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Bare Ass Pond-the late 1970's. I got dressed for the pic.

Bare Ass Pond-the late 1970’s. I got dressed for the pic.

It wasn’t that long ago…

About 1953 on Long Island outside of our family home

About 1953 on Long Island outside of our family home-the Northeastern’s blew snow in almost every winter.

Okay, maybe it was a long time ago.  For me, it’s a blink of a memory comprised of forever.

I built snowmen without a hint of what was to come,,,and that my generation's great dreams may one day melt.

I built snowmen without a hint of what was to come-great dreams for the earth.

Change started massing energy when the Beatle’s sang on Ed Sullivan-those tunes soon morphed into a mud bath called, Woodstock. There were the teachings of tolerance,,, justice, right and wrong, but I think most of all we were taught to hold within each of us a dignity of spirit. Once these ideas were in place, the new world could arrive.

The musical lines gave the message.

Looking back, the festival announcement that the brown acid was bad made the assumption some listeners were still able to discern brown from white, black, green. purple, polka-dotted or blue. We’d stripped  bare to prove the old ways were gone, basic change was here, as fundamental ways of behaving and thinking were dead and gone. The lines between us all had vanished for good.

Conventional laws were taken off and a new course had begun.

Conventional societal mores were cast aside and a new course had begun. Yes, we got naked…(Woodstock)

It’s easy to wonder why any of us thought smoking pot might help the situation we enthusiastically fought to change. You’d think we might have been savvy enough to vote for change, but we’d given up on that. Millions in my generation decided taking it to the streets was the best if not the only way to make change happen. Were we right?

I sang on stage back in the day all about the message-peace, love, freedom and equality.

Pete and I started singing the message early on in High School( I'm in the background)

Pete and I started singing the message early on in High School.  ( I’m in the background)

First serious guitar in it's first gold color...

First serious guitar in its first gold color…(I’m 15.) Hopin’ to sing the message.

So, my wheel turns way back, runs through the middle of so much history and arrives here in the closing days of 2016. To be clear-I remember dad getting our first TV, a thing still new to everyone on our block. I went to college when there were no computers, no cells phones but, yes, short dresses and pot but no Aids that we knew. I began to work as a Library Specialist 21 years ago when the Alachua County Library District had acquired only a few computers. My reference work for patrons was done entirely out of books or through phone calls in those earlier years. All the while, I prayed for peace along with so many other Americans.

Today, many feel political drifts forecast a turning away from the sun shining in as we all hoped it might in the 70’s, from the environmental concerns many of us have held for so many years, and from our hope for peace.

Home coming parade. Gainesville, 1970

Home coming parade. Gainesville, 1970…hmmm, this wouldn’t happen today.

It was once easy for hundreds of Gainesville’s people to strip naked at lime pits and swim with others.

“The year was 1970, and the band was Mudcrutch. Petty sang and played bass alongside Mike Campbell (guitar), Tom Leadon (guitar and vocals), Jim Lenehan (lead vocals) and Randall Marsh (drums).” This is Gainesville in the 70’s, so it doesn’t matter that there are five names and only four people? The main point was in the music.

We shared the understanding that to find the truth of our existence it was necessary to shed the barriers between us and the earth. Open, accepting, and always understanding-Peace was the message. We wanted the naked truth.

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Now? We need to revisit the messages of my generation, to create a solidarity of purpose that keeps America on the right path.  My generation didn’t want the Nam war to go on and we stopped it. Today, we can stop anything as well. The key is to really try, never give up and work harder.

If not ‘Bare Ass’ time, its bare knuckle time. Environmentalists,  humanitarians and lovers of life, it’s time to dress down our opponents. We have to tune up and sing our song louder than false claims, disingenuous motives and misguided hearts can yell. It’s time to dive in and win again.

Franque23

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When I think about it, maybe I should just stay home and stick fish-hooks in my fingers instead of going north to do it.

There may be a healthy amount of iron in fish hooks?

There may be a healthy amount of iron in fish hooks?

Up north or down south, hooks hurt like any other. And why go through the trouble of driving 22 hours north to spill gas or oil on myself as the boat rocks? I do that servicing my lawn mower here at home.

 A body tune-up

A body tune-up

I can sun burn out back in our yard or slip on these steps here-who needs a dock. Sure, I don’t have 49 steps in Florida, but falling’s falling, peeling’s peeling.

Florida burns like any other.

Florida burns are like any other.

I have a choice: reel in weeds from the lake or pull them from my yard at home.  One hawk’s cry echoes any other, and my neighbors here shoot off guns from time to time with almost the same regularity as Fort Drum’s boomers shake the windows up north. Of course, the Lake has those magnificent jets flying around now and then, but Gainesville has an old twin prop plane that fly’s overhead occasionally.

