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(click on the pics for a bigger picture.)

Yes, I’ll admit, I’ve always wanted to play the Mad-Hatter in a puppet show. This is why it is the Mad Hatter’s tea party that s-l-o-w-s down the Hare as I wrote the puppet show adaptations of The Tortoise and the Hare. Well for that, but also because I couldn’t think of how watching a Hare sleep under and tree or romp through flowers could be made into an interesting, entertaining script…..Voila–the Mad Hatter’s tea party was born again, sorta.

We were ready-----(Tina, Odette and Ann-she signed the show- line up with me wishing they could run away

We were ready—–(Tina Bushnell, Odette Hinson and Ann Lozotte(-she signed the show-) line up with me wishing they could run away…

It can be painful learning a show...and sometimes you just gotta laugh since there's no way any of it will work out.

It can be painful learning a show…and sometimes you just gotta laugh since there’s no way any of it will work out.(practice while thinking of calling in sick on the day of the show)

It’s quite an ordeal to pre-plan the adaptation, write the script, order needed  items, build the set and props, practice, direct and then perform the puppet show. In all, we had over 100 hours of time put into this production…and I was sorry that 50 or so children who hadn’t pre–signed up and reserved a spot in the audiences for either one of two “Sold-out” free shows had to be turned away.

The script was full of puns: “Do you have money for Hare-fare?”; “Here’s a Hare-brush”;”Let’s not split, Hares”; and “Hare today; gone tomorrow” These were just  a few-

The Hatter meant it when he said, "Let's look OVER the menu."

The Hatter meant it when he said, “Let’s look OVER the menu.”

Hare: “But I can’t read what’s on the menu!”(by just looking over it)

Hatter: “Excellent idea; we’ll eat what ‘s on the menu!”

In one of the funnier parts, the waiter uses a sight gag of large portions for the Hatter and small portions for the Hare.

Large lettuce leaf and tomato for me

First a large carrot for me and a five CARAT ring for the starving Hare. Then, a large lettuce leaf and tomato for me

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small tomato with bite out of it for the Hare

Small tomato with bite out of it for the Hare

The bit here ends when the Hatter pretends to eat his menu, now folded around the food items as if it were a sandwich-er, on the menu.

Hatter: Bon Appetit

Hare: Wait, I can’t eat this! ( The menu as a sandwich)

Hatter: But people always eat what’s on the Menu!

The waiter-played by Odette, changes into four or more nationalities as she returns with food to put”On” the menu, or delivers a large carrot for me and a five Carat diamond ring for the starving Hare etc. In all, I think Odette changed costumes about 8 times within a 35 minute program–that’s work.

In the beginning, the set was ready and quiet.

In the beginning, the set was ready and quiet.

Wait–in the beginning the people who’d be doing the play were determined,,,their talents came into play and helped define the roles they might do well.

Random thought:

Why didn't the term, Mosshead, take hold?  That all got me thinking -I guess it’s the same for Fox News Producers…they have to dice out who can do what for their shows.

So they had to decide what roll Megyn Kelly might best be suited for on their TV show....

So they had to decide what roll, Megyn Kelly, might best be suited for on their TV show….then make her toast, I mean host.

Maybe,  we all buy into what puppets tells us?

Anyway, for us the first act was all puppets….

Children buy into puppets ,,always.....

Children buy into puppets ,,always…..(Ann Lezotte signs)

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Everything was set behind stage

lots of lines to keep track of

lots of lines to keep track of…

We always have a rocking time of it…

I first looked over the Hairy Hare name Harry and thought her a bit fuzzy-she explained she was hairy all over, which I thought an odd name...Then she said , "No I'm only Hairy." That name seemed no better.... "No" The Hare said. "I'm just Harry." This is why I called the Medic- obviously Hairy all over and Only Hairy were missing,, maybe in trouble,,,maybe hurt....

I first looked over  Hairy Hare name Harry and thought her a bit fuzzy-she explained she was hairy all over, which I thought an odd name…Then she said , “No I’m only Hairy.” That name seemed no better…. “No” The Hare said. “I’m just Harry.” This is why I called the Medic- obviously Hairy all over and Only Hairy had gone missing,, they could’ve been in trouble,,,maybe hurt….missing for sure

We kept the pace of puns going on throughout and  you can’t flip a phrase into humor if the first one isn’t said just right. That put pressure on us to remember the subtle twists of the script.

Of course we had a safety net made of endless confetti and horn blowers for each child.....

Of course we had a safety net made of endless confetti and horn blowers for each child at the play’s end…

In the end, it was. I found myself back stage with bending head realizing that after 21 years of doing puppet shows, I wouldn’t be doing them forever. Plus, one cast member had mentioned that maybe this was her last hurrah(the position in the puppet shows so filled with huge work is voluntary.) It all set me back- back to twenty years ago when I was 47 and new to the Library District.., young, limber, full of energy and so willing to go for it.  Then, I thought about how much I would miss doing these shows with the current cast members, how much they’d given to me, to the shows, and how wonderful they are. It was a moment of triumphant filled with a sense of loss for me.

“Are you alright?”

Tina’s sweet voice called from my left, startling me,  catching me in my retrospective moment-

“Yes.” I smiled. “I’m alright.”  I couldn’t go into how much Odette and Tina had meant to my efforts, our efforts, and how much I’d never forget the puppet shows, the laughter, or either of them. I owe them so much. I kept my thoughts private, until now.

I'' never forget the scenes

I’ll never forget the scenes–how about the tea cup?

But most of all, I’ll never forget the children’s faces, the laughter and joy we’ve managed to bring to them.

I know it a small thing-but this troupe has worked wonders...and I'm so proud of them.

I know it’s a small thing-but this troupe has worked wonders…and I’m so proud of them.

 

Cheers, and I’ve a few more shows left in me as long as the ‘creek don’t rise’…

Franque23 loves his troupe.

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(click on pic for much larger views)

There was a rush of energy, almost a light that shot through my head, and then I felt a warm glow radiate from my skin.  I was a new first time father, dancing on air it seemed, ready to take on the world. Of course, it hadn’t always been this way.

I'd no clue what would happen after just leaving the music world back in 1973ish (check out the tv and record player...and hair curling beyond my shoulders....)

I’d no clue what would happen after just leaving the music world back in 1973ish (check out the tv and record player…and hair curling beyond my shoulders….)

About all I knew, and all I could think of, was that I loved Dale.

About all I knew, and all I could think of, was that I loved Dale.

My first good view of our baby came as she was hoisted from my wife and put on a bilirubin table. I looked down at this soft pudding of person and smiled. It’d been my habit over the past nine months to say hello to our baby right through Dales belly-I used a high, sorta cartoon sounding voice, “Hello, babbbby.” Before I knew it, the same words and tune was ushering from my smiling lips. In a split second, I saw our child try to open one eye as if to see where that sound had been coming from all of her life….This was our first major connection; a moment of true understanding.

Kelly  started batting practice at 2 months-would later be part of a State Championship soft ball team)

Kelly started batting practice at 2 months-would later be part of a State Championship soft ball team)

Being a new dad turned me into a puff-ball of pride. Here was not only the most inquisitive, altogether perfect baby ever born but she who would one day rule the world! I tried hard to only take 1/2 of the credit.

It's called pride.....

It’s called pride…..

Kelly caught on to everything quick....and new when to mug shot a picture early on.

Kelly caught on to everything quick….and knew when to mug shot a picture early on.

The world had opened a new door for my life, rearranged everything, put the past in its place and planted a brand new future ahead.  I have to say, there’s nothing neater than having a baby for the first time, actually, anytime.. It so rocks!

BTW, Kelly taught me the meaning of Colic...forget sleeping, more like collapsing.

BTW, Kelly taught me the meaning of Colic…forget sleeping, it was more like collapsing.

Had to add this pic with rotary phone in it?!?!?

Had to add this pic with rotary phone in it?!?!?

Time began to rush by, and before we knew it Kelly’s Baptism was on hand, at  8 months….Jan. 1983

My parents came up for the big day.....

My parents came up for the big day…..

Dale and I wore our best outfits…..

Jan, 1983

Jan, 1983….

So I sat down after all that and when I got up it was Kelly’s first birthday party down at my parents house….we had a few special guests there as well….

Kelly dove into her first Birthday cake! Like face -first.

Kelly dove into her first Birthday cake! Like face first.

Her outfit never tasted better

Her outfit never tasted better

There were cousins…..

Kelly's cousin,  Erik, had a birthday t.hat same month-May, 1983

Kelly’s cousin, Erik, had a birthday that same month-May, 1983

And we all got to go to the beach….

A lucky 'high-water' shot....right Kelly?

A lucky ‘high-water’ shot….right Kelly?(1983)

Life couldn’t be better,,,and Kelly’s good nature and desire to learn all there was to know made each day bloom with happiness for us.

Dad is 72; Kelly one.

Dad is 72; Kelly one.

Kelly brought a dear friend to our house, Sandra, who I’d known in the Ocala National forest…so many came to see Kelly , I couldn’t put the pictures in here…50670014

One thing of note…the background has a real wagon wheel lamp in it,,,and that same lamp is in my living room now!

Kelly gave so much to us, so much to me, personally. My heart hurt the first day I realized that a spirit so full of life would swim ‘up-stream’ in our society just because she was a female…But none of that kept Kelly down-oh no. I’ve written globs about her in Japan, Africa, on top of mountains, winning championships in horseback riding and  baseball…awards in music-and in college-so much more…..but I think this picture of Dale with Kelly’s first major horse , Will, a great little horse himself, says a lot.

How we've loved following Kelly in all of her exploits

How we’ve loved following Kelly in all of her exploits.

It could be cold.....(Florida snow of Christmas-around 1990)

It could be cold…..(Florida snow of Christmas-around 1990)

Or it could be warm

Kelly has helped make anyplace home.

Kelly has helped make every place home.

Thanks Kelly Jeanne....

Thanks Kelly Jeanne….(Laura’s-our second daughter- Birthday with balloons in her hair.)

We love you so much Kelly….50670024

 

and we always will….Happy Birthday Kelly….Love, Dad

You've helped make our day, year-life.

You’ve helped make our day, year-life.

When my days get tough, I think of Kelly and get going….Thanks, Kelly.

Franque23 is so proud of Kelly Jeanne.

 

 

 

 

 


I’m thinkin’ this was the entire clan in 2014?(Click on pics to enlarge.)10253849_10152642095434254_1132655158881258983_n

It was an arousing, disturbing time, a tale of two camps fraught with desperate devotion to the diversity of character. But, before the frolicking could start, there were reading lessons to give.

Our plan was to work slowly with the new readers, first by way of picture and really large print.

Our plan was to work slowly with the new readers, first by way of picture and then really large print.

The Kingdom, the king and queen,  had serious business to consider.

Blue Jeans were new to the realm so I wore the pair to perfection.

Blue Jeans were new to the realm so I wore the pair to perfection.

But would the Ne’er do wells learn? We sent out our number twelve and one half scout….

12 &1/2 scout who in truth was our number beaver and a bunch of other things.

12 &1/2 scout who in truth was our number one beaver and a bunch of other things. He’d get to the bottom of the mug.

The place was crawling with bounty hunters……

Black as night and under a full moon sometimes ,too.

Black as night even under a full moon. They call him, Ben the Mysterious.

And dang, we had to work around the cops, too. The Northern kind, cold, cunning, always cooking up something.

A badge toting hash slinger....

A badge toting hash slinger….

There were stories about those who could not read, the cops, the ‘body’ hunters….they all to be told to those who might listen.

Only a few, like one, believed it all.

Only a few, like one, believed it all.

Of course, in the middle of the grueling learning process, there was the , “Everyone Stand on a Boat Trailer,” day..

Exactly what?

Exactly what?

..All hands were on deck, but for the few snookered pirates who wore dangerous hats.

Don't ever let the grin beat cha....

Don’t ever let the grin beat cha….here or from the other wanna be dangerous hat person.

Aye----

Aye—-

We set our sails out to see what the he*l?

Ship off and drink up, though maybe it's the other way around, not sure.

Ship off and drink up, 2014, though maybe it’s the other way around, not sure.

And who could remember, trying so hard to forever forget, the famous, “Wear a Sticky Note on Your Nose,” day?

The Universe is full of mystery.

The Universe is full of mystery.

Very little had been planned, but still subjects lined up to walk the plank/dock?10547644_10152641130119254_2725586665697732552_n

The Princess called for a retrieve…we had a dog.10527489_10152641107679254_3109956687433018332_n

A woman named Rachel plotted on how to escape-but could she make it?!?!?!10527338_10152641098749254_5162423330591262251_n Shadow and bearded wonders came in one fall of a swoop to do even less than anticipated.

Shadow, the life guard.

Shadow, the life guard. And two wonders with beards….

completely saved the day

completely saved the day

Order had been restored in a pantry.

Order had been restored in a pantry.

If truth be known, I took every order from a person so important that to this day there shall be no mention of him…..

He who will be never mentioned....

He who will be never mentioned…. So wise; so inspiring….

No this doesn’t end it for 2014, the Bonaparte Mistake. There are so many other pictures I meant to leave out!  Here’s to Meagan,,a random guest who secretly took the pictures….

Every load of disaster has worth-here, in 2014, we learned that the kayaks really belong in the water. There was the testing process, hard to the knee work, rowing, rowing, rowing…..whew!

bright side---we all learned a thing or not about boats and water.

bright side—we all learned a thing or not about boats and water.

For now from then until we meet again, I squish you ado. For now from then until we meet again, I squish you ado.

Franque23 loves the lake-


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

 

 


Arriving at the lake makes ya lucky.

Arriving at the lake means you got lucky.(click on the pics for bigger views)

The 22 plus hour drive from our Florida home up to the lake always means we count our blessing if we get in before sundown on the second day of the trip. Towing two grand children, 5 and 6, plus a year and one half old catahoula made the trip a bit longer… But no worries-out of the car, the bags stowed inside our camp and then a quick splash in the water made it all good.  Last summer’s first sundown was rated an average of 6 out of ten points…I gave it a five, since I’m spoiled rotten, but others pulled up the rating.

The next day was time to get the games out

The next day was time to get the games out

We were waiting for our boat to be delivered, so the whole day was a bust.

we had to spend time swimming -no one had fun

we had to spend time swimming -no one had fun

Oy Veyish, we had to wait a whole 5 hours for the boat to arrive….so I got the tackle ready while Dale worked hard to over turn the kid’s kayaks. What? I mean, this is the Lake. Who hasn’t been thrown in with all their clothes on? See a shrink if not; you have no true friends.

Dale's on the bottom right, making her move...

Dale’s on the bottom right, making her move…

Finally, after boring games, swimming, kayaking, swimming more, throwing a ball one hundred times for our puppy Shadow to retrieve in the Lake,,,,we got to go out, we got to answer the call of the fish, we got to prove the engine would start and put hooks in my fingers.

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

The trip was one worm after another, and sometimes fish.( about 80 in one hour-really) We had three stringers full.

I’m not sure what Isaiah had done to his brother so that he alone could be in this picture… Thing is, I’m certain I don’t want to know. On another note-I was thrilled to see some nice perch keepers come up…It’s been awhile since those tasty fish were on my plate. And, I see from FB shots that the Walleye have been caught lately, too…..very good indeed.

I discovered how to bait one hundred worms on moving, swerving, lookout duck! slap in my face hooks in less than one minute.

Bapa’s Epitaph should read: Survived teaching Grandchildren how to fish-for a pretty good length of time.

More stupid games came out plus a good book while I hunted for antibiotic to put on hook holes.

More stupid games came out plus a good book while I hunted for antibiotic to put on my finger’s hook holes.

The early morning fishing trip was my revenge plan. The three of us went out early, way early, but in June, as Lake Bonapertian’s know, the sun only pretends to set at about 10 PM-it’s actually rising then but you don’t get to see it until just after 3:30 AM. Plus the AM trips lets us guys rev the motor to let everyone know we’re out and about. Good morning!

We allllmmmost beat the light.

We allllmmmost beat the light.

What my grandchildren didn’t know is this: what Bonaparte fish do best in the morning is sleep. Heck, they’ve been tearing one another up all night long. So it was a good laugh while we filled the boat full of nothing time and time again, and then headed back home in a glorious morning light. I couldn’t help but think of mom and dad who’d given us, their children, the camp.

.mom and dad with hummingbird…..(Claudia and Max Franquemont)

The cabin was a bit cool when we arrived back home; I lit a fire while the kids tried to forget about wanting to throw me over board the next time we went out-I hoped.

I kept my fingers crossed and hoped the kids would find some inner peace.

I kept my fingers crossed and hoped the kids would find some inner peace.

When it came time for breakfast, everyone had a face for the 4 AM fishing trip idea….

What?

What?

Okay, with 4 AM fishing trips put out on-a-line, it meant we had time to finish a very difficult puzzle. We gathered for a shot to celebrate two weeks of hard work, and the completion of a master piece-Bonaparte style…

Completely done, and with an added brown overlay tinge for effect.

Completely done, and with an added brown overlay tinge for effect.

Trouble was, the sun kept rising and then the day vanishing before yet again another sunset had to be rated…We turned around, took one swim, a short nap and the dang vacation was over! Someone really needs to look into the time problem up at the Lake. I’ve got my buddy, Paul Doherty, hot on the case-He’ll fix this crap , I just know it.

There's just no way that was 14 days...Pllllease.

There’s just no way that was 17 days…Pllllease.

And since when does time speed up in Mud Lake worse than a Formula One X 2016 at the Daytona speedway?

Ya know-it's like impossible to take a photo of Paul without having a loon photo bomb the shot...really--try it.

Ya know-it’s like impossible to take a photo of Paul without having a loon photo bomb the shot…really–try it.

Anyway, we watched our last sundown-

A most beautiful and untouched up photo--I had to think about the rating.....

A most beautiful and untouched up photo–I had to think about the rating…..(thanks Daley for the pic!)

I spent the next hour thinking of how I might fake falling down the cliff, break a few bones here and there, and get to stay a couple of extra weeks….None of it seemed likely.

I bet our visit put a smile on mom's face...so we to leave, and in just

I bet our visit put a smile on mom’s face…

So we had to leave, and in just 11 and 1/2 weeks we’ll be back. That’s a mere one thousand nine hundred and thirty-two hours….a piece of cake. Actually, I think just under three months sounds better. Anyway, the whole crew is coming back, and I can’t wait for that next early morning fishin’ trip.(Gonna wear my life jacket this time.)

 

Franque23 loves the Lake.

 

 

 

 


(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

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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


2015 has been a great year around our house. Kids growing; garden sowing. Not a hurricane in sight!

the pool is a playground-Isaiah makes the catch!

The pool is a playground-Isaiah makes the catch!

We learned early on that Shadow, our Catahoula Leopard, is quite a swimmer. Thing is, when I first carried him in the pool he swam to the pool’s edge for his life. When I saw his speed I began to wonder what we had on our hands. Checking his toes revealed our dog was actually a duck of sorts. Those webs between his toes go waaay up to his nails…But this is not to say Shadow took to the pool or lake water early on in his life-yeah, no, he spent almost a year running around the pool’s perimeter while we tried to coax him into the refreshing water.

He made me promise to never carry him into the water again-----so we had to wait.

He made me promise to never carry him into the water again—–so we had to wait.

Things changed after his first trip up to Lake Bonaparte when he gingerly stepped into the water and swam by his own volition for the first time.

Now, at two, Shadow is a swimming maniac, and no-can-stop jumper, a splashing and a I can swim even faster dog face day in day out.

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We noticed that his brown eyes turn blue(look blue) when he stands by the pool. This has to be due to some sort of strange under coating in his eye cause sometimes the camera flash has the same effect on his brown eyes. The Catahoula breed does sport blue eyes often, and sometimes one brown and one blue eye or, as in Shadow’s case, two brown eyes.  Shadow cleared ten feet through the air off our dock during his second year up at the lake.

"I'm absolutely ready to swim...."

“I’m absolutely ready to swim….”

especially up at the lake!

especially up at the lake!

Last year, the fifty-ish steps and  cliff up at the lake created a wonderland of sheer joy for this ready to go puppy. And there’s nothing like chasing squirrels.

Okay, so I love everything about our Catahoula Leopard, Shadow-I’ve made that plain enough over several blogs I call globs about him on this site. But there’s another question dog owners might wonder about. Just how much do dogs love us? The answer is amazing.

A recent study finds Dogs love their owners as much as people love people… the key is measuring the oxytocin level in the dogs’s blood stream when they are with those they love…Here’s the result of the study:

“A general breakdown, according to Zak is that we produce 15 to 25 percent oxytocin when we have a pleasant interaction with a stranger; 25 to 50 percent when we’re engaging with someone we know; and if we release 50 percent or more, it’s in response to someone we really love like a child or spouse.

During Zak’s experiment, dogs, on average, produced 57.2 percent.

“So your dog really loves you … a lot,” Zak said. “But what makes this so amazing is that the oxytocin they produced is for another species, not their own. The fact that this is cross species is really freakin’ crazy/cool. Their brains are telling them that they love us.”

Here’ the link-a-dink for reading further on this amazing study….http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cat-vs-dog-who-loves-humans-more_us_56af85a4e4b077d4fe8ed1ed?ref=yfp

I’ve had cats over the years that I’ve thought very special-a part of the family. Everyone knows a cat may be aloof at times and cuddly on other occasions but this study draws a line in the sand between cats and dogs.  The study’s findings break down a cat’s oxytocin level when they interact with humans. The finding? A cat’s affection for their humans can’t hold a candle to a dog’s love for Mankind. But I still think our miniature cats are super to have, hold and love. That’s just me.

