Interesting Facts about one of our Neighbors, the Alligator

Alligators are nesting, and we are at the end of alligator mating season. Alligator courtship begins in early April, and mating occurs in May or June. You might have heard some sounds you are unfamiliar with, and it could have been the alligators mating, as they are noisy. Males are the showiest of the species and they interest their mate by head slapping, vibrating their torso, bellowing, and jaw slapping. The females join in by making a sound more like a growl, but without the fanfare of the showy male. In the animal world, alligator courtship is lengthy, often extending 6-8 weeks with copulation occurring underwater quite a few times during courtship. Interesting fact: males and females may have multiple partners during a courting season and a single clutch of eggs may have multiple paternities.

By June, the female seeks the right location to build her nest. The female piles vegetation and compresses the materials she has gathered and diligently builds her nest. It can take a few days, or upwards of a month for the nest mound to be built. Once the female is satisfied with the nest, she climbs on to the mound and spends several hours slowly turning to make a depression on the top. She then deposits 20 to 50 oval eggs. The female returns to the water’s edge numerous times to gather muddy vegetation to pile on the depression. The incubation period is 65 days. As the alligator embryos develop, it is the heat in the nest that will determine the sex of a baby gator. A temperature of 91 degrees or higher produces a male, a temperature of 86 or below produces a female, and in between the two temps there is a 50-50 chance of either a male or female being born. Lee and I always enjoy getting to know our neighbors; and some facts about the local wildlife too.

Central Florida Has Beautiful Lakes, Enjoy the Ride!

June is the perfect time to take a boat ride on the Chain of Lakes. Bring your hat, sunglasses, sunblock, and your spirit of adventure. Living Waters offers fun tours of the Chain of Lakes. We enjoyed a great day and best of all the Chain of Lakes is only a short drive from Solivita. We parked our car at Harborside Restaurant in Winter Haven where we boarded the Living Waters Pontoon Boat for a two-hour tour. The tour was interesting, the captain was entertaining, and the water was crystal blue and shimmering in the sunlight.

We sat back and enjoyed the ride while sharing a cooler packed with refreshments. We relaxed on the comfortable couch seating on board, and our captain put the Bimini top up to provide us with extra shade. After a relaxing afternoon on the lake we were dropped off at the Harborside Restaurant and shared a delicious dinner. A pleasant way to spend the day, wind in our hair, fresh air in our lungs, and a nice afternoon on the water, plus a delicious fish dinner at Harborside.

If you would like to take a ride with Living Waters on the Chain of Lakes you can find them on the web at: www.livingwatercruises.com

Flag Day Celebration

A salute goes out to all veterans plus a special thank you to the Solivita Veterans who have erected the American Flag on our lawns in celebration of the great country we live in. Flag Day is a day to commemorate the adoption of the US flag in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. Thank you for helping to remind each of us to observe Flag Day, and the freedom, democracy, and unity the flag represents to all US Residents.

Make a Big Impact with a Small Investment

Want to freshen up the look of a room, but don’t want to spend lots of cash?  Add texture and style to your Central Florida home by adding a few beautiful pillows to your den, living room or lanai. If you have a solid sofa or solid chairs, add a delightful flower print with tassels. Pillows are available in a gorgeous array of colors. If flowers are not “your thing”, add luxurious velvet monochrome geometric design pillows to your look, or add bold black and white pillows, and make a real statement in your room. Our Central Florida discount stores have a large assortment of rich looking pillows at reasonable prices on their shelves and the right pillows really can change the look of a room. Shop around some of the discount stores for a look you love. If your furniture has a print, look for some pillows with a solid pop of color to change up your look. Experiment, because you can always return any pillow you purchase if you are not thrilled with the look.

Summer Time Is Soup Time; Chilled That Is.

Chilled Mango Chipotle Soup
Easy, Delicious and High in Antioxidants.

  • 2 Mangoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • ½ Tsp Ginger Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 Tsp. Chipotle Powder
  • 2 Cups Vegetable broth

Puree all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. More spices can be added to taste. Serve Chilled and Enjoy.

Enjoying a Solivita Summer

Summer weather is upon us. A bit hot, a bit sticky, but still a great time to kick back and enjoy all that Florida has to offer. Florida fresh watermelon is in season. Watermelon is the perfect fruit for cooling off – it makes a delicious smoothie in the morning with yogurt, a refreshing salad with mint, feta, and a few black olives in the afternoon, and a delicious martini at cocktail time. Florida watermelon is a gift to Florida residents. We can grow it, pick it up in the market, or pick a watermelon at the farm-stand. Our watermelon is as good as it gets: sweet, juicy, and flavorful. A very big summer benefit.

Tomatoes are in season in Florida as well and our Solivita Garden is brimming. I came from NJ, and to me there was nothing better than a NJ tomato, but I also subscribe to the “when in Rome” philosophy. Once I overcame my NJ tomato fixation, I found the tomatoes grown in Florida to be delicious, juicy, sweet when ripened, and wonderful. Tomatoes make a great dinner when paired with a few slices of fresh mozzarella, some fresh basil, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a loaf of Italian bread.

What I love most about Florida summer weather is the ease of dining as most of our meals in the warm weather are chilled. When we feel the need for meat or fish we just fire up the BBQ. No need to add any heat to the house.

Here are a few ideas to help you enjoy a Solivita Summer:

  1. Walk the Solivita indoor walking track. It’s temperature controlled!
  2. Break Out The Blender. It’s time to enjoy a frozen favorite.
  3. Enjoy Some Indoor Activities. Stay cool in the AC and kick back with a good book.
  4. Take a Swim. Solivita has 14 pools to choose from, and they are all refreshing.