I keep expecting this plane to drop from the sky...it's s-l-o-w..

I keep expecting this plane to drop from the sky…it’s s-l-o-w..

Traffic cops here; traffic cops there. The bugs are about the same. Used to be the beer brands were different up north, now, not so much. The traffic jams home give me time to think while New York State RT 3 is one long country road populated by drivers who wave as they go by. Oy Vey, the arm strain up north is almost as bad as the back pain you get from visiting Japan.

What is a stop sign?

What is a stop sign? NYS RT Three.

If that friendly clerk at the grocery store asks me one more time how I am….down here there’s no time for a polite hello; we’re all busy, in a hurry and completely bummed out by searing heat, too many lunatics and raging jobs. Crowds and one million fast food joints-that’s more like it!

Harrisville's version of a New York City deli.

Harrisville’s version of a New York City deli.

We have no internet connection and choose not to hook up our TV up north. Basically, there’s only morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night, one day after they other. Pesky, friendly neighbors say hello and every one smiles, plays cards, fails at puzzle making, swims, fishes, boats, floats, and laughs the time away. It’s a crap load of fun, day in and day out, always the same, tireless, never-ending, on and on, repeated mirrored days that reflect in the lake*.It's so easy to reflect upon the beauty of the world up at the Lake.l

My mom enjoys the quiet during one of her last years up at the lake. In her day-people still prayed to make it home before leaving Beer Island at night...oh the fun!!!

My mom enjoys the quiet during one of her last years up at the lake. In her day people still prayed to make it home before leaving Beer Island at night…oh the fun!!!

The air itself, purified by the Adirondack trees and the lack of major industrial pollution, is much purer than the air found almost anywhere else on the planet-it’s work, breathing the fresh air in and out-improving health takes some adjustment. The energy you feel up at the lake is one big pain in the ass…who needs energy when they could’ve stayed home and melted into a couch while flipping TV channels.

Nothing comes free, and nap time up north cuts into daily pleasures. That’s pressure right there. You can catch people power napping all over the lake trying to hurry up the process so the day doesn’t slip by too fast. Even blinking seems a waste.

The trip was one worm after another, and sometimes fish.

The trip was one worm after another, and sometimes fish.

Ho-hum, the day is done...

Ho-hum, the day is done…

So why go north when I can sweat at home? Hmmm,,,ya know, thinking about it all, maybe 22 hours driving with a wife, two grand kids and a dog isn’t really that long of a trip.

There might be a way to have a good time...

There might be a way to have a good time…

Maybe, I would survive the fun, live through the air-breathing task and haul in some fish with those weeds?!?!

Come to think of it, my bags are already packed, and why not? We leave for the lake in 108 hours and 14 minutes. The boat’s callin’…

Let's get a move on!!!

Let’s get a move on!!! The ears have it!

Times change, but I still think boats floated better with beer in them.....but that was long ago.

Times change, but I still think boats floated better with beer in them…..but that was long ago.

Cheers.

Franque23

*Dale, my wife took these amazing shots of Bonaparte…

From the 1/2 way it's 30 more steps to the lake bottom---but what if I rolled down from here?

It’s 30 more steps from the 1/2 way dock down to the lake—but what if I rolled down the steps from here? Giant slides and elevators come to mind.

 

 


This is  my birthday weekend, so I spent today spreading red mulch that’s guaranteed to keep its color for 12 months or 12 days, whichever comes first.  It seems I’m always doing some sort of yard work on the days leading up to Memorial Day. Thing is, I love the work-gardening, squashing bugs, planting flowers that will need more water, mowing, trimming fence lines, hauling piles of debris to the front for collection, spookin’ snakes and still not losing weight. Well there’s nothing new these days.

I worked on.

It’s time to open up our pool, 60 days after we started using it, and it’s all very HUGE. The jungle in Florida has a way of either being cut back or eating people-so I cut. And while I toil, I always think of my Dad. He was a Full Colonel. I think of all those who have fallen during time of war and wish none of it was true. “War! Good G-D y’all. What’s it good for?” That’s what my generation sang. The tune went very well with wine and a pocket full of joints.

Of course, there are way too many flowers being left on graveyards this weekend.

For or against, war seems a necessary evil of our time,,,no wait, for all of Man’s history. So, as I work in the yard, enjoying the chickadee, the Cardinal and Red Tail Hawk above, I’m thankful for their music that helps me forget the horror of life, and remember the beauty. I bow my head and pray for all those who gave their lives in battle as I shovel, plant, pick, spread or cultivate my yard knowing , right or wrong, it’s safe to believe the soldiers who died in battle believed they were fighting and, sometimes, dying for us. The saying is- they died to keep us free.

