Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Apalachee Council House Artifacts

These are the last of the Council House photos. In the first image, you can see a closeup of the beds that are all around the edge of the outside wall. The Apalachee natives would sleep there before an attack or before going to war. I didn't count them, but the Council House is 120 ft in diameter, so there were quite a few of these beds.

The mats are basically the same woven mats as you've seen on every table and on the benches and floors throughout the village. I believe they were woven by the women from Palm fronds. These mats were laid on a bed made of logs as were the tables and benches.

These two artifacts were found on the grounds during the excavations by the archaeologists. The bucket looks like the ones that can be found at many antique auctions and in antique stores. They're fairly common.

That clay jug is beautifully done. The craftsmanship is amazing. Those holes are purely for decoration. They don't go all the way through (or the liquid would leak out). I like what looks like salad tongs of today on the sides. I'd love to have one of these.

Tomorrow's post will be the interior of one of the houses of an Apalachee family. Be sure to come back and have a look.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Grounds and Artifacts at Mission San Luis 2

This is another view of the vegetable garden on the grounds of Mission San Luis in Tallahassee, Florida. The Apalachee Indians had different work for both women and men. The men cleared fields, hunted and fished for food, did the building and made tools. The women collected wild foods, tended the gardens and crops, reared children, cooked, made clay dishes and pots, ground corn and grains and prepared skins.

Pictured here is one of many clay pots found on the excavation site. It has a piece of leather skin covering it. The rattle (I'm guessing what that is) is made from an animal hoof and some kind of dried gourd.

The other photo shows some woven baskets in the process of being made. The same type of weave was used for the table coverings and for the beds around the inside of the walls of the Council House.

The Council House was used for all kinds of things besides meetings. There were religious and ceremonial activities, including dances, rituals and preparations for war.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Grounds and Artifacts at Mission San Luis

The grounds at Mission San Luis are beautifully manicured. I was surprised when I went to Tallahassee to hear that they have 4 distinct seasons. In St Petersburg, we are more sub-tropical and our seasons kind of blend together. We have no bare trees to speak of, and our grass is green all year unless there's a drought. There are also hills and mountains in Tallahassee unlike St Pete, where everything is flat. One would never guess both cities are in the same state.

In the foreground is one of the gardens where vegetables are grown. Right now, there's not much growing because it is Winter, but in the Spring and Summer, it is full of seasonal veggies. If you look closely, you can see the Friary in the background. I have more on that to show in a future post. It is still a working Friary today.

This artifact was recovered during the excavations I mentioned in an earlier post. I have no idea what it is used for, but I'm amazed at all the carving the natives did with primitive tools. Those swirls must've taken a long time to carve into that stone. It could be clay and they had some sort of mold; I'm not sure, but it looks like stone to me.

In the photo below, that definitely is a jaw, but if you look closely, there are rows of teeth like a shark. I don't know where they'd find a shark skeleton, since they're about 85 - 100 miles of the shore. It is also skewed and I can't figure out how they did that, or what they planned on doing with it.

These artifacts make me more curious about their culture, how they lived and worked and the technology they had. We only know so little about the Apalachee way back in the day around 300 years ago. Life must've been pretty tough for them.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Home on Mission San Luis Grounds and Artifacts

Whenever I travel and do the "tourist" thing, I try to make a photo of every sign at the place so I can remember what I saw. Apparently, I missed this sign. I remember seeing it and now I don't remember what this building was and when it was built.

Not knowing the significance of this home on the grounds of Mission San Luis which was obviously built during a later period makes me curious now. That is the reason I tell my photography students to take pictures of any signs when visiting for the first time. This is the consequence of not following my own advice. If any of you have visited the Mission and know what this house signifies, please let me know in the comments. I certainly would appreciate it. The mission was used until 1967 so this home could be that one of the leaders or maybe it was the home of a prominent citizen.

The second photo was on a table in the Council House. (If any of you didn't see that photo, just look back a couple of days to find it and to learn more about Mission San Luis in Tallahassee.) These look like they could be either eating or cooking utensils. Your guess is as good as mine. I wish the volunteer was able to spend more time with me so I'd know what these were used for.

The final clay pot was used as a smudge pot and was on the same table as the others. There were smudge pots on all the tables and near all the "beds" along the outer walls of the Council House. The smudge pots were for burning corn cobs to keep the mosquitos away.

The Apalachee Indians wasted nothing. There was no such thing as trash in those early days. They were the original "green people". We could learn a lot from them.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Some Artifacts from Mission San Luis

I guess by now you're all figuring out I had a wonderful time at the Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. I learned so much about the Apalachee Indians and the Spaniards that co-existed at the mission.

The artifacts to the left were found during one of the archaeological digs. The archaeological investigations began in the 1940's by three founding fathers of Archaeology. They were John W Griffin in 1948, Hale G Smith in 1950 and Charles H Fairbanks in 1956 and 1957.

Once Florida bought the site, the archaeology staff continued to conduct systematic excavation in the fort and the village from 1990 to 2002. These are some of their finds.

