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I coddiwomple through life, guided by my love of nature and insatiable curiosity.

Made for Each Other

A couple months ago, I stopped at the Pinellas County Heritage Village in nearby Largo. The 21-acre site is home to a living history museum that protects 33 unique, culturally distinct buildings from the county’s early years.

I was delighted it was finally open (it had closed during COVID) and enjoyed a brief stroll around the grounds. In the visitor center I was drawn to these replica fruit crate labels. There were quite a few citrus packing companies operating in the county in the 1910s-40s. They marketed their products by putting these visually appealing labels on their crates.

During the 1940s, cardboard boxes began to replace wooden crates and need for the colorful labels diminished. In later decades, diseases and freezes crippled Florida’s citrus industry and thousands of acres of groves were developed.

Even though I had no idea what to do with them, I selected six labels from the dozens available. My next stop that afternoon was a thrift store. In the back of the shop was an old, sash window with six panes. Talk about a perfect match!

I finally got around to cleaning, repairing, and painting the old window. I’m pleased with my “new” label display!

Colorful Surprise

I was puttering in my friend’s backyard down in Bradenton last weekend when I was urgently summoned to his front yard. I wasn’t sure what to expect, maybe another stray cat to befriend? I took one glance at the bright colors and dashed back to grab my phone so I could get a couple photos.

Good thing I hustled because this boy was not a slowpoke. The Ameiva ameiva’s common name, Jungle Runner, is very well-deserved! Native to Central and South America (and parts of the Caribbean) this colorful lizard has made itself at home in parts of south Florida since the 1950s.

I have no way of knowing whether this handsome male was someone’s escaped pet or a part of the resident population’s expanding tribe. He didn’t stick around for long, quickly finding cover under weeds and detritus in the neighbor’s yard.

It was fairly easy to track his movements, as the standard anoles and other yard lizards all scurried out of his way. At 20 inches long he was 4-5 times their size, must’ve seemed like Godzilla to them!

Trash to Treasure

I found this top of a china cabinet out by the road a few months ago. It was solid oak and in decent shape (just missing a shelf and the cord for the light had been cut) but amazingly, the mirror and all the glass were still intact. I was instantly enamored with the unique, curved glass on the sides of the piece. So, I loaded it into my car and brought it home.

It sat in my carport gathering dust until I came across an oak plank the right size for the shelf. I cleaned, sanded, and painted the cabinet (using discounted “oops” paint). Then I rewired the lamp (using cord from a yard sale), added feet to give it a little height (harvested from a couch beside a dumpster), and switched out the knobs (from a thrift store). I cannot take credit for the hardest part, cutting the plank to match the curves of the cabinet. Thank you, Al, that was no mean feat!

I’m pretty darn pleased with how it turned out. Now comes the hard part, deciding what to put in there!