Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Sign Committee

Harry Wallace and his crew from Little Cypress Natives, Florence, put in the landscaping around our new entrance signs this morning! What a nice surprise!

The design is simple. Native plants are used as they are suited for this zone and these particular plants are drought tolerant and very hardy. Signature Redbud trees are planted behind each sign, lending a pretty backdrop highlighting the signage. Three pink muhly grass plants frame each side of both signs.
Most of you are familiar with redbuds but pink muhlys may be new to you. They grow up to 3 feet in height and in the fall will exhibit the most luscious deep pink flowers. It's a clump forming grass that does not need to be trimmed back like other grasses. It's leaves are very fine and a pretty dark forest green. Below is a photo in its autumnal glory.

Merry Christmas from the Bay Hill Sign Committee!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tony & Carolyn Green Address the Conservancy

A large crowd listens intently to Tony & Carolyn Green's visions
for Bay Hill Marina

The Bay Hill Conservancy’s autumn program was enthusiastically embraced by the community. Tony and Carolyn Green, new owners of the Bay Hill Marina and Resort, Captain’s Table Restaurant and Safe Harbor Yacht Sales were overjoyed at the crowd who came to hear about their visions for the marina’s future.

Tony began by thanking attendees for their patience this summer as the purchasing process went on longer than anticipated. However, delay turned into opportunity as Tony and Carolyn were able to observe daily operations and plan changes to implement immediately upon closing. Tony emphasized that this is a village and is advertised as such and they intend to be a part of the village.

Carolyn & Tony Green

Their motto is “Service, Service and More Service,” and they are big believers in FREE. Small things make a difference. One example Tony gave is that when boaters are filling up at the marina pump the children are given free Popsicles, and boaters are given free bags of ice. This seemingly small kindness in turn creates repeat business from happy customers. The Greens believe kindness, generosity and quality service goes full circle.

Fritz & Jayne Schmidt, Bob Rolf talk to Tony before the meeting while Ed Alexander is intent on getting some of the excellent hot wings before they were all gone!

The crowd listens as Tony & Carolyn list their visions, as follows:

New computer system, including a customer card system. These cards can be used for purchases and will allow them to track sales and offer discounts at various levels of use.

WiFi is now available at the restaurant and they will be expanding it marina wide.

They plan to change one fuel pump to diesel.

Electrical currents of boaters have been inspected. Boat owners must comply with safety standards.

Captain’s Table restaurant will remain open until the end of the year, closing January & February. They are accepting orders for smoked ham or turkey for Thanksgiving, and they WILL BE OPEN and serving Thanksgiving meals. They also provide event catering.

The store on the dock will become a convenience store, ship store and boutique.

First Order of Business is to clean up the overall site. This will take some time.

Their goal is a clean EPA Certificate.

They will become a TVA Certified Green Marina.

A recycling program at the marina and a recycling system for boaters.

Marina sewer and pump-out system are currently undergoing renovations.

Replace the barrier barges with enough rip rap to create a much larger harbor.

Expand the harbor 300 feet, adding more docks that will include a golf cart accessible convenience store and restaurant.

Talk to the Village HOAs about creating a Community District, which will allow the restaurants to have a private club license.

Employing a grant writer to help them find funding for the many opportunities they envision.

Possibly leasing Limestone Park, east of the bay from the marina, acquiring a 30 year lease and convert it to a high-end RV park and add a dock at the boat ramp.

Planning “floating cottages.” These cottages will be rentals where boaters can pull up, park and stay overnight

Planning more efficient use of boat slips and dry stack, including pull up ramps for jet skis and PWC’s.

New, well-equipped pontoons and cruisers available for rental in Spring 2009.

The pool/fitness meeting room will set up as a meeting room for the Coast Guard Auxiliary and as a boater’s lounge.

Why is it people don't like to sit on the front row?
(...except brave Jim & Sue Starke)
Must go back to our school daze.
In closing, Tony and Carolyn emphasized how happy they are to be here, and how much they love the community. They looked at many marinas but kept coming back to Bay Hill Marina because of the tremendous potential they saw. Tony opened the floor for questions, which were addressed as follows:

They will offer jet ski winterizing, and other boat services.

