Monday, May 10, 2010

Flying Away Home

We prepared to leave our Florida home on May 4.  Of course, having a house in order to be empty for 8 months is a little different than leaving the Northern home for 4 months.  Clean, of course, but also ready for company.  There are times a really close friend will use the house for a day or two, and family sometimes stays over.  So when we leave, the house needs to be ready for anything.  One big thing is emptying the refrigerator of everything except things like mustard, which has a fridge-life of 100 years, I think.

The neighbors had a little barbecue the night before we left.  How welcome was that?  We had next to nothing in the fridge for dinner.  Saying good bye to some wonderful people was hard, too, but we knew we were coming home to another set of wonderful neighbors.  Snowbirds have double fortune to have two sets of neighbors.
Here we are just packing last minute items Tuesday morning.
With this photo we can remember, sort of, how the plants looked after a winter of care.  When we return next January they will look TOTALLY overgrown.  Always amazing.

For some reason the GPS often directs us differently on a return trip, even a little one.  This trip was no different as that lady on the dashboard took us through Jacksonville over a gorgeous suspension bridge. 
As we approached the bridge from the side the view was awesome, but I didn't get the camera out in time.  I like this photo, though.
Suspension bridges are special, aren't they?

We stayed over night in Virginia near a little town called Hillsville we liked last year, especially for its restaurant' "The Hardware Store".  Unfortunately, the Motel clerk informed us that that restaurant had closed.    No more reason to stay at Hillsville so we are looking for another spot for next year.

By 5 PM on Wednesday, the 5th we were home and unpacking.  The families appeared soon after to greet us and help unpack the truck.  My garden didn't look nearly as bleak as the photos taken by my daughter on April 1.  In fact, a little weeding and it now is looking quite good. 
The lilacs are a wee bit past prime; the iris are budding up nicely in their new home; the rose bushes are just beautiful and budding up nicely.  Even the Lavender looks healthy.
It was only minutes after I filled the birdfeeders when my birds returned to the yard.  This surprised me more than a bit.  Son across the street put out a new birdfeeder and has YET to have a bird visit.  They must remember, on some level. 
Cardinals, sparrows, Red-Winged blackbird,  house finches, starlings (of course), even the darling little Downey Woodpecker, have all been by.

The orchids are back in their summer home in the big sunroom.  Transporting them back and forth from MI to FL is a pain.  There must be a better way.  My son-in-law has a big greenhouse off from his classroom but I would need to instruct one of his students in the fine art of orchid care.  I already figured out most people OVER-care for orchids.  I would miss them in Florida, though.
We left temperatures in the high 80s to come home to FROST last night (the 9th of May!).  No hurry to plant the annuals.  I do know some people who had already planted some, though, ignoring the Michigan rule not to plant annuals until AFTER Memorial Day.  Silly people!  Just because you were running the AC a week ago means nothing.  Of course I am taking some flack that we should have stayed in FL for a while longer, but I wish we had come home a little EARLIER.  I don't mind a little cold and I miss the start of the gardening season.

When we visited the flea market in Eau Gallie we saw some awesome porch-rail planters.  I took the lady's card with the internet address on it, but now I can't find the card (of course).  I went online last night and found something similar (or maybe it IS the item); Nancy Jane's Deck 'n Rail Self-Watering Stacked Planter  Item: 392-217 on the Home Shopping Network.


When they arrive I will take photos.  Kind of expensive, but...SELF-WATERING?  I love that!.  The base holds a GALLON of water and seems to wick up into the soil.  My railings are 5.5 inches but I think the video at HSN said up to 6 inch railings.  I can't wait!!!

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Laura Lou
Michigan/Florida, United States
I am a retired Middle School Science teacher from Michigan spending 4 months each winter in Florida and learning about a whole new world.
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