A Typical Florida Solution

feral-hog
A Florida Feral Hog or Wild Pig
Picture credit: US Fish and Wildlife

 

As you know we have only been here in Florida for about ten years.

To say that coming here to live was Culture Shock,  is an understatement.

There is simply no way to excuse, explain or define some of the behavior here.

In my email this morning was yet another typical example of how some people here handle a bothersome situation.

In this state, thanks to a Spanish explorer, who along with throngs of others invaded Florida hundreds of years ago, with little concern for the havoc that they wreaked on the places and people, are descendants from  Hernando Desoto’s wild hogs, that  have now become a definite problem for many.

Granted these wild hogs do frequently plow through yards eating and destroying much that they survey, but they are simply doing what they must to survive.

They are omnivores and will eat vegetation or what ever is available to them.

Thanks to repeated ignorant and thoughtless  behavior,  there are now many invasive species here, like the thousands of Burmese Pythons in the Everglades, that now number so many they are in danger of completely taking over the entire area and starving out local animals, not to mention the terror they present when the tourists see them.

It is not that these animals are not a problem, this is understood, it is the recommendation by a local Rancher,  or his idea of how to solve it, that makes this state the one of a kind place that it now is.

His suggestion is that the perfect solution to the pig problem is, to eat them.

One of the loudest complaints about the horrible hogs, has been of course, the damage that they do to the countless pristine Golf courses statewide, which in Florida hold nearly Holy stature.

Too many animals get too little respect here and these wild pigs will be just the latest victim of a mind-set where the next to the most hunted animal after the Florida white-tailed deer, will soon be the wild pigs.

I have always had a very soft spot in my heart for pigs, I love them and this hurts.

I wish there was some humane, kind way to solve this, but that will not happen here.

Not in a state where nearly every one has at least one gun and too may find hunting animals a thrilling sport.

There are numerous Hunting Clubs and Ranches entirely devoted to the slaughter of them.

Doing a Google search for Hunting  animals in Florida delivered over 33 million links.

Any questions?

I wonder if this line of thinking may in the future perhaps also encompass invasive humans or other?

Just asking?

Did I mention that hunting season begins in days, but the gun shots and the howling hounds are already being heard here in the Forest every morning.

Yes, I am in the minority, I love pigs and refuse to eat them.

Childhood memories on my Uncle’s farm in Indiana, simply will not allow me to.

Seeing all of this today and knowing what is happening to them, makes me so sad for their bleak life and hopeless future.

The ugly truth is, that this latest approach to an animal irritation, is yet another typical Florida solution.

 

Places to learn more:

A solution to Florida’s Wild Pig Problems: Eat Them

Wild Hogs in Florida

Can Wild Pigs Ravaging the U.S. Be Stopped?

Hog Wild In Florida! Feral Pigs A Problem

Wild Hogs In Florida: An overview

 

Think Pink!

Flamingo
Stunning Pink Flamingos
Picture Credit: Pedros Szekely
There were hundreds of plastic ones on the grounds of  the Hospital where I had my surgery in Gainesville!

 

As you may already know, October is Cancer Awareness month.

So, it is appropriate for this to be shared right now.

My absence from you was not by my choosing.

Since 1988,  I having been dealing with a well-known enemy, skin cancer, more accurately Melanoma.

Three weeks ago I finally made the long trip to Gainesville for the appointment that I have avoided for three reasons,  for the past fifteen years.

Lack of money, health care and fear.

All quite equal to my mind.

In September with the last payment on our car, money could no longer be one of my  excuses.

So, I found a plan and a Doctor and made the too long put off appointment.

I already knew I was in trouble before I ever walked through their doors.

They took four biopsies and sent me home to wait for the call.

It came exactly one week later.

No matter how much you prepare, you are never really ready for that call.

I had four cancers, one level three Melanoma, two other lesser ones and a Basal Cell Carcinoma.

The kind person on the phone said that the level three would be done first with a wide excision in surgery.

The Surgeons office  called an hour later and I went the next day for a consultation.

The Surgery and Sentinel Node removal were set for the next day.

There was no time to prepare, just go.

The most terrifying part,  other than obviously the surgery, was a procedure new to me, a radioactive injection.

The Surgeon and I had thoroughly discussed this and I reluctantly agreed to have it all done.

With my first Melanoma in 1988, I had refused to allow my Lymph Nodes to be removed,  which really angered the surgeon.

The hideous scar and extensive cut he did, left me thinking that agreeing this time to a single excision of a Sentinel Node might avoid a repeat of the first surgery that left me feeling and looking, like the bride of Frankenstein.

