Shipwreck “Houses of Refuge”

Vero Beach is located on Florida’s Treasure Coast, an area well known for shipwrecks during the 18th-19th centuries.  As the region became more populous, Houses of Refuge sprang up to assist survivors. The first safe haven was founded at Bethel Creek (now Jaycee Beach) in 1876 and looked like this in 1914:

All Houses of Refuge were built alike and included a main house, cistern, and boathouse. They were placed within 15‐20 miles of each other, assuring those who washed ashore might find help within a day’s walk.

In 2012, I unknowingly photographed the remains of Bethel Creek’s safe haven for use in Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry.   Last week I noticed a newly placed historical marker by the foundation blocks:

Bethel Creek House of Refuge remains, Vero Beach

John Houston was the first keeper of Bethel Creek but 18 more quickly followed before the refuge burned in 1917. Historical documents cite boredom and poor health as reasons for the rapid turnover but perhaps less than $400.00 per year compensation had an impact, too!  Interesting to note: during this era, the most memorable shipwrecks were the USS Panama (1887) whose hold full of textiles benefitted the rescuers, and the Breconshire (1894) whose boiler off Humiston Park is now a popular diving spot.

I’ve always been fascinated by history and was thrilled to stumble across this historical marker. In closing, here’s a closeup of the marker and a different angle on the remains.

Until next time…
:) :) :)


Wordless Wednesday: January in Florida

“To see a world in a grain of sand…

Sandcastle, Jaycee Beach, 1/6/15

And a heaven in a wild flower…

Hibiscus, Vero Beach

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand…

TC, Jack, Me, Rita, Dave Disney Vero Beach Resort, 1/05/15

And eternity in an hour…

William Blake (1757–1827), British poet, painter, engraver. Auguries of Innocence, l. 1-4, Poems from the Pickering Manuscript (c. 1803), repr. In Complete Writings, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (1957)

Happy New Year!!!

:) :) :)



Ruralside, Vero Beach

Although I’ve shared many pictures of Beachside, Vero Beach, I’ve never shown you the rural belt along the western edge of town.  For today’s Wordless Wednesday (mostly!) I thought I’d share pictures of a friend’s farmlet property in this lovely and quiet area.


The new fence looks really pretty!


and here’s the reason for said fence:

This horse thinks she’s human!

Her horse kept coming on the porch and looking in the windows…esp when it rained! :) :)

FYI, I’ve been posting less for several reasons: Maggie moved back in a few weeks ago and we’ve been busy reorganizing the house, cleaning the garage, baking for fun, and trying to learn a bit of Icelandic–we leave on our trip two weeks from this very minute!

We’ve also been shopping, shopping (and more shopping) having realized Florida wardrobes are completely inadequate for Iceland/England/France in September.  Finding warm gear in stores here was challenging but we finally purchased everything we need including full raingear and rubber boots.  Now we’re just keeping fingers crossed Bárðarbunga doesn’t blow until after 9/10!

Until next time…

:) :) :)

Lagoon Greenway Trailhead

Keep Calm and Don’t Freak Out! Wordless Wednesday: 5/28/14

Remember Lagoon Greenway??  Hikers beware!   For the past few months, the alligators have totally taken over, creating their own private easements to the mangroves.  City officials finally put up a sign this week, but it should have been a lot sooner!


For other Wordless Wednesday posts, check out the original WW Blogsite and the Zemanta related links below!

Until next time…

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Photo credit: Ivana Gerhard, May 2014, Thank you!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

This week’s photo challenge asks us to share a local monument. While this might mean stone-based statuary in older parts of the world, in newly developed spots like Vero Beach, it means fiberglass!!


In 2005,the Mental Health Association of Indian River County used 52 eye-popping turtle sculptures to raise awareness and money for mental health services. Known locally as Turtle Trax, this public art project symbolized people coming out of their shells to seek help.  Each sculpture stands 6′ tall x 5′ wide, depicting a sea turtle with fins outstretched, as if peacefully gliding through water.


Another fiberglass monument, Patriot, the Horse, guards the entrance to Pocahontas Park located just beyond the Citrus Museum in the above photo:


The 9′ tall Patriot has been corralled at the park since 1960. ;)  In 2009, Perfection Paint and Auto Body donated their time and materials to restore and repaint this midcentury monument.  You can read more about their extensive project, by clicking here.

Before I close, I’m excited to tell you my oldest son is visiting through Easter Sunday!


I may not post much this week, but will definitely check in on all of you. :)

Until next time….

:) :) :)

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Wordless Wednesday: 3/26/14 (Sunny Reflections)

I ran across this shot (taken during my first summer here) while searching my pics for yesterday’s Reflections post.  It seemed well suited for Wordless Wednesday, so here it is!

Backyard Queen Palm after a summer storm

NOTE: Look at the bottom left corner of this photo: the vacant lot next door wasn’t yet empty :arrow: that happened in 2011 and you can read about it here.

For other Wordless Wednesday posts, check out the blogger who started it all, and, of course, the Zemanta links below!

Until next time….

:) :) :)

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Nopalea cochenillifera f. variegata

Various types of spineless cacti are common in Florida gardens, but spineless AND variegated? Not so much! The second I laid eyes on this cactus at our Master Gardener Plant Auction, I knew I’d be taking it home! :)

Nopalea cochenillifera, 12/15/13

Although auctioned as a “NO ID Opuntia,” the American Journal of Botany describes my new plant as one of 8 cacti recently moved from the Opuntia to Nopalea genus.  Chalk it up to key differences in the shape of the flower tubes, and the impact this has on pollination: nopaleas are visited by hummingbirds, opuntias by insects.   Who knew :?:

N. cochenillifera is drought-tolerant, yet, oddly, thrives in our rainy summers. At maturity this cactus assumes a tree like shape with branches of jointed pads reaching 12′ high. Just this morning, I noticed the first new pad forming since i brought the plant home:

Nopalea cochenillifera with new pad forming, 12/15/13

Nopalea cochenillifera is loaded with potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese, copper, zinc and iron, as well as thiamine, lutein, niacin, riboflavin and beta-carotene. Farmers who raise goats and livestock value it as easy-to-grow fodder but humans can also benefit from including nopaleas in their daily diet.  Click and scroll for interesting recipes.

As an aside, we’ve been having very dismal, gray, un-Florida-like weather since Thanksgiving.  The cheery garden colors of summer and falll have been replaced by interesting textures and jewel tones:

Alternanthera Dentata Purple Knight, Assorted Coleus and Calladium and Syncolostemon Transvaalensis, 12/15/2013

Each winter since moving here, I anxiously await the tiny Soldier’s Orchid, and every year they arrive earlier, in greater quantity!  Here’s the first of 2013, randomly sprouting in a container:

Zeuxine strateumatica aka Soldier's Orchid, 12/15/13

That’s about it from not-so-sunny Vero Beach!  I can’t really complain though, it’s still warmer than normal and Christmas is in the air!

Until next time…..