Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sky Shots

Key Lime Square was in the news recently because the shopping center is apparently going or has gone bust. Commercial real estate is in trouble across the land but from what I could gather the difficulties here will mean little or no change on the ground.

And it is pretty.

We were wandering under a strangely speckled mackerel sky.

Blue skies and high cirrus as a background to the Cell tower on Southard Street.

Streaming like a contrail across the sky above the peeling wall of the AT&T building.

It's like in the movies during the horror show; the bad guy is lurking in the branches overhead and the victim resolutely refuses to look up. Not me, I look up all the time.

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Water Dog

It is a never ending source of confusion when people find out that Cheyenne doesn't swim. Labradors were bred to swim and retrieve ducks in swamps, but Cheyenne was never show on how. It's not she doesn't like water.

A mangrove infused pool is a thing of joy for her. However she is on the whole a land dog.

She spent eight long years with a family that didn't treat her very well from what I can gather and aside from breeding her and possibly using her as a jogging tool she was not a family integrated dog.

She is now. And in winter she spends a lot of time hunting for water holes with water in them, which are hard to find in the dry season. But in summer when she really needs to cool off water holes abound.

I take great pleasure from Cheyenne's joy and I would no more forbid her from dunking herself in the water than I would tie her up on a chain.

I get comments when she does this sort of thing in front of God and Everybody, to the effect that I have a dirty dog. Indeed and that was why God invented towels.

And why I carry a towel in my car.

She may not know how to swim, and she may be too scared to step out of her depth even with me supporting her in salt water, but in her own way Cheyenne has not completely lost her heritage as a water loving Labrador. And I am not sending her back to the pound, no matter how muddy she gets.

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Key West Balconies

I read in the Menton Daily blog that in France only public buildings may fly the national flag except on Bastille Day, July 14th, when private citizens may display the flag. Whereas in the United States by contrast any old rag even plastic sheeting can be emblazoned with the national colors, thrown over a railing and we call it good.

One might imagine that having a balcony on your apartment overlooking Duval Street might be a fine thing, and at eight thirty in the morning it certainly seems to be. Twelve hours later I wouldn't be so sure as the bars start to heat up, live music blares and drunks start to take their rightful place loudly blocking the sidewalks.

We had a friend with a balcony in just such a strategic location overlooking the main street in Key West and it was nice to be able to look down in comfort upon the semi nude crowds gathered on Duval Street for Fantasy Fest, but he has bought a quieter home in New Town and if we choose to watch the parade we will be reduced to slumming it once again on the sidewalks.

Porches have been on my mind , and by extension balconies, because we are giving ours a refit, a few pieces of inexpensive outdoor furniture, some paint and carpeting and by the time cool winter breezes are brushing Ramrod Key our main outdoor space will hopefully be as organized as this:

Or this:

Because after all, indoor/outdoor living is the great benefit of being in the Keys, and our porch has become rather careworn and uninviting. Even a resident with a tiny space like this tries to make best use of it:

I saw some green garden chairs on the balcony at the former City Hall on Angela Street.

We have a small balcony in the rear of the Police Station too and it makes a nice spot to watch the rain come tumbling down during a lunch break. Ah the great outdoors!

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Sea Grape Season

I like sea grapes and I've blogged about them before but it's starting to be that time of year again when we get to enjoy their heady scent and big green leaves. Actually the leaves have been around for a few months but now they are joined by the fruit. The leaves themselves are large waxy and collect raindrops as though were umbrellas.

They call them sea grapes because they grow undaunted by the proximity of saltwater and the fruit look and behave just like regular grapes. They start out green and hard and grow in clusters like wine grapes.

By this time of year they are starting to ripen and turn a delicious purpose color. Which is what alerts the birds to their desirability so by now it's a race between me and the mourning doves on my street to see who gets to eat the grapes. I lose, year after year.

The grapes taste somewhat like regular grapes but they have a huge pit in the middle so the meat is rather less than at first appears. I have fond memories of being a child and sitting under the vines and gorging myself on grapes, so I like to stand around and pick a few of these when I find a few ripe grapes.

I was so absorbed in my photography this well oiled tricycle drifted up on me without my noticing. I spun round to say hi and he looked straight through me. A man on a mission.

We watched him go and I was half tempted to yell out that he was missing a delicious fruit but, I fear sea grapes would be wasted on a tricycle rider who goes out in public with white socks pulled neatly up to his knees. We continued our feast alone, Cheyenne and I.

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Lower Keys In Black And White

The day looked gray and bleak under the overcast and it occurred to me I was walking my dog in a daguerreotype print so I set my camera on the sepia setting and confirmed my feeling.

Even photographing in color made the picture looked black and white under November looking skies.

Then I saw the bright blue building that belongs to the state Road Prison off Key Deer Boulevard. That made a splash of color oddly enough.

Last weekend I was working so I missed the battle of the bars at Schooner Wharf, a silly but amusing series of challenges between various bartenders who race each other to perform take like serving drinks and rolling kegs. I would have liked to have been able to go but they will do it again next summer.

When the clouds roll in and the rain follows it looks like winter around here, bleak and gloomy. However the crazy weekend stunts are designed to lure tourists to Key West during the slow time of year. Next weekend apparently the themselves is Captain Tony, the late reprobate of bar fame.

It's just another way of seeking out some color in rainy season.

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