Saturday, March 9, 2013

orangey






I escaped New England, where another 18" of snow has fallen, to Naples, Florida on the Gulf of Mexico. A different universe--sun and color. The core of old town and the beaches are beautiful, but surrounded by concrete sprawl and shopping strips that seem to reach into infinity.



 My brother-in-law Steve lives in the "rural fringe" of Naples (a legal description that is quite apt) with a 3-legged dog (and a 4-legged one) and a rescued decommissioned trolley car from Marco Island. There, amid the big trees and bright stars, I get a feel for old Florida.

Old Florida/New Florida--surreal images of Taco Bells and orchids, swamplands and golf courses, orange groves and Disneyland--fueled in my imagination by the novel Swamplandia, and those of Carl HiassenFlorida Poems by Campbell McGrath and The Orchid Thief  by Susan Orlean.

I had a Honeybell orange at Steve's, plucked from the tree, the flavor so intense, juicy and orangey. Actually not an orange, but a hybrid of a tangerine and a grapefruit. And yet so very sweet, just the perfect amount of sweetness and orangeness.



28 comments:

  1. Oh, stop your bragging!

    Seriously, hope you thaw out your bones and have a great time.

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    1. Wish I could send you some warm sun. I'll be back to the character building winter tonight. At least it will stay light later.

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  2. I had a tripod dog too! Don't know that she ever really even noticed!
    MMM... oranges straight off the tree..

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    1. Chase lost her leg to cancer a year ago. He's 11 but gets around and plays with the young pup beautifully.

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  3. What a nice time of year to soak up the sun. It sounds wonderful. I love the butter yellow and robins egg cottage. And of course the beautiful dogs. My first Great Dane, Dora Maar, lived the last five months of her life on three legs.
    Enjoy your holiday!!

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    1. I love the bright colored flower covered cottages in the warmer climates. Unfortunately a lot of them are getting torn down for mini-mansions. :(

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  4. Honeybells! We used to get a box in the mail every year. Absolutely delicious! I love the trolley. You could write a children's story based on it - sort of like the Boxcar Children. Enjoy yourself.

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    1. They are becoming mythological in my mind. I'm craving one right now.
      Love the idea of a swampland boxcar children. Hiassen has written some wonderful middle school crazy Florida books.

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  5. How wonderful to read about your b.in law's place in Florida. the old Florida sounds so much nicer than the new.!
    What an amazing dog, to manage to get around on 3 legs.
    wishing you happy days in the sun Jen.
    please blow some sun my way.
    val

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    1. Sending sun your way! (Nice to know I have that power.)

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  6. It must have been such a contrast, from the white surroundings in New England.
    I autaticaly like a person that lives with "a 3-legged dog (and a 4-legged one) and a rescued decommissioned trolley"!

    I have never tasted a honeybell orange...your description made wanna to ;)

    Enjoy dear Jen!

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    1. Steve is a character (in the best way).
      The honeybell was amazing. And isn't that a great name?

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  7. Florida looks sunny and floral! A white cottage with the bright red flowers is your brother-in-law's ? How wonderful!
    I hear the sound of waves...and cheerful bark of the dogs.

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    1. That is not his cottage--I was so busy taking pictures of the dogs I forgot to take one of his house until after dark. It's sweet but shaded and doesn't have flowers all around the way the sunnier cottages do. He does have a sleeping porch though--something I've always dreamed of.

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  8. Oh, my mouth is watering! The honeybells sound wonderful. I love the dogs. I'm glad you got to get away from the cold for a bit.

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    1. Thanks. It's been good. I tend to get stuck, and need to make myself try something new occasionally.

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  9. Naples sounds really good Jen. Have a lovely time!!

    Madelief x

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  10. Jen... How wonderful! The Old Florida can still be found if not in abundance at least in vignettes here and there. The waters of the Gulf are astounding... Sand, shells, sea...too beautiful for words! The dogs are perfect, the cottage delightful, and the trolley... Well my imagination is working overtime!

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    1. I know there are plenty of places in Florida that haven't been overdeveloped--hope to visit them one day. Isn't the trolley fun?

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  11. Sounds like a perfect getaway! Much of my family emigrated to Old Marco Island & then Naples from the Hudson Valley back in the late 70s (and the rest to North Carolina 20 years later). Haven't been there in 30+ years, but can still remember sailing in the gulf, watching dolphins, and eating oranges right off the tree. Wishing you a lovely vacation and may your return coincide with Spring's arrival!

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    1. That's interesting! It must have been amazing back then.

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  12. One of the things I miss most about Florida (and other than my family there isn't much) is the bouganvillea which I believe I see in that photo of that darling cottage. we can grow just about anything in New Jersey but not that which makes me green with envy, or red, or purple or whatever color it happens to be. Good timing on the getaway. Hope you're havving fun.

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  13. Obvs you stayed longer and got to experience some real fun in the sun.

    Florida, nice to visit would NOT want to live there.

    xo Jane

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  14. oh, love your pics. we got fresh snow on the weekend... the idea of eating oranges off a tree sounds and feels unreal right now :)

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    1. It was unreal. I keep thinking about it. Getting a little obsessed with those honeybells...

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  15. Glad to hear you've escaped the most recent blizzard! I love the style of 'old' Florida, relished it when i went to college in Gainesville. Have you found a good BBQ place yet? and if you get a chance, tour the northwest beaches, really beautiful and you may still find some funky old beach towns... enjoy!

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    1. This was just a quick trip to see family, but I would love to get off the beaten path one day.

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