Papaya Tree

I have taken a few pictures in the past several days, but am just getting around to posting them. I have admired these bushes with the multi-colored leaves in front of Dave and Teresa’s trailer for several years, but this is the first time we’ve been here to see them bloom.  Surprise!  They are hibiscus and have beautiful red blooms.

b Red Leafed Hibiscus
Red Leafed Hibiscus

The papaya tree is bigger every day.  Here, my scale model Andy is standing next to it for, well, scale. This is at about six months, from a seed.

b Papaya Tree
Papaya Tree

It is blooming!  And, it’s a girl.

b Papaya Blooms
Papaya Blooms

The blooms of the female papaya come right out of the trunk (or maybe it is a stem).  It makes sense.  Those huge, heavy fruits would break off a branch.

b Papaya Buds and Blooms
Papaya Buds and Blooms

I found some male papaya flowers on line for comparison.

The papaya that my neighbor Curtis pulled out of the ground for seems to be surviving. I hope it is a boy (or both male and female) so I can get some fruit. It is sad to be leaving with all this plant excitement, but it should still be producing when we return in the fall, if the neighbors water it when needed.

More plant excitement today!  We were packing up our outdoor furniture and screen room and then I moved the plants that are still alive from the front of the motorhome so I can drive out in the morning.  I noticed that one of the three coconuts has sprouted! I forgot to take a picture.

Don’t forget to send me an email at dinata@gmail.com if you want to get my updates from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I’ll be writing them off line and sending them out when we go out grocery shopping once a week. It is something new every day in the park.

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Unwriting, unwriting, and more unwriting!

Editor Patricia is finally getting around to giving me some more feedback.  Big Creek is WAAAAY too long.  I knew that.  Two days ago, Patricia told me to cut 20,000 words.  It’s not really too hard as I had so much material.  It is time consuming though. So that is what I have been working on the past few days.

I am a compulsive volunteer.  At our first Middle Keys Concert Association performance, they announced that they needed a volunteer to help with some record keeping.  It turned out that they needed someone with spreadsheet experience and I am the spreadsheet Queen. It was a perfect match.  The concert, by the way, was The New Xavier Cugat Orchestra. It was a great Latin music performance featuring the music of Cugat and Desi Arnaz.  They even wore those huge frilly sleeves. We were also treated to some Latin dancing. Very sexy.

We have been affected by the great blizzard.  The second week our performers, Trio Solisti, were unable to fly out of New York.  They are fabulous and I am sorry that their schedule will not permit them to appear this year.  All was not lost.  Violinist William Hagen, scheduled for the third week, was already in the south and was able to come a week early.  He played some amazing Mozart, Prokofiev, Tartini/Kreisler, and Ravel.  The whole audience jumped up and cheered when he finished “The Devil’s Trill” and again after “Tzigane”.

We’ve still been taking our walks, which refresh me.  I’ve taken some pictures too. We’ve had some brilliant blue skies obscured by clouds.

b Blue Sky Obscured by Clouds
Blue Sky Obscured by Clouds

We have a lot of cats in the RV park. They stare at us as we walk by.
b Cat 1

I don’t know why I have not taken pictures of them before.

b Cat 2

The hibiscus (or is that hibiscusi? No, it is hibiscuses. I think you can also just say hibiscus.) have burst into bloom again.  Many RVs have some blooming in front of them.

b Pink Hibiscus

I don’t mind the clouds; they keep it cooler for walking.
b Clouds Over Water

One windy day, we had a flock of birds at the end of the canal.  Here are a Great White and a Snowy Egret. I noticed that the Snowy did not chase away his larger cousin.    There were also two pelicans, but their photos did not turn out very well.

b Great Egret and Snowy Egret

We took a short walk at Sombrero Beach the other day.  It was cold and windy.  I was wearing jeans and my new “dark orchid”, fleece-lined, raincoat as a windbreaker.  I could not believe all the people lying on the beach with nothing on but swimsuits. They must have been Canadians or Germans, or English. Those folks are tough.

