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(Click the pic for a larger view.)

Anyone who knew me as a kid knows it’s an astoundingly, flabbergasting, jaw-dropping, stupefying surprise that I’m a father. Sure, I had a future even a wrong turn could help back then, but it also was clear from the get-go that another planet was, in fact, my home. I lived spaced out most of the time.

Still, there has always been a Father in me.

A fishing Grandpa….who knew?

 

Basically, my kid-self was a walking brain dent.

School was torture, a work around looking to happen, though girls were annoyingly interesting. Sports became my ticket to skate by on in high school. Next came a spin as class VP.  I spent a zillion hello’s on friends passing in school halls like a pseudo-millionaire with no money.

The politician in me continued to thrive through my non-formative years of college.

As a sophomore, the college paper deemed me, Apple Gerry, with a front page picture that showed me ranting about student dorm rights. Soon, I was appointed by the graduating head of , Group X, to be this organization’s next President. Now, Group X had two major agendas. First, our group wanted , ‘open,’ dorms with visiting rights for both men and women 24/7. (Seems my younger interests stuck with me). Secondly, we wanted visiting rights for women in the men’s dorms.  I know, these two agendas seem the same, but agenda two left men out of female dorms. Underlying our two hot pulsing agenda’s were rumors I made sure spread that Group X would host off campus beer parties. It all worked great until those beer parties took effect which is why I don’t remember how long Group X survived and when or why it ended…

Not to be detoured, my free-fallin’, dancing, singing self landed me a membership pre-facto of Phi-Kappa-Phi since I refused to go thru hazing but was made an off-the-record member of the fraternity house anyway. It was a great, wild , short year of being reprimanded by the College Administration. Before our house knew it, women weren’t allowed in our second story where the beds were, so, yeah, we moved all the beds down to the basement and slept there and stuff. This pissed Admin off but it wasn’t until we held a beer-bed floating party in the basement with strippers from Baltimore as hosts that our house got shut down! I mean, completely closed for a year!!! Can you imagine?!?! Of course, I had very little to do with any of this that I remember.

My successful political days weren’t over, but it was time for those college days to fog into post college days of running naked in the Ocala National Forest, jumping naked off lime pits east of Gainesville with 300 hundred others on any given Saturday afternoon and strolling by police cars while at a nude block party on NE 1st street here in Gainesville.  I know, I know, you’re thinking I was a nudist but, no, I wore clothes to job interviews and stuff all the time.

(Clothes on! This is the site of many Bonaparte late night ,’Chunky-dunks,’ but we can’t beat Ireland’s recent Guinness book world record-breaking 2500 nude swimmers at once!)*

All that college,’Fog,’ cleared into pot smoke that guided my way for a few more zillion years as I grew older without growing up. There’s a pill to take for that, but I forget the color!

Next thing I knew, my ears pretty much got too long for my face and my children stole my hair.

I remember waking up one day and staring into the mirror realizing very little.

I’d set down my principles and forgotten where they were unless I tripped over them while changing diapers. It was nifty earning money that was really other people’s money if I made it to the power company on time to keep the lights on. I was consumed with successful failure without notice or care but for my family. I have to say, that bunch got my attention.

I suppose it’s true to say one baby led to another and then another which led to seven others—so far.

(Here’s five of them being still all at once!?!?!)

But through it all I maintained my hat wearing image with uniquely obtuse discernment, a finesse of in-depth leadership and control.

Clearly, this is not me , but a look-a-like! Aaron is, however, wearing my glasses!!! Have you ever noticed children love to wear glasses, but that’s never good for the glasses?

As it turns out, I like to grow things, whether it be debates on issues (have you noticed), babies, grand children, properties, gardens and wrinkles….

Click the pic to see the start of hat construction and the  wrinkle lines I spent hours, days, weeks, heck, years putting on my face!!

I’m not sure what ticket I would have been on if you told me back in high school that I’d end up a  paper bag hat wearing, wrinkled eared, laughing Grandpa. Maybe, the one to the fast train to Berkeley or the over-life sleeper to the deep woods of Canada.

