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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

From Northern Hardwood Forest to Mangroves in KW

In our homeland forest in Northern New Hampshire, I would be talking about Maple, Oak, Beech, Ash and Birch as some of the most popular and abundant of hardwoods. In Florida, I would be talking about, blank, blank, blank! I have no clue on their names, but I do know that I have seen some mighty awesome looking trees here in the Keys. I’ve got to educate myself and hopefully pass some of what I have discovered, here on my blog. What I know now is… Take pictures of some of these magnificent trees. A couple of them have plaques with descriptions. I will get back to this subject further down on this blog and possibly in future blogs.
Yesterday afternoon, we were at the soup kitchen for our second volunteer serving on the food line. It is amazing how they/we feed 100 people in twenty minutes or so. It reminds me a lot of my old Army days! At the end of the serving line, a 37 year old said he needed to go to the hospital. He said he had a hard time breathing, has high blood pressure and hadn’t taken his BP medication for a month. He said he was sorry and started to cry. There was some discussion about bringing him to the hospital. I had my pickup truck there, but I was very hesitant about bringing someone to the hospital. I kept thinking, what if he’s on drugs, what if he has a seizure, and a lot more what if’s. The correct answer was to call 911. Soon the ambulance and a police officer were on the scene. We stuck around to watch what would happen to the patient. They checked him out, did all of their on site evaluations and than allowed him to board into the ambulance. I guess we did the proper thing in calling 911. Many of the homeless people have a multitude of problems. They are all in need of assistance in one form or another and most are very grateful for what they get from the Soup Kitchen. Another unexpected outcome from volunteering at the Soup Kitchen was the age of the needy. I surely expected middle age men, down and out, but to see young men with haircut short enough to meet military standards, some wearing camouflage bush hats and backpacks. I wonder if they have a military history, PTSD or whatever. The one thing I do know is that they are in need of help! Men are not the only gender in the line. Women, young and old, some look like they could be our retired neighbors at the campground in Trumbo Point.
Sunday night it rained just enough to screw up the Bocce courts for our Monday morning round of Bocce down on White Street. It wasn’t cool this morning, but the clouds were occasionally very dark. Should we bike or not? The forecast, 20% chance of a shower… After a couple of false starts, a little drizzle, we stayed put and read our books close to home. Monday evening the skies cleared and I grabbed onto my Nikon. We took a three mile walk around the water front. I did get a couple of good night shots.
The weather up north is terrible, I’m told. The weather isn’t as nice as it was this time last year, but we’re thankful that we are here.
One Tree...One Person
The last couple of days we have been riding the bikes, crisscrossing the main arteries of KW and getting into more side and back streets. I’m amazed at the number of City of KW workers that are out and about beautifying the city. Most residents also pitch in and keep the maintenance on their properties updated. Every now and then, I stop and click a landscape front entry to someone’s home. Also on our quest are those amazing trees that I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. This Saturday, there is an open house at the Botanical Gardens, they, I’m told, have a couple of National Champion trees.
Sunday, Feb 15, 2015
Air Force checking in for the night at
our campground!
The Key West Tropical Forest and Gardens had an open house this past weekend. Many artist and vendors were present to sell their crafts and goods. The main reason for our interest was the fact that the Tropical Forest  has five National Champion trees and Challengers (runner ups). You would think they would have had a plaque or marker to help easily identify them from the many others clustered together. No dice! I just have the names, but no pictures. Cinnamon Bark, Milkbark, Wild Dilly, Locustberry, Pigeon Plum and finally Saffron Plum. I did get pictures of the Nation Champions down on Truman Ave by the Basilica. Key West definitely has some remarkable massive trees. The summer hurricane season does reduce their numbers, but they are still surviving here in the tropics.
Nearly looks hand painted!
Amazing flowers in the Tropics!
One of the most interesting vendors at the Gardens was the KW Botanical Garden Society Tours to of all places “Cuba”! I often talk about visiting Cuba and we both brought our Passports just in case. There are several different tours on different dates. The next one is called the Western Loop scheduled for March 17 to 24th, 2015. The Vinales is a red-earth pasture area known for Tobacco growing. The breathtaking National Park, “Vinales” is also a highlight I’m told. May 14-18, 2015 will be Havana Only tour. That’s the one I would be interested in. The May schedule is past our must leave KW campsite, so most likely that won’t happen either.

Night, Night until morning!
That is what we saw and did!


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