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   Make no mistake about it: the same lands we fought so hard to maintain as wild spaces within the Alachua Forever guidelines are under attack again this Nov. 8th.  It’s the Plum Creek nightmare all over again for our citizens. This first affront to common sense came under the guise of Envison Alachua, a proposal that sought to develop and mine Alachua County’s green spaces.  The Plan’s primary backer was Weyerhaeuser, a company  currently on the US Toxic round-up list, Canada’s Toxic violators list plus the company is being sued in at least three counties in Europe for creating toxic waste sites.

Why do I think Weyerhaeuser is behind the signs placed about town that ask voters to vote against funding Alachua’s Wild Spaces? Basically, the company’s slimy phosphogypsum (more on this later)* foot print is all over the message on those signs, the ones that claim the measure will increase taxes. NOT SO!

   The measure to vote for funding Wild Spaces is a RENEWAL of the same tax measure we, the voters, elected to pass in 2008. It doesn’t represent a tax increase as claimed on the signs, but rather the preservation of Alachua County’s wild spaces. So why the lie on the signs? Why the misdirection? Why the I couldn’t fool you with Envision Alachua last time so I’ll try again by claiming the Wild Spaces measure is a tax increase?

   The rub is mostly about the 37, 495 acres in Alachua County, the Lochloosa Forest. It’s part of Alachua’s Wild Spaces, part of lands kept, supported and maintained by the tax that will be renewed if this measure passes.  Weyerhaeuser and other developers would love this land to be underfunded. Then, they might get it.

Currently, 443,210 acres of Florida are under phosphate mines, and companies that  use and development these and new phosphate mines earned a cool  1.13 Billion dollars in the year, 2000. That’s a heap of cash, and this mining process creates not only thousands of jobs, it renders Florida mountains of problems.

To make it simple, earth containing Phosphate is about 30 feet below ground level.  The earth that’s over the phosphate is called the Matrix, or overburden.  Thing is, once the Matrix is cleared away and the phosphate is extracted from the earth the dirt that’s left is full of  stuff called phosphogypsum-way back when people used to see huge mounds of this dirt near the phosphate mines…remember? Perhaps, if you’re my age, you played on those mounds as a kid.

The EPA came along not too long ago and discovered that phosphogypsum was full of radium, it’s radioactive, and it had to actually be kept in tall stacks-like cooling towers-for public safety. Currently,  over a billion tons of radioactive phosphygpsum is being held in 25 stacks located around the State of Florida. Worse, when the phosphate companies go belly up they walk away from the radioactive towers leaving them for our state to clean up. The cost of cleanup for just three of these towers in Florida recently cleared 160 million tax dollars.

phosphatedragline_5
(Phosphate mine in Florida—they’re no good for hiking.)
   Yeah-no. Alachua County residents have to vote “YES”  on the WILD SPACES measure.
   We love our green spaces, Nature, and we don’t need big business lying to us while trying to erode our support for our environment. We also don’t need phosphate mining in Alachua County.  Those company’s can keep their mines elsewhere and the 140 million they spend yearly on trying to monitor their pollution controls.
    Here’s the dirt on the measure,  Wild Spaces and Trails:

   “The Alachua County Commission has placed a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot to rejuvenate the county’s conservation land-purchasing program, Wild Spaces Public Places. Voting YES on this measure would extend the program for eight years and raise $130.2 million to protect more that 27,000 acres of parks and recreation lands that remain on the acquisition list.

 

These funds would also help pay for Gainesville’s $81 million parks, recreation and culture master plan, and fund park improvements for Alachua County and the county’s nine smaller municipalities.

If you believe saving water and land through Alachua County Forever, and improving our parks, trails, and recreational facilities is important, then vote YES for WILD SPACES AND PUBLIC PLACES on November 8, 2016.”http://www.fcvoters.org/wild-spaces/

    See you around town, or in the woods, parks and trails. Isn’t that nice.
Franque23

Did you know that 5 tons of phosphogypsum is created when just one ton of phosphate is produced? Me, neither-that’s a bad trade-off…

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April showers have already brought April flowers-(Click on the pics for a much better view)

The red single Hibiscus is a simple reliable bloomer---I find the different varieties of this plant amazing.

