Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Bunch of Stuff ... We'll Begin With The Blimp

On the day before Thanksgiving, I was finishing painting the dining room French doors and general yard sprucing, when I heard a droning motor approaching from above. I thought it might be a chopper doing drug surveillance at first, because it seemed to be taking forever to appear.

When it finally did come in to view, it was the Goodyear Blimp and it was at minimal altitude as it cruised directly over PFHQ.

My camera was locked in the JEEP console 100 yards away!

I dropped my stuff, jumped off the porch, and dashed to the JEEP, just as Emma pulled in the driveway.

Insert, twist, lift console, grab camera, turn on, focus on blimp directly overhead, FOG!!! The picture is frosted, ... the lens is fogging in the warm air!

Wipe,wipe on clean part of T-shirt, raise, shoot.

One shot.

Resistance is futile!!

Here is a good example of succession.
What was bahia grass pasture when we bought PFHQ 24 years ago, is steadily becoming forest. It never was an OPEN pasture, but patches of woods with cows grazing on grassy areas that probably equalled 50 percent of the property at the time of purchase.

Emma and I will burn this area after the first killing frost to keep it open. I don't want to lose my gopher tortoises who rely on forbs, nor do I want to lose my scrubby sandhill wildflower species.

Yesterday, I spent some time in my forest playing the role of storm and fire.

I roamed with a pruning saw, cutting down saplings who would grow and shade out the forbs and wildflowers that the gopher and I covet. It was pleasant work, cutting limbs and saplings, and then stacking same in brush piles for the critters.

I don't want the brown desert that exists in the dark shadows of a mature oak canopy ... and so I meddle.
Too risky to burn in these thickly forested areas and no hurricanes knocked down trees to open holes in that canopy this year, so I take on the role with my saw.

Every stroke of the saw opens a window for light to reach the ground.

Here a once vigorous hog plumb is surrounded and shaded by 4 inch DBH oaklings. They are expendable and they fall quickly to my sharp saw.
When I walk away, the plum is bathed in sunlight.

Some saplings just get shortened to let in light, but still provide brushy cover and thickety thicketness for cardinals and other brush lovers.
Saplings that have crept out into the open gopher habitat are taken way down so the grasses can reclaim what they were losing.

It's really satisfying "work".

This little sweetgum is a transplant from the first property I ever bought back home in St. Augustine. It's finally gotten tall enough to hold its own with the oaks and I expect it to rocket upwards in the future.

A little sumac rejoices in it's sunbeam.
It was a little warm and humid for that woodsy work yesterday, but the rains came last night and today is nicely chilly, so I may just go meddle with the forest again today.

I need to walk off that turkey anyway.

Bear's Grandma brought him a rawhide bone on Thanksgiving day. He thanked her by standing up and putting both his paws on her shoulders as we all gasped.
She's strong though and it seems to have made her day.
He is so IN with his grandma.
That picture gives you a view of the new porch color too.
Maybe I can get a full frontal view of the painted PFHQ on this beautiful morning to share with you.

The feast.
This room was originally a dining room.
Then, several years ago, Junior reached the age where he needed a bedroom, so instead of adding on ($$$), we converted the dining room into a bedroom.
Time passed, and now he has moved out to be a college boy.
Rumor was that this room could now be a man cave/den with stipulations.
Stipulations pretty much ruin the whole man cave dream, so I held on to that hope, but not with any realistic expectations.
When Thanksgiving approached and we would be hosting it in a transfer of turkeypower from Mom to us, the room went back to a dining room.
I knew once our massively expandable groaning board went back into that room, any hope of a true man cavern was gone.
I think it's a circle of life thing, dining room to bedroom to dining room.
Not sure.
I just know I am out of that loop.


Dani said...

What a beautiful bunch of family!

I see crutches in the background. Is your dad getting around ok?

Dani said...

p.s. sorry about your man cave. *snort*

Pablo said...

Yeah, my "man forest" is full of stipulations.

threecollie said...

Lovely family, sorry you had to give up on your dream...but with all that woodsy, grassy goodness, who needs a man cave anyhow?

robin andrea said...

Really nice Thanksgiving family photo. Looks like everyone had a fine time in that dining room. And, as threecollie said, you have all that woodsy, grassy goodness, who needs a man cave anyway?

Sayre said...

That's what I was thinking, ThreeCollie! He's got his domain outside in the wild, where a true man cave would be!

We've taken on the hosting duties for big-meal holidays too. My mom's got more space, but not the stamina required anymore. It's a lot of work!!!

cndymkr / jean said...

I love the colors of your home. It looks like everyone enjoyed the meal. As for Bear, I am sure your Mom loves him as no other!

Floridacracker said...

Thanks, they clean up nice I guess.
Dad wears a brace on his polio leg, but we don't completely trust that to keep him up after his last break, so he usually walks with the crutches also these days.
His brace is this archaic looking metal and leather thing ... I just can't believe braces have not advanced any in the last couple of decades.

Man forest, huh, ... would that be 80 acres somewhere in MO?

Threecollie, Robin,and Sayre,
All that is wonderful, but there needs to be a roof and a door.
It's a Neandertal thang.

It's like a bag of skittles in here.

Deb said...

Wow, a Goodyear flyover! And I must be such a pushover...the cabin we all lived in is a man cave now!

Cathy S. said...

No need to fret over that man cave thing. You wouldn't have gotten to keep it for long. They come back you know. My guest room was a beautiful guest room for about a month. it is beautiful no more. Cool blimp. We had one fly over our house once, too. It is an amazing sight.

amarkonmywall said...

Umm, I rode in that blimp. Married to the ESPN guy, ya know. Just sayin'.

This is a wonderful post, full of the things I enjoy most about PFHQ- your beautiful multi-generational family, your forest, the fur bear. Gophers. Really, I love it and I'm thankful that you blog. Almost makes me want to update mine. ;-)

Sandcastle Momma said...

You have a beautiful family and it looks like everyone was enjoying the feast.

I think the Goodyear people must have heard about the beauty of PFHQ and wanted a look.

Good luck finding a man cave. Every time hubby thinks he's got one the rest of us move in and take over. It's not personal - just reality LOL

Dani said...

He needs to see someone about getting a new brace. Mine are very lightweight with nice strong velcro closures.

Thunder Dave said...

It's late, but Happy Thanksgiving!

Floridacracker said...

I wanta cabin!

Cathy S,
You're right about not getting to keep it long! Not even the idea!!!

Thank you!
Anxiously awaiting your updates!

Dang that reality!!!

Is there a company you'd recommend?
His hasn't changed in years.

Same to ya!

Lynn said...

OMG I saw the same blimp!!!! I reached for my camera but it was left home and I was already out so I tried to get one with my cell. It looked like a spot in the sky so I didn't keep it. Glad you got a good shot of it!!

Ericka said...

i am WAY behind in my reading... but i grew up within spitting distance of goodyear blimp home base in akron. so i have scads and scads and scads of blimp pictures and i can recognize that engine from inside a car.

my favorites are from a few years ago when they got a new one and brought ALL of them back to akron. i have pictures of all four! (i'm such a dork...)

glad you got a shot!