Saturday, March 31, 2012

I did it!

This is a real achievement. I have put a background holder on the north side of my house for occasional portraits of visitors and found objects. The outdoor chairs all imposed themselves into the picture due to tall backs. So I  ordered a stool and it came, gasp, unassembled. My wife can tell you the number of things that I've tried to put together with the result being new combinations of curses and thrown pieces.

I sat down patiently and actually put this together without a hitch. The two pieces left over were planned for spares. It is solid and sturdy and soon I hope to show some people sitting on it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Azaleas, driveway, Roscoe

This is how our driveway looked all of last week. A glorious year for azaleas.

First fig leaf, 2012

This was from two weeks ago and the tree is covered now, but the first one is the most beautiful.

Overgrown house, Jacksonville Beach

Street planter 1

Provence has taught me to appreciate little efforts to beautify sidewalks and streets. There are little planters everywhere in Provence and they show up in our beach towns a lot. The flag was a nice extra touch.

A quick jump

This was a very graceful little move. The pelican was walking towards this gap, saw it, and just raised his wings into the wind and jumped the gap.

Graffiti, Jacksonville Beach

It's odd how whenever graffiti is put in a new place the stickers for bands, caffeine drinks and products follow very quickly.

Parking sign, Guana Reserve

This takes me back to rural Vermont, where a sign is either brand new or pocked with bullet holes. This is an anomaly to me, a parking sign deep in a nature reserve. There isn't much of a parking area near it. During hunting season it is closed to the public and open to hunters. I guess if you've been trailing a wild boar all day and it gets away you have to say you shot something.

Waiting, PVIC

Coming off the beach I saw this woman quietly sitting.

Azaleas, backyard, Roscoe March 2012

This looked to be a bad year for azaleas, with way to early a bud set and a danger of frost. But the frost never came and the warmth stayed and we had a spectacular year. Here are two close-ups.


Every Saturday I make ratatouille for the family. Thanks to Harvey and Carol, I have the recipe from the Disney movie. I have modified it a little, but it is, to me, the ultimate vegan comfort food, served over cous-cous.


This is a collard plant that I put in 5 years ago, in this pot, on the dock. It hasn't been moved in 5 years. Collards are tough plants, they shrug off frosts and excessive heat equally well. But they are meant to be an annual vegetable. This one kept growing. I have harvested the leaves two or three times each year and gotten many a nice meal out of them. It refuses to die. It is just leafing out into it's 6th summer.

The hyperbole is that I tell people that it's the oldest surviving collard in existence. could be.

Palm fronds, Nocatee

This was taken a second or two before the one below. The light this day was rare for here. There was very little moisture in the air and everything was crisp and clear. This is a beautiful tree that I park near when I'm in Nocatee.

Palm trunk, Nocatee 2

I believe that I put another picture of this trunk in the blog about 6 weeks ago. The light and clouds were so beautiful this day that it gets a new view.

Pine woods, Nocatee

When I moved here, from Vermont, in 1993, I was dismayed at the lack of photogenic landscapes. Vermont is a true four season state, Autumn, Winter, mud season, and a brief warm spell in July. The land moves from a beautiful valley around Lake Champlain to the Green Mountains to the southern plains.

Florida seemed to me to be a flat, featureless, land with varying shades of green most of the year. We have four seasons too, sort of. A long and beautiful Spring running into a long and hot Summer, followed by a slow descent into a beautiful Autumn, followed by a cold spell in January. That cold is relative. We get a few frosts most years and some hard freezes every now and then, but never snow or ice.

It still is a flat terrain, but I have come to appreciate it. We have sandy soil, some would say sand with a tiny bit of soil in it. It either pours rain or is arid. We have no standing water even after a gully-washer (sand soil). The trees and plants here have to be able to go weeks, even months, without water and then be drenched for days on end. They are tough, straggly, thorny survivors a lot like the people who settled here before air conditioning.

So I don't have a lot of hills and valleys to work with like I used to in Vermont. This picture, of the edge of some pine woods in Nocatee is one I wouldn't have taken 3 years ago. Now I really love hte look and colors of my adopted home.

First street, Jax Beach

This is a record shot. Jacksonville Beach's downtown main road, First street, has been undergoing a massive renovation. All of these sidewalks are new and the sandy road is to be filled with paving blocks. A real upgrade. Just wanted to do a "before" picture.

Back garden, Roscoe

I took this because the back garden will soon all be in shade. The fig tree is leafing out and the big trees are filling in their gaps. It's funny, when it's lit like this I notice things that I don't for the rest of the year. The cast-iron plant on the bottom has gotten huge in three years.