Yep. Throughout the laughs there was a Father in me after all. Man, this is great; a nice surprise, indeed. Who knew I had a plan all along? Me!

(This is my brother-in-law and his wife and me with my wife standing in front of what we believe was the location of my wife’s ancestor’s home. They were hat makers in Denton, England. I was making leather hats in a barn in Gainesville in the 1970’s when my wife first moved in with me! See? That’s called a plan:-)

Franque23

*https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/11/europe/irish-women-record-breaking-skinny-dip-intl/

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When you can eat it all now? But wait! The Weight! The weight gain, that is. Yes, the holidays are a smorgasbord of food for pounds.

It is Thanksgiving, a time to give thanks to all the hard work that went into bringing the birds to so many tables in America.article-2236949-162a7f74000005dc-370_634x560

(this is Norma Jeane Mortenson doing the hard work–later known as Marillyn Monroe.)

Thanks to all you hunters and farmers.

turkey-leg

I’d hardly put down the last remaining Thanksgiving Turkey drum stick when the Christmas’ lamb (who may eat ivy-not sure) mairzy doats into my mouth.*  A person’s body can only take so much stuffing, and I was about to find out exactly how much. About that stuffing-orange wedges, cinnamon apple slices and almond slivers helped.

A mosh of smashed candied yams smothered in marshmallow, steamed, salted asparagus, ripe olives, cranberry sauce, too many Hawaiian rolls way over come by how many pies(I forget- burp) -all the remains from Bird Day- had cleared out of my pie hole just enough to make room for the next feast. I think three types of ice cream, homemade orange jam and lemonade helped wash it all down.

I need a body image checkup

I need a body image checkup

This is when my scale started going screwy. “Nah, it can’t be!” To be fair, the cold does affect those floor step on scales, and our floor doesn’t appear to be exactly flat, as it was last week. “Do these things run on batteries?”

So the lamb dinner did a do-si-do  into my life. The gravy thick, chunked chock full of garlic, peppers, onion-eastern Mediterranean sea salt, parsley, rosemary, thyme, pepper, orange peel, paprika-more-clung to the herb crusted  meat. Mashers, creamy, so good ask my daughter how, a salad made of everything, fresh frozen garden green beans from last fall, the loaves of garlic bread and don’t forget the olives, applesauce and the green mint jelly or the carrots and sweet potatoes cooked alongside the lamb basted in the hot juice-it all decorated my plate. Two for one Edward’s pies was a no brainer-an all appetite type of thing-covered in mounds of ice cream seemed so logical.

Have you ever noticed there are more types of chocolates on your table than grains of sand on a beach during the Holiday of Light?

Though, I may have never seen this....

Though, I  have never seen this….

 

chocolate everywhere

of chocolate everywhere-

people do stuff with chocoalte

people do stuff with chocolate

Light, Dark, 30% to 90% cocoa, round, square, kisses, triangular shapes next to chocolate Santa’s, reindeer, orange chocolate balls, I love the coconut filled mounds, and the foreign jobs-those real creamy chocolates, Ferrero’s, more. Not that I ate any of these, but all of them.

Chocolate does stuff to people (The evil dark chocolate colored scale.)

Chocolate does stuff to people (The evil dark chocolate colored scale.)**

You’d think my scale would self correct like computers reset if you unplug them,,,,but not mine. “Stupid thing has me five pounds too heavy!”

Because I could still roll over and get out of bed, still stand and open my mouth, the New Year’s Eve dinner celebration jollied its way  through my palate next.

New Year’s dinners only come once per year, and why-oh-why so soon after Thanksgiving and Christmas meals?!?!?!See? Someone got this all wrong-we need to spread these meals out a bit more throughout the year.