Flowers have a way of reminding us  how short and sweet life can be.

So it seems Memorial Day always finding me messing with flowers, or trying to enhance the small area of the earth I own. Today, the wind blew, thoughts of Dad and other soldiers I know crossed my mind. President Obama praying at Hiroshima rattle my head, and I worked.  The day, the month, the memories will pass, but it all remains tied together no matter what we do. In the end, the more a person does to encourage growth and the beauty of life the better they sleep at night-it’s called inner peace.

My day:

This popped out yesterday, just underneath the bird bath out front

This popped out yesterday, just underneath the bird bath out front

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Our gardenia by the bird feeder is in full bloom. I wonder, do birds like the fragrance?

I cut about ten per day to bring in to the house.....

I cut about ten per day to bring in to the house…..

This rascal orchid lasts about one day -and I was so happy to catch it today...

This rascal orchid lasts about one day -and I was so happy to catch it today…

the pathway in front is a riot of flowers now.

the pathway in front is a riot of flowers now.

The three Amigo's growing under the birdbath are wonderful to see.

The three Amigo’s growing under the birdbath are wonderful to see.

The yellow tea rose

The yellow tea rose

Mr. Tulip

Mr. Tulip…and

and a yellow Daisy face-three amigo's..now you know.

a yellow Daisy face-three Amigo’s..now you know.

It's great fun

It’s great fun

Today's evening silky wind blew this single Hibiscus a bit off shot.

Today’s evening silky wind blew this single Hibiscus a bit off shot.

Here's new one to us! (We don't know what it is of how it came to be)It will be about 6 inches across with many more petals at it's peak...but maybe it 's not so bad being young?

Here’s new one to us! (We don’t know what it is or how it came to be)It will be about 6 inches across with many more petals at it’s peak…but maybe it’s not so bad being young?

Not sure you can make it out, but this lavender and rose colored four o'clock is beautiful...This year , we are invaded with four o'clocks.

Not sure you can make it out, but this lavender and rose colored four o’clock is beautiful…This year, we are invaded with four o’clocks.

The garden grows

The garden grows

 as the Meyer lemons produce and flower at the same time

as the Meyer lemons produce and flower at the same time….

I’m so glad I got to help this life happen; I’m so thankful for that chance… Happy Memorial Day. Take time to smell the flowers if you can. It’s time to give thanks.

Thanks for stopping by.

Franque23

 


When I was young, the sun came as a surprise.

The new day was a friend that came knocking at my door. The birds sang in harmony while dandelions bent in the wind or beneath my toes. There were smells I didn’t know. People smiled and it seemed my presence gave them a laugh-I was small and knew so little.

The start of it all for me-maybe day seven?

The start of it all for me-maybe day seven?

 

I trusted my brother and sister to not leave me in the snow.

I trusted my brother and sister to not leave me in the snow.

Houses in our community were huge and the lawns, though fenced, really had no boundaries. There were hidden places to go between the yards and secret paths to run.

Remaining still was not an option.

Life was a new bloom that would never wither. Leaping one day meant I’d jump further the next. The phone was never for me when it rang it but, still, I heard the call from everything else, the sky, the moonbeams, the stars that really did twinkle, the train that always blew its whistle and the beach waves that circled my ankles. Being young was never a cumbersome potential I had to carry with hope. No, I lived suspended in a stream of unspoken understanding. Yearning had no place in dreams.

The silence knew just what I was thinking.

Parents in our community knew me and my friends by name, and they were always watching or made it seem so. The entire community was our home. We ran without fear. We hadn’t an inkling that we could age and move on to the next day, or month, and then through so many years.

Still, changes did come and some were harder to deal with than others. My sister went to college while my brother got on a bus and went to camp over the summer.

Why would my brother leave for camp?

Why would my brother leave for camp?

I kept the home-fires burning while my sibling’s were away.

A tree’s nooks and crannies offered the surest foot holds; my fingers grasped each branch as if I’d never let go.  Friends, and music, became part of my family.

Pete and I climbed a tree to see the world.

Pete and I climbed a tree to see the world.

we laid 'tracks' down hoping to make it Big.

We laid ‘tracks’ down hoping to make it Big.( My hat is on my knee; 1962ish)

The light in my friend’s eyes could shame the sun.

Friend’s laughter dazzled my imagination, a spark that ignited my new adventurous frontier—the one someone had called, Life. Kindness was never a decision, it just flowed through me and my friend’s lives as a waterfall we loved to see.

It felt all wrong when I realized I was no longer young.

