52 week's of Marie's Life

52 weeks captured through photos


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43. Single Tree (Week 16)

 “To climb a tree is for a child to discover a new world.”  Froebel

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One of Sarasota’s best kept secrets is the “living” museum at the John Ringling Museum.  The John Ringling Museum of Art and Ca d ’Zan (the home he built for his wife on Sarasota Bay) is the legacy that John and Mable Ringling left behind, but among the 66-acre garden of exotic trees and plants at the estate,  are 14 Banyan trees which is the largest collection in Florida.  Banyan trees represent some of the world’s largest tree girths and the unique growth pattern of their aerial roots and support trunks can cause them to cover an acre of ground in less that a century.  I am not certain if the banyan I have pictured here is one or more!

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We stumbled on this on a Monday visit to the museum and found that there is a wonderful children’s playground and picnic area that had been built just a few years ago  for the children of Sarasota to enjoy for free.  And aside from the man-made playground, the children enjoy climbing in the trees nearby, as well.

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The Ringling Banyan was cited in the Millennium Landmark Tree Project.  The following text about the project is from the America the Beautiful Fund Website:

“America the Beautiful Fund initiated the Millennium Landmark Tree project in the year 2000, with the goal of designating one historic tree in each of the 50 states for preservation in the new Millennium.

This program was supported by a grant from the US Forest Service as part of the White House Millennium Green Initiative. Individuals and their communities were encouraged to seek out the history of the trees in their area, and send a letter describing the type of tree they would like to nominate as well as any historical information pertaining to the tree.

The program was extremely successful in awakening public interest in preserving and protecting these Landmark Trees, which have stood witness to the historic growth of our country.

The Banyan Tree at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida was honored at the National Arbor Day Celebration on April 2000. The tree was given as a gift from Thomas Edison to Harvey Firestone, who gave it to John and Mable Ringling for their Florida garden to see if rubber could be produced in America.”


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36. Right Place At The Right Time (Week 42)

“I thought of that while riding my bicycle.” ~ Albert Einstein on the Theory of Relativity ~

Have you ever heard of a Strider?  This is a balance bike designed for children aged about 18 months to 5 years that encourages them to learn how to ride a two-wheel bicycle.  It has no pedals and the child would simply stride along,  learning how to balance, lean, and steer as they go.  Confidence builds quickly;  there is little fear of falling because their feet are always on the ground.

And as confidence builds, some children may want to step up their experience.  Sarasota is unique in that we have a dedicated Strider track next to the BMX track on the corner of 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue.  I’ve heard it’s the best in the country.

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One of my daughters and her family were coming down from Virginia for a quick trip to go to a family wedding.  The only free time we had was Wednesday evening to Friday evening.  As luck would have it,  the practices are held at the BMX track on Thursday nights.  I spoke to my friend Alice, co-owner of Haps Honda, because she has been an integral part of Sarasota BMX for over 30 years, and asked how I could get my grandson Ethan on the track.  She told me that loaner bikes and helmets would be available at the track and that he just needed to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt.  I checked with my daughter and it was a “go” – this was going to be the highlight of his trip!

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We arrived on time so we could get as much of the experience as possible.  Much of our family turned out to cheer him on and we were all so impressed with the track..

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I was told that the BMX practice was from 6 to 8, but if the Striders arrive early, they can practice on the big track from 5 to 6. Well of course Ethan wanted to try that out too!  We were here at the right place and the right time!

Our grandson approached the hill, took the ramp to the top, and paused.  Before he made his descent, my husband heard him say “Whoa” in awe.  And then he was off.

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He rounded the embankment and kept going.

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And we cheered and cheered, so proud of him.

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IMG_6423 Ethan looped the track over and over.  And when the time was up and the BMX pedal bikes came out, we moved over to the strider track again.  This time, he was ready to race!

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One boy wanted him to wait up, but you don’t wait if you want to race!

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My thanks to Alice Bixler for the Strider information and the opportunity to give my grandson and our family a wonderful memory of their visit.

