It’s Been a While

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Often when I wake up in the morning, I utter the phrase “Tempus Fugit” as it seems I am always running against the clock.  Over these past several months things have been more than a little hectic here in the Swamp.  For beginners, my loving 8-year-old autistic son has changed his sleep schedule in the mornings and afternoons.  He seems to be four-square against taking his afternoon naps and he loves getting up as early as he can.  This morning I actually heard him shout “YAY!” when he woke up and saw that it was light outside.  This is in stark contract to his father who would rather utter a dastardly-worded artwork of profanity and roll over in bed.  That is so not an option.

Meanwhile, my loving bride and I are once again trying to grow some vegetables in the yard and try (notice try) to bring the yard under some semblance of control.  This year that was made all the more difficult with the serious spread of the bamboo forest in my backyard corner.  It seems my long-time elderly neighbor has taken serious umbrage to the new bamboo shoots running into her yard near her blighted orange tree.  I did some reading and I discovered that if you aggressively cut any growth of the bamboo early as it shoots out of the ground, it will eventually stop spreading in the direction it is heading.   For the most part my yard is now bamboo free, but I am not cutting all the bamboo due to the presence of feral hogs in my yard.

I mentioned earlier that we had some pig problems.  Well one of the little porkers seems to have found a feeding ground in my side and front yard.  Less than 72 hours after we had cut the grass to make the front yard more presentable, this wee grunter rolled his happy little behind into my yard and ripped it up with his tusks and hooves.  By looking at the damage and the hoof marks I doubt he is more than 40 pounds, but he is an elusive little guy.  If there is an encounter I do hope it i with me and not the other members of my family.  That could get ugly and fast.

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Meanwhile we have decided to grow much of our crops in pots, instead of in the ground.  The unseasonably cooler weather this spring led to excellent growth with my pepper plants, despite the lack of rain.  We also decided to go with the smaller tomatoes because in the heat of the summer they tend to burst open just as they are getting ripe due to the heat.  That was experienced yesterday as the one Heirloom tomato we were planning to harvest today was ruined before it could pick it due to the heat bursting it on the bottom wide open.  I did manage to collect a couple of Grape tomatoes a few moments ago, however.  What I do know is my wife and I will likely need to move all these pots to shelter tomorrow as there seems to be a Tropical Storm (Colin) heading our way within 72 hours.  Who knows what damage this change in weather will do if we leave them where they are?

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Because the weather was so dry this Spring, the local gators were getting stressed.  You see, gators prefer not to leave the water if they can help it.  With the dry conditions, they clung to their ponds longer than normal, over-hunting them to the point where these guys were getting agitated due to hunger.  Not far from my office, our puny three-foot gator was displaced by an eight footer (as seen above) when we had a gully-washer come through.  The rain seemed to motivate them quite quickly as a ten-footer was discovered a few miles away trying to cross a major roadway.  I watched him a little the first time I saw this 8-footer and I noted he was not just actively hunting the marsh birds along the side of this pond, but he was also not afraid of people in any way.  I alerted the local game warden, who placed a trap for this guy.  The initial trap was rapidly trashed and, adding insult to injury,  the bait was consumed outright.  So a new trap was set.  In this picture you can see the gator sniffing at the bait, but he was not falling for it.  I will find out the latest on this saga when I return to work on Monday.

Oh and for those people who say that 16-18 footer at Palmetto, Florida seen on the news is not real, trust me he is very real.  I will note that about a decade ago I was lucky enough to be able to tickle the belly of a local 14-foot gator we had caught nearby.  And for the record he was tied and bound.  I am not THAT stupid.

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And then there are these Barred Owls.  They make a LOT of noise these days.  They usually arrive on scene about an hour or two BEFORE sunset and they stake out their perches for the night.  The one on the left scared me fairly well two days ago when he chimed off directly overhead as I was watering the crops.  Also, if you look closely along the bottom of the left picture you will see these green balls.  Those are the  Cypress tree seed pods that fall every even-numbered year so those will be hitting the roof of my truck and my carport within a month or two.

