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You would think if you didn’t have to live in temperatures below zero and survive under a blanket of snow for 4 months that you would be happy and well adjusted. But no, that is not the case because the plants in Florida are just a little pissed at life. They remind me of some people I know – barbed and grouchy.

I’m still learning the plants and climate of Florida and it’s not going that well. Weeds grow like, well, weeds. And the plants I intend to grow either die or thrive to the point of world-take-over. Palm trees have evolved thorns that couldn’t pass through airport security. It’s not a question of will I be harpooned, but how deep, and where did I put the tube of Neosporin. Weapons grade rascals.

Last week I went down to pull weeds and rein in the Carolina jasmine, a vine from the world take-over genus. Around noon the temperatures in late September hit the mid 90′s and the humidity is sauna strength but I remind myself it’s not snowing and retreat to air conditioning for three hours. I figure I can make up the lost time by working in the dark. Huge mistake. Working through the darkness brought out unseen predators who’s legs I can only assume numbered 8. I was bitten on the neck in three places. Just below that, some insect decided I was the all you could eat buffet. The red itchy bumps matched the fire ant bites on my foot from the previous day’s weeding efforts. What exactly was the problem here? These little critters were UNPROVOKED!

So I’m changing my attitude. Just like mean grumpy people, they can hurt you, or you can develop thicker skin. Evolve or go home. So I bought hiking boots, leather gloves and ‘Deep Woods Off’. I try to appreciate the environment that created these monsters and steer clear of their developmental abnormalities. And when I do have to interact with them, I try to remember that they developed these thorns for their own survival.

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