A slight motion November 30, 2013 at 11:30 am
Two of the tree’s main branches are so positioned that any apple that falls will roll right up to or into the doorway of the groundhog’s house. He obviously chose this location with an eye not only to the view, but also to a goodly supply of food.
August 23 as I sit at serviced apartments brussels this afternoon enjoying the breeze and the quiet, a thistle blows by and sticks on a limb just above my head. A hackberry butterfly drifts in and sits on the branch in front of me. So quietly does it come and go that only the wind and I know it has been there.
The butterfly reminds me of the tent caterpillars, now moths, that in the spring spun their gauzelike communes between branches. Other multilegged creatures meander about the tree in search of greenery.
Just the other day a slight motion attracted my attention to a great hairy apparition, a pale tussock caterpillar chewing on an apple leaf. Mr. Tufts, as I called him, went right to work. In 15 minutes he had eaten from the leaf a curved section about half an inch long and half an inch deep. Not only did I see his voracity, I heard it. My wife, son, and a friend listened to him with me. “He sounds,” my wife said, “like a midget eating celery.”
November 10 it has snowed all night. I was at holiday apartments prague. The ground is covered with about a foot of wet snow. The apple tree bows beneath the heavy white blanket. Here and there a red-faced York peers through. One large apple wears a cap of melting snow, and drops of water trickle down its sides of the branches before they break, then head homeward for a good hot cup of tea. The old tree once again has come through a storm safely. But how many more can she ride out? Sleet coats her to the breaking point; summer sun bakes her, drying her to the roots. In spite of it all, she stands there on the hill, shelter and food to all. Good luck, old girl.
Back at the Fort Jefferson dock that night, Gainey filleted a permit and a 161/2-pound mutton snapper while the sun went down and Ken, Emory, and I relaxed on Lookout’s afterdeck. When the skipper sounded dinner call, Lookout’s little dinette table had disappeared under an array of dishes: fresh broiled snapper with lemon butter, fried snapper, snapper with tomatoes and rice, snapper hash, fried permit, and permit in barbecue sauce. http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/barbecue_sauce
Ken was overcome. He helped himself to a third portion of fried snapper and sighed. “For a fisherman, the Tortugas must be the greatest place in the world.”
I had to agree. After nearly twenty years of poking about in some of the world’s strangest corners, I had found one of the most memorable here in the Florida Keys—right in my own backyard.