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Surviving Year-Round in a Seasonal Town

Blue sky to the north and a mean storm rolling in from the south came together to pose for a beautiful picture.

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com Doldrums – a state of inactivity or stagnation; a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits. The term “summer doldrums” is new to me, but apparently it describes what I’ve been experiencing but successfully fighting off. How does a person of modest means ensure survival when home is a place that lives and dies by the season? I admit, I’m no expert, but this Ohio girl is trying to quickly acclimate to her new home, and I’ve learned a few things along the way. When I think of survival, I think of basic necessities: food, clothing ... Read More »

Butterfly Time of the Year

Zebra longwing Florida state butterfly

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com July is here. What does that mean? It’s summer in Florida? Yes, but it is also the start of the full blown butterfly season. In Southwest Florida, we have a year round butterfly season. While numbers of butterflies like Monarchs and Yellow Sulfurs will migrate, many of the same and others stay in South Florida and prosper year round, much to the delight of all those crazed butterfly enthusiasts living here. In spring, summer and fall, the numbers of these little flying flowers rise dramatically because the temperatures are warm just like they like it ... Read More »

Hiking with Henry Lowe: North of the Isles of Capri

PHOTO BY ALVIN LEDERER

COASTAL HISTORY Craig Woodward CWoodward@wpl-legal.com A conversation led to my taking a walk in the woods with Henry Lowe accompanied by Steve Purcell. We were on an expedition to hike the 1912 old Marco Road and seek out the location where Henry had lived as a child. Armed with bug spray, we headed north of Capri Boulevard and followed a hiking trail into the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Preserve. We quickly found that the trail was not used much as we were forced to climb over fallen trees, push through dense brush and fight heavy vines. Henry pointed out ... Read More »

Home Remedies, Myths or Facts?

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

PLANTTALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com There is a saying that insects will inherit the earth. Well, in Florida they already have so we better just get over it. You aren’t the only one looking forward to harvest time in your flower and vegetable gardens, so are your neighbors. I’m referring to insects, of course. And, you don’t want to be hosting a veggie buffet for all the bugs in your neighborhood. Sure, there are effective pesticides that will quickly rid your garden of these hungry invaders, but before resorting to harsh chemicals, why not give some of these popular home remedies ... Read More »

Independence Day

Birds of a feather!! Goodland's favorite winged-resident, Pirate, and his feathered friend, this year's Buzzard Queen. Pretty ladies got a "hello" and a wave.

GOODLAND LIFE  Melinda Gray  melinbrya3@yahoo.com Living in a seasonal town is still very new to me. Though I am trying to acclimate quickly, many unfamiliar things about my home continue to surprise me. My July 4th memories have always been made of Hallmark staples: red, white, blue, family, fireworks and food. But, they also were tainted by the woes of over-planning and stress. I expected this year to follow that time-tested recipe, sprinkled with a touch of homesickness. The sheer distance from my son, family and friends all but guaranteed a lonely, wistful holiday. Contrary to my expectations, this Independence Day ... Read More »

The Anatomy of a Rumor

Collier County water department workers  directed the light flow of traffic in and out of Goodland on June 16. PHOTOS BY MELINDA GRAY

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com It’s a well-known fact that big news, or any news for that matter, travels fast in a community as small as Goodland. It’s also widely accepted that as news travels farther from its source it tends to lose the original, factual information in favor of a more dramatic, sensationalized version. In short, minor issues feel like major happenings, especially this time of year. I recently experienced this phenomenon first-hand when what eventually proved to be a routine, short-lived inconvenience was all anyone could talk about in the days leading up to the morning of June ... Read More »

The Magnificent Trees of Spring

Golden Chain Tree Flower

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com Those of us who have a large piece of property and want some shade need to take these three trees into consideration. All you need to do is take a ride around any of the older neighbors in town and you will fall in love. Try 6th Street — right off of 5th Avenue in Naples — and also 4th Avenue, you’ll be happy you did. First is the royal poinciana (Delonix regia), also known as the flamboyant tree from Madagascar, and once you have seen, it you will know why. I think it is ... Read More »

The Long Trip Home

One last walk along our private Lake Erie beach.

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com The mission: a seemingly impossible road trip with the ultimate goal of packing up the last of my worldly possessions. I’ve got to gather what’s left in Ohio and bring it all back home to Goodland. I hear the “Mission Impossible” theme song in my head every time I think about the gravity of the situation, but it’s time to say goodbye to what was and start laying some permanent roots. I will admit, in the weeks leading up to this mission I wasn’t looking forward to seeing Ohio. The daunting 24-hour drive promised to ... Read More »

Plumeria in Florida

PHOTOS BY MIKE MALLOY

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com Like a beautiful butterfly emerging from a plain brown chrysalis, magnificent blossoms sprout from seemingly lifeless branches every spring. Plumeria, also known as Frangipani, are colorful tropical shrubs or small trees native to Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. They are readily available in pink, red, yellow, white and every combination in between. Plumeria are extremely popular in Hawaii, where they grow in abundance. Leis, the famous flower necklaces given to tourists upon their arrival, are made from Plumeria blossoms. Fun fact: In many Polynesian countries, women wear a blossom behind their ear ... Read More »

Marco Makes Strides Against Breast Cancer

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AMERICAN CANCE SOCIETY CARES Lisa Honig In 2013, a group of passionate volunteers led by Marco Island American Cancer Society board member Monte Lazarus worked together with the American Cancer Society to hold a “Luau Against Breast Cancer.” For a first-time event we had a wonderful response from the community with support from First National Bank of the Gulf Coast, Hammock Bay Golf and Country Club and the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort and Spa. This year’s event will once again be held in October (date/location TBD) and the first planning meeting will take place on June 23, 2014 in ... Read More »

