Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Calendar Says Spring But the Trees Say Fall


Contrary to popular belief, we do have seasons here in Florida. Really. We have Summer, Football, Winter and Live Oak Fall - in that order. Summer is about 8 1/2 months long - April through October. Then it's Football season, then Winter sets in for a few weeks and then, near the end of February Live Oak Fall starts.

Those Huge beautiful graceful live oaks with their lovely tendrils of Spanish moss start dropping their little leathery leaves. Billions of them. They sound like rain and they fall and fall and fall some more. Then, while the leaves are still falling, they flower - tiny insignificant blooms on long green tendrils. Trillions of them. The pollen from the flowers is incredible - green powder that gets in and on everything. Everything takes on a green patina - walks, streets, cars and anyone who ventures outside to rake the leaves. As you rake, puffs of green pollen rise up and you start looking like Gumby. Meanwhile, those trillions of tendrils start to turn brown and fall and fall and fall some more. Those that aren't raked up or that fall on the roof disintegrate into what looks like coffee grounds - right around the time the rainy season starts and they gather in puddles and gutters and the first few minutes of a rain storm looks like Maxwell House French Roast dripping off the house.


We started the raking this weekend and filled 5 heavy duty industrial sized bags. The area that we raked is about 1/10th of our yard. The pile behind the tree in the above picture is just what the Mister blew off that corner of the roof. You have to go up on the roof first and blow the leaves out of the crevices, they don't fall voluntarily.


The pictures don't do the volume of the piles justice.

You can see some of the tendrils mixed in with the leaves in this picture. That's just the beginning of the stringy brown stuff.
This morning the area that we raked was covered again - like we were never there.
In the meantime, the new leaves are are growing - the trees are never actually bare because everything happens simultaneously. In a month or so the trees will quit dropping stuff on us - until November when the galls that grow on each of the leaves and the acorns start falling.

Happy Fall, Floridians!


Rehydrating an impudent anole

We brought the orchids in the house twice this winter because of cold weather. The last time was over a month ago. The little anole you see in the picture came indoors with the orchids - two or three always do - and hopped impudently behind the sofa just as we were taking the plants back outside. I have excellent success hunting down the stragglers and letting them back outside, but this lady was fast and elusive. I eventually forgot all about her. I finally saw her last week, chased her down and set her out in the sun on one of the orchid tables. She was dehydrated , so I sprayed her with the mister. Meanwhile THE Mister is asking me why I'm being mean to the anole - spraying it and all.
She appreciated my efforts - she stayed right there for about 15 minutes basking in the sun and lapping up water before going off to do whatever it is anoles like to do. She let me stand around and watch her and take pictures.
I am far more in tune with nature than the Mister


marianne said...

Amazing that you have all these leaves in spring!
Well at least you have seasons, a little diversity is great, but you have all this wonderful weather! Lucky you to live there!

Adel and Robyn Kadis said...

Oh my goodness, looks like my yard in South Africa. I was so tired of raking up leaves... ha ha, have fun.
By the way, I have an award for you. Please pop by my blog to pick it up, if you'd like to. Have a great day.

soulbrush said...

8 and 1/2 months of summer! we have a longer winter than that here...the mister not in tune with nature, surely not? men are so sensitive to everything around them, didn't you know? grin!

Debby said...

Oh. My. Goodness. That is a bunch of leaves. How big are those trees?

blognut said...

I would kill for 8 1/2 months of summer, but don't tell anyone. I don't want people snooping around here looking for the bodies.

Betsy said...

Please come my way...lots of yard work here that never got done before winter! :)

Rudee said...

Those trees look like they give you quite the work out. That's helpful right before summer.

Martha said...

Great pictures, love the seasons of Florida. The spanish moss is beautiful, except when it blooms, Kerchoo!
We have four seasons in California, Summer, Mudslides, Earthquakes, and Wildfires.

Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

Having grown up in Central Florida, I do love Live Oaks but they are so messy this time of year. But if you didn't have at least one in your yard, summer would be even more imputent and insufferably hot.

