Antique Car at Wilton Manors Fire Department

Every town has its quirks.

Wilton Manors has them too.   Mostly the inhabitants of all sorts, but once in a while you see something that leaves you asking what on earth is going on.

Square in the middle of town there is a restaurant.  There was a restaurant before it in the same spot.  It was a greasy spoon chicken wings joint that moved just out of town.

That’s great if you like that sort of thing.  I can make my own greasy spoon chicken, thank you, and I prefer barbecue or grilled at any rate.  Much better for you, or so they say.

Whoever They are.

As the old building rotted, someone came along and did the typical Screw The System Building Rehab.  Knock down every wall but two, then build a new building around it.   That means it is a rehab, and therefore not new construction, and the laws are less strict.

Not good for those of us around it.

The restaurant that later inhabited the space, to this day, is a sushi place.  All painted in purple.

I’m not a fan of eating raw fish in a Barney colored restaurant blaring bad rock music from twenty years ago, but maybe you do.  I’ll leave you to it.

Squatting there like a big purple carbuncle, it does draw your attention.  It is hardly ever “full” so if you want a meal and they are open go on in.

See, that’s the thing.   Right now, it isn’t open.  It’s closed.  They have a sign taped to the front door that explains that they’re doing some remodeling or some re-menuing of their food.  Bottom line is that it has been even emptier than it had been before.

Maybe they will open again or maybe someone will buy the place and hopefully banish Barney and paint the place a different color under a new format.

I love you,  You love me, Why not have some Broccoli?

As the place has been closed for about 2 or 3 months now, maybe longer, it has collected a few cars.  They were strategically placed to block the parking lot off from someone borrowing it and maybe making it look like it is actually inhabited with say a car club.

Ok, I’ll say a car club.  Because the cars that were left behind aren’t junkers.  I suspect that the city here would have something to say about that.  The cars are almost always what could be considered classics.

This car parked there caught my eye and forced me to think about it.   It’s a somewhat restored 1950s Chevrolet.  In baby blue, it also is Indifferently restored.  The back deck of the car is stained with age.  The paint seemed to have been done badly because it was a bit rough in appearance.

 

And the car had a flat.

Not just a flat, but the wheel itself was ground down leading you to believe that it had been dragged across the pavement to rest where it is over the final few feet.

By a giant purple dinosaur perhaps?  I doubt that, but the love that Barney would give to that car would be to put on the spare tire, I would hope.

1950s cars are rather rare now.  They’ve mostly gone into the hands of collectors.  They generally aren’t used to decorate parking lots with 1980s Corvettes, last century bucket trucks, or some of the other automotive relics that have showed up over the last month.  Always three vehicles, one to block each entry, and that sad semi restored baby blue Chevrolet that was there that day and this morning still.

We saw it that day.  Me, my dog Rack, and a rather nice looking tortoise shell winged Dragonfly balancing on the hibiscus hedge that is well maintained and intended to protect the property from Purple Dinosaurs.

So if you go by, you may be able to witness the worlds slowest car club.  Join the Dragonflies, and the other quirky denizens of this town.

 

You just won’t be able to get sushi, unless you bring your own.

Even better if you bring a purple dinosaur and drive up in an antique car.

 

You have one right?

Sunrise on Wilton Manors

I get up whenever I feel like it.  Unfortunately I tend to feel like it as early as 4:30 AM.  A late day is getting up at sunrise.

Part of it is habit.  I would get up on weekends back in the day.  First it was for rowing on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.  Later it was for running in the Valley Forge National Park, or to the trails for biking and Inline Skating.

I miss the Skating the most.  South Florida with its drivers that aim for anything out there including other cars is not conducive for putting any decent distance on inline skates.

Decent distance for me is 100 miles per week.  That is 162 km for the Imperially Impaired.

But the habit continues.

Lately it is a two mile, 3 km dog walk every day, rain or predawn shimmer.

That predawn shimmer can be quite beautiful.

