The Environment

The grounds held young orange, lime and lemon trees, plum, peach and persimmon, palm and magnolia, umbrella and bay. Roses, vines, and flowers grew in beauty and sweet content on all sides. Castor beans grew to such a size the children climbed them and sat among the branches, whistling answering strains to the mockingbirds in the oaks. 

— Julia Daniels Moseley, 1894

The Land of Timberly 

Timberly is the name given to the environmental landscape of the Moseley Homestead by Julia Daniels Moseley. The family considered their homestead to be part of the ecosystem setting, and that nature, the built structures, and the human cultural aspects were interwoven and integrated. Julia would likely have been influenced by environmental philosophers of the time, such as Henry David Thoreau and John Muir. Muir was contemporary with the Moseley’s resettlement to Florida, and in the 1890s as he was helping to found Yosemite National Park and co-founding the Sierra Club and producing articles, books and journals of his travels, Julia’s love for nature would have been heightened with her exposure to these writings, with books on nature, wilderness, and the environment found among the family library shelves in the Snug.

Scott and Julia’s eldest son and artist Karl Moseley would memorialize the Timberly in the creation of a bookplate that featured Julia sitting near the windows in the Cup & Bucket Inn of the Nest reading with the wildness of the outside world all around her. The book plate was used in all the family’s library volumes, and inside books given to friends as gifts.

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The Ten Mile Lake Watershed

One of the prominent environmental features of the Moseley Homestead is Ten Mile Lake. This sinkhole lake is about 22 acres in size and is a part of the Delany Creek Watershed. In their lifetimes, both Julia Daniels and Julia Winifred Moseley were fiercely protective of the upland environment, understanding that what we do on the land is often reflected in the waters. Julia Winifred would become a vocal opponent to the wholesale development occurring all around her property and would bear witness to the urban sprawl of malls and expressways that would ultimately reshape Limona and incorporate the area into present-day Brandon.

The Moseley Homestead property retains the characteristics of living as part of nature rather than in opposition to it, and Julia Winifred as part of her life legacy wanted to not only protect the homestead, but also the watershed and use the site to teach about responsible planning and concepts like watershed management and environmental protection. History and cultural were but a part of the system of the land, and lessons from her Grandmother before her would lead her to work to protect the legacy of the land for the future. Human settlement in the area in relation to these water and lake systems continue to be an important dimension to environmental stewardship and preservation.

Development in the area has led to surface water degradation and lowering of the water table, and runoff and growth have created increased nutrient loads and algal blooms. To Julia, Ten Mile lake and the lessons from the Nest and Moseley Homestead landscape offer scientists, agency regulators, and the public a living laboratory for better understanding Florida’s fragile and connected ground and surface waters and landscapes. Citizen scientists, historians, researchers, educators, and the public and their representatives can benefit from this protected enclave.

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