Easter Storm

Going back in time, we had a bad storm on Easter weekend.  It started with hail, and I think ended up with a microburst or something similar.  It ended up taking out a large tree which came down on the shop.


You can get an idea of just how large the tree was from this picture of Linda standing under it.


Thankfully, the damage was only to the metal roof and not any of the structure.  There were about 10 holes in the roof, but none of the wood was broken or damaged.


Thanks to great friends we got the tree down and temporary patches on the holes.  

A neighbor who is a contractor hooked us up with a roofer, and now the roof is fixed and everything is back to normal. 

Here's what I learned … 

  • "Hunker Down" is not just a term for hurricanes.  It's probably best not to open the door In the middle of a storm to see the hail.
  • Apparently a picture is required as proof that when I say the tree fell on the shop, the tree actually did fall on the shop.
  • Having good friends in life is essential.  From my girlfriends who weathered the storm with me, to our guy friends who brought down the tree, cleaned the debris in the shop and patched the roof - we couldn't have done it without you.


Frost and Water

Yesterday, I awoke to frost on the ground.  Not every inch of yard, but a good portion.  It looks funny seeing the green grass poking through.  Normally, this time of year the grass/yard growth is dormant and it gets a little brown - but we've been having a v20160227_070507ery wet season which makes for green grass and is unusual.  Between the frost on the ground and the mist coming off the ponds, it looked like something from a horror novel.  By about 8:30AM the sun was up an it was all gone.

We've had an unusual amount of rain - summer  was really rainy, fall it still rained, and now in winter we are still having rain.  No, not downpours every day, but rain just the same.  For instance, in January the normal rainfall is less than 2 inches, and we've had more than 7 inches of rain.  In the Orlando area, normal is a little over 2 inches and we've had a little over 5 ½ inches.  In the summer we had standing water on the property in Central Florida - compete with wading birds, and about 2 weeks ago we had water seeping up through the concrete floor of the back porch - not from a plumbing issue, but just from the saturated ground.

Lake Okeechobee in the center of the state is at all time highs - the highest levels in nearly a century.  Because of this, the lake is being drained due to  fears the aging dike won't hold.  The problem with this is that the lake is polluted … as it's been a dumping ground for chemicals, manures, fertilizers and other pollutants from big sugar and big cattle ranches in the area.  This pollution, has pretty much been confined to the lake, but now that the lake is being drained at a rate of 70,000 gallons per second, to other coastal areas, we are ultimately polluting the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic.

With rising sea levels many coastal areas are having to contend with coastal flooding, and now we have to contend with the pollution issue as well.  Normally salty water has been turned into dirty freshwater which is killing seagrass and oysters among other things.  Friday, the Governor declared a state of emergency for several counties, asking for the federal government to begin repairs to the Lake Okeechobee infrastructure/dike. It is expected to cost 800 million dollars.

It's a vicious cycle … what is really needed is to send the water south to the everglades, but to do that you need land, voters passed Amendment 1 for the purpose of buying land, but our legislatures took those funds and diverted them to state employee salaries an issue yet unresolved.

I've lived in Florida all my life and quite frankly until last year, I was naive about what is going on in my state.  I LOVE Florida, and am concerned about the direction it is heading.  

In the past, I didn't feel like I could make a difference, but now, I know even little things can and do make a difference.  What little things can you do ?  Write your state representatives - it's as simple as sending them an email - you're on the computer quite a bit anyway.  Join social media groups that will keep you informed - a few I belong to are FloridaIssues, StopBearHunt and ImagineOurFlorida, amoung many others - with Facebook, their posts come up in your feed and with a click you can read what's trending.  Aside from advocacy groups, most counties and municipalities have Facebook pages they update.  Spread the word … by mouth … the simplest and cheapest method of doing something.  You'd be surprised how many people have no clue issues like these are taking place right in their backyard.  And finally, educate yourself about the candidates so when you vote, you vote for people that care about what you care about.

This post started with my enchantment with my frosty lawn, and turned into something entirely different.   I guess what weighs on my mind, comes out in my posts - it is what it is.


Florida Cold

I'm Cold.

I know some of you live where it's really cold, but for this Florida girl, it's too cold right now - mostly because it's been overcast and Mr Sun hasn't been out to warm things up.  Usually, during the day, even if it's cold, you can stand in the sun and feel some warmth, but these last couple of days the sun hasn't been out as much.  At home, I'm OK - I can walk around with slippers on, and lay on the couch with a thick blanket -- but at work, it's too cold inside as well as outside.  I have a little blankie, that I'm using across my lap, but it's a pain with a rolling desk chair.   