But in other areas the Swamp is slowly getting into its normal summer cycle.  We saw our first 90-degree-plus day this week and I am sure this will be a fairly common occurrence this year.  If the tropical system dumps enough rain, that should stoke the water/rain cycle well enough to have afternoon thunderstorms pop up every other afternoon.  Meanwhile, the deer flies are out now, as well as the horseflies making outside work a joy.  The tiger mosquitoes are down for the moment, but after some rain I am sure they will be back with a vengeance.  I am sure the locals will be monitoring the usual mosquito viruses, such as West Nile, and now they will be tracking the Zika virus.  Then there is word that a colony of Africanized Bees were destroyed up in my hometown area.  Joy.

I will say by trying to work with the land here I have a lot of respect for those agrarian homesteaders who tried to live here in the 19th century.  Nevermind the fact there was no air conditioning, I am appalled at the amount of plant blight caused by the abundance of oak leaves that give the local soil such a big acidity factor.  Plant blight is now hitting my azalea bushes and other plants and shrubs in my front yard.  These plants have been here longer than I have so this is new.  Believe me none of this stuff was ever mentioned by the Chamber of Commerce when I was sentenced here in 1995.

So as always, we take what Mother Nature provides us.  Bugs.  Pigs.  Gators.  Heat.  Humidity.  Blight.

Such is life in the Swamp….

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Spring in the Swamp

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(resting on a cool, early Spring morning)

Yes the temperatures outside are climbing after the six days or so of winter we had this season.  The local air force of gnats and mosquitoes are warming up, promising us a season filled with West Nile virus, malaria and now the Zika virus.  But before we get to those heart-warming events we have to get through one simple issue – tree pollen.

I looked at the local Weather Channel’s report telling me that we are in the Red Zone for pollen inundation.  No kidding.  David Carradine could breathe easier here on his last day on earth than what we can get into our lungs now.  (What?  Too soon?).  Every one of my co-workers and neighbors are sneezing, coughing while looking up with their red-stained, watery eyes and wondering when will be the next time they can take their allergy meds before getting behind the wheels of their vehicles.

Fortunately it rained earlier today and more is planned over the next 24 hours.  The local ponds and ditches look like the yellow version of the Exxon Valdez oil slick which I am thankful for.  I noted that the color is a mix of bright yellow and light green, which tells me the oaks AND the pine trees have all decided to procreate at the same time.  Lovely.

In the next few weeks I have so much more to look forward to for our spring activities.  As the temperatures get above 65, the local gators come out of their hibernation hungry and looking for love.  Soon, six to ten foot gators will be found resting in the local ditches just after being beaten up by much bigger gators.  They will be grumpy and most likely in need of relocation.  Maybe if I am lucky enough I can watch our resident eight-fingered gator collector come by and “harvest” a bull gator to relocate to another place (or his fridge).

I am sure you may be laughing at this stage of the article, but the sad thing is, I am being totally accurate in my descriptions of the Swamp has it awakens from its brief winter nap.  Oh sure, the locals will point out that the azaleas are now blooming and the dogwoods are also in blossom – that’s all and well, but I am more concerned about the hungry snakes looking for their first meals along with the starving wild pigs that seem to have taken a liking to my front lawn.

Yes I said pigs.  Call animal control?  Nope they won’t help.  They don’t “do” hogs.  Call the local constables?  Nope.  They will tell you that if these pigs are on your lawn you are allowed to shoot them.  I guess it is a new form of the Stand Your Ground Law against everything porcine.  My concern is if you do decide to shoot one of these hogs best have an escape plan as you will need it after you tick them off by your feeble attempt at lead poisoning.  Go at them with an RPG or just let them root out their next meal in peace.  Besides, if you miss and hit your neighbor’s house that creates a whole new set of issues.

Also with Spring comes the wind and the rain.  The wind never blows when you need it to – like in the summer when the temperatures are set to London broil.  Just living on the other side of the river from the state listed as the Lightning Capital of the country means that the storms will come in quick and sharp.  True we may not get the tornadoes as much as some other places in the south, but if one does not keep a weather eye to the sky you can be caught in some unfortunate situations.

For example today the winds are coming out of the Southwest around 10-15 knots.  This is the perfect conditions for a weather front packing wind, rain and any form of destructive weather that goes along with it.  Forget those gentle sea breezes that blow in the summer and fall, this is a “hang on to your hats” and other body parts as the rain is clearly on its way.  Yes it is flushing the pollen out of the air, but just as long as you do not get soaked before that sudden dose of electricity hits, all should work out just fine.