One day, my friends had grown up. The dizzy bee games and tangled bodies on the lawn had vanished from sight and only shadowed my mind as a memory. Friend’s went places I might never see; some of us would lose touch, completely. Other’s called occasionally until there was little left to say. Where we would go or why—really, none of us knew. Still, in a sketchy note, in a brief visit or between bursts of laughter during a short phone call, all that could not be said was heard. Too much had changed for us to ever make it back, so with an unsigned agreement each of us had moved on.

Separate paths become so distant, and time so rushed. Life is full of new, surprising turns and all hands must grip tightly to the wheel; all eyes must look ahead.  For most of us, the love for our younger days remains but it’s crammed for space in our minds, challenged by infinite choices, by signs of every kind that point us in every direction. It takes a lifetime to read them all.

When I was young, I loved the sun, the birds, the trees, the endless wind and clouds that drew pictures in the sky. Now, I hope they love me, too.

When old friends do call, or write, or send those almost obsolete seasonal cards, I hope they’ll know I refuse to say goodbye. I hope they’ll look into the mirror and see their young, shining eyes as I once saw them blaze. Next to that wondrous view will be my eyes equally aglow as we once were, running unbridled by time, without worry or care.

The morning sun should always be a surprise, no matter if you’re young or old. Of course, the past can never be changed—I get that. Thing is, the youngest years never die, not really. Those days are all here, so distant but easily touched if we take the time to reach out, or remember, and smile.

It’s so easy to forget tomorrow is only a wish.

Not so long ago.

Not so long ago.

Too long ago.

Too long ago.(My dad and his sister, my cousin Dave and my Uncle Mo-now all gone.)

Now, at sixty-six years of age—how could that be?—I realize there comes a time in life when every meeting feels like it might be, goodbye. But as the Beatles sang long ago, I say hello.*

The youngest years come once in a lifetime and last forever.

Franque23.

*Early Beatles…

Not even long hair?

Not even long hair?


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

 

 


(click on the pics for much bigger, better views.)I did chronicle with photos most of my spring garden planting and that on going  growing season of 2015 before we lost the camera. Odd, someone actually came into our house while we weren’t looking and all they wanted was that stupid camera! Or, we misplaced the thing-hard to figure.( for folks who want to know how I plant my garden, the entire process is in this link: https://franque23.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/garden-shoveling-a-pictorial-anthology/ )

Anyway…what a year 2015 was-and to be clear, I do know today is February 8th, 2016. Thing is, living in Florida and growing food means I experience two different years: a calendar year along with everyone else, and a growing, living year. February is when the growing year really starts to turn over in Florida. This is the time the garden earth is turned and the soil is prepared for a new spring garden. I usually have my seeds planted no later than March 1st, and remain ready at all times to cover the new growth with mulch if it gets way cold in March as sometimes is the case. Why plant by March first? This gets most of my spring crops in by mid May, early June, just ahead of the major bug push in Florida.

Seems i hit the full moon just right and the seeds sprouted fast

Seems we hit the full moon just right and the seeds sprouted fast early March, 2015.

I’d collected bags of leaves from the roadsides as people left them out for the trash man to pick up.

This, picking up the neighbor's throw out leaves, is a good ,quick way to have mulch on hand--a bit of lime will help off-set the acidity of the oak leaves

This, picking up the neighbor’s thrown out leaves is a good, quick way to have mulch on hand–a bit of lime will help off-set the acidity of the oak leaves

The Old Man's Beard tree in our front lawn said spring had sprung.

The Old Man’s Beard tree in our front lawn said spring had sprung.

The pineapples had made it through the winter and gave us a number of nice sized fruits…

There is nothing like a fresh, actually ripened pineapple

There is nothing like a fresh, actually ripened pineapple(they take two years to fruit.)

The pineapples tasted so good I decided to make a pineapple garden in the back by our pool…I dug for two days

theses weeds are actually a type of radish.

Theses weeds are actually a type of radish. (May)

I already have about 12 pineapple growing in all stages around the yard. I simply cut the tops off and plant them every time I buy one. But I wanted more….

I went to a local  food store- Wards- and caught them on a day they were coring pineapple for sale in the back of the building. They gave me a box of thirty pineapple tops to plant for free! Sweet!!! (Anyone can do this.)

planted and ready to grow....for here on out, but for weeding, it just takes a spritz of water now and then to help them along.

Planted and ready to grow….from here on out, but for weeding, it just takes a spritz of water now and then to help the plants along.( a one year old plant is seen on the far left)

Meanwhile, the garden kept growing….

Sure fresh food is the point, but the flowering process for garden plants is a beautiful thing to watch.

Sure fresh food is the point, but the flowering process for garden plants is a beautiful thing to watch.(Squash flower-spring)

The crops came in around May 15th, ahead of the bugs and it was time to pick.

