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!