Hail, Hail, the Gang’s all here


I really enjoy my backyard. I am into growing banana plants in pots and then putting them in the ground when they’re big enough. Right now I have about 10 rather large plants that should have gone in the ground a while back but I was unable to do so because of my knee.

Mostly dead tree is still hanging in there. She was supposed to come down in the Spring but we all conveniently forgot about it. Today the Boy cut down saplings growing into “only-a-lumberjack- could-cut-them-down” sort of trees. He also trimmed branches of trees, including trimming up a palm tree that was enveloping the house.

Our neighbor’s immensely huge live oak tree has grown a ginormous limb that has now taken over our front yard but it is too big for my hand saws. I had the idea that since the Boy is very tall he could grab the limb, then I’ll hold onto it while he cuts. Didn’t work out too well. He’s pretty slim and when he pulled it down it began to launch him out of the neighborhood and would probably have catapulted him into the Gulf if he hadn’t let go.

It’s been cold at night and I have brought in my crown of thorns and aloe vera. Everything else seems to be doing fine. Tonight they forecast 40 F (4.4 C).  We don’t have such cold temperatures for very long here in Florida but I’m still not fond of them. As I type I am bundled in pj’s, a hoodie and a very, very, heavy terry cloth robe. Yet, I’m wearing flip-flops.

Now for the fauna. Near the end of summer lizards began disappearing. Since they don’t go to Miami for the Winter, I can only assume they have fallen prey to our various critters in the backyard.  There were so many baby, oh so tiny lizards running around and now there are two. The bigger male lizards look well-fed.  The Cuban tree frogs seem to be gone as well. And my baby frog friend who always chirped and sang for me has been gone since before I left for the hospital.  His baby frog friends are gone as well.

There are a lot of critters around such as a snake, bats, stray cats, birds–particularly raptors; raccoons, squirrels, an armadillo; rabbits; cannibal lizards, and that woodpecker that pecks away at mostly dead tree or the roof of the house just to drive me crazy. All the frogs are gone–typically they bury themselves in my potted plants.I  noticed the hawks the other day and the eagles are back in the neighborhood. When I first moved here I was with RM at a supermarket and a pair of eagles had a nest with hatchlings at the top of a light pole in the parking lot.  While I was watching, a seagull came along, landed on the nest and took one of the babies and flew off. The parents did not pursue the seagull which I found curious.

Another time a crow had what appeared to be a hatchling and was flying at mach 1  as two eagles flew at mach 2 after it. It was quite a sight to see. The crows can be just awful.  I watched from a distance as a crow raided some poor birds nest and stole an egg. The parent bird was going crazy diving at the crow.

And so, Nature plays out in the theater that is my backyard. Nature is harsh. One can understand why prey animals often have so many offspring. Maybe one or two will make it. Humankind is not so different. In developing countries, children are a resource. When you are poor and you have no recourse you have as many births as you can. Not all will make it. In tropical regions in particular, disease and parasites are rampant. Children are needed to help support the family, do the domestic work–care for the smaller children.  And when the parents grow old, which is a big “if”, children support their parents. There are no pensions for the dirt poor. No disability insurance. Just family.

So next time you have a chance and good weather, and some flora around that will attract animals and birds, watch Nature rear its ugly head–if you dare.


12 thoughts on “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s all here

  1. After years of living in a land where deciduous trees were the dominant landscaping plant in most yards, I was startled to see banana and palm trees growing in the front yards of California homes. I am a native Californian, but I suppose as a child I never took much notice of the trees around my neighborhood. I just took it for granted that everyone had a yard that looked like the Hollywood set to a movie taking place in a mythical Africa.

    It’s dropped into the 40s out here as well, and I’ve bundled up in fleece pajama pants, thermal top and chenille socks. It’s all relative, but when my friends in Minnesota complain that it’s dropped to 10 degrees overnight, I feel a bit foolish. The children at the school where I work are playing outside in shirtsleeves and canvas sneakers, while children in Minnesota have to spend ten minutes before recess putting on snowboots, parka, knitted cap and gloves, and another ten minutes taking everything off when they come inside.

    • I lived in New Mexico for a very long time and became use to relatively mild winters compared to Connecticut. It blew me away my first Fall in NM when I looked outside and snow was falling and my neighbor’s sprinklers came on. Albuquerque did not receive much snow at all but the mountains did and they had a lovely ski area. Here in Florida I live on the Gulf side of Tampa Bay. There’s a bit of land, a small peninsula they call the “thumb” and lots of islands. I couldn’t get over the traffic, though. A million people call the thumb home plus the snowbirds. St Petersburg is here and that’s where I had my surgery. According to my phone’s GPS it was only 13 miles to the hospital but because of traffic you have to plan on 45 min to an hour, depending on the time of day. Albuquerque has under 500,000 people. The traffic has been quite a shocker. And the fact that it can hit freezing here. Granted, these temps won’t last long, unless of course the next ice age is on its way.

      I remember as a kid wearing galoshes–rubber boots over your own shoes. They went on easy but were hard to remove..Lucy

  2. No chance of winter in the tropics, I guess. 🙂
    Hereabouts, the weather plays tricks on us. Sunny, wet, cloudy, wet, sunny, beats me what’s next. (laughs) I am talking about today. Tomorrow is anybody’s guess.
    You have the correct mental attitude. I often go out and observe Nature.
    Have fun!

  3. Great post, Lucy. I live in the country, but seldom see the play of nature you’ve described. I suspect that is because I have been unobservant. We’ve had some critters visit – a milk snake (way down at the bottom of the yard, thank God – I hate snakes), a peacock (don’t ask!), a pheasant, deer (of course), foxes, possums, groundhogs and a raccoon. We have huge birds of prey that sometimes fly over our property. When our dachshunds were very tiny, I would not leave them by themselves in the fenced portion of our property because some of the birds of prey were so huge and I feared they would swoop down and pick up the small pups (this is when they were only a few months old). The birds can be impressive.

    Sorry about your 40 degree temps at night; the other day we didn’t get out of the 20s. Can I come visit? But only if you shoo away the snakes! 🙂

    • We have only one black snake. I think he’s moved on. An eagle can pick up an adult cat. It can’t get back up too high so what an eagle does it gets so high and then drops the cat onto rocks or pavement, then, well, you know. Picks it apart and takes it to its nest if it has hatchlings or eats it on the spot. Lucy

      • Are they the standard Dachshunds or miniature? My friend in Texas first had a standard and he passed from old age and now has a miniature. Every I ran out for a fountain coke for her and he would go along for the drive and sit on my left knee. Both types of dogs were so smart–sometimes it scared me. Lucy

      • Hi Lucy, spending some time getting caught up this evening. My dachshunds are miniature. The dachshunds are pretty smart, very stubborn, but they are extremely lovable. My three are long-haired dachshunds. One is white, silver and black and has blue eyes! Her name is ‘Chloe.’ Then I have a black and silver one named ‘Jasmine’ – and the old man of the group, ‘Sammy,’ who is tan and blond.

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