I found my local crop workers( Grand kids) and got them working....

I found my local crop workers( Grand kids) and got them working….

Dang we picked piles-

Dang, we picked piles-Shadow, -our dog- supervised the work.(He loves to eat green beans off the plants so I often ‘garnish’ his wagging.)

Food—-without any sprays-I hand kill bugs-…I use one 10-10-10 pound bag per year, spread out evenly over a 30 X 40 foot garden…the rest is mulch break down and  compost from our daily living.  After ten years of gardening in this same spot, I have one zillion worms in the soil.

the yeild for the spring garden was 22 pounds of green beans

The yield for the spring garden was 22 pounds of green beans; 15 pounds of peppers; three months worth of asparagus green beans; 21  pounds of tomatoes; a trifle of sweet corn; some squash, lots of egg-plant, cucumbers and radishes, too. The fall garden pitched in tons of  collard greens; lettuce-three varieties, more green beans, spices, and, for the first time,,,carrots…..

but we also grew these asparagus, or yard long bean in place of poles this year and I'm quite pleased with teh amount of food they gave and the taste(plus, the climb, so you don't have to bend to harvest.)

We grew these asparagus, or yard long beans, in place of poles this year and I’m quite pleased with the amount of food they gave and the taste(plus, they climb, so you don’t have to bend to harvest as you do bush beans.)

 picking the asparagus green bean--I highly recommend these

Picking the asparagus green bean–I highly recommend these(pickin’ all spring, into summer and Fall)

The crops kept coming as the lemon trees ripened.

The crops kept coming as the lemon trees  and basil ripened.

the peppers, and tomatoes were great--tomatoes , to me, are the biggest reward for gardening, and the toughest to get a harvest form--cherries are much easier than big boys, etc...but we got those ,too.

The peppers, and tomatoes were great–tomatoes , to me, are the biggest reward for gardening, and the toughest to get a harvest from–cherries are much easier than big boys, etc…but we got those ,too.(June)

sage is a wonderful plant to see

Sage is a wonderful plant to see-(Fall)

When the Chinese Honey’s(citrus) start to come in Nov. 1st–it’s all hands and mouths on deck!

my crew is ready

My crew is ready

378 (2)

The Chinese Honey trees are very cold hardy and can tolerate 18 degrees for up to ten hours with no problem once well established…The fruit is seeded, but the sweetest Mandarin type you can find.

Chinese honeys--it's important to note, the picker will reach up and pull the fruit, but also tear off the very top of the fruit,leaving you few days to eat that,,,so somehow hand picking when possilb eis best.

Chinese Honey–it’s important to note, the picker will reach up and pull the fruit, but also tear off the very top of the fruit, leaving you only a few days to eat that fruit,,,so somehow hand picking using a clipper when possible is best.(Nov. 15th)

Because I got lucky, the citrus trees I planted happen to ripen from Nov 1st thru the end of March….,nice, huh? I inherited the Chinese Honey, early ripening, planted the seedless navels-blood oranges- they ripen Dec-Jan,,, and then planted my dad’s favorite Valencia-ripens Jan thru March. In the middle of it, I planted a Mineola Tangelo since I went to Mineola high school-that ripens Nov-Dec. In the end,,,we are lucky this year to have a huge crop, though much different from last years 1500 orange yield. This year, maybe 1000, and the red navels are for the most part not good—I suspect we had a too hot of a Nov.and Dec for them.

A Hard freeze warning found me out til 12:30 Pm picking 450 oranges just in case they wouldn't make it thru the cold.

A Hard freeze warning found me out til 12:30 PM picking 450 oranges just in case they wouldn’t make it thru the cold.(Dec. 2015)

hundreds picked, hundreds still hanging on the trees.

I picked hundreds with many  hundreds more still hanging on the trees.

I brought one hundred int ot work and gave several hundred to my grand kids--they are, after all, the reason for it all

I brought one hundred into work and gave several hundred to my grand kids–they are, after all, the reason for it all-(Nice crop of grapefruit this year, too.)

All the while, the peppers kept peppering.

Yes...you get the idea,,,,

Yes…you get the idea,,,,(Summer-fall)

Anyway,,,you can reach me thru this glob,-blog-, for advice, encouragement, or to call me names…cheers… grow Gainesville. That should be the name of this town…

Peace, and it’s just about time to plant, again. We’ll be enjoying citrus until late March. Yum.

Franque23


 

449800061

Life is bigger than any of us.

My foot falls beat a rhythm upon wet leaves strewn along the path, or through dusty sands dried by a rain-less week. Wind rattles leaves as though chimes hang from every branch; the Florida panther, Jaguarundi, bison, wild horse, fearsome gator and grunting bore live nearby. The massive Pileated Woodpecker laughs from high above as the mid-size tanager hangs perpendicular from a massive oak trunk, its expansive call echoing through the woodland. Nature’s music owns the air.