A rare Roast Beef is a pure joy-and Vegan’s hell, I know, but this is all part of the Yin-Yang of life. A thinner gravy is called for, and this time the sweet potatoes needed chopped up Nestle crunch bars mixed into the marshmallow topping…Vegetables? I’m sure there were some, but those, the cakes, pies, breads and drinks all mix together in my jumbled head.

The Holiday so long to come and too soon over; the loved ones gone and some so far away.

some so far away

some so far away

The laughter, cheers, smiles, hugs and hopes we shared rattle my skull. My brain chases the images as if they were shadows in the night in hopes of experiencing them once more. But the shorter days are growing longer. Time has a way of saying goodbye and hello all at once.

4 grandsons pickin green beans before they eat chocolate

4 grandsons pickin’ green beans before they eat chocolate

Funny thing-even with the new coming light of day, my scale is still completely out to lunch.?!?! “This scale is 7 pounds off if not a slim ounce more!”

I weigh my alternatives and realize some things need replacing this New Year. Thank goodness I’d lost 14 pounds over the course of last year!  Thing is, I found a few of them back, and I know just how and where.

More is less-my new year resolution.

Cheers and Beers

Franque23

  • I always enjoyed that Mares eat oats… thingy song.
  • ** other ideas for chocolate.

    weigh only your feet

    weigh only your feet

or…keep clean with chocolate

maybe

maybe


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

I worked on.

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

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

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

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

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

My day:

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

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

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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

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

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

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

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

the pathway in front is a riot of flowers now.

the pathway in front is a riot of flowers now.

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

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

The yellow tea rose

The yellow tea rose

Mr. Tulip

Mr. Tulip…and

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

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

It's great fun

It’s great fun

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

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

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

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

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

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

The garden grows

The garden grows

 as the Meyer lemons produce and flower at the same time

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

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

Thanks for stopping by.

Franque23

 


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

 

 


The tide went out by afternoon and left the standing on bare ground.

The tide went out by afternoon and left the Torii gate standing on bare ground.

​It wasn’t too far from my daughter’s home in Kitsuki….a quick hour train ride-several hundred miles-and then a ferry over to this famous Island spot -the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyagima–We’d just arrived when a helpful person took our picture, and we would spend the entire day there–Kelly and I climbed up a steep path cut in stone to the top of a mountain higher than the one in the background…We had about 300 more yards to go to reach the top when we both decided to turn around and go back. The view was fab.

One thing-there’s a strong tide here–by afternoon the famous shrine stood completely on dry sea bed,,,people were everywhere digging up clams…we walked under the shrine that has stood in place since 1875. There had been a series of others in its place before then. The structure is made entirely of camphor logs…way thick, maybe fifteen feet around at the bases, and that thing stands about fifty or more feet tall……

Wild, miniature deer were everywhere to pet, feed or just enjoy.

soft and warm....

soft and warm….

The smell of easy to eat nibbles- skewered veggies and various meats-drifted through the air. A bunch of shops and vendors selling wares of every type lined the land side of the ocean walkway—As in many of the places we saw in Japan, there was an abundance of finely made china for sale, cups, plates, every kind of bowl. Most places offered to ship either for free or for  very little cost.

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Kelly’s home in Kitsuki was flanked by large bamboo….

The streets were crowded with open fish markets and veggie stands in some parts of Beppu.

207470_10150568019070548_6312731_n

We strolled by thermally heated smoking land vents that hissed in many places about the town.

This pic is taken at a local park,, but steaming vents like this one is common around town.

This pic is taken at a local park,, but steaming vents like this one are common around town in Beppu.

Most memorable was lying in the naturally heated black beach sand by the ocean-quite the thing. Dale noted that after that hour-long rest, and quick shower, the heated summer day felt remarkably cool. The process was simple enough.

Someone shovels the heated sand on you...

Someone shovels the heated sand on you…

Then you lay like a heated lump on the beach for about an hour.

Then you lay like a heated lump on the beach for about an hour.

