Gator sighting. The guy across the lake reported seeing a 3’ gator a few days ago. He’s new so I wasn’t sure whether we really had a gator or just a couple of turtles swimming close together. He reported that his grandkids were fishing off his dock and the gator went after their bait. Still………. Last night I went down to the dock to go fishing and both George and Harvey were down there casting frog lures for the gator. They said Harvey had hooked it but it broke through Georges fishnet. So no doubt, there’s really a small one swimming around. Probably not for too long. The other wildlife sighting was a turkey family – a mom and 8 youngsters. They walked around, pecking the ground, for about 10 minutes before walking off into the jungle. I’ve seen them a couple of times but this sighting was fun because it lasted so long and we were so close.

We’re in full summer mode now – low 90’s with regular, torrential afternoon thunderstorms. I think this week we picked up 6”-8” so the lake is risin’ and the fish are bitin’. We had a fairly dry June and the lake had dropped a couple of feet from the high in April. We’re still not back to that level but if this pattern holds, we’ll be there going into August. There’s usually a fairly strong wind component to these afternoon storms and the roof and gutters have loaded up with pine needles – enough to bother my bride. So I got out the ladder and went around the perimeter cleaning it off. I noticed a phenomena on the roof that has me puzzled. We have a metal roof held on by screws. These are stainless screws 2” long and I noticed that along one side of the house a screw was backed out about half way. Then I spotted another and another. Luckily they were on the edge row and the next row up but nothing higher than that. By the time I had finished that side of the house I had tightened 15-20. There are probably a thousand fasteners holding it down so it wasn’t in any danger of blowing off but I can’t imagine why they would back out – not stripped but backed out. I’m wondering if it happens again should I replace those screws with larger ones? It would be easy enough to do but I really hate to mess around with anything as basic as a roof.

For those who track such trivia – the tomato seeds I planted 4 days ago germinated overnight. That’s a day or so faster than I anticipated. I have 3 varieties each planted in a separate starter cup so I can keep track of them. I moved the variety that popped outside onto the screen porch. That should give them natural light but not direct sunlight. I usually move them under a grow light and keep them indoors so this is a different approach. I might alternate between inside and out to keep them from the really hot afternoons. Not sure yet. I expect the other tomato varieties to germinate inside the next 48 hours. The peppers and eggplant seeds should take another week. My game plan is to really baby these seedlings into healthy transplants.

The viburnum bushes we had cut back so severely are leafing out beautifully. Those bushes had lost all their leaves last winter to some kind of fungus so it wasn’t clear to me whether they were alive at all. Simon and I took the chain saw to them and figured it was 50/50 whether they would survive either the fungus or the pruning. The leaves coming in are bright green and super healthy looking and attracting loads of juvenile cardinals and wrens. Those bushes/trees were planted originally as a privacy hedge outside the large bathroom windows so with them gone, it’s wide open. That could bother some people but we now get a bird show or sometimes a squirrel show from the bathtub. I’m guessing that by mid October there will be plenty of privacy cover.

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