Friday, August 29, 2008

Big Sky Country

Could this be Montana?

How about Williston, Florida?
I know what you are thinking ... THAT is Florida?
Where are the palm trees?
Where are the bikini clad cuties?
Where's the MOUSE?
Where is the condo cluttered shoreline?
Where are the pelicans ... dang it ... there's supposed to pelicans!
Where are the sunburned sock and sandal wearing Eurotourists in speedos?

Good questions all, but you should be asking ...

Where's the Beef?

We are one of the top cattle states you know.

Totally unrelated to this post point of interest:
20 years ago today I walked into my first classroom as a new and totally unprepared teacher.
I was 2 weeks out of the National Park Service with one toddler bouncing around, a huge chocolate lab named Ranger eating both pieces of furniture, a baby on the way, and living in a tiny singlewide trailer stuck in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere (PFHQ).
It was a huge scary change from what we knew, but ...

... it was the smartest move we ever made.


Anonymous said...

Looks like Kansas.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on this milestone!
PS: Thanks for Grandfathering us in! Did I get in by default or association?

Sandcastle Momma said...

I love how diverse Florida is. So many people think of the beach and concrete jungles when they think of us but there is so much more. We even have a few hills LOL There is a reststop on I10 at the Florida-Georgia Parkway exit that I swear looks like the Blue Ridge Mountains. Just beautiful.

Congratulations on 20 years! Isn't it nice to look back and see how far you've come? Here's to many, mnay more happy, successful years!

SwampAngel65 said...

There are so many misconceptions about Florida! I love it when people think Florida is flat. Flat as a pancake. HA! Althouhg I hate the city I live in, I love my state...not another one where you have a choice of the Atlantic or Gulf! Beaches, swamps, open prairies, forests, big cities, to itty bitty's great!

My son had his first Environmental Science class yesterday and loves it so far. He AND the teacher were amazed that out of about 30 people, only 2 knew where Big Cypress was or had even heard of it. I just don't get it...I don't understand people who obviously live in a coccoon and never get out and explore (unless they think bar-hopping is exploration?) Sad, sad thing. But I think my son is going to love this class and I'm hoping it gives him an idea of what to major in. Yes, he's STILL undecided.

Congrats on your 20 yrs. of teaching! I hope the next 20 years are filled with as much fullfillment as you must be feeling today!

Sharon said...

Congratulations on a job well done. I'm still just mad my kids can't be where you teach. >:o|

robin andrea said...

Congratulations, fc. There are twenty years of students whose lives have been enriched and broadened for having you a part of it.

Florida is full of surprises. That's something you taught me.

Anonymous said...

Happy 20th Dad. You're the best.
Love always, the ''toddler bouncing around''

h said...

20 years. Are they giving you a watch? Pretty sure we're Number One in Cattle East of the Mississippi.

R.Powers said...


You got in cause you are such a sweetie, it ThunderD who got in by association!

That is so true, the diversity both natural and cultural is pretty amazing.

A half million acres of public land and Floridians don't know about it?
That is sad isn't it?
Hooray for your son's choice of study!


Thanks, I hope they were somehow helped or at least affected in a positive way.
I run into them everywhere now.

And weren't you just the cutest thing ... back then I mean.

ROFL to the nth power!!!
A watch!
In public education!
In the time of NCLB!
Too funny dude.
No, no notice at all.

Anonymous said...

Let's see, I'm no good at math, but 20 years times 5 periods a year times thirty students. That's 3,000 students (I ran out of fingers and had to get out the calculator). That's 3,000 lives impacted to learn more than science, but the love of knowledge, a love for their state and at least one caring soul in their lives. Better than a watch, I think.

MamaHen said...

Often the scariest changes do turn out to be the best and if we didn't have the courage to try, we'd never get where we are supposed to go.

BTW, what's with that dot in the middle of that cow's forehead in the last photo? Hindu? ;) Oh, wait! It's a unicow!! HA! Man, I kill me!

Jacki said...

Now THAT'S the Florida I know!!

LauraHinNJ said...

Those are drop-dead gorgeous pics! I love the colors and sense of space... nevermind the cattle!


Congrats on your first 20 years... wow! I bow down to your persistence.