 

205626_1996162468753_7543855_nOf course, we had to go to the famous Gion district of Kyoto where Memoirs of a Geisha took place. We saw several Geisha impersonators,,posing for pictures as if they were Geisha’s, which our daughter explained would never happen. Then, by stroke of luck, we came upon a gang of paparazzi who were wanting in the street, hoping to catch a glimpse of a real geisha as she excited her apartment and fled into a waiting taxi… But best of all was the, “All my favorite things,” (omyyakamomy -maybe) pancakie thingy I ate in some off-street food joint that served beer as well…really fun,,,and the whole scene(abstractly written) is in my second book of Avatar Magic-The Code of Avatar Magic-*

The sakura, cheery blossoms, were in full swing that May-

The sakura, cherry blossoms, were in full swing that May-

We were lucky to hit the Sakura bloom just right. The land blazed light pink and cherry colors everywhere. While this riotous season is happening, the Japanese talk among themselves as if reporting the blooms like a weather event….It’s not a 90 % chance of rain, but rather, “The Sakura is at 85% south of Kitsuki.” Another might respond, “No, I think it’s more like 90%.”

The shrines, the Sakura, tha mountains and ocean, all of it made Japan a magical place to see.

The shrines, the Sakura, the mountains and ocean, all of it made Japan a magical place to see.

Kelly lived in Japan for five years teaching English to middle schoolers.

Kelly lived in Japan for five years teaching English to middle schoolers.

I loved every minute we spent in Japan--you really should go.

I loved every minute we spent in Japan–you really should go.

One of our first stops that visit was the Emperor’s palace and garden grounds…Hello…really? Disney can’t touch this.

I believe this is where Dale and I saw a wedding taking place on the Emporer's grounds....

I believe this is where Dale and I saw a wedding taking place on the Emperor’s grounds….

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

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

So yeah, even though I’ve previously posted three other globs covering our visits to Japan, there’s still so much more to tell. The last samurai castle to once have actively guarded a place in Japan, Kitsuki; the one million monkeys of Monkey Mountain; Oita and the walk on my back; ground zero at Hiroshima and the real beef of Kobe that I got to eat ON MY Birthday! Wowowow….Tender gains a new meaning.

We really need to talk this over in an onsen. There’s nothing like a Japanese hot public bath house….I’ve completely covered the procedure to follow in one of these houses* in another blog/glob so you won’t be freaked when we meet there…

The Japanese Onsen-a better part of our world.

The Japanese Onsen-a better part of our world.

You can go men/ women or separated-up to you.

You can go men/ women or separated-up to you.

But I have to say, going to men only and then bowing to a cleaning lady/girl while standing butt naked felt a bit off…

Cheers from the beautiful memories of Japan….

Franque23.

 

Exactly how to do an Onsen in Japan…https://franque23.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/onsens-for-a-clean-life/

 


(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


1)I love the smell of the tomato plants as I tie them to the fence to help them grow tall. Fresh citrus has a strong smell. I picked several Valencia today and left them by the front door as I worked in the garden picking lettuce, green beans and herbs and peppers. I’d forgotten about them when I went to go inside. The smell was like a fragrant flower-my nose reminded me of their presence.  Cutting fresh oranges fills the room with the scent of orange.

2)The most important idea I can share with anyone, especially with those under forty, or not, is this: If you are thirty-threeish to 36(or younger) and you put $300.00 into a mutual fund per month FOR ONLY SEVEN  YEARS AND THEN STOPPED ENTIRELY, BUT NEVER TOUCHED THE MONEY,  you will have one million dollars in that fund when you turn 65. Just seven years of pain, or a second job. This assumes an 8% gain over the course of 35 years(stocks forever average). This is not based on an outlandish assumption rate-trust me. Sure, things could happen. The US may fall into the ocean, or the world may blow up. But if not, then the world and America will grow, so will the world economy, and even considering an inflation rate, you’d be set for life and maybe your children’s lives will be set as well. It comes down to making a pretend car payment for just seven years while you are still somewhat young. Start later on in life, say in your forties or older, then the effect is not as dramatic, but it still works to a degree.

