per·i·pa·tet·ic
ˌperēpəˈtedik/
adjective
  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.
    Aristotelian.
noun
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cacoethes Scribendi: It's Summer ('Bee'-hia Grass) Time in Florida

Cacoethes scribendi--scribbler's itch--has finally got my attention. It's as irritating as an overgrown lawn in the midst of a manicured subdivision. I might have been missing from the blogging scene for a couple of weeks, but our summer lawn never gives up--at least not while the rain falls on a regular basis. We have a mix of grass varieties in what passes for a lawn at our home near Pensacola, and the star of the bunch, at least in my mind, is Bahia Grass 'Pensacola,' Paspalum notatum. I think it's the perfect grass for our hot-summer-cool-winter, Northwest Florida climate. It's drought-resistant, going dormant when the rain doesn't come, has few insect problems, and--if left to grow for longer than a week--attracts those wonderful pollinators I can't get enough of in my vegetable garden, especially bees. Since we can't be home often enough this summer to keep the lawn mowed to a respectable height, the bees have been especially busy. Just look at the size of those pollen baskets on that bee's hind legs!
When I managed to sneak away from SAM for a couple of days last week, it wasn't so I could go partying with the girls, even though Daughter and I did manage to stop by Blazzues in Pensacola last Wednesday night, which is swing night. She's the swing dancer, and I don't do either one--swing or dance. I had fun watching her get swung around the dance floor while I politely rejected offers to dance, drink, and make merry with the menfolk. My excuses were genuine. I already have a full dance card--points to her wedding ring--and my left foot has been acting more sinister than usual since I whacked it against a concrete step while moving into the apartment. It's a good thing we have a riding mower to tackle this monster of an acre and health insurance for a visit to the podiatrist. At least it--the lawn, not the foot--seems like a monster in the summertime when the Bahia blooms and its seed heads sprout. Besides the seed heads, the only other irritating aspect of this grass that I can think of is its tendency to dull the mower blades. This UF publication recommends setting the blades to keep the grass height at 3 to 4 inches, which is higher than most turf grasses and therefore not attractive to most lawn lovers. It provides "a good low-maintenance lawn where slightly reduced visual quality is acceptable." In that case, it suits me just fine even though it's certainly not a grass cushion to rest on while reading your favorite summer-time scribe. I give it a "V" for victory. What's your favorite kind of grass--the lawn kind, I mean--and summer-time scribe? 
Cacoethes Scribendi

If all the trees in all the woods were men;
And each and every blade of grass a pen;
If every leaf on every shrub and tree
Turned to a sheet of foolscap; every sea
Were changed to ink, and all earth's living tribes
Had nothing else to do but act as scribes,
And for ten thousand ages, day and night,
The human race should write, and write, and write,
Till all the pens and paper were used up,
And the huge inkstand was an empty cup,
Still would the scribblers clustered round its brink
Call for more pens, more paper, and more ink.

A poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

26 comments:

  1. Is there a common name for this weed. I just don't think I'm going to be able to remember the scientific name. It just doesn't have a jingle to it.

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  2. I love what I have here, St. Augustine!!!!! It is cushy, good to lay on to read upon, green and lush! It is a coarser grass, but creates a nice supportive "bed" when a blanket or sheet is thrown down! I love your poem choice by Oliver Wendell Holmes....

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  3. I'm not big on lawns... one of my favorites I ever ran into wasn't grass, it was roman chamomile... smelled like green apples when you walked across it... wouldn't be tolerated in a city though.

    I've been reading Anne Lamott lately...

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  4. Here in the shady Midwest it's called moss! Kind a slippery, but evergreen none the less.

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  5. stuck on the swing dancing... is it ever tool late to learn? Glad your daughter is having fun with it.

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  6. I'm not much into lawns and gardens, though I can appreciate one when I see a good one. Your posts are sort of inspiring me to take up the pickaxe and go digging :) And yeah...the picture of the bee with its 'swollen basket' is too good.

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  7. TFB, are you referring to Bahia? It's as common as my name in certain places.

    Julie, I have to agree that St. Augustine makes a nice lawn, but it requires more water than I'm willing to give it when the rain doesn't come. So I guess Bahia and I will have to remain buddies.

    Claude, I love Roman chamomile! I had some growing in Illinois for a while. It came up in a wildflower seed mix I scattered on a bare spot. Now I just enjoy the scent in essential oil. It's a powerful mood lifter. I guess I'd better get busy with reading some contemporary work before the summer is over. I try to find at least one live author to like every year.

    Yes, Ciss B! Moss is the best for the reclining position--soft and cushy. It amazes me how that stuff can thrive where there's practically no soil or the worst kind.

    Mr. S, I don't think it's ever too late to learn swing dancing if you're limber and determined enough to try. For the people like me with two left feet, at least the music is great for toe-tapping.

    RGB, if I had to use a pickaxe, I think I'd give up on gardening or never even get started. Ouch! Yeah, the bee was a challenge to keep up with even though the pollen baskets slowed it down a bit.

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  8. My lawn is a disgrace but I refuse to spray it or waste water on it so...

    Marnie

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  9. I've come back and looked at that bee 3 times now. I can't believe it can still fly with all that pollen! ~karen

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  10. Anything that is low in maintenance is a winner in my book! Perfectly manicured lawns are over-rated.

    You asked about yogurt...I did make soy yogurt but you have to use a culture from a previous store-bought soy yogurt. I didn't like it as well. I didn't have a bad reaction to the regular milk which I make yogurt with so that is what I use. I use stonyfield farms yogurt for my culture, it only takes about a cup. And you can always use your own homemade yogurt for the culture. Way too much information, probably.

