Koreshan Unity was one of several communal societies at the turn of the century. They, as well as the Shakers, Mormons, and Harmonists, all were striving to search for the ideal life. Dr. Cyrus Teed Koresh (Hebrew for Cyrus/shepherd) came with his followers to Estero,Florida in 1894. He was a physician who was searching for a better way of healing. While working in his laboratory one night in 1869 he had an "illumination", or vision, and seventeen years later the Koreshan Unity was formed in Chicago. The tenets of this organization were founded upon the ideals of communal living and property, the belief in Dr.Teed's religious and scientific theories, and celibacy. It was to be Utopia, or the "New Jerusalem". The walls of that new city, a walled fortress if you will, can be seen outside the founder's house.
Monday, December 29, 2014
Sunday, December 21, 2014
On our drive over to Galt Preserve on Pine Island I happened to see a large bird land on a tree by the roadside. We pulled off the road to get a closer look at him with our binoculars.
Friday, December 19, 2014
Thomas Edison was a large presence in Fort Myers, in many ways. I think that we will keep running into that fact anytime we drive into the town. John and I toured two historic homes the other evening, and in one of them there were many pictures of Edison with his friends. In 1907, Thomas Edison proposed to the city that he plant Royal Palm trees from his home all the way into town. Eventually the city lined the street with additional trees and it earned the title of The City of Palms.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
My guess is that our readers have been so busy with Christmas preparations that no one has noticed that I have not posted on this site for about a week. For John and I it has not been Christmas but family December birthdays which has kept us busy since we arrived in North Fort Myers a week ago. Melissa and her son Nathan flew down from St.Louis on December 12th, which is her birth date. My sisters Julia and Linda also came to visit us for the celebration of my birthday, which was the following day, the 13th. Melissa and Nathan have stayed with us, so my excuse has been that it is a bit difficult to get to our computer. John did manage to check our e-mail once.
For me playing with our little grandson has been way much more fun than sitting at the computer. As you can see in the picture above, he is a busy little guy! Unpacking Mom's suitcase is so much fun.
Pictured above is a sculpture of Mina Edison, which can be found in the estate's garden shop. I mentioned in the previous posting of four years ago that Edison's wife Mina also played a part in establishing gardens in their estate, as her orchid lane. She and her husband hired Ellen Shipman, a landscape architect, to design a garden and small pool to reflect the moonlight. Moonlight gardens were popular during the early part of the 20th century.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Our last day in the Keys, just had to do some time at the beach! The day started out cool and windy, but all was good in that regard by afternoon. The sun was up high and quite warm. Instead of heading for the beach immediately John and I chose to first walk the Silver Palm Trail at the park. The trail forms a loop through a hammock, mangrove area, dune and along the beach. The silver palms along the trail represent one of the greatest concentrations in the state. They are becoming increasingly rare as people illegally remove them from their natural habitat to plant them in residential areas.
Monday, December 8, 2014
In my previous posting I wrote about the hammock on this Key. While in the tropical forest the park ranger pointed out to us the many typical trees of this forest and how they adapt to growing in a dark hammock. He pointed out to us a young pigeon plum tree which has large shiny green leaves. Standing next to it was a an older tree of the same species, its leaves were tiny, green and dull in appearance. As a young tree it grows large leaves to take in a lot of nourishment from the sun and rain so it can grow tall and reach up into the canopy toward the sun. The strangler fig, another common tree in the hammock, grows on a host tree and strangles other trees around it as it grows. At Windley Key we saw the roots of that tree in many places, even curling down large limestone walls. In the same ficus family is the short-leaf fig which drops aerial roots from its branches to avoid competition from other trees for light and land. One of the oldest of the short-leaf fig trees in the area is found on Lignumvitae
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Friday, December 5, 2014
We have had some uncomfortably cool days this past fall, so no surprise that we suddenly decided to go all the way south into Florida and get very warm. We are now parked on Fiesta Key, and wearing shorts and walking in sandals! We are parked by the Gulf of Mexico.
Some of you who have been faithful followers of this blog site may be aware of the fact that 5 years ago we visited one of the Keys, which was Key West. This time we have close to a week here, which gives us a chance to explore a few of the other Keys. The Keys, or islands, lie off southern the coast of Florida. There are many of them, linked by 42 bridges. Historic U.S. 1 is the only road connecting them, and it covers 126 miles. We headed south on that highway yesterday and our first stop was Bahia Honda State Park. Its name in Spanish means “deep bay”. The channel between the old and the new bridges of Bahia Honda is one of the deepest natural channels of the Keys. In the park is a remnant of the old bridge which was built by Henry Flagler in 1905. The railway remains were converted into what is known today as U.S.Highway 1 (a newer bridge has since replaced the first one to accommodate the high volume of traffic).
We hiked up a hill to view a section of the old bridge, and from here we had a panoramic view of the island and surrounding waters. We took some time to explore the park which has some of the Key’s best white sand beaches. Unfortunately the tide was in, so we did not walk on the beach as planned. We will have some other days for that. During the brief time we were in the park we chanced to see a variety of birds, including the kingfisher, osprey, and bald eagle. We have also seen a lot of the brown pelican.
At National Key Deer refuge we set off on our bikes to look for the deer who wandered here from the mainland years ago when the Keys were connected. Rising sea waters stranded the deer and now they are protected in a refuge which covers 25 islands. Over the years they evolved into a smaller deer, they now average two feet in height.
Two physical features of this deer are the black nose and a black streak on its white tail. We only saw them off in the distance while riding our bikes. The bike path took us to the Blue Hole lake, which we visited hoping to see more deer there. The deer are able to survive in this refuge because of the presence of such fresh water lakes. I was not satisfied that I had taken any good pictures of the deer, so we returned to our car and drove to No Name Key, which is another area where the deer can be found. We drove through a subdivision to get there, and were surprised by the many deer we found wandering through the yards. That did give me a few photo opportunities. When we stopped the car for pictures one deer came up us, stuck his head in my window, and tried licking my camera. I was eating an apple and was tempted to share it with him, but there were many signs warning us against that. I think that people are feeding them, or else they would not appear to be so tame! The current population of them is at 800, according to a park brochure. they have no natural enemies, if anything kills them off it will be cars. Unfortunately searching for the deer took up most of our afternoon, and, after eating supper, it was late and we needed to head for home. I sure wish daylight savings time was not in effect here, then it would not get dark by 6pm.