The pool & fitness area will be secured and security cameras installed for surveillance. The HOA at Rivers Edge is also working with Tony on security issues.

A handrail will be installed at the steps leading up to the swimming pool.

Tony proposed working with the HOA’s to keep the area attractive and to maintain the roads.

When asked if the marina plans to install a boat launch ramp Tony responded that they would like to but don’t have the space to accommodate one.

Tony wants to enforce the one way street from the marina office to the restaurant.
Tony and Carolyn thanked everyone for coming and encouraged us to stay, mingle and feast upon the ample snacks and soft drinks provided by Captain’s Table Restaurant. Bottled water was provided by Carroll Adams and Debi Bradford. Beautiful autumn decorations were provided by Patty Atha.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

November Program

Tony & Carolyn Green, Owners
Bay Hill Marina
Captain's Table Restaurant

The Bay Hill Conservancy is proud to announce the autumn program. Tony and Carolyn Green, the new owners of Bay Hill Marina and the Captain's Table Restaurant will give a presentation to the Bay Hill Conservancy. The entire neighborhood, including the Ledges, boat owners and the media are invited. Come on down and bring a friend!

Sunday, November 2, 2008
Marina meeting room (next to marina pool)

Tony and Carolyn will tell us how they discovered Bay Hill Marina, where they hail from and what their plans are for the marina's future. Please join us in welcoming the Greens to our beautiful Village.

Snacks provided by Captain's Table Restaurant

Bottled water will be provided.

For more information, contact:

Carroll Adams or Debi Bradford

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Autumn's Coming to Bay Hill Village

Members of the Bay Hill Conservancy and Bay Hill Village overall have enjoyed a lovely summer of vacations and staycations, and many are looking forward to the autumnal bliss filled with color and that special "fall light."

Carroll and Debi are planning a Very Special Program for October - date TBA. Watch your e-mails and this blog for details. In the meantime, enjoy excerpts from an article Debi found in the August-September 2006 issue of Cabin Life Magazine.

Loving Your Lake
10 Tips for keeping your water clean and healthy - forever
By Steve McComas

"How can you ensure that the lake you love remains beautiful and healthy for generations to come? You can show your love for your lake by incorporating these 10 tips into your lake life.

1. Buff up the buffer: A lakeside buffer is a growth of unmowed native vegetation from the shoreline extending to upland areas. Grass mowed down to the edge of the water is not a true buffer. Although it provides groundcover, it is not effective for filtering pollutants in runoff water, and it's poor wildlife habitat.

2. Let a fallen tree lie: Shallow water near the shores of lakes are vital nurseries for all fish species as well as a variety of birds and animals. Practically all fish species rely on nearshore habitat at some point in their life cycle. Deadfall - such as a fallen tree in the water - provides great habitat

3. Control exotics: If exotic species are present in your lake, they will be nearly impossible to eradicate. Is there a prevention program in your lake? Does your lake association mail out information on spotting and controlling exotics plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil?

4. Minimize mowed lawns: Rainwater and snowmelt runoff can deliver clean and pure water to a lake - and that's a good thing - or it can deliver fertilizer components and sediments - and those are bad things. Mimic Mother Nature's work if you can.

5. Avoid fertilizing: A native groundcover should thrive without fertilizer. However, if you do use fertilizer consider using phosphorus-free varieties.

6. Balance plants and algae: A battle is always raging in lakes between plants and algae. When plants win, the result is usually clear lake water. You can help the plants win.

7. Maintain that septic system: A malfunctioning septic tank system can contaminate nearby drinking water wells and deliver unwanted materials to the lake.

8. Catch and release: Why is fishing fun? One of the reasons is fish taste good. Releasing most large fish back to the lake helps maintain balance through the fish community.

9. Keep things in check: Sometimes just a simple visual checkup can help point you in the right direction. Example - check the runoff patterns on your lot (is it eroding, is there sheet flow, any problems?), check water running off roofs and gutters, check detergents and use non-phosphorous detergents if possible; properly store hazardous chemicals.

10. Monitor the lake health: Several benchmark tests can be used to gauge lake status and some things can be monitored just for fun. Daily journals of wildlife observations and lake phenomena can be handy references.

