You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘birds’ category.


Listen, at my age I don’t buy green bananas. Thing is, living awhile does have it’s advantages over the other depressing side of not life…

If I learned one thing per day in my life, I’d know about 25,815 things—hmmmm, I have to think about this; I might be a total failure, a poor learner, an absentee brain with feet, a noodle head, a meatloaf in shoes or an unripe, worm holed tangerine on an apple tree. Plus, I’m bald. But, let’s see what I do know? Well, there’s fishing. My cousin, Rob, and I learned early on how to hook a worm and I’ve also learned the names of those fishing lures I spent three lifetime’s earnings to own. And, actaully, so many different kinds of beer come to mind.  I guess I’m good on the learn one fact per day chant—maybe? There will be a place to vote on this question at the bottom of this post.*

Thing is, my dad had a Pilsner Beer, by type and by name, delivered right to our house back when the good ol’ days were alive and kicking the crap out of liquor stores. Anyway, dad kept these wood cases of beer in our cool basement where we also had a second refrigerator. Robin and I realized at an early age that this basement was in fact the meaning of heaven.  It was no good for fishing, but it was the buried liquid gold mine of Long Island’s sandy beaches and where we would have to solve the world’s problems since the beer delivery guy only came once per week. None of that made sense.

What this all means is that I knew the name of one beer when I got to college and that was good enough. Now? Going to buy beer is like playing a game show called the price is right and the taste is good. So many kinds of beer and so few decades left to spend enjoying drinking them.

But I need to focus because this post has nothing to do with fishing, beer or being bald or tipsy in a basement.

No, this post is full of fact finding statements like, “It’s not too much to mask!” And to pilfer yet another FB post: “We are having a dumbdemic.” Some claim it’s a Pandumbic, but I don’t want to fight over this. Lastly, there was that one word: “Freedumb.” But, I’m not going to post these because they’re hot topics right now and I don’t want to go Left or Right but rather swerve left and right because I really am ambidextrous and dyslexic which makes anything like eon wya treets signs darh(hard) to wollof, but I can still bat from either side of the plate. Oh, I’m also a Gemini so neither of us get along when it comes to looking in mirrors; hindsight is the worst of it.

So, here’s the deal. We are babysitting, Snow White, our daughter’s dog for this week.

She’s a wonderfujl 16 year old part Ridgeback who remians entirely calm unless there is thunder or lightning. Then, this otherwise docile pup pants up a river of drool anywhere she is standing. But, there is a solution as my daughter explained. “I have these storng sedatives the vet gave us…when Snowy starts to act nervous just give her two and she’ll be okay but you must do it in time or they don’t help.” Well, that sounded simple enough. Thing is, as we learned yesterday, Snow White can detect a strom that’s four hours away in Atlanta but possbily heading towards our home in Gainesville Florida.

“I heeear it and it’s coming.”

This, THIS is why Snowy was facing a wall yesterday at 4 PM while the sky here was clear blue! I was swimmign in our pool, the birds were killing one another over bird food, squirrels were falling off bird feeders due to the weight of their stomachs and sunflowers remained quite while dragonflies floated in the breeze. Cats were playing goalie….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYuFgg2_SGM Who knew? Snowy knew…!

Maybe her ridgeback was showing a bit.

Sure enough, by 8 PM that night we were under severe weather warnings… the sky thundered as lightning flashed and our home became awashed of dog drool.

“Should we get a kayak out?” I thought to myself as I waded in our living room.

1,071 Flooded Room Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images

No, instead I put down 15 towels throughout the house for mop-up duty which my wife quickly pointed out was super stupid…”Just put her in the bathroom!”

I did, and Snowy was good in the bathroom for about fifteen minutes until I couldn’t take it anymore and had to have her saliva on me once more. The storm passed; we lived. It all made me realize what a miracle Snowy dog is! She could tell a farmer 4 hours ahead of time under clear blue skies that he or she better secure the livestock and farming equipment—think about this; it’s simply amazing.

But, there is one last thing about Snow White that my wife pointed out….

“Snow White is faking; she’s not afriad of thunder but shaking for the drugs….”

I looked at Snowy and realized this was true. The deal was done the first time our daughter gave Snowy drugs to calm her down about lightning. The die was cast right then and Snowy was hooked and able to do any amount of shaking or drooling for the drugs! I’d forgotten I once was that pot smoke-filled, “Sure I’ll take that pink pill!” guy—what was I thinking? I knew about druggies and Snowy was one of them. Sad.

