Times Are A-Changin'

Posted 12/1/2020

A look back at Southwest Florida

Growing up in Southwest Florida, we could go east and explore the woods of the Everglades or we could go west and fish in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. We certainly had the best of both worlds. We didn't have video games to play with and we certainly didn't have cellphones at our fingertips. As a matter of fact, I was an adult before I even thought about getting my very own cellphone. We were the type of kids that had a fort in the woods, and climbed trees to pass the day. For fun, we would search for snakes slithering in the palmettos and try to catch the lizards in the backyard. We know the difference between an Anole Lizard and a Gecko, mainly because Geckos are a sign of good luck. Throughout the years of living with the wildlife, we just start to know about all the critters that Florida has to offer. We had to be knowledgeable on what snakes are poisonous and what snakes are friendly in order to stay safe.  Yes, it's true, some snakes are friendly. We know not everyone thinks that way, which is one of the reasons why we started Pesky Varmints, to bring the wildlife back to the wild.

As we got older, we saw our small town grow very quickly. The dirt roads we would race the four-wheelers down turned into pavement. The thick woods we would drive the truck through turned into parking lots, and that cow field we passed every morning turned into a supermarket. I always wondered where those cows went. Then we started seeing houses being constructed down that long stretch of road on the way home. I always enjoyed that road, a beautiful mixture of Cypress Trees and Cabbage Palms. Just before the last house was built, we saw a gate go up at the entrance, not allowing anyone back there. That was the beginning of the new way of life. As an adult, I became a Property Manager, mainly because I wanted to see what was on the other side of those shiny gates. One of my biggest complaints from Residents is all of the critters they see. That's when I started to realize that not everyone has the love and passion for wildlife the way we do. I stopped to think, those animals do not want to be inside the gate any more than my Residents want them there. It's an exciting day when I've had a Black Racer at the pool or a Raccoon by the dumpster. These animals have simply gotten lost from all the construction. As the building increases to the east of us, more and more animals are needing our help to get them relocated.

My Husband, we'll call him Catcher Dan, and myself have a home on probably one of the last dirt roads in Collier County. The Realtor thought we were crazy when we asked to see the house farthest away from civilization. We do not have an automatic gate to greet us or a landscaper to mow our grass, but we do have all the wildlife we could ever ask for. Our very first week, we had two deer walking through our backyard. The week after that, we had black bears breaking into our garbage cans. It certainly is a different lifestyle, but a lifestyle we wouldn't have any other way. We respect the wildlife, and understand that they were here first, we are only their visitors. Our very first night, we pulled two chairs out to the backyard and just stared at the untouched land. For miles, we heard nothing but the crickets singing a song, the most beautiful sound I ever heard. I remember looking over at my Husband and seeing the biggest smile on his face. He started to tell me the story of when he was nine years old, something peaceful about the evening must have triggered his memory... Every summer he would travel two and a half hours to Corbett for the Florida Freshwater Fish and Game Commission's youth camp. Now a days, they are known as FWC. He learned about the outdoors, and then as he got older, he taught others about the outdoors. The stories he tells me keeps me entertained for hours. I learned that night, that I married a very smart man that can survive in the woods with nothing but a shoestring. There isn't one pesky varmint that Catcher Dan is afraid of! I think that's why I admire him so much, because he always gives me a story to tell.

Signing off for now,

Goldie Locks (2017)

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239-353-PEST (7378)