The long-eared owl silently watches, its large eyes blinking, it’s head swiveling left and right. This is no time to feel alone, but a great moment for recalling the past and looking ahead to the future while so intensely immersed in the present. Time ticks on another clock, not here with the scurrying ants, buzzing insects, the birds, trees, land and running rabbits.

 

This moment owns forever.

 

There’s a bluff that Chief Micanopy had walked so long ago, before he was overcome, conquered. The prairie below this bluff, now an expansive grassland traversed by creeks and dotted by ponds, had once been a sizable lake crossed only by boat, and then prairie once again, or rain flooded marsh; change the only constant. In this order, the majestic clouds, or severe blue skies, the morning mists full of rainbows and ever vast starlit sky follow along with the prairie as calendar pages turn, as the years pass. The changes come year in, year out, life moving forward or gone.

It seems the true measure of a person may be the shadow they leave behind, one they’ll never see.

The shadow we make lingers, stretches, expands through others that follow our lifetime. The winds will always blow-the sailor knows this as sure as the winged will balance by claw and the black bear smell a man’s breath from twenty miles off. Nature has its way of surviving. The true nature of us will survive, too. A life lived full of good intention will be a peaceful memory as all of us take a last breath, a last look around, and then say goodbye to all of it, the hurry, bustle, stress, the appointments we’ve kept and those we’ve missed. In the end, I’m certain what we have most is who we have really been. As true as the wind blows, that truth will rush through our senses with an undeniable rigidity in our last moments.

This is why I walk. I want to think about who I am, and what I’ve really done. Life is long, but never long enough-ends will be left hanging, but that doesn’t mean there could ever be a turn-down day, a reason to lose focus, to give up. Somehow, I feel the life around me, us, is always calling for us as a society to do better, to make the ends meet, and to find peace with our place on the planet.

I think of Isis, and how in my mind’s eye I’d like to hug each member and tell them I feel their pain, but it’d be foolish not to realize those same people would cut my head off. The world faces a difficult, blood soaked time ahead, but has it ever been any different? So many more civilians were killed in WWII than were soldiers, and when we speak of the deaths, we seldom think of the wounded, the transformed forever by the blasts of war, the loss of limb, or parents or siblings. My feet hit the earth as if each one is recording a massacre of life that has happened in our history on the planet.

That’s when the owl in all its wisdom hoots. How? Why? What is all this for? Walking-

Even the sperm race to battle and penetrate the egg. Is life then just a battle from its beginning, one we are meant to endure? Of course, I don’t know. I only know I love the woods, the life it holds, the life I see around me, and I want the killing to stop.

Franque23

I’ve a trilogy, The Avatar Magic series , out on Kindle now….here’s the three links to each book..I do hope you’ll spread the word and enjoy these writings.

Bk one   http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0NYO80

Bk two      http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KXMIIOK

Bk three       http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018RX67BW

 


“I love the Lake!” How many Lake Bonaparte lovers have said those words?!?!? Scads, zillions, bunches of happy people. “Food taste sooo good up there!” Mouths stuffed with fresh fish, Croghan Baloney and New York Cheddar  smile to say the words.

I simply accepted the truism all my life that it felt great to be at Lake Bonaparte! There was never any question, and I didn’t need to ask my cousins about the fact, either.

a gargantuan family line up by Sherman's boat house rental!

A gargantuan family line up by Sherman’s boat house rental!(Porter’s Bay.)

Boom! Another year, another shot of a cyclopean family gathering at Lake Bonaparte.

Boom! Another year, another shot of a cyclopean family gathering at Lake Bonaparte.

But, after 66 years of visits my mind in a random way started wondering exactly why it felt so good to be at the lake. Of course, there’s the beauty of the place-enough to bulldoze any problem away in a sunset of a second.

From our half-way dock in Porter's Bay

From our half-way dock in Porter’s Bay

And, there’s the people-family, loved ones, friends. Plus, ya just can’t leave out the relaxed atmosphere it seems people hang out in most of the time while up at the lake.

Still, I needed something a bit more tangible-why was I so happy at the lake, so bouncy up and down our set of sixty steps from the cabin to the dock below? How did staying up to see the Northern lights and then getting up early to fish work? At home, I often crawl in and out of bed, but I’ve a lawn to mow, bushes to trim, toes nails to cut and light bulbs to change at home. Maybe all that work weighs down the days at home? But Wait! I’ve boat loads of work to do at the lake-lawns to mow, trees to chain saw, docks to clean and treat-heck, often an entire year’s maintenance for the lake house is crammed into a two-week visit! Of course, I’m not working at my job while at the lake, and vacation has a way of making a fella feel good. Nah, none of those calculations added up to fishing, boating, rowing and bounding up stairs-having that superman feeling I enjoy experiencing while up at the Lake..