Banana leaves, Garden, Roscoe

I have, finally learned my banana lesson. These plants were here when we moved in. Every year frost would do this to them. Every Spring I would cut them to the ground in March and hope a leaf would emerge. It did, but it took all summer for the tree to regain it's normal height. This year I trimmed only the dead leaves and new leaves are coming out already. They should be huge this year.

These are ornamental bananas and produce fruit that is edible but totally tasteless. I tried one and it was like eating wet paper. Two years ago I planted edible bananas under these and they are growing slowly. I'll show those soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Odd seagulls, Roscoe

These gull were circling, late in the the day, making very ungull-like noises. Much softer and calmer than the usual gull squawks. They may have been courting even though they were two different types of gulls. Very restful sounds.

Facing east from the dock, Roscoe

My task this coming week is to clean out these pots and replace a lot of the dirt with fresh potting soil. Two plants from last summer, Queen Anne's lace and one called Dancing Butterflies, turned out to be aggressive self-seeders. There are volunteer plants in a lot of pots.  I will relocate the intruders to a place where their profligacy will be more welcome. Then the tomatoes go in and the peppers. More later.

Garden bones, Roscoe

The garden is greening up so quickly that these trunks will soon be covered. Yay.

Summer weapons, garden, Roscoe

It's going to be a long wet summer.....sigh

37th Ave S, Jacksonville Beach in storm light.

Live oak 2, Roscoe

The light was soft and, as usual, I was drawn to my live oak.

Camellia blossom 2, Roscoe

This was a late bloom and turned into a beautiful full flower.

Spongebob Chia pet

This little clay monster sits above our kitchen sink, grinning maniacally at me. Delia is in charge of his care.

Staircase shadow, home, Roscoe

Weak winter shadows at home.

Shopping, Beall's, Jacksonville

There was a sale at Beall's and my wife and I went. The menswear section was awful so I wandered the store and looked for pictures. This fella popped out at me.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Squidward 2, from behind, Roscoe

This is the view the little guy below has all day. Lucky.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Squidward, window, Roscoe

My granddaughter, Delia, introduced me to Spongebob Squarepants a few years ago and we still watch him from time to time. It was decided early on that I resembled Squidward, Spongebob's grumpy, irritable neighbor and this followed. He looks out our our West facing window to the garden, disapprovingly.

Camellia blossom, Roscoe

I inherited three beautiful camellia bushes when we moved here. They were in wretched shape and covered with white mold. I removed every infected leaf and sprayed them with an organic fungicide. The next Spring they leafed out and this year we got a lovely display of flowers.

Live oak and Philodendron.

This was a 1/30th second exposure from a tripod. The wind was fierce.

Windy day

We had a very windy day last week and I took this shot of the Philodendron monstera being buffeted. Couldn't decide if I liked it in monochrome or color so here are both of them.


This almost looks like a foreign language.

Cement sneaker.

Everyone likes to leave a mark on the world.

Good morning Shannon!

Gas line

I was rushing to catch the light on the beach when I saw this gas cap in the sidewalk. Love the colors.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm still here.

We have had a wonderful run of good weather. The traditional safe planting day for here is around March 15th. It looks like we'll have ideal weather fro the next 9 days, so I have started in my garden. With all of the digging, seed planting, container filling and general pruning and cleaning up I have had little time for this blog. I have been photographing and am continuing to record the progress of our many azaleas. I will add more soon.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Beans and veggies

This little dish is from the N.Y.Times website. Mark Bittman is a food editor and cookbook author and, from time to time, posts recipe videos on the site. This is a great one using chickpeas, cooked from dried. Once they are soft and cooked you toss them  with a good olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice and chopped peppers, tomatoes and onions, salt and pepper. It is soooo good. I recommend his cookbooks "How to Cook Everything" and "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian"

Pet Peeve

This house sits on San Juan Drive here in Ponte Vedra Beach. It is a great big, beautifully built house. It has park-like landscaping. It is the kind of house that should be in the middle of a lovely 10 acre plot. It sits on a lot that is not much bigger than the house, and, to me, doesn't fit.

Stop sign Jacksonville Beach

These four stickers were on a single stop sign in Jax Beach. I think I like Miley on Meth the best. It seems as though these stickers are beginning to replace tagging around here. Much quicker to apply and easy to read. Probably bands. I tried to go on but no site. Darn. Update, Miley on Meth is a band, as is Forever the Sickest Kids. Tebowing gear is a sports apparel business. So they're all commercials. I'll go look for tags again.