Sunday, April 22, 2007

Loving Florida

A few minutes ago, I spotted a black bee on my lantana. There are plenty of the fat bumble bees floating from one bud to the next. But I've never seen a black one. It's a bit exotic - its front "legs" have bright, flame orange stripes circling them. There's no fur coat, no radiant sheen, just black on black with red stripes.

I can't get enough of the outdoors this weekend. Fertilizer is a wonder, and I'm always a little amazed at the results, that and a spray of water at just the right time, early in the morning before the heat hits and evaporates every hint of moisture, and a few hours before dusk when rot sets in.

Right now, two of my hummer feeders are soaking in the kitchen sink to remove the grime of last year. I'm hoping that at least once, I'll see one of those creatures in my backyard.

Black sunflower seed is out. So are the birds. Yesterday, right around noon, a ruckus in the trees. Sapsuckers (or red-headed woodpeckers) dominating the old pecans, the wild olives, squawking discordantly, circling and diving at the blue jay who thought better of infringing in that territory at just that moment.

A black outline flows way above the tree line, maybe a hawk. And suddenly an alarm went out all around - blue jays, cardinals, even the sapsuckers, calling calling calling out their warnings. Some petite little thing flew in wide angles, peeping loudly, its voice still heard in its absence. The black threat moved on and the air resumed its usual chorus of multispecies song.

I love Florida. The snapdragons are in their second bloom, lilies are stabbing through the ground in a flurry and soon will unsheathe their slender stalks of miniature flame. So much here for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. In the back, the wandering jew is bubbling with purple buds and blooms, more than I've ever seen. The bleeding heart vine is trailing and bushing across its appointed space, robust and impatient for the August flowering. The delicate wood clover shows its pretty lavender face every morning, popping up at the edge of the dry azaleas, around the corner of a wood divider. I can't stay indoors any longer!

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