So keep a journal, let your shoreline grow au natural, release the lunkers and fertilize your garden with leftover bait minnows. All these activities can make your lake a little bit better. And if you and our neighbors all take care of your lake, it can be enjoyed by many, many generations to come."

To read the complete article click on this link: "Loving Your Lake"

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Spirit Award to Villas II

Most mornings find me walking my faithful companion, Baylee, our "Berniel." (Bernese Mountain Dog meets Spaniel) We usually walk to the marina and back, with occasional side trips to the barges to sit and watch the sun rise over the eastern shore before returning home.

Baylee is always on alert for the odd dove or dog or cat or killdeer, which amuses her to no end, as does smelling each blade of grass and every shrub. For myself, I enjoy the scenery. This spring I've been delighted each morning walking the sidewalk past Villas II, and have made their houses a must for my morning "House & Garden Tour."

Villas II epitomizes all that each of us desire in a neighborhood. These neighbors have banded together and agreed to form a corridor filled with flowers and American flags. This work in progress has been a joy to watch. Our generous spring rains coaxed early blooms in abundance across the street from my house. Each house has also decorated with fun lakeside adornments that make me smile with each passing.

I sent them a note in May and asked if I could take photos of their yards to post them on our Conservancy blog. This isn't necessarily Bay Hill Conservancy educational material, granted. However, Carroll and I both feel compelled to recognize Villas II as an area that is working together to create the kind of beauty and camaraderie we all wish to see throughout this neighborhood. "It Takes A Village" is an over-used phrase, but most certainly it applies here at Bay Hill. Please take a moment to drive or stroll past Villas II and soak up the beauty that they have created. As far as the Conservancy, we just wish to recognize their efforts and give them a Virtual Spirit Award. Congratulations, Villas II!

Please enjoy these photos of the gardens and houses of those who agreed to be photographed:

Betty Harrison's villa

Wayne & Deb Bullard's villa

Brad and Tricia Bratcher's villa

Bob & Mary Radant's villa

Betty Benson's villa

There are other villas within villas II that were not recognized because permission wasn't given. My thanks to Villas II residents who allowed me to share their houses and yards with us all. Well done!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Weird, Obnoxious Swarming Things

Yesterday's rains were liquid gold to the farmers, added several inches to our depleted water table, and brought that special God-given green to our lawns and plants. It also caused various birds and creatures to seek shelter during the all-day downpour. Unfortunately, some of us at Bay Hill attracted millions and millions and millions of what I've been calling those Weird, Obnoxious Swarming Things to our porches and doorways, and plastered upon our houses. They reminded me of Maylies the way they hummed overhead and lifted up in frenzied angst when you walked by them. See the photo above? They were that thick all over my porch and house. Ick.

They don't bite, they don't eat foliage or fruits, but they do emit a black, tarry goo that's close to impossible to remove. What ARE these things? Where did they COME from?!

Ah, I know. I'll ask Damien Simbeck, our TVA Wildlife Biologist and Friend of Bay Hill.

A section of the ceiling of our front porch. It was like this everywhere.

A close up of a male Weird, Obnoxious Swarming Thing, and some of the tarry, black goo. Males have a slighter body with antennae. Females are heavier, darker, with no antennae. I know this because of their lustful advances that occurred on the window of my front door. Ahem.
Damien answered my e-mail quickly, and Carroll and I wanted you all to know what these creatures are.
In Damien's own words: "Appears to be one of the many Chironomids (midges) found in this area. This group is VERY diverse, and VERY common. The larvae are very tolerant of variable water quality conditions, so they are typically found everywhere. Although they do have population fluctuations, they are usually common every summer around the area (any where near water, that is). Like you said, they do not bite (or even feed as adults). They merely live a day or two, reproduce, then die. The entire population will probably emerge, reproduce and die within a few weeks, then they will be gone until next year (of course, other species have the same cycle, and they may emerge at different times of the year).

I have not seen a decrease in mayfly populations along the area reservoirs. May be a local decline (movement of populations, changes in reservoir substrate, etc.) that you are noticing at Bay Hill. The same cause(s) may explain the recent increase in midge populations."
Note: I had asked him about the decrease in Mayfly populations, but apparently that's just happening here.
So now we all know that these Weird, Obnoxious Swarming Things are - Midges.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Entrance Signs!

