Friday, August 5, 2011

Osprey Nest

The utilities put up poles with platforms on them to accommodate osprey nesting habits around the Keys.

I spotted this one in my recent explore around Islamorada. Humans helping animals or humans making up for not helping animals?

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Islamorada Art

How I found this spot is hard to say, call it serendipity.

I was driving through Islamorada (purple island) when I got stuck in a long line of slow moving cars in the no passing 45mph zone. It's an endless stretch of no passing and one usually gets stuck behind texting drivers wobbling along at 38 whole mph. I call it Impatience Alley and I have to force myself to think good thoughts as we drone along here every time we leave the Keys. So I pulled off between the Worldwide Sportsman, a fishing emporium, and the hurricane monument.

The hurricane monument is worth a stop, a reminder of the great storm of 1935 when hundreds died alongside the East Coast Railroad Extension which lost so much track it never ran again. But I was here for Art, as it happened.

This is a good spot to walk a dog not least because the secondary road carries no traffic this time of year, but also thanks to the trees that throw a lot of shade.

Morada Way appears to be an official street and along it's length they have a warehouse filled with small businesses beavering away, in the best traditions of boosting our faltering economy.

They've got themselves organized too.

I found a diversity of businesses in the long warehouse building that filled one entire side of the street.

I describe my web page' focus as Key West and the Lower Keys for the very good reason that everything North of the Seven Mile Bridge is quite foreign to me. I know there's stuff the worth checking out but it's pretty hit or miss finding it.

And like so much else there are tons of people here living full and interesting lives and we'll probably never get to meet them.

But they leave interesting tidbits behind even when they are away.

Some friends have suggested we make a road trip this dead season, up the Keys to stop and explore along the way.I'm putting this place up for a vote.

Perhaps we'll skip the UPS warehouse.

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Islamorada Beach Road

I am not much of a fan of the Upper Keys, those are the islands closest to the mainland, which to my jaundiced eye manage to look more like mainland suburbs than centers of alternative living. Of course these are the Florida Keys nonetheless and therefore there are certain features that inevitably remind one of where one is: turquoise water at the end of the street for instance.

These reminders of the nature of life in the islands are brought home by the stilt housing for instance, or...

...the abundant and particular foliage.

Spanish moss and palms above and....

...more of the same above! This next house looked decidedly odd to me following no divine proportion or feng shui attributes one could imagine.

Tara on a minuscule scale and very odd it looked too. But there again such eccentricity is, or should be, the mark of Keys living.

As are coconut palms and a tired hot dog. August is not Labrador friendly.

This monumental Stonehenge seat is provided by First State Bank, the last local bank in the Keys where I became a very happy customer after I abandoned corporate Bank of America. I suppose I should have tested the bench but it looked more ornamental than practical.

This part of Islamorada, a town with "no there, there" as Gertrude Stein famously remarked of Oakland, California which failed to reveal a downtown core to the woman, has a street or two paralleling Highway One so if like me you should be moved to explore, it is relatively easy to do.

Which I shall do in future posts about the area around the hurricane monument.

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Wet Dog

At a time when I hear nothing but complaints about unseasonal weather, it seems rather embarrassing to note that summer weather in the Keys is totally normal for the time of year. Rain, more rain and intervals of bright sunshine and not too hot as is the universal complaint Up North during the extended overheated drought.

We've had some spectacular thunderstorms lately, loud cracks directly overhead, momentary power outages, like a ship rolling in a storm in a movie made prior to computer animation.

I like the summer rains, which break up the endless monotony of clear skies, puffy clouds and bright sunshine which beats down on us most of the day. Cheyenne is not much of a water dog but she doesn't mind the rain too much as it drops the temperature by ten or fifteen degrees. When she got out of the car and the wind lifted her ears she was enjoying the cool breeze.

We stumped around a little, taking the time to get wet while I took pictures and she stuck her nose in the bushes. There is something very relaxing about hanging with my dog and doing it under the drizzle makes it much more companionable.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about these elaborate mailbox holders. Are they cute? Over the top? My wife figured one would be rather fun at our home in California where manatees are not well known, certainly not as mailbox holders. Or anole holders.

We drove home in the rain, aiming for the sunny skies now settling in over Big Pine Key.

We took another longer walk but it wasn't as much fun it seemed to me, out of the rain.

I quite admired this dude pounding up the hill that is the Niles Channel Bridge. People wonder why I ride my motorcycle in the rain butbi do have the right clothing unlike this guy.

Perhaps bare skin is the way to deal with a sudden heavy and short lived downpour.

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