On the Shady Side

Shade

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com When most of the flowering plants and shrubs are struggling to thrive in the hot summer sun and waiting for the “cooling” afternoon showers, there is a group of plants that might be a little bit smarter. They thrive in the shade. Not only are these shade plants doing just fine, they are blooming. In Florida, shade takes on a different meaning than the shade “up north.” I don’t think we have the same deep shade areas in Florida as they do up north because the sun is so intense here. It’s lower in the ... Read More »

It’s That Time Again…

Used traps are pulled and stacked. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com The smell of crab traps in the open air — after months of being underwater — is a tell-tale sign of the end of stone crab season in Southwest Florida. “It’s quite pungent over there,” said Pat Kirk, the matriarch of the Kirk family and owner of Kirk’s Fish Company. Anyone living or passing by Kirk’s downwind can confirm that, as over the past month crab traps have been systematically pulled and stacked next to the store in preparation for cleaning and repair. May 15 was the last day to legally collect those delicious stone ... Read More »

If We Build it, Will They Come?

Goodland enjoys 2 county parks inside her very modest amount of land, pictured above is Margood Park. PHOTOS BY MELINDA GRAY

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com “Water, water, everywhere, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” Summer is quickly approaching, and with it come the horror stories warning first-timers like me of mutant bugs, face-melting heat and the unbearable boredom to come. Of course, I don’t believe everything I hear, but I do feel a kind of “something wicked this way comes,” and I have started to brace myself accordingly. In my search for ways to keep the family cool this summer, I’ve noticed ... Read More »

Mosquito Repellent Plants

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com With the snow birds leaving, the temperatures rising and the rains on the way, it is a sure sign summer is fast approaching. This all means the year-round residents of South Florida begin to retake paradise. To help us enjoy the outdoors more, we can plant certain plants that help repel mosquitos from our outdoor living spaces. Most insect–repelling plants do so with their natural fragrances that come from the oils in the leaves and flowers. Be sure to plant them in containers on patios or by the front and back door. The plants I ... Read More »

The Goodland Good Life

Dub holds up his prize proudly. (left) J.W. "Dub" Abbott will celebrate his 100th birthday next month. (right) SUBMITTED PHOTOS

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com Life has been good in Goodland for J.W. “Dub” Abbott, who will turn 100 years old this month. The Drop Anchor resident was born May 2, 1914, in Checotah, Oklahoma, to Wayne and Beulah Abbott, who had five other boys and one girl; his youngest brother is only 93 years young. He says his mother gave him his initials because her other sons had all been given nicknames, and she didn’t like that. She thought that her method would prevent him from being nicknamed; he’s been known as “Dub” all his life. Growing up with ... Read More »

Together We Will Finish The Fight

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AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY CARES Lisa Honig On April 12 and 13, community teams, friends and family descended upon Mackle Park for 14 hours to “Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back” at the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. This year, the signature event was presented by one of our long time supporters, Robert J. Flugger. The theme was “A World of Hope,” and all of the teams selected a country to inspire them beginning with fundraising to campsite decorations to the food sold by their teams. There was a tremendous cultural and international vibe at the event, and participants and guests ... Read More »

Mussaendas in Bloom

Mussaenda 'Queen Sirikit'

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com Sightings of the Tropical Mussaendas are becoming more frequent in South Florida gardens. Making them colorful standouts amongst the mainly green Florida landscapes. There are over 150 varieties with only a handful seen here in South Florida landscapes. They are native Africa to Asia and are members of the coffee family (Rubiaceae). This plant also is commonly known as Tropical Dogwood. The names of the different Mussaendas were derived from the names of the First Ladies of Philippine Presidents. Mussaendas are attractive shrubs that can reach the height of 12-15 feet, but can easily keep ... Read More »

Four Month Frenzy

My mom, the 2014  Buzzard Queen, dressed incognito for the Mardi Gras Goodland Boat Parade. (left)
My son and daughter at the Old Marco Lodge on a fun Sunday night. (right) PHOTOS by MELINDA GRAY

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com As this season, my first here in Goodland, draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on what it means for me. I’ve made so many friends in just a few short months. Some will go north for the summer and come back next season; some I expect to say farewell to permanently as they continue on from here; and some will stay in Goodland, and we will pass the long, hot summer together. I can honestly say I am looking forward to the emptiness of the island, but will also miss all of the ... Read More »

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia species)

Queen crape myrtle. PHOTOS BY MIKE MALLOY

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com I’d like to introduce you to one of South Florida’s most magnificent landscape plants…Crape Myrtle. Originally grown in Japan, China and parts of Southeast Asia, it’s the supermodel of the plant world. It’s beautiful and a real head turner, of course, but crape myrtle is versatile too. You can have it in either shrub or tree form and in a myriad of colors, including purple, white, pink, red or a combination of colors. Even the bark on this plant is attractive! The lovely crape myrtle blooms all summer long and into the fall, with long-lasting, ... Read More »

Copperleaf: A Rainbow of Colors in the Garden

Copperleaf plants vary in color from pink, red, green and white…

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com Native to Fiji in the South Pacific, the Acalypha — better known as Copperleaf — group of plants has the most colorful foliage I’ve ever seen. They can turn your garden into a spectacular, unending kaleidoscope of color. Under perfect conditions, they will grow to 10 feet and just as wide, but they can be kept to any desired height with just a little trimming. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, mostly hidden by the colorful foliage. Copperleaf comes in a large variety of leaf shapes, ranging from large and oblong to round and fringed to ... Read More »