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Day 2 alligators and St Augustine

Early drive to the Okeefenokee  swamp Park near Waycross Georgia after a quick chat with Great Nanny Wales. We were some of the first people there and so we had a quick look at the nature center and then off to the boat ride through the swamp.

We saw lots of alligators from Babies through to full grown males.


The swamp itself was very interesting with all sorts of plants and wildlife. This plant digests bugs in its flutes.


There are also just a lot of really pretty water lilies and other water based plants. The guide recommended hiring a boat and doing the swamp from Fargo in April when all the plants are at their best.


Much to Alana’s amusement I nearly walked into the Web of a banana spider, and we saw a lot of other spiders, all about the size of Alana’s hand! 


After the boat ride we took a small train ride around the park, we stopped at a recreated pioneers homestead. There was a blacksmith there making knives out of railway ties


The engineer also allowed Alana to blow the whistle on the train.

Next came the talk at the nature center, the guide talked about the various snakes and turtles that they had there. Alana was allowed to hold Bumper a young male about a year old. These will grow as big as dinner plates over time and can live longer than a 100 years.


Before touching  the snake she had to wash her hands to make sure she did not smell like food!


We then went outside with the guide to see the black bear, they have 4, mum dad and two youngsters. They reckon there are about 7000 living wild in the swamp. This is dad, he is about 15 years old.


Once we finished at the park, we started our drive to St Agustine. After checking into the hotel Alana went into the pool and of course made friends with some other kids.

Off into the town for dinner and a walk along the shoreline, we also booked our adventure for tomorrow but you will have to wait to hear what that one is 😀

Girls Road Trip

The day started well as two of the chick’s that Alana put in the incubator 20 days ago hatched. So glad that she was able to see the complete cycle.


As you can see there is another egg ready to hatch and indeed when we spoke to Mr Rob we are now up to 4

Miss Alana and I left early for the first leg of our trip, Douglasville to Brunswick. We made great time and got there just before 2. Quick check in to hotel then off to St Simons Island for some ice cream. We then hired some cycles, which brought back memories of living in Sweden. The bikes are the same there, no gears, no hand brakes and you stop the bike by pedaling backwards. 


We had a few stops along the way. First stop was for Alana to play with the sand on the beach. 

We also walked along the little pier, there were plenty of people fishing and we saw our first horseshoe crab.


Alana also saw her first pelican but it was a bit too far out to take a worthwhile picture.

Rounded off the day with dinner at Applebee’s and we are now watching Rio the cartoon movie.

Don’t look Ethel, don’t look !

As Miss Lynne was going to be busy in the home office all day, it was important that an adventure was found for Miss Alana. Another bike ride. This time around the lake at Callaway Gardens. It’s a nice safe site with plenty of bike trails and lots to see.

Butter wouldn't melt fly

Butter wouldn’t melt fly

Starting out at the discovery center to find out the time for the bird of prey show, it was then a short ride through the woods to the butterfly house. Miss Alana enjoyed the life cycle of the butterfly.

There were other creatures to spot on the way around too. Turtles, chipmunks, ducks and Alana even spotted a heron.

Turtles tag

Turtles tag

Next stop, the birds of prey. The mid-day sun was brutal so the normal show was cut short with an improvised lecture in a shady grove. It’s good to see big birds in action.

Red tailed hawk

Red tailed hawk

Great horned owl

Great horned owl

Barred owl

Barred owl

The bird theme continued over a quick cafe lunch. A couple of small brave birds would swoop in to collect any crumbs dropped. It was very amusing as Alana nearly lost her nuggets while she was away from the table ūüôā

Back on the bikes, we stumbled upon what became the main event. A tree top adventure including lake crossing zip line! At the sign-up station, Alana did her best stretch to reach the minimum height requirement and showed no qualms about being high in the air. After a short conference, the staff gave the thumbs up and she was in. The next start time meant a speedy ride around the lake but someone had quite an incentive.

Kitted up and ready

Kitted up and ready

Starting with a pretty rigorous safety talk and demonstration, the 15 or so adventurers started climbing and crossing and zipping. Miss Alana was a natural. No fear, no hesitation. She was soon leading at the front with everyone racing to keep up.

High wire fun

High wire fun

Clipped into a safety wire at all times, there was a variety of challenges to overcome. The zip line  crossings looked a lot of fun from the ground.

Zipline princess

Zipline princess

The final challenge took her to a platform 70ft up a pine tree.

70ft up!

70ft up!

From there is was a series of three zip lines that crossed the lake, high in the air.

is it a bird .....

is it a bird …..

So the day ended with an unexpected, exhilarating high wire adventure¬† ……. oh …. and soda, ice cream and finally winning the bet with Mr Rob about staying awake all the way home.

Nanny had a hard day working and tending to the animals.

 

ABC – Alana Bats & Cookies

Alana is such a happy little girl, and pretty easy to keep happy. She is content with her own company yet perfectly happy to mix with others. Listening to her giggling while watching some of her videos on youtube is very comforting.

At last, we were able to get a better picture of our bat, he is doing his best to eat as many mosquitos as he can. Between him and the chickens they really are keeping the bugs under control.

Visiting Bat

Visiting Bat

Yesterday we had a baking day, Alana helped me make butter cookies, they are embossed with Alpacas and some were made alpaca shaped as well.

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We then made strawberry and rhubarb crumble ( crisp ) Mr Rob’s favorite.

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Alana and I went to the cinema to see Finding Dory even though ¬†we already found her yesterday at the Atlanta Aquarium. We might have stopped off at a Dairy Queen beforehand for a mini blizzard ice cream but shh don’t tell Mr Rob.

