Archive for ‘Observations’

Dinner Time

A vast school of something yummy must’ve been swimming along the coastline tonight because the birds were having a field day. I noted Black Skimmers, Brown Pelicans, Laughing Gulls, and three species of terns working above the water while a Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and several Black-crowned Night-Herons were hunting from the jetty rocks.

I drove home from Ohio yesterday, putting in 17+ hours behind the wheel but it was worth it just to get home. My first impression was that my house weathered storm quite well, though it was too dark and I was too tired for a thorough inspection.

My plants took a beating but hopefully, with a little care, they will survive. I spent the day undoing my hurricane preparations, so very thankful that the storm damage was minor in my neighborhood. Acutely aware that so many others south of me were not as fortunate…

State Slogans

My recent trip up north took me through West Virginia. Borrowing a lyric from John Denver’s “Country Roads“, the welcome signs proclaimed West Virginia to be “Almost heaven.”

Crossing over the Ohio River into the Buckeye state the welcome sign greeted me with, “Find it here.” The slogans of the two neighboring states cracked me up. It seemed as though the northern state was dissing the southern one – while West Virginia was close to heaven, heaven could actually be found in Ohio!

Relieved

After another restless night, I awoke this morning to some amazing news concerning my county: my friends who stayed in the area are all okay, initial assessments in St. Petersburg found minimal damage (trees and power lines down but no flooding from rain or storm surge), and my wonderful neighbors reached out this morning to let me know my little house survived unscathed.

Though the mandatory evacuation order was lifted at 9am, the county has asked people to stay off the roads while crews attend to repairs. I will remain in Ohio through the weekend.

As relieved as I am, I am keenly aware that the devastation suffered by the communities a few hours to the south could have been mine. I am researching the best ways I can assist in the recovery efforts.

Thoughts on Leaving

As a fairly stubborn person who isn’t afraid of hard work, I’ve tackled some challenges over the years. However, when it comes to Mother Nature, I willingly cede the field. She has my utmost respect so I generally do what I can to stay out of harm’s way.

Wendy’s kiosk in Florida (not intended to be about the weather)

Mercifully with Hurricane Ian, there was advance notice and time to prepare (unlike some other types of natural disasters – earthquakes, I’m looking at you). Driving away from my cozy little home, not knowing what shape it would be in upon my return, was emotional but there was little time to dwell on it.

Heading north through Florida I was impressed by the storm preparations; convoys of lineman, emergency response trailers, and semis loaded with generators, portable toilets, and other critical supplies were heading south while the state had already lowered the interstate lights.

I was halfway through Georgia by the time the mandatory evacuation notice was issued for my county. I drove as far north as I could manage before stopping for the night near Charlotte, North Carolina. The parking lot at the hotel was filled with familiar license plates.

I arrived without incident at my cousin’s house in Ohio yesterday afternoon, thankful for a safe place to stay. I’m worn out and incredibly worried about the intensity and path of Ian. I know there will be a lot of work ahead, until then I’m hoping for the best.

On a lighter note, I thought I’d share something from a Florida Facebook group that I belong to. In the face of uncertainty, sometimes humor helps…

Hoping for the Best

Late last night I finished my preparations for sheltering in place. After a few hours of restless sleep, I awoke this morning to a different scenario – mandatory evacuation was imminent. So, I followed the old axiom; Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

I secured my outdoor furnishings and decor, covered my windows, loaded up my important belongings, and by noon I was on the road. My Plan B was to stay with friends in central Florida, Plan C was friends in Georgia, Plan D was friends in North Carolina, Plan E was friends in Virginia.

The weather update around 2pm tossed all those options out the window as the hurricane was predicted to track north through the South. I have stopped for the night in Charlotte, NC. Well on my way to Plan F, my cousin’s in Ohio.

Thank you to everyone who reached out to check on me, sorry I haven’t able to respond. It’s been a hectic day! The next few days should be interesting. I hope the storm does minimal damage throughout its path!

Made for Each Other

A couple months ago, I stopped at the Pinellas County Heritage Village in nearby Largo. The 21-acre site is home to a living history museum that protects 33 unique, culturally distinct buildings from the county’s early years.

I was delighted it was finally open (it had closed during COVID) and enjoyed a brief stroll around the grounds. In the visitor center I was drawn to these replica fruit crate labels. There were quite a few citrus packing companies operating in the county in the 1910s-40s. They marketed their products by putting these visually appealing labels on their crates.

During the 1940s, cardboard boxes began to replace wooden crates and need for the colorful labels diminished. In later decades, diseases and freezes crippled Florida’s citrus industry and thousands of acres of groves were developed.

Even though I had no idea what to do with them, I selected six labels from the dozens available. My next stop that afternoon was a thrift store. In the back of the shop was an old, sash window with six panes. Talk about a perfect match!

I finally got around to cleaning, repairing, and painting the old window. I’m pleased with my “new” label display!

Trash to Treasure

I found this top of a china cabinet out by the road a few months ago. It was solid oak and in decent shape (just missing a shelf and the cord for the light had been cut) but amazingly, the mirror and all the glass were still intact. I was instantly enamored with the unique, curved glass on the sides of the piece. So, I loaded it into my car and brought it home.

It sat in my carport gathering dust until I came across an oak plank the right size for the shelf. I cleaned, sanded, and painted the cabinet (using discounted “oops” paint). Then I rewired the lamp (using cord from a yard sale), added feet to give it a little height (harvested from a couch beside a dumpster), and switched out the knobs (from a thrift store). I cannot take credit for the hardest part, cutting the plank to match the curves of the cabinet. Thank you, Al, that was no mean feat!

I’m pretty darn pleased with how it turned out. Now comes the hard part, deciding what to put in there!