island sometimes hiccups with a bubble of activity...this weekend was one of those
times.  The annual Concours d'Elegance, one of four premiere antique car events in the country,
took place at the Ritz seaside here.  Pristine, often celebrity old cars strut their stuff 
hoping to win prizes,
or perhaps even find a new home.  
Today they were paraded before the judges. Driven by
period costumed chauffeurs accompanied by willowy young ladies in gosamer gowns
and flowing hats the mind imagines another era. 

 Great Gatsby anyone?

        There is great fanfare and much traffic, pedestrian and otherwise, then it all gets quiet again when
        they all go home.  In the meantime our restaurants, hotels and inns get a good boost.  Spring is
       in the air today, it is warmer and we all feel better, even though we lost an hour of sleep.  Do the birds know when to wake me  up?

Meanwhile, we are excited that a dear friend from up in New England
is coming to visit this that time
the island will be sparkling in sun.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Moods of the Land and Sea

This is a beautiful photo of my great-neice Sanna taken by her talented Dad.  It is at another beach town, but I use it to show that there are a few
butterfly sightings now on our island.
It is still chilly this morning and there is a threat of frost tonight but these lovelies are braving it all.

Butterflies are very special totems in our family. My mother was a beautiful photographer and that was one of her favorite subjects.  Below is one of her photographs...her grandson is a chip off that block

                                            Monarch: Photograph by Angi Souza
                                                                circa 1990's

There is a time for everything under
the sun, as the Bible tells and when
one is close to the land and sea, that is a fact of life.  Nature speaks to us in tongues of color, of warmth and cold and monsoonal rains. One must keep still, watch and listen. Then like Thoreau,we will be attuned to the subtle mood of the life force around us.

Sometimes when I wake in the early morning I start to catch those moods. In the shadows, in the singing of the bird (maybe a Virginia Wren) outside my window who is like a little wake up call at around 7 a.m. each morning.  Listening I now hear a sweet cricket or tiny tree frog who waits its turn to make like a wind chime. But to do all that.....I have to shut off the record player that are my thoughts...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Brisk morning today, but not as bad as yesterday!  
Our little gardening angel doesn't mind anyway

I moved her from another space and now she is in front of the window in the kitchen nook 
where I can enjoy her more.
                            Squirrels love her too, keeping her company by sitting on her head.
She used to sit more in the back near where the newly bloomed azaleas are gracing the morning.

Spring is coming to our island heralded by the Amelia Island Garden show this past weekend.
Color abundancy!  This was taken at one of the stalls where we found wonderful herbs for our garden plot....more to come about all that later. Today I am
sending color and warmer thoughts to all our family and
 friends in Massachusetts,
Virginia and Michigan.

Think warm!  Think Amelia!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Colors of Amelia

The island is a sweet oasis of diversity: one evening we decided to take a short walk to the seashore to watch a sunset.  My camera never stopped clicking and turning as I captured the beauty of the late afternoon.   The scene caught our breath in awe,  When the photograph ends up on my computer screen it fills it with form and color.  The sea  can be so dangerous and yet so beautiful.  This little island is some distance from the gulf stream so it is a sanctuary from the storms sweeping up the coast. Only two small bridges connects us to the mainland so we are glad of that .

Today is Monday and we start a cold week, it reached around 27 degrees last evening which is a record breaker.  There is a Florida winter here though blessedly we are immune from snowstorms and ice. From living most of my days in New England, though, when I see a watery puddle on the blacktop, I automatically skirt around it.  Habits like that are hard to get rid of.

The sunrises and sunsets here are so spirit-filling that they have imbued my paintings: 
here is one of them. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Fort Clinch State Park
Amelia Island, Florida
"play misty for me"
photo by Sandra J. Pineault
February 2011

This is a brand new blog and one I have long wanted to begin.  There is an art to living on an island, and we like to think that we have found how to let that art create us.  This kind of art is like art in reverse, instead of we creating it, it creates us.  It whispers into our souls and calms our minds.  It fills us with the smiles of the people we meet here and provides us with moments of deep meditation.

The first thing that happens when you live on this kind of an island....your measure of gratitude starts to abound.  Each week, or maybe more, I hope to introduce  you to the simple, the spectacular and the poetry of where we live.

Fort Clinch State Park is an historic park, in that it houses a civil war fort.  It abounds in wild marsh and
seascapes such as the one above.  It also boasts of trails along a forest bordering marsh and sea,  We love to walk here.  Each time we go we find a new corner to discover, or the weather, as it did above,
gives us a whole new vision of nature in all her glory.

                               "If you Ever Lived on an Island" by geneclelorraine, 2008
                                                        copied as written.