Birds For Sale: Chickens, Peacocks, Mosquitoes...

For sale in FL: Rooster-$4, Bantam chicks-$4, Rhode Island Red-$15, Peachicks-$40, Peacock pair- $250

Well shoot, if you come by my folks' neighborhood, you can catch a couple free roaming peacocks and a half dozen peachicks for free! And no one will stop you!

There is something very special about Florida. It’s the only place I have ever been where I need to carry a fly swatter with me while running on the treadmill. My parents own a mosquito farm, I mean, garage, and if you are not careful you can actually get eaten alive by the swarm of mosquitoes they are breeding. Looks like a feisty batch this year, too, if you are so in need….party favors anyone? 

In my parents defense, the mosquitoes aren’t usually quite so bad but apparently the people "remodeling" next door left the pool unattended for quite some time (like 2 years) and it has become a perfect nesting place. We thought about pouring gasoline in it and lighting it on fire but in the end, mom called the city and they had the contractor dump 10 gallons of chlorine in it to help prevent the next generation….Unfortunately, they are a dozen generations too late.

Since we are on the topic, Florida is the only place I have ever been bitten by a mosquito while taking a shower. And if you have never been bitten on your derriere, well, it’s really a delightful experience...especially once it starts to itch. If you look in a Florida bird guide you will very possibly find another fabulous creation credited to God: the Toilet Dwelling Mosquito. Let’s just say there are far more awkward places to get bit than the derriere…and just for the record: Minnesota, you have NOTHING on Florida when it comes to Mosquitoes! 

Florida is also the only place where, upon walking outside the other day, we were fortunate enough to watch the mating dance of a male peacock in the neighbor’s driveway. It was a show for sure. Also watching were a half dozen albino morning doves, the neighbor's ultra-fluffy, off-white cat, and the lucky female peahen who happened to catch his attention which of course had gotten him excited in the first place. And in case you have never seen this ritual, the male peacock spreads his amazing tail feathers and chases the peahen down, trying to corner her. Then he ruffles up his behind and starts rattling a second row of feathers behind the colorful display of tail feathers. It sounds like a rattlesnake and looks hysterical and apparently the peahen thinks he is ridiculous because she took one look at him and burst out laughing before walking away. Then she came back to mock him by ruffling some of her own feathers and walked away again. Of course, the kids and I and my brother and his wife thought the whole scene was great fun. I’d have gone over to give the peacock a high five for effort had we not, at that very moment, been chased inside by a bunch of free-range mosquitoes. (We were incidentally eaten by the house-pets instead.)

It is also a surreal moment to be swimming backstroke in the pool and look up to see the peacock lifeguarding from the roof....or likewise, coming up for air during breaststroke and hearing the screechy sound of the peahen, which is quite difficult to differentiate from a distressed cat in heat, or a child calling for help...take your pick.  

My parent’s neighborhood wouldn't be complete without the neighbors across the street who painted their house lime green before planting a 50 foot row of prickly pear cacti out front because you know, that is a sure sign of normal, welcoming, warm and friendly people. They’ve also thrown a tarp down around the cacti (and the ENTIRE front yard) on which we are guessing they may plant some rocks or mulch…I suppose that is one way to get rid of the crab grass and make mowing easier. SCORE!

But I think the people in Florida can be summed up with a conversation I had recently at Grandma's. We were visiting her house the last few days and my mom commented that that was the first time she had ever slept on flannel sheets. I remarked that normally flannel is used in colder climates not the heat of a Florida summer. That’s when Grandma said with all the seriousness in the world: “Oh Karen, it gets cold here too you know…. I mean, I can turn the air conditioner WAY down!”

Holy Cow! That's a HUGE ROACH! Gotta go save the baby!


  1. I noticed that you have no comments on a lot of your blogs and just wanted you to know that I stumbled upon your blog from another site (maybe panini happy???)and have been enjoying your blogs for a few months. You are a great writer and I love your blogs. You make me laugh every time you have a new one. Thanks!

  2. Ugh. Florida. Minus the peafamily, you just named every reason I will never go back for more than a week at a time. And lizards. I hate the lizards. And that I feel like I need to take my 4th shower of the day by 3:00 p.m.

    And you're right - this upper Midwest thinks they know mosquitos and humidity and they're CLUELESS! I had that problem in Nebraska, too.

  3. I live in Florida and have for the past 5 years. I absolutely hate it. I live on a river that flows into Tampa Bay and the mosquitoes are insane! I lived in Arkansas and Tennessee and neither of those states can touch Florida. I can't walk outside my house without getting bitten by one. The lizards are everywhere too. The people are freaks, the schools are terrible, and my property taxes and insurance are more than my mortgage payment because I have to have flood insurance. We are un-affectionately known as the freak show state.

  4. I just have to say, yes FL has some crazy things...I mean, how often do you get to read about the woman scaring off the fox and getting shot by her husband instead, anywhere else...but, there are some redeeming qualities....you just have to look a little harder. (But, beware of the things that can kill you...which is a VERY LONG LIST!)


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