Swamp Life

Morning light at Moon set
Moon set –  The full moon is setting behind me and fits almost perfectly in my hand 🙂 Ahhhh Swamp Life!

The residents of the lake may take issue with me referring to living on the lake as “swamp life”. D7K_6737

The Bing dictionary defines a swamp as 1.wetland: an area of land, usually fairly large, that is always wet and is overgrown with various shrubs and trees. That describes my backyard and lakefront.

So sorry – too bad! It’s a swamp!

I continue to work on building a connection to this town. It’s not easy! The neighborhood that surrounds me and the swamp I now call home are not very welcoming. Most of the neighbors are invisible, they keep to themselves and other than an occasional courtesy wave we don’t interact much. That’s just the way it is. Life here is very isolated and you have to look out for yourself and stand up for yourself. Lucky for me this comes natural to me.

Mo by Tom Feazel

Out on the lake though I get a different perspective. There it makes sense to me how this can be such a cool place to live. Life anywhere requires adaptation. Lakeside living comes with lakeside living stressors. Yes! Adaptation is an ongoing process. Perhaps it is just so while I get through the learning curve of establishing myself and feeling I’m home here.

There are minor annoyances that are a downer, like the nasty  next door neighbor. Then there is the one-hour daily commute to and from work which can be a major bummer, especially when I’m tired after a long day at work! Everything here is a good twenty to thirty minute drive from home. That’s taken some getting used to.

I finally found a local shopping district on highway 98 near I-4 that has all the shops I frequent and a few I’ve just discovered.  Orlando is about forty-five minutes away and I can always shop in Tampa on week days.

Oh! Did I mention the midges? Don’t know what they are? Neither did I.

Aquatic Midges are similar to a mosquito in appearance. They do not bite, can’t fly very far and they stick to your car, screens, exterior walls, and the boat. They mainly inhabit the grass and when you walk they begin to swarm.

The first time I encountered the midges I thought I was experiencing a scene from the Amityville horror show! Whee!

Their life span is very short.  Aquatic midges  appear in phases we call blooms and only live for a couple of days.  We get a respite of a couple a days before the next bloom appears. They bloom from spring throughout the summer months.  Tom says there are billions of them. There are a lot of them!  When they die their little carcasses remain glued to surfaces or fall into little piles in corners that can get very high. My screen porch is full of clusters of midge carcasses.  They are a necessary food source for the great native bird life and for a less attractive creature of the arachnid order! Yuck. It’s a web out here:)

So what is the up side?  Besides Tom, and the lake, there is this very cool tiny little house. It has these great architecture features purposely designed by this really cool architect I know. It’s amazing kitchen is entertainment ready. Too bad I don’t excel at entertaining guests. Our stainless steel bar is so retro I wished I drank martinis because it seems to beg for a 1950s martini shaker and glass display. There is this very comfortable living area that feels more spacious than it actually is and a spectacular view of the sunrise, moonrise, and other astronomical events.

The windows all face the lake providing me with great photographic opportunities to shoot birds in their natural habitat.

We always have the Toona 2 ready for us to jump in and take for a spin around the lake.

It's not the camera or lens, it's the photographer and the light.
It’s not the camera or lens, it’s the photographer and the light.

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When I get my beachy area setup it will be almost perfect.


There is no traffic in this city and that, well that is worth more than I can say. I have to drive about twenty-five miles before I encounter traffic on I-4. Driving around town and the surrounding areas on back roads is a dream. No traffic! It’s so nice not to hear horns, sirens, and airplanes going by.

Historic Downtown Lakeland – Main Street

I go to sleep serenaded by the frogs and other aquatic life that awakens in the dark.

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Another sampling of the upsides. . .

Life here works for me because I have so many hobbies I am always involved in, that I don’t really have time for superficiality or neighboring.  I have no friends here other than Tom, my cameras, my flowers and an occasional bird that comes by.  I imagine things could get very boring for someone who has no well-developed hobbies or activities.

I’m really looking forward to creating the yard I envision and my art-studio. I plan to lose myself basking in the lakeside breeze, sipping on exotic teas and chasing creative notions in my studio. Well, I’ll just bet I’ll hardly come inside at all.

I’ve spent my first year living here in an ongoing battle with the lakefront as I work to clean up and clear out a space for sunbathing and swimming. I like to believe I am making progress, but after the spring rains it seems that within a week the lakefront vegetation developed an impressive growth spurt. I have my troops on reserve and will summon them into action mid June. This year I hope to lay down black plastic sheeting secured with cement bags in an area where I don’t want the vegetation to grow.  I plan to get a truck full of white beach sand to begin laying and packing in over the plastic sheets.  I visualize my lawn chairs, picnic table, hammock, and swing all set up waiting for me.  I can’t wait! I’m going to buy a couple of glass iced tea dispensers to set up in the patio.

I’ve added more hibiscus to my garden and they are doing well and look lovely at the edge of the lake front. I know I may have to move them if the lake rises more, but for now the flowers love it there. I enjoy seeing them from the middle of the lake.  Last years’ hibiscus are doing very well too. The flowers are happy and I’m getting happier.