BTW, thank you for calling the imputent Green Anole by it's proper name and not an cameleon.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig (Gaelic for Happy St. Patrick's Day)! ♥ ∞

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

You've inspired a new dialogue between my brother. who lives in Port St. Lucie, and me.
The next time we talk, I'll have to ask how the
Love Oak Fall is doing? In the five years or so he's lived there from NJ, I've never heard him talk about it. Either he's being very stoic about it, or it's a regional thing?
You've touched upon the green, although beautiful and appropriate for St. Patrick's Day, it doesn't sound very pleasant to live with!
They say when you've got lemons, make limoncello!
;) Don't ask me where that came from! :))

Lyn said...

My folks lived in Florida, and sometimes an impudent anole would make its way into the kitchen sink..looking for some hydration, no doubt. One turned its back to me, in a very sassy way..you never know with anoles.
Am running outside now for the green of the St.Pat's Day parade as it turns up from 5th Ave.!

Linda said...

I love the spanish moss, actually, it is a fungi (did you know that?). Whenever were driving home to FL, there is a sleepy little town outside of Tallahasee. Even where my folks still live in central FL, the moss hangs freely. ANYWAYS, I am blaterating. TYVM for making me smile.

dAwN said...

Lol..I love that your sprayed you anode. What a dedicated nature lover!

MuseSwings said...

Linda - Spanish Moss is actually a flowering plant in the bromiliad family - it's related to the pineapple. And many folks think it is a parasie, but it is not. It's an "air plant" that lives off the nutrients in the air.

Deb - the treas are huge! And there are six on our property.

Yep, they are a mess, and cause us a lot of work this time of year, but between the over all beauty of them and the cooling shade they provide they are well worth the impudent effort.

Lavinia said...

Wow, stuff I never knew about life in Florida. Here I was thinking it was all mint juleps and lazy sails in the bay and cooling off in the pool and having fits over stray shopping carts ~!

Think how nice everything will look when its all tidy. You need a good wind from the right direction to help you out there. Here's hoping for a blustery day!!

steviewren said...

I like your skinny leaves better than my pie pan sized oak leaves. I never can get rid of all of them. They are stuck in the holly bushes. They've blown inside the garage and piled up in the corners. They clutter the flower beds. They make the driveway a health hazard when they are wet. They are the bane of my existence. They also provide shade in the heat of the summer. Go figure.

MuseSwings said...

Lavinia bwahahahah! A stiff wind would do the trick, and maybe a ride around the block in one of those shopping carts while I sip my julip.

Those leaves a very hard to rake - they don't like to go in piles, and all they do is flip up in the air and drop ack into the grass

Loida of the 2L3B's said...

hahaha cool 4 seasons you got there..

Bibi said...

Every spring the park cleaners here rake up tons of leaves. Everything then looks very tidy. I'm glad they do it and that it's not my job.

I like your anole (Uh-nol or is it uh-NO-lay)?

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Hey lady..........sprayed your anode huh? I'm so gald to hear that other people even know what an anode is...........and Spanish Moss. Hardly any one knows about that these days.
I like your lizard thingy. Well, I like the picture of it.......I'm glad it's at your house and not mine though :)

Steady On
Reggie Girl

lmerie said...

I had pushed the thought of live oak leaves back to the deep dark corner of my brain! In a previous part of my life, I (we) lived on 5 acres with 31 live oak trees. Loved them!! The limbs did not have spanish moss, but everliving fern. The fern would dry up and look dead during dry spells - as soon as shower would come through, they would alive and bright and beautiful! But then came the February/March falling of leaves - ugh!!!

Blicky Kitty said...

Oh that's so nice to read while I shiver away up here. Don't feel sorry for me though...

Sandy said...

Florida and California are sisters I believe cause our seasons sound like yours, our leaves are in humongous piles, just likes your and we aren't scooping them up until after the week because we hear an evil wind is going to pass through. We don't lose our leaves in the fall. They hang on and drop all winter, spring...constant leaves and we have lots of tress.

I did a total of 14 hours yard work this week..yeah for me.