Monday, September 7, 2009

I live in a swamp

Ironic. Everyone wants to live in the sunshine these days. See the demographics trend since WWII for proof. People left the Northeast for places like Phoenix, Fort Worth, and Fort Lauderdale.

So I got the bug the first time I visited here in the early 70s with my family, all piled into a beast of a 1973 Buick Limited and we did a tour of Florida after getting off the Auto Train. Great excitement for a kid, I'll tell you.

That bug I was speaking of? I fell in love with Fort Lauderdale (area) when I got here and never wanted to live anywhere else. We stayed at a motor court style hotel, adjoining rooms with a door in them, swimming pool and all right off Federal Highway. No matter that it now is run down and kind of a No-Tell Motel, it was one of the best memories of my childhood.

In 2006, I finally moved. April 11, 2006 at 8:43am to be precise, I crossed over the St Mary's River into North Florida and never left. We bounced around and ended up in Wilton Manors, a quirky city with a reputation that is only partially earned outside, and like anywhere it is different when you live here.

Growing up in South Jersey, there were never as many creatures trying to get into the house as there are here. Other than field mice after the first cold snap, we never had to tent the house or worry about anything other than the brown mosquitos getting in. I have personally captured five geckos this last month and released the little things into the garden, have been invaded by armies of ants going after whatever was left in the sink the night before, and spiders and unidentifiable creatures of a variety that even my own habits of going to The Pond when I grew up didn't quite prepare me for.

Fishing Iguanas out of the pool, seeing flocks of Parrots flying by through the day, the Mourning Doves watching me while I walk around the pool, and many other critters I am just learning about are some of the experiences of living in Wild Florida.

Being one of those people with Sweet Blood, and I've been told that its got something to do with relatively high Potassium intake (anyone have any bananas?), I am the first person in a crowd to get bit by Mosquitoes. I noticed early that our yard was chock full of those aggressive Tiger Mosquitoes and stopped going outside. The problem was that we were much worse than other places around the block for them and when our Pool filter gave out it turned out we were the local captive breeding program for the little blighters. Pool filter had a steady drip of pool water onto the pavement, and into the ground. Water dried up, and so did the skeeters in that part of the world.

The other thing is that with all the rain we get in the Wet Season (A.K.A. Hurricane Season - Duck and Cover!) everything grows with a ferocity that I'm not used to. You can practically watch the grass grow and not take a day to do so. Being someone who always liked plants and planting, I noticed that about 4 out of 5 of the cuttings I take from the Screw Palms (A sort of Dracenea related to the lucky bamboo) would root if I would stick them in the ground deep enough to hold them vertical. So now I have a garden of the things. Not the best for a hedge but when you live in a place where house plants grow as accents to your garden you can have a bit of fun.

Anyone need some house plants? If I ever come North, I'll be bringing some to my family.

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