I may have found one secret to Lake Bonaparte’s all invasive power, it’s lure, like a plug to a fish, one underlying undeniable truth about the lake’s energy. It’s all about…..the air.

Right, taking in the air at the lake is akin to  walking into an oxygen tent. Breathing in at Lake Bonaparte zings the body full of new life. Fact-the air at Lake Bonaparte has 95% less hazardous air pollutants than the national average air American’s breath day in , day out! It figures the air is filtered by the Adirondacks, the largest track of free range land America has left.

It all makes perfect sense: pure air leads to clear minds, better smelling, tasting, maybe thinking, more energy and a happy feeling.  Wow and whew, I couldn’t believe the stats on the air when I stumbled across these findings…Enjoy the figures-

These findings over a 365 day period.

Harrisville                              New York City                    National

Air quality index 31 43                               50
Pollution index 230,538 9,468,840            5,072,052

The Harrisville, NY air quality index is a median value which considers the most hazardous air pollutants. The Harrisville, NY air quality index is 27.5% less than the New York average and 37.6% less than the national average.

The Harrisville, NY pollution index is the sum of the most hazardous air pollutants displayed in pounds. The Harrisville, NY pollution index is 97.6% less than the New York average and 95.5% less than the national average.

Air Pollution Information for Lake Bonaparte/Harrisville area

Pollutant Total
Arsenic 0.000%
Benzene 0.004%
Carbon Tetrachloride 0.001%
Lead 0.000%
Mercury 0.000%

So it all adds up, but this is to take nothing away from all that is Lake Bonaparte! What a mind-blowing place!!!

the lake is an easy ride.

The lake is an easy ride for the mind and body, especially the lungs.*I’ve no idea who took this shot—-absolute credit goes to them…

Lake Bonapartre is a living , breathing mediation…

I just love Lach Franquemont's shot from our dock.

I just love Lach Franquemont’s shot from our dock.

ONe year I came back from the lake a whipped this board up at work. The idea came to me while fishing sundown in mud lake.....

This board had to go up a few years back just after returning from the lake . The idea came to me while fishing sundown in mud lake…..

There’s nothing like a breath of fresh air to do the soul some good.

Franque23

Book one, Avatar Magic, and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now. Please enjoy this Sci-fi romance.


Did I always love hats? How do I know? But I do remember way back, and loving those ear flap hats my mom plopped on my head during winter…. At work we sometimes wear hats to help cheer us up, or maybe scare patrons so they tow the line…”No running!” Said the Library person in the weird hat.(BTW-don’t miss link at bottom to a bunch of hat sayings..*)10431400_10204057350304255_8831791732302296920_o Hats serve many functions. Here, below, a woman is hoping to help the bee and bird population. 3-Fashions-For-Spring-Washington-D.C.-1952f This woman may feel there are too many birds-can’t tell. But she needs wide doorways which is good carpenters.

Day two of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse Featuring: Atmosphere Where: Ascot, United Kingdom When: 19 Jun 2013 Credit: WENN.com