If you only can put in 150.00 per month, do it. At sixty-five you will be so happy.

3)People are beginning, or continuing, to post stupid political stuff about Hillary. Screw the facts-the blasting goes on regardless. But what I learned(read) this week was about Katherine Harris…she absolutely forged the election return numbers in 2004, and no one to this day has called her out on that crime. (?) And there is this link for those who enjoy reading history about US elections that is laden with facts and truth.*

4)For the first time in nearly two years upon examination my eye occlusion has held its shape. Of course, I’ve developed a side effect from the treatment but, still, I may be coming out of the woods on this.

5)I loved watching the film, I Am, and realize that I’m the type of person who never stops loving someone-the years don’t matter; lack of contact, unseen ever again, beyond distance, my heart never does let go. It’s interesting that in the Japanese culture it is believed that people come and go throughout your life as they should, and there is no need to hang on to memories and wish life were different. I agree with that intellectually, but, emotionally I never let go. It’s a new week, with more to learn.

Franque23

*https://prospect.org/article/ghosts-ballots-past

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

Bobcats catch sharks off the coast of Florida.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The seeds are small.

The seeds are small.

I will never tire of swimming in Alexander Springs.

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

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

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

Duh! That answer sorta rang the bell of truth.

Duh! That answer sorta rang the bell of truth.

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

case in point.

case in point. A 1970’s shot.

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

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

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

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

Dear God, be thy man or woman-I’m so over that-please hear my cry over the broccoli picking-it’s gotten completely out of hand, or in my hand depending upon how you look at it.

I need help---

I need help—

I need your help to keep me from picking, picking, picking last years crop of Broccoli so that they may flower, and be done with completely. And thank you for the African coffee, too.

this is the start of the problem

this is the start of the problem

But the Broccoli plants look so healthy, it’s hard to allow them to pass. But this is not to say I’d like our neighbors to pick this crop-those people you could shoot before they shoot themselves IF that is what’s to happen, or IF they intend on picking my last broccoli-that’s your call.

I don't want to keep picking

I don’t want to keep picking

Surely, you know these plants need to flower as this is within the design of the earthly paradise. Thing is, now hear me out, please, I’m not complaining, but merely stating that I’ve a buddy who loves broccoli, who watches me closely so that he knows when I approach the broccoli, and he wants me to pick it…and allow him to eat all that I pick.

but someone keeps leaning on me

but someone keeps leaning on me-and he has big teeth!

Or , sitting on me…….

There's so much to be thankful for....

There’s so much to be thankful for….

Of course, I’m thankful for,well. everything, even the neighbors (on a good day.)

The front yard looks ready for spring

The front yard looks ready for spring

The birds, trees, bushes, flowers, everything is so wonderful-even those broccoli flowers.

(Random post…..)

Daley

Daley, my wife, flowering back in 1982

A few Chinese Honey's still hang from far above

A few Chinese Honey’s still hang from far above.

Some blessing get away, especially these Chinese honeys that basically are ridiculously high in the air–What? Am I supposed to be a Giraffe? Just asking…..

The Valencia still has fifty or more getting sweeter by the day

The Valencia still has fifty or more getting sweeter by the day

Thank you for the Valencia’s that are not ten thousand feet above ground.

And, for the back yard pool area where there’s always time for us to rest…..and take in the wonder of it all.

Out red Camellia still blooms

Our red Camellia still blooms

I’ve decided to sit in this chair until the broccoli blooms-thank you for that wisdom. Over and out-Amen.

Franque23, may let the broccoli flower.b

And oh, PS….I know I should know what these are since I planted them only a week ago…but my mind does get weary, and if you ask me, they look a bit like Broccoli, though why then would I have planted them in such a clump? Please let someone, like from the Gainesville growing group, tell me what they are…..

I forget?

I forget?

and one last thingy- Thank you for the first bush bean sprout….

peek-a-boo!

peek-a-boo!

