Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Where Ya Goin' For Lunch?

This week, I'm at training. This means I'm working with adults. They are interesting creatures. I'm not sure if they are all that different from the 7th graders I teach ... except they don't have quite the energy and "joi de vie" of the middle schoolers.

We are building a leadership team and working through our different visions and opinions, but they are good people who care about kids and I see us jelling as the days go by.

This is not a post about team building tho.

It's a post about lunch.

If you teach, your lunch break lasts about 25 minutes. There is no lunch "hour". That changes when we go to training as there are breaks and A WHOLE HOUR FOR LUNCH!

Who could imagine such things existed?

Yesterday, as lunch time rolled around, the usual questions started, " Watcha doin' for lunch? Can I ride with you? Where do y'all want to go?"

There are not many options in the tiny town I teach in. There's about 4 tiny restaurants and none of them are good at managing lunch time surges.

I had my whole grain bagel with peanut butter, a blackberry yogurt, and a banana in the JEEP so I passed on lunch invitations and headed for Devils Hammock Wildlife Management Area just a few miles away.

I knew that even with an HOUR, I couldn't go too deep into the park, so I pulled the JEEP over as soon as I found a roadside ditch with water in it. Most of the park is bone dry and my best chance of seeing life at noon was going to be at a water hole.

I figured I'd have to settle for some insects on pickeral weed shots, but you never know. It was too smoky from raging regional wildfires to do bird photos, so my attention was down not up.

I photographed some duck potato, pickeral weed, almost ripe blackberries, and then as I crouched down for a pickeral weed closeup ... a chorus of grunting started up and there were some little splashes to my right.

Four gator pups came cruising out of the cattail shade and into the sunlight, all the while calling for Momma. They were about as cute as a reptile could ever hope to be and I spent my lunch HOUR watching their antics.

I was a few minutes late returning to training.

When I walked in, the trainer was lecturing and my cohorts were all hunched over take out boxes trying to wolf down their lunch.

They had spent the entire lunch hour driving and waiting for the overloaded little restaurants to produce their orders.

"What did you do for lunch?" my pal asked, between bites of cheese pizza.

"Oh nothing, just brown bagged it."

Yes, I kept an eye on Momma while I enjoyed her pups.
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Anonymous said...

Have you ever had a small or even a large gator in your pond? Just preparing for when we move there! Do you know yet if you'll be able to make the Dragon's Tail with Thunder this summer? Tell the family hi for us.

WrenaissanceWoman said...

If I'd realized your lunch date included a gator, I would have been far more apprehensive about reading a post with this title. :)

Doug Taron said...

I misss pickerel weed. It grew all over the place in Massachusetts where I grew up, it's very uncommon as a wild plant here in the Chicago area.

Great gator shots.

bluebird of paradise said...

wow what an adventure. i saw my first alligator in florida last year. i am mad for them. the "pups' are so beautiful as is momma.
thanks for the treat!

roger said...

back in my official working days (daze?) a half hour for lunch was stretching it. of course, i didn't have such a fascinating place to hang out...usually anyway.

hope those "regional wildfires" stay in other regions.

nice gator pix.

debbie said...

Baby gators are just so cute! Happy to read that you were keeping an eye on mama. Where there are baby gators there is usually a mama. Your comment about adults not being all that different from 7th graders tickled me. After 25 years of working in education I've reached the realization that there is a fine line between students and teachers. They make the worst students, they have a hard time meeting administrative deadlines, and they don't put their names on their papers - - I'm talking about faculty not students. Bless their hearts.

robin andrea said...

Now that's a lunch break. You certainly have been seeing some interesting sights lately, fc. Good thing you carry that trusty camera with you.

Paintsmh said...

How totally cool. That is just so amazing that you picked the perfect 'lunch' spot.

Thunder Dave said...

Aw man, Lightnin got there first!

Why you little anti-social @#$@^$*!
(just kidding)
what a great way to spend lunch, away from the team building. ;-)

I was planning to call you this weekend, but Lightnin already asked. I'll show her, I'm ganna call anyway!

Hurricane Teen said...

I'm not usually afraid of gators, but even I would be a little nervous with a mama and her pups. Those gator ladies get real irritable when they have young kids...kind of like humans in a way.

ImagineMel said...

do you and I LIVE in the same place????? Why don't I know these things.

rcwbiologist said...

All this talk of duck potato, pickerel weed, and alligators makes me want to go wade in the nearest swamp.

cinbad122 said...

Well, if I had known that you were going to do something fun, I would have invited myself with you instead. And that pizza really was not good!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Whoo! N.I.M.B.

Floridacracker said...


that might have happened here ...

LOL! That never occurred to me, but you're right.

Pickeralweed is a fantastic plant. Our ditches are full of it in bloom now.

You are welcome and welcome to Pure Florida!

the fires are about 40-50 miles away, but we are surrounded by vast pine forests, so everyone is on guard. the weather may change soon and bring some rain from that storm.

LOL! How true. They whine alot too.

Would you believe me if I didn't bring back photos?

Very good point. I was very lucky to stop where I did.

A little team building goes a long way. Solitude balances it all.
Be sure and call the cell, the home line is busy with dialup most of the time.

I agree. She was always on my mind and in my peripheral vision. No assumptions when dealing with sharks or gators. Total unpredictability is the rule.

This was 4 miles from your house.

Tell me about it. I did NOT want to leave. It looks bad when the teacher plays hooky though.

You know you are always welcome.

Floridacracker said...

Nude Iguanas May Bite?
Is that what you meant?

SophieMae said...

I'm sure Momma was watching you the whole time, as well. Those babies are the reason this was always my favourite time of year in S FL. In spite of the woodpecker-sized skeeters. And deer flies. And horseflies. And yellow flies. And.....

Floridacracker said...

Dreading those yellow flies.

LauraHinNJ said...

They're too cute to imagine them ever being ferocious! What do baby alligators eat?

Cool way to spend lunch!

Floridacracker said...

I agree ... too cute ... now.
They eat any small critter. I think lots of minnows, insects, and frogs wind up in those tiny jaws.

threecollie said...

They are lovely.....and indigenous to Florida...not unlike stingrays...which is fine with me.

Floridacracker said...

I don't do much lake swimming down here.

Laura said...

~it's great to be a florida gator.~~


(I was referring to *real* gators, of course.)

Floridacracker said...

Of course.

Cathy said...

Guess I'll have to google gators. I never thought of them as being maternal. I'm wondering how long the offspring remain near momma and do gators eat small gators?

Floridacracker said...

There's a short maternal stage after the eggs hatch ...long if you count her building and guarding the nest of eggs.

徵信社 said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.