September and October Fun

We had a fun family trip down to Gatorland Zoo in Orlando. We arrived early to hopefully beat the crowds and heat. We enjoyed the alligators. We got hot but had a fun time. We took the swamp buggy tour ride and enjoyed it but all felt bumped around during it. It was like the Jungle Cruise but more… ummm….swampy? Our day wrapped up at Disney Springs with a yummy Dole Whip Float and some exploring the Lego store.

I have been enjoying some masked and semi socially distant hangouts with my friends Steven and Anna. We have been walking and hunting Pokemon. We hung out in the park bug hunting. It is nice to do some normal things, even if we are still masked and cautious.

We added more to the front garden also. We found this really cool nursery in Sefner called Kerby’s. It was first class all the way. We not have a banana tree, a new eucalyptus, some fun hanging baskets, lost more butterfly host plants and more.

We also picked up a new basketball hoop. We have been having fun playing in the driveway daily. GO SPORTS?

E and I are working on a project restocking local Little Free Libraries so we hit a few in Safety Harbor this week to clean them up and restock them.

This weekend we went hiking at Moccasin Lake Nature Park and then drove to Boyd Hill Nature Park and spent the afternoon hiking around that park. We saw lots of wildlife and very few people. Even a few gopher tortoises!

Pets, Projects and …

As I said, we are around the house a LOT lately. The animals are getting way too much attention and constantly demanding more. Sunshine is a diva. The cats have overtaken the living room claiming it for their own. E and I are knocking out our 4-H project books so we are all done in case things open up in the spring. We enjoyed a few weeks playing with the Mars Base Camp 4-H kit as well.

We had out 4-H awards banquet, I prepared the entire program with minimal help from Mom. It was a fun right with a few hic-ups, mainly caused by another volunteer who tried to change things at the last minute and made them terrible. I wish adults would just let kids try things and not always interfere with their own ideas, especially when the program is for kids and should be run by kids.

I earned an Emerald clover. This is a super hard award to achieve because of all the things you have to do. I completed 3 projects, hosted several community service projects, lead and taught activities at the club, county and beyond. Not to mention all the 4-H activities I had to attend and the contests I had to compete in. It was an amazing year, especially my involvement in the Insectathon and Forest Ecology Contests and placing in 1st place in both.

In other news I am working hard on all my classes at SPC. I am the youngest as usualy but I try not to let others know how old I am unless it is critical. Still holding onto my 4.0 GPA. Orgo is tough and I am working very hard in this class. Physics is the same as the last level. I wish i could learn it face to face vs on Zoom but I am hanging in there. I am happy my orgo prof allowed us to attend both nights now so that is helping a lot!

The ZOOM where it happens…

This has certainly been a different year so far. Normally we are racing from event to event and out days are jammed with fun learning opportunities, friend time and academics. With the pandemic not seeming to let up yet we are spending a lot more time around the house. Mom has scoured the internet to find fun Zoom classes. In the past month we have had countless 4-H meetings, participated in a fun state wide 4-H at 4 program, and even joined in on a Cornell University outreach on bird drawing.

I will say that because we don’t have to drive all over we are able to have more free time. I am enjoying teaching at different 4-H clubs as well. I have been teaching about photography, insect photography, biological control and more. It is a nice way to do outreach to smaller groups. Emmerson even joined in teaching a segment to support the topic of biological control.

Oh, I even got to attend the Southern Regional Teen Leadership Conference with 4-H. Normally, I couldn’t get away from school for the event so it was super fun to join in from home. So, there are some good things that have come out of the pandemic!

Getting Ready for Fall Term

My classes are a mix of online, face-to-face and blended this term. The campus is still a ghost town. I am taking organic chem + lab, physics 2 + lab, world literature and GIS (geographic Information Systems). My labs are face-to face. My orgo lecture is face-to-face one day and zoom the other. All the rest is online.

Mom and Dad decided that E and I needed real desk chairs and working surfaces this year. Only catch, we had to build them! I got this cool new peddle machine for under my table to keep moving when I am sitting all the time. I really like it, helps me focus.

We also had a last minute coffee taste test. Our coffee is no longer made so we had to find an alternative. Mom tasted them and bowed out. Emmerson tried but just kept making faces and racing to the sink to spit it out. Dad and I picked a few new favorites and look forward to a fall season of iced coffee in the mornings.

The last night before school started we had fun playing Putt-putt and having lobster rolls. Back to business and distractions as we continue to live in this weird world of COVID-19. Someday we will look back and laugh, maybe?

Oh, a few last things. Es gecko hasn’t been eating much so mom is not hand feeding it to get it to bulk up. Going well so far! Also, earlier this summer was the SEmmy Awards at SPC. It is an art contest for high-school and college students. I entered one of my insect photos and was a runner up in this years contest. It was supposed to be a huge gala event but ended up as a virtual youtube video event. Still cool though!

IECC BioBlitz and Virtual Meeting

I was looking forward to IECC in Arizona this summer but sadly that too was canceled. They still held some virtual events so I had a lot of fun with that. We participated in the Bio Blitz, even got our 4-H group involved (before they said no more meetings for a while). We found lots of amazing critters, plants and fungus! The bio blitz took is all over the area in search of specimens. We spent time in the local county parks, Honeymoon Island State park, Hammock Park and finally Hillsborough River State Park.

We participated in a trivia night and actually won! It was mainly pop-culture trivia and insect news trivia so it was really fun for me. I am glad we got to connect with some of the members of the group online. It made my buggy heart grow. I really needed it!