Monday, March 19, 2018

Aloha Blog, Adios Facebook

Dear Friends and Followers,

Thank you to the 195 followers of Terra Toby on Facebook! I appreciate you and hope you will all find your way back here to Terra Toby.

Follow me :)
Over the past year or so, I have been doing less and less blogging and more and more on Instagram and Facebook. It's so easy to share interesting things. Oh, I do love seeing the photos from relatives and friends! I enjoy keeping up with the activities of my fave conservation groups and my state and local representatives.

Lately, though, I have been dissatisfied with the level of content on Facebook.  More and more I left the computer feeling down and depressed - the strident politics, the environmental news (some of which I shared on Terra Toby's page), and worst of all the mean, nasty tone of comments on almost everything. I hated seeing the rush to judge some victims after the hurricanes last year, or the invective heaped on the students after the latest school shooting. I could go happily the rest of my life without seeing the term "libtard" ever again. 

I've been evaluating my time on Facebook, asking myself if it was really where I want to be. 

Then the news hit about Facebook selling the data of 50 million users to a propaganda/election influencing company headed by Steve Bannon and the Mercer family. The facts about the tool used to gather the information has been emerging. There's a level of trust that ordinary people have when using and buying apps, like the personal quiz app used to "scrape" the information on every purchaser and every one of their friends. Facebook has violated that trust.

People in the pet blogging community have always left supportive, encouraging, and caring comments. The same is true, in my experience, on Instagram. Upon reflection, I feel more comfortable expressing myself in a forum where I won't be called names and insulted regularly. It's okay if we don't agree on some things - but we should respect each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt. 

I hope you understand my decision to leave Facebook. For now, I'm only deactivated. After letting some time go by to see how that goes, I will probably delete my profile entirely. But the plus is: I'm coming back to blogging and the blogging community.

I'll be making the rounds to check on all my favorite blogs and leave comments this week. I'll start working to provide photos and little posts from my - and Toby's - life right here in this space. See you soon here in Blogville!

Amy and your pal, Toby

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

On The Beach

For Christmas, I was given two weeks in Melbourne Shores, Florida. I was so excited to be going to the beach and escaping the gray cold mid-January weather! And as it turned out, we missed some extreme snow and cold back home. 

Such wonderful sights to see on the beach - 
After the rain...

An empty winter beach meant Toby had some leash-free play.

Portuguese man-o-wars were washing up on the tide in all their vivid color.

Willets and sanderlings are so entertaining.

Two funny great blue herons hung out on the beach in the mornings. They weren't fishing like the ospreys and pelicans. Sometimes they just waded out and stared at the horizon.

And some not-wonderful sights too - marine plastic that washed up on every high tide.

The blue of the balloon could entice a sea turtle to eat it, thinking it's a man-o-war.

We collected a bag of plastic on almost every beach walk. 

The most common debris was bottle caps, tableware, and small shards of plastic. The worst for sea creatures is the balloons (we found several), fishing line, and straws. The weirdest? Toothbrushes, a waterlogged Go-Pro camera,  and cigar tips. 
We kept wondering "what if everybody who visits the beach collected a bag of trash?" but someone was way ahead of us with these ingenious bag dispensers!
We saw a LOT of beachcombers collecting seashells but only one other collecting plastic debris on the beach. What if that were reversed?!?

Melbourne Shores is on a barrier island with the Indian River on the other side. 

Watching the sun set over the river was a treat.

*if you are interested in the marine debris problem, here are two infographics you might like, and a couple of links about how/why plastic harms sea animals.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bbbbrrrr-bye 2017!

And good riddance.
Personally and politically (hey, I love science and the environment) this year has been a bit less wonderful than some others. Not an annus horribilus, as Queen Elizabeth II would say - but I'm looking forward to a happier and healthier 2018. 

Wintry walk today.
As I write this it is about 16 degrees F in southeastern VA. Thank the jet stream and climate change. I thought tea, fireplace, book. Ted and Toby thought otherwise.

We bundled up - wind chill 11 - and went for a five mile walk at Northwest River Park. 

I was wearing three layers…how is he not cold? But he's not. He loves this weather.
Tomorrow I will be running in a 5k "Resolution Race". Expected wind chill is 8 degrees. However snow- or champagne - is a deal breaker. 

Accuweather is no longer predicting snow. So I will likely be freezing my glutes off tomorrow morning. Ushering my 61st New Year in with some running style.

And then getting out of Dodge - to Florida! It was my Christmas gift - two weeks in the sun and warmth when winter is at its dreariest. I'm so excited about escaping from Virginia in a few days. Toby is coming with us to masquerade as a beach dog.

Happy New Year, friends. I hope 2018 holds lots of happiness and excitement and excellent health for all of us.
Christmas Day, a cardinal devouring seeds in our front yard.

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