The skeletal remains were on the tables in the Council House. I have no idea what they came from, but the one on the bottom seems to be from some kind of canine, I think. If anyone of you out there can shed some light on the subject, I'd sure be interested in knowing and very appreciative.

The woman I was speaking with that was explaining everything to me had to go to guard the chickens because the other lady on the grounds saw a Fox. She wasn't quite finished, so I didn't get a chance to ask about these skeletal remains.

This one looks like some kind of canine, but I could be wrong. I'm not a Vet or an Archaeologist.

The second one is anyone's guess. It doesn't look like a skull. I can't imagine what it came from. I can't even tell what body part it is. It's an interesting piece, though. It doesn't look like it could've been used as a tool, so why was it kept? I wish I had the answers. Maybe I'll never know.

I think that's the end of the gross stuff. I promise tomorrow night the stuff will be a little bit easier to look at.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Apalachee Council House Interior

This is a 7-shot panoramic image of the inside of the Apalachee Council House. If you saw my blog last night, you saw the outside. You'll have to click on this photo to see all the detail.

The women were not allowed in the Council House during meetings, but they came in here to do some of their work. The tables contain various artifacts of things in progress, like some unfinished baskets, Hickory nuts, they gathered and several pelts they were drying.

In the center of the room, there is a pile of wood they burned 24/7. The smoke went out the open hole in the top. When I asked the guide what kept the rain out, she told me the heat of the fire and the smoke evaporated the rain immediately so it (the rain) didn't get in and get the place all wet.

Under the tables are little black holes. They're called smug pots. They burned corn cobs in them to keep out the mosquitos. Along the edges of the hut are beds made from woven Palm fronds. Nothing was ever wasted. They'd crack the Hickory nuts and make mush out of them. The meat and inner shell was used to make a tea that had enough caffeine as several pots of coffee. The outer shell was boiled down to make paint and dye for their furniture and clothing.

All the tools were handmade.

I'll be posting detailed shots of some of the artifacts from inside the Council House in later posts.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mission San Luis

This is the entrance to the Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. It is the last look at the 21st century until you leave this magnificent place.

Mission San Luis was built in 1656. It burned down in 1987 and this community has been recreated by the City of Tallahassee. Everything here is rebuilt with artifacts found around the place and from archeological digs.

In all, there are 60 acres to explore and that includes a nature trail of sort (it's not actually a trail; it's more like a walk in the woods) where you'll find many species of birds, fox, and all types of wildlife.
Pictured here is the Apalachee Indian council house, built by Apalachees. At over 120 feet in diameter, the council house is among the largest Indian structures ever built in the Southeast. It wasn’t uncommon for the council house to hold 1,500 or more people in the 1690s.

There is not enough space to give you all a tour, but I'll be posting more from this community in later posts.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wildlife at the Tallahassee Museum

Well, you might know, my last day off while in Tallahassee and it's raining. It's going to rain all day.

I had planned to go to the Mission San Luis today, but with the rain, it's simply impossible.

Can you just imagine a museum with a wildlife trail? The Tallahassee Museum has it all. I'm not kidding. What a surprise when I discovered this nature trail and the wildlife within it. I'll be posting a few photos from the nature trail.

This White-tailed Deer was one of several I saw on the trail. I shot this from the boardwalk. This guy thought he was pretty well hid amongst the Palms and as he watched me, I was able to get this shot. He was a beauty!

This was another White-tailed Deer I saw out in the open in the Cypress grove. I'm pretty sure he was munching on some bark from that fallen tree. I must've seen 4 or 5 Deer in all.

Besides Deer, I saw Wild Turkey, a River Otter, a Bobcat, a Black Bear and a Gray Fox. Watch for future posts of these magnificent animals as I get them edited and ready for posting.

Judging from the rain we're getting, it looks like I'll be editing pictures all day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tallahassee Capitol Complex

I do apologize again! The hotel I'm at has horrible Wifi and it seems it's down more than up. I guess you get what you pay for; their Wifi is free. So I'm unable to post every night--only when I have service. Until I get back home, I'll post more than one photo whenever I can.

This top photo is of the Senate building at the Tallahassee Capitol Complex. It sits to the left of the old Capitol Building.

For those of you not from Florida, Tallahassee is the capitol of our state. This is the first time I've been here, so I'm doing the tourist thing, trying to get some sightseeing and shooting on my days off. My last day off, I went to the Tallahassee Museum. You can see a couple photos from that adventure in my last post. I'll probably be posting pix from both places in the next few posts.

This second shot is of the Florida Vietnam Veterans' Memorial and it is on the grounds of the Tallahassee Capitol Complex in front of the Old Capitol Building.

Inscribed on its walls are the names of the veterans from Florida who gave their life to keep us free and of those missing in action. The walls support a 40-foot American Flag.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Seaboard Air Line Caboose

The Seaboard Air Line Caboose is on display in the Big Bend area of the Tallahassee Museum. This car ran from 1924 to 1963. Inside the caboose, one can see the sink, icebox, water, a stove, closets and bunks which were used by the crew.

