Becky and Bunny2-

This is Becky B. and her bunny. Those of you who read the Comments already know Becky as the Gypsy. Frankly, I don’t know whether she is descended from gypsies or just fancies herself one. I do know she orbits the Crooked Moon.

Most people have cats and dogs for pets. Not Becky. She does bunnies. Becky claims that bunnies are very much like cats – great personalities and they are warm and cuddly!! She got her start with a rescue bunny in her neighborhood and it went from there. One of her bunnies, Alexander, spoke French if you can believe it, and was always greeted at the veterinarian’s office with “Bon jour, Alexander!”

Alexander is now in bunny heaven and after his departure, Mr. Becky said, “No more bunnies!” I don’t know how long this lasted but it obviously wasn’t permanent. Their daughter was shopping for dog food at Rupert’s, who, according to Becky, has his own novel.

“Mom, there is the cutest little bunny here! I’ll send a picture to Dad.”

In a few minutes, Mr. Becky walked in with his phone and said, “Look at the picture M just sent.”

Becky tried to explain, “She’s the last bunny there, all the others had been adopted, and she has been alone for weeks.”

“Poor little thing.  Well, when you get her, you take care of her!”

And that is how Becky got Enna, the little Scottish bunny, who, of course, told Becky her name.

Three years and three months ago, Meta found my blog and subscribed. That makes her almost a “charter” subscriber because I began writing the blog only two-and-a-half months earlier than her subscribership.

Back in the old days, she commented on my posts more than she does now. I guess she became bashful.

Meta even came to meet me which you can read about at Garden Visitors. Don’t judge us too harshly. The humidity was at least 200% that day and we had been digging up all kinds of plants for her to take home in her minivan after we had emptied it of all the plants she brought me.

Today she shared with me how well her Lion’s Tail is growing in her compost pile. Both of us have long admired Lion’s Tail and acquired our plants before we met each other. It took me years to find the “good” kind with skinny leaves and a pretty bloom. You can read about the other kind here. I moved mine this year and it may not bloom as it tries to recover from transplant shock. Her blooms are magnificent. I forgot to ask her if the bees and butterflies flock to her compost pile to feed on the Lion’s Tail.

Meta's Lion's Tail

Meta’s Lion’s Tail
Photo by Meta

Meta, please come back and talk to us in the Comments. That goes for the rest of you, too.


Now that it is spring in the morning and summer at noon here in Florida, all three cats choose to stay outside. I have very bad allergies (4 allergy shots each month) and happen to be deathly allergic to cats so I am happy with their choice. Sometimes Big Foot or Zorro choose to spend the night with me.

The two strays, Big Foot and Whiskey, have over-eaten their way into obesity. Now that they are outside, I can’t leave dry cat food in the bowls because it attracts possums and raccoons. I am hopeful these two will slim down.

Big Foot on 5-1-15

Big Foot on 5-1-15

Whiskey on 5-1-15

Whiskey on 5-1-15

Zorro, my baby kitty who is about 10 months of age (based on his adoption date and the age they claimed him to be at that time), is a lean, mean fighting machine. Everything is new to him and he has to inspect it, sniff it, or chase it. Last week, I found a dead mole on the driveway. Yesterday, I pulled into the driveway to find him wrassling a snake. Today, there’s a dead squirrel in the yard on the way to the driveway.  He also likes to chase Whiskey and jump on Big Foot. Warrior kitty.

Zorro on September 17, 2014

Zorro as a baby on September 17, 2014

Zorro on May 1, 2015

Zorro on May 1, 2015

I am hoping Zorro’s nose will turn dark brown again. I’ve had a problem with spring fleas and he has licked a lot of his fur off trying to get at them. I tried diatomaceous earth as a flea preventative (it’s cheaper) but it didn’t work and I went back to Activyl. If any of you have had success with diatomaceous earth for flea prevention, I’d sure like to hear about it.

This is a public service announcement about trying to insure housing in rural areas.

I live in a 1989 custom-ordered Palm Harbor mobile home at the halfway mark of Momma and Poppie’s two acres. It is not luxurious but it has been adequate, affordable housing for 25 years. Following the 1992 massacre of mobile homes during Hurricane Andrew, most mobile home insurers pulled out of Florida including my insurer, Allstate.

My agent placed me with Citizens Property Insurance Corporation which is a “not-for-profit, tax-exempt government corporation whose public purpose is to provide insurance protection to Florida property owners throughout the State (of Florida).” It was the insurer of last resort.

At some point in time, Citizens became the largest insurer and efforts were made to reduce that exposure risk. In October 2014, I received a letter from Citizens that I was being spun off to a brand new, unrated insurance company. If I chose to opt out of going with this new insurance company, I would be subject to “assessments” in the event of another catastrophic storm.

Needless to say, I did not want to go with an unrated company (Mount Beacon) nor could I afford any assessments. I began to shop for other insurance in February 2015. I couldn’t find any company willing to take me.

