52 Weeks Of Donna's Life

Donna's Photo Challenge


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20. Interpretation of Art

0Y3B1756-Animal Stencil

In Sarasota, Florida, there is a pleasant Bay Front Walk winding around the edge of the bay by some condominiums, past the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the Sarasota Garden Club and other venues along the shore. It affords wonderful views of the bay along with the refreshing breezes so welcome during some of our warmer weather. While strolling around this area, I captured an unusual plaque / picture (?). It really looks like a “stencil” billboard or could hark back to the “negative” from camera film. It is quite slender when viewing it from the side and when looking it from the front you see a rather abstract image — it looks like a galloping horse to me.

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This plaque really accommodates those walking here since its picture allows the viewer to look beyond and into the bay area through the stenciled picture. An added benefit to its placement is that the stencil allows the breezes to flow through the picture.

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Along this same walk, is another attraction — a purple cow standing near the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Perhaps it appeared during the days when cities and towns were decorating cows, pigs, and geckos and exhibiting them by their business establishments and city centers. It reminds me of the nonsense poem, “The Purple Cow” — “I never saw a purple cow. . .”

0Y3B1588 Prpl Cw 5 +


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29. On Two Wheels

Do you recall the hoopla and secrecy surrounding the introduction of the Segway? It was touted as a great invention that would change the way people moved. A few small tour companies in Sarasota have incorporated the use of the Segway as one of their guides narrates and leads a group around our fair city for two hours. All of the participants are riding on a Segway. Since there are few people who have ridden on this relatively new mode of transportation, the guide has the obligation to teach his group of tourists to properly ride, steer, turn, slow and stop their assigned Segway before venturing forth.

Zack introducing Segway to his tour group.

Zack introducing Segway to his tour group.

Last week, I dropped in to watch this “Segway 101″ as Zach, the tour guide, prepped his group of six for their journey. He told them a few things about the machine and then demonstrated techniques for maintaining proper stance and balance; how to stop, start and turn; how to slow or accelerate; and how to dismount. He emphasized all of these things as important to enjoying the afternoon tour and then let his newbies practice a while in the parking area before their tour began.

Demo of techniques used for successfully riding the Segway.

Demo of techniques used for successfully riding the Segway.

It really looked like it could be fun. Zack said he has had only a few people who have fallen and, usually, it was a result of not paying attention. I think I will put this on my bucket list.

Last minute instructions.

Last minute instructions.

When last seen, the group was heading toward the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

When last seen, the group was heading toward the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.


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43. Solitary

Waiting for Lunch

Waiting of Lunch

On our trip to the Okefenokee Swamp recently, we included a boat ride into the swamp to see the flora and fauna. Though we saw several alligators in the swamp and along the banks, this gator seemed to have his territory claimed. Though we spent time around him, he was unmoved. I think he was waiting for his lunch to swim, hop or walk by him.


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22. It’s A Mystery

Panoramic photo showing burned remains of the Carnegies' "Dungeness"

Panoramic photo showing burned remains of the Carnegies’ “Dungeness”

Cumberland Island is one of the barrier islands along the coast of Georgia and has long been a playground for the rich and famous. James Oglethorpe, reported to be one of the founders of Georgia, built a hunting lodge there in 1736 and named it “Dungeness”. The next “Dungeness” was built on the island by Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene who acquired 11,000 acres of the island’s land in exchange for a bad debt. His widow, reputed to be a beauty who enjoyed the social scene, built a four-story tabby mansion over a Timuouan (native Indian) shell mound and delighted in entertaining her friends there. During the War of 1812, the British occupied the island and used this house as their headquarters.

Henry Lee III (a.k.a. Lighthouse Harry Lee and father of Robert E. Lee) stayed at the house in his later years until his death and was buried there in the family graveyard. During the U. S. Civil War, the house was abandoned and was later burned in 1868.

