Monday, September 20, 2010

Mailbox Monday: Colorful Metalwork



Here is a close-up of the butterfly.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sweet Tater Time

B dug up the sweet potatoes this week. The deer have really enjoyed the tops lately.



This three-gallon bucket was almost full. Not a bad yield for six plants.


Then when the boys were home on Saturday, they discovered another plant that had another ten potatoes in the ground. Some of them are HUGE—less than ideal--- and some of them have really funny shapes but I think we will be eating them after they dry a bit.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hurricane Donna

Igor. Now that is a great name for a hurricane.

Donna?---not so much.

But there was a time when that name evoked great fear in Florida. That was 50 years ago last week and I was a  little girl. Donna set a record for remaining a major hurricane (Category 3 or more) for nine days. At one point, it was a Category 5.


When my dad heard that the storm had knocked over the airport control tower in Fort Myers and observed our small wood-frame house was already shaking, he decided our family might be safer elsewhere. We went to a concrete-block motel in town to ride out the storm. It turned out to be more of a mop out the storm, as the water swept in under the door all night. I remember how the wind howled and we watched out the window as the large, neon motel sign bowed back and forth in the wind, along with some palms. The lights went off and on all night. Each time they went off, my little brother would turn on his tiny little flashlight he kept ready in his hand. It was a long, miserable night but we were safe when it was over. My brother remembers that the wooden door had finally absorbed all the water it could and was swollen shut. We had to climb out the window.

Our car was fine and we drove as close to the house as we could before the debris blocked the road. We walked the rest of the way. Though many branches and a couple of trees were on the house, it was structurally sound. Many were not so fortunate.

As a slow moving storm, it dumped over a dozen inches of rain over much of Florida that had already been saturated by a previous system. Over 360 people were killed by Hurricane Donna and the damage figure ran almost to a billion dollars.  Because of its devastating impact and the high mortality associated with the hurricane, the name Donna was retired, and will never again be used for an Atlantic hurricane.

My parents have remained in the same house, though they have remodeled it several times. The family never again evacuated  and the house has continued to withstand many hurricanes.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Morning Dew on the Tithonia





Dewdrops adorned the tiny true flowers, which are found in the centers of composites. What we think of as the orange petals are actually rays. The petals are on the tiny flowers.



Thursday, September 16, 2010


B came home around noon on Wednesday and discovered our front door jam had been broken with a crowbar. Splintered wood littered the foyer. We had been robbed.




The metal door itself was intact.

All that we miss is my jewelry box that was in a drawer which the robber(s) left open. They also opened B’s top dresser drawer but decided they didn’t need any more underwear. The investigating deputy surmised they were only in the house for about 2 minutes. Our guess is they wanted gold. They got a little--- very little.

Among the treasures they took are:

Gold dragonfly earrings that younger son D gave me for Christmas one year.

A gold charm bracelet from my childhood.

Grandma Solomon's heavy choker necklace. I never knew what kind of metal it was, though I suspected nickel. She probably brought it from Germany. I have worn it many, many times.

A gold bangle that was a high school graduation gift.

A gold necklace from my sister, given to her by a boyfriend she didn’t marry. I loved it and wore it every week.

A silver filigree pendant designed in Celtic knots given to me by a student. ( I loved that.)

A silver apple pendant/pin with my initials engraved on it—a gift from a student. (Loved that, too.)

A gold chain with a ginkgo leaf pendant. It was a real leaf dipped in Dahlonega, Georgia gold with matching earrings.

All but three pair of my earrings. They are not valuable, just decorative and I wear earrings every day in my pierced ears. (One pierce per ear has worked just fine for over 40 years, by the way.)

A $3 silver and blue bead elastic bracelet that my Mom bought me and I loved and wore a lot.

Some old rhinestone jewelry that had belonged to family friends.

Plastic pins from my Dad’s trip to the USSR in the 70’s.

A mask pin from Italy that a school parent brought me from Air Force duty in Italy.

Turquoise scarab stones set in gold earrings from an uncle’s trip to Egypt. ( I wore them once when I dressed up as a gypsy.)

A necklace made of coffee beans and cowry shells from a student from Ethiopia.

My two jade necklaces, gifts from students from China.

My dog tag from the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960’s. Most Florida kids wore them every day as their parents built bomb shelters in their yards.

I have never had my home invaded. My parents did a decade or so ago.