So here is the basic info about this time of year.  Just stay inside.  Hopefully you have HEPA filter in your office or home or you will begin to sound like a patient from a tuberculosis ward.  If you do go outside be sure you have watched the Weather Channel.  Not that I am a disciple of this network, but I do think some of the weather guys spend a little too much time outside some days.  When you are outside stay away from the areas where the pigs roam and the gators crawl – that is a good place to start.  And when you go outside be sure to wear the proper apparel – clothing in light layers and a gas mask for the pollen.

Such is life in the Swamp.

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(ready for work)

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(school kids at play)

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The Swamp Strikes Back

Fair warning, this post will not be for the faint of heart.  This will deal with several species of cockroaches that now live and have died in this area of the country.

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No we have not yet encountered Darth Roach as shown above, but we have some specimens here that can be just as tough.  But before we jump to the situation here and now, let me take you back to yesteryear, when things were not quite as rough…

Like I have mentioned, I grew up in Charleston, SC.  As Bill Murray of “Ghost busters” fame exclaimed recently to CNN, “We have bugs!  BIG bugs!”  Those bugs he was mentioning are the famous flying Palmetto Roach shown below.

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These flying pest are of a decent size and mass to get anyone’s attention.  The fact they fly too makes it all the more enjoyable.  A couple of years ago, a renegade palmetto bug crawled on my back while I was sitting in my living room.  Out of reflex I grabbed whatever “it” was and chunked it as hard as I could across the room.  My wife (of New England origins) was amazed not only when she heard the “Thump!” of the roach’s mass hitting the wall across the room, but also with the bloodlust I displayed in jumping up and quickly dispatching this same insect intruder.  What can I say, I don’t “do” bugs.

But from my Carolina origins, I also was aware of the nasty German Cockroach.  These mini-horrors have a super-quick egg-to-breeding-adult growth period that many would consider to rival Star Trek’s Tribbles.  Only these small critters are not warm and fuzzy like the tribbles.  They look more like this:

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These pests will infest a household in just a matter of weeks.  The only things that will get rid of them are deposits of Boric acid (a non-starter if you have kids or pets) or the Combat-brand Roach Tabs.  These enclosed tabs have Boric acid in them and the poisoned roaches who feed in there carry the poison back to the nests.  If there is an infected dwelling of these pests wait two weeks after deploying these tabs.  Then you will have nothing but roach corpses to clean up.  Oh by the way, I find it interesting that in Germany they call these pests Russian Cockroaches.  Even more curious, scientists place the place of origin to SE Asia.

Fast forward to 2012.  My wife and I were camping near Plant City, Florida – roughly halfway between Orlando and Tampa.  During this weekend trip, we were hit with a half a foot of rain.  Now I had been to this campground before and I knew of a spot that would get the least amount of flooding.  I was right.  What I did not count on was a complete infestation of all of nature’s creatures wanting to share the high ground with me.  Our tent complex was nearly overrun with what I thought were German roaches and fire ants.  The nasty twist to these German Roaches were they flew!  And really well!  Here is what they looked like.

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On the way back we were careful to isolate our clothes and tent gear.  Nothing came in the house back here in the Swamp unless it had been shaken, searched and left outside overnight.  We did manage to bring back more than a couple of these “riders” who decided my carport was their New World.  These new colonists were seen flying around my carport months after our trip.  Then suddenly, they were gone.  Why?  The Swamp got ’em.

Now I am not saying my carport is the insect version of the missing English colony of Roanoke only for roaches.  What I will say is there are plenty of hunters out there more than willing to welcome additional items to their insect menu.  “Stinkeye” the lizard and his buddies are more than capable of wrecking havoc on any host of insects that make their home here already.  These cockroaches, who I have found out are called the Asian Cockroach, just never had a chance to overcome the serious war of attrition that is the circle of life here.

This week I have heard that the Asian Cockroach is running amok down south of here in Florida.  That may be all fine and dandy down there, but they had better be ready if they intend to invade the Swamp.  I am not claiming that my Carport is some version of an insect Auschwitz, but anything wanting to live here had better be on their “A” game.

Such is life here in the Swamp.

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They’re BAAAAAACK!!!

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A couple of posts back, I mentioned that the wild pig population in my area of the Swamp was exponentially growing.  Now they are not as big as this specimen displayed above, but whatever decided to dig up my front and side yard last night was nearly as hungry.  I need to share with you readers exactly how my conversation went with my wife this morning.  Let me set the scene.