    Hope your foot is on the mend. At least it provided a good excuse to not swing. :)

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  11. I'm with you on both accounts, Marnie. Keeping the thing mowed somewhat regularly is the only concession I'll make to the law of the lawn.

    Karen, I was fairly shocked too when I looked closely at the critter. If it had a quota to maintain, I'm sure it exceeded the limit!

    Rosey, there can never be TMI when it comes to recipes, LOL. Thanks for the advice and good wishes. I've tried soy yogurt and also didn't like it. Regular milk bothers my digestive system (skim, 2%, even whole), but for some reason the stuff with higher fat content like half-and-half and heavy cream don't. I buy Dannon plain yogurt, not the lowfat kind, and it's fine too. That's probably what I'll use for a starter.

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  12. I know what you mean with that scribbler's itch! I get it too.
    As regards what kind of grass do I like? Well as we don't have a lawn and only have a pocket handkerchief sized garden, I grow grass in little pots for my pet rabbit and that is the type he likes and therefore I like as I have a contented bunny.
    Thanks for visiting me.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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  13. Is that bahia grass also what is known as wiregrass? We used to live in the wiregrass region and I did not like it all. I do hope your foot gets much better. Be careful you! Tell SAM I say hello.

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  14. I love that bee pollination shot. It sounds like you’ve been having fun except for your poor foot. We also keep our grass longer than normal as it’s healthier for the lawn and discourages weeds without pesticide.

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  15. Glad you're back. Your grass looks lovely to me, here in the land of drought where we're being told to replace thirsty lawns with more appropriate vegetation.

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  16. My husband is the lawn man, not I, so I just enjoy looking at it. Although Sophie enjoys the lawn the most, rolling around in damp grass, I can't even sit in it these days without getting bit by all the mosquitoes. As for my favorite scribe, I've been reading a lot of mysteries these days--what else?--but nothing so great I'd write a review of it. Still looking for that great summer book.

    Hope your foot is doing better!

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  17. I don't like highly manicured lawns or weedy, neglected lawns. I just like it the way I remember it from childhood - grass and other stuff to play in. I swing dance or used to, but it has been a couple years. And I read mysteries like Rose does. I've picked up on Maddy Hunter and have read all her books so far this summer.

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  18. Thanks for the return visit and for weighing in on the grass question, Maggie May. I'll tell you, there are times when permanent apartment living seems very attractive, like now when the lawn requires such frequent mowing:) If our neighbors wouldn't object--and I know they would--I'd just as soon keep a couple of goats and let 'em graze.

    Tina, no, it's not the same thing, though it is nearly as tough as wiregrass. I think the wiregrass grows in marshy areas. My foot is doing better, thanks to a powerful NSAID that the podiatrist prescribed and strong advice to stay off my feet as much as possible for a week or two. I don't like taking meds, but nothing else was helping. SAM says hi!

    Sarah, I may be sidelined for a few days, but I'm not quitting the game! I'll just let my fingers do the walking--over the keyboard--more than usual.

    WS, thanks. So you're not "advised" but rather "told" what to plant in California? Government intrusion knows no boundaries.

    Rose, SAM usually takes care of the mowing, but I give him a break from it once in a while so he can enjoy the weekend off. Besides, I like spending time with Daughter. She works every Saturday, and by the time she's awake on Sunday, it's almost time to return to Tallahassee. Mysteries, eh? They just don't write 'em like they used to, or at least I haven't found any good new ones.

    APON, I'll have to check on Maddy. Thanks for the recommendation. Yeah, I sort of remember those Goldilocks lawn days, when everything was just right or at least seemed to be--carefree days of no fire ants, no lawn chemicals in the neighborhood, and people didn't judge the character of the homeowner or the value of the home by the appearance of the lawn/garden. When we had the house on the market a few months ago, the realtor told us to expect more prospective buyers when the grass started greening up and the flowers began to bloom. Apparently, a lot of people thumb their noses at a less than perfect lawn, even though most of them wouldn't dream of devoting the time and expense of keeping it that way. They don't understand the concept of a work in progress. I think too many people have unrealistic expectations when it comes to appearances. Curb appeal is the gold standard, thanks to HGTV and other such nonsense. And don't think I'm immune to being caught up in the frenzy:)

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    http://forlots.blogspot.com/

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  21. That is one huge pollen basket! Unfortunately, bees are kind of rare for me this year, but I remember the glory days! I was always amazed at how much pollen they could carry for such small things.

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  22. As you would imagine, we have very green lawns here in England. I was surprised the first time I went to S.Carolina to see my friend "Planting" her lawn. We just throw a bit of seed around and heypresto - a lawn. Easy. But, of course, the downside is that England is very wet!!

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  23. Oh, and thanks for visiting me. I should have said that first. Just goes to show how self absorbed I am!

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  24. I always love your quotes. One this one I'd definitely be one of those "scribblers" gathered round...

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  25. The best thing I ever did to my lawn was dig it up and plant vegetables! It saves all the lawncare issues, which weren't actually as much work as the veg care issues.

    Oh well...

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  26. Thanks, Joven, for the visit and compliment.

    MBT, if only I could use pollen as an excuse for all of this extra weight I carry around:)

    Retiredandcrazy, I'm glad you came by for a visit. I hope you have fun on your overland trip to America. I never realized such a thing was possible!


    Thanks, TB. I kinda figured you were one of the scribblers.

    TIG, yes, I'm changing my strategy on the veg garden now after a few years of much work without much reward. It's being shrunk to accommodate some herbs and a few flowers, and then I think I'll try raised gardening in another spot. Grass is so much easier! If only I had a few more stomachs to digest it:)

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