The Top 8 Reasons To Retire To Florida

Looking for a reason to retire to Florida? Look no further! I can give you lots of reasons that make FLORIDA RETIREMENT IRRESISTIBLE.

Here are the top 8 reasons to retire to Florida:

  1. No Income Tax. Retirees flock to Florida because Florida has NO STATE INCOME TAX. Workers get to keep more of their paychecks and seniors keep more of their IRA or 401(k) withdrawals.
  2. Even More Tax Breaks. Not only is there no state income tax, but there is NO STATE INHERITANCE TAX and NO ESTATE TAX, plus property taxes are relatively low too.
  3. The Weather. The Florida weather is spectacular. It’s warm for most of the winter and summer months in Florida are NO WARMER than the temperatures in the NE except our summer lasts just a little bit longer.
  4. Lower Cost of Living. At the end of the day, if you are on a fixed income, it pays to live where your money goes further. Florida has an overall cost of living that is lower, allowing you to save money for travel, contribute to charity, do what you love to do, or just shop till you drop.
  5. Recreation. I came from NJ. We skied in the winter and swam in the summer, but the rest of the year offered nothing special in outdoor recreation. In Florida, we golf, enjoy water sports, fish, boat, bike, walk, swim, run, and enjoy pickleball and tennis 12 months a year.
  6. Ease of Air Travel. When you go back home for a visit, or when friends or family come to you, there are loads of airports, both domestic and international, for you to choose from. Florida also has a bevy of direct flights to many U.S. and international locations.
  7. Health Care Availability. Many retirees migrate to Florida, which has given us a tremendous amount of good health care options and services specifically geared toward older folks. We have great healthcare providers all over the state such as the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, Moffitt Cancer Center, and Florida Hospitals, just to name a few.
  8. Everyone Loves Florida. This reason comes from the results of an informal survey I conducted with family, friends, and clients. 94% of the respondents clearly stated that they LOVE FLORIDA and all it offers. None of the 94% plan to return to their former home states. Yes, there is the other 6%, but you can’t please all the people all the time. You should come to Florida and join the 94% who love life here!

THE BEST TIME TO SELL REAL ESTATE IN FLORIDA

Are you considering selling your Florida home? If so, you are probably asking yourself what is the best time, and can I time the market to my advantage?

In my experience, the best time to sell a property is when most people are buying, and in Florida, historically most of the sales activity is generated during the first six months of the year, but there are a few other things to consider when trying to time the market. Waiting for sales activity to be the highest may not payoff, because during the height of sales activity is when competition is at its peak. Once the high sales season is over, yes there may be fewer buyers, but there are also fewer homes on the market for sale. The fact that inventory is lower gives your home a chance to stand out. I recently did a Closed Price to Original List Price Ratio Study and found that in our area, sellers got the closest to their original asking price in June. They closed the furthest from their original asking price in February. Of course, market conditions change from year to year and right now the market is steady and homes are selling. Interest rates are still low and consumer sentiment is strong. The results of this exercise lead me to believe any time is a good time to sell your property in the current market. If you are considering selling your home, please contact me. I will perform a complete Sales Analysis for you and provide you with any help you will need to get your property listed and sold.

Life in the Center of Everything Florida has to Offer:

Heading to the beach from Solivita is easy, with a quick hour and half drive to either coast. I love the East 1w beaches because the water is cooler and a bit wilder, and the beach on Cocoa reminds me of the NJ beaches from my youth. Lee loves the beauty, warmth, and calmer waters of the West Coast beaches. Whichever way we go from Central Florida, east or west, the Florida beaches are beautiful with warm water and soft sand. Growing up in New Jersey, the beach season was short and our beaches were so crowded you could hardly find a place to plant your blanket and umbrella. Florida beaches never seem to be that busy, the palm trees gently sway in the breeze, and the Florida State beaches usually provide picnic tables, a place to park your car, and changing facilities, making a “day at the beach” really an actual day at the beach.

We love to go to Cocoa Beach and when time provides, we stay at the Inn at Cocoa Beach for a night. It’s a lovely beachfront inn, spotlessly clean with a nice pool and public rooms. The Inn brews coffee every morning and provides a good breakfast, plus every evening it hosts a cocktail hour for their guests, which is a nice kick off to the day and a great start to the evening. We park our car at the Inn, enjoy the morning at the beach, the afternoon at the pool, and walk to one of the local spots for dinner, resulting in a truly relaxing overnight.

When we go to the West Coast we love to swim at the beach at St. Pete. St. Pete is a bit busier than Cocoa but just as nice with gorgeous sunsets. We usually pack an overnight bag and spend an evening, grab a great fish dinner, and head back the next morning refreshed and ready to get back to business. Seems wherever we go in Florida, natural beauty surrounds us, blue skies fill our vision, and we always meet some very nice Florida folks who are willing to share recipes. We enjoyed this grouper and want to share the easy recipe with you.

Honey Glazed Florida Grouper for Two

1 TBSP Honey

1 TBSP Orange Marmalade

1 TBSP Orange Juice

¾ TSP Dijon Mustard

½ TSP Light Soy Sauce

1/8 Tsp Ground White Pepper

¾ Pound Grouper Fillets

 

Preheat broiler. Combine all ingredients except grouper, mixing well. Place fillets on an oiled broiler pan and brush with honey glaze to cover. Broil 5 to 6 inches from heat for 4 to 5 minutes until browned. Turn fillets, brush with honey glaze and broil additional 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily.