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It's a good time to appreciate one another.

It’s a good time to appreciate one another.

I have to say that John Lennon’s song, So This Is Christmas- War is Over, often runs  on the background hard drive of my brain during the holiday time. The promise of peace looms in my soul somewhat like those three-day work weeks my generation was told we’d live to see, and all due to technological advances that were to come.

Some promises are hard to hang on to.

Some promises are hard to hang on to.

At times things don’t work out as planned.

Today, this glob writer has much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for readers in 82 countries who have clicked in almost 6 thousand times this year to check out what’s banging thru my head on a weekly basis. I have a home, and a lake home, a beach home and rentals to boot, and all from once having hitch-hiked 30 miles to a flea market with all the wares I had to sell on my back. I could go back to even worse times in my life, but I won’t. The simple truth is I’ve been lucky to live the American dream-moving from very little to something that is more than enough. And I have good friends. My job? Being a children’s librarian is about as good as it gets, but at 67 I can actually see the switch on the light at the end of the tunnel so, with luck, I’ll retire someday too soon for me. I’ve five books written. three are on Kindle and a fourth is about to come out -if I can just let go-and that’s all a blast.

This year could go head to head with any other I've had and come out well.

This year could go head to head with any other I’ve had and come out well.

It’s difficult at times for me as an American to realize much of the world’s people don’t have enough to live. It’s easy to look away.

It’s easy to forget the Lakota and other tribes still stand in freezing temperatures hoping to stop the pipeline.

I try to envision Isis truly being stopped, or morphed into a place where negotiation is possible. I still dream of massive food airlifts like the kind America ran in WW II being broadcast throughout the middle East as a huge international peace effort. Food, not bombs. I’d rather police use tranquilizer bullets when shooting people who are running away or held upon the ground by other police. Of course, our law people need to be safe as they go about their job of helping our society function.

At this point, American politics is a mosh pit of speculation. Is a boom or bust coming? Will the next four years or so be a drat splat dump we will wish to flush away in the future, or will these coming years be an awakening of a whole new kind of world-wide détente?Is prosperity our future?

Will Americans ever see anything eye to eye.

Will Americans ever see anything eye to eye.

Some things are certain; the sand-hill Crane still fly south in the winter; migrations continue all over the world. Species extinctions are too prevalent and the sea levels are rising. Whether or not we have global warming, we all know CO2 emissions are not the way to go for the future of Mankind-so why the debate about global warming when the issue is emissions/pollution? Sometimes, I wonder-what’s up with the misdirection.

The graph reveals the human toll due to outdoor air pollution in 2008,… Of all major global health risks, outdoor air pollution in the form of fine particles is found to be dangerous for public health - contributing annually to over 2 million premature deaths worldwide. The WHO global study ranks air pollution as one of the top 10 killers in the world.

The graph reveals the human toll due to outdoor air pollution in 2008,… Of all major global health risks, outdoor air pollution in the form of fine particles is found to be dangerous for public health – contributing annually to over 2 million premature deaths worldwide. The WHO global study ranks air pollution as one of the top 10 killers in the world.

In the end for now, we did just have Christmas, and we can hope for a happy New Year. Let’s hope together that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Let’s hope those who want to move forward in a kind, loving way that ‘s good for all species, the Earth and it’s people win the day.

One million children meditating for world peace in 2016

One million children meditating for world peace in 2016

So many of us pray for World Peace.

So many of us pray for World Peace.

Kindness, Truth, Justice and Life has to prevail. We can make it so-that’s the great part.

I looked different at 23 than I do today at 67, but I feel about the same inside, my hopes, dreams and aspirations for Mankind remain about the same. Is it the same for the Earth? Is there an ongoing, eternal hope we know little about?

23 doesn’t look like 67, but I feel about the same today inside as I did back then. My hopes, dreams and aspirations for Mankind remain about the same. Is it the same for the Earth? Is there an ongoing, eternal hope we know little about?

Peace. It's a wonderful bloom.

Peace. It’s a wonderful bloom. Let’s plant that flower.

Franque23 hopes you’ll forward this glob. Cheers

Thanks for being you.

Thanks for being you.

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A spirited adventure to enliven your soul…..

https://franque23.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/engines-in-tune-halloween/

 

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Homegrown pineapples are heavenly

 

A romp in the swamp that will hook you…

https://franque23.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/hooked-in-the-head/

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gotta try on a few more hats…

The truth of the matter; it’s pure fat, er, fact…

https://franque23.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/the-absolute-futility-of-exercise/

 

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I could hardly get a laugh in between push-ups

How to drink and enjoy it more—A Japanese bar…

https://franque23.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/bar-up-in-nihon/

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You can bathe men/ women or separated in Japan-up to you.

