Lake Wales, FL – Sep Update

Well, another month has come and gone and I continue to thoroughly enjoy my time here at the Home Base.  The weather is just now starting to cool down a bit, so I know beautiful outdoor weather will soon be upon us.  I can’t wait!  During this past month I have done some visiting, and continue to work on some projects.  More on that below.

Visiting Family & Friends

I’m starting to catch up with family, and also getting to see some friends.  First off, I spent a couple days at my brother Gerry’s ocean-front condo in Satellite Beach.  Wow – what a view!  I’m honestly not a huge beach fan, but I could certainly get used to that scenery every day.  He is so high up in the building and is so close to the water, that it almost seems like you are in a cruise ship looking out over the open ocean with no land in sight.  For entertainment, there are lots of surfers in the water, and a perfect view toward Cape Canaveral for a front row unobstructed seat to watch the rockets launch.  Truly amazing views.  And sitting out on the porch listening to the ocean and feeling the constant breeze was certainly very soothing.  He’s really got a very cool place there.  My other brother Don, who just recently returned to his Florida home after having spent the summer in New England, also came up to Satellite Beach and spent a couple days.  So I got to spend some time with him as well.

Then a week or so later, my brother Dave and sister-in-law Debbie (and super dog Dexter) drove down to my RV Home Base for a visit.  They were my first visitors to the new RV lot, and it was great catching up with them as well.  After a tour of the homestead, we had a quick lunch, then headed out to Lake Wales to visit a couple of the local attractions.  We went to Spook Hill and did the optical illusion trick with the car.  Was very cool!  Then we drove to Bok Tower Gardens to see if we could get a peek without actually going in.  It was far too hot to walk around the gardens on the day of their visit.  Sadly, the entrance gate is too far back from the actual garden to see anything useful.  So, we’ll have to plan an actual visit to the garden for later this winter when the weather is more appropriate.

Lastly, a partner of my former workmate Gail came down to Orlando to do a final closeout on his apartment as he is relocating back to New Jersey.  Like myself, Anthony is a connoisseur of fine Sushi.  So, we made plans to get together for a nice Sushi lunch In Orlando while he was in town.  Usually I like to get a photo shot just after the Sushi arrives – mostly because it usually comes nicely arranged.  But, we were both so hungry and the Sushi looked so good, that we dug in and actually made it vanish before remembering to take a picture.  So, just a photo of the two of us and an empty table this time.

Home Base Projects

Besides the seemingly constant mowing of the damn lawn, I’ve been keeping busy with other projects around the yard.  One of those projects was to install a flagpole.  I actually bought this flagpole just over a year ago, and had been dragging it all around the country in my RV travels.  It was bought to replace one that got damaged from a wind storm.  Since that one broke, I figured I’d try a slightly larger one, and one made of aluminum in lieu of fiberglass.  Unfortunately, it was too big to fit into my ladder-mounted flag holder, so there in the basement of the RV it sat as I meandered my way around the mid west.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I was ever going to do with it, but now that I have a place of my own, that problem solved itself.  So I got a ground sleeve, a shovel, and a bag of no-mix cement, and commenced to get the sleeve secure in a hole.  The flagpole is 20′ high, and with a newly purchased solar  powered spot light for night time illumination, this flagpole will be a nice addition to the landscape.  However, you’ll have to wait until next months’ blog to see the final result as the concrete is still curing as of this writing.

On a more significant basis, I’m also working on a project to install a paver patio and fire pit.  I’m very fortunate to have a nice size lot where I’ve got the space to accommodate this.  This project has two purposes – one to give me a nice seating area to enjoy wonderful cool evening campfires (with S’mores and Banana Boats), but to also reduce the amount of damn grass that needs to be mowed!  Anyway, I started this project with the bare ground, played around with a couple of chairs and some tape measures to get a sense of how big I wanted to go, then outlined the ground for what will be the 15 foot round patio, with a squared off edge to do a driveway tie-in.  I also used some computer magic to overlay a representation of what I was looking for onto a picture of my actual yard.  So the picture at top left is not a finished project, but rather a virtual rendering of what I’m trying to accomplish.  I’m currently in the contractor estimate phase, and hope to award the job in the coming week.  I’ve been told this type of work is quite busy now given all the people who are home bound and have nothing else but time to dream up similar projects on their own.  So, it may take from 4-8 weeks to get the pavers, and to schedule and finalize the install.  So again, pictures of the final result will have to wait until a future blog.

Banana Tree

One of the really cool features of the landscaping that the prior owners had done was to plant a banana tree.  I’ve been told it started out as a small tree when planted, but has since grown very tall and continues to produce new shoots along its base.  My neighbor tells me that it should produce banana fruit soon.  But not the Chiquita variety you find in grocery stores, but rather smaller finger-like bananas.  In fact, that same neighbor mentioned to me the other day that he’d seen fruit growing on another neighbors tree.  I was curious to see what it looks like when it produces fruit, so I moseyed on over to the yard of the not-as-yet occupied homestead, to check out their tree.  What I saw was amazing!  It was a standalone downward growth out of the middle of the tree, with tiny bananas and some sort of flowering tail looking thing at the end.  So at least now I know what I’ll be looking for on my own trees, and look forward to them producing their fruit.  Hopefully, it will be soon!

Final Thoughts

Well, that’s about all there is to report for now.  I’m looking forward to other visits in the month of Oct including catching up with my former Air Force roommate, and possibly visiting with some aunts and cousins.  I’ve also got a friend who is looking to take a vacation away from South Carolina, and come down here to spend a week or so.  We’ll have a great time playing tourist throughout the area.  So, I’m looking forward to that too.

Also, I’ve got a new Blog feature to announce.  I recently realized that even though I often reply to your comments, you are not notified that I had done so.  As a result, those replies would often go unnoticed.  To solve this issue, I’ve added a feature that will now send you an email if I, or anyone, replies to your comment.  That way, you can keep up to date with the communications.  You can optionally opt out of receiving those reply updates by unchecking the box when you enter your comment.  I hope you will enjoy and appreciate this new feature.

Well, back to work and fun.  I’ll continue my visits, make progress on my projects, and begin to enjoy the cooler weather that will no doubt be heading our way soon.  I’ll keep you posted on this and much more in the coming months.  Till then, be well!

8 thoughts on “Lake Wales, FL – Sep Update

  1. Another nice blog post. Regarding the banana tree- can you get a banana tree that does grow Chiquita style fruit in Florida? Or is that not suited to that climate. Maybe you should plant an orange tree and get really fresh squeezed juice!

    1. I don’t have any idea about a larger banana tree. I’ll just be happy to get bananas of any size from my tree. As for the orange tree, I’m actually going to look for a combo tree – one tree that produces oranges, limes, and lemons. They are called Fruit Salad Trees. That way I’ll have just one tree to produce oranges for my ShockTop beer, limes for the Corona beer, and lemons for the ice tea.

  2. Will you have a chance to come to Stuart before your next trip? Wish I were retired too so I could get up your way and see what you have done.

  3. Was nice to have you visit. Thanks again for your help. I am looking forward to visiting you to try one of those Banana Boats.

  4. Enjoyed reading your blog…banana tree…fire pit…etc. You have a beautiful site. Hope to visit you once we get back to FL but not until Jan it looks like. Hopefully you also will come to visit us. Keep your mask on when needed and stay safe.

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