I’m out there with my faithful side kick and shadow, Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) every morning and we cover practically the entire Wilton Drive.  It’s a coping strategy.  You see, Rack is quite fearful and having little traffic before 7AM, we’re out there to try to do some distance to keep in shape.   It works, but it also serves to allow him to get a taste of what he is afraid of without truly having a major panic attack.

The minor ones will trip you up enough anyway.  To get out and explore your own town at a time of morning when there are few others out there truly is a privilege.  On the one hand, you get a weird zombie movie or post apocalyptic vibe where there are tumbleweeds rolling down the main drag.  It’s dead quiet, and there are only a few  people up.  You can ignore them.

But there are the changes as you walk along.  The skies go from indigo to purple to blue.  You get a Subtle Hint Of Mauve, whatever color your eye translates that to be, on everything, and the buildings begin to glow.  The flowers begin to pop.  Later you hit the golden hour and the world wakes up.

So does the traffic, and that can be a distraction for a fearful medium sized mostly black dog.  He gets more insistent to get

Off The Drive and turn back into the neighborhood to head on home.  It’s a 45 minute or more wander.  Later walks are always longer.   You need to take care getting across that street that you didn’t when you left home.  People wave, the officers in the patrol car flash their lights or chirp their sirens to say hello, dog walkers emerge.

I am living my own version of the intro to the movie Roxanne as all the sudden I am smiling as a baby Beagle and a Pug are wrapped around my legs begging for attention and Rack is snuffling around the owners looking to be pet.

We’ll end up home soon enough.  Herd a few ducks, watch the last clouds turn from golden to white, and ponder whether the rain will come on shore before you get home.

Another dog walk at sunrise ends with the cool of the living room.

Hello!  I’m home!  What’s for Breakfast?

There Is Quite A Lot Of Wildlife Watching Me

I admit it.

Actually I admit it frequently.

I’m fascinated by the wildlife that we have here in South Florida.

Walk out into the yard and I’m being watched.

Lizards, literally everywhere.  I had heard there were a lot of them around, but coming from a “temperate” climate like South Jersey, I never really believed that they existed.  You just don’t see a lizard staring back at you from a Pin Oak tree in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Here, I walk to the front door and there are lizards sunning themselves on my driveway watching me back through the glass.

I’ve seen Muscovy Ducks on my front porch more times than I care to count, and I’ve taken to inviting them to leave.  They’re way too messy to be a good house guest.

They are perfectly fine on the water and near it, but the one night that I stepped onto my porch after sunset and found myself interrupting some seventeen of them making funky Duck Love and smelling the pungent aroma of what happens when you startle them, they needed to move on.

Did you know a bird will lighten the load before flying by making a poop?

Some other places have alligators in their swimming pool.  Key West, Florida has Chickens.  I suspect they are fine until they get to be a bit too populous, but people brought them there to begin with.  If you don’t want chickens, help yourself to the eggs they leave under your shrubs.

I wonder if they will trade a few chickens for some ducks?

They came there because their many generation removed grandparents were used in fighting.  That’s not at all allowed these days, but some did escape and settled in.

So I did get to see the chicken cross the road, even if I am still not quite sure why it did.

You end up with wading birds deciding that it is time to perch on your Jeep.  It doesn’t happen too often, they aren’t out there every day.  Luckily they are some of the more shy creatures out there.  If you get anywhere near them they fly off.

I have seen these Snowy Egrets, or what ever they are called, walk across lawns in long herds like something out of a Disney Movie.  They’re also the reason why I don’t tell the landscapers to spray the yard.

We get so many of them here that the grubs I see them going after are kept well under control.  Along with the Black Racer snakes in some rare occasions.

But we do get quite a few visitors.

In the morning, being awakened by the song birds that show up in my bottlebrush tree is a normal happening.

Some of them are louder than others.  And some are more insistent than others.

It’s also why I  have a habit of waking early, or at least an explanation.

Go on outside and have a look around.  The sheer volume of things that I see in my own little yard here in suburbia always has me wondering just what am I missing.

I’ve been told that there are scorpions here, and if I leave my boots outside for some strange reason, I bang them on the pavement to make sure I don’t bring any hitchhikers in.

I’ve found way too many lizards to count.  They do keep the spiders at bay though and that’s a welcome aside.

After all, a Banana Spider in the house at the size of a Volkswagen is a but of a shock.  For a while I was fortunate.  My old windows had another predator that took up residence in one small nook.  Then the house was upgraded to Impact Resistant glass.  Hurricane Glass they call it.  But it also took the nook away and my frog was gone.

I do kind of miss the frogs after all that is said and done.

Really, Frogs, since I saw three there the day before the nook was taken away a couple years back.  Funny how things like that end up in unexpected places.

At the moment though, there are the butterflies.  Sure, I have all of those creatures cohabiting with me, the dog, the parrot, and the humans in this house.  But the plants are all scattered with a dusting of butterflies in various stages of life.  They all will hatch as time allows them, and I am surprised that they spend more time in that chrysalis than I would expect.  After all, hanging on a leaf just means you’ll get spotted and the leaf could get brought inside for an incomplete photography project.

But I am sure that you all have heard that before, haven’t you?

Wilton Drive At Sunset and a Conversation About Docker And Other Computer-y Things

So what about Docker?

What do you mean, what about it?

 

Have you gotten anywhere with it?

Oh that.   No, haven’t started.  It’s going to be a series of articles when I get started anyway.  It has to be.

 

Why a series?

Docker being what it is will need one to set it up, another to actually use the beast.  And besides, it’s for my Linux audience anyway.  Us weirdos out there in the One And A Half Percent Of The Market that realize that my 5 year old laptop on Linux is faster than your brand new one out of the box.

 

Yeah Yeah Yeah.

Less Microsoft DRM Crap means a better experience.  Besides the only thing I ever do on Windows these days is write the blog and that’s only because I have more disc space there to store all my photography.

 

True but you have Linux tools to do Photoshop, right?

Yes.  GIMP and Inkspace run natively, and I can run Irfan View under emulation on Wine.   I really do not need Windows at all.

 

So why not migrate?

The Windows machine has a bigger screen.  It’s 15 inches, and the Linux machine is 12 but much faster with the same resolution.

 

Yeah yeah yeah…

Stop.  I have a picture to take.

 

Oh?

Even Rack stopped faster than you did.  Never mind that.  Hold the leash, look West down the Drive.

 

You’re right.  Nice view.

I’ll get a few while I am at it.

 

Like you said, the best use anyone ever got out of a Parking Meter is to use it as a camera mount.

Yep!  And with me using a phone as a camera, it needs all the help it can get.

 

The silhouette looks like that shirt I had for years.

The one of the Key West skyline?   You know that was a test shirt.  A Mistake.  It was meant to be multiple colors and they only got black on it.  I liked that shirt until my weightlifting made my chest too large to get in to it.  Wear it in good health.

 

So, that Docker Thing?
Yeah.  Installing it is trivial.  A couple commands on the Linux Command Line, then edit the .CONF file to configure it, then start the container install.  I guess I can get that much done by next week.  Over a beer.   Did I tell you that I did my best coding on a Friday Afternoon after a Guinness and a Roast Pork Sandwich?

 

Many Times.  Don’t forget the horseradish!
That reminds me, I still have that in the freezer.  About 3 pounds of Pork Loin.  Will you ever try that?

 

Didn’t think so.  Ok, lets get the walk done, I want dinner.

Sunrise and Sunset in Wilton Manors

I am trying to reset my clock.  I should probably just ignore it.

What I mean is that since the Time Change is coming, I should do what I do every year and stop trying to “sleep in” because when Spring Ahead comes in a couple weeks, I’ll be getting up at a normal hour anyway.

Normal is just a setting on the clothes dryer anyway, right?

Yes, I still get up at Stupid O’Clock, but as Einstein will tell you, Time Is Relative, anyway.

I almost never am up after dawn, and I almost always have foot and paws to pavement on the first dog walk before then.

Mind you, while you are laying in bed, drooling into the pillows, snoring and rolling over to let the blood flow back into your arms, there are things you are missing.

The mornings here can be pretty amazing.  In the case of the sunrises, they can be stunning.  I live about 2 miles from the beach, that is 3 Kilometers.  Wilton Manors, Florida.  If I stand in the street in front of my house I can just clearly see the top floors of the hotels at the beach.

In this part of the world, having a clear sky is not all that common.  I mean literally completely devoid of clouds.  It’s the Tropics.  There is a lot of humidity here.  Typically there is a line of clouds that form well off shore that you can just barely see the tops of on a clear day.  They tend to dissipate once the sun comes up and it used to be that you could predict afternoon thunderstorms between 3 and 4 in the afternoon.  Too many people have moved here and created a heat island, but if you go to the smaller cities just North of us, that weather pattern still exists.   Fort Pierce for example.

I once was told by an Old Florida Hand that he knew when he was Up North when the stripe of sweat down his back disappeared.  Sure it would be hot up there, but the humidity keeps our backs damp.  Hard to explain to you people up North like in say the Carolinas…

But the clouds come through and decorate the skies.  Little Puffy Clouds, sometimes coalescing into showers or storms too small for Radar to spot, would float past, leave spots on the car, then move off somewhere else.  Keep the flowers blooming.

Those clouds do something else right around Sunrise and Sunset.  It captures those first or last rays of the sun that have traveled through many more miles of air than they would at noon due to the angle of attack.  Longer wavelengths of light such as blues and greens get stripped away and the clouds light up in brilliant yellows, then orange, then finally red as they fade to night, or the opposite as the lights begin to tickle them from underneath to start your day.

In the case of this particular day, it is a happy accident.  These pictures are one day, February 21, 2017.  Both the sunrise and sunset were captured.  Both were beautiful in their own right.   One brilliant light show started the day, and another closed it off.  Both were with in a few steps of each other, literally less than 100 paces apart.

All you have to do is wait for it.  It will get here, and if you miss it… there is always tomorrow.

Thirteen Is Too Much Of A Good Thing – Or Why I Have Started Moving The Muscovy Ducks On

Too much of a good thing I guess, but it is time to move the house guests on.

Oh I don’t mind them, but I most certainly mind their mess.

Them are the ducks.  Muscovy Ducks that are semi-tame.  They’re considered domestic fowl, so they fit in the same category as a stray cat or dog.  Mind you, animal welfare has enough to do and doesn’t want them.  What I will have to do is become a nuisance, annoy them.

Why would I want to run them off?  They are for the most part harmless.   They walk through the yard cropping grass and removing insects.

I know that doesn’t answer the question.  It is time for a little story.

I was sitting in my bouncy Poang chair next to the window.   It is about a yard away from the window, and I can just touch it if I try and have a bendy day.  These windows on the house are what are called “Impact Glass”.  Think of the stuff that your bank has at the teller windows although they may be either thinner or thicker.  Not sure there.

Great things, they quiet down the noises on the street.  If you live in an urban environment, you know what a blessing that is.  The house itself has fans and mechanical clocks and air conditioning running so the place is never completely silent.

Yes, air conditioning in February.  It’s South Florida after all.

It was after 8 at night.  I couldn’t find anything on the TV to watch and I didn’t want to resort to the internet.  I was doing some technical reading.  Sliding into my consciousness with all the speed of a snail I hear wheezing.

Ducks on the front porch.

Figuring that they would move on after looking in the front door I would return to what I was doing.

After too long of a while they were still at it.  I got up and walked to the door.  There was a writhing pile of four ducks mating on the front porch.  Think of four mostly black feathered thanksgiving turkeys the size of a football, US or Otherwise, each trying to make more baby ducks.   They didn’t like my watching over their “love making” efforts and began to unravel from the pile.  The two not directly engaged, I guess they were some sort of duck cheerleaders, peeled off and started to leave.

The other two kept at it.

I began to flap my arms like wings.  I became a giant, almost two meter tall, 6’4″ bird.  Since Big Bird is taller than me, and not available, I started to make other noises.  High pitched “BL!BL!BL!BL!” noises.  That snapped the two lovers out of their reverie and they began to drag themselves apart and off my porch.

To make sure they didn’t return, I started following them about a yard behind.