This is the information I found on-line about the Sarasota BMX track:

Sarasota BMX has a dedicated Strider Track located next to the BMX track. Riders must have a USA BMX membership in order to ride on the track. We offer a One-Day-Free membership to all new riders so they can try out the track. The track is open on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6pm to 8pm for practice. Striders can practice on the BMX track from 5pm to 6pm. The practice fee is $3. Races are held on the 1st and 3rd Friday evening. Race fee is $5. Awards are giving to each rider. The USA BMX membership for one year costs $30 for Striders. With this membership the rider can ride at any BMX track in Florida and the USA. Strider racing is for children 1 yr to 5 yr. A child can stride on a Strider as soon as they learn to walk. Some have even learned to walk on a Strider. The Strider only weighs 6.7 lbs. light enough for the child to pick up and carry. There is never a need for a tricycle or training wheels. The child will learn to balance and goes directly to a pedal bike. For info call: Erma at 614-496-3999 also check us out on www.StriderBikes.com

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17. High Above (Week 6)

“Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man…. Landing is the first!”   ~ Anonymous ~

 

1920’s to 1940’s biplanes take off from the grassy runway and then fly in formation during the Flying Circus Airshow in Bealeton, Virginia, while back on the ground, the day’s announcer holds his straw hat high above his head to see them off.

 

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During the National Anthem a man parachutes down holding an American flag.  For  the next hour and a half, we were part of a small crowd below enjoying the Sunday afternoon show.   The show includes formation flying, aerobatics, skydivers, and wingwalkers.   The announcer and the skits were entertaining. The pilots take turns attempting to pop balloons that are released – and we enjoyed a skit of a plane “bombing” an outhouse in the middle of a grassy field and startling the person inside as the walls fell down.

 

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We kept our eyes on the sky as we watched biplanes freefall for us from 3,000 feet up.

 

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The acts finished with a plane making a pass as a wingwalker steps out of the cock pit and walks on the wing;  as the grand finale, the wingwalker stands on top of the top of the plane.

 

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Before and after the show, guests may purchase a ticket to take a ride in one of the brightly painted red, yellow, or blue vintage open-cockpit planes.

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24. Fences and/or Rails (Week 5)

” It’s better to be down here wishing you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here. ”  ~ Anonymous  ~

 

Our family in Virginia is interested in any activity involving flight, so it was no surprise when they invited us to go to the local Flying Circus AirShow when we were visiting in August.  Every Sunday from May to October daring expert pilots perform stunts in vintage biplanes.   The shows are modeled after “barnstorming” airshows that became popular between the two world wars.  The pilots flew these airplanes in World War 1 and when they returned with their excitement and love of aviation this led to airshows in farmer’s field in small towns across the country.  Before and after the shows they would offer rides to make money.  The term “barnstorming” was coined because, when a storm hit during a show, everyone would hunker down in the barn.

 

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Benches and chairs are lined up in front of the airfield, but many want to get right up to the fence to be as close as possible to the action.

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33. Paths and or Trails (Week 4)

“The picks and mauls are silent now at Government Island.  Gone are the muscled laborers who quarried the rock.  Gone, too, are the masted ships that carried it north.  Government Island is quiet now overgrown with oaks and maples and sticker bushes.  Only the silent stones say that this was once the nation’s most famous quarry.”

    ~ Jim Hall, Journalist, July 6, 1992;  The Free-Lance-Star ~

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My grandson was given a fishing pole by his younger brother on his 3rd birthday, so  the next day an outing was planned to put it to use.  After we parked at Government Island in Stafford County, Va, we walked the trail to Aquia Creek.

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The trip was a success.  The boys learned how to bait a hook with a live worm …

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And how to net a fish once it is caught …

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But fishing can only hold toddlers’ attention for so long and they were off exploring the trail again.

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I learned quite a bit about this site from signs posted at the entry.  Government Island is a 17-acre historic site. Stone was quarried from this site as early as 1694 for use as architectural trim in Colonial America. The quarry’s fine-grained sandstone was called Aguia stone, due to its location along the Aquia Creek, or freestone, for its ability to be freely carved without splitting. The stone from this quarry was a desirable building material for its composition as well as its beautiful white color. The federal government bought this island in 1791 for the purpose of constructing the President’s house (later known as the White House) and the United States Capitol.  Government Island sandstone was also used for door and window trim, foundations, grave markers, churches, plantation homes, and other prominent buildings.  Extensive quantities of freestone were extracted from this site from 1791 through the 1820’s.   George Mason and George Washington were two of the quarry’s most prominent clients.  Government Island is now a Stafford County park and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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