It's supposed to be an early spring as I truly believe the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil - well all the groundhogs (Shubenacadie Sam, Staten Island Chuck, and General Beau Lee) actually agreed.  This season has been average cold -- not as cold as some winters and not as warm either.  It's cold, but I like it - it's nice for a change and doesn't last too long.  We'll have a couple of days of cold, and then back up to the 70s, then it will drop down again for a few days, then back up to the 70s.  That's how south Florida winters usually are.

Once today is over, I'll have the weekend to hang by the fireplace, and all next week we're supposed to have weather in the mid 70s.  

The Cone

The weather stations call it a "Cone of Concern" but hubby and I refer to it as the "Cone of Doom" or with big storms "Cone of Death".  At this point, with every broadcast the strike point on Ike changes - it could come straight to So. Florida, it could go off to the North following Hanna, or it could drop below the keys near Cuba.  Regardless, practically the whole state of FL is in the Cone.

I'm prepared (as well as one can be).

Even with the "Cone of Doom" hanging over us, I'm heading to Naples/Bonita Springs today for a weekend crop. 

Hurricanes are one of the areas hubby and I differ on.  He gets into a state of not really panic, but grave concern where he can't sleep or eat, and I remain calm.  He plans to spend the weekend getting shutters in order and down, and I'm already prepared and am going to a crop.  I'll be watching it, but I figure if he needs some last minute stuffs I can get them in Naples since there won't be storm panic buying there.


Getting down to the wire now.  Can't say I have a favorite at this point.  It's been a wierd season = usually I have a clear favorite, but not this run.  I like Dan for his game play, and I've liked Keesha, and I like Jerry just because I never expected him to still be there.  I'm not even sure how the jury votes will play out since Keesha, Dan, and Memphis are not well liked by anyone in the jury.

Aside from Big Brother my TV viewing has been overshadowed by watching storm reports with the triple threat of Hanna, Ike and Josephine.  Hanna is moving north, but I've been following Ike since he is a major storm.  It's a wait and see for now.

Meet Fay

At200806_sat So this is Tropical Storm Fay.  We're getting some squalls and rain but that's about it.  At this point, it is expected to go across the lower keys and into the gulf, then come ashore (possibly as a Cat 1 hurricance) around the Ft. Myers/Naples area.

South Florida is on what they call the "dirty" side of the storm so we have to watch for tornado activity.

All and all things are running smoothly.  I've got the shutters down on most of the house and tonight we'll put down the rest.  It's pretty easy to do and the most effective way to protect yourself during a storm.  As for food and water we are set, but hopefully we won't be without power this time around. I'll keep you posted as things progress.

Checked on mom in Key Largo and all is well there, they also are having some heavy rains, and when I called were bringing in the planters off the porch area.

Windy Weather

WOW - it is so windy here.  Theres a storm in the gulf (Noel) but thats not what's causing it.  It seems that the two fronts are converging and causing all the wind.  It's not raining much, which is a good thing.  We're of couse watching Tropical Storm Noel because he will probably go just off the coast of Florida which will cause some rainy windy weather but hopefully not much else. 

You open a door and if the wind catches it, it gets pulled open and it's also kindof hard to get a cigarrette lit (oh don't worry I'm managing).  The next couple of days the weather should be getting progressively worse until the storm is north of us - it's supposed to stay well off shore but we'll still see some of the bands of weather.  They say Tomorrow more wind, and then Thursday the rain will pick up.

Since it's not a hurricane, I can deal with the wind and rain portion.

Are You Prepared for Hurricane Season?

RainWho would have thought that on the first day of Hurricane Season, we would already be on our second named storm. Tropical Storm Barry.  It's about 4:30PM and this is what our weather looks like.  We certainly can use the rain since we've been on water restrictions for several months now, but the outlook for the next 7 days is rain and rain and oh yeah more rain.

So the question is ... are you prepared? We bought a generator last year (and didn't need it thankfully) so I'm set in that department.  At least I'll be able to run my refrigerator and if I'm really lucky my hot water heater.  I really start preparing in May, and all through June I'll add a little bit extra to my weekly grocery shopping so that I have enough food and water on hand.  My goal is to be well stocked by the end of June.  This week, we'll be making a costco trip to stock up on batteries since there is no sales tax on certain hurricane supplies for the next 12 days.