From afar, it’s easy to think Florida is always hot and sunny and life is lived only at the edge of our Gulf and Atlantic Ocean on sugar-sand beaches.
But living in Tallahassee, in our part of north Florida, is a bit different.
Here, we have rolling hills, an inland forest, and a small city known more for its great universities and for hosting our state government than for our local life on the ground.
In fact, utter the name ‘Tallahassee,’ and you realize it’s usually a stand-in for the functioning and decisions of our governor and our legislative houses.
But, our deeper truth is that this is an ancient land. A land that saw Paleo-Indians, and then Spanish Conquistadors, and later Spanish missionaries. A land that grew shade tobacco just to the west. A land that is the northern-most region for many southern species of foliage — and the southern-most region for many more northern species.
We’re about 40 minutes from the nearest spot to dangle our toes in salt water. And, before we get there, we pass a multitude of freshwater rivers with cold water, snakes and alligators. And holes punched into our karst (limestone) layer that we call sinkholes. Cave divers know our land well. So do cyclists, poets and artists. To those of us living here full-time, these things are truer for us than the add-ons of college football and the shenanigans of state government.
My yard, these days, is a riot of fall color. These are my trees in these photographs, and my little slice of sky. My Scottish ancestors pioneered near here beginning in the nineteenth century. I’m really a Floridian, and not a transplant from somewhere else. At least not since the 1840s.
I hate our summer heat. My Scottish DNA never has gotten used to it. But I live for this season and the next. Our winters are sometimes very cold. Like below 20F degrees at times. But we always default to warmer temperatures. Last week, two nights plunged to the low 20s and those days were cold (for us), too. Today, temps soared to 80F. And I rushed home to take off my long-sleeved garb and boots and spent the afternoon sleeveless and in open sandals. Even before climate change became a thing, north Florida did this.
I am pleased that our exterior household projects have been completed, allowing me to go back into my studio and be a metalsmith again.
Upon my return, I finally made some of the tiny houses I’d long thought about. And a friend inspired me to make jewelry with rustic stars.
I found a handful of chunky faceted labradorite cabochons in my studio and built my little houses around them.
You can see several of these in my online shop on Etsy by clicking on this link:
These are handmade and one-of-a-kind using darkened sterling silver (with patina).
The Starry series of earrings and pendants feature tiny gemstone cabochons or vintage glass rhinestone cabochons and are encrusted with sterling stardust.
This is a non-glamor shot of the whole group of Starry pieces I have made. Those still available are also in my Etsy shop.
Wishing all of you in the northern hemisphere a wonderful autumn-into-winter, and those of you in the southern hemisphere a wonderful spring-into-summer! Please let me know if I can help you with anything!
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