Tea Leaves and Foot Soldiers of Change


I probably should have called this post “Trouble in Paradise.” Buck and I call our hundred-acre wood Longleaf Preserve. We have a plaque certifying that this small patch of lovely ground is part of the Florida Forestry Stewardship Program, a program to encourage small land owners to preserve forested areas. For the past 7 years, containerized Longleaf seedlings have been hand-planted in a random pattern (as opposed to the more commercially viable straight rows) with an aim toward supplementing and recreating the old growth pine, mixed hardwood and wiregrass environment that was here 50 years ago. Click here to read more about Longleafs from the excellent Longleaf Alliance website.

I remember a few years ago,  Buck and I were returning home from a trip to town, when he made a startling pronouncement. The main road to our house is straight for miles, then it makes three sharp “s” curves before passing by our gate. Buck was driving that day. He pointed out over the dashboard just at the place where the straight road makes its first curve. “Someday, the county is going to want a straight east-west corridor out here. They’re going to want to straighten this road, and when they do, it will cut our property in half, and we’ll have a road in the front yard.” I stared at him like he had lost his mind.

Some days it’s hard living with a prophet.


Sector plan letter0001


When the real estate market crashed, new home building and grand development plans stopped. But change agents switch gears in such times. Waivers, approvals, zoning changes, and stimulus money for building roads all flow in preparation for the next wave of “grand development.”  

But, oh Lord, I did not expect surveyors out here making a “right-of-way acquisition map” so soon.

8 thoughts on “Tea Leaves and Foot Soldiers of Change

  1. How dare they!! Just run out there and tell them that your property supplies a wealth of writing material and photos for your blog. If that doesn’t make them rethink their plans, then we’ll just call them mean-spirited and uncompromising fools.
    Honestly, how unfortunate this news is. It makes me sad and I can’t imagine how you and Buck are taking all this in. I’d like to say be strong and “Buck up” but that may sound insensitive under these circumstances, so I won’t. Oops, I think I goofed.
    Well, hopefully I lifted your spirits or at least made you moan for a different reason.


  2. I thought Preserves were to curve “progress” and restore the damage that “progress” had already committed. I guess being a land owner gives you absolutely zip rights to say what happens to said land. Besides, who likes straight roads? I’m stopping before I set more upset….dang that’s close to your house. Ok, I’m shutting up…


  3. Hey Sarah, Tipper, Gullible, Shaddy, Walk and Deb — Thanks bigtime for your upset on our behalf — it’s much appreciated. The “right-of-way acquisition map” doesn’t mean bulldozers will be coming in the next few weeks. This is one step that has to take place for the county to know the number of individual parcels that would be affected, and whether right-of-way would be donated, could be bought, or must undergo condemnation (ahem, “for the greater good”) proceedings. Sometimes when land transfers to new owners, a ceded right-of-way remains. Luckily, that is not the case with us, and so our right to the property is intact. Doesn’t mean the road or some version of it won’t happen; but it does mean there will be a lot of talk first. Still. Pretty hard to imagine a road 200 feet from the house (out there where I took a picture of Red Blanket Lichen on a big old oak), and the stream bed way on the other side of the road. . . I’ll keep you all informed as things unfold.


  4. How dreadful! Hope they find another way to build a straight road, far from your property. Hey, there’s plenty of places to live in the woods around here, if you wanna move north. Bring sweaters.


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