Hurricane coming?

The louvered vent covering the attic fan started falling apart a month or so back. I tried to repair it and did a credible job but the plastic was just worn out and continued to break. I was able to buy a replacement part that was close to fitting but required a bit more carpentry than I was able to handle. The fact that the vent was up about 16′ up made it virtually impossible for me to really attack. Joey and Mark, mostly Mark, to the rescue. They came up early yesterday and within an hour the new one was in place. They then attacked the rest of the exterior – spraying bleach, power washing, mowing and just generally doing all those things that we have to do in Florida every six months. Place looks like new. The question posed is “if you spray bleach on your camo pants, have you ruined them or made them more camo like”? The logic that I am now more camouflaged seems unassailable to me – but not to everybody.

Here’s a story to show the persistence of nature. We have a screened porch which, in Florida, would be called a pool enclosure. It’s roughly 25′ x 35′ with a sloping screened roof that slopes from 8′ to 20′ over the 25′ span. The structure is made of aluminum extrusions and then covered with screen mesh. Very conventional. About 5 years ago I noticed that at one of the structures where a vertical piece met one of the roof pieces that a small oak had sprouted. I thought it was strange to see a small tree sprouting 8′ up in the air and onto an aluminum joint where there’s no soil. I watched it for a few years wondering how big it could grow before it ran out of whatever was sustaining it. When it looked like maybe that wasn’t going to happen – maybe the tree was getting enough sustenance to survive from the rain water – I decided to cut it out before it did any structural damage. Fast forward to yesterday and I noticed that in the exact spot where the oak sprouted, there is now a pine tree about 8” tall. There are 4 similar structure joining spots but only this one seems to promote tree growth. I wonder if I’m violating some EPA rule or Florida Wildlife Preservation law while protecting the screen porch? The variety of trees that are growing may be quite rare and protected. They look like garden variety oak and pine but maybe there’s something special about them. What if I let them grow and they take on a religiously meaningful form – I’d really be in trouble.

We’re eating cucumbers. Very unusual for August. In the past we were pretty much finished with cucumbers by May but this year we’re loaded. So I guess we can add cucumbers to the summer mix – eggplant, okra and peppers. One slight difference between May and August product is a few boring worms. They bore into the cucumber an inch or so and might bother some folks but they don’t seem to ruin the host, just eating the teeny, tiniest bits. Right now I’m thinking I’d rather cut out those spots than spray insecticide.

Looks like maybe a hurricane is heading our way. We’re way, way overdue. I think the last one was about 5 years ago. Ideally it will pass about a 100 miles offshore and dump 6” of water on us. I’m going to assume much worse and take this week to tie up all the deck equipment and anything else that might turn into a missile. I have 3 empty gas cans that I’ll fill to run the generator as necessary.

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