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Fruit Tree Rescue

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For everything there is a season…

Our lawnmower stopped running, for the third time, about two months ago. Yes, that is the time when the grass grows fastest in South Florida. I made a few half-hearted attempts to repair it and then just said “The heck with it.” It was too hot to mow anyway. Turned out that was not a good idea. Mower is now running, but the grass has become an almost impenetrable jungle. We also let the garden “go by”… as it is too hot to grow much of anything. We should have turned it over and mulched it heavily to discourage weed growth during the summer. Sometimes we have to “relearn” the hard way… It has been a real chore turning this weed-filled patch back into a viable growing plot…

Hot, sweaty, hard work, but Lucy did it with pleasure

Hot, sweaty, hard work, but Lucy did it with pleasure

This morning, while I was having my new patient orientation meeting with the Veterans Administration Clinic staff, Lucy got busy and grubbed out another ten feet of bed. Hot, dirty work and she loves it. In the morning, I will haul enough mulch from the front yard stockpile, to cover the entire area to a depth of ten inches. The thick wood-chip mulch will; foil weeds, cool the soil and help retain moisture. As it breaks down it will encourage the growth of organics in the sandy soil.

Just a little bit of work with the soil, pays huge rewards…

We already have baby okra making an appearance and the squash are blooming. A few hungry caterpillars have been removed by hand and sent to bug Heaven. The only control we use is a bit of Neem oil spray and organic soad for aphids. We don’t want to make our hard-working honeybees sick.

Healthy baby Okra. Yummy.

Healthy baby Okra. Yummy.

We have managed to actually get a few things planted and a bunch more ground cleared to plant…

Now we can easily access "Starclucks"

Now we can easily access “Starclucks”

Since the mower was still running I started “hacking out” the area around “STARCLUCKS” our hen house. Since Aimee and her daughters are living here at O.O.C. now, we will be buying a new flock of hens. Nothing beats fresh squeezed cackle-berries. The girls will be around to tend the flock while Lucy and I are traveling and vice versa…

I can’t stand to see plants suffer

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Time for a “Plant Rescue”

Tuesday, I had to pick up a few things from my local farm supply store (name omitted). I noticed, sitting out in the direct sun, a bunch of very nearly dead fruit trees. They were badly root bound and looked as if they hadn’t seen a watering can in a long, long, time. I grabbed one of the clerks and inquired “Are you just going to let all the trees die, or will you mark them down and let a customer try to save them?” She explained that she was powerless. Said the corporate office said “No markdown.” She went a step further and told me the store manager would be in the next morning. I went back, met with the manager and cut a deal to try to save seven of the trees. Two “Red Skin” peaches, one “Moorpark” apricot, two “Brown Turkey” figs and two “Golden Dorsett” apples. I am going to return on Monday and see if I can rescue the balance… I hate to see animals, people, or plants suffer.

We Triaged the trees and began treatment STAT…

Already starting to leaf out

Already starting to leaf out

After only three days in our plant ICU the Brown Turkey figs have begun to leaf-out and produce buds. It makes us so happy to see the improvement. Soon as they are deemed healthy enough to travel, they will be transported to a place of honor in our O.O.C. Orchard. Instead of being thrown into a land-fill they will be producing; shade, oxygen and delicious fruit for our family. I hope I can afford to bring the rest of them home to our fine plant rehab facility. A little love goes a long, long, way…

even the delicate Golden Dorsett apples have responded to our "CPR" (Careful Plant Revival)

even the delicate Golden Dorsett apples have responded to our “CPR” (Careful Plant Revival)

Every day Lucy and I thank GOD for our little piece of the earth. We feel very blessed to be caretakers. We also know we need to do a much better job…

Cheers, “Spokesman” Dave

 

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The evils of “WEED”

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I don’t know why, but during the summer Lucy and I let the weeds take over our garden spot.

I am sure it was a combination of; “dangerously high-temps, too much rain and very few vegetables will make it through the summer heat.” So, now it’s time (actually a little past time) to plant our Fall garden…

First step was to set up an oasis in the backyard.

At age 67, with several annoying health issues, I have to take it somewhat “Slow and Easy“. Having a place to get out of the sun for a breather and a drink of water, is a must. My EZ-UP shelter, folding camp table and plastic chair worked great. Of course, I have NPR playing on my radio. My even older friend “Sahadeo” from Guyana always says “Don’t fatigue head.” Even at 78 he is a very hard worker.

