I often pass a Naples cemetery. Many of the people buried there are Hispanic. Their's is a culture very different from the New England cemeteries with which I am familiar. Instead of gravestones, this cemetery has bronzes or stones at ground level. And most graves have colorful plastic flowers.
Sunday, April 30, 2023
Saturday, April 29, 2023
Friday, April 28, 2023
Thursday, April 27, 2023
On Saturday I took an eco-tour at Babcock Ranch in Charlotte County, twenty miles north of Ft. Myers. Acquired in 1914 for logging and agriculture, the Babcock Ranch once comprised 91,000 acres. It was the biggest single open space in south Florida, maybe the entire state.
We were loaded onto an ancient bus with the windows removed and taken around the property. It is still actively farmed, with horses and beef cattle in the first areas we saw.
The preserve is full of feral pigs, which raced to see us as we passed, because the guides toss corn kernels out of the bus for feed. (They do most of their feeding on their own, but they like the corn as a treat.)
Pigs were brought from Europe with the original Spanish explorers to feed the crews on the voyages, but when they reached Florida, many pigs got loose and have populated the wild areas for centuries.
Slash pines, cypress, sabal palms and palmettos are the most common trees and plants. The terrain needs fire to stimulate new growth, sometimes from lightning strikes, and sometimes from controlled burns.
Everywhere there was water, there were alligators. Many alligators.
White-tailed deer are there, though I saw only a couple.
Several shy raccoons said hello. Only one came out of the underbrush enough for a portrait.
Sandhill cranes and their colts wandered in the open spaces.
"Cracker cattle" with their long horns were in an area different from the domestic beef cattle. Their predecessors came over from Spain with the conquistadors, as early as 1565. They are grown for meat, milk and for draft work.
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Recently Morgen and a friend started an organization for artists in our community. It has been a happy discovery that there are so many artists -- and such good ones -- in a relatively small community of just over 400 homes.
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Monday, April 24, 2023
The sixth mural on the wall of Punta Gorda's Baker Center School is called "Community." Before desegregation took hold in the late 1960s, black children wanted a place to play and the community wanted a place for meetings. An old Army barracks was turned into the recreation center.
The Rec Center became the hub of activities for the black community. This 2023 mural by Keith Goodson depicts the Rec Center and its playground. Hurricane Donna leveled the Rec Center in 1960. The current Rec Center was built a few years later.
Linked to Monday Mural.
Sunday, April 23, 2023
Saturday, April 22, 2023
Yesterday was a very sad one. Daughter Susie called to say that 11-year old Sequoia had to be put down. Sequoia declined very fast over just a couple of days. She was anaemic and had a big mass in her belly.
Susie and her husband Wessel brought Sequoia and Lola over when they came back to the States from South Africa in 2016.
Sequoia is the bigger and darker one with a dark nose, behind Lola.
Willa (b. 2015) and Hazel (b. 2017) have not known life without Sequoia.
Lola and the whole family will miss her. I sure will!
Friday, April 21, 2023
FK Your Diet has restaurants in Ft. Myers, Cape Coral and three other places in Florida. The owner was a "Foster Kid." With help from their paying customers and donations from others, the restaurants' mission is to provide hot meals for foster children and others needing help in their communities.
Since Hurricane Ian's devastation on September 28, the chain has been providing 7,000 meals a day to people impacted by the storm, in addition to its ongoing support for foster children. Some meals are served at the restaurants, but more are served in a mobile operation.
Thursday, April 20, 2023
Feeding alligators is another job I do not want to have.
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Monday, April 17, 2023
In 1962, black leaders lobbied the Charlotte County board of education for a better solution. On September 3, 1963, five hand-selected black children walked through the doors of Charlotte County High School, starting the desegregation of the county's schools.
2023 mural by Keith Goodson on the side of Baker Center School in Punta Gorda.
Linked to Monday Mural.