Yes, the long awaited tour, complements of my digital camera...
Walking out the back door onto our back porch, the first thing you will notice is one or both of these two things:
A hyperactive dog. This is my little 5-year-old mutt, (but mostly Chocolate Lab) Kendall. If you go out into the back yard, you will likely be jumped on and asked to play. This is one FAST dog, and she gets around that yard pretty fast chasing toys, like her red and yellow slipper you see here.
Datil pepper plants...One large mature one (top) and many seedlings (bottom) that I planted this past March from seeds off my Grandma's plant. Datil peppers are a staple in the Minorcan diet, but that is a post for another day. Along with the plants you will see containers bearing the names "Pure Water", "Shultz Water", and Epsom Water. Don't ask what they're all for.
Can you see him? Like everywhere else in Florida, hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of these little guys take up residence everywhere across my yard (and often in my house, leading to a chase across the room and release back into the wild). This little guy is a Brown Anole, and he is blending in pretty well with his surroundings. This type of lizard often has really nice patterns on their back, as this one does. Unfortunately, Brown Anoles are an invasive species in Florida and are quickly displacing the native Green Anoles. You may also notice that this little guy is missing his tail. Not to worry, it'll grow back.
MMMM. Satsumas. These are the unripened fruit of the Satsuma tree, a type of citrus that is similar to tangerines, but much jucier, tastier, and easier to peel. You probably won't be able to find any of these outside of a Florida farmer's market or in somebody's backyard because they often get damaged during shipping and handling. This tree, along with our tangerine (below) are always producing something year-round. It greets spring with extremely fragrant white blooms that smell a bit like jasmine and brings the honeybees from everywhere to pollenate them. Through the latter part of spring and all the way through summer, you get these little green fruit that slowly get bigger, until....November, when they start turning a shiny orange, and are ready for harvest, just in time for the family at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Delicious.
These are the tangerines. Our tree has a fungus that puts some brown raised spots on the skin, taking away the good-looks of the shiny fruit, but it sure doesn't affect the taste!
Continuing into the back corner of our yard, you will come across what I like to call our Four O'Clock Forest...They're everywhere...They are taking over some of the natural ferns and greenbriar back there, so they're making me really mad right now. Though they do look really nice in the late afternoon (when they're blooming...hence the name 4 o'clocks) I really want to get back there and take some of these out, but the problem is that a lot of different wildlife depends on them.
I interrupted this big guy's lunch (see the little black thing under his mouth) of fly as I tromped through the 4 O'Clock Forest. He's been back there for a really long time and I really appreciate what he does back there. His web covers a very large segment over and around the 4 o'clocks...a favorite mosquito hangout...his web is filled with mosquitoes, and each one he catches is one less that bites me when I go outside. He is accompanied by quite a few smaller spiders with a bring metallic orange-colored back...beautiful, but hard to get a picture of. Be thankful for this picture. I am the biggest arachnophobe this side of the St. Johns, yet I got close enough to take this picture. *shiver*
Look out for part two, cause there's more where this came from.