Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates: Part 4

Continuing our tour of the grounds of the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, we encounter a very nice Banyan Tree specimen.

In a similar vein, how impressive are these ribbons of roots from some type of Ficus Tree (related to Banyan). For me, they bring back memories of trips to the Flamingo Orange Groves when I lived in Fort Lauderdale during my high school years. We went there for fresh squeezed orange juice but had fun climbing on the roots — as well as viewing the exotic animals that roamed the grounds such as pea fowl and water birds — plus the exotic plants like orchids and, yes, orange trees. It has been years since I visited what is now Flamingo Gardens which, in addition to a new name, has evolved into a non-profit botanical garden and wildlife sanctuary. Perhaps I will have to go again the next time I am in Florida.

Nearby we found a cluster of fruit or nuts on a palm tree. Quite impressive.

Of course, we were never far from the Caloosahatchee River — here you see the shoreline behind the estates. There is something so relaxing about being close to the water — unless there is a major hurricane headed your way.

Where you have shoreline, you are bound to find shore birds — in this case, a bit of Google research suggests that this is a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron. According to the website I found, it is commonly found in Nevis, an island in the Caribbean. If so, this one is far from home — but perhaps it has less competition for the crabs that make up its diet.

Here we see the remains of the pier that Edison built to facilitate bringing in building and other supplies — remember that the road system was not very extensive at the time that he was building his home and other structures. There is a warning sign to stay off the pier — I would have thought common sense would tell you to stay off, it looks pretty rickety — although common sense seems to be a rare commodity these days.

Ah, after a hard day of inventing, I can imagine Edison and his wife relaxing on this fine patio next to the pool...

but only for a few minutes until jumping in to cool off. Can you close your eyes and imagine Thomas Edison in one of those turn-of-the-century bathing suits? No? I can't either.

(By the way, did you know those bathing suits are still available? Check it out — click here for men's or here for women's suits.)

Behind the pool is a pond with plenty of vegetation planted around it. I hope they stocked it with fish that eat mosquito larva. Otherwise sitting by the pool might not be as pleasant as you hoped for.

And we end today's tour with the lord of the pond. Perhaps he might chow down on a mosquito or two.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com