Deb said...

"eating both pieces of furniture"- I like that. We just took out the couch that three puppy dogs have had their share of.

Congratulations on a big anniversary, and thanks for sharing the journey with us. I can certainly relate, to a certain extent. You never had to deal with freezing temperatures in August!

Alan said...

Florida - the beefbasket and breadbasket of the Confederacy. Still one of the top cattle producing states and it wasn't that long ago that cattle outnumbered humans in the state, either. Always gets me a bit when people talk about cowboys originating in Texas or elsewhere... um, hello... it was Florida!!!

Great job framing the photos to look like the plains states.

Congratulations on the 20 years. I'm sure you deserve much more than a watch. :)

R.Powers said...

Cathy S,
That's the ballpark number I come up with too. Lots of teachers have touched even more than me since I started late.
Thanks for the kind words.

You slay me too!
LOL! ... unicow ... too funny.

Pretty amazing place eh?

Thanks. I was early (what?!) for a meeting at Williston High School so I cruised down a local road and there was this scene out of Kansas.
So I took it!!

I wondered if that go noticed.
I often think we have a lot in common when I read Sand Creek and watch your kids doing what mine did/do.
No August freezes tho!
Definitely not.

We are first historically in so many things, that I often skip mentioning that in the blog as it hurts the self esteem of states that started late.

Dani said...

Congrats Fc! Seems to me that was a good choice.

Anonymous said...

That's my Florida. Blue skies, and ultraviolet rays. :0

Congrats on your milestones. Sometimes the risk to change is oh, so worth it!

threecollie said...

Congrats on 20 years...pretty darned admirable if you ask me.
Neat view of the other Florida too...nice cows.

Anonymous said...

Note to Allen: Florida cattlemen do not let themselves be called cowboys, that's for the sissies out west. Our cattlemen (and some women) are cow hunter's or cow men.

Anonymous said...

Wow, 20 years! Condratulations!

One of my favorite views of the area used to be off 39th Av and the road the Best Western Gateway is. Before the hotel was built there was a cornfield. It was beautiful at sunset with the two lane road going down the hill.

I was there the other day and was amazed how 39th has grown.


SophieMae said...

Re 20 years... what Cathy S said! You're a good man, Charlie Brown.

Re dog chewing the two... our Border collie/Aussie did that, as well. Now that she's pver that habit, we have three pieces. 8-}

Where are the palm trees?
Where are the bikini clad cuties?
Where's the MOUSE?
Where is the condo cluttered shoreline?

My kinda Flarda! Just throw in any tiny bit of UNcluttered shoreline you can still find. Wonder how long the area you shot will hold out.

R.Powers said...

Yes, a very good one.

And where is THAT Florida this summer?
Feels like a hot humid seattle.

I thought you'd like those cows.

Cathy S,
Oh now, you're gonna start a range war between east coast and west coast!

I know where you mean.
Sad to see it go ... and so quickly.
Hey, I blew the book pick up ... I had to attend a very crucial meeting about my son's dual enrollment program at school and it totally changed the way I thought Friday afternoon was going to go.

We actually have that uncluttered shoreline which is an incredible blessing.
My kind of Flarda too.

Anonymous said...

No hurry to get the book!He's usually there Mon-Thur so just call in advance. I think he leaves for the day at 4:30p.


Wicked Gardener said...

Hello! I'm in Ocala so I used to this setting, although you can also add horses to the picture. I always want to peel my guests away from Disney and show them some real Florida.

Miz S said...

Congrats on the teaching milestone. Compared to you I am quite the newbie, as I am just starting my 9th year. Hope you get some great kids in your classes this year. I think we all know they are lucky to have a teacher like you.

Jane Adams said...

I wondered if you'd seen this article, I came across it in one of my e-magazines:

Not good...

R.Powers said...


Welcome to Pure Florida! I have a similar mission.

Miz S,
Now that is fascinating ... gotta wonder what made you go that route at ... um ... midlife.

Thanks for the link and for commenting. I lost track of your site for awhile but have now added you to my blogroll.

Anonymous said...

That is what I love about Florida, the ability to be so unique and have such differences of topography. Sometimes the middle part of the state will remind me of Texas a lot.