Monday, October 30, 2006

Gone Up North

Just in case you were wondering, I am in fact not dead. I was only up in Wisconsin for a Catholic youth retreat that my brother runs. How extraordinary it turned out to be. I'll be sure to write about it, but right now I am really tired and I have an unbelievable amount of make-up work to do for school.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Datil and Citrus Update!

This year has been a rough growing year. It's been so dry that we have needed to water nearly every day to keep the trees producing and to just keep the Datils alive. But, through all the roughness and frustration (ahem, Datils), it looks like we're going to make out okay.

The Satsumas are looking beautiful, as usual. I took these pictures just after a fresh morning rainfall (the same morning rainfall that made me sleep in until 9:00...explanation later), and they were dripping with dewey goodness. They are COVERED with yellow-turning-to-orange fruit! I sure would love to get my mouth...on one of these now.

The Tangerines are still green, but I am noticing some slight hints of yellow in some of the fruit. I find it unfortunate that the tangerines come in after the Satsumas, because quite frankly, they are not nearly as good, and after stuffing my face with Satsumas for a few weeks, tangerines just seem too dry. Nonetheless, they are a delicious Florida fruit.

One nice thing about the tangerines is that they often drop partially ripened fruit for about the first 2 months before harvest time begins. If you can get at the dropped fruit before the bugs (or your mischevious dog) do, it is a nice taste of the great things to come. Some people find this early fruit a little too tart, but I love it! The fruit you see in the picture below is just one of those droppings, and it is currently being eaten as I write this.

Now on to the Datils! They are looking good for the most part, and I do believe I will get many pods off of them next year. But just in case, I plan to plant another 20-30 seeds or so this January to hopefully raise my plant count to about 7 or 8 for next year. That many plants should bear enough of these little green demons to make 100 pilaus and gallons upon gallons of datil pepper sauce. It's always good to have lots of leftovers for the family...Especially in my family.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Signs of Autumn

Those of you in the north know autumn is on its way when you see those beautiful yellow, red, and orange leaves begin to fall off your trees. This is your signal to break out the winter coats once again and begin scrounging money for heating oil. Down here in the Sunshine State (well, really the Partly Cloudy State), we do not have this distinct change of seasons, but we have our own little ways of telling us that fall's on its way and that we need to begin making our own preparations for the change of seasons we have here. And contrary to popular belief, we here in the "Land of Eternal Happines" (pfft) do experience four seasons: Hot Summer (Summer), Warm Summer (Fall), Almost Summer (Winter), Summer Again (Spring) Yes, my snowbird friends, you may be laughing, but this seemingly small meteorological change into the Dry Summer brings about big changes in the environment of the Land of Disney (pffffffffffffffff*gag*cough*gag*gag*). Just this past week I have noticed two of these changes, and I will share them with you today. As the Warm Summer season progresses into Almost Summer, I will continue to highlight the changes as I see them.

One of the first signs of Warm Summer is the change that takes place on the citrus trees. Depending on the kind of citrus (depicted here are Satsumas growing in my backyard,) noticeable changes in color begin appearing as the weather cools and the days get shorter. Within about a month's time this delicious fruit will turn from a deep green to yellow to bright orange until they are ripe for the picking just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. The tangerines lag a couple weeks behind, and are not ready for harvest until around the middle of December. I will be sure to share the fresh, sweet, juicy, sunshine-filled experience I will have when I open up the first Satsuma of the season as ya'll are scraping the snow off your windshield in the morning :-D.

The second sign of Warm Summer I have seen this year is the increasing prominence of a phenomenon popularly known as the "dog box." This past weekend I was at my grandma's house participating in our annual Halloween taco party (I believe we are the only family on this earth that has such a party) and it hit me: Dog boxes...everywhere. You may be asking yourself What exactly is this "dog box?". You see, some people here in TRUE Florida take great pleasure in spending their Warm Summer in a tree stand waiting for a single shot at one animal. It just so happens that much of my family participates in the sport. Quite apparently, when a deer is shot, they do not lie down easy and die. They enjoy running around the woods, leading the hunters on a wild, through the woods. Fortunately for the hunter, he has his faithful companions by his side just waiting to sniff out their prize. Once the deer is found, the dogs, fresh off their successful hunt, happily climb into their boxes in their master's pickup and enjoy sniffing the fresh Warm Summer air on their way home. I would like to make it a point here to say that I do not hunt, and I could never shoot an animal...though I will never turn down a nice venison steak or burger if it is offered to me :-D.