“BL!BL!BL!BL!” I said!  “BL!BL!BL!BL!”

“HISShiss! HISShiss!” they replied while flapping their webbed feet along, slowly.  Seriously, you could actually pick one up, they don’t move all that fast.

I managed to chase them all off the front porch and yard and returned to my reading.

A half hour later I got prepared for the evening Dog Walk.

Did I not say it was too much of a good thing with these ducks?  I had to chase them off after they turned the area under my Jeep into a Duck Toilet, but this… was something resembling either a plague or a Hitchcock movie.

There were, quite literally, thirteen of the beasts in my front yard.  Thirteen adult ducks using the yard as a rest stop and mating station.  There were ducks in my hedges.  There were ducks on the grass.   There were ducks hissing at me and my dog, Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM).

It was clearly time to act.

The ducks began to spread out.  Rack has no real prey drive, doesn’t understand that a McNab Dog is one of the best herding breeds known to man.  Herding Breeds don’t kill, they merely collect the livestock into a clump and move them on.

But, Rack has no herding drive that we have ever noticed.

Fine.  I  am the alpha dog here anyway.  “Come on, Boy, we’ve got work to do!”

I walked head on into a giant pile of thirteen large thanksgiving turkeys.  They scattered.  Rack was surprised that the ducks would scatter when he approached and liked it.  He started bounding through the birds while I came at them from a couple yards away at the end of his large purple leash.  The ducks flapped off across the street and into four adjoining properties.

The neighbors would thank me in other ways later.  I was beginning to have an effect.

This became our normal routine.  If I walked by the front windows or doors, look for ducks.   If there were ducks, move them on.  Thirteen of the monsters did not belong in the yard at once.  One or two, Fine, but thirteen?  Do you have any idea what a yard smells like after thirteen thanksgiving turkeys were using the yard as a toilet?

I do.

Luckily they began to take the message.  The ones that were there on the night of the duck orgy know now that the lock on the front door means that crazy flappy bird guy would be coming out soon to chase them off.   I have them trained to walk off when the front door lock rattles open.

They are also not hiding under the Jeep any more.  Can’t have that.  They aren’t paying rent after all.

One or two is great, I love watching wildlife, but four of them on the front porch making more baby ducks is overkill and thirteen is just insane.

Living on an island, we’re surrounded by a slow moving river.  They can live on the water after all.  Waterfowl not Carportfoul or Porchfoul.

If you will excuse me, I have a porch to powerwash, yet again.

Two Monarch Caterpillars

Apparently, I like to grow sticks.

Being where I am, there are Monarch Butterflies around me all year.  Wilton Manors, Florida seems to have a thing about turning itself into a nature habitat.  I’m near a park that is a nature preserve, the M. E. DePalma Park.

I’m lucky that it is handy, that park, because I walk past it frequently looking for seeds for more Milkweed.  I’ve got to borrow some more.  Monarchs are back.

They seem to know.  When the Milkweed just puts forth a flower, I notice them fluttering by my porch looking for a place to lay eggs.  I make it a point to go out back and look at my pots and sure enough under a leaf there is a grain of sand.

Monarch Butterfly eggs are about the size of a grain of sand and have a swirled pattern on top like a Chinese Bun.

The flowers never really come to term.  I almost never get seeds.   The park does, although usually about the time that the park is down to sticks, I sneak in some flowers and may even get a seed or three out of them.

We trade back and forth.

At this point I’m down to sticks.

Orchids are in bloom.

 

 

 

I have a pot of Poinsettia that is hip high, and I am 6’4″ tall.  It is in bloom.

 

 

 

My Coleus is running amok, even if I am recycling this and most of these pictures…

 

 

 

I have Podocarpus ready to plant.

 

 

 

I have red variegated Hibiscus ready to plant.

 

 

 

But that Mexican Milkweed?  That’s what it is there for.  Food for the Monarchs.  The last time I checked there were six caterpillars on one single plant.   Those plants won’t win.

Oh well, at least the Monarchs are happy and I have pictures of some that slipped in there when they weren’t watching last time!