The single red Hibiscus is a simple reliable bloomer—I find the different varieties of this plant amazing. The petal is extremely soft to the touch.

With American’s declaring war on about everything, drugs, immigrants, poverty, crime, being fat, too thin, a commie, cop, black man, social security recipient, slacker, rapper or street walker, etc….I thought a reconnaissance of my yard this spring was in order.

Our Hibiscus flanks a walkway now surrounded by twenty foot high Oranges trees, a Valencia, a red seedless navel plus one grapefruit.  I bought these on the same day about 8 years ago….at the time, they all fit nicely in my back seat.

We've nine oranges trees of differing variities but only six are yeilding-three more have to age a bit more.

We’ve nine oranges trees of differing varieties but only six are yielding-three more have to age a bit more.(Shadow stands in for a size comparison.)

I open the front door and love this sight.

The path less taken steps by the bird bath, roses and our Old Man's Beard Tree...currently in full bloom.

The path less taken steps by the bird bath, roses and our Old Man’s Beard Tree…currently in full bloom.

I remember this rose as being a Tea Rose, but the size of this year’s blooms have me scratching my head…..

The not Tea Rose plant?!?!

The not Tea Rose plant?!?!

See?

A handful for a Tea Rose.

A handful for a Tea Rose.

Nearby, underneath the Old Man’s Beard Tree, we have a number of pineapples growing. This year’s warm winter seems to have started the pineapples bearing about 6 months early…

I've nine pineapples coming, but I suspect they may be on the small size-we'll see!

I’ve nine pineapples coming, but I suspect they may be on the small size-we’ll see!

See last years pineapple came in large, and of course, I planted the tops.

See? Last year’s pineapple came in large, and of course, I planted the tops.

Over all yard view….

a bit of trimming and upkeep, but I like the feel. It's a reason to get out and listen to the birds and Hawks above.

It takes a bit of trimming and upkeep. Thing is, I like the feel. Landscaping, planting gardens for food or flowers and random trees to flower or fruit, it’s a reason to get out and listen to the birds and Hawks above.

Our “Victory Garden”* is located to the left of shot above. Beans, tomatoes, egg plants, herbs, yellow squash, zucchini, lettuce. peppers-yellow, green, red-and banana peppers, everything is coming along fine.340

My buddy stays close at hand and helps me routinely patrol the yard for squirrels…

Shadow is my backup,,or am I his,,not certain.

Shadow is my backup,,or am I his,,not certain.

Shadow reminds me each morning to check the pool for snakes or unwanted stray cats.

Shadow reminds me each morning to check the pool for snakes or unwanted stray cats.

Speaking of monring....our yard has several spots where lovely Mexican Juniper blooms appear anew each day,,dropping most pedals by night only to burst forth more blooms by morning.

Speaking of morning….our yard has several spots where lovely Mexican Petunia blooms appear anew each day,,dropping most pedals by night only to burst forth more blooms by morning.(drought resistant)

 I love these, though they last only a few days…the Amaryllis Belladonna, or Naked Lady plant…Great thru droughts, a delicate bloom in clusters. And, at the risk of turning this into a drought resistant plant blog, I have to add the wonderful Plumbago-

Just breaking out in bloom

Just breaking out in bloom

 

It's another no brainer.....a hoax head's up!

It’s another no brainer…..we should ask politicians running for any office not how a subway card works or how well the know how to eat pizza, but what they  know about growing stuff-just saying…

Just the idea of politicians planting more than BS got Shadow running in circles!

Actually, Shadow does this-if we don't run him, he runs himself like a madman/dog

Actually, Shadow does this-if we don’t run him, he runs himself like a madman/dog

 

We've three Myer's lemons planted, and they seem to bloom nearly year round, and yeild often. Plus, we have one Ponderosa Lemon,,,the kind that gives fruit as large as a person's face!

We’ve three Meyers’s lemons planted, and they seem to bloom nearly year round, and yield often. Plus, we have one Ponderosa Lemon,,,the kind that gives fruit as large as a person’s face!

The place would be perfect is I could just keep those roadsters from buzzin' the joint.