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

I raked off the winter cover-not too many weeds to pull-at first....Shadow knows a job is at hand.

I raked off the winter cover-not too many weeds to pull-at first….Shadow knows a job is at hand.

I’ll use the wood stalks seen here above Shadow as climbers for pole beans and tomatoes–they’re from our indigenous jasmine that grows 14 feet high a year during summer, and then dies off in the winter.

These are the only two tools I'll use to plant this garden-my dad's 65 plus year old , American made rake and shovel.

These are the only two tools I’ll use to plant this garden-my dad’s 65 plus year old , American made rake and shovel.(Broccoli in background is from fall planting, and still yielding.

Being thirty-five is sooo different from being 65. I was always in such a hurry back then-“No time to play kids, I’ve got to garden!” Now, Shadow makes a game out of shoveling, raking and, yes, it screws me up, but this is so joyful!

He's gonna get that rake if it's the last thing.....

He’s gonna get that rake if it’s the last thing…..

Whew! First time through the garden--all the top weeds have been pulled

Whew! First time through the garden–all the top weeds have been pulled

I timed the process-It has taken about 1 and 1/2 hours to get to this point…..

The soil's been turned once by shovel, and now the bags of top soil /composed are laid out

The soil’s been turned once by shovel, and now the bags of top soil /compost are laid out

Turning the garden over shovel-by-shovel is laborious… It took about two more hours to get this part done. (3 1/2 hours total to this point)There’s a rhythm to that task though, and it gives me time to think about the beauty of our world as I go. Red Tailed Hawks circle above; Sand Hill cranes fly by: I listen to their calls and the soft sound of my shovel turning the earth over.

You might wonder-why not a tiller? It would do the trick, but also it would be loud, and heavy-not me at all, and I think I’d lose my spiritual connection to the earth that the old-timey method of hand shoveling brings to mind.

AND-there’s this. A tiller would chop up the weeds I’ve missed during the first weeding-those underneath the ground as well.This first shoveling helps me unearth the problematic roots (Florida Betony)….How many roots?  Here’s the collection and their weight after this first shoveling.

25.6 pounds of Florida Betony root pulled i none shoveling---they'd be about 3 times that much if allowed  to grow through spring.

25.6 pounds of Florida Betony root pulled in one shoveling—they’d be about 3 times that much if allowed to grow through spring.

Next, I shovel the rows, quickly flipping earth into raised lines—this took another 30 minutes.(4 hours total now)

The rows are ready

The rows are ready- I once asked my squash and zucchini seeds and they said they like rows as well as they like mounds.

I hitch my shovel under my arm and pretend I'm a plow horse as I drag it over the rows to flatten their tops.

I hitch my shovel under my arm and pretend I’m a plow horse as I drag it over the rows to flatten their tops. I sometimes neigh, if I know the neighbors aren’t listening-that could be bad.

It took ten minutes to flatten the tops of all the rows

It took ten minutes to flatten the tops of all the rows-Whoa boy!

All my victory garden needs now is seed holes, seeds, sun and water….

I use the top of my shovel to make the seed holes.

I use the top of my shovel to make the seed holes.

The holes take about ten minutes to make--but dropping seeds in takes another 30 minutes, at least.

The holes take about ten minutes to make–but dropping seeds in takes another 30 minutes, at least.

There’s more to do,( It’s taken about 5 hours so far) but for now I’ll wait for the plants to sprout, and then use mulch neighbors from all around have conveniently raked and bagged and put along the roadside for my taking!(actually for the garbage pick-up.) The mulch will go between the rows, and I’ll use about 30 bags I manage to find curbside over the next two months.-Stop, load those bags into my car whenever I see them, and drive away….

Thank You for raking....

Thank You for raking….

There’s more garden fun coming—-stay tuned and enjoy your time outside, growing food.

In all, by the time I first got the tools out, did the deed, and then cleaned up and showered off, it was about 7 hours later when I sat down and smiled….

Franque23

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

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