Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Road To Shangri La

Call me naïve but I was astonished by the caravan on the road passing my street this afternoon on Highway One. It was an endless stream of cars trucks motorcycles and RVs heading toward the forbidden pleasures of the flesh lurking on Lower Duval. Painted nipples, g strings and bizarre costumes are the theme this week as Fantasy Fest, the last weekend of October, draws near.

I only managed to join the flow thanks to some improvident pleasure seeker who needed gas and pulled in to the Shell station at the end of my street. Getting home after Cheyenne's walk was equally fraught but we made it with patience and by paying attention. I had thought idly about going into town to see what's what but I have an appointment in Key West tomorrow for lunch so I'll be there in time to see these people strutting their intoxicated stuff, high on Key West freedom. I'm getting a raise this year so thank you all for showing up and spending money in town. May the power of your greenbacks never grow less.

Digging Holes In Rock

The Florida Keys are unlike the mainland of Florida because they are made of limestone rock, not sand, like the rest of the peninsula. Geologically the islands more closely resemble the Bahamas and in neither place does agriculture flourish. In the Bahamas they grow some local products the way they used to in the Keys, using holes in the rock filled with humus that turned to soil and caught rain water. In the Keys digging holes is best left to machinery.
I called in Octopuses Garden of Big Pine and they showed up when they said they would and dug with a will while the three of them were there with their bobcat equipped with the vicious looking augur. I have yet to receive the bill but I expect it will be somewhere around $600 and that would be a bargain for a little more than an hour's work with that hydraulic loveliness.
I have heard that my neighbor to the south covets the lot that separates our homes. He lives Up North where he owns a lucrative restaurant and where his small children go to school. Nonetheless he wants the lot between our homes for a swimming pool which makes as much sense to me as wanting a space shuttle launch pad. But in ay event a little used pool would be a perfect neighbor as far as I'm concerned. So while the lot is empty I figured it would be a good time to get the holes dug.
We have lots of room around our little house on a regular sized lot simply because the house is so small. Most people build out with large homes and no offsets but I liked this place seven years ago exactly because of the mature coconuts, the leafy sea grapes and the privacy. The potted plants just accumulated without a proper plan.
It was a delight to watch Tod, Dan and Pablo dig holes, plop the trees in and fill in the dirt. It was luxurious, though I was not completely idle, as I had to cut back some branches and clear some palms and pack them up for the yard waste truck on Friday.
Augur up, then scoop out the dirt, put the tree in and push the dirt back in. I took pictures.
It was great paying by the hole, because every time I suggested a new location Tod was enthusiastic. He was also trying out a new hydraulic power take off for the augur and it went with a will into the rock. Great stuff.
It is a good time of year to get the work done as the snowbirds aren't here yet so we had no audience for our work and the the bobcat did the job with no passing traffic interruptions.
It was an hour well spent. My trees are planted and secure in the ground, not subject to tipping over when the wind blows, as it has been blowing lately. The fruits of my labor are in the cans and awaiting Friday's yard waste truck.
The pots are gone, the trees are planted in a long line, the mango, the avocados, the Key Lime, the pomegranate, the hibiscus, the fig tree and the blueberry, the bananas, and my favorite tree the jackfruit grown by me from a seed and now it's four feet tall and in the ground.
And there's room behind the new "hedge" if not for a tennis court at least for a picnic table if so desired.

Tod, the owner and the landscape enthusiast of the highest order. I want to hire him again to do something, anything.
Dan, from Pittsburgh, in awe of the camera shy Pablo from Guatemala who works like no one Dan has ever known.
And Cheyenne who slept through the whole business.
My hedge will be brilliant and already it's making huge changes in how I feel out in my own octopus's garden. Cleaner, tidier and still offering privacy with room for many branches to grow. This cyclist was out of sight:
Now I've got to figure out what to do with my iguana garden on the deck.
Bloody lizards are wrecking everything. A radical rethink is in order there too. The hole digging was a great afternoon's work and I'm glad that got done. My kind of gardening. I wonder if we can dig holes for them too?