Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Stock Island 5th Street




I spent a thousand dollars to repair the car after 80,000 miles of use, fifty thousand of them under my lead foot. While we waited for the car to be returned to a  state of perfect running order Rusty and I went for a walk. I was concerned that the water pump or the stater motor or both were failing and a dog walk always calms the nerves, especially as I'd rather put the overtime into next year's van delivery.
Stock Island is hanging under a cloud of imminent redistribution of land. To walk and look is to see nothing changing but developers own most of the residential lots south of Highway One and the future of inexpensive falling down housing is in doubt. 
I walked Rusty past the Avenues, a dozen streets laid out east to west across the southwest side of the island, an area I have photographed previously, notably in 2016. These lots are individually owned and are thus unlikely to transformed very easily into profitable apartment complexes or affordable housing groups but the tumble down trailer parks are soon to disappear to be replaced by "affordable housing."
So for now Rusty and I were walking through an unchanging landscape until we got to my destination, a dead end street closed to vehicles where we could walk at ease. The signs say No Dumping in no uncertain terms, unless that is you have floating docks to dispose of!
Dead sea life , offering a seaside decorative motif:

And at the end of the road the less edifying spectacle of trash. This stuff costs a fortune to clear up and it never goes away. I have no idea why people imagine dumping will end in the Keys. There is a  strong, if irrational sense of unfairness about the cost of living here so if there is a way to get one over on the Man, and its totally free then so be it.
Of course dumping (known in England I discovered on my last trip there as "fly tipping") has a severe cost even if it's not immediately visible to the dumping parties.There used to be homeless squatters down here but they got moved along and the gate is the property owner's attempt to maintain the restored order. I have to say the squatters were a wild bunch and I did not feel like they were a happy bunch, rather they were edgy and gave of a barely contained rage vibe. Perhaps the fault lay in me but I am glad the encampments are gone as generally I find the residentially challenged harmless and not at all threatening around Key West. Drunk yes, and irrational certainly sometimes but not violent.
A cyclist was less impressed by the dismal surroundings than my dog so he passed us on the way in and out and such was my lethargy at this point that I forget to get a picture until it was far too late:
Not a place I would seek out again but useful in a  mechanical moment to keep Rusty entertained.
A view to the west through the mangroves across Cow Key Channel to South Roosevelt Boulevard at the Old Houseboat Row in Key West.
A successful stroll I think.



And so back to reality. The land where we are promised "affordable housing" to replace the wrecks in the trailer parks. The trouble is, affordable isn't defined in some fixed orbit that makes sense to the working classes. It is supposedly a multiplication of the legal definition of the statistics gathered to show how much the median income is and whatever that is becomes the defining baseline. Yes it is that complicated but more problematically the resulting numbers put affordability out of reach. So would rather a ratty trailer you can pay the rent on or a four bedroom stilt house that costs say $2800  a month?    The dichotomy is stark. 
And the car? The water pump had a defective pulley only that caused the squealing. The battery astonishingly was the cause of difficult starting and no surprise as it was fully nine years old, and was original equipment in the Fusion! I was quite impressed. And the original complaint, clunking ion the front end was solved with new brakes. It could have been worse and now I can slam on the brakes with confidence when a distracted winter resident cuts me off or tools down the road at half the speed limit because it is that time of year again. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

No Name Bridge


Wildlife above, still life below:


The bridge joining Big Pine (to the left) to No Name Key at the other distant end. I decided to go out and see what I might see. My head was filled with visions of people fishing or boats buzzing, on  pleasant afternoon that seemed wasted on a day off unless I were out in it. So I went and took Rusty.


The bridge was devoid of life and the waters of Bogie Channel weren't much better:


Rusty had been entirely reluctant to go out on the bridge in the first place. He is so smart he could tell there was nothing there for either of us and he was ready to turn around as soon as I gave the word. Despite appearances I am actually in charge when we go out together though I do take advice from him as he is really smart.


He was not hugely interested in going for a longer walk and i suppose the fact that it was hot helped make up his mind. Across the canal a typical suburban home:


I was standing on Watson Boulevard a hundred yards from the infamous N Name Pub which is actually in Big Pine. There are three essays in the files on this page but the earliest was, much to my astonishment more than eleven years ago: Bonneville At No Name. I am forced to concede my photography has improved over the decade helped along I am sure by improvements in digital technology! The old Wooden Bridge Resort and Marina which was blown away by Hurricane Irma has been replaced by a new facility that offers fuel and floating bedrooms. Rather cool I think for a slightly different vacation.


However traces of the damage caused by the monster storm are still all too apparent:


Another view:


I was glad I got to come out over the wishes of my dog. 




Plus we got to see a Key Deer which always provokes interest interest in my dog who is well known to be scared out of his wits by chickens. Why he things Key Deer are fascinating I can't say. 





Sunday, November 3, 2019

Greene Street

There aren't many brick buildings in Key West and the ones I see I want to photograph. This one is in the style of the original brick warehouses that replaced the original wooden structures along the very busy Key West waterfront of the 19th century.
Key West suffered a massive fire in 1886. We tend to forget how fearsome fires were in the 19th century and how easily they were set in a  time of lanterns candles, straw and wood. In 1886 a fire started in the 500 block of Duval Street.
 The statistics from it are pretty awful. It burned for twelve hours and destroyed 50 acres of the city's rime commercial real estate. It also killed seven people and injured 15, and in the end they estimated one and a half million dollars in damage, at a time when a million bucks was a lot of money.
Brick is obviously a good material against fire but against hurricanes wood can do quite well if properly braced and raised above water flooding. The great hurricane of 1909 wrecked brick buildings all over the south end of Key West and tore down a few wooden ones. So in the end choose your material and hope for the best.
Walking down Greene Street I was glad to see the cruise ship five blocks away was showing a movie on the top deck. Totally weird in my opinion and imagining that some people would rather do that than go for a walk in Key west...well there is no accounting for taste.
Looking back at Greene Street on Ann Street I saw this splendid sample of a colorful heavy duty Key West station wagon. And as far as I could tell it enjoyed no electrical propulsion.
As I like to say not everyone is on vacation in Key West and Old City Hall (510 Greene) was getting a  touch up.
 I posted this one on Instagram pondering the attraction of swimming in the rain:

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Flooded Nature

The story is that twice a year the sun and the moon align and pull the tides strongly together. This effect is known as creating "King" tides. Boaters are used to the phenomenon of high high tides twice a lunar cycle, "spring tides" and low low tides known as "neap" tides. King Tides come but twice a year and this year seem reluctant to depart.
So for me to go take a relaxing after work walk with my dog, or to go wander off into the wilderness on an afternoon off is becoming a problem. Everywhere is under water.
I brought Rusty to the very end of Sugarloaf Key to walk a disused back road that sits higher slightly than the surrounding waters.
It was not at all above water so we wandered up the main road a little to see what we could see (and photograph). Winter cyclists are back it seems.
There were some birds in the branches of the trees killed by Hurricane Irma.
And debris floating in the flood making pretty reflections:
A butterfly, the hardest  creature to photograph.


The trail we came  to walk wasn't very appealing to Rusty and I was so confident it would be dry I was reluctant t walk in wet shoes and socks.
There was plenty of water flowing:



I keep hoping this elevated tide nonsense will shrink back to normal. Still waiting on the remaining narrow slivers of dry land.