Magic of the Everyday, Moving, Personal Life, Writing

Whew!

Well, the transition is over. We are moved out of our previous home, and all our things–both those we stashed in a Pod for showing, and the stuff from the mover’s truck–are in our new house, albeit much still in boxes stacked haphazardly in various spaces. We’re updating the lighting and fans and such things even as we attempt to unpack and put things away, which means everything is going more slowly than we’d like. But it’s going, it’s getting done, and everything we’re updating is delighting us that much more.

And of course, let’s not forget that we have to find various types of doctors, a vet, a chiropractor (sooner rather than later after that Pod!), the good stores to shop at, banks, and two types of pharmacy, and also explore parks and dog parks, cook, clean, cut grass, figure out trash days–basically, live a normal life. Or, well, whatever passes for “normal” in this house, at least.

The Pod got delivered yesterday, and though my back is aching today, the whole thing is cleaned out, ready to be picked up again and carried away. Dasher the dog is in dog-heaven, because he just got a delivery of all the toys that went away before the showing. He’s been carrying around his lemon-head toy, leapt into the pool yesterday again and again for his favorite old frisbee, and fell asleep last night still holding his long squeaky snake toy, which he’d been dragging around like a true prize. All is well on the canine front!

And on the orchid front, as well. My oh my, who knew that just a wee bit south, the orchids just don’t need me to do anything–other than not thoroughly abuse them–in order to flourish. They are thriving on this new location, growing like literal weeds and looking lush and gorgeous. A few are newly in spike, and one that was spiking as we moved (and oh, didn’t that make me nervous, moving that big, spiked orchid; I was so afraid I’d break off that flower spike!) is about ready to burst open. I promise I’ll post pics soon, although they might hit Twitter first.

My new office is wonderful, and after the bedroom where we sleep, it was the first room set up. My novel is up on the wall, 3×5 cards showing the scenes left to write. And I’ve been writing here. It’s a perfect space, and I love it. Let’s hope my writing loves it, too!

And with that, I gotta run. More writing to be written, more packed things to unpack, and  yes, a vet appointment for Dasher to meet his new doctors.

Happy Summer!

Magic of the Everyday, Nature, Personal Life

Rooftop Madness

So, solar is coming. Yup. Honest, it is.

But before the panels can be installed, we need to prep our metal roof by tightening all the exposed-seam screws, and replacing those that are stripped, and using a special 50-year pliable caulk. Because once those panels are up, we won’t be able to tighten those screws ever again (our roof had a few…um, issues during installation, it seems). And if a screw wriggles loose, water seeps in under the metal, and then…bad things happen.

Husband and I have been dodging rainy days, morning dew, and mid-day heat when we can, climbing onto the roof, and testing/removing/replacing all the screws used on the portions that will get solar panels. It’s pretty time-intensive work, though not too physically demanding. Wet or dew-coated metal roofs are like Slip-N-Slides, just not as fun once you hit the edge and fall off the roof. The heat up there is extreme, and all radiating back up at you. By 10:15 or so, I can no longer touch the metal roof with my bare hand. It’s just burning hot. And we can’t get up there before 8:00-8:30 if there’s been any kind of dew, and not at all if it rained…. So. Yeah. This is taking longer than expected. We have one last section to proof. It’s a smaller section, so we’re hoping it’ll go fast once we can get to it. But this is known as the rainy season for a reason, ya know…

In other garden news: the pineapples are growing nicely, with the one that used to be a bit too shaded by the laurel oaks now glorying in its full sun, and putting on size much more quickly. Inside the lanai, my small potted coffee tree bloomed earlier, and now it boasts about 6 small, green coffee beans–or what I think are coffee beans–where a few flowers had been. Now I’m wondering: how much coffee comes from 6 beans? Wait, I don’t even like coffee! At least the spousal unit does. He’ll have the most premium thimbleful ever if I can get them to ripen.

Over the weekend I took the dog out to do some business around 10pm and found a hummingbird moth going absolutely crazy on the 4-o’clock right beside the “business area.” It completely ignored us (clue #2 that it wasn’t an actual hummingbird, the first being — it was totally dark!). I called spousal unit out to watch. You could see it’s long tongue glisten in the alley light as it slurped up the nectar-y goodness from flower after flower. It’s antennae were hard to see between the poor lighting and the little creatures unceasing motion and speed, but once in a while, I did (clue #3, since yeah, actual hummingbirds don’t have antennae!). There was no way to get a photo of this, sorry. But the link above will show you what they look like. Here’s more information.

Rustic Spots aug2017

Finally, here’s a picture of my lovely Brassolaeliocattleya (Blc) “Rustic Spots” in bloom. Notice that lovely ribbon attached? *blush* I joined the local orchid club last November, and last night took this delicate beauty in for the monthly bloom table–where it won first place in the cattleya category! I’m a complete noob at this orchid stuff, and this was the first time I’d taken in an orchid, so this was a wonderful, wonderful surprise! From impostor syndrome to squee in 4.5 seconds. (Well, okay, I still have impostor syndrome. But the squee was real enough. That’s why I’m sharing it here!)

Magic of the Everyday, Nature, Personal Life

Wherein I See My First Alligator!

gator sign
click to embiggen and to read the smaller text.

On Sunday, between rainstorms the spousal unit and I went to Payne’s Prairie. I’d been hoping to go there sometime, and suddenly, it was the time. It’s a huge area–a 21,000-acre savanna that’s now a Florida Preserve State Park with numerous entrances and trails.

We decided to visit La Chua Trail. From their website: “The LaChua Trail is three miles round-trip from the North Rim of the Prairie to the observation tower. This trail provides scenic views of wet-prairie and marsh habitat including Alachua Sink and Alachua Lake. … For safety and wildlife disturbance reasons, the trail closes 1 hour before sunset. …  Foot traffic only! Pets are not allowed on this trail.”

No pets because pets may become alligator bait. Seriously. Alligators can walk across the dike the trails are on, and high water effectively “lowers” the trails closer to the watery areas right beside them, making pets a draw for the hungry alligators. How close are the gators? This close:

mygator1

That is, when I spoke to my husband, excitedly pointing out the alligator sunning on the banks, it turned its head to look at me with an open jaw. I backed away, like a smart human who wants to keep all her limbs, and snapped a photo on full zoom.

We also saw lots of anhinga, moorhens, egrets and herons. On the trip back, we saw 4 more alligators sunning on the opposite side of the pond from us, one a real monster that was probably 10 ft long.  Also, there were signs that wild pigs (nasty, invasive things) had been rooting and feeding in the area some while before–turned up earthen areas, and the “sweet” smell of swine manure. Even after the morning’s rains, it was still pungent. Dragonflies raced through the sky in huge numbers, almost seeming like flocks–red ones, blue ones, ones that sped by so fast I couldn’t track their colors.

Frogs croaked and birds piped and American lotus were blooming above their pads that thrummed like drumheads when moorhens ran across them (my photo turned out poorly, so no pic here–sorry). Ferny wild fennel grew taller than our heads, and smelled like anis if you crushed a leaflet. And above it all, over the wide, flat horizon, clouds piled up and grew taller as they drifted ponderously by, and some were raining down on areas below while others shone bright white against a dark backdrop of rain caused by the former. Through them, the sun shone so that down below we sweated and thanked the breezes carrying the sweet and cooling scents of rain.

Unfortunately, we did not see the bison, or the wild horses or cracker cattle that roam the area, although I’ve been told they do show up in that area. Perhaps next time.