Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Frederick Mannillo Trail

I am learning to enjoy my cellphone camera. My wife has an iPhone and she tells me her camera has none of the built-in filters and adjustments that mine has. So I asmit I altered the exposure levels a little for a few of these pictures taken on Big Pine Key. The refuge trails are only open till dark and when I take Cheyenne there I prefer to go close to sunset when we have the best chance of being alone.

Call me sentimental but I do like these trails for the spirit in which they were built. The main path is one kilometer long (2/3 of a mile in old money) and its dedicated to the memory of the seminal refuge ranger Jack Watson. Key West Diary: Watson Trail 1 But lo and behold there is a second and shorter trail alongside the original dedicated to the memory of a more modern defender of the refuge.

There are a lot of critics of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the usual anti-communitarian suspects who feel everyone should have been born physically able, mentally alert and well enough connected to get meaningful work. On the other hand a pantywaist like me takes pride in the national effort to give all a shot at allowing the weaker among us to keep up. I grew up in a world where God's children and people in wheelchairs were a source of embarrassment and were kept hidden away. This trail is living proof of change. Florida's Republican legislature has announced its cutting funding for programs that include the Marc House in Key West, the facility that gives developmentally disabled adults a chance at a decent life. Better to cut their funds than cut sales tax loopholes as usual. Adults with Down's Syndrome don't hire expensive lobbyists to press their case and buy lawmakers.

A. controlled burn a couple of years ago got out of control and a hundred cares burned. Key West Diary: Big Pine Burning. As nature would have it the woods are coming back slowly, but I do hate to see the stark pine tree limbs against the sky. Cheyenne as usual was indifferent.

Summer heat is starting to kick in and it's a trial for her, not only because she prefers cooler weather but also because she gets some form of prickly heat. It's that time of year when I have to apply creams and sprays to relieve her itching, poor thing. Cheyenne is a martyr to the year round summer. But she has her fun.

And I did too. Pretty mild stuff compared to chasing down a sunset with my camera.





We actually did meet someone, a rather cheerful sensible woman with two big dogs who were excited to meet Cheyenne who was surprisingly interested in meeting them. We exchanged pleasantries while the dogs tugged at their leashes and he sun continued to go down.

It was a lovely evening, a cool breeze, not much traffic noise and no one around. I suppose I could have been on Duval Street in the bars for a really good time.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Across Town Walk

 It looks like  a Lower Keys home set in a wide open field. Its not actually, its a home on a rather expansive lot not far from the cemetery.

I saw a palm frond poking through a typical picket fence and I saw the signs of impatient painting all over it. That put me in mind of my own skill level. At least the fence got a fresh coat, always important in this salt air, overly sunny damp climate. 

 This sign was a relief for me as Cheyenne and I strolled Olivia. Iguanas are the bane of my life. They swim like submarines, fly like flying bats, climb vertical surfaces, survive temperature variations that should kill them and they eat every living plant known to human kind. They have even sunbathed in my inedible (to them) rosemary bush, thus killing off several branches. I hate iguanas, and apparently I am not alone. Good.
 Dead  leaves put me in mind of winter and their colors are bright even in death.

Cheyenne and I crossed Truman Avenue and I went to check out this rather nice looking modern large frame Vespa. There are quite a few of these expensive scooters around town but I was however interested to note that this GT200 was quite possibly the ride of an employee at the porn shop. I guess wages are good in this trade even for clerks. Hmm...
 This scooter probably belonging to some snowbird gone for the summer, put me in mid of a woman in a burqa, for whatever reason. There were no eye holes however.
 A few pictures to follow here, typical street scenes in Key West, my dog always interested in the urban scene.

 Key West, hot sunny and eminently walkable. What a great little town.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bye Bye Baby's

So I ask myself, is there another change planned for Mile Marker 15? Change is endemic, change is good but it would be disappointing for a lot of people were Baby's Coffee to beat a further retreat. For Sale? Huh?

