Welcome to Briarpatch Blog where I'll be writing about plants, gardening, nature and the environment as well as Floridata's new applications topics. Briarpatch will also feature guest bloggers. writing on a range of subjects. Your comments are welcome and we invite you to subscribe to Briarpatch to receive email notifications of new entries. Thanks for visiting! ~Jack

Wild Bear in the Woods

baby brown bear in the Ocala National Forest
Click to download a large version.
Steve was conducting his annual bird survey down in the Ocala National Forest (in Central Florida) last week when he rudely interrupted a Mama Black Bear browsing with her Baby Booboo Black Bear.

He sent me pictures and a note: "The little guy got confused when mom hurried off at my approach. He just stumbled around wailing while I tried to take pix. Jesse (his dog) was beside herself, barking and hanging out the truck window while the little guy cried and cried. Mom started back several times only to turn away when she got too close to me. At one point the little guy came toward me, probably thinking I was his mom. Eventually mom got back close enough and the little guy followered her as they galumphed off across the savanna."

No bears or naturalists were harmed in this encounter.

Pawpaw Productivity

pawpaws A Floridata visitor name Jan had this question for Steve, who is our pawpaw plant profiler - she writes: "I have a paw paw tree that I started from a seed. I was told that it needed another companion tree to produce fruit. Well my hubby mowed down the trees but the folowing year my tree produced fruit. Could it be that I have one that does not need a companion? I started more seeds and will they be sufficient for the companion tree or must I get another? "

Steve's responds: "Pawpaws are self-fruitful (each plant has male parts that can fertilize the female parts to produce fruit) - but they say you get more fruit if you have 2 trees (so the plants can fertilize each other). Seedlings will work."

If Jan made a pawpaw pie for her hubby it would be so good that he would probably pamper and protect her pawpaw patch. Pawpaws are North America's largest (and maybe tastiest) native fruit. You can read more on pawpaw (aka Hoosier banana, Indian banana) in Floridata's Asimina triloba Profile.

More On Olives

olives I received a message from a Floridata visitor name Judy who sent some interesting info after reading new olive Profile. She srote that a man named Don Mueller operates a small commercial olive grove in Jackson County, Florida (in the Panhandle). He produces both olive oil and table olives and you can check out his web site here: Green Gate Olive Grove. Best of luck to Don with his olive venture!

I was surprised to learn that there was once an olive industry in the southeastern USA. Thomas Jefferson was an early advocate of olive cultivation in The South and commercial operations continued until California opened up and the industry moved west. Now, decades later, the olive is once again commercially grown in the southeast supported by organizations like the Georgia Olive Growers Association. Judy also turned me on to this nursery called Olive a Dream Trees (locations in Florida and California) that specializes is saving old olive trees. They then transform the trees into living sculpture - like huge bonsai trees! Really, really pretty...

I hope my tiny little 'Arbequina' olive tree back home in Florida is safe and doing OK. I planted it just before I left for Kentucky six weeks ago. It's rained there and as long as the deer haven't trampled it or other wise defiled it, it should be doing fine.

Re-located to No.Ky.

Jack and Chin the DogHello from Kentucky. Last month I packed up the dog and we drove to Northern Kentucky to stay with my brother's family. Last November my 26 year old nephew suffered a terrible injury that damaged his spinal cord causing loss of use of the lower part of his body. He requires a lot of attention until he learns to adapt to his situation with the help of physical and occupational therapists. He's doing well but of course we all worry about him none the less so I came up to be one of his caregivers until June.


New Blog!

My first blog entry at last! It has taken me quite a while but I'm glad to finally have our new blog up and running. Briarpatch Blog is where we will be posting on subjects like gardening and botany as well as status updates on Floridata's content and applications. I am inviting guest bloggers to contribute on a number of topics and hope this blog will host a wide range of diverse ideas and viewpoints. There's a chance that some nonsense and inanities will be posted too but I'm usually the source of those.

Let me give an update on what's been happening here at Floridata: a year ago Google made some changes that (long story short) resulted in Floridata loosing visitors and revenue. In order to regain a better position on Google search result pages I made several changes to Floridata's Profile pages and the site in general. In later posts I'll describe the changes and the new pages and features that will replace those that were eliminated.

While the Google changes were brutal, in the long run they should help control the spread of malware, viruses and spam. These are more reasons why I (temporarily) removed some site features and changed others. I'll write more about these in later posts.

Blog visitors are welcome to submit comments on Briarpatch posts. To prevent spam, you must be registered in order to post a comment. Since visitors' comments are moderated, it may take up to 24 hours after submission before they display (again, to prevent spam). Now that I have my first blog entry out of the way I can begin writing on more interesting topics so I hope you will subscribe to Briarpatch. You'll receive notifications of new blog posts, new Plant Profiles and updates on site features and services in your email inbox.

Thanks for reading and thanks for subscribing! Jack