So there are the typical first signs of the beginning Warm Summer here in Florida...And there's a lot more to come. Enjoy your snow!! Guess what! Blogger's being stubborn again (what a dang surprise!!!!) I will post these pictures tomorrow morning before I head off to school.

I'm Still Alive

I had taken a brief break from Blogger for a while, but I am back. I have some good stuff to post (maybe tonight...possibly tomorrow morning) about my trip down Silver River and other assorted anecdotes I may feel like rambling on about. I am planning a hike in the swamp (I may or may not tell you where) to see some old ruins that have come to my attention (I may or may not tell you how.) It will be me, my dad, and my history teacher enjoying a nice tromp through the mud and muck, not even knowing what we will find. So you may once again expect daily posts from The Minorcan Factor as I get back into the gist of things. Now I may begin writing my Silver River post......

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Home for the Day

So here's the deal. I have come down with a little "bug" and I will be home for the day. So much for my perfect attendance at school this year. Due to the fact that I will be sitting around doing essentially nothing all day, I will have a lot of time on my hands. And, according to the HurricaneTeen Postulate of Blogging, Time=Posts, you will likely have the joy of reading my endless ramblings throughout this beautiful, cloudless, 65-degree morning.

Proof that it actually dipped down into the mid 60's at the HurricaneTeen household this morning. Believe it or not, it got down into the 50s yesterday! But back up the the 80s for today. Oh well, it is Florida. Oh, and yes, you know you like that hot pink thermometer receiver. (It was the only one on sale, okay?!)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

By A Black American...

I read this today, and I found it to be an exceptionally well-written statement of a few of my beliefs on the Confederate Battle Flag.

"The Confederate Flag:Should We get Rid of It? J.J. Johnson
- Posted: 02.20.00
Okay, so what’s wrong with me? In celebration of slain Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King’s day (week?) if I watch enough news, I should be out there with my black brethren yelling, screaming and looking to burn every free waving Southern Cross I run across. So what’s wrong? Shouldn’t I be offended as well?In a way, yes. I am. And here’s why:I had ancestors who fought on both sides of that war – which was anything but civil.Surprised?Yes, in Northern Mississippi in fact. Cousin against cousin. One man trying to protect what was his, and one who escaped slavery only to be drafted into taking his cousin’s land away. This little fact, along with all the arguments about Southern Heritage, Southern Pride and Remembering the Gentlemen who in died war gets lost in all the noise about why it’s so “insensitive.”…And I am just fed up with it.More than that, I’m fed up with the yellow-bellied, white guys who don’t have the guts to fight back on the issue. I know, no one wants to get labeled the “R” word. To politicians, it’s a label that’s worse than being called a liar, an adultorer or a draft dodger. And heaven knows, you white guys in the public sector better not even bring it up at work or in public. There’s a civil rights lawsuit with your name on it. Yet, I know how many of you – especially you folks south of the Mason-Dixon line must feel right now.Wanna fight back?Hold my coat for a minute…Where were these protests against OUR Confederate battle flag for the last 135 years? Why are these black people allowing themselves to be manipulated by the media and their left-wing, so-called "black leadership?" Whenever I hear a black person talk about this flag issue, I ask them the same questions. Do you know how long that flag has been flying over those state capitals? Haven’t you seen them there before? The answer from most blacks I talk to out west is, “who cares?”Not good enough for the National Association for the Advancement of Career Politicians (NAACP). Not good enough for these modern-day “Plantation Pimps” who can’t find any other juvenile criminals to fight for so now they retaliate by “dissing” a great hunk of American culture. This is ONLY being done to pander to black voters this political season. You see, back in 1992, folks just decided to burn down Los Angeles while liberal politicians mailed gasoline to the rioters. This time, let’s burn down a heritage instead.I hope some black person is reading this right now and fuming. You should be. If you think the Confederate flag is insulting to you, you are being used, or as we say it in the hood, you bein’ played – for a fool. By who? Not by those evil conservatives, but by the liberal white man. The ones who’ll take your votes, then tell you you’re not good enough to make it on your own.But there is no sense giving you the same argument many of the Southern Ladies and Gentleman are trying to give now. You don’t want to hear them, anyway.Let’s talk about “insensitivity,” shall we?If you don’t mind, some of us with southern roots are going to find every Vietnamese American citizen in this country, bus them to Washington, D.C. and protest to have the Vietnam Memorial removed from the park. Why stop there? On the way to Washington, we might as well grab every citizen with German or Japanese ancestors. With enough noise, we can get rid of that World War II Memorial, too. After all, These people all had relatives who were killed by the men and women America honors at those Memorials. You liberal, nothing-else-better-to-do black folks wouldn’t mind, would you?Yes. Let that sink in real good. That’s what you’re doing to these good people of the South. You are DESECRATING THEIR MEMORIAL… Check that – Our Memorial.What ever happened to Diversity? Tolerance? Must be a one sided thing.Don’t give me that “Symbol of Slavery” bull****. If that were the case, turn in all those 1, 20, 50, and 100 dollar bills. The faces on these bills were men who were leaders when many blacks were slaves. But let’s get down and dirty, shall we?The worst riot in American history was not in Los Angeles. It was in New York, back in 1863. You see, there were a bunch of people who, like during Vietnam, didn’t want be conscripted (read: drafted) to serve in an unjust war. Talk to your President about that. Over 1200 people died in just two days. Most when President Lincoln sent federal troops in to put down the “rebellion.” Oh, by the way, 83 blacks were lynched in those two days – right there in The Big Apple. So, which flag do you really want taken down?But since we’re all told to boycott, will those leftist, black elected leaders in South Carolina boycott the Statehouse while its in session? I doubt it. Will they avoid buying goods in their own state? Doubt it. Our forefathers who wrote the Constitution gave all of us a way to deal with a state’s policies we didn’t like. That’s what the South was fighting for. It was not about slavery. If that were the case, we’d be bombing China right now, and we would not accept license plates made with prison labor right here in the good ol’ USA.Oh…What’s the black population percentage in prison these days, anyway?The multicultural extremists can’t call me racist, but in the black socialist community, they have even uglier words for people who refuse to live on that “plantation,” such as me. Just ask Clarence Thomas.So let that flag wave proudly as a monument to the last Army in this country that actually fought for the Constitution. I am proud to have ancestors who fought with them. And for those people who don’t want their state to fly the Southern Cross, here a solution that’s much easier that protesting……leave.There’s a term for it. Its called “white flight.”
J.J. Johnson –
Proud Black American
Come and Join Southern Patriotism at under groups