East Side Entrance Sign
You've no doubt noticed the new entrance signs at the corner of Bay Hill Avenue and Snake Road. These are high-quality signs, made with stone and wrought iron with a cast metal sign. As well, you may have noticed the iron and stone work at the "T" of Bay Hill Avenue and Bay Village Drive. The new entrance signs are finished, but the contractor made an error on the directional sign so it is being re-worked and is due to be installed soon.

West Side Entrance Sign

We now have appropriate signage to let family and visitors know that they've come to the right place, and it's taken a Village to accomplish this. The Bay Hill Sign Committee thanks each and every one of you who contributed personal funds so that our Village can be appropriately marked for not only friends and family, but delivery services, fire trucks, ambulances, school buses, horse-back riders, bicyclists, UFOs, or whatever and whoever needs to find us.

Direction Sign at the "T"

Oh, I know what you're thinking. Yeah, the signs are great....but the land around them looks terrible! The signs are low to the ground and there is a lot of stuff behind them competing for attention. The marina clearly overshadows the east-side sign, and the west-side sign has that house behind it. The west-side sign has other problems as well, like a row of old boxwoods between it and the street, and a light pole. Clearly, obviously, and without a doubt more work has to be done.

You will be pleased to know that several landscaping plans have been visited, and even more may be proposed. BUT NOTE - any landscaping for that area must and will wait until autumn. Why? This summer the drought is expected to continue, and that could be the death knell for any new plants put in those particular areas. Again, why? New plants required LOTS of water and attention in order to become established. The Bay Hill Conservancy has recommended the use of native plants which, when established, will require lots less maintenance. However, they must be established just like any other plant. Water is key, and the water issue will be worked out before autumn. Autumn, winter and spring rains, if we get them, are critical. Regardless, even through winter, watering has to be monitored even if we half to schlep gallon jugs of H20 in the back of our cars or golf carts and hand water each plant.

So, keep your eyes on the prize - next spring they will be Fabulous!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Patty Kimm Gallery #2 - Casper and the Mallards

Larry & Patty's cat, Casper, would like to befriend the Mallards

The Mallards snub Casper and head into the bay

There are apparently lots of tasty snacks for the Mallards here.

This appears to be Mallard nirvana
One of Bay Hill Conservancy's missions is to provide education about our our flora and fauna. Since Patty has generously shared her Mallard pictures, the least I can do is offer some Mallard Facts. You can check out the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Mallard page by clicking the link provided and learn even more, but here are some "Cool Facts" Cornell offers:
"The Mallard is the ancestor of nearly all domestic duck breeds (everything except the Muscovy Duck). Many of the domestic breeds look like the wild birds, but usually are larger. They are variable in plumage, often lacking the white neck ring or having white on the chest. Feral domestic ducks breed with wild Mallards and produce a variety of forms that often show up with wild ducks, especially in city parks.
Mallard pairs are generally monogamous, but paired males actively pursue forced extra-pair copulations. Copulation between members of a pair usually takes place in the water after a long bout of elaborate displays. Forced copulations are not preceded by displays, and several males may chase a single female and mate with her.

Mallard pairs form long before the spring breeding season. Pairing takes place in the fall, but courtship can be seen all winter. Only the female incubates the eggs and takes care of the ducklings."
BTW, I can't explain why Blogger messes up my paragraph spacing. It just does sometimes.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Patty Kimm Gallery #1

The Bay Hill Conservancy is fortunate to have such talented photographes in our ranks. Patty Kimm has shared some outstanding photos from her "catbird seat" in Phase 1. Each of us have experienced glorious sights on this river system never before seen. Sunsets can be a vivid museum-quality Dutch oil painting. Sunrises have upon occasion been so crimson that for all I knew the sky was bleeding.

Storms never fail to impress us with the havoc they play on the water's surface. Just last week there were 6 foot swells washing over our decks.

Who can forget the tornado that plowed through the marina, and hurricane's Katrina and Rita? I cannot imagine the fury of those hurricanes further south, as here it was quite frightening. Thank you for sharing your photos with us, Patty. Her next set of photos will be posted soon.