I left the house before dawn this morning to go the nearby grocery store.  (I had a lot to do today).  When I got back the sun was already up.  As I was carrying the groceries into the house I noticed the moles had dug new tunnels close to where we walk – which is unusual behavior.  Then I looked off to the front yard just under the windows to the Master bedroom and I saw where it had been dug up in weird patterns.  Immediately I knew the hogs had returned.  You see, they furrow into the ground with their tusks and they tend to make spirals.  In other areas I could see where it looked as if the grass had been dug up with a gardening trowel (or a hog’s hoof).  So I entered the house saying, “The hogs are back.  I’m going to go out and check on the damage.”

Now hogs are not subtle.  I could plainly see that they had come up from the railroad ditches in the back and had squeezed between the bamboo trees.  They had torn up the grass between the bomb shelter and my neighbor’s fence and had ventured as far as the front yard.  I could tell by this hog’s prints he/she was not a big one, and there were probably no more than two hogs involved (or the damage would have been a LOT worse).  I figured he looked a bit like this:

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So I came back in the house and mentioned the extent of the damage to the lawn.  My wife asked “How big do you think it was?”

I said, “About 120 pounds.”

She looked at me with that awesome look wives give their husbands and said, “Just how to you figure that, smarty pants?”

Now please understand at this moment all I could think about was to retort with some wise-crack.  They included:

(1) “Because that was the weight listed on his driver’s license.”

(2) “Because it is still out there.”

(3) “Because the hunters along the railroad tracks saw it.”

No, I know better.  I simply described the physical evidence I saw, and tried hard not to sound like Detective Colombo (look that one up in IMDB.com if it does not sound familiar.  Hey I’m old).

So for that brief moment in time, this morning, I felt semi-intelligent.  Not only did I predict the hogs return, but I could easily tell the size of our visitor.  That moment was fleeting, however as I had a lot of work to do.  Such is like in the Swamp.

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Killer Bunnies

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A number of years ago, my kids and I played a vicious card game called “Killer Bunnies.”  This demented and completely awesome game was about as cutthroat as a game can become.  The illustration above shows some of the bunnies one would posses in the game and believe me keeping your bunnies alive to be able to win at the end of the game was challenging enough.  (Queue the music “Let the Bunnies Hit the Floor”).

Today my wife and I were discussing the feasibility of raising rabbits in the backyard.  Normally this would not be a challenge to most folks, but don’t forget, I live the The Swamp.  This is the place where the most harmless swim will turn into a battle with gators, flesh-eating bacteria, or even worse – the locals.  Not all of them, mind you, just the ones who tend to spend just a wee bit too much time “enjoying” the outdoors.  Harsh?  Maybe, but after living in this place for over two decades I do have a unique perspective on life here.

But continuing down this through path, my wife and I agreed placing bunnies in a hutch outside would invite every predator within miles be it on the hoof, paw or wing.  One good predatory event (or bad, depending on perspective) would have these bunnies in cages lined up like a buffet line at the Golden Corral.  I understand rabbits breed like crazy but I think the war of attrition would still strongly be in favor of the hunters, not the hunted.

I recall that when I first moved here, we had a family of rabbits that would appear every evening around sunset to munch on the greens out behind my kitchen window.  I occasionally would toss out some carrots to them in the hopes they would return year after year.  I have not seen hide nor hare (I couldn’t resist) of them in over 15 years – I think they have gone off to the great hutch in the sky – until I saw this photo.

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Yes if it was a true rabbit from the Swamp here I imagine it would be as nasty and vicious as this momma rabbit.  Knowing my luck any wild rabbit here would make the rabbit from Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie look meek in comparison.  Where the squirrels are now scared to scrounge in my backyard due to the wildlife, I am sure there is a Rambo Bunny out there kicking butt and taking no prisoners.  If I see a rabbit out in my backyard sporting a red bandanna, I will do my best to take a picture while running in the other direction.  Hey, if Tim the Enchanter cannot best this beast, who am I to argue?

Such is life in the Swamp…

 

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Give Us this Day our Daily Plague

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All right folks, it’s storytime!  Time to sit back for a moment and I will tell you a tale that will leave you all warm and fuzzy inside.  Yes I am talking about our local plagues and diseases.

