Monday, July 27, 2015

Green Beetles Rolling Bear Poop Around

I was out geocaching the other afternoon and one of the caches I was after was just off a main road between Niceville and Mossy Head. I pulled off the highway onto a gravel road leading into the woods and stopped the truck.

The GPS said the cache was close so I turned the truck off was getting my pen when I looked out the window and saw a ball of something rolling across the gravel.

It was a little smaller than a golf ball and black and it would roll this way for a minute and then back the other way and then off in another direction. Never really getting anywhere but definitely moving around.

What is that? There was no wind blowing anything around so I got out to see what was happening.

I walked past a pile of bear poop and over to the rolling ball only to discover beetles rolling a ball of bear poop all around the gravel road.

I've never seen beetles moving a ball of poop around and the first thing that came to mind was Dung Beetles.

Do we have dung beetles in Florida? I'm seriously uneducated when it comes to bugs but dung beetles sound like something that would live in an Indiana Jones type place.

There were 4 beetles pushing the poop ball around but they didn't seem to be going anywhere in particular – just sort of here and there.

A 5th beetle was all by himself in the middle of the bear poop, busy doing something with those creepy little pincers of his.

When I got home I learned that these are probably Green June Beetles and even though they aren't called dung beetles they eat dung.

I also found out that the reason the poop ball was moving back and forth was that the beetles were actually fighting over it and each was trying to push it in the direction they wanted to go.

I did notice in the video I took that when just one had control the ball moved in a straight line.

And the lone beetle in the pile of poop? I really wish I'd have paid more attention to him because apparently he was making his own poop ball.

As I was reading about beetles I learned that there are some who navigate by climbing on top of their poop ball and use the Milky Way to guide them.

This was proven when scientist studied them and put little beetlehats on them so they couldn't see the sky and they all got lost.

Making little hats for bugs is not something they told us about at career day in high school.

I really don't like bugs of any kind but bright green beetles rolling a ball of bear poop caught my attention.

Watch the video and you'll see what I mean.





Monday, July 13, 2015

A Beautiful Day at the Beach - And Then...

Sunday, the Island King, the kids and I piled in our boat, my BIL, his family and my MIL piled in his boat and off we went to spend the day at the beach.

My BIL prefers a spot on the point at the beach on the west side of the Destin Bridge. It's a good spot and we spend a lot of time there.

We sat in the shade, snacked and spent a lot of time sitting in the water.













It was glorious.

Right up until the Island King yelled “Dookey!”

He was standing up near the edge of the beach while the rest of us were sitting farther out in the water and none of us really understood what he meant.

Until we got a good look at what he was seeing.



Seriously? A giant turd just came floating under our boat, right into the area we were sitting in.

We were across from Crab Island and a lot of people swear that place is one giant port-a-potty but this thing came from down the beach, not from across the channel.

I just don't know what to say. I'm old and I have NEVER seen that happen.

I have always been a firm believer in the healing powers of salt water. Got a cut? Sinuses clogged?

Go Swimming!

But now this has happened.




A saltwater bath – in the tub – may be a better solution.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Revolutionary Grave

Even though I got extremely lost the last time I went geocaching in the North end of the County, I did manage to find one of the caches on my list.

The cache name is A Revolting Man #2 and according to the cache page this cache is in a cemetery where “One of only three Revolutionary War soldiers are buried in Northwest Florida. Two are located in Okaloosa County and one in Santa Rosa County.”

I never knew that. I've seen graves belonging to soldiers from the War of 1812 and the Confederate War around here but never even thought about Revolutionary War soldiers.

I found the cemetery (shocking, I know) and then found the grave.


Wow.




According to his headstone he was 118 years old when he died.

There are no headstones around him, leaving me to wonder if he had a family, where they were buried, how did he end up here in North Okaloosa County and on and on and on.

His age was also pretty amazing and I wondered if maybe there was a mistake on the headstone.

After wandering through the rest of the cemetery I found the geocache and then began my odyssey home.

Later that night I started thinking about Mr. Campbell so I decided to do some digging.

I found this DANIEL CAMPBELL APPLIES FOR REVOLUTIONARY WAR PENSION -1836  which states:

Contact: Myrtle Bridges February 6, 2013

Territory of Florida
Walton County

Personally appeared Daniel Campbell before me Rich'd T. Compton a Justice of the Peace in and for said County; and made Oath that agreeable to the Law of the United States granting pensions, that he is a Revolutionary Soldier-that he served in the Revolutionary war as a private for the term of six months, in compliance with a draft which took place in the State of North Carolina, Cumberland County, which I the said Campbell was then a resident of.-drafted for the term of six months in the latter part of September 1780. Served, and was discharged on the 1st of March 1782-under command of General Green, and Capt. Neill McRaney, was in no battles during the time, got a legal discharge from Capt. McRaney, which discharge is … lost. After the war (I) remained in North Carolina for several years, thence moved to South Carolina, Merriam (Marion) District, thence to Kershaw District, thence to the State of Alabama in the year 1816, thence to Florida, Walton County, where I now reside and have since the year 1821.

