Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Things I See In The Woods

With a title like that who knows what I see in the woods, but I never see anything unusual. Odd but true, everything is as it should be.
I did see a Key Deer recently skulking around the end of Blimp Road. Federal wildlife officials say the screw worm outbreak that killed off dozens of deer is retreating but has been found now in Homestead. They think the flies were blown over from Cuba and may get blown onto the mainland as they can fly 90 miles in one hop. If they get to the cow herds of Central Florida there will be hell to pay. Mneahwile the herd of about 900 surviving deer are spreading across several islands in the Lower Keys.
Fat Albert was on the ground anticpating strong winds. The Air Force announced a while back they were relinquishing their last facility in the Keys but the weather people, NOAA said they would take up the slack for the $16 million balloon. Since then nothing much seems to have changed.
It's winter time now so spandex and bicycle helmets are everywhere.  It always amazes me how cavalier these winter visitors are with Florida traffic. I have been riding two (motorized) wheels down here for a very long time and I take nothing for granted. This lot...
...they just don't give a shit. As though it's not their flesh that will get grated if anything goes wrong. Drivers around here regularly fail to stay on these straight clearly marked roads. Why anyone would voluntarily put themselves in harm's way beats me.
 If there is a bike path they prefer not to use it, and if they want to occupy a travel lane at 15 mph they do. I don't even mind people who ride bikes as they take one car off the streets but because I ride motorcycles I know that riding as though you own the road will end badly for you. And then they surprise you in the bushes...Mind you, these two got a surprise of their own when Rusty popped out to see who was daring to talk to me during my quiet time.
 Have telephoto, will take pictures and there were birds preening and posing.
The book says they are Greater Egrets with that odd curve in their necks.
 A blue heron (I think).
 An osprey taking off:
 You can see the odd curve in the egrets' necks here:
 The heron made a half-move as though ready for flight...
 Rusty isn't interested in birds:
 Oh and winter is also time for the black shadows called Turkey buzzards or vultures:
Circling overhead looking for death.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Inside The Cemetery

I wore Rusty out one day last week walking him around town running errands. Three hours of walking and he was worn out so the nhext day when I offered tot ake him into tow he looked at me with an evil eye and laid down on his couch. Too much of a good thing is too much. Fine, I said to myself, that means I can take a stroll in the cemetery, one of my favorite things to do, so I did.
Dogs aren't permitted and I'm usually walking the dog so this was rare for me to be able to check up on a few graves. I spotted a few landmark names this trip around the cemetery, and by that I mean names that you may well find on street signs and other landmarks. Like the new City Hall mentioned yesterday on this page:
Arnold's is a big name in town. This scion was apparently involved in the fisheries: 
 This one less so:
The plot dedicated to the Cuban martyrs, those who lost their lives in the second half of the 19th century fighting for freedom from Spain:
 The history was carefully laid out, though the plot itself could do with some light maintenance:
The grandiose temple for one of the older and wealthier families, the Spottswoods, fronted by the monument ot the late Captain Outrageous, the pillar covered in beads:
Signs of a picnic which is unfortunate. Leave no trace and use the trash cans. I like sitting among the graves (not on them) as this is a peaceful spot. But leaving trash is not a good thing as its the sort of bad behavior that gets people upset and more rules get made.

 Maintenance crews clipping the grass:
 Any relation to Peacon Lane? Why not I say...
"Peacon Infants..." Brr. Those were tough days before the use of vaccines and modern medecine and kids often died young.  Adults lived as long as we do, but statistically the high number of infant deaths brought down the median age which is what you often see quoted. The Bible itself states  that thousands of years ago that the proper age to die was seventy, not 45.  

A  quick nod to the refurbished grave of local artist Mario Sanchez who said of himself: "My modest art  isn't any good but people like it, don't they?" (My own approxiamte translation of his epitaph rendered in a likeness of his own handwriting).
The cemetery was moved to the center of the island after a storm blew the original cemetery off the beach. Some of these graves have been around a while.
 Whitmarsh Lane anyone?

Higgs Beach...he was quite the cornerstone of the community, I remember him as soft spoken but he did his job with a spine of steel and total integrity.
 And there is "Freckles" and another of those fishing boats...
These graves bring tantalizing glimpses into the past. 
 People wander through, pausing and thinking...

 So is this the Carey source of the lane name near the cemetery?
 A dead end indeed.
"A very good mother and wife..."

I like the graves with photos on them, which remind me of the cemeteries I grew up with in Italy as a youngster:
I like to stop by an say hello to Cheryl whom I remember well from before her untimely death at a young age:
We're all here because we're not all there. Not a bad epitaph at all.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Coffee Wars

My favorite Chinese restaurant has changed hands and a new arrival in town is operating Tong's Garden on Kennedy Drive. So far the only change is that the person answering the phone is now bright and cheerful which is a pleasant change. More importantly Cuban coffee on White Street is no longer dominated by Sandy's. The formerly 24-hour joint at Virginia Street is being challeneged by Key West's Best Coffee In Town.   
So I went and tried the best coffee in town and got myself a basic breakfast sandwich on Cuban bread which is how I test these places in town. And there are quite a few Cuban coffee places when you really start looking. Sandy's was the only one open 24 hours and under new ownership that has ended which in some way changes the perspective. I liked the coffee and the bacon egg and cheese sandwich from the Best Coffee In Town and they make no pretence of being open all night as they close at four. They are just a couple of blocks down the street, south from Sandy's and  make a worthy competetion. 
Unlike Sandy's the Best Coffee In Town has no seating so I walked across United Street and found myself an empty bench next to the new and newly occupied City Hall. The tiger is back in place at the corner of the street. It used to be the mascot for the school that was in this spot and a welding class built it. Now it has been refurbished and put back in place.  
This being the idiotic town it sometimes is there were -can you believe it? - complaints about the tiger being parked back in its spot infront of the new city hall, which itself has generated complaints too. The tiger it was said is too aggressive and not attractive and might frighten off visitors. I can't make this nonsense up. People actually wrote that kind of sentiment which I paraphrased from comments in the newspaper. 
Complaints about the new city hall centered around cost which at twenty million bucks doesn't seem too terriblky much in modern dollars for a modern office building centrally located with parking and all proper modern facilities. Mind you anything is too much money ina town devoted to complaining. 
I also found the grave of the former city employee after whom the building is named. She must have been quite the powerhouse, Josephine Parker as she also has a lane named for her off Angela Street betweenb Duval and Simonton...behind the former city hall where she worked which is now the Fire Station.
I like the new building. I like the qya it looks, the way it works and the details they added or kept from it's historic illustrious past. 
The Just 4 Kids voluntary after hours programn decorated power boxes around town some years ago and now this box shown below refers to a school that no longer exists...
Just half a block away is the Dairy Queen, that purveyor of fast food and soft serve icea cream that is not actually located in a tourist zone or on the Boulevard in New Town but is tucked away out of sight formerly serving the students from the school which no longer exists. Not a problem apparently:
On the subject of complaints I remmber when the Natuional Weather Service building was being rebuilt here across from City Hall and people started moaning about the red walls. It turns out it was some sort of undercoat paint and when the building was finished it was rather tastefully clad in wood. That shut the moaners up. But they do have to whine don't they?
 Here's a picture of Sandy's and the rather useful shaded outside seating:
White Street looked confused and busy the other day with it's new paving and even marked bike lanes. It may just take extra coffee to sort it all out and luckily there is planety for sale, and good stuff, on the street to cope with the demand.