I find it interesting that whenever I spend a full day away from the Swamp, I breathe a lot easier.  When I am here in the Swamp, I stay in a state of rather persistent sinus congestion.  When I visit places in South Carolina, northern Georgia – even Mayport in Jacksonville, I actually can breathe significantly better.  I am not the only one who has made this observation.  My wife and both her teenagers have said the exact same thing here just recently.

That got me to thinking (a dangerous thing).  You see, when I grew up in Charleston, I remember the story about how, in the 19th Century, Drayton Hall’s plantation house was saved.  When the Federal army was “liberating” the locals of their worldly possessions late in the Civil War, they also had this tendency to burn whatever they could not carry off.  This included the houses of the local land owners.  The owners of Drayton Hall, who noticed their neighbor’s houses go up in flames one-by-one, decided to fly a flag in front of their house stating they were in quarantine due to an outbreak of small pox.  Not wishing to risk a deeper investigation at some personal risk, the troops in blue marched on to Middleton Place Plantation next door where they proceeded to burn down the main house and dig up the family cemetery plots to look for buried valuables.  The house that stands there today is merely the guest house and office – not the original dwelling.

Here in the Swamp during the 19th Century, they seemed to have this persistent problem with local plagues.  Unlike Charleston, this port had no quarantine station.  That was a problem.  So any trans-Atlantic voyage that would create the inevitable sicknesses involved with humans living in close proximity with poor sanitation had no filter to keep these maladies away from the locals.  Also, considering the eastern half of the Okefenokee Swamp drains into the St. Marys River, you honestly never could imagine what new horror of beast or pestilence would emerge from the fetid local waters.  The local cemetery here bears witness to these plagues which included outbreaks of Yellow Fever, Malaria, Small pox and so much more.  Think about that as you add in the features that the sand gnats and mosquitoes are horrific (as I have mentioned) and they used to slaughter cattle along the waterfront (again this is the 19th Century) before shipping off the “fresh” beef to the West Indies.

Bearing all of this in mind, I was thinking the other day that maybe I should set a “plague flag” in front of the house.  Although it would not be false advertising, I am sure the locals might take umbrage to a Hazmat symbol hanging from a flagpole in the front of my house.  I do know the missionaries sent to my part of the woods from a variety of the not-so-local churches do not visit my house anymore.  I wonder if it was due to the time I chatted with them on my front porch during the Spring when the bugs were at their worst?  I figured if they wanted to chat, I am sure the local bugs would appreciate the blood contribution.  After all, I am used to being chewed alive when I am outside.  I think back to that moment and believe that those Utah residents may not want to visit Georgia ever again after that evening.

So some, twenty years ago when I moved here, I once possessed a fairly keen sense of smell.  Not so much these days.  I have spoke with my personal physician and they have prescribed me a variety of medications that “might” help.  They don’t.  But maybe this is not such a bad thing because as they continue work on the local sewers (don’t get me started about that debacle), it does not seem to bother me as much as the other folks – even the nasty smells that flood the main intersection of Georgia Highway 40 at Spur 40 near the middle school.  The locals know the one I am talking about.

Such is life here in the Swamp.

And you wonder why the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is located in Goergia?  Well away from the Swamp!?

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The latest from the Swamp

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Over the past few months I have been blogging about life here in the Swamp.  As I have stated, I call it the Swamp by the fact I live downriver from one of the largest swamps in North America (the Okefenokee) and also by simply looking out into my backyard.  It sure looks like a swamp back there.  If you look at the map I have shown I live right under the area where its reads “Osborne Road.”

It is generally accepted that this place where I live is a small town in every sense of the word.  Some people like that.  As for me I grew up in the suburbs of Charleston (S.C.) where we did interact with Mother Nature – just not at the intimate level we do here.  I have mentioned before there was a transition time for me when I moved here in ’95 because I discovered flora and fauna living here that has yet to be imagined by the most exotic Science Fiction writers.  Being the self-proclaimed tree-hugger that I am, I figured my experiences in the marshlands and backwoods of Carolina would translate well to these woods.  I was wrong.  SO, so very wrong.

