1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

NN/SOTS: Observe What Happens When Country Girls (and Guy) Go to the City and Let Go

Yesterday, before the forecasted rain fell (?!), Daughter suggested that we take a walk in the neighborhood. She sighed just a little when she observed me heading outdoors with the camera in hand. It tends to make our walks last a little longer than originally planned. So what? I take a casual approach to walking, among other things. Our home is "in the country," at the edge of a growing community that I'll bet doesn't qualify as a city for all intents and purposes. We don't even have a real post office, just a counter tucked away in a discount grocery store! There are very few zoning restrictions here. Some of our neighbors take a more casual approach to landscaping--once planted, let it go and grow...
Whilst others work for hours to sculpt their properties into showplaces bursting with magnolia and azalea opulence.
My approach falls somewhere in between the two extremes. I don't care much for perfect lawns, and I'm perfectly happy to let wild verbena grow in this soil that grows things in fits and starts. If verbena was good enough at one time to be considered holy and carried by priests--really! it's in my dictionary--it's welcome to bloom religiously and take over my lawn if it wants to. I'm not absolutely sure, but I think it might be Verbena tenuisecta that greets my feet when I walk around my yard.
Most of the blueberry bushes that SAM and I planted last year have survived a sweltering Florida summer and are now blooming to beat the band--something we hear practicing again, by the way, on the high school football field nearby. A soil sample I took to MG class last week for analysis showed a pH of 6.54, a bit high when the recommended range is 4.0 to 5.5. I was hoping for some gentle rain to soak in some more acidizing fertilizer with sulfate to the row of shrubs. Somehow I miscalculated the amount of fertilizer necessary to bring these bushes up to speed when I applied it just a few weeks ago.
Oh well; they're blooming and leafing out just fine for now. Besides, the soil they're growing in has been amended with mushroom compost, and our Fearless Leader (Extension Agent and Teacher) assured me that the compost itself may be what is skewing the pH level. Not to worry, though. A little acidizer will balance things. Now if only that rain would have come as promised...
The pink grapefruit trees that I thought were goners for sure are showing signs of life now. We put some corrugated, perforated plastic pipe around the trunks to keep the cat and the weed trimmer from wounding the tender bark, and I guess it saved the trees from freezing to death. I actually did something right for a change. Will wonders never cease?
Wait a minute, though. Just as you begin to think that this walking family has all of its ducks in a row, it goes to Tallahassee--two weeks ago--and makes a spectacle of itself. We visited Florida's Historic Capitol building on a Sunday afternoon when another threat of rain dampened our plans for a hike. As you can plainly see, we country people tend to let go when we visit the city. Can you guess who the three fools are behind the cutouts? They change positions, so observe carefully.
The devil is in the details, as they say.

Careful observers may foretell the hour
(By sure prognostics) when to dread a shower:
While rain depends, the pensive cat gives o'er
Her frolics, and pursues her tail no more...

From now on, maybe I should pay more attention to tell-"tail" signs like the cat's level of activity than the official weather forecast. We made that trip to the old capitol building on a day when the showers were few and scattered, and today the rain made a very brief appearance. A high pressure system has now taken over the weather pattern, and the sun is shining brightly again. The cat took a brief nap inside when it clouded over, but now she's out and about looking for a natural scratching post or something to chase. Well, at least SAM and I should have some good hiking/kayaking weather this weekend in Tallahassee.
A View of the Ceiling at Florida's Historic Capitol in Tallahassee

Please visit for this week's Nature Notes/Signs of the Seasons post and links to posts by other bloggers who write about their latest encounters with nature.


  1. Aaahh! The beauty of countryside. It can never be beaten a city! It's all so casual and normal!
    I so badly wanted to grow blueberries, strawberries, and many others. I'm gonna pester my sis to get 'em this time when she comes to India...
    Nice photos, W2W! Hope you get the rains soon...

  2. I like the laid back approach to landscaping. Such beautiful shots from your walk and the ceiling at the historic Capitol is great. The ceiling almost looks like a Kalaidascope (can't think of how to spell it). Hope you have great weather over the weekend.

  3. Yes, the country sure looks appealing!!! I miss living in Gainesville...a much more rural feel than down here in the south. I long to live in Ocala. I like the laid back approach as well.

  4. I like your walk. I am so glad your blueberries are doing well. I think mushroom compost will help to acidify the soil but the aluminum sulfate will do it too. It will take time and you probably don't want to add a ton of stuff all at once to lower the pH so you did good. Give it time. That verbena is cool. I've never seen it before.

  5. Thanks, Chandramouli. The country is definitely casual, but I'm not so sure about normal--at least not some of the residents. I hope your sister can bring you those plants you're wanting.

    Carver, SAM said it rained cats and dogs in Tallahassee yesterday while we had merely a drop or two all day. That kind of weather pattern happens a lot here, unfortunately. Even just a few miles can make a big difference in the amount of rainfall. I love that ceiling in the old Capitol! Wouldn't it make a lovely quilt pattern?

    Julie, I love to visit cities, but I don't think I could love to live in them. Tallahassee definitely has some country "edges," and that's probably where we will end up living.

    Tina, I am just tickled that the blueberries seem to be doing okay, considering the rough shape they were in when we planted them. Remember they were transplanted suckers? I think you're right. I should probably wait a while before adding any more sulfate and give it time to work. The verbena looks so delicate, but it's a tough little plant and makes me smile every time I walk through the yard.

  6. Those blueberries look good. I can taste them now on ice cream or maybe in a pie.

    Is that you and the mister all dressed up in your finery. You have a certain aura about you:)

  7. aloha,

    i love blueberries, when i visit family in georgia, the first thing i love to do in the garden is pick a bunch of blueberries...yum.

    thanks for taking us to the big city and seeing city hall, i love the cut outs, they are fantastic!