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The whole country comes alive to the sight of the Sakura….

Our dog who died to live…do dogs have souls?

https://franque23.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/red-dog-forever/

Cheers! Have a great weekend…

 

Franque23

 

 


Okay, so my wife has taken off for Africa for a while, but this post isn’t about that. No. It’s about being gone from Lake Bonaparte  for a year now, or , actually, it’s been three weeks. Thing is, time is relative, or is it irrelevant-I forget. Anyhow, it’s been a heck lot longer than a day since I last watched my puppy leap about 22 feet thru the air off the dock*. How did he do that? It’s all about the back monstrous legs on this dog…

hey muscles....

hey muscles….

click on the pic for back leg muscle shot....it all came to me yesterday as I watched him leap to the top of a six foot Sheppard's hook trying to get a squirrel...

click on the pic for back leg muscle shot….it all came to me yesterday as I watched him leap to the top of a six-foot Sheppard’s hook trying to get a squirrel…this Catahoula Leopard dog really is a bit like a large cat.

Okay, so about that Lake up north…not sure I’ve mentioned this, but it’s way cool, and not just the temps. It’s got just about everything-swimming, boating, majestic sunsets, crazy Loons(the bird-not people)**, almost deep dive potential, bluffs to jump off, and for fisherpeople it has 22 miles of shore line to plug.  But, as they say, I can’t take it or leave it. Wait. Did someone ever say that?

I'm sick of puttin' up with the good times day after day....

I’m sick of puttin’ up with the good times day after day….

What ever happened to misery? It’s a fact, you find people up at the lake roaming the roads looking for something bad to happen. The non-existent nearby Hospital is full of people suffering from cracked, smiling faces…

Nothin' to do outside forces kids and adults to interact inside...it's down right nuts.

Nothin’ to do outside forces kids and adults to interact inside…it’s down right nuts.

If I go back it won’t be too soon enough-I’m warning ya. If I hear one more whisper of fun I’m gonna go fishing, swimming or canoeing…I promise.

Go ahead, dare me to go fishin'

Go ahead, dare me to go fishin’

We have the poles to do it.

We have the poles to do it.

I know you think I'm just put up with this and keep the home fires burning...Ha!

I know you think I’m just gonna put up with this and keep the home fires burning…Ha!

But, I’m telling you-enough fun is enough. I’m Fini, kaput, done with the crazy fun,,and for what? The Fourth of July? If I see another beautiful firework display up there at the lake I’m gonna puke, though, maybe that was for some other reason,,I forget.

Parades of fun-it all makes me a bit nuts...okay, a lot nuts...or nuttier.

Parades of fun-it all makes me a bit nuts…okay, a lot nuts…or nuttier. Please pass the s’mores-thanks Mary and Joey…

I may see a doctor about all of this. Why? Why the Lake? If it’s sunny one day it may be raining the next, and if the fish are biting it means I need to rush to the hospital for those wounds. There are steps-so many I might one day get in shape-nah, squash that. It’s the stars that keep me up at night, and the ever elusive Northern lights…(I did too see them).

Actually, all people do up at Lake Bonaparte is crash..

 My sister is one hundred and fifty years old today--here she is trying to figure out how to read....

My sister is one hundred and fifty years old today–here she is trying to figure out what’s in her hand….sad-like the lake.

NO, he's not tired....

NO, he’s not tired….

In fact, this lake thing is such a downer, a condom tomato post from this past spring is in order–wait,, I mean , Random tomato post….gosh.

from my Florida yard....

from my Florida yard….

Hmmmm,,, still not out of the slump? How about a pineapple….

this year we have 11 coming or already eaten....some small, some large...I expect about 30 next year.

this year we have 11 coming or already eaten….some small, some large…I expect about 30 next year.

So why go to the Lake of Fun and be miserable when I could stay here and pick pineapples,,,Doctor? Shhh, I’m practicing and mediating.

this is the exact sunset I once told Cassie could never happen...Hahha...sock and foot in mouth.

this is the exact sunset I once told Cassie(family) could never happen…Hahha…sock and foot in mouth.

That’s it. I refuse to go back until I do. There’s no middle water about it. I’m not gonna get all slobbering and sob on about it. Heck, I wouldn’t be caught dead up there- not with so much livin’ to do around them shores.

132Oh splat…..I guess I’ll go mow in the 95 degree heat with 150% humidity summer day here…that should help. Like I’d wanna be up at the lake right now, as if.

Go ahead, make a splash, see if I care.

Go ahead, make a splash, see if I care.

sob.

