Saturday, November 10, 2012

Basket Class or Not?

Gulf Shores, AL     High:  66    Low:  39 (!)

Sparky was all set to take a pine needle basket class this morning at the Orange Beach Art Center. She had read about it in the local newspaper. After calling to get directions to the art center, she found out there was no basket class...Not today, not every Wednesday, as the paper had said. Well, PHOOEY! That would have been very cool to have learned how to do that...There are long leaf needle pine trees all over this park, and the baskets you can make from them are fabulous! Well, maybe another place, another time....(Whew! I thought we were going to have bays full of pine needles, says E., with a relieved sigh.) Um-m-mmmmm...I might still collect them just in case I run across a basket class...Ya never know! (Sigh.....)
Sparky headed over the Orange Beach Library to find out about their digital mobile book lending service...She has a Kindle Fire and wants to get some FREE books on it. There are lots of free ones on the internet and through Amazon, but Sparky can't tell the good from the bad, 90% of the books she's never heard of, nor is she familiar with the authors. It seems that the wish list of books she has compiled and wants to read cost a fair amount of MONEY! Phooey! Time for another strategy to start reading more. Sparky wanted to know if you had to be a county resident to obtain books on loan, digitally or otherwise, and if they had some kind of special arrangement for snowbirds. Guess that's what we are, although we don't stay long enough in one place like most snowbirds do in the winter.

It turns out that I got to get a FREE library card, I can check out digital books from this library any time for two weeks at a time, and I can check out materials from this library digitally any time. They have what's called a Visitor Library Card. It was FREE!  For now, no restrictions and it's good forever. Yay! The Digital Bookmobile was COOL! They had videos showing you how to download from the library using a free app called OverDrive. Apparently, all (?) the libraries use it for patrons to download digital library books, at least that's what the guy said at the Digital Bookmobile today.
They also had all the latest gadgets for people to try out---Nooks, iphones, tablets, Kindles, every kind of device and manufacturer you could want. It was terrific! If you were having trouble trying to decide which device to get, this would have been a great place to try them out...all the different ones there at once. Fun!

Back home again....Eldo had gone for a 7 mile bike ride...He's really enjoying the park and the trails here at Gulf State Park...Sparky went out this afternoon and checked out the Rattlesnake Trail and the Twin Bridges trails, and darn if she didn't see a snake on the Rattlesnake Trail! It appeared to be dead, like somebody had previously run over it.  Sparky was busy checking out the long leaf pine needles right pretty darn close to it and didn't see it until the last minute. Scared the bejesus out of her!  UGH!

Beautiful scenery, beautiful day again today.....The Rattlesnake Trail is not as pretty, in Sparky's humble opinion..It's just a short straight shot from the park to the trailhead end, which ends up at Orange Beach City Hall.

The Twin Bridges Trail is much prettier...two wooden bridges, lots of curves, prettier scenery....
There were some interesting plants growing beside the bridge...Spore heads on these plants or seed pods? Where's a naturalist when you need one?

Sparky just loves ornamental grasses and even the weeds!
The park has all kinds of different habitats...Here the fire ravaged forest is trying to recover. The brambles looked like they were on fire in the setting sun of late afternoon....
There are places to sit and picnic on these trails....This appears to be a new shelter that wasn't here last year.
To cap off our wonderful day...We caught up with Jan and Greg White who are in town for ten days here at Gulf State Park. They've been gate guarding in Texas over the summer and had quite a few stories to tell about that, the scorpions Jan killed, and their experiences can be relived at Our RV Adventures if you'd like to know more. We talked over dinner at Lulu's this evening, the restaurant owned by Jimmy Buffett's sister. They are a warm and friendly couple, and we always enjoy seeing them again. Glad you are back, guys!


  1. Those white flowers are called hat pins. :)

  2. Jeannie...I make pine needle baskets. I learned how to make them two years ago down in Mission, TX. I only took one class. I found these WONDERFUL DVDs by the guru of basket making, Nadine Spier. Here first DVD..Basket Weaving Essentials, is wonderful and easy to follow. I HIGHLY recommend it. Website...

    If you want see some of my work, here are a few links from our blog...

    If you want any help or other websites suggestions, please email me at I LOVE this hobby!

  3. Glad you were able to sign up for free e-books. We have a library card for Tampa and can get books there. Unfortunately, you usually have to wait for current books. I usually just go online, and order them and just wait......

    I hate paying for e-books too.

    Thanks for the weekly tips. I need to remember to check for them. Al is looking to confirm we have HWH jacks. We think we do. If so, it looks like our ignoring them for the past year was the right thing to do!

  4. Yikes, that snake!
    I love the idea of a digital bookmobile. I personally could never give up my beloved hardcovers and paperbacks, but I have recently jumped on the audiobook train. I can't afford to buy them at their crazy big price, but I do like checking them out online from my old library every now and then!

  5. I find it difficult to pick books for the Kindle also. . .but I do love reading on it. . .and not having to keep up, or remember to donate all the paperbacks. . .

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