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More Pictures of Julington Creek

These are some more pictures from my Julington Creek trip a week or two ago.

This is the log that used to harbor a rope swing that everone who paddles this creek used to take a picture of. Apparently somebody thought it was too much of a hazard to boaters, so they took the liberty to cut it out.

It was a great day for paddling and the clear skies and calm water made for perfect reflections.

They've ripped out some trees at the St. Augustine Road bridge to widen the road in order to accomodate all the snowbirds relocating to paradise.


Dark and mysterious...This picture represents what most backwater creeks of north Florida look like.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Pictures that Blogger Wouldn't Let Me Post

These are a few pictures that I was not able to post on my Julington and Juniper Creek trip reports for a number or reasons (mainly because Blogger is stubborn.) These were supposed to go on here yesterday, but, you guessed it...It decided not to work again. Oh well, here they are. (Photos taken by my dad, by the way.)

This run is filled to the brim with turtles.
Around every bend, you are likely to see a
turtle sitting on a log or swimming in the
crystal clear water. We managed to snap a
picture of these three before two of them
rolled off the log with a splash.

This one tried to be Mr. Tough Turtle, but
when we got too close, he too splashed into
the water and glided underneath us.
This is a little 6- or 7-foot gator that was
nice enough to pose for a few pictures. For
some reason, my dad aligned the frame wrong
and cut off his snout. Probably because of his
shaky hands due to his irrational fear of gators.
Still a nice picture nonetheless.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

What Do You Want to See?

Laura at VitaminSea has come up with another great idea that I would love to take part in. I will quote from her blog because I have homework to finish:

"Sometimes we take our hometowns for granted. For example, right now the leaves are starting to turn up north, and I would LOVE to see that, but I can't get up there. I'd like to see YOUR hometown or neighborhood or other scenic areas at this time of the year. How does the scenery differ from NC to Virginia or California or Texas? what about the different parts of Florida?
Would you all like to join me in a photographic meme of sorts? I know it's been done on other blogs, but it would be fun to do it again.Ask me in the comment section what you would like to see photos of in my area. Taking into account the driving distances, and other factors, I'll oblige within reason."

So drop me a comment and tell me what you want to see of my homeland (if you haven't figured it out yet, I live in North Florida) and I will post the pictures NEXT weekend! While you're at it, go ahead and visit Laura's blog (linked above) for a nice list of links to other blogs participating in the game. Enjoy!