Poppie’s health took a turn for the worse and I informed my agent, who had been instrumental in suggesting other insurers, that I would be going with the new insurer because I no longer had time to shop. She reminded me of what I already knew – that I would not need to do anything because Citizens would automatically send my file to Mount Beacon.

My renewal date was April 5 but I forgot all about it because of Poppie’s death. On February 12, it occurred to me that my renewal date had come and gone but Mount Beacon had not sent me a statement for coverage. I called my agent who called both Citizens and Mount Beacon. Apparently, neither company wanted to claim responsibility. The agent suggested yet another company for coverage. They politely declined me, too. As did another company my friend, The Mad Tattah, suggested.

At that point, I called my agent back and reminded them that I had been with them for 25 years and they needed to find me insurance without any expense to me or I would file a complaint with the State of Florida’s Department of Insurance.

I was so upset I did that anyway but I named Citizens and Mount Beacon as the scandalous perpetrators of my distress. Having already been dismissed by countless agencies, I wondered if Mount Beacon was tossing some of us in the trash as undesirables and I mentioned this suspicion. The Department of Insurance employee did not know but a lot of consumers won’t take the time to complain. A state can’t fix what it doesn’t know about. Each and every state probably has a Department of Insurance, a Department of Banking and a Chief Financial Officer who oversees any number of issues relating to consumer services, seniors, and unclaimed property.

Right after my chat with the Department of Insurance, my agent informed me that she had written a new policy for me with Citizens and her boss would come by at 1:30 to take photos for the file. He remembered being on the property seven years earlier to get update photos and talking to Poppie because I was at work.

I told him some of the excuses I had received from companies not willing to cover me – that my mobile home was too old and I was not a full owner of the property. I also mentioned my suspicions of another unspoken reason. I then demanded an answer for my inability to obtain coverage. Probably fearing that I might hog tie him and beat it out of him, he gave me an insurance lesson that is likely not shared with insurance consumers.

I learned that I am a “Townclass 10” – the worst rating for insurance because my mobile home is on private property rather than an approved mobile home park and there is no fire hydrant within 500 feet. My agent mentioned a mobile home park west of me and said the average policy in that park was HALF what I was paying.

Fire hydrant-6062

With just that one word, “townclass”, I turned to my computer and learned about the Public Protection Class (PPC) that shows up on your home owner’s insurance policy. All over the United States, communities are rated (from 1 to 10) by the Insurance Services Office on the community’s fire-fighting ability. Neighborhoods get classified with a “town class” designation for their proximity to a fire hydrant, fire stations, how well those fire stations are equipped, plus the communications network and telephone system of the town or city’s fire stations. The lower your town class rating, the lower your insurance costs and vice versa. It makes sense to contact your local fire department to find out what protection class you are in. If they upgrade it, you can contact your agent for a policy reduction.

In summary:

(1)    It is no longer a good idea to buy a mobile home in Florida. Any savings in your housing costs will be eaten up by higher insurance policies and an inability to obtain insurance as the mobile home ages. I suspect Florida’s Insurance Department has no idea that some of these insurance companies are “telephone weeding” consumers by first asking them “How old is your mobile home?” Unless we complain to the Insurance Department when we are immediately rejected, they won’t know.

(2)    If you choose to live in a rural neighborhood without a nearby fire hydrant, your home is at risk for fire and it will be more expensive, if not downright difficult, to obtain insurance.

Every spring, the Plant Sale is held in the Mandarin Garden Club’s clubhouse. It will be packed with beautiful plants donated by garden club members, along with garden magazines, books, crafty garden objects, and yard art for purchase. In addition, there are lots of delicious baked goods made and/or donated by garden club members for sale in the clubhouse, and various vendors outside on the garden grounds.

Cunningham’s Herbs will be in attendance with the herbs that are now in season. If you want something in particular, give her a call at 725 dash 3106 or email via locun at att.net to make sure she brings it for you.

The Plant Sale is free and open to the public.



Greeting card from VT-6058


Raise your hand if you can relate to Ernest Hemingway’s quote! My friend Ginny sent me this card saying “you are in that place at the moment.” Sheesh, the gal has known me for nigh onto 20 years and is well aware that my life is always trying to fall apart on me. For the most part, I don’t invite drama into my life. Stuff just happens. Like Hemmingway, I tend to sleep when I don’t want to deal with the drama.

This card hails from shanestock.com. Best of all, it’s recyclable. A perforated left edge allows you to “reuse, resend, reroute, redirect, reconnect [or make a] reply.” I love cards you can recycle but this card’s future will be on one of my three bulletin boards.

This rose bush was just a stick when given to me by a lovely lady at the Mandarin Garden Club.

Louis Philippe rose Photo taken 4/15/15

Louis Philippe rose
Photo taken 4/15/15

Close-up of Louis Philippe RosePhoto taken 6/10/13

Close-up of Louis Philippe Rose
Photo taken 6/10/13

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