That scar went from my elbow nearly to my shoulder, a fact that really made my soon to be Doctor, the Chief of Dermatology at Kaiser in LA and new best friend, very angry.

As he said,  and I concurred, if the Melanoma has reached the nodes, you’re dead anyway, so leave them to do what they were meant to do.

Over the next 12 years, there were 8 more Melanomas and 22 other moles removed.

But, back to the Radioactive Injection.

Knowing nothing about this was the worst part.

It sounded simply terrifying and dangerous and scared the hell out of me.

I got to  the lab and every single person involved could not have been sweeter.

When it was over, they all looked  a bit surprised at how well I had done.

They claimed I had handled it great.

I told them that this was a piece of cake, the four biopsies had hurt a lot more.

Ok that was done, then they took me to pre-op and did the usual things to prepare for surgery.

I kept looking at my arm and the monster that had been a part of my life for more than twenty years and absolutely dreaded what was to come.

Again the entire team was kind, gentle,  understanding and made me feel good.

When I woke up, I remembered little.

After a brief tine in recovery, we were sent home.

My Surgeon came to chek on me after the operation and said that he had taken a sentinel node and would not know if the Cancer had spread unitl it went to the lab.

He would  call me on Tuesday to let me know the results.

So, we went back to the Hotel that we had checked into for a couple of days to get through it  all.

We stayed two nights and came home.

The thing about Melanoma is this, if it gets to your Lymph System, it is pumping the Cancer out to your entire body.

Unlike other Cancers, once Melanoma reaches the Lymph System is entirely fatal, there is no treatment, you are all done.

And as for that new drug I wrote about a short time ago, I was told by the Nurse  who did my 4 Biopsies, that it is just an extender, it simply just gives the patient a few extra months.

At this time, there is not a cure, or a drug for level five, or Systemic Melanoma.

So, finally on Tuesday at 1:30 in the afternoon,  the call from my Surgeon came.

I held my breath,  waiting to hear the words I was afraid to hear.

Thank God, his calming,  assuring, voice said it all instantly.

It had not spread, I was clear, he could not have asked he said, for a better report.

It was difficult to talk to him and answer his questions, emabarrassinlgy I  was crying too hard.

It  was over.

Now, in a few days,  the stitches will come out from the operation  and then the Derm Clinic Doctor  will tend to the other 3 Cancers.

First the two smaller Melanomas, and then the Basal, which will inlcude another new procedure,  Mohs.

When that is finished, finally I will become just another regular patient at the  Derm Clinic with regular check ups  and moles removed as they present.

For the past three weeks I have been to hell and back.

Now I want to get back to what gives me a reason for living, writing on these Blogs.

My reason for writing all of this today, is for one singular purpose, to encourage any of you with moles to stay on top of them.

Please, Do Not make the same stupid mistakes that I did.

Waiting to make your final  car payment could cost you your life.

It could have cost  me mine.

Melanoma is not like other Cancers,  it is a fast, vicious killer.

The most important thing that you can do for yourself is to look at your entire body on a regular basis.

Have your partner or a friend look at the places you can not see.

Any mole that changes color,  size or shape could be a Melanoma and it can and will kill you, if it is not removed.

I was stupid, but you do not have to be.

Get checked and get safe.

The sun is not your friend and  getting a tan can kill you.

I have been given a reprieve.

I am so very grateful and now want to get back to doing what truly inspires me.

Writing about animals.

Think Pink!

Gone!

FWS-4870

Why is this man smiling?
Picture credit: William A. Troyer – US Fish and Wildlife Service
I apologize for this brutal picture, but it explains my rage.

 

Yes, sorry, two in one morning, both of them  were in my email and neither could be ignored.

This story is about a subject that pains me deeply to relay.

I can still hear the words of my first Anthropology Professor many years ago saying that:

“99% of all species of all animals, will, or have already, disappeared from the Earth.”

I NEVER got over that very off-handed, complacent, nearly matter of fact, comment.

It did not seem like he was all that terribly concerned.

But, then, why should he have been, few seem to be any more.

It almost seems like we Humans, have become hardened against, or desensitized to this alarming state of affairs,  in the Animal Kingdom.

It is so much easier to pick up a gun and shoot something, than it is to put a seed in the ground and wait for it to grow!

Decimation is a horrifying word.

In the past I have used it many times when writing about the Native Americans.

They too were decimated in many places all over this country by two  other ugly words: Manifest Destiny.

But unlike the Native people, animals cannot be assimilated!

Hello people, we are losing animals as fast as they can reproduce these days.

Think I’m kidding?

Look around your own neighborhoods.

