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newly sprouted spring leaves on a Sand Oak (Quercus geminata) at Big Lagoon State Park.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


I have the best of both worlds, the street where I live and the surrounding area is rural enough that I see everything from wild turkeys and coyotes to whole families of raccoons setting out for an evening's hunt, but I'm also less than five minutes from several shopping centers. Lately I've noticed that I'm becoming a bit more European in my habits, instead of loading up at the grocery store every couple of weeks or so, now, on a day when I'm running several errands, I stop and pick up just a few market items at a time. I'm also shopping in a lot more places locally and it seems I'm also enjoying shopping more, actually looking forward to it for a change.

On one of my recent runs I stopped at the neighborhood Winn Dixie and found these out in front as I was leaving.  I wasn't sure what I was looking at but it turns out they're kiln dried birch logs designed to ignite with just matches. I'll admit I really like the look of them and even the idea behind them but not so much the need for them. I love to camp and to light the occasional friendly fire pit at home but for me building a campfire is at least half of the allure. I'll stick to the logs we've collected from our tree prunings, etc. Besides, birch trees in Florida? Give me sustainable live oak any day.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Tree Grows in Bellview

Pensacola is a town not known for its aesthetics or innovation, it's more practical, rather more LA'ish (Lower Alabama) in feeling and thought. Conservative, safe. So it's no surprise that over the last few years I've seen the growth of small retail stores around town, usually springing up in twos, competing pairs of Family Dollar and Dollar General, doublets sprinkled a mile or two apart. If you miss either you'll soon find two of them later.

More affluent neighborhoods have lobbied to keep them out, usually by citing the serious problem of attracting outside riffraff. Obviously, their frequency argues against that idea; neighborhoods where residents have limited mobility due to income and physical issues tend to congregate elsewhere and they have their own stores. For me, I find that while these dollar stores are not personable or original in design they're probably no worse than the strings of upscale big box stores people are eager to frequent (I rarely, if ever, frequent either.). In point of fact, I would be willing to bet a quarter that most malls can't boast the beauty or friendliness of the many live oaks like those found at this Dollar General in my neighborhood. The franchise seems to have a knack for it, in general, at least in my town. And that has to count for something.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bee Wares

Here at Piazza Uccello we have a laissez-faire attitude toward our bee/wasp populations, as in, I've already taken a hit for the team and nursed my first wasp sting. Unless they're in the tongue of the trailer or near the front or back doors they're pretty much in like Flynn. The carpenter bees are just as bold, making a home for themselves on our front porch (they're going through a relocation program at the moment) but the mason bees have simply disappeared. I did spring cleaning anyway, in case they ever show up again. It's been 6 or 7 years.