Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Online Under the Liverwort

Tuesday began with a cool drizzle dampening my head as I loaded a few bins into the car before driving the twenty-one miles south to the house nestled among trees on Old Dixie Lane. There was a storm warning for this area last night and it was immediately obvious that rain had muddied the road as well as refreshing all the green. The good and surprising part was the sight of a road grader already out making sure the surface was both firm and free of standing water. The happy sight for me was the liverwort’s return to lushness. The plant is something called a bryophyte that has no roots, reproduces by spores and is often found on trees and rocks. What strikes me as strange is its ability to curl up and turn brown for days or weeks at a time, looking for all the world as dead as can be. Then it rains and suddenly it comes to life again, vibrant and pure green wrapped around the trunks of trees.

Arrival was earlier than usual today because the Internet guy was coming and I wanted both desktop and laptop set up and ready for his connections. As it happened, most of his work was out in the backyard setting up the dish on a pole and then getting the cable from there to the side of the house where it comes through the wall into the master bedroom. Turns out it was the perfect point of entry for my arrangement. When the bed is delivered and put in place it will cover both the connection box and the wireless router that provides a Wi-Fi connection anywhere around the house and yard. I have here a stronger and more reliable Internet connection than I had at any time living at the beach. There were always, always problems there and I could never be sure when the Internet connection would be down. Goodbye to all that and it’s worth every penny.

Water out here is from a well requiring a big bag of salt pellets poured into the well ‘filter’ (filter is a guess) once a month to soften the water. What I didn’t know until today is that the added salt makes the water bad for all the trees and plants I’ve been watering the past few days. My neighbor told me today that it’s best to use the two big barrels of rain runoff for watering. On two sides of the large utility shed barrels are set up to catch the water from the drains and each has a nozzle to which a hose can be attached. From now on I had best use that water for the lemon, lime, apple, Japanese plum, frangipani and palm trees, as well as the other flowering plants all over the front and back yards. Living in the country comes with its chores.

My other neighbor down the road is coming tomorrow to cut the grass, which he looked at today and figured was due for a cut. Said I might not get out here tomorrow because of obligations and last minute preparation for the movers coming on Thursday morning, but Manny told me not to worry. “No problem. I’ll just jump the fence,” he said. I repeat myself, but the area to be mowed is something like one acre, which Manny is happy to cut for a case of Budweiser. He calls it “one hand washing the other” or neighbors helping each other out when they can. Without a car, he sometimes needs a ride to the small store about three miles away. A case of beer and a ride to the store… Can anyone tell me where to find a better deal for cutting so much grass in ninety degrees and ninety-five percent humidity?


  1. Had not thought about the fact that the salt in the well would make your water not usable to water the plants, but it is so. Rainwater does make things come alive.

  2. No matter where the paradise is--beach or country--there are chores associated with it. Identifying the birds and plants will be an ongoing and enjoyable project. Saving you from the heat and exhaustion of grass cutting, taking Manny to the store for a case of beer hardly seems much of a chore and that's a good thing. When you are hot and sweaty from plowing the north 40, you can always rinse off with water from the rain barrels. As Willa Cather might have said, O Pioneers!


About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America