Lately, due to the unusual weather we have had this year, Mother Nature in this area has decided to write new chapters in animal behaviors.  There are things in bloom now due to the December temperatures in the 80’s that usually do not bloom until March.  To make matters worse, The winter allergies are also colliding with the early Spring allergies.  My dying chili peppers suddenly have found new life and are exploding in growth along with my chocolate mints plants and peppermint plants (I also see by the weather forecast where the temps are going to be near freezing in 48 hours).  I have seen a bobcat trying to make a home in my backyard, which means the pesky squirrels are all up in the trees nearly petrified in fright.  I know bobcats are shy of people and as long as these local ninja squirrels stay away from my house I can live with a freakishly shy predator in my backyard.  Then again, most felines are psychopathic serial killers and drama queens – just look at the common house cat.

One new development that has my attention now are the reports of feral hogs all up and down the coastal regions.  From the Saint Marys River (where the actual Georgia-Florida border is located) up to the Crooked River State Park are quickly becoming infested with feral hogs both large and small.  It seems the abundance of flora that grew during the massive amount of rain we received this year, which has been prolonged by the very warm temperatures, has led to a serious population explosion of the ugliest black hogs you have ever seen.  These foul-tempered beasts are angry (because they are pigs) and they are motivated.  When the food begins to dry up come the new year, they will be looking for food in all the wrong places.

Not to be deterred from a free meal, I spoke with some of the locals who are planning to take full advantage of the pork chops on the hoof running in their backyards.  I was told that these pigs cannot see green light, so they are ordering their Greenlight Scopes for their rifles now.  When deer season ends (and it will be over soon), then these porcine vigilantes will be out with the green lights, making pig noises in the dark to attract the fastest piece of BBQ ever created.  Nor that the locals are out in the woods at night making pig noises is unusual, but bear in mind they ARE armed.  Also, it seems word got out about the demise of the local’s version of “Hogzilla” who brazenly attacked a local game warden while he was fully armed and on duty.  Hogzilla is now peacefully located in that game warden’s freezer after he was processed by the local wildlife butcher.  As to the actual size of this monster all I can say is I did not see him personally, but I hear estimates are in the 400# range.

This past weekend, I was startled to hear gunshots on the railroad tracks behind my house.  I called the non-emergency line and asked if the local constables were aware of these gunshots.  They dispatched this nice lady officer who said it was fireworks.  I respectfully told her that it was not fireworks because I have been on enough gun ranges to be familiar with the rapport of a 12-gauge shotgun.  She laughed and said she knew that, but that she was telling the residents what she had been told to say.  She went on further to tell me that another off-duty police officer had phoned in a call describing the exact thing I was saying.  As we continued to talk she did mention that wild pigs had overrun the place where the old paper mill had been located – less than a half-mile from my house.  So likely it was either a pig hunter looking for a Christmas meal or somebody acting in self-defense to yet another creature of the swamp.  All I know was I would not going in my back yard without a spotlight that was strong enough to flag down a 747 on its final approach to Jacksonville Airport.

Now I know we have all heard of Murphy’s Law.  You know the one where if something can go wrong it will go wrong.  Well this year my wife and I decided after getting slammed with high water bills during the drought of 2014 we broke down and bought a water barrel to collect the water draining off the roof.  We knew Whole Foods in Jacksonville was selling them for $85.00 and it could hold up to 55 gallons.  It has a screen on top of the barrel to inhibit mosquito infestation and the barrel is clearly marked “non-potable water.”  To save money, we would use this water for cleaning and to water the plants outside with nature’s own water and not the city’s more expensive potable water.  So go figure, we get so much rain that the barrel regularly overfills and we only have used the water we have collected for cleaning the truck and scrubbing floors.  Why do I mention this?  Well my next door neighbor has lived in her house since it was built in 1960.  It was her late brother that built my house.  She asked me about the barrel, because she had no clue what it was looking at it from her yard.  Then she told me that when she was a little girl, they too would collect rainwater.  She said her mother would place a piece of copper in the water because it would taint the water enough to stop mosquitos from laying eggs in it.  I confessed I had never heard such a thing.  Needless to say, we found some copper to place inside the barrel within a day or two.

Again, knowing my luck, some pig will come by the middle of the night and jam his tusk into the bottom of the barrel right before another drought begins.  Call it a drive-by tusking….

So there you go.  We have bobcats chasing squirrels, pigs chasing game wardens, porcine vigilantes shooting at pigs in a warped “Stand Your Ground” shooting scenario and weather so out of whack that even Mother Nature is going, “what the heck…”

Such is life in the Swamp.

Ya’ll have a great Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Saturnalia and/or New Year.  I will be staying inside.

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