The Broom ~ did she fly in on it?

The Broom

The broom as a ninja weapon

Every morning like clock-work, I feed my little colony of eight stray cats. A vet tech used to live in one of the condo units near mine and many of them were “trap and release neutered” (T&R). The females have an ear clipped, so that if they’re caught again the rescuers and the vet will know they’ve already been spayed. Our condo is also home to wild Muscovy ducks who are very “food aggressive.” So, I bring “the broom” out with me to ward off the ducks. Trust me, the ducks do not like the broom. When I point it or wave it at them slightly, they waddle away as fast as they can. Hilarious.

My neighbors must think I’m a crazy woman. “Did she fly in on it?”

This morning it was 40 degrees out with the wind coming in off the St. John’s River at about 25 miles per hour. That’s cold in Florida. We think water freezes at 40. It does, doesn’t it? The cats were freaked by the wind, and in a feeding frenzy due to the cold. They know they have to eat up an get some fat on them. I feed them breakfast and a woman in a unit two down from mine feeds them dinner. When they sit, they have that plump shape well-fed house cats have…and that makes my heart happy.

 

hawk

We also have two hawks in the area. I live in a city, not a small one either. Yet, my condo is nestled inside of a wooded area and it sits on a natural pond that is fed and emptied by a creek. There are many natural lakes, ponds, and creeks in Florida…not to mention swampland. Floridians who live in major cities know an alligator may not be far away, or a water moccasin. Florida is pristine beaches, shining resort hotels, surfers, and it’s also untameable. Something I love about the state.

Perhaps due to the cold, the two hawks who hunt the forest area near the pond were circling overhead, above my condo unit. Well, of course…there were eight fat cats eating breakfast right there. And it was cold, so why not snatch an easy meal. Except there’s that crazy woman standing there…and now she’s waving “the broom” in the air in a fighting stance.

Oh, what the neighbors must’ve thought. “Well, in Florida you get all types. You know she writes murder mysteries and writers are strange people anyway.”

 

The awesomeness of living in the Florida ~ semi-tropics

St John's River-Cove
St. John’s River after a glorious day

Floridians learn to live with hurricanes and tropical storms, as well as alligators, turtles,  lizards, and snakes. We also get foxes, hawks, possums and deer encroaching on our territory. or are we encroaching on theirs? There is even the occasional black bear in someone’s back yard. It’s all part of the exotic beauty and mystery of Florida living…and I love the mystery and adventure of it.

It’s not all palm trees, manicured lawns, swimming pools,  and beaches, though it’s that too. I’m very proud of the swimming pools we have in the condo complex I live in. We also have a natural pond with wild ducks who claimed it as their habitat long before the units were built. They stayed after people bought units and to this day walk around like they own the place. We have Watch For Ducks signs posted, and we brake our vehicles to a stop when a line of ducks waddle-marches across the asphalt. I walk my dog to the pond several times a week. It’s peaceful and lovely, but don’t take away my swimming pools.

Flower, my backyard
Flower from my backyard

Floridians braced for mega-Hurricane Dorian, and wisely, I might add. It was a monster storm that thankfully veered to the east a few miles into the Atlantic as it went up the Florida coast. It’s 110 mph winds churned over the seas as it traveled north. We truly dodged a bullet.

Now tropical storm Humberto is doing it’s thing out in the Atlantic and it’s brought cooler weather to northeastern coastal Florida. The morning was breezy when I walked my little dog Sophie. I met a neighbor walking her dog and she smiled, waved, and said, “Wonderful, a break from heat.” As the day progresses, the sun is breaking through fluffy, marshmallow clouds and it’s glorious. This is what I love about Florida. It’s a mix of wild and tame…fierce and luxurious.

Flower, elephan ear
Elephant ear from my backyard