Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Buzzard Time

These big black birds of prey have their season in the Keys.


This character was hanging out alone enjoying a warm morning ignoring us far below. I'm told these birds mate for life and shit on their own legs to stay cool. That notion is too bizarre for me to have made it up.


They are not often viewed kindly but if it were not for them there would be many more dead animals littering our woods as their preferred food is carrion.


They are known locally alongside the red headed turkey vulture as carrion crows.

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Rain Walk

The funny thing about summer storms is that they are completely localized. I was at work all night in Key West, where nothing fell from the sky yet when I turned onto my street the next morning the was a sapling down covering half the street. I saw further evidence of the overnight winds while out walking Cheyenne on Big Pine Key in the afternoon:


And rain is so commonplace, at last, that puddles are everywhere.


My footwear looks odd only as long as you think a walk around here involves only dry land.


Things look fresh and green even under a leaden sky


And I imagine the traveller's palm is sucking up water in these submarine conditions. I discovered these fan like plants store water In their branches and when taken short you could theoretically cut a stem and drink from it.


The air is hot and muggy and wet, it feels like it will never get dry again yet this winter when the humidity is gone and my hair feels like straw I will rue these hot quiet afternoons of summer.


These back streets of Big Pine are off the beaten track for most people and clearly no one important lives here, for this roadwork has never been completed.


The Spottswoods who own a private island at the end of my street would never allow the county to keep a section of gravel on our street. When the road got washed out in a storm back in 2005 the rutted section was cleaned and the surface replaced within days. I was astonished at the time, until I found out how important influence is to keep the wheels greased and turning.


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Jo Jo's Mile Marker 60

It is said Joseph and Josephine Giovannelli opened what was known as the Grassy Key Motel and Luncheonette in 1947, on land that's now located at the northern end of the relatively new city of Marathon.


Pretty much all that's left is the sign, original from that date and I don't doubt it will disappear soon. It seems they served Italian food as one might expect and the place seems to have done a thriving business for decades.


I used to stop here on my way to and from the mainland, with my previous rescued Labrador, the late Emma, and she would stretch her tired old bones somewhat reluctantly among the flea market stalls that used to clutter up this large open space.


It seems to have been cleared and cleaned up preparatory to a new phase in its life and as sentimental as it sounds I shall miss the extraordinary old sign from Jo Jo's Motel and Luncheonette.


We have new signs promising Pacific delights to those of us with sufficiently robust livers. I cannot imagine how or why, in a world of diminishing energy resources, rum and water need to be imported from a bunch of featureless islands in the South Pacific. Globalization is our mantra. Personally I don't at all mind being stuck with one or other of the delicious rums produced in our own Caribbean back yard. And rainwater from my roof will do fine for me if Fijian water is not available.


From the ridiculous to the sublime.


And then the road opens up and watery vistas once again...


...absorb our attention.


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Walking That Dog Of Mine

Despite the heat Cheyenne enjoys taking her afternoon walks before I go to work and with the advent of gray skies promised by the presence of the late Tropical Storm Emily collapsing in the Caribbean, the temperatures have dropped quite a bit which is good for a furry yellow Labrador.


On one of our circular suburban walks we aways encounter a couple of noisy guardians of a particular section of street. You'd think they'd get to recognize this weekly visitor to their domain but every time they are as shrill and insistent as banshees. They make the case for owning a large peaceful dog.


Cheyenne lumbers by and ignores them with perfect aplomb, which makes me want to cheer her especially loudly for being so supremely indifferent.


She does the same thing toward Key deer who graze this neighborhood. Then she needs a rest and a refreshing drink of puddle water that doubles as water fountain and dog bath.


After her drink a little snack is in order and luckily we strolled past a home where the concept of trash cans with well fitting lids has not yet been explored. Indeed the innovation of using trash cans at all has not been discovered by some homeowners who would rather let the raccoons pick brought their beer cans and food wrappers.


All in all it was quite the successful walk especially as Cycle World had an interesting article on Triumphs past and present. We all got what we wanted out of our stroll.


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Key West Pix 3

The big statue has disappeared from the Customs House on Front Street. I missed a few things while I was on vacation, including Hemingway Days, but the disappearing statue is rather nice as it leaves the front of the building open for the first time in ages.


I saw this cyclist apparently stroking out in the heat but as I approached he clearly was just checking his bicycle.


The letter carrier seemed to be coping okay with the 96 degree afternoon. That seems like a tough job.


Sighting down the sidewalk into Truman Annex always makes for a nice looking picture so I snapped one.


"What are you photographing?" a puzzled passer-by asked. When I told her she didn't seem impressed as I pointed out the color contrasts. I liked the picture well enough. What it actually is I couldn't rightly say, except that it was a bean pod on a tree with gray leaves.


Some people like to decorate their gates rather fancifully. This one was next door to Harpoon Harry's, the diner on Caroline Street at Margaret.


I noticed an ad for boat rentals. I was quite impressed by the selection of boats. I guess a trip behind the Half Shell would be a good idea if one were in the market to rent a boat.


I frequently notice a bunch of guys hanging out at the music shop on Caroline. Dogs welcome which is a good sign. I think I would be viewed as a little too buttoned down to hang with those free spirits.


Captain Key West told me to look for a peculiar palm while exiting from K Mart plaza toward Kennedy. I gave it my best shot but on my first pass I missed it. I remembered he mentioned the left side but I looked right.


I saw the weird palm on my second pass and a photo of it will appear here soon..


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