I am now in my one hundred & fourth year. I have never rec'd any pension or … of pension, in any State or Territory, neither have I transferred, or caused to be transferred, my right to any person whatsoever.
Signed (X his mark) Daniel Campbell

Sworn and subscribed before me, this 4th day of March 1836
Rich'd T. Compton, JP
Daniel G. McLean, Clerk of the County Court of Walton County

Then I found this link Revwarapps.org  which added:
[Peter Campbell, relationship if any not disclosed, gave a supporting affidavit in which he states that he has been personally acquainted with the applicant for 40 years or more and that the applicant has always born the reputation of having been a revolutionary war soldier.] [Daniel a Wilkinson, John L Wikimore [?], and Donald M district of clean also gave supporting affidavits as to reputation and character of the applicant [Neill McMillan, a Minister of the Gospel, also gave a supporting affidavit as to the reputation and character of the applicant.] [fn p. 8] "Printed list of 1852 shows cause of rejection: – 'Not six months service.'"

In a nutshell Mr. Campbell applied for a war pension at the age of 104 stating he served in the Revolutionary War.

The documents are a little confusing, stating that he served 6 months but then lists the dates as 'drafted for the term of six months in the latter part of September 1780. Served, and was discharged on the 1st of March 1782' but his claim rejected due to 'Not six months service.'

One other thing came to light and that was his age. His headstone states he was born in 1725 but according to his pension claim he was 104 in 1836 – which means he must have been born in 1732.

Either way – to live well past 100 in a time when 40 was considered old is amazing.

The document also states that he moved from North Carolina to South Carolina to Alabama and then in 1821 to Florida.

I think about those early settlers when I'm out hiking and wonder about their journey here. I consider it paradise but I have bug spray, a truck with AC and a house with more comforts than people at that time could ever fathom.

I'm not so sure the early settlers were thinking paradise as they plowed through swamps and saw palmettos.

From the looks of things, Mr. Campbell traveled a long, hard journey and still managed to live to be long past 100.

An interesting discovery in a small cemetery in the middle of nowhere.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Longest Day of the Year

The Youngest Island Boy was born on the Summer Solstice and this year his birthday fell on Father's Day.

Traditionally, we try to do something on the beach around sunset to celebrate the longest day so this year we just rolled the Youngest's birthday, Father's Day and the solstice into one big day on the water.

The Youngest wanted to go play on Spectre Island so off we went.

It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to get from the boat ramp here over to Spectre Island but the ride is gorgeous and time flies.



Fishing and relaxing were the two main items on the agenda and I think we accomplished that with no problem. They didn't catch any fish (except bait) but they were “fishing” not “catching” so it wasn't a big disappointment when we didn't fill the cooler with red fish or trout.






I love being in this area. I grew up in Perdido Key, which was pretty deserted back then and even though there are people all over, there is something about these islands that make you feel as if you're the only people there.

We swam, fished, ate lunch and then watched a storm roll in.





We were supposed to meet the Island Girl at the beach by the Destin bridge when she got off work and as we watched the clouds rolling in we decided it was time to start that way.

The closer to Destin we got the prettier it was and by the time we landed the sun was trying to peak through the clouds. At least on us, back where we'd just come from the sky was black.

The Island Girl met us there and we spent more time swimming, fishing and playing.








The Oldest Island Boy caught these little beauties with his cast net but we let them go.


 

I was excited to see them though and am looking forward to a snorkeling trip to the Jetties to see some bigger ones. 

I'd marinated shishkabobs all night the night before and made a salad and after a while folks started getting hungry so we broke out the little hibachi grill and the Island King grilled us a feast.





The steak was tender and the onions and peppers were perfect.





Because of the thunderstorm that seemed to settle over parts west of us there was no actual sunset to watch.



Didn't matter. It was a birthday, Father's Day and the Summer Solstice and we had a great time – even without a sunset to celebrate.

Of course watermelon always makes things better and we had a cold, sweet one ready to eat.


Because of the storm it got dark a little early so after eating our watermelon we packed everything up and made the trip back to the boat ramp.

It was a long, busy kind of day but slow and relaxing all at the same time.


Not a bad way to spend the longest day of the year.