They say one should leave a sleeping dog alone but as cute as she was enjoying the morning on the porch I roused Cheyenne and we set off looking for a suitable walk. I had my eye on Mile Marker 15 yesterday morning to answer that question and though Bay Point is twelve miles from my house I knew Cheyenne likes the walk so off we went, and drove for 15 minutes because I wanted to stop by Baby's Coffee.

I like Bay Point, a triangular strip of land that points due south from the Overseas Highway, with a grassy triangle of parkland dotted with picnic tables, ball courts and a kid's playground. Bay Point is far enough from Boca Chica there isn't much jet noise but it's close enough to Key West to put you twenty minutes from the city door to door, roughly.

The Keys shuttle service goes by obviously so you are on a bus line out here and aside from Baby's there is one fancy restaurant Kaya Island Eats and...

...a little store. It's a handy spot one way and another and the bicycle path attracts the spandex crowd too.

The weather has been perfect lately, a fresh southeast breeze blowing away the humidity but allowing he heat to permeate the air. I find it invigorating. I was concentrating on the camera so the picture came out as what I call the grumpy Rasputin look.

The heat was a lot for the hairy Yellow Labrador who prefers her walks early in the morning or very late at night but she was a good sport and we ambled and stopped and ambled a little more. It was very companionable, as usual.

Which was just as well as my wife took the weekend out of town to see a friend in Central Florida and I was home for three days which I had been rather looking forward to spending alone. Except with Cheyenne around one is never really alone. She's a funny girl, she wants to be with me but always a few feet away, always ready to get up and trot after me, but never too close. Sometimes I get down and scratch her and she enjoys it for a while but then she shakes me off and moves away to lay down by herself. A weekend with my best bud.

They've been around for decades and started in Key West downtown taking over a business space that was labeled Baby's Place. I guess for want of a better name that became the name of the coffee roasting company. It didn't last downtown for ever and roasting was first moved as I recall to Homestead. Then the retail store moved to Mile Marker 15. I thought that was an odd choice and I wondered how they would do, but of course I have no instinct for business, though luckily for me I know it, so of course they flourished out in the boondocks!

Nowadays the coffee is roasted in Louisiana it seems and the store in the Keys is for sale. I spoke with an employee who said it could sell anytime as it is on the market and available. I'd like to think someone is out there who wants to roast and sell coffee under the eternal summer sun. I can't imagine what kind of a crazy life it would be operating an iconic business like this and I'm certain there's someone out there who will thrive on it.

I have discovered that they offer some fairly decent tea at Baby's so sometimes I'll choose that over the coffee. China green unadorned hit the spot. Along with some disgustingly delicious crumb cake. When the wife's away the food choices go straight to hell.

They sell sandwiches and pastries and mugs and candies and t-shirts and all that stuff alongside the actual business of selling hot liquid in styrofoam cups.

From there it was back to the car and my dog and we shared a few crumbs of blueberry cake and we went home and got on with the weekend.

She makes an excellent companion on an open ended weekend. We'll split tonight when I go back to work before my wife gets home but until then we will be inseparable.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cheyenne And Key Deer

My dog enjoying a early morning walk at Ramrod Pool. The heat is getting to Cheyenne these days and she doesn't much like to get out of the house after the sun gets high in the sky. She lounges around on the porch and wanders in and out through her dog door to alternatively cool off and sunbathe as the mood takes her, but walking is reserved for the earliest of early mornings when it is relatively cool.

One morning we came across a couple of Key deer on Big Pine behind the post office. This happens a lot as the deer population seem to be doing quite well. Well enough that we've seen a family of them on Ramrod Key where they aren't supposed to live but the population seems to be spreading. Anyway it happened on this particular morning on Big Pine and I had my camera ready to record the encounter.

Cheyenne was stumping down the street and a deer popped out of the bushes. It kept a wary eye on my dog, but got no reaction.

Cheyenne has little interest in meeting other dogs and no interest in deer or chickens, though she is curious about cows when she meets them on the mainland. She walked on by, much to the deer's irritation which for some reason actually started to follow Cheyenne until my presence put her off.

Cheyenne likes to eat grass and I have seen her grazing quite companionably alongside Key deer.

A very easy going dog.