Franque23

*

Shadow road the wind....now about 8 feet past Craig....

Shadow road the wind….now about 8 feet past Craig….

**Many would disagree-the looney’s are at the Lake..

 


Owning a pool in Florida can bring on a number of problems…

but we haven't had this one, yet.

But we haven’t had this one, yet.(We have had baby ducks…?)

Our in-ground pool isn’t covered, and it features lots of plantings around it as well as over hanging orange trees and palms….therein lies the rub.

lots of plants around the pool

lots of plants around the pool

It’s about the ton of sand in my backyard swimming pool. Ours is an in-ground, standard 10,000 gallon one, and it gets plenty of use. Five grandchildren from ages eight on down have finessed the beginning art of swimming in these waters, and our 2 and 1/2 year old Catahoula Leopard has invented one thousand ways to dive bomb the heck out of the place.

dive bomb 101

Dive bombing,  101

family crowds

family crowds

About that dog-of course-it wasn’t always this way. No, the first year of his life or so he’d run around the perimeter of the pool refusing to so much as touch a toe in the water. Then, the damn broke and now I’m thinking he’s about to learn how to scale the privacy fence so he can take a dip when we’re not around.

And sometimes the our five grand children, the dog and us makes it a bit crowded

And sometimes our five grand children, the dog and us makes it a bit of a crowd

What all this means is sand-the four letter word of pools. Sure, I clean the pool often, skimming, vacuuming, changing filters, whatever, but still, the dreaded sand build up has happened over time. It all makes me glad I don’t have to clean the bottom of Lake Bonaparte up north.

You're hired, fella!

You’re hired, fella!

We have to care for the lake, but not clean it.

Anyway, about the sand at the bottom of your pool, the stuff you vacuum continually and watch as it seeps through your filter basket, your skimmer, your whatever to return back into the water. There’s hope.

simply leave the keys in your front door and walk away--there, you're done cleaning the pool.

Simply leave the keys in your front door and walk away–there, you’re done cleaning the pool.

let the dog have it.

Let the dog have it.

I’d watched that fine sand dissipate and stream through my cleaning basket long enough. This year, the year of the Meme, was gonna be different. download (4)

I immediately called the local pool supply stores or went in person to ask what could be done? Could I sell the fine sand and retire with the profit? Beside the mention of back washing sand filters, something the salespeople talked about as though it was the kiss of death that would , in fact, never work, I came away from my quest with one thought in mind: nothing was gonna help solve this problem.

What to do?

What to do?

I turned to U-tube video’s and began to read links and comments on the subject- that’s always comical. One guy writes,,,,’Problem with sand? Try vacuuming your pool, duh!’ The response was something like: ‘Hey nut-ass, if people could vacuum up the sand, why would this thread exist-you dart brain.’

After laughing, I got back to work and watched several really stupid ideas like buying one million dollars worth of stuff that might do the job. Then, THENNN, I came across this video put out by a Zen like foreign Kung-fu guy. Here was some soft spoken whack-job telling me not to spend anything, just about, and the sand would be gone… Ha haha hahahah….yeah-no, was my first reaction.

taped on hose to rod; floaty cut off for siphon tip end---

Taped on hose to rod; floaty cut off for siphon tip end—

It was only desperation that lead on to re-me watch the, ‘I can solve this sand problem free’ guy.’ Here’s the link.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVusj7KjnI0

I followed his brain dent idea to a tee. Riggin’ up my hose, I first selected the length of hose I thought I’d need to do my pool-it’s seven feet deep on one end. I cut part of a floaty off and taped it to the hose siphon end.

I cut about a six inch piece off

I cut about a six inch piece off

and taped it to the end of hte cut hose to make the suction end...this way I could push it against the bottom of the pool without hurting the  fiberglass.

and taped it to the end of the cut hose to make the suction end…this way I could push it against the bottom of the pool without hurting the fiberglass.

Because I hadn’t paid attention in kindergarten, it took me almost two hours to drop this hose and contraption rigged vacuum end into the pool so it became water full-this was, in some ways, the hardest part of the operation….I had to wait until all the air bubbles were out of the entire length of hose.

Two days later, I had the time to try the crazy free idea out. I screwed on a hose pressure  nozzle onto the the submerged  hose end opposite the rigged up siphon end while it was all still all underwater….I lifted that nozzle end up and out of the pool,,,and dragged the hose out so this nozzle end was lower than the surface level of my pool. I unscrewed the nozzle and the hose started to siphon water.

well, shoot, you can't see how much sand came out of the pool--it was about a pound

well, shoot, you can’t see how much sand came out of the pool–it was about a pound

In a delirious shock, I ran to the pool and grabbed the rod I’d tapped to the siphon end of the contraption. Slowly, the key word, I started to run the siphon over the fine sand and it vanished up the hose and out into the yard. S-L-O-W, that’s the task at hand….move too fast and that fine sand you’re trying to siphon up merely turns to dust and escapes into the pool water around and away from your siphon. So yeah, It took me three hours and about no money to completely eradicate my pool of sand…..

