» posted on Saturday, February 28th, 2015 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton Posting From Arkadelphia, Arkansas – Joyce Kilmer loved trees, and so do I. Remember that line “I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree…”? I’ve been worrying about my trees way too much of late, at complete odds with Mother Nature. She might as well have been an axman, sending all those February ice storms and breaking limbs all over town. What the ice didn’t get, the power company finished, whacking away every straggling branch that dared come anywhere near a power line and forevermore ruining the shape of every hackberry and pine tree that was unfortunate enough to get planted along the Entergy right of way.
I started back in January trying to clear off those choking “exotics” (meaning, non-native plants that will take over a yard if you aren’t careful) that some quick-grow gardener planted long ago. Turn the house into a rental and neglect the yard for a few years and you’ve got a mess on your hands. A mess of privet hedge ten feet tall and as scraggly as a witch’s hideaway, wrapped with wisteria vines that would support both Tarzan and Jane, all underpinned with sneaky English ivy, which is strong enough to grow right through a windowsill. It just wedges itself through the tiniest crack! You know what I mean. Back down in the ravine, a totally wild and woolly spot at the end of 9th Street, the wisteria has shimmied its way to the top of 60-foot oaks, with no plans to stop twisting and vining and taking over the world.
But not in my yard! Not with White’s Manicured Lawns in town. Quincy White and his brother Dante have chain saws and other devices designed to “stop the madness” and after a few hours in January managed to get a ten-foot area all around the house cleared away. After the February ice storms, their work tripled, this time sawing downed limbs and making huge stacks out front for the city pickup.
My greatest fear during the ice storm was for the giant camellia at the side of the house. » read more
» posted on Monday, January 7th, 2013 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Tallahassee, Florida – “This plaque is dedicated to Senator Lee Wisenborn whose valiant effort to move the Capitol to Orlando was the prime motivation for the construction of this building.” A touch of humor, and a telling dedication. The nontraditional Florida capitol is the newest in the country, a modern 22-story tower that rises 307 feet from the public entrance on the Plaza Level to the Observation Deck. It is the fourth building to serve as Florida’s capitol; officially dedicated March 31, 1978. Immediately after its opening, restoration began on the Old Capitol, which sits in front of the new “like a jewel,” with white columns, picturesque grounds, and (although they were down the day I was there) red-striped awnings over the windows. The Old Capitol is a museum today, refurbished to its 1902 appearance, but it was almost bulldozed during the controversy over how to gain space, and where to do it. Tallahassee is not centrally located in the state now, but it was in the beginning. The Spanish colonies of East Florida and West Florida had capitals in St Augustine and Pensacola; the establishment of Florida territory in 1822 merged the two. The first session of Florida’s Legislative Territorial Council met at Pensacola; members from St Augustine traveled fifty-nine days by water to attend. The next year they met in St Augustine; western delegates traveled around the peninsula on a twenty-eight-day trek. That’s when they agreed on a halfway point, and that was Tallahassee, an abandoned Apalachee settlement. The third session, in 1824, met in a log-cabin; the precedent was set for Tallahassee as capital city. A two-story structure replaced the cabin in 1826; the third capitol was completed by 1845. And the fourth I’m standing in today, despite the “valiant effort” of Senator Wisenborn. » read more
» posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Tallahassee, Florida – Florida State University is famed for football, to be sure. The Seminoles just wrapped up their 2012 season with an Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois. But this post focuses on something else FSU is famous for, and that is the Florida State Circus. Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, and Children of All Ages, come see the show, come to be entertained, come for the color and the fanfare, come to learn some high-flying skills, because Florida State campus has a Big Top! This exciting program has been around since 1947 and was started when the school went co-ed. It’s not a degree program, it’s an extra-curricular activity under the Student Affairs division and was designed to give male and female students “something to do together.” You must be a degree-seeking student registered at FSU to participate. Unless you’re a lucky kid (between 7-17) in the Summer Program on the Tallahassee campus, or at the resort at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Which takes me back to 1973, when my kids were among those lucky kids. But first, about the Circus program itself. » read more
» posted on Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Tallahassee, Florida – The first day of the year is a perfect day for reflection. A glance over the shoulder and we can still glimpse the past, even though our feet are firmly pointed towards the new year ahead. But this year Floridians are giving the past much more than a quick glance; you see, it’s Florida’s 500th Birthday and Viva Florida 500 is about to begin. It was 1513 when Juan Ponce de Leon arrived on Florida’s east coast; the first group of Europeans to document such a landing, and to name the place La Florida. Florida’s documented material history dates back more than 12,000 years, but Spain’s claim in 1513 began a new era in human history; it was the foundation that eventually formed the United States of America. The legacy of Spanish Florida started with Ponce de Leon and continued when Pedro Menendez founded St Augustine in 1565, the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in North America. But Spanish explorers were not the only ones; the French established Fort Carolina in 1564; and the British displaced the Spanish in the late 18th century. Under these various flags lived settlers of multiple nationalities; today a number of different cultures thrive in Florida. Viva Florida 500 is about them all, celebrated with a year-long, statewide, big birthday bash. » read more
» posted on Monday, December 31st, 2012 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Tallahassee, Florida – Winter is in full swing now, and most of the snowbirds (aka people who hate freezing temps) have completed their annual migration south. South to Florida, the winter haven paradise. While you may think of southern Florida as the place to go for a winter retreat, I’m finding that Tallahassee offers year-round opportunities for carefree outdoor living. According to NOAA, it has snowed in Tallahassee only 32 times in the last 121 years; mostly trace amounts. Average that out and you’ll see that a dusting of snow may appear once every 3.77 years; not enough to keep a serious golfer off the course, or a serious fisherman off the water. I smile every time I walk outside as I gaze at these rolling hills and massive live oak trees. The Tallahassee area has vast tracts of unspoiled forests, spring-fed waterways, and wild coastlines. Visit Tallahassee, a magazine published by Leon County’s Division of Tourism, describes the area as a “rich tapestry of nature and human life.” And that’s not just marketing hype; visitors and residents fit easily into the environment here, engaged with nature’s many offerings. Did you know that nearly a million acres of public lands surround this capital city? There is always something to do outdoors and I’ll start with the granddaddy of them all, the Big Bend Scenic Byway. » read more
» posted on Saturday, December 29th, 2012 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Tallahassee, Florida – The big story near the end of November every year is the story of a feast. It’s called the “First Thanksgiving in America” and depicts Pilgrims and Indians gathered around a table, celebrating a bountiful harvest. The focus, often presented by kids in tall hats on a school-play stage, is gratitude and cooperation. The Pilgrims came in peace, to settle in a new country, but didn’t know diddly squat about surviving in their new surroundings. The equally peaceful Indians gave them a hand, showing them how to drop a dollop of fish into the hole before planting the seeds of native corn and squash, provided by said Indians. The fish was good fertilizer; the crops grew bounteously; and harvest time was a time for feasting together, in peace. It’s a great story, or legend; it’s the way we like to think of the settling of what became the United States. Less fuss is made over the “First Christmas in America” however, at least, what likely was the first Christmas; it happened within a mile of Florida’s state capitol building in present-day Tallahassee. Go back to 1539, and imagine Spaniard Hernando de Soto, and his winter encampment there. It is probable that a Christmas Mass was held. But don’t conjure up images of a joyful celebration with the neighboring Apalachee Indians, for de Soto did not come in peace. » read more