A Florida yard braces for more leaf-burning cold

I have a Florida yard. A Florida yard is loaded with nice, flowery plants that don’t need a lick of water, attract butterflies and hummingbirds and bees, and look pretty much bountiful all year-round.

EXCEPT … if the temperature dips below 86 degrees. At which point the entire yard packs up and moves to Miami on a Greyhound bus. Or worse, shrivels up and dies, leaving behind a brown, crunchy wasteland. The surface of Mars is not so desolate, barren or sad.

My dune daisies are wrecked. The porter’s weed looks like it has been stricken by a case of vegetative mange. And the bougainvillea — so happy to impale me with its saber-tooth thorns just a couple of weeks ago — has dropped every leaf it could find, ordered more on Amazon, and then dropped them, too.

The aesthetic of my yard right now? Dead sticks in creepy forest.

I tried to save them all. Or as best as I could considering we had several nights of sub-freezing weather, and I can’t really get too motivated with anything involving the word “sub.”

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New Year’s resolutions worth resolving

I don’t know what to make of our new year’s resolutions. My wife had resolved to be less judgmental. Then she declared that if I were any kind of a good person, I would pledge to be less critical.

“Less critical!” I erupted. “That is by far one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard you say.”

And whammo! Just like that we had blown up two perfectly good resolutions … in the span of the first couple minutes of 2018.


We’ll probably keep trying, though. We’re not the kind of people who take failure well. We don’t give up. That’s for stupid weak people who have … DANGIT! There I go again. OK, seriously, I’m really trying.

There are other ones I want to work on in the new year, too. Like learning whether there is any correlation between the amount of cake I’ve been eating and the fact that I’ve slipped a notch on my belt. Or how when it comes to running consistently, I’ve not only fallen off the wagon, but the wagon turned around, ran me over twice and then gave me a slice of cake. At this rate, I’ll be down another belt notch by June!

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Cold, Florida weather and the soothsaying acorns

Cold. So cold. Teeth chattering. Bones aching. Lips chapping. Dog not going outside unless I stand with the door open while screaming, “Be gone with you, wretched cur!!!” (My neighbors always pass by at the same, exact moment and report me to Animal Control.)

It’s not my fault: It’s winter, and my dog would prefer I put out a stack of newspapers and let her do her business inside. It’s cold out there, and she has no interest in braving it.

I don’t either. What is this chilly stuff? Is this not Florida, a state so immune to freezing weather that the snow shovel is listed as an endangered species?

The other day I had to go do the unthinkable: root around in my closet in search of — GASP! — a sweater. I didn’t even know I had one. It was moth-eaten and covered in dust — a relic from 1996 when I bought it as a joke, or to use as a rag while changing my car’s oil.

But after the cold snap this week, we Floridians could use a few sweaters. And some mittens and scarves and ear muffs … and about 17 batts of insulation to wrap around us with duct tape.

It is cold, and we don’t know how to hack it! I watched bleary-eyed at the weather map as a mass of light snow moved across north Florida toward Jacksonville. Ouch! Not a sight you see every day.

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