So, what’s an apple a day have to do with this post? Snowy doesn’t eat apples and Robin and I ate plenty of them since they grew in our backyard but none of that helped us do our laundry or get laid, and they didn’t get us out of traffic tickets or into the World’s Fair free.  I know, an apple a day keeps syphillis away, something like that. IDK, it may be gonorrhea, not sure, but apples have power. You can shine them on your shirt until you can see your cavities in them if you smile. You can throw apples at friends for fun or at neighbors who raid the trees for fruit. You can roll them like bowling balls down the street or leave them to rot in the lawn until they’re squishy. And mom baked apple pies that we kept right by the beer in the basement which added to our beer heaven but to this day, I swear, I never have beer and apple pie together. I mean, I don’t have a basement in Florida so what would be the point?

Apple A Day: An apple a day  you die anyway

Dang! This can’t be the saying….Is there maybe something else about two or three apples per day…?

Cheers

Franque23

*No, like I’m gonna hold a vote on this?

 


 

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing

The man and the people of the hour.*

I can’t count the number of times I sang, Blackbird, on stage. It’s true to say I can’t remember many times I played for people over twenty years and didn’t perform this song. It’s a wonderful piece as the chords use nearly the entire neck of the guitar, impressive for anyone to veiw, and offers times to ding harmonics off the frets to show off a bit. Playing this song for practice or to warm up, or with friends for fun—heck, it was routine.

I’m about 14 in this shot and started to play several years earlier.

Soon, I was playing, Blackbird. Here’s McCartney singing this song about 30 years after he first performed it.

I never knew during all those years the true history of this, Blackbird, song. No, not at all.

I’d learned how to whistle the call of the red-winged blackbird while fishing as a kid on Lake Bonaparte, NY. I loved to float mid-day among the tall grass and reeds that grow along the shoreline of Mud Lake (a fishing spot on Lake Bonaparte).

Fishin’ in Mud Lake up at Lake Bonaparte with grandchildren.

Mud Lake.

I love the dark or tan beige colors of late summer grasses just before the leaves turn, and no where could the flashy red feathers of a red-winged blackbird be more noticeable to the eye.

NestWatch | Red-winged Blackbird - NestWatch

“Hello, my fine friend! Have you come to watch me fish again?” Speaking to nature has always been my way.

The birds would fly past and land effortlessly upon the tips of the twigs or tuffs of grass and, soon enough, they’d call their song across the blue sparkling water to the sky above. Their appearance always brought McCartney’s song, Blackbird, to mind. I often wondered how he’d come to write about this particular bird when there are so many other birds he might have selected? What a choice it was! The song and the red-winged Blackbirds so impressed me I added two separate whistling moments to imitate those bird calls while doing this piece on stage just to put some zing in the tune.

To me, Lake Bonaparte puts a bit of pizzazz into anyone’s life who gets to see it’s daily splendor. I think everyone who gets to enjoy Lake Bonaparte likes to carry a little bit of this pizzazz as they go about their daily lives.

And then, come the nights.

Leaving Mud Lake just before dark has a way of speaking back to anyone who might listen.  Life does have a way of starting dialogues and I still speak with nature and those Blackbirds when I can.

To think: I never once knew.  I never once suspected the ‘Blackbird,’ McCartney sang about wasn’t a bird at all!

No, not a bird at all.

Below is a shortened version of a post I clipped from FB today…it’s a remarkable story.

“Paul McCartney was visiting America….

He also remembered watching television and following the news in America, the race riots and what was happening in Little Rock, Arkansas, what was going on in the Civil Rights movement. He saw the picture of 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford attempt to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School as an angry mob followed her, yelling, “Drag her over this tree! Let’s take care of that n**ger!'” and “Lynch her! Lynch her!” “No n**ger b*tch is going to get in our school!”

McCartney couldn’t believe this was happening in America. He thought of these women being mistreated, simply because of the color of her skin. He sat down and started writing.”

McCartney may have been about this old at the time.

“Last year at a concert, he would meet two of the women who inspired him to write one of his most memorable songs, Thelma Mothershed Wair and Elizabeth Eckford, members of the Little Rock Nine (first picture in this post).

He explained that when he started writing the song, he had in mind a black woman, but in England, “girls” were referred to as “birds.” And, so the song started:

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting
for this moment to arise.”

McCartney added that he and the Beatles cared passionately about the Civil Rights movement, “so this was really a song from me to a black woman, experiencing these problems in the States: ‘Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith, there is hope.’ ”

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting
for this moment to be free.”