During the 1880’s, Thomas M. Carnegie, brother of Andrew Carnegie, purchased this property and began building a 54-room Queen Anne style mansion on Greene’s original site. However, the mansion and accompanying buildings were not finished until after Carnegie’s death in 1886. His wife, Lucy, continued living at “Dungeness” mansion and built other estates for her children resulting in 90% ownership of the island by members of the Carnegie family.

The Carnegies vacated “Dungeness” in 1925 and the mansion stood vacant. In 1959 the Dungeness mansion was destroyed by fire. Many in this seashore community say the cause was arson. It remains a mystery. The ruins of the mansion and its accompanying buildings and property are now preserved by the National Park Service as part of Cumberland Island National Seashore.

1880 Painting of Dungeness

1880 Painting of Dungeness


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2. Below The Knees

Last Saturday, the gathering of the clans took place as our Sarasota community held its Celtic games and music festivities. It involved bagpipe band competitions along with foods and crafts. There were contests for men and women testing their physical prowess. Many of these contests reflected the history of early communities of the British Isles. Performing bagpipe bands were in competition showing their colorful kilts and music of the pipes. It is told that Scottish armies would march into battle with the bagpipes playing. It is difficult to believe there was any element of surprise. I enjoyed it all but was fascinated by the wonderful variations of the kilts with their clan colors and the dress accouterments. Some were quite lovely and most were worn quite proudly. Would truly enjoy having one of those good-looking kilts in my family’s clan colors. After all, with a married name of Ferguson and my family’s name being Hamilton, I probably have love and admiration for the pipes in my DNA.

These brogues worn with kilt socks and garters matching the kilt.

These brogues worn with kilt socks and garters matching the kilt.

These boots might take a while to put on.

These boots might take a while to put on.

Women wore similar shoes but in lighter, more feminine fashion -- similar to ballerina's shoes.

Women wore similar shoes but in lighter, more feminine fashion — similar to ballerina’s shoes.


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19. Horses And Humans

Through the ages, man has discovered that horses can be domesticated to help him in his transportation and everyday work. Horses have carried men on their backs to fight wars and help the human travel rather long distances. It was advantageous to harness the energy of horses for pulling wagons, carriages and freight of all kinds. But with the arrival and general use of fuel-driven engines, the horse has been relegated to many of man’s sports’ diversions such as racing and polo. Here you see a polo player during a match at the Sarasota Polo Club (located in Lakewood Ranch). He is reacting to the latest play and racing toward the action. The horses in this particular sport are trained to help the riders as they make quick turns and fast sprints to follow the hit of the ball toward their team’s goal.

A quick turn to follow the game's action

A quick turn to follow the game’s action


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12. Fences

Our path to the Cresser Homestead

Our path to the Cresser Homestead

Last October, my husband and I tripped to the Okefenokee Swamp while visiting Amelia and Cumberland Islands. Part of our day there was spent trekking back into an area once inhabited by a “swamper” and his family. According to our guide, these “swampers” often were individuals escaping from ‘something’ and liked the anonymity of establishing a homestead deep in the swamp where they lived off the land. One such family was the Cresser family whose property we visited. The dwelling dates back to early 1900’s and depicts very well how these people lived. They would have been surrounded by all types of critters and creatures of the swamp and, thus, fences were an important part of guarding their animals, crops and themselves. However, it was apparent that the fences were a discouragement to these creatures and not necessarily a deterrent. The outer perimeter of their property had a fence — rather rudimentary — which seemed to mark boundaries of their claim. A rail fence surrounded what might have been the outer limits and a picket fence surrounded and guarded such buildings as the main house, a corn crib, the syrup house and the smoke house. They were said to have grown chickens and pigs and the fences would have kept these animals from wandering. All of these fences were crafted to suit the utility they served but all were honed from the trees of the surrounding forest.

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Rail fence that surrounded most of the property.

Rail fence that surrounded most of the property.

0Y3B1181-1Corn Crib

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