Fire Danger

The pre-season garden is coming along nicely. I’ve got 11 (out of 12) green pepper starts and 12 (out of 12) tomatoes of 4 different varieties. With respect to the green pepper plants, started first, I’ve moved them from the starter bed into individual peat pots and from indoors to outside. The night time temps are staying well above 50 degrees so they should be safe. If not, assuming I don’t forget, they can be back in the house in about 10 seconds. Weather permitting, I think these guys should be garden ready early March and at the same time, I’ll have a row cleared and ready for them. Later this week, I’ll start the egg plant seeds – planning a dozen, six of two different varieties. Also planting seeds (indoors) for jalapeno and tomotilla for Tommy’s salsa. I did a really poor job on timing the tomatillo last year so I’m under a bit of pressure to restore my reputation. The squash planted last month, under cover, is still doing quite well. This season should be a smooth transition with very few blank spots. If all this sounds simple and straight forward, it’s taken me 5 years to get it all coming together like this so I can crow a bit.

We’re getting into the big bass season. Tom is starting to nail them in his area which is usually a couple weeks ahead of us. It’s a water temp thing and a couple degrees makes a big difference. In my serious fishing days, I would be hitting South Florida, as in Lake Kissimmee or Lake Okeechobee in January, the East and West Lake area in February and our Northern region in March. Now I just wait it out and intermix salt and fresh water fishing. The salt water fish are not so temperature sensitive and I enjoy the variety of the catch – when you get a strike on the Tomoka River, it could be any one of a dozen different kinds of fish and anything from a few ounces to a hundred pounds. You never know what the next cast will bring. The downside to that is the regulators have assigned different seasons, different size restrictions, and catch limits to each and every species. And those regs are different from county to county so either you adopt a policy of throwing everything back or keeping a rule book on hand. It’s probably the best argument for getting an Iphone I’ve seen yet. Not for me – get a mental of picture of bringing a large, flopping fish onboard the kayak and then dropping the phone in the river.

We have a large forest fire raging about 3 miles away, another controlled burn that’s gotten out of control. The fire is west of us and the wind yesterday was from the South so no immediate problems (for us). The highway between Ormond Beach and Ocala is shut down just west of here and the press is saying it may be a few days before it can be reopened because of heavy smoke. That’s our main route to Gainesville so it’s a good thing the Ultimate Frisbee league only plays on Sunday and it’s only Tuesday.

Got a body blow yesterday when I went to the local feed store to get some more rat poison. The proprietor said that the “new” rat poison law has gone into affect so I won’t be able to buy it any more. He said that only professional exterminators and farmers could buy it under the new law. I’m going to try another feed store to make sure this guy knows what he’s talking about. Wonder what it takes to be an official farmer. Probably there’s something in the rules that will define me as an amateur and not qualified to take on the rats. It’s supposedly a Florida law so it probably means that I’ll have to pick up a case or so on our next out of state trip. You just know a law like that wouldn’t play in Georgia or Alabama.

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