I found this course listing while scrolling the internet last night. Based on the title, I rightfully expect this class to instruct me in the art of deliciously preparing…children?! Words matter people!
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!
Never a Dull Moment
Caught a bit of the action as the tide was going out this evening; a jumping fish (probably a mullet) and two cruising dolphins.
In order to uncover my sidewalk I had to trim back one of my ever-expanding peanut plants this morning. I was pleased when I pulled up these legumes. After a quick photoshoot I tossed them out under the bird feeder in my front yard.
The peanuts were gone when I returned from work, probably hauled off by my local Blue Jays. They may not realize it but they just enjoyed the fruits of their own labor. After all, they were the ones who planted them this spring!
During a break at work the other day, I wandered over to the bay. I caught this colorful reflection while trying to photograph a large school of small fish. I darkened this photo a bit but otherwise, this was just a fun trick of light.
Last of the Season
Last night I was fortunate to catch the last 8pm sunset of the year. The clouds prevented a colorful show but they made up for it with some interesting shapes.
It’s been just under a year since my sister brought me Blue Passionflower (Passiflora Caerulea) cuttings from her yard in Tucson. I was worried about them acclimating at first but they seem to like it here.
This past Spring I was delighted that my vines served as host plants for Gulf Fritillary caterpillars. This week they started to bloom and I just love how showy they are. I’m not the only one, the bees and butterflies seemed to enjoy them, too!
Slippery When Wet
When I arrived at Highlands Hammock State Park yesterday afternoon it was humid and 90 degrees. Not surprisingly, there weren’t a bunch of people out and about. It was muggy but I was excited to explore one of Florida’s oldest state parks.
There were about a dozen short trails to choose from so I decided to hike them all. Though, coming from the rugged terrain out west, I don’t really consider this flatland stuff to be hiking. As I strolled along I kept noticing pops of color in shades of red.
The biggest issue of the day was water. Some of the trails were flooded but it wasn’t deep or flowing, so I happily splashed along. By the time I was halfway through, I was glistening (women don’t perspire, right?). I was grateful for the cloud cover until it started to rain. Not just a gentle, soft drizzle but an actual downpour.
Thank goodness I brought my rain jacket! Darn shame I left it in my car, in the parking lot at the other end of the park. On the upside, I did have the entire place to myself for the rest of the afternoon. The downside? I was soaking wet and chilly (the storm had dropped the temperature into the 70s), and there was water in the lens of my camera (here’s hoping it dries out soon).
Regardless, I had a lovely time wandering through this special, protected area.