The children are counting on us, and don't even know it.

I’m interested to know how other animals rate on the basis of this study-it could go on and on, and be so much fun to know.

Franque23

 

 

 


You know the type- the annoying workmate that smiles even in the morning, lends you two helping hands when all you asked for was one, continually makes the day better and makes you forget you wish it were over. I’m surrounded by the type-turkey’s every one of them.12279013_10208140762667012_8713307563898335197_n (1)

Odette’s turkey hat craft tortured old and young alike this year.AlachuaCountyLibraryDowntown_100kW

http://www.aclib.us/headquarters(link-a-dink to the Alachua County Library district.)The main, Headquarter’s branch is a big deal building, housing over 250,000 items, visited by 3,000 people on a slow day and checking out over 1 million items per year.

Sometimes, I just have to put one foot in front of the other and drag myself in to work with our rafter of Youth Service people. Imagine the whole flock being made up of people who like to help others on a daily basis, and it only gets worse. These liberrians( from the often used pronunciation, most seem to think we grow on trees.) like to share information, read, laugh, smile-never yell-stay pleasant, think proactively, design endless displays, tell stories during elaborate story hours presented throughout the county, and they like to nibble. Real Gobblers this group. In fact, I think we should call one table inside our office the official, Nibble Table-wait, the entire office-The Nibble Office. Better. In all, it’s a disgusting display of happiness around here-a nightmare montage of good feelings I must navigate through every working hour!

This is giving me an idea…..

images (23) Ya know how we have all those happy days like Thanksgiving, the Holidays(code for Christmas) Thank God for Parents day(wait-do we have one of these?) Anyway….what we need around here is an official crappy day -a cathartic day of the year, one left open for only complaints, grips, groans, pukey ideas, grumbling and saying what’s on our mind day. We could call it, The Colossal Crappy Day. But why stop at one, when we could have,say,,, four a year?!?!?!

Right now,  what’s amazing is that this post has nothing in it that even closely resembles what I meant to write about. No, this post is about the Library building I put on display, how much awful fun it was creating, and how many patrons regrettably enjoy it.12195848_1049487265082047_5704119365050262721_n

So yeah, it’s like a doll house, you can even find stacks of books and stuff by looking into the side windows or into the second story window.12191492_1049487311748709_2641903970150508098_n

I’m using the bright reflective neon paper that’s attached to the backside of the trees to get the added fall reflection look.

12065708_1049487268415380_1140104192380908343_n

Have trees, have squirrels*(God’s motto.)…Well,  one thing’s certain-this squirrel’s not the only one who has a bunch of nuts around him.

red team winners

I ask you! Who are these people!

And my director(she’s really my supervisor, but, shhh, don’t mention that to her) keeps thinking of more to do, more to eat and stuff.1965012_786280751406619_7639099478551129472_n

She keeps an eye on me.

11073001_10206382344667661_2894807218142997118_n

And really, all the gals I work with wear a bunch of hats on a daily basis- it’s that do this, do that, get stuff done attitude they all don that screws up many perfectly good, non-productive days.

11111600_10207006062780224_3249618924229311604_n

Personally, I have to ask, why so many hats? It’s only one job!?!?!

securedownload (8)

I’m your basic one hat sort of guy, period. (Pay no attention to the stuffed animals, puppets, clown shoes, tinsel or that other hat on my desk.)

securedownload-7 (1)

Okay, also pay no attention to maybe a second hat, or four, or the Grinch, the moose, the royal carriage, and the winged Pegasus you can’t see to boot. There, that’s as far as I take it-the rest is all hard work; end of story-sorta. Let the others do all the miserable laughing.

Merry Thanksgiving anyway, and enjoy the turkey’s-I do.

Franque23

horse_head_squirrel_feeder_1 (1)

Time to eat.

Book one of the Avatar magic Trilogy, Avatar Magic, and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic, and the final book of this trilogy, Survival, are on kindle now. Please enjoy this Sci-fi romance. I hope you buy the books; I hope you enjoy reading the books; I hope you will review the books; I hope you will share the books.

Book One: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0NYO80
Book Two: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KXMIIOK

Book 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.

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