The place would be perfect if I could just keep those roadsters from buzzin’ the joint.

three children, all grown up1

My three roadsters long ago.

Now, more about the Ponderosa….

My grandson standing next to a few Ponderosa Lemons

My grandson standing next to a few Ponderosa Lemons

A meyrs next to Ponderosa

Our Meyers’ next to our Ponderosa Lemon

caught my eye this morning.

This caught my eye this morning.

It’s true, I’ve left out a lot, like the Indigenous Jasmine that towers by our front door each year( fifteen feet or higher) to scent the entire yard for months only to die back to the ground every winter,

This unusual clumping bamboo-type Jasmine blasts fragrance over at least a 1/2 acre each night.

This unusual clumping bamboo-type Jasmine blasts fragrance over at least a 1/2 acre each night.

The Mulberry and fig trees,,,you’re welcome, squirrels are very important to us.

We've two figs-the one I water regularly is twice the size of the other....

We’ve two figs-the one I water regularly is twice the size of the other….a huge Mineola Tangelo is in background(honey bell)

The side 1/2 acre features three types of orange trees, a blueberry and several invasive lantana’s the butterflies love.

a look at Shadow's 1/2 acre run, petunia's and a Chinese mandarin and Satsuma in the background.

a look at Shadow’s 1/2 acre run, petunia’s and a Chinese mandarin and Satsuma in the background.

Invasively neat.

Invasively neat. (Can’t leave the mailman out of the fun)

The beauty of Florida is not just the weather, the ocean, springs, lakes and rivers, but what a person can grow  in the smallest of yards if they would like. It’s a jungle out there, and we can nurture it so it nurtures us.

Cheers during Spring in Northern Florida.

Franque23

 

 


Bobcats catch sharks off the coast of Florida.

This makes perfect sense, but I'd never imagined it happening.

This makes perfect sense, but I’d never imagined it happening.

Deer occasionally eat rabbits and birds…delanoes03-06-07-S1541 http://io9.com/field-cameras-catch-deer-eating-birds-wait-why-do-deer-1689440870 The next time you see a really big deer-run away…..Have to laugh about Monty Python’s attacking rabbit…

Broccoli seeds grow in pods….and the bunch in my garden will/do have one bazillion seeds on it—

I let my broccoli go to flower,,,then came the pods.

I let my broccoli go to flower,,,then came the pods.

The seeds are small.

The seeds are small.

I will never tire of swimming in Alexander Springs.

I wa slucky to have been in the park when it first opened-often only 6 to 7 people came there on any given day. We often saw gators like this one swimming below us as we snorkeled above.

I was lucky to have been in the park when it first opened(1970ish)-only 6 to 7 people came there on any given day. We often saw gators like this one swimming below us as we snorkeled above.

Okay, it was more than a week ago when I mentioned to a son-in-law that I thought it was a bit odd that-generally speaking-most designer’s of women’s  apparel were, well, seemingly gay men.* I mean, they like men, right!?!?  He turned to me and answered, “If heterosexual men were the designers, all women would be naked.”

Duh! That answer sorta rang the bell of truth.

Duh! That answer sorta rang the bell of truth.

Clothing’s appeal is completely situational-a product of the mind…**(this link to a neat blog on the history of sex and fashion.) A black bikini composed of a thong bottom and single strap wide top is acceptable at the beach, water play ground, rivers, lakes or springs, but outlandish on a sidewalk.

case in point.

case in point. A 1970’s shot.

Ho-hum, another day at the beach.....

Ho-hum, another day at the beach…..2015.

Learning can be fun! Franque23 *http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/08/fashion/thursdaystyles/08FASHION.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 **https://franque23.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/a-determined-lot-of-sex/

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

My New Year’s foolslution this year was to re-gain my six-pack. So, I went out and started buying them, but they turned into a keg-belly, not a ripped torso. Odd. It seemed the more I tried the worse it got!

My self image was growing.....

My self-image was growing…..

Thing is, I’d wrestled most of my earlier years, beginning in second grade with my first official match in sixth and then on through high school.  I was flexible then, muscular for my age and quite successful at the sport( my entire lifetime record was 62ish wins and 2 losses). I had a six-pack then, and I’d never drank a single one! Go figure.

