Canteloupe For Brains!
Mary has big plans for this thing. I asked her what they were, because it's been sitting in the fridge for months....
Turns out, she said, that early fall is a good time to plant squash seeds down here. (Okay, she said September, which means our window of opportunity is closing fast. But we also have a bag of several-year-old canteloupe seeds transported from Massachusetts, destined to be experimental subjects.)
Squash loves to hybridize, and our community garden up north was a haven for oddities. We saved seeds from canteloupe, zucchini, and acorn squash, then let them all do whatever came naturally. Pretty soon our dinner table included zukalopes and cantechinis -- and the acorn squash addition gave us what we simply called "green footballs."
It's hard to think of this as autumn when temperatures still meander into the 90s and we have two months of hurricane season left. But the signs are everywhere because almost everything is going to seed and our color scheme has begun to switch over from green to brown.
I photographed this right where I found it in the street, around the corner from the post office. Sycamore, I think. If I really work at it, I can span my hand across a major tenth (an octave plus two notes) on a piano keyboard -- or the width of this leaf.
We don't keep a lawn but have a mixture of purposefully-planted trees and shrubs along with some volunteers, plus whatever weeds will hold the soil in place and not be a nuisance. This dandelion lives (and hopes to pass on its genes) in the front yard, a couple of steps away from a pair of crape myrtle trees.
When in full bloom the myrtles produce large clusters of blossoms, earning them the nickname "Southern lilac." But I find a kind of beauty in their shriveling, too.
I have never seen magnolia trees as big up north as they are down here. They are towers with enormous, intoxicating white blossoms. I found these aged, emptying seed pods equally entrancing. They live around the corner and down the block.
The church near the post office has a lovely cactus garden that includes this fruiting saguaro.
On the other hand, our neighbor's oranges have yet to ripen.
I planted this loquat in our yard in the spring of last year. It hasn't fruited yet, but this is the first time I've seen these seed pods.
As soon as we moved down here I discovered tiny white snails (about 5mm across) all over the yard. When we take in the trash can after only a few hours, we check it carefully for any hangers-on. We step carefully along our front walkway so as not to inadvertently crush them.
I thought these flowering dog fennel made an interesting "gateway" to whatever mysteries lie beyond. (Okay, it's more dog fennel, not so big a mystery. But still.) These flourish around the corner from the post office.
The One That Got Away: The church with the cactus garden is being re-roofed. On Monday Mary and I walked together around dusk, and on our approach I saw one of the workers straighten up from his task, rising from the roof barechested, muscled, and tanned. Towering clouds backdropped him, shadowed in purple and glowing a dusky pink. Between him and the roof a breeze lifted and waved the American flag, enough for me to see the top half or so.
All those elements together made for a really choice shot but I balked -- one, because if the guy saw me taking his picture he might throw a hammer at me or something; and two, because he was moving and I'd have to wait to see if he got into position again, standing and staring at him from across the street. The next day the roof was piled with sacks of I know not what, which would obscure any similar view, and those clouds were gone.
If I ever get that chance again, I might be braver....