The grapes of wrath…

One end of our garden has two struggling grape vines. It was hard to see them because they were completely hidden by the much more aggressive weeds. I had to be very careful to prevent injuring them as I dug up the “bad plants”. Of course there really aren’t any “bad plants” just some that pop-up in the wrong location…

Our honeybees are just as excited by the pollen and nectar from a weed as they are about an ornamental…..

The next step will be to set up string lines to define the garden borders. Once borders are up, will remove all invasive species and begin to mulch and amend the dry, sandy soil. We use a ton of natural mulch in the form of chips from the utility crew shredders. Sometimes we get lucky and they will dump the entire load in our yard…..

We will do a little each morning and a little each evening. Mid-day temperatures are just too hot to work in. We will post follow up blogs as the garden comes together.

Thank you for looking, “Spokesman” Dave

What does OOC Mean?

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I want to tell you a little bit about O.O.C.

My Love for the outdoors and everything related to camping under the stars, began at the age of thirteen when I joined the Boy Scouts. Even as a young lad, I took comfort in the quiet of the woods. I learned to appreciate the solitude and the mystery. I continually sought the quiet that could only be found deep in the woods of central Florida. Accompanied by my fellow scouts, I learned the benefits and values of sharing these special adventures with close friends.

It was wonderful to discover, shortly after our marriage, that my spouse also loved nature and the great outdoors.  As each of our four daughters was born, our camping equipment increased, as did our joy of spending family time together. It was wonderful sharing the activity we loved and seeing the contentment that our daughters found as well…

Fast forward almost fifty years…

Our Airstream doing what it does best.

Our Airstream doing what it does best.

We are now “camping” full time.  Seems as if our love for small spaces never changes. We are currently living in our twenty-seven foot, nineteen seventy-two, Airstream “Overlander”. There is no inconvenience, there is no lack of space and there are seldom any occasions when Lucy and I rub elbows – unless we want to. The intimacy of sharing a small space is a perfect foil for the love we feel for each other. We move about like honeybees in a hive. It is a symbiotic relationship. Our decision to move into the Airstream was predicated on the fact that our youngest daughter, Aimee, wished to return to Florida and had no immediate plans for a domicile. We asked her (actually begged her) to move into our comfortable home and allow us to enjoy her family while we lived in the backyard. We call it our “Old Folks Home”. Initially, Aimee was reluctant. She felt bad to see her parents move out of their home and into the tiny enclosure, under the big shade tree. Little did she know, the pleasure of having her family here with us, far outweighed the imagined inconvenience.

Back to the question “What does O.O.C. mean?”

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“Back To Eden Garden”

It means land that is zoned for agricultural use. It means that we can raise honeybees, vegetables, fruit and nuts – exactly as we want to. There is no conflict with our neighbors, or with the regulations of the County. Every since we first arrived, we began enriching our surroundings by planting new living things. We took care to preserve the beautiful citrus trees that were already on our property. There are five different types of oranges, two types of grapefruit, two types of lemons and we have our first lime tree. It is three years old and will be bearing soon. We planted an “Eden Style” garden last year and found it perfectly suited to our needs. This year, we have been somewhat lazy about getting the seeds in the ground in a timely fashion. Perhaps, along with our increased “laziness” we were also hampered to a degree, by constant rain and frequent needs to be somewhere else. It is always more fun to go on a road trip in “Voyageur’, or one of our Land Rovers. Visiting with family always takes precedence over working in the ground.

"Bora Beans" reaching for the arbor, Butternut squas growing up.

“Bora Beans” reaching for the arbor, Butternut squash growing up.

This is not necessarily the proper way to run a farm, but it makes us happy…

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“It’s easy being green”

All the plants that live here are just as happy in their surroundings as we are. They are all lush and verdant and often remind Lucy and I of what it might have been like in the Garden of Eden. Honeybees are allowed to roam freely. Beneficial insects are not killed and only reluctantly do we ever dispatch the occasional cockroach that invades one of the structures. The benefits far outweigh the harm. I wish we had more birds at OOC. Lucy says they will return this winter