Being young has it's advantages....

Being young has it’s advantages….(Not me pictured.then or now..)

It’s April, and I’ve officially started to do yoga again daily, kicking in leg lifts and fifty stair push-ups as well. Who’d want to start in January!?!?! Ha! Anyway, it’s a start-moving from round to fit, maybe. I play Lisa Lynn Harp music as I workout every morning-love that music- but I have to say this repetitive tune thing I have going on drives my wife nuts, and now my dog scoots up the stairs to escape the morning barrage of lets feel good music, too.  Let’s face it, Shadow’s in shape at 1 and 1/2, and he’d rather be listening to squirrels chomping up in his jaws than me huffing on a mat.

But it’s all good, and since there’s ten thousand things I’d like to recommend, doing Yoga is one of them.

This is me leading a yoga session up at our Lake House-about four years ago.....sigh.

This is me leading a yoga session up at our Lake House-about four years ago…..sigh.

I started yoga in earnest at age 55 and did it nearly daily for seven years. The routine made me feel ten years younger and much stronger than the 54-year-old me I’d been when I started. Do yourself a favor-start any yoga routine that suits your fancy and stick with it to see what happens.

Random note(and picture):

Idea! It's a miracle I survived......

Idea! It’s a miracle I survived……

Robin and I would be first out in the water at Alexander Springs back in 1970ish.  Not sure, but it seemd Gators were sleeping with their faces pointed toward the spring until we disturbed them-they'd swim on down river....

Robin(my cousin) and I would be first out in the water at Alexander Springs* back in 1970ish. Not sure, but it seemed the Gators we often swam over were sleeping with their faces pointed toward the spring until we disturbed them-they’d swim on down river….I never felt in danger–hahahah…..So there are also disadvantages to being young.

So why did I ever stop doing yoga? Well,  one-off day easily leads to the next, and what once was time to do the routine becomes time to do other stuff. Plus, there’s ice cream, cakes, chips, crackers, spreads, jams, barbecue, not soda fountains, parties and those six-packs.

Not soda bars....

Not soda fountains….

It's really very simple-a person can work out or pass out....and then dream he's working out!!!! Wowowowo/.

It’s really very simple-a person can work out or pass out….and then dream he’s working out!!!! Wowowowo/.

In fact, when you compare the few things yoga does for a person-makes them strong, more fit, happier, thinner-to all the other reasons not to do yoga, well, it’s a no-brainer. Did I mention Football season and beer? And ice-cream cakes….the choice is simple.

I'm thinkin' this guy watched a few too many games.....

I’m thinkin’ this guy watched a few too many games…..

Find some simple stretches you like doing, and remember to hold your positions for 30 seconds. Don’t worry about how far down your hands go, or knees bend, just do what you can. Bend don’t break, that’s the rule. Quickly, the body regains its elasticity and a person becomes more flexible.

I spent Saturday at Alexander Springs snorkeling at my favorite Florida spring.

Ah--Alexander Springs....I'd like my cousins, etc. to one day see this place.

Ah–Alexander Springs….I’d like my cousins, and readers to one day see this place.

But I completely missed this! Jeez/Geeez...

But I completely missed this! Jeez/Ge’ez…

It was crowded, being Easter Weekend, but I couldn’t help notice one well chiseled young man who walked into the water up to his waist. He stopped, turned to face the beach head and started cupping water in both hands and pouring the water over his head and, yes, letting the water drip down across his six-pack. “What an a-hole,” I thought. It was as if he was anointing his body with water for all to see.”Show off,” I scoffed.

Now, if I can only get to look like that guy! Many think I’ve already 1/2 of his routine down with only one body to go.

They say every successful endeavor starts with a workable plan...I be alone and must think-

They say every successful endeavor starts with a workable plan…I must be alone; I have to think-

Cheers and Beers, and yoga, too. Good luck. And really , I might not have started this whole thing again if my sister hadn’t noted during her recent visit that I looked like a half-dead, soggy donut of a snail. So go out and challenge someone(should be someone you know)-do them the favor. And no, I am not a snail. My sister’s so off:-)

Franque23-

* I wrote about this spring before—-please enjoy!https://franque23.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/heart-pine/

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

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