In the backyard, we have a dozen palm trees and a Star Fruit tree, which on a windy day, drops yellow blobs of fruits at an alarming rate.
There are some pointy, succulent, cactusy things in one corner, an orange Hibiscus and thorny, purple, Bougainvillea in the other and there is a smattering of mangy bushes.
As a rule, Northern Californians are pretty clueless when it comes to palm trees. Redwood trees are our thing. Joyce Kilmer certainly wasn’t writing about palm trees.
Who knew that a palm tree would give off these huge, dead pods that look like something out of “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers?” Often you wake in the morning and discover, sometime in the quiet of night, another corpse has appeared on your lawn.
Every once in a while you might see a Black Snake. Today, there was a three-foot black snake sunning itself on the steps.
However, the most egregious creatures are the slippery, slimy, ones. They dart and dash and scurry and scamper all over the doorstep and on the patio. Lizards and reptile cousins slither up and down the trees, all over the fence, in and out of bushes.
And, they are on top of your garbage can. Some of them reside in your garbage can.
I have the unseemly job of taking the garbage can to the driveway and putting it out for the pickup on Monday morning.
My stomach churns, my skin crawls and my mouth is dry, as I open the door to go outside to Lizard Land. They must know I’m coming. Can they smell my fear?
Once a week, I put on my perfect-for-Yosemite hiking boots and step into their world. As fast as I can, I grab that green receptacle and race to the curb and back into the safety of the house. Door slammed and locked. Good-bye, suckers.
Safe for another week.