Have you, like me, watched over the years,  as fewer and fewer of certain animals have disappeared right in your own yard?

It isn’t for just one reason, or in one country, it’s everybody, everywhere, killing everything.

We either kill them directly, or by destroying their Habitats, so that they die anyway.

What ever will we all do, when they are all gone?

This Planet will be an ugly place with no animals.

As Gandhi always said,  ” A Nation will be judged by the way it treats its animals.”

Well, in the end, which may be nearer than many may suspect, so will this Planet.

Don’t think we can all get on a shuttle and head for Mars or ???

This is it people.

When we have killed them all, for what ever reason, that’s it.

The answer is right in front of us, but few want to accept it.

The answer is not eating animals anymore.

And yes to the ” Happy  Man ”   in the picture above, hunting them either.

Sure, for some, for many, this is a tough pill to swallow.

But dear Readers, what else can we do?

Millions of people all over the world do without meat every day and are quite healthy.

In some of  the poorer Countries, like for instance, Burma, or Myanmar, I was once told by a resident in an interview, that having a chicken for dinner,  is a once a month luxury.

Of course this idea will never sell in states like Texas, where their favorite saying on signs all over the state:

” Beef, it’s what’s for Dinner.”

But for the other millions who know change must be made and very soon.

Couldn’t we all at least try not eating any animals, for what ever reason each of us as individuals may choose?

If we do not, and soon, they will be GONE!

 

Places to learn more:

Earth lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF

World wildlife populations halved in 40 years – report A/a>

Shock report: World has lost 50% of its wildlife in just 40 years

Deforestation – Wikipedia

Bear Hunting – Wikipedia

 

Hope for a New Whale

Brydeswhale_sophiewebb-swfsc-star2006
A Bryde’s Whale
Picture credit: Sophie Webb NOAA

 

Just found this awesome story this morning in my email that must be shared.

Russell McLendon of Mother Nature Network has gathered and presented an extremely compelling work and you simply must read it in its entirety.

Please see the link to it below.

If the DNA checks out, this newly discovered Whale in the Gulf of Mexico, may be the newest and absolutely most Endangered Whale on Earth, surpassing even the critically Endangered Right Whale.

This is both exciting and terrifying news.

For many years, the Whales in the Gulf near the Florida Panhandle, were thought to be a variation of the species of Bryde’s, but now the thinking is that this new Whale may be an entirely new species altogether.

As Russell  says:   “They’ve long been classified as Bryde’s whales — pronounced Brooda’s, thanks to 19th-century Norwegian whaler Johan Bryde.  Bryde’s whales are found in warm seas around the world, growing up to 55 feet long and 90,000 pounds as they feast on plankton, crustaceans and small fish.”

Of course this newest Whale already has a myriad of potential dangers facing it.

The new evidence indicates that many more  of them used to exist and that something is eliminating them.

Hmmm……

Let’s see.

So, how much oil did BP flood into the Gulf of Mexico?

The clean up from this nightmare is still plaguing the entire Gulf Coast.

The area where this new Whale is calling home, are the Desoto Canyons, near the mouth of the Mississippi, on the borders of the states of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.

This huge area has been a most inhospitable place for sea life for many years.

Dolphin’s and several other Whale Species are continuously being poisoned in their Ancestral homes, so to speak here.

This toxic soup that is now the Gulf of Mexico, has been polluted for so long, by so many, it is no wonder the depth of decimation to all the sea life there.

It is as far as I can see, an entirely 100% man-made destruction of a Habitat.

And, we are irresponsibly, completely responsible for it all.

Please do read this wonderful story that Russell has put so much thought and effort into.

We have a lot of thinking to do on this news, if we are to reverse a terrible,  long over due trend by ignorant Humans.

Could it be, could we for a change, have hope for a new Whale Species?

 

Places to learn more:

50 whales may be a new (and very endangered) species

Bryde’s whale – Wikipedia

Baleen Whales – Wikipedia

 

Come Meet the Betelgeuse

thegoose

The USS Betelgeuse AK-260

 

Yes, I have been away.

But I was not sitting around eating bon bons~

This is what I have been doing for the past week.

It is the Tribute Web site for Walkingfox to his Ship and Service in the US Navy.

It seems the ones that we have just renewed for 2 years at Network Solutions,  have had the Front Page Extensions completely disabled, meaning that I can no longer work on any of our highly over paid Web sites ($139-$150 per year)including this one.

No, we will not be renewing anything with them again.

One really nice thing about having this site on Word Press, is that now people can come and comment or write  to him.

If you are a Military Veteran or, maybe even just curious, you may like to come take a look.

