Another Week Gone by in the Trailer Park

28 02 2009

Since we have to work in the morning I consider today to be more like a Sunday instead of Saturday.

It’s past 3:00pm and I’ve yet to do anything productive. This morning was cool and the light was nice so I took my second mug of coffee outside and hung out with the cats. Once they had all been sufficiently fed and petted I picked up my camera and took a tour of The Oasis. Yesterday I spotted a red-tailed skink in the compost heap. I looked it up online and decided that it must be a Peninsula Mole Skink (Eumeces egregius onocrepis). I also saw a Carolina Anole (Anolis carolinensis) hanging out on the shed, and a Southern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus) which casually glided into a shrub and then quickly propelled itself upwards at a brown anole, missing by only an inch or two before it continued on along it’s hunting trek.

This morning it was too early for most reptiles to be active, but I did capture a Brown Anole (Norops sagrei) sunning himself on a bamboo stake in the garden. We have built a fence, a garden enclosure and trellises with locally grown bamboo. The anoles immediately set up housekeeping inside the hollow tubes and can often be seen peeking out from the tops of the poles.

Brown Anole (Norops sagrei)

Cuban Anole

The Sweet Basil and Dill are also taking advantage of the mild weather and are steadily growing.

Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Sweet Basil

Dill (Anethum graveolens)

Dill

Jorgi, the gray tuxedo cat, does not allow me to inspect The Oasis without his assistance.

Jorgi

The recent cold weather and wind has taken a toll on the banana trees. Even in their worst condition, these lovely tropical plants are elegant and interesting. Backlit, this dead banana frond resembles a piece of burlap.

Banana Frond

The Bromeliads have shrugged off the recent weather and are doing nicely.

Ball Moss (Tillandsia tenuifolia L.)

Tillandsia recurvata


The endangered Giant Wild Pine (Tillandsia utriculata) which I rescued from the asphalt of a parking lot, where it had fallen from its host tree.

 

Tillandsia utriculata

Although I have plenty of important work to do, I believe I will take another tour of the property and try to roust up the native reptiles.





February in Central Florida

8 02 2009

It looks like a year has vanished since I started this.

For some reason, a few people on reddit.com have expressed an interest in reading my blog.  I’ve given a good deal of thought to what I should write to keep it interesting. I know blogs are supposed to have a set theme; but the only theme I can stick to would be “Whatever happens to pop into my head or my world on any given day”. So, I’ll give it a go and see what happens.

One year later we are still in the same spot in the same park. A lot of moves have been in the works, including the time we were accepted for a mortgage on a house we couldn’t afford. A couple of days before closing the loan was rejected, not because it was unwieldy for us, but because of a zoning issue. We could have changed financing vehicles and continued on, but common sense set in and we decided to take that as a message.

Good move that was, on our part. The housing market and economy took a huge dump immediately thereafter. The house is still for sale and has been marked down about $30,000.00.

We also got a wild hair about having a lagoon view and got ready to move to a park right on the water under a beautiful canopy of oak trees. It was $90.00 more per month than here, but the view was great. We made some observations and decided that we couldn’t handle the horrendous noise from the constant swarm of Bikers who frequent the bar just up the road. I guess enough people enjoy having their eardrums ruptured by idots gunning their pipes to show off how inefficiently their cooling systems work that the noise ordinances are overlooked.

So, here we are still in the same place. Acceptance has kicked in and I got to work on a garden. This park is built on a leveled sand dune and there is nothing resembling fertile soil anywhere around. All the soil I have brought in quickly leeches away with the heavy rain we get in the spring and summer.

My garden began when we first got here, with some concrete rings we salvaged from one of our construction sites. Filled with good soil they were perfect for my herb collection. Gradually we became more and more interested in the idea of growing some vegetables and my current layout evolved.

Over a month or two I collected 5 gallon buckets from delis and restaurants and placed them in a large oval. My husband (AJ) picked up two truckloads of topsoil which I used to fill in the buckets and center section, as well as my recycled concrete rings. Next, AJ went out and collected a great stack of bamboo, which he cut into workable lengths. I pounded these bamboo stakes into the ground around the buckets (which I had painted black), to create an attractive fascia. We ran out of bamboo and he recently picked up some more to finish the job.

In the meantime I planted some things. I’ll post a list later on. Next, we got a record cold spell (two actually). The garden survived, due to being covered, but not much has begun to grow. Today I will finish inserting the fascia stakes and then post some photos. The next project is to pick up some truckloads of gravel for the yard and driveway. I will finish the garden with white gravel and washed shell gravel (which is a nice fossiliferous material containing shells and coral). You will eventually find out that I am a fossil hound, so the idea of decorating my garden with them is a thrilling one for me.

I’m off to finish the garden and will make a new post with the photos. For now, take a look at the painted bunting that has been visiting our feeder. I joined a site called “Painted Bunting Observer Team” which tracks painted buntings at feeders throughout their breeding sites and migratory routes.

So far, I’ve logged two sightings, but I am out of food and have been too lazy to go get more. This week I’ll get more and try for some better photos. This one was shot through tinted glass on an overcast day, so the light didn’t allow for sharpness.