Weeeee, time to dive in!

Weeeee, time to dive in!

How long will this last?

It lasts at least a day. I waited this long to write this glob.

Patients is key

Patients is key

when the time's right-dive in...

when the time’s right-dive in…

Meanwhile, I’ve kept my dog out of the pool and I’m pretty sure he’s called several shrinks in the area, even the dog catcher to see if anything can be done about me.

 but hey, for free but for time and work, my once sand crusted covered pool bottom is super clean....

but hey, for free but for time and work, my once sand crusted covered pool bottom is super clean….

I mean Super Clean....

I mean Super Clean….

so cheers to Florida pool owners who put up with the sand…you can rid your pool of it for about free…go figure.

 

Franque23 loves a clean pool


the Lake is still--it'll be a great day.

the Lake is still–it’ll be a great day.

The men chilled on the dock

The men chill at the Lake

the, Wave", kayaks went out in force

the, Wave”, kayaks go out in force

But despite it alll, something was wrong...I could hardly get a laugh in edge wise.

But despite it all, something is wrong…I can’t hardly get a laugh in edge wise.

As all dogs have that special sense when something isn't quite right, Shadow came up with an idea and intercepted me up the stairs on my way for a beer, soda, fruit juice-you pick.

As all dogs have that special sense when something isn’t quite right, Shadow comes up with an idea and intercepts me as I go up the stairs on my way for a beer, soda, fruit juice-you pick.

I try to ignore Shadow…I’m miserable; nothing can change the number of limited days I have left at the Lake.

But our Catahoula Leopard dog, Shadow, wouldn't stop cdrouching like a Leopard as the breed does often...his nose pointed to the object of his interest.

But our Catahoula Leopard dog, Shadow, won’t stop crouching like a Leopard as the breed does often…his nose pointed to the object of his interest.

So I brake down, crack the shroud that has so encompassed my head,,,,and pick up the ball…..I begin to throw the ball into the lake for the one-thousandth, seven hundred and fifteenth time this day, but something remarkable happens.

Shadow begins to run, but every watching fan knows this might be the leap, the one that clears all records and ignites the crowd into uproarious cheers.

The approach....

The approach….

Shadow ran and it was game on

Shadow runs and it’s game on

Shadow lifted to the sky while Craig( a six footer human) watched by--Craig is over 8 feet from our dock ladder.....easy

Shadow lifts to the sky while Craig( a six footer human) watches by–Craig is over 8 feet from our dock ladder…..easy

Shadow flies as fans gasp….

Shadow road the wind....now about 8 feet past Craig....

Shadow rides the wind….now about 8 feet past Craig….

His legs come under his chest as he prepares to hit the water.

You call it? How many feet was that? I've measured Shadow's jumps at 16 feet before....but this one....wow

You call it? How many feet was that? I’ve measured Shadow’s jumps at 16 feet before….but this one….wow

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As shadow comes up the ladder to the acclaim of fans, I can’t help remember how athletics has run in my family, my dad, a track runner for Iowa State and then his dad ran in the American Games in Texas during the early 1900’s.

This dog is an incredible athlete. Last year, here in Gainesville, Florida, it was not uncommon for other dog owners to clap for Shadow as he ran and jumped into the air to catch a ball at the dog parks. He has out run almost ever dog he has faced at the park during his first 3 years of life-greyhounds included. It’s hard to believe, but this little 52 pound dog is 1/4 greyhound, and he has the will to win of a giant. It’s his desire, his will, to run the fastest or leap so far that amazes me most about this dog.The crowd stayed for more....

The fans…..line up.( Shadow’s way back in the pic.)

And it went on for two weeks…..

the splashin'

the splashin’

Sundown would bring another day......perfect.

It’s good to hang…….Sundown would bring another day……perfect.

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We had so many wonderful sunsets.

We had so many wonderful sunsets.

I found myself wondering if Shadow knows why people are clapping, cheering or why we are laughing our asses off as he leaps through the air, all in good faith. I smile and laugh every time he leaps….it’s all good.

Thanks buddy…..you’ve come along way….

Franque23

Let's get a move on!!!Shadow at about 6 months….

 


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.

 

 


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-


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

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

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