Kale Kale the Gangs all Here…

Kale is an amazing green. The nutritional benefit is of the chart

Kale is an amazing green. The nutritional benefit is of the chart

We have learned a lot about what will grow and flourish here. We can’t grow all of the varieties we would like, so we make the best possible use of the ones that joy it here. Kale has proven to be a bountiful provider. The more we study about this valuable green, the more we learn about its many beneficial properties. The last planting provided food for us for more than eight months. The fact that it tastes delicious no matter how it is prepared, makes it a big favorite with the O.O.C. Saff and visitors…

We have learned that most plants are not picky about the home they live in…

These "Maters" are happy in their cast-off buckets

These “Maters” are happy in their cast-off buckets

All they need to flourish is ample water, a generous amount of sunshine and an occasional healthy snack. Our tomato plants are doing fine in the cast-off five gallon buckets that we get from our neighbor, Dave the Painter. We do water them twice a day and watch them closely for any sign of insect infestation. We find that the old fashioned “10-10-10” fertilizer meets the nutritional requirements for almost everything that grows here at OOC

OOC is also a wonderful campground…

 

RV there yet?

RV there yet?

We have always enjoyed the atmosphere that we find in an isolated campground. The proximity of happy people makes all the time we spend camping just that much better. We have always enjoyed looking out our windows to discover who is camped in the campsite next to ours. Many of the friendship’s formed have lasted for many years. Here at O.O.C. we have ample opportunities to see several different styles of recreational vehicles. The only difference is… we own them all. Lucy often remarks that when she is sitting under the majestic Banyan tree, enjoying her fresh brewed morning coffee, she feels the same sense of joy and fulfillment here at home that she does at a distant campground.

O.O.C. is also a hideaway…

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Great place to disappear for a nice rest

I am amazed at the size and vigor of the Elephant Ears, Ginger, and Galengall plants that Lucy has planted on our property. Some plants, gifts from past visitors, seem to be doing best of all. Whatever she plants – they all seem to blossom under her loving care. I can’t begin to name all the different flowers and shrubs she has planted. I also cannot begin to name all the species of wild flowers that are allowed to grow, bloom and go to seed, here at O.O.C. We love the natural look and cannot abide the manicured look of most modern homes. It is our desire to have this property remain as close to its natural state as possible, while still allowing us to move comfortably about. We don’t nip, cut, prune, or otherwise alter the inter-plantings that have occurred naturally. We try to add our fruit and nut trees in a way that compliments the already existing flora. We focus on taking maximum advantage of sun exposure and proper drainage.

 O.O.C. is a Land Rover lover’s mecca…

Aimee loves her roomy Range Rover Classic. It is a LWB "County", perfect for her high-adventure family

Aimee loves her roomy Range Rover Classic. It is a LWB “County”, perfect for her high-adventure family

Turns out… our youngest daughter loves her vintage Range Rover classic, as much as her mother and I enjoy our Land Rover Discovery’s. We are living the life that these fine vehicles were built for. They more than meet our needs, completely satisfy our comfort requirements and in all types of terrain, provide safe, efficient, transportation…

Lucy's Land Rover Discovery II, patiently waiting for another great adventure.

Lucy’s Land Rover Discovery II, patiently waiting for another great adventure.

I will certainly admit that for me, the romance attached to the world traveling Land Rover Marque, is one of the reasons I hold them dear. There are newer vehicles with much higher mileage capability. There is however no other vehicle that would provide the same degree of personal satisfaction I feel when I’m driving a Rover. I’m so happy that Aimee and her family feel the same about their roomy, luxurious, Range Rover County. Anyone with a love for these fine British automobiles, will feel right at home here at O.O.C

OOC IS HAUNTED…

Haunted by friendly ghosts. Who ya gonna call?

Haunted by friendly ghosts. Who ya gonna call?

We never had ghosts at OOC until our granddaughters, Alexis and Olivia arrived. I’m not sure if the girls attract these filmy characters, that travel by night, or if they in fact created them, just to frighten their Poppy…

One of the most wonderful advantages of having our daughter and grandchildren living here, is the ability for us to be transported again to the happy days, when every occasion resulted in some form of bright ornamentation. No matter the occasion… Aimee and her two willful workers, create magical scenes around the property. It would make us sad, to not to be able to enjoy their presence.

So much wonder, so much love, so much laughter and an abundance of happiness is present, all the day long…

I realize that it will take more than one post to answer the question, “What does O.O.C. mean?” Please enjoy this first chapter. More, much more is on the way…

Cheers and Happy Halloween to you all,

“Spokesman” David

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