“Fiddle-dee-dee! War, war, war; this war talk’s spoiling all the fun at every party this spring…” Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind…
Ferns first appear in the fossil record 360 million years ago in the late Devonian period but many of the current families and species did not appear until roughly 145 million years ago
in the early Cretaceous, after flowering plants came to dominate many environments. The fern Osmunda claytoniana is a paramount example of evolutionary stasis. 
Paleontological evidence indicates it has remained unchanged, even at the level of fossilized nuclei and chromosomes, for at least 180 million years. 
Most ferns have what are called fiddleheads that expand into fronds, which are each delicately divided. Fern unfurling

Looking for life in all the right places….

Recent research show that ancient moss could explain why the Ordovician ice ages occurred.
When the ancestors of today’s moss started to spread on land 470 million years ago,
they absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere and extracted minerals by secreting organic acids that dissolved the rocks they were growing on.
These chemically altered rocks in turn reacted with the atmospheric CO2 and formed new carbonate rocks in the ocean through the weathering of calcium and magnesium ions from silicate rocks. The weathered rocks also released a lot of phosphorus and iron which ended up in the oceans, where it caused massive algal blooms, resulting in organic carbon burial, extracting more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Small organisms feeding on the nutrients created large areas without oxygen, which caused a mass extinction of marine species, while the levels of CO2 dropped all over the world, allowing the formation of ice caps on the poles.Moss & Blue sky

Cold Waves in Tampa

A cold wave (known in some regions as a cold snap) is a weather phenomenon that is distinguished by a cooling of the air. 
Specifically, as used by the U.S. National Weather Service, a cold wave is a rapid fall in temperature within a 24-hour period requiring substantially increased protection to agriculture, industry, commerce, and social activities. The precise criterion for a cold wave is determined by the rate at which the temperature falls, and the minimum to which it falls. This minimum temperature is dependent on the geographical region and time of year.In the United States, a cold spell is defined as the national average high temperature dropping below 18 °F (8 °C).Cold Life Guard

Natural-born Citizen

Status as a natural-born citizen of the United States is one of the eligibility requirements established in the United States Constitution for election to the office of President or Vice President. This requirement was intended to protect the nation from foreign influence. 
My mother, Marian Pierce, was a naturalized citizen, having taken her test after graduating from Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida in 1933.
She would study and teach classes on the U.S. Constitution the rest of her 95 years.  
Constitution Book NATURAL BORN CITIZENSIn her book, stained with her marker, was the following.  It is timely and questioned even today… 

My grandfather’s inkwells

An inkwell is a small container used for holding ink in a place convenient for the person who is writing. 
The artist or writer dips the brush, quill, or dip pen into the inkwell as needed.
An inkwell usually has a lid to prevent contamination, evaporation, accidental spillage, and excessive exposure to air. 
Inkwells gradually fell out of use in the early part of 20th century as the reservoir fountain pen (which needs to be filled only occasionally) replaced the dip pen, 
which needed to be dipped in ink after writing a few lines.  
THESE were my grandfather’s childhood inkwells, designed to encourage writing.Orrin Pierce's childhood inkwells


Ye Loyal Krewe of Grace O’Malley was formed in 1992 when fourteen women, active in the Tampa community, had a vision about forming an all female Krewe, as a social organization. Their inspiration being Grace O’Malley, a real female Irish pirate from the 16th century.2016 GIRL PIRATES

Happy Gasparilla!

The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is an annual celebration held in the city of TampaFlorida since 1904. 

Held each year in late January or early February and hosted by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the City of Tampa, 
it celebrates the apocryphal legend of José Gaspar (Gasparilla), a mythical Spanish pirate captain who supposedly operated in Southwest Florida
As of the 100th edition of the Gasparilla Festival in 2015 (it was cancelled during World Wars), 
the parade was the 3rd largest in the United States and had an economic impact of $23 million on Tampa’s economy.2016 GASPARILLA YMKG bead toss