More Beach Talk

The scariest sight – Nancy sitting at the computer, nose up against the screen which is open to and the words “add to cart” flashing. The next scariest is to see the UPS truck pulling up and wondering exactly what she ordered. So far, so good.

We’re just about cleaned up from the storm but I’m leaving some things tied up and stored away until the hurricane season is really over. I’m replanting the garden but not sure how successful this will be. The timing is such that I’m late for some veggies and early for others so the work I’m doing now could come to naught. That plus the soil is “soggy” so as soon as the roots get any size, they’ll be down in muck. Not holding much promise for this season.

One thing that has happened as a result of the storm is that the fire ants have come back with a vengeance. It’s making nearly impossible to work in the garden. They are so tiny that you don’t know you’re in them until there are hundreds of them on you and they set off the “bite hard” command. Some of the bites turn into boil like protrusions that I have to break with a needle and then apply Neosporin.

Went to the beach yesterday, the Palm Coast Monday bridge event. I wanted to see the impact of the new large storm a few hundred miles off the coast. It was high tide – really high tide- and I was not able to walk on the beach at all so couldn’t get much of an assessment of new erosion but it actually appeared that maybe sand was being redeposited rather than eroded. I drove down to the place we used to stay and spotted the owner. He said it was a mixed bag – some of the restoration attempts worked, others failed. He had put up a “fence” – the same kind of fence you see in Wyoming to hold back snow drifts. The fence was fairly well beaten up but the dunes they were protecting looked good to me. He had also planted a few yards of sea oats but they didn’t survive. All in all, so far, so good. I’ll get a better handle on it next Monday when the tide will be low at noon. Of course it was too rough to fish! Big boomers.

Back in business

Sorry for the gap but we’ve been busy dealing with the pre-storm events, the storm itself, and the post storm cleanup. The net of it all was that we sustained no damage and that goes for everyone we know all over the state. Everyone has the same story – lots of downed branches and debris but very little actual structural damage and a multi day power outage. In our case we were out 4 days but our discomfort was assuaged by our trusty generator. We can pretty much run the house with a little usage management and no air conditioning. 
This time around we figured out that we could use the hot water heater periodically so we even had showers. So, all in all, it was like a comfortable camping trip.

The lake – highest I’ve ever seen it but a couple of feet below flood problems. My neighbors dock was actually overtopped. It naturally drains at about 1”/day. The water temp dropped from bathtub warm to cold springs as I found when I jumped in to cool off from my brush clearing project.

The beach – took Nancy to her bridge game at Palm Coast yesterday and
proceeded on to check out the beach. Hurricane Mathew last year really clobbered the beach with a large loss of dune sand. I was concerned that this storm would further that loss and perhaps cause some homes to lose their total buffer so I was pleasantly surprised to find the erosion was maybe a couple of feet. After Mathew I had worked with friends building a wooden seawall, covering it with sand and planting shore grass so I was anxious to see how well that fared. It did the job but suffered some structural problems and needs to be recovered with sand. They were hard at it so in a day or so, it will be back to normal. The beach itself looked really good and I saw no damage at all to houses along the beach road. All of our watering holes were open for business. One interesting thing – after large storms the beach and surf are normally heavy with seaweed which can take months to degrade or wash away. None at all with Irma.

The garden – wipe out. I have two ratty looking tomatoes out of a dozen, 3 ok looking pepper plants out of 10 and a total wipeout of the eggplant and okra. Pineapples look perfect. One surprise loss was Rosemary. The wind must have burned all the leaves; maybe it will come back but it sure looks dead. Ditto the basel but I really expected that. The good news was the cucumbers and squash look just fine. These had only popped out a week before the storm so I guess they had such a low profile, that the wind didn’t tear them up. Planting this time of year is alway iffy so anything we get will be classified as a bonus.

Just to round off the week, my lawn mower died. The drive wheel gear box stripped and it wasn’t worth repairing. We stopped in to Lowes and there was an all wheel drive unit on sale so we were back in the mowing business in just a few days. Here’s the good part – The heavy rains we’ve had for a few days before the storm and then along with the storm had the grass way high. What I didn’t realize was that the cutting level on the new mower was much lower than on the old one – which cleared the sprinklers. Yep, crunched a pop up sprinkler with the new mower about an hour after putting it together. I cleared out the pieces wrapped around the blade and tried to restart it. Nope. I live very close to a dealer for that brand and took it right over to have them see how bad I had screwed things up. No problem and I came home and finished the job. I’m going to assume that this past week was truly the week from hell!!

Bright spot – Persimmon Hollow is up and brewing.

Waiting for Irma

Getting ready for Irma. I’t Thursday, 9/7, and the local meteorologists are painting gloom and doom for almost all of Florida. What bothers me most is the saturation coverage which creates high anxiety in everyone when the storm is thousands of miles away. When I was a kid, hurricanes just were’t that big a deal and you’d never hear about all these storms that never amount to anything. They’d start talking about them a few days before the event instead of weeks before. The reports would give you a set of coordinates where the center was and you’d plot them yourself on maps you got at grocery stores or in the papers. Right now they’re talking about it clobbering south Florida and then coming right up the middle of the state to our house. I did get a personal sign that it probably won’t hit us – I pulled out the generator and it started on the first pull. I was so elated that I changed the oil as a personal reward to the generator. My next job is to tie up or move all the dock furniture. I’ll probably wait a few days on that since it will only take an hour or so. We have plenty of batteries and a couple gallons of water in the freezer to keep it cold for a few hours if we lose power overnight – before I crank up the generator. If it gets within 24 hours of us and still on track, I bring the chain saw to the house just in case we have to cut our way out. We’re not worried about flooding since this seems to be a fast moving storm and we could literally deal with a couple feet of rain before it caused problems. We can also do a last minute change of venue among Tom, my sister, and us if one area looks to be in for a worse time. Joey will be out of the country on a preplanned trip.
We continue to get an inch or so of rain daily so the lake keeps rising – an inch or so daily. I’ve certainly seen it higher but it is higher than it has been in several years so if we get anything from one of these hurricane critters…………….
I went through all the fishing tackle I picked up at the neighbors moving sale and did a thorough cleaning, lubricating, and test casting. Two of the three bait casters cast smoothly; the third one casts fine but the retrieve could be smoother. I suspect there are a couple of grains of sand still in the gears but even so, the reel is perfectly serviceable. The final test has to be can they catch fish and I’ve set my sights on getting that question answered this week. Harvey, the previous owner, was a spinning reel guy and never really used the bait casters so I may have a training program for this gear; make sure it all understands what I expect. The rods are really like new; graphite, light weight, name brand rods. I would typically expect to see them in Bass Pro Shops at $35 each so even if the reels were total trash, which they’re not, I got a good deal. Ditto the line – he had strung the reels with Power Pro braid on one reel, a good grade monofilament on another, and something weird on the third. It was a bright yellow, heavy grade monofilament. When I say heavy grade, this had to be 1000 pound test. Needless to say it was way to stiff for casting so he must have used it to haul boats or something. I stripped that and replaced it with 30# Power Pro that I had on hand.