  8. my curiosity about the Tallahassee glass has been lessened

  9. Hello W2W

    Oh Those are blueberry blossoms!! I have never seen them before. I've long dreamed of growing blueberries! Is it difficult to grow them? The rose window or circular window is so beautiful!! It's just like a modern mandala!

  10. Marnie, maybe we will get to harvest a few berries since we haven't sold the house yet. They should be ready to pick by mid June at the latest. The three cut-ups in the cutouts are the mister, the daughter, and me. We each took a turn behind the two figures and behind the camera at Daughter's suggestion. Usually, I'm much too serious when I visit museums.

    Noel, I guess in Hawaii you have just about anything else you could want in fruit except blueberries. For me, it just doesn't seem like summer without them. Having lived in Illinois most of my life, I was very surprised to learn that blueberries grow quite well here in Florida, at least in the northwest part of the state. We get just enough of a chill, and these are examples of a southern variety that doesn't require much cold weather. I'm glad you liked the post.

    Wayne, I'm curious as to how that glass was installed. Was some guy lying on his back to assemble it like Michelangelo did painting the Sistine chapel?

    Sapphire, blueberries are easy to grow here. They don't require spraying for pests, and once established they are fairly drought tolerant. A little fertilizer and occasional pruning is about all the maintenance they need. That stained glass window is wonderful. It must have been challenging to install.

  11. I would think it would take a while for your soil amendments to soak in so that the soil test would give accurate results. From what I'm told, agricultural lime takes about a year before it soaks in enough to be useful, but perhaps the wait is shorter (or longer) for other types of amendments.

    And I know who those "fools behind the cutouts" are, I think. You, Daughter and SAM?

    (Love the picture of your toes!)

  12. We have all kinds of things growing in our lawn, too, W2W, but when I look at it from a distance it just looks green to me:) Congratulations on the blueberries and the grapefruit trees. Sometimes I'm amazed, too, when I learn I actually went about planting something the right way. Hope you get some rain soon!

  13. TC, can you imagine promoting your garden as something to invest in? Trying to explain to investors that it can take years to realize a profit on their investment of capital (plants and fertilizer)? I'm going to have to perfect the "pitch" if my ideas for MG projects in Tallahassee ever leave the ground. Yes, you're right about the fools, but which one appears behind each cutout in the three photos, if the cutout options were labeled a, b, c, d, e, f? I put that foot photo in because I was hoping you could suggest a good nail color for this time of year. Verbena purple?

    Rose, I never could understand the obsession with a perfect lawn. Like you said, if it's green or at least colorful and covers the dirt, it's okay. Thanks for the congrats and good wishes!

  14. Yes, verbena purple would be good, and I'm seeing reds and roses a lot too. ;~)

  15. Great tour and fun to share w/ your daughter. I adore that flip flop toe of hers peaking through in one of the photos. :)

    (I have new Macro Photos up...)

  16. Country folk, eh? Next thing you'll be tieing your trousers up with baling twine!

  17. Oh my gosh..there is such a thing as soil amendments..I thought the only amendments were to the constitution or to my car insurance. I think our lawn and garden project will be interesting to see in a couple of years..because I don't know anything about this stuff.. But I am interested now. I love the cut-outs of you and the family and love your post as always... Michelle

  18. Yes, TC, one color at a time. I don't think my hand is steady enough to paint my nails with different colors, although that might be a neat effect. When our son was interested in auto body repair, he raved about some kind of chrome illusion paint for cars that changed color, depending on the light. I wonder if they have that for nail color?

    Thanks Gel! Actually, the toes in the pic are mine. You should see the tan line I'm starting to get on my feet from those sandals.

    IG, my dad used to sing a parody of a Johnny Cash song with words like that: I hold my pants up with a piece of twine, because you're mine, because you're mine! Thanks for tickling the old memory.

    Thanks, Michelle! You'll probably be just fine without much amendment to your soil. I'll bet there's a lot of organic stuff already in place from leaf debris and animal droppings, especially all of those birds. Our worst problem is with the fill dirt that was spread about near the house when it was built. It's this nasty sand mixture that is meant to compact so the foundation doesn't settle, and boy does it ever compact!

  19. The cut outs cracked me up when I enlarged them for better viewing! You are too funny. The Saint rarely does these fun things but he was so relaxed while in Key West, he actually posed with me for a picture! I love the verbena and see the wild stuff growing along the roadside here. I have been relocating some of the homestead Verbena to other spots in the yard as I love the stuff. Grows like weeds for me. country living is the best for the heart and soul, well, that is until the deer and rabbits come a munching on the garden….

  20. Indeed. The laid back approach to landscaping and gardening as well as the slow paced hike with camera is also my style to a tee. That pace also got me in trouble with my former golfing companions who got tired of waiting for me on my ball finding forays in the woods.

  21. Skeeter, Daughter is the one who spotted these photo ops right away and insisted on taking advantage of them. I think she was getting weary of my kind of picture taking and wanted something fun for a change. I'm glad you convinced the Saint to relax a little on vacation. Key West does have that effect on people. It's the epitome of laid back. As for the deer and rabbits, we don't have a problem with them here. With all of the new construction going on, the deer in this area are rarely seen, and if they are, they don't amount to much in size. I guess the cats (some are borderline feral) in the neighborhood take care of the rabbits before they become a nuisance.

    TB, you were probably starting to lose yourself in the woods with the birds even then. Have any of your former golfing companions joined you on your nature walks? I'd much rather follow critters around with a camera than chase one of those little balls on the golf course.

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