Seems like this month was mostly mangos according to the photos in my phone. I made mango butter and I dehydrated lots of cheeks. I shipped them. I left them on porches. I cried mercy.My subscribe button at the bottom of the page finally works!!! If you or anyone you know has had trouble signing up for my blog updates, please let them know. Thanks!Devastating red tide swept up the Gulf Coast. Our waterways and beaches are filled with dead fish all thanks to discharges from Lake Okeechobee. The east coast is dealing with blue-green algae once again. I’m not sure what’s more nauseating, the smell of it, or the political finger-pointing. So for the time we had to get outside this month, we hooked up our skiff and drove all the way to the Keys to find water that’s not brown.In the evenings we drifted between islands and watched the sunset. Turtles randomly popped up around us for a quick breath. On the way home we had not one but two trailer tire blowouts on Alligator Alley, that wild stretch through the Everglades where there is nary a gas station but so true to its name. It was dark when the flatbed tow truck arrived 5 hours later. We’ll never forget the sounds we heard out there.
After some disappointing books this summer, I found four good reads this month and they’ve all got Florida in them:
- Florida by Lauren Groff I love her descriptions of rugged inner-Florida landscape and the spell it casts on her characters.
- Squirm by Carl Hiaasen Yep, it’s for kids. Still has his wicked, vengeful humor, but maybe a little less scathing. Don’t mess with snakes.
- The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson Following the theft of birds from a museum leads him into the bizarre world of salmon fly tiers hell-bent on acquiring endangered bird feathers to tie Victorian-style flies that never actually catch fish. The Florida connection: bird populations of southwest Florida were devastated during the Victorian feather obsession, when feathers and whole birds adorned hats and clothes and curio cabinets. I kept referring to bird guides to see some of the other rare birds he mentions, especially the birds of paradise.
- Backroads of Paradise by Cathy Salustri In the 1930s, before interstates crisscrossed the state, the Florida Writer’s Project sent writers (some anonymous, some famous) to Florida to document road trips through small towns that were eventually bypassed by highways. Salustri retraces those old drives. She stopped at Devil’s Millhopper and the Skunk Ape Research Center, two of my favorite hidden gems, and made me want to drive more of those backroads.
I’ll be so happy to flip my calendar to October tomorrow. I plant my vegetable garden next week, stone crab season opens October 15, and we should be seeing the best weather of the year here soon. Enjoy!