I feel sad. And nauseous. And thankful that more damage was not done to our home and that the few valuable pieces I have were kept elsewhere.

Couldn’t they have taken our TV?

I suspect they were disappointed with their loot.

Older son D suggested that perhaps there is a list of homes not worth the bother to break into and just perhaps we might get on that list.


I envision a dirt road somewhere not too far from here. Cast from a moving car’s window is a cherry wood jewelry box. The hinge to the top  broke when it hit the ground. Scattered around it are bits of metal, glass and plastic. That’s all it is, really.  But to me, it was much more. Each piece had a story.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Leaf Footed Bugs

It is all starting to come together now, so to speak.

These mating bugs (Lelptoglossus phyllopus) are cousins to the green and brown stinkbugs that share their space ---and are as detrimental to our plants as the stinkbugs.They are plant juice suckers.



These little orange guys are instars (immature ones).



These are the beautiful eggs we saw earlier in the spring. They are also leaf footed bugs, but not the same species. These with the white line lay their similar eggs in a line.


It is nice to know something about the life cycle of these destructive bugs. I had not known they were all the same insects at different stages until I finally identified the adults.

Good thing we grew enough zinnias for them and us both as we are certainly outnumbered. (The little white spot is the moon.)


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Two of a Kind

My mother:


Our son:


Good grief!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mailbox Monday: Pirate Post Box

All hope abandon ye who enter here!



Well, you have to have some way to send the ransom note!

The message in a bottle is just too unreliable.

(Talk Like a Pirate Day is coming up on September 19!)

No, really. I’m not making this up!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Just a spot of color on this flower!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Heavy Thoughts, Weighing on Our Minds

We noticed the floating dock was down on one side.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Sunset Picnic

We took an evening ride down to the lighthouse. As we picnicked in the truck—the bugs were just as we expected!--- we enjoyed this lovely sunset.


The tide was out. The dark line parallel to the horizon is a long oyster bar.



It was even prettier without the yellow boom that was there last month for the oil that, thankfully, never came.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Praying Mantis

I nearly pruned this green guy when I was dead-heading the tithonia.

100_2325 I simply didn’t see it until it moved.

100_2326 Hang in there, fella. Go get some stinkbugs, OK?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Not Quite Out of Our Gourds

These pictures were all taken at the same time but they illustrate the progression of the growth of the gourds in our garden.





Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Kindergartner Becomes an Eagle Scout

Well, he was ONCE my kindergartner!

Now he is in high school and on Sunday, I was honored to attend his Eagle ceremony. I thought he was the first of my students, but then I remembered two others that I know of who attained this, the highest rank in Boy Scouts. There was another of my former students there Sunday who earned his  Eagle at the same time but had not had his ceremony yet. So that will make four that I know of who have earned this achievement but this was the first ceremony I have attended for one of my kids.

Here he is accepting his Eagle badge.


In a time when I occasionally read about former students in the newspaper in stories that do not do them credit, it is wonderful to know many have done very well for themselves.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Seeing Red

It is not all that uncommon for birds to get in the squirrel/rat trap; they are released as soon as we find them (a matter or minutes or hours).

In two days recently, B caught four cardinals. What is remarkable about this is that each time, there were two cardinals caught in the cage!


It is even possible that it was the same pair each time. We have a LOT of cardinals and I am thinking the gene pool may not be quite large enough!

I told him if he caught two more the next day, he had to go buy a lottery ticket!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Screen Baby

One morning, I took my coffee out on the porch and saw this teeny green anole on the support cable of the screen wall.


This photo is close to life-size and maybe a little enlarged. It was so slender it could hide behind the cable with only its legs showing on this side.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Frog Silhouette

Since I seem to be on a frog kick, here is another one.

This fellow was on the kitchen window.


Here is its silhouette.



I love how clearly it defines its form, right down to the bulging eyes and little, round toe pads.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fat Frog

We have these cast iron plants out near B’s potting shed. This week, he spotted this tree frog hanging out in there.


The picture above shows how HUGE it was.

The picture below gives you a closer look.


It seems to be under a spider web. Perhaps it had dined on both the spider and the spider’s food.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chorus Practice

Not once, but twice lately, B has had to get frogs out of the rain barrel in the backyard. It has a lid, but somehow they are getting in.


Here you can see it blowing out its throat to call.


When there is only an inch or so of rain in the bottom and those frogs get cranked up croaking, let me tell you the acoustics are just about perfect: it is LOUD!!