Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gators and Animals...

I've been meaning to update my blog more, but the days have been so full that most nights I just collapse in a heap. Sometimes I get as far as uploading the pictures from the camera, but by the time the hundreds of images make their way to the laptop, I'm already catching myself dozing off.

The other day we went to a local favorite, the restaurant at the Lazy Gator Bar. It's one of those places that you sort of have to know about. It's off the beaten path a bit and sits along Lake Jessup in the Black Hammock Reserve. They have a menu with lots of fried foods and Southern delicacies like gator bites by the pound.

Max really loved the fried corn fritters. He'd kiss their powder sugar-dusted surfaces and held them next to his cheek lovingly.

Above is a picture of Azalea and Sheila. It seems like only yesterday when we were there last. Azalea loves spending time with her auntie Sheila; they play games, sing songs, and invent dance moves.

Above are some gator bites. They are quite delicious! I particularly love them fried up with some of the mustard. They feel and taste almost like a cross between chicken and pork.

Here are the aforementioned corn fritters that Max loved so much. They were very tasty and reminded me of some of thing things my grandma used to make.

After we finished up with lunch, we headed off to the Central Florida Zoo. It's in Sanford and we had to go through the area that I used to go to school in. I find it always strange going back. Familiar places trigger memories and pop out unexpectedly. One minute I'm in the present – the next, I am riding the school bus after an exam, doing my homework and thinking the thoughts I thought then... what seems like a lifetime away.

Above is a picture of the turkey in the petting zoo portion. He strutted and puffed up when I came by with a camera. I love the red and blue combination. I'm a little less in love with the dripping shapes, but think the creature is still lovely.

Sheila and Azalea fed some of the animals. The zebu was particularly interested in the nuggets on the tray. Zebu are a type of miniature cows with humpbacks. They are really cute!

In the butterfly garden, there is a giant wooden beehive. Above is a picture of the ceiling of the dome. It was a nice reprieve from the heat. Although it was dreadfully hot, we were able to duck inside for a little bit of shade.

One of my favorite parts of the zoo was the jaguar. It was feeding time for the big cat and was close up and active. This was nice, because most of the other animals were wilted from the heat and laying in clumps around their cages and enclosures.

One of Azalea's favorites was the African porcupine. She said, "It's SOOOOO CUTE!" The porcupine was decorated with an array of black and white striated quills. Check out that adorable little back foot sticking out!

Above is Azalea posing with the African porcupine sculptures. The sculptures doubled as planters, where they planted spiky grasses which very much resembled their quills. I'm actually very familiar with the quills, as they are some of my preferred sculpting tools.

After our adventure, we headed back to my parents' house a bit frazzled and frayed around the edges, but in good spirits. My friend Jennifer came over and we enjoyed some pizza while we talked and spent time with the family snacking and chatting.


TesoriTrovati said...

Sounds like a wonderful way to spend time with family. That Azalea is really growing into a beautiful young lady! And that Max! What a charmer. Enjoy the day.

Kattzzz said...

omg! I don't think it was called the Lazy Gator but the location sounds like a place I ate at years ago and it had the best catfish I ever ate!