There were 10 cabooses in all with each caboose having their own slogan, which was keyed to the last number. According to this plan, this one should be, "Look Around Getting Down".

The Seaboard Air Line Railroad was in operation from 1900 to 1967, when it merged with the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. It then became the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad. In the '50's, the route mileage was a little more than 4,000 miles.

According to Wikipedia, Air line, in the days before air travel became a reality, was a common term for the shortest distance between two points: a straight line drawn through the air (or on a map), ignoring natural obstacles. Hence, a number of 19th century railroads used "air line" in their titles to suggest that their routes were shorter than those of competing roads.

Friday, February 10, 2012


While on a 10-day business trip to Tallahassee, I've decided to spend my days off sightseeing. Today was my first day off, so I went to the Tallahassee Museum.

This museum is mainly outside. It specializes in Tallahassee's history and it reminds me of Heritage Village in Largo.

There are many historical buildings built and used around the turn of the century in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

This shot is of the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church. I have no idea why I didn't think to take a shot of the stained glass windows, but I was more interested in the altar and the view from the back of the church.

This second shot is of the Concord Schoolhouse. It served as a one-room school from 1898 until 1968. It was originally built for the children of slaves.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Anastasi

The Anastasi at the end of a long day diving for sponge. This is just one of many sponge boats docked at the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

The Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs is a must see if you ever visit this area. The sponge industry is responsible for building a Greek community like no other around. Here, one can see a free movie showing the history of the sponge docks and how it has developed this small Greek village.

As you walk up and down Dodecanese Avenue along the Sponge Docks, you'll see many boats like this laden with sponge. There are many of the best Greek restaurants and bakeries along the Sponge Docks with some of the best authentic Greek food around. You'll also find about 100 little boutiques where souvenirs can be purchased, and beautiful hand made doilies, scarfs, jewelry and soaps are being sold. There are also a few antique stores. The aquarium has a live shark tank that divers feed a couple times daily along with a petting tank. Everything is priced reasonably.

It's a great way to spend a day for very little money and have fun as well.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Snowy Egret

The Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) can easily be identified by they're bright, yellow feet. If you look closely, you can see his feet through the water. They are also considerably smaller than the Great Egret. They are in the Heron family.

When alarmed, they raise the feathers on their head in a display fashion. They can be seen sprinting rapidly through shallow water when they're feeding. They often feed in groups.

They are resident in Florida and can be found in coastal beaches, marshes and inland waterways.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tarpon Pointe Grill & Tiki Bar

In keeping with my New Year's Resolution, I missed yesterday, so I'm making up for it by posting 2 photos today. It works out better that way anyway since they're both of the same subject.

This is the Tarpon Pointe Grill & Tiki Bar on the Manatee Landings Marina in Bradenton, Florida.

It's unique since it takes up the whole marina and it sits on a point out there in the middle of the Manatee River. This bar is a fun place and the food is to die for.

They have plenty of activities, like volleyball on the beach, a Polynesian Luau is planned for the 25th of this month, they have a regular jam night, and live music every night.

They have 600 ft of docking space and a 3,000 sq ft Tiki hut, built by the Seminole Indians. If you're ever in the area check them out; even if you're not in the area, it's worth the trip. (Sorry to sound like a commercial, no one is paying me for this and I do not know the owners.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Great Horned Owl

While at Taylor Park, we spotted a Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus). Great Horned Owls can be found throughout the Americas in forests, deserts, open country, swamps and city parks. They are fairly common.

They feed on Grouse, rabbits, beetles, lizards and frogs.

They are the largest of American "earred" owls.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Taylor Lake

A group of us from one of my photography clubs went to John S Taylor Park in Largo, early this evening. This is a regular Thursday night meetup for macro and close-up practice. As you can see, this isn't exactly close-up.

This is beautiful Taylor Lake. It is a 53-acre lake and is just loaded with various aquatic birds. The two birds in silhouette in the foreground are American Coots (Fulica americana). Coots are in the Rail family.

John S Taylor park is 156.5 acres. "Amenities include:
  • ball field
  • boat ramp
  • disc golf
  • fishing
  • multi-purpose trail
  • parking
  • picnic area
  • playground equipment
  • restrooms
  • seven picnic shelters & grills

Who was John S. Taylor?

Development of this park began in 1958.

This park was named in honor of John S. Taylor. A staunch supporter of Pinellas County’s independence from Hillsborough, Mr. Taylor ironically served as a Hillsborough County State Representative from 1905 until defeated in 1910 for his stand on creating a separate Pinellas. As a lobbyist attending the 1911 session of the legislature, he successfully assisted the effort for Pinellas independence in 1912. Mr. Taylor also served as a State Senator, Mayor of Largo, President of the Florida Citrus Exchange and as a Member of the State Citrus Commission. Not only was he one of the county’s landowners of vast acreage, he owned one of the most successful citrus growing and packing businesses in Florida." -