Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Here is a link to my old vanished webpage courtesy of the folks at The Wayback Machine, web archivists extraordinaire. The background has gone, but the picture of the farm is still there, and the link to the archived Christmas page.

I am not, by nature, a beach person. Too many ancestors from the the north of the British Isles have left me with skin that steadfastly refuses to tan. I flash bright red, then peel in a fashion that would do a reptile proud, leaving me back to my original fishbelly white. Don't get started on how I look in a bathing suit. All that aside, the beaches south of Venice here are lovely. Casperson Beach has miles of sand with few people. A good number of visitors are there hunting for fossilized shark's teeth. The tooth fairy dumped 5 million year's worth in offshore phosphate deposits. Many find their way up onto the shoreline. Seventy-five years worth of gathering has made it hard to find the giant Jaws style prehistoric monster specimens. Smaller ones are still plentiful if you are patient, especially if you can get out early after a storm. I went out before dusk a few days ago to take pictures for Susan and the boys, do a little sky-watching, and hunt a few teeth myself.

There has been a wonderful gathering of the planets visible in early evening the last few weeks. I missed part of it at home because of the surrounding mountains. The horizon to the west is blocked by Buck mountain, to the south by the ridgeline of Hogback and Little Hogback, to the north and east by Skyline drive and the lights of town. Looking west from the Gulf beaches, there is nothing but ocean all the way to Mexico. Red-tinged clouds on the horizon blocked Mercury, but I did see Venus, Mars and Saturn and, much higher in the sky, Jupiter. Even viewing with bifocals, rather than binoculars or telescope, it was impressive.

With much tinkering, the digital camera gave a few good views of the sunset, one nice shot of the curving beach, and a few pictures of a very patient heron. I did spend some time looking for teeth and found a few. They were so small that I felt a little guilty picking them up, like a man stooping for a penny for it's cash value rather than for luck.