Hope you enjoy it.

He was very proud of his years in the Navy and like both, yes I have two Fathers, the Navy was the choice for all three of them, for service to their Country.

This site was made under my name, but it is ALL about him and the Navy.

I was just the builder who put it up.

I also sadly, cannot click like on any of the pages, for that reason.

Please come meet the Betelgeuse:    http://ussbetelgeuse.wordpress.com/

 

Monsters of Marianna

FlaIndusSchBoys
The Florida Dozier School for Boys in Marianna
Dining hall construction with “White House” in background, 1936
Picture credit: Wikipedia

 

This story has been percolating in my head and heart since we moved down here nearly ten years ago,

it is not about Florida Wildlife it is about Florida Monsters.

But just like the Wildlife here that I am devoted to writing about, these children also had no voice.

If you blink as you drive West on Interstate 10 near Tallahassee in the Panhandle of Florida, you might miss Marianna.

This is a sleepy little town, that until we moved here and began seeing the News stories, had held only one memory,  it was the town where we always stopped to eat at a place called Po – Folks.

Po – Folks  has  great country-style southern comfort food and a really friendly staff.

Absolutely nothing there, or anything that you see as you drive through, could possibly tell you about the dark, ugly secret this town once had.

Now when I think of Marianna, it will forever be because of the horrible, hideous stories continuously being splashed across our TV News Stations.

You see in  Marianna,  there used to be what is called a Bad Boys, or Reform School and it was said to be the biggest one in the entire United States.

You know, the kind of place where troubled children get sent to because no one can control them, or worse, wants them.

Some of them were orphans, others were just confused and needed guidance and help.

This House of Horrors  is/was called the Dozier Boys School and it was also a  place of torture, abuse and death for many who were sent there.

It is also said that the KKK were very much a part of the crimes here.

The school was opened in 1900 and closed in 2011 amid a flurry of accusations, threats and lawsuits.

Then Governor Crist had it all investigated, but as usual in this place called the racially oppressed and color divided State of Florida, this ugly mess was claimed to not have enough, or sufficient evidence to go further.

Those in control stepped out, hopeful it would all go away.

But not so fast, some survivors started making a lot of noise and some people were listening to their stories, better yet they were believing them.

It has been reported that almost 100 children died while this school was in operation.

Then several years ago a team of Anthropologists from USF in Tampa went to Marianna and began a dig.

The Dig team was led by Associate Professor and Forensic Anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, who had known about the school and wanted to see if something could be found.

Because my field of Education at College was in Anthropology and the majority of my Nursing experience was at a State Rehab Center in California, this story was of great personal interest.

One of the many sad  things about this story,  is the name that was given to the place where so much of the abuse happened, it was called the White House.

So, the survivors of this school nightmare, call themselves the White House Boys and they are determined to not only expose the crimes, but to shine a bring light on what happened there.

This time, they want to see justice for the victims and punishment for the perpetrators, if any are still alive.

These few survivors of unspeakable abuse want, need, to be assured that this can and will never happen again, anywhere.

The White House Boys also want an apology, as well as, who can blame them, compensation from those who kept the secrets of the Monsters of Marianna.

 

Places to learn more:

Read the Full USF PDF  Report here:  Dozier School Report

Florida School for Boys – Wikipedia

THE WHITE HOUSE BOYS SURVIVOR’S ORGANIZATION CORP

Florida to exhume bodies buried at former boys school

Remains of 2 more boys identified at closed Florida boys school

Boy missing since 1940 identified at closed Florida boys school

Florida’s Dozier School For Boys: A True Horror Story

Abuses at infamous Florida boys reform school even more widespread, report says

 

Finally, We Have A Baby!

one two
four three
We have decided to call her/him Ishi, after the last of the Yahi in California.
She/he also appears to be the only survivor.
All pictures credit: Walkingfox
Because  you asked, here is more about Ishi, last of the Yahi.

 

 

We would like to introduce our first Gopher Tortoise birth here.

She/he was found yesterday when I took Breanna out, just after lunch.

We are not sure of her/his sex, but this is what we have waited for since moving in here in 2004.

We found no others, only this one.

Gopher Tortoises normally have between 3-15 babies, so we sadly fear the demise of her siblings.

It is said that anything and everything,  eats them as soon as they hatch, most do not make it until their first birthday.

From what we have learned from other pictures and information, this one appears to be about two years old,  as they are said to grow about an inch per year.

If any others are found, they will be announced here.

But for now, we are so thrilled to have at least one child from Harriet, whom we have fiercely guarded, loved and protected since we came here nearly ten years ago.

Finally we have a baby!

 

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