 

 

We Found Dory

While I was back working this week, Mr Rob and Alana settled into a routine of looking after the animals and swimming in the pool. In the meantime we had some critters come to visit as well. On Tuesday we had this huge lunar moth camped out on the kitchen window.

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

And on Friday night we had a wee little scorpion come in to say hello.

Scorpion

Scorpion

The bat has also been back but he is too low down in the shutter to get a good shot of him. Tuesday Mr Rob took Alana to the trampoline club and she had a lot of fun and also made a friend.

Wednesday Alana went out the back with Mr Rob and he took her down to the river where they had fun looking for lizards and snakes

Exploring the creek

Exploring the creek

Alana found a lovely heart shaped stone that she then wrote on as a surprise gift for when I got home from work – awww!

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Thursday Alana went on a guided nature hike over at Sweetwater with about 12 other kids. It was about 2 hours of walk and talk through the forest and down by the river. She said it was a lot of fun.

Friday they packed a picnic and went on a 20 mile bike ride on the Silver Comet Rail trail. They had plenty of stops to get a rest and admire the scenery.

Hard work in the sunshine

Hard work in the sunshine

Silver Comet Trail riding

Silver Comet Trail riding

Saturday was my turn and Alana and I went off to the Georgia Aquarium for the day, it was a lot  of fun although very packed.

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And look, last but not least …. we found Dory

 

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From Snakes to Spiders

Saturday morning bright and early we drove over to Elke’s to pick her up. I wanted Alana to meet with her parrots so we went into the house and after playing with the birds for a short while, Ken decided to get fluffy out to play. Oh by the way Fluffy is a bull python! As usual, Alana was not fazed and took it all in her stride.

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After that bit of excitement to start the day, we drove into Atlanta for spinning guild. It was learn to spin day and Alana was going to be taught to spin by Leslie. She took to it like a duck to water and after 45 mins of learning on the spindle she moved on to a wheel and then managed to even find time to ply. Leslie was impressed with not only her ability to spin but also the fact that she had designed how to use the colors.

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We went off for lunch and then returned for the normal guild meeting. We had a class on learning to weave sheep and of course Alana picked it up pretty quickly and managed to weave one. Completed sheep will be in a future post

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Back home to Spag bol cooked by grandad and an early night for both of us.

off shopping for clothes Sunday morning and back with a nice selection including some cycling shorts, so obviously we had to try them out! After lunch, we went to Serenbe to watch an outdoor play, Charlotte’s web. There were baby goats running around the place which¬†certainly added to the atmosphere,

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We are back home now  and after they fed the Alpacas, Alana and Rob went in the pool while I type this. I am now off up to prepare dinner.

 

End to the day and good start to the next

To round out the day Alana went down to say goodnight to Arlo – he is her fave Alpaca

Alana and Arlo

Alana and Arlo

Alana and Rob then went into the barn to collect eggs so that we can hatch them into chicks. should take about 20 days so Alana will see the full process – we collected a baker’s dozen.

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into the incubator and Alana can keep an eye on the temperature and humidity and also track what day they need to stop turning and the day they should start to hatch,

She spent a few hours in the pool and then modeled her mermaid tale to prove she is a little fish both in and out of the water.

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As it was 94 degrees – far too hot to go out on our bikes, once I finished work I took Alana out for a ride through the woods and the tracks out of the back of our property.

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Thursday

Our little visitor was up with the larks this morning but entertained herself until we got up at a really lazy 6.30 :-). Rob and Alana went out to feed all the animals and i jumped on some early calls with work. Pancakes for the princess for breakfast and then back to work for me. Rob and Alana went out to get her some socks and crocs and an early birthday bike from me but some pool toys fell into the basket as well ! not sure if they were for Alana or Rob?IMG_0285 IMG_0286

They spent a good few hours having water fights in the pool after lunch and then off to spray the alpacas again.

Third change of clothes of the day – cute top with a cat on it. She picked it out herself at the store.

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Arrival 

Got to the airport 10 minutes before the plane landed, then spent an anxious 45 minutes waiting for Alana to come through. She arrived grinning from ear to ear, great flight, loved the food and got to watch a couple of good movies. She said the time went fast.

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I don’t think she stopped to take a breath on the drive home, she had clearly had a good time on the plane. Soon as we got to the house Alana wanted to go in the pool, this girl has so much energy.

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After a half hour of swimming, we came in for pizza and then a quick trip down to the barn to say hello to Arlo.

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Back in to open all her presents and of to bed to watch TV.

Let the games begin – no this is not politics!

So, my granddaughter is now in the air on her way to Atlanta. We are very excited and a little nervous, not about the travel but more about making sure she has fun and does not get too homesick because she is going to be here for 5 weeks. There was a little bit of drama at the airport this morning as Delta forgot to mention the additional fee that needed to be paid at the airport and also that her mum could not go to the gate with her. Hey ho! so facetime at 5.50 this morning and it was no fun, with old tired eyes, trying to transfer money on a cell phone.  All was resolved and Alana was given a GPS tracker wristband and passed over to a minder to escort her to the plane. Both mum and daughter managed to keep smiling through it all so we are off to a good start.

Now I have all day to track the plane online and get to the airport to pick her up. ¬†We have been preparing for this¬†for weeks. Let’s see, are we ready?

  • Swimming pool bought installed and tested (most evenings) -Check
  • Bedroom sorted – Check
  • TV added – Check
  • Books bought – Check
  • Games and Crafts bought = Check
  • Mermaid blanket knitted and packed – Check
  • Trips organised – Check
  • Candy bought – Check
  • Pancake mix and chicken nuggets bought – Check
  • Grandad shorn and shaved – Check
  • Nanny exercising past 6 weeks to ensure i have the ¬†energy to keep up – Check

I think we are ready…..