Day two of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse

Back in 1916 in Union Square-every man,woman and child wore hats…..What the hell happened to all those hats? I know. Sometime, a while back, a cowboy lost his hat and the sun burned his brain. Thing is, since he was the only one not wearing a hat, women went wild over him and had a bunch of his kids. Those kids had others, and before you know it, no one was wearing hats! This is a history most don’t know. You are welcome. emma-goldman_custom-582dd7d26710d1cc8524e8f94667bc36a1fdbf96-s1100-c15 (1) I love hats, and may have gotten this love from my mom who always looked great in hats-even silly hats. My wife’s mom was no stranger to hats, as well. Mom and Annette My supervisor has a knack for hats, too….( I have to write this-she’s my supervisor.) 1965012_786280751406619_7639099478551129472_n Me? I’ve worn a lot of different hats in my life,,,but that’s another bunch of stories, some already in this blog over the past 6 years.. 58070002 (500x427) I think people look good in hats. Hats can make a man hungry. !B9R9zD!EWk-$(KGrHqJ,!hYEze!PSTv6BM5VspRw1w--0_35 Maybe, crazy. Who wants mustard on their hot dog hat–that is just nuts. Funny_hat Boys will be boys like hats……Oh boy! Can I wear one of those? bearskin-hats They fit almost any fashion and attract attention. 6a015391975ac3970b015391e715db970b Men and women look good in hats…… al-capone some better than others. My workmates kill hats, Boom, excellent hat people. I love it! 10500375_842057679162259_7780775909333439958_n Some hats mean a lot….. 550728_10151712308875548_543007003_n Big Wigs gave way to Tall Hats Isambard_Kingdom_Brunel_preparing_the_launch_of_'The_Great_Eastern_by_Robert_Howlett_crop This is a special hat I bought in the Bahamas…It’s made of paper, and expands to any shaped head…The wind passes through it so it stays on any head, shades, and it’s very light weight…plus, it almost passes as a sculpture. 10438149_785794914788536_8051223962885830439_n Too bad I look like cow dung in it. Gotta love that hat. And a small collection others to my right. Told you-I like hats. securedownload (7) This is a gentleman’s hat, a beautiful hat, but this pic doesn’t do it justice. However, catch the stove top hat I made from paper on left of shot…. securedownload (8) securedownload Some hats just work. lisa-fonssagrives-lilly-dache-hat-irving-penn-vogue-feb-15-1950 Please don’t back up into me….. 10003197_10202770694244049_1669300592_n Another normal hat extravaganza at work- mom on the lake Told you my mom looked good in hats… snowmanwithdad Everyone should have a hat, saith the snow man. Even my brother loved hats, and he was super smart.1385356_10151989437744133_493973661_nHats about it for now….cheers to you and your hat. By the way, there’s a book called, The Man who Thought His Wife Was a Hat..(I think)..but it’s not so funny, since he really did. Anywho….byeee. Got any pictures of you in hats.? I mean, not just in hats-please. And, now that I brought this up…why is this last picture coming up on google when I search for people in hats?????-Bonus(or some other word here) picture,,,download (9) Honest,,this came up in images under the search….so I keep looking for a hat in the picture…looking,looking,looking-no hat?

Franque23 is a hat guy

*http://www.villagehatshop.com/content/40/hat-isms-hat-sayings-and-phrases.html

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.

Okay, let’s get down to it. Mother’s Day is really about Mom’s Incredible Expanding Center.

Twelve basketballs later, this mom was still eating!

Twelve basketballs later, this mom was still eating!

Women have this thing going on that can’t be normal. It’s called nature, but  I say it’s all freaky. There isn’t a guy on the planet that ever plans on expanding to twice their size to deliver-not gonna happen. Here’s why-it ain’t normal.

That’s right.  Somewhere way back during evolution Mother Nature got it wrong and decided children should be born.

Children grown on trees is a much better idea.

Random idea for this post:

Huge pegs don't fit thru small holes......

Huge pegs aren’t meant to go thru small holes……

See below? There’s a large glob of baby that’s hoping to fit through a small opening….

Look at the phyisics...nothing is working.

Look at the physics…nothing is working.

Heck, just ask any mom how that birthing process goes pain wise and you’ll know it’s all wrong. And what ever happened to the pleasure-pain principle of running or staying put!?!? You’d think women would never sleep after all this birthing history, at least not in beds. No, if evolution held true, women would all be track stars or astronauts by now. (Remember , there are also twins, heck even six-packs of newborn siblings come along sometimes).

Eons of not learning.

Eons of not learning.

It’s important to tell a pregnant woman how nice she looks, since everyone knows people were never meant to resemble bowling balls with feet.

“You look lovely.”

“Oh, thank you.”

“Just how many of you are there, anyway?” Asked no living guy.

There’s usually about fifty pounds of an expectant mother you just can’t miss. But it’s okay-very weird-if women want to be three times the size of any other living person. Whatever—this expand-o-max routine works especially well in plane seats, movie theaters, narrow hallways, cars and couches. Nature has it all planned, for elephants. Thing is, there’s an idea or two missing when it comes to women giving birth.

For one, everyone knows babies need nourishment but Nature has that screwed up for people, too…

Eat up mom!

Eat up mom!

Who ever said size doesn’t matter never gave birth or had to walk around a pregnant woman.

Try to stay off your feet until after the baby's born.

I keep thinking about those things society used to use called phone booths. “I’ve got to call the hospital; the baby’s coming!” How did that work?

It’s all a bit screwy. Other animals have this  worked out-they give birth to small things that triple in size almost over night once they’re down and out the shoot. Not people. No, people like to give birth to babies with huge heads, and that part comes out first! “Perfect!”, said no mother during delivery.

All this should be happening on a children tree.

All this should be happening on a children tree.

People, every one of us, are freaks of nature. Maybe, that’s the problem with Mankind. God, or the Gods, placed bets that none of us would ever happen. When we did, they just threw up their hands and began to drink heavily.

I guess we’re all miracles, and most of all-Mother’s.

I hope you have a huge, Happy Mother’s Day.

Franque23

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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