I wish there was a way to capture what I saw this Sunday evening in the food forest.
We had just come home from attending a service at church celebrating the Reformation (and yes, we definitely sung A Mighty Fortress is Our God). Rachel went down the driveway to shut the gate… and didn’t come back. After getting the kids inside and not seeing her show up again, I went to find her.
She was standing at the edge of the driveway, staring into the edge of the food forest.
“What is is,” I asked, “are you okay?”
“There are fireflies… everywhere in the grass!”
I looked and sure enough… little points of light were scattered across the mulch and beneath the shrubs and trees. It was incredible. Here and there, blinking slowly and fading.
They didn’t look quite like fireflies to me, so I reached down and carefully scooped one up, then took it inside for a photo.
Here it is:
Actually, that guy sort of looks like the evil brain-controlling insects from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:
Yes, they’re not really pretty (they look a lot like isopods, AKA wood lice, albeit with six legs instead of dozens).
I wish you could really see what the glow of these creatures looked like. I tried shooting lots of shots outside to catch the glow but my camera just wouldn’t pull it off.
Unlike my awesome photoshop above, these little Florida glow worms only glowed at the very tip of their rears, similar to a firefly but with a smaller, dimmer light.
Still, seeing them scattered here and there through the food forest was magical.
I can’t tell you how many interesting and marvelous species have popped up in my food forest since I quit mowing and started adding layers and layers of species, not to mention logs, mulch, ponds and other habitat.
The other day a copper-colored frog of a species I’d never seen before was hanging out by the path:
I’ve never seen a frog that color – it really looked like it was made of metal.
Marvelous things happen when you add habitat.
(And yep – the house and food forest are still for sale. A few folks have nibbled, but no bites yet. It’s $135,000 and has lots of space indoors and out… and now you know it even comes with free glow worms!)
Really cool. I went out again tonight looking for them and they were still glowing away. What a cool thing to discover.
I’ve never seen a glow worm up close! What a wonderful treat for your kids, too.
They were thrilled. (As was I!)
This is a new glowing bug to me. We have some flying ones here with two lights like big headlight. They are larger than normal fire flies. Look kind of alien. I woke up one night with one flying around the bedroom with it’s two big eyes glowing! Creepy.
I’ve caught one of those in Ft. Lauderdale – it scared the living daylights out of me! BTW, I wrote you an e-mail but haven’t heard back. Check your junk folder to see if you can find it.
Good luck selling your home. It must be difficult to walk away from, but I am excited that you plan to move farther south. I look forward to hearing about your experiences as you build out a new homestead in a zone that may not get the cold snaps that limit (or influence) the plants you can grow. Feel like sharing what areas you are considering or what types of property you’re interested in?
Is that the plan? Build out a new homestead, a new food forest? This go-around, I’d really love to hear your thoughts on why you chose a particular property, or at least what you like about the property from a grower’s perspective. Or preemptively, what you’re looking for in your property search; south facing back yard?… acreage?.. HOA?!.. etc. I’d love to see articles that describe how you work with the land, and how you may choose to modify the land in one way or another (with grading, fill dirt, or removing vegetation). I’d like to get a feel for what goes through your head when you decide to place a particular plant in a particular spot. Like, why did you put your food forest over there, and why did you decide to grow sweet potatoes here, and why is that garden in that spot? What are your big ideas for searching for a new place? What do you want to be able to do in a year? In five years? What compromises might you have to make for plant selection or for projects like rainwater collection?
Anyway, those are the kinds of things I’d love to hear about. Good luck!
Yes. We’re going to build a new food forest from scratch based on tropical rather than temperate plants. This will give me some useful tropical data to add to what I’ve already collected in my books.
Soil, rural location and freedom from regulation are my three top picks on a property. So NO HOAs!
Much of my planting is first based on a loose grid of where I think the big trees should fit, then they’re filled in with smaller plants around them. I think in terms of islands.
Where is the house?
I’m located on the north side of the peaceful and horse-filled town of Anthony, Florida.