Monday, February 7, 2011

Revisiting America

Yesterday, Sunday, February 6, I attended Sugarloaf Baptist Church which had 38 in Bible study, 63 in worship service the previous Sunday.  Nice people, a good mixture of adult and children, many activities for all age groups, no choir, a pianist about my age, young girls leading the singing, and a very good message, from John 10: 1-10, concerning True Abundance.  Jesus is the only door ro rhe presence of God, and Jesus is the only door to abundance.  Wonderful reminder of the greatness and wonder of God.
Had planned to spend the afternoon doing nothing but after a computer check we discovered the computer wasn't working.  This prompted a trip to Marathon only to prove the computer was okay but our plug-in was faulty.  Why not go the grocery while we're in Marathon rather than another trip another day?
Have established somewhat of a routine each morning, walking my two and a half miles, but what a difference in the scenery.  I'm walking down a wide, palm-tree-lined street, every size, style, color house you can imagine, beautiful yards, many people out walking, riding bikes, leading dogs, children waiting on the school bus, 70o temperature, every one speaking.  What more could you ask?  Betty Dumas, I apologize for the "run-on" sentences, but that is how I write.
Very interesting information on the Sabal palm tree, the state tree of both Florida, and South Carolina, our next month.  In 1970 the State of Florida approved legislation which replaced the cocoa tree on the Great Seal of Florida with the sabal palm as the state tree.  Thought you would like to know that.  This palm is also known as the cabbage or palmetto palm, one of 15 species of the palmetto palm.  They grow up to 65 feet in height with a trunk up to 2 feet in diameter.  The flowers are yellowish-white, produced in large compound panicles up to 8.2 feet long that extend out beyond the leaves.  The tree is very cold-hardy and is tolerant of drought, standing and brackish water, but thrives on regular light watering and  regular feeding, tolerant of salt winds, but not saltwater flooding.  This palm is one of several palm species that is sometimes used to make heart of palm salad, but when the heart is extracted this kills the palm because the terminal bud is the only point from which the palm can grow, the palm would not be able to replace old leaves, and would eventually die. They have good hurricane resistance, but are often over-pruned.  Most yards have some dead fronds lying around.
My next information concerns the competition I'm having with a "green iguana" for the yard space facing the canal.  Like to sit in the sun or lay around and sun, but haven't been too sure about the movement of the iguana should it decide to wander over where I am.  A herbivore, that grows up to 4.9 feet in length, and could average a bodyweight of 20 pounds, is commonly found in captivity as a pet, due to its calm disposition and bright colors.  They are not on the endangered species list, but their trade is controlled so as not to harm the species in the future.  They are popular in the pet trade and as a food source in Latin America, or could it be some of the Key West meat I'm eating? 
Green iguanas are often found near water, agile climbers that can fall up to 50 feet and land unhurt because they use their hand leg claws to clasp leaves and branches to break a fall , prefer to stay on the ground for warmth during cold, wet weather, remain submerged when swimming letting their four legs hang limply against their side, but propel through the water with tail strokes. 
These iguanas come in different colors, bluish with bold black markings, green to lavender, black, and even pink.  Many are bright blue as babies that lose this color as they get older.
They possess a row of spines along their backs and tails which helps to protect them from predators.  Their spines can deliver painful strikes and like many other lizards, when grabbed by the tail, allow it to break, escape, and eventually regenerate a new tail.  Iguanas have well developed dewlaps( a large sac hanging from the head) which regulate their body temperature, and also use this in their courtships and territorial displays.  Their  vision is excellent, enabling them to detect shapes and motions at long distances.(  I will lay still while sunning). Their very sharp teeth are capable of shredding leaves, even human skin(whoops).
If frightened the iguanas will attempt to flee, and if near water, dive into it and swim away.  If cornered by a threat, they extend and display the dewlap, which I've told you about, stiffen and puff up its body, hiss, and bob its head at the agressor.  If the threats persists the iguana lashes with its tail, bites and uses its claws in defense.  "Head bobs, and dewlaps are used in social interactions, such as greeting one another, or possibly to court a mate,  The frequency and number of head bobs have particular meanings to other iguanas.  Think I'll try this out on Janie.  Well, now you know what I'm facing to be able to sun.  So far today, he's not even shown himself so maybe I'm safe.  I'm a fast walker and have timed myself to get to the steps before he can move, or I can keep some leaves, flowers, fruit and some growing shoots of over 100 different species of plants they eat near me to throw at him.  So, after this long dissertation about the iguana, I'm on my way to the yard for a sun.  Tomorrow, we have contacts in Key West, haircuts scheduled, I've been trimming my own so that has to change, and just sock up more of this wonderful atmosphere.

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