Paul, Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of England, is a better man than most of us knew, until now.

Now, I’ve a bit more to think about as I float by my dashy, red-winged Blackbird friends while up at the lake. I think we all do if you’re an American like me—we have to think about race and how it divides our country; we have to design a better society so we all might live and prosper.  Even the Blackbird loves to spread it’s wings and sing in the daylight and Paul McCartney knew this as a young man.  Every life has a song we should hear and enjoy.

Cheers

Franque23

*He saw the picture of 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford attempt to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School as an angry mob followed her, yelling, “Drag her over this tree! Let’s take care of that n**ger!'” and “Lynch her! Lynch her!” “No n**ger b*tch is going to get in our school!Last year at a concert, he would meet two of the women who inspired him to write one of his most memorable songs, Thelma Mothershed Wair and Elizabeth Eckford, members of the Little Rock Nine (pictured here).


 As my dear friends, Marc and Ali, named it, today is Blursday. It’s not a day like another, it is the other day.

It’s all about retirement in a locked down Nation full of people equipped with the skill of the steel ball that’s trapped in a pin-ball machine.

A Pinball Language Glossary - The Morning Call

Work life stopped and America went on tilt. Yikes, “Mask or ventilator; mask or ventilator… hmmmm, so many choices.”

coronavirus, COVID-19, ventilators | National Post

Thing is retirement can bring many things but time is not one of them! Heck, I’m retired and don’t have much time left! My fuse is burning fast as the clock ticks double time while I dribble on my shirt what food doesn’t manage to get down my sporting turkey neck.

Vultures wear stop watches as they circle above.

Vincent van Gogh - Wikiquote

Something’s flying overhead so I’m wearing my hat….

Mail persons knock to see if they still need to deliver to my address.

Creepy Door Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

The good news is a Wednesday morning can feel like a Saturday and a Monday like Friday. Tuesday usually sucks retired or not. Tuesday has very little to say about anything; it’s not Friday, no better than a Monday and  not related to any weekend at all whether you’re moth balled or under the work master’s lash. Nope, I’m telling ya, I’ve looked at Tuesday from both side now and Tuesday’s a dump of a wannabe day. Maybe this is why I picked Tuesday to post this glob—what could go wrong? Or worse….actually, it’s Blursday.

Adam Lupton's paintings show the passing of time as a disorienting ...

Anyway…

While working, I never answered the home phone when at home. I told people to text me because, well, I don’t text.

Now? I answer so many calls from travel agents offering deals that might kill me if I go on them I feel I know the solicitors personally. “Hey, you’re the person who offered me that trip to see Head Hunters last week aren’t you? Well, hows the kids?” Okay, honestly, I feel sorry for anyone calling trying to sell travel packages right now… “Hey! We have a great deal for you driving from Gainesville to  Orlando in your own car! Free coupons on the interstate at the interstate stop!!!”

Holiday From Hell Cartoons and Comics - funny pictures from ...

Okay, no ones going anywhere if you live in Florida unless you’re extremely suicidal or just count on your co-pilot, God, a bit much.

Life couldn’t be better for me. Telemarketers call all day long and some campaigning phone calls are starting to light up our dial. Everyone is so sweet. The Fed Ex man rings the bell and stares as I answer wondering if I’m dead or alive. My dog sounds viscous and I swear the delivery people look like they’d rather be attacked than to have to stand near me for another minute.

I stopped by a take out window and the food nearly flew in my face as I signed the receipt  Alfred E. and drove off.

Seriously, I have a friend who is a grave digger part time. Does Randy think this might be some sort of bonanza year?

Argentine city digs hundreds of graves amid pandemic even as curve ...

I mean, I guess there’s a bright side to even in the worst happenstance. Like I’m on the track and that train’s coming but my wife divorced me, I’m about to lose my house, I have covid-19 , syphilis and I think a coral snake just bit me, the Sahara dust full of pathogens is upon us and the hurricane season is here…maybe, just sit tight and wait for that train? BTW, why are trains in America never on time? In Japan, where they outlawed suicide, the trains are always on time? So, what’s up with that?

Here’s to the Blursday’s of retirement and frankly, my dear, I’m hoping for a hell of a lot more of them. I don’t care how blurry.

Franque23 is retired and continually never bored. In truth.. I’m Lovin it… Cheers.

 


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.

1970-gainesville-fl-uf-univ-of-florida-homecoming-parade-press-photo-rkf19999-8e2e3da9b5a6918fa3b501db221baf90

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

04980017-2


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

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

August 2020
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Categories