Friday, April 25, 2008

Frantic and Foregetful Friday Florida Crackerism

AHH, I FORGOT IT WAS FRIDAY! Here's one that leaped from my memory just a minute ago:

"Don't bring a rope into a house that's had a hangin'."


I'm pretty sure this is some kind of Lupine, but what kind??
Found this nice little specimen in Julington-Durbin Preserve.
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Shovel-breaking work & other related rambling

School has a way of preventing me from doing important things that I want to get done...Such as blogging, gardening, READING, WRITING, getting out into the woods, and working. It seems that teachers want me to be in school all day long considering all of the homework I have been assigned this year. By the time I am finished with homework, all daylight has drained away, and, considering most of my life is usually spent outdoors, this seriously limits my leisurely lifestyle, and often leads to my going slightly crazy (as is evident by that last sentence.)

I have been determined this spring break to be as productive as possible and get much of the things done that I have wanted to do for a couple of months now. Many of these things are enjoyable to me, and just knowing the fact that I am getting things done is very pleasing.

Tuesday, after having a delicious breakfast at Huddle House, my mom and I drove the whole length of our county to get to my uncle's/(soon to be) my property. I have been wanting to get some topsoil to load up in 5-gallon "grow bags" in which I will be planting datil pepper plants. We chugged on down through the "Potato Capital of Florida" and pulled up to my uncle's/my 1.25 acres.

I commenced shoveling, and ended up with about 600-800 pounds of wet, mucky, fertile topsoil out of the ditch. Even though this amount is only about half of what I will need to plant all my peppers, I was satisfied with the days' work. Unfortunately, our old shovel fell victim to the heavy dirt, and will bury itself behind the house tomorrow. It has served our household well, and will be sorely missed.

Involuntary Shovelslaughter.

On our way home, we passed through the tiny hamlet of Molasses Junction. If you have ever seen the movie Moving McAllister, you have seen parts of Molasses Junction. Here's one star's account of the town, during an interview with Parade Magazine:

Mila Kunis: I saw some really odd places. We were shooting in spots like Delta, Utah, that no one has ever heard of that were awesome to visit. These little towns are like characters all in their own. We went to Molasses Junction, Fla., It’s right outside of St. Augustine.
Parade: That’s a real name?
MK: Yeah, Molasses Junction, Fla., They were the nicest group of people I’ve ever met. This town maybe had a population of 75. It had one building that was the post office, a restaurant, a grocery store, a convenience store, a pharmacy and a gas station. And it was hunting season. They were like, “We will treat you guys to a dinner.” And we were like, “You realize we’re 150 people.” And they were like, “No problem.”

Molasses Junction Country Store's wall is adorned with newspaper clippings and photographs documenting the shooting of the film, and a picture of the owner, Dave Doan, with Mila Kunis. It is an extremely charming and friendly place, with its old-style southern food and feed/farm store-like feel. I entered the tiny building, my favorite store in the county, to get "lunch" for mom and myself. I picked up a coke and peanuts for my mom (remember this), a sweet tea for myself, and two bags of these:

A bag of Bulls-Hit Ranch's Datil Flavor Bulls Chips getting back to its "roots." For more on these, you can visit Florida Cracker's blog post about them.

I also talked to Dave about selling something in his store this summer.

I got home and unloaded all of the soil into the yard. Hopefully, by sundown tomorrow, I will have 49 transplanted Datil pepper plants.

Why so many? That's for the next post.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


This past Saturday was the first day of spring break. Every high schooler was down at the beach soaking up the warm spring sunshine and making a general commotion. Everybody, that is, except me.

Nope, I spent the day running around like the Energizer Bunny, saving the beachgoing for sometime in the future (Personally, I think a farmer's tan fits my personality perfectly.)

I slept in (by my standards) till 8:00 AM, and made my way down to my Uncle Stu's house. I guess it's weird for a 17-year-old's best friend to be 58 years his elder...But I've never met any other person whom I have more in common with than this cracker-wisdom-loaded cousin of mine.
After tying over 600 knots on my mullet net-in-progress, we headed down to Tommy Allen's Feed Store just a minute down the road.

After parking the truck in the gravel "parking lot," we made our way up the creaky front porch steps, through the wide-open doors, and into the non-air conditioned shack. Saying "hello" to the attendant and explaining our reason for being there, we made our way over to the seed counter. Bags upon bags of seed were strewn everywhere, and after rummaging around for a few minutes, we found what we came for: Yellow straight-neck squash. Uncle Stu measured out his seed on the decades-old scale, put them in an sack, and brought them up to the check-out counter. All measurements are "on your honor.". A business based on the honesty of its customers? That's weird.

Later in the day, I went over to my mom's old high school sweetheart and datil pepper farmer, Randy Haire's, house. I showed up with the intention of buying 15 plants for $15, and ended up leaving with over 100 plants for $0, but not without some objection on my part. We had a very good talk about growing peppers, agriculture in general, and its quick ongoing disappearance in our home county. While we were talking, his daughter, who appeared to be slightly younger than I, approached gripping two painted turtles bound for their front yard swimming hole. She looked at me, and I could read her mind: What's he doing hanging out with my dad? That's weird.

When I finally got home late that afternoon, I mowed the lawn and took out the rest of my turnip greens. Some of them were starting to get that white mold on them, tipping me off that it was just getting too hot and humid for them. I had bush tomatoes to replace them with, anyway. I then spent the entire evening sorting, washing, blanching, and freezing the last of my crop of turnip greens.
As you can see, there was no shortage, and upon offering some to the neighbors across the street, they did not know what I was talking about; they had never heard of eating turnip leaves. That's a weird thing to do.

Yep, instead of spending the day at the beach like everybody else, I spent mine hanging out with old people, talking about old things, planting squash, harvesting turnips, and speaking with an old datil pepper farmer like he's an old friend.

I kind of like being weird.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Different Kind of "Remote"

I found my television remote yesterday.

It was buried in a drawer full of school papers.

I will need them soon when the time to study for exams comes upon me.

But for today, I can bask in the glory of not having to get out of my comfortable chair to turn the TV channel.

Ahhhh, spring break is FINALLY here!