b Sombrero Beach
Sombrero Beach

We came across a man blowing bubbles with one of those wands made with two sticks and some twine. It was too windy and most of the bubbles burst quickly. This one was huge!!

b Huge Bubble
Huge Soap Bubble

This one stayed together longer.

b Bubble
Soap Bubble

The heron was close to the seawall, so I got a portrait. The float in the background is not so great.

b Tricolored Heron Portrait
Tricolored Heron
b Desert Rose
Desert Rose

Martin and Betsy suggested having lunch at the Marathon Ocean Park.  We ate in this tiki.

b Lunch Tiki
Marathon Ocean Park Picnic Pavilion

I don’t know why I even noticed this iguana basking in the sun near the peak of the roof.

b Iguana on Tiki Roof
Iguana on Tiki Roof

Martin and Betsy posed for a picture for me in a smaller pavilion at the water’s edge. We sat and chatted for a long time and it turned into a very long lunch break.

b Martin and Betsy
Martin and Betsy
b Orchid 2
Orchid
b Orchid
Orchid

 

Christmas Vacation is Over

We walked the water to watch the sunrise at seven.  The wind was calm and the surface of the water smooth.  There were hundreds of birds out on the flats and flying just above the water.

b01 Sunrise
Sunrise

 

b02 Gold Water
Gold Water

 

b03 Birds in Sun Streak
Birds in Sun Streak

 

Then it was back to work.  I sent the current version of “Big Creek” to Patricia, the editor, yesterday. I spent today updating my Big Creek blog.  I was not able to do it while we were in Big Creek because I didn’t have an internet connection without a cell signal. Actually, I only posted my original logs for 2015.  The other years have only the photos.  That seems adequate to me. See Big Creek.

The activity tracker is great for working.  I get so involved in it that I forget to get up and take a break.  The tracker buzzes my wrist periodically and tells me to move. It is easier to take more, shorter walks during the day than to walk all the miles at once.

During one of those walks today, we spotted a manatee napping at the end of the canal. After a few minutes, the nostrils poked above the surface for a breath. This one was huge.

b04 Manatee in Canal
Manatee in Canal

This hibiscus is at the front of a trailer here in the RV park.

b05 Pink Hibiscus
Pink Hibiscus

 

Sombrero Beach

The television weather report tonight confirmed my hypothesis of a few days ago: Winter is Over. The forecast is in the low 80s for the next week.

Last summer I got the great idea to scan all the recipes I have collected over the years.  You know, all those torn out of newspapers and out of the magazines in doctor’s offices.  And the handwritten recipe cards from friends and family.  And the cookie recipe on the bag of sugar. I dragged all of those out of the storage unit and took them with us in the motorhome. They filled a large box and three fat three-ring binders.  And, I’ve been falling over them ever since.  The scanner is way too slow. So today I decided to take photographs instead.  Today I took 347 pictures of recipes.

We got veggie wraps at Publix and took them to Sombrero Beach. It was very crowded and we were lucky to find a parking place. Then we were lucky to find a picnic table. A large iguana walked past us and into the tall grass on the beach side of the fence.  Then a young, bright green one came out of the tall grass to munch on the lawn. I made kissing sounds to get him to look at me.

Iguana

This very large tree is near the street.  I think it is a mahogany, maybe.

That looks like a Strangler Fig covering the trunk.  If so, it will kill the host eventually.  I’ll have to do some more research and a closer inspection the next time we go there.

There are many of these little crabs along the canal into the RV park.  I suppose they are all over the islands.  We regularly see this little one in the same spot at the entrance to the canal.
Crab
This yellow Hibiscus is in front of a trailer down the street from us. The pistil must be three or four inches long.  I didn’t remember that word; I Googled it. The pistil is a female part. I didn’t remember that either.
Hibiscus