The awesomeness of living in the Florida ~ semi-tropics

St John's River-Cove
St. John’s River after a glorious day

Floridians learn to live with hurricanes and tropical storms, as well as alligators, turtles,  lizards, and snakes. We also get foxes, hawks, possums and deer encroaching on our territory. or are we encroaching on theirs? There is even the occasional black bear in someone’s back yard. It’s all part of the exotic beauty and mystery of Florida living…and I love the mystery and adventure of it.

It’s not all palm trees, manicured lawns, swimming pools,  and beaches, though it’s that too. I’m very proud of the swimming pools we have in the condo complex I live in. We also have a natural pond with wild ducks who claimed it as their habitat long before the units were built. They stayed after people bought units and to this day walk around like they own the place. We have Watch For Ducks signs posted, and we brake our vehicles to a stop when a line of ducks waddle-marches across the asphalt. I walk my dog to the pond several times a week. It’s peaceful and lovely, but don’t take away my swimming pools.

Flower, my backyard
Flower from my backyard

Floridians braced for mega-Hurricane Dorian, and wisely, I might add. It was a monster storm that thankfully veered to the east a few miles into the Atlantic as it went up the Florida coast. It’s 110 mph winds churned over the seas as it traveled north. We truly dodged a bullet.

Now tropical storm Humberto is doing it’s thing out in the Atlantic and it’s brought cooler weather to northeastern coastal Florida. The morning was breezy when I walked my little dog Sophie. I met a neighbor walking her dog and she smiled, waved, and said, “Wonderful, a break from heat.” As the day progresses, the sun is breaking through fluffy, marshmallow clouds and it’s glorious. This is what I love about Florida. It’s a mix of wild and tame…fierce and luxurious.

Flower, elephan ear
Elephant ear from my backyard

 

 

 

Magnolia Storms (A Coastal Hearts Novel) by Janet W. Ferguson ~ a review

Magnolia Storms

Romance, Christian Fiction

With Hurricane Dorian bearing down on the Bahamas as a Cat 5 this Labor Day weekend, I decided to finish reading this emotional novel of devastation, hope, and love.

The author skillfully achieves a sense of foreboding from the very beginning. Hero and Gulf Coast river bar pilot Josh Bergeron attempts to board a cargo ship in rough water and his foot slips off of the rung of the metal ladder. I am mostly a detective story reader and/or action-adventure. The most exciting parts of this novel for me were Josh’s scenes out on tumultuous seas.

Later in the story, we learn that heroine Maggie Marovich’s father, also a bar pilot and Josh’s mentor was swept away and lost during Hurricane Katrina. She left the Gulf Coast, never to return, but now her sister Cammie’s horrid accident and hospitalization forces Maggie back to their childhood home as another hurricane looms.

As a Christian reader, I appreciated the Bible verse that kept repeating: “Though he slay me, yet I will trust in Him.” Job 13:15

All of the characters were highly likeable and well developed in this emotional romance story. I’m not a romance reader and didn’t absolutely and totally fall into their lives. My favorite character was Aunt Ruth. I do recommend this novel to romance readers who enjoy a realistic, exciting clean read.

Purchase Magnolia Storms on Amazon

All Things Hurricane Week ~ tips, stories

As storms line up in the Atlantic and stream across the Pacific ~~ this is hurricane week on this blog.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you. ~ Isiaha 43:2, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

Hurricane 2Hurricane Survival Tips ~ the basics

At Least Two Weeks Before The First Anticipated Hurricane:

  • Create an emergency kit for your home for the duration
    • One gallon of drinkable water per person for seven days
    • Pet food and water for seven days, one leash per dog, pet carriers, litter for two weeks
    • Enough non-perishable food for seven days (manual can opener)
      • paper plates, paper towels, plastic cups, antibacterial wipes
    • Battery operated radio, extra batteries
    • Battery operated lanterns, battery operated candles (not match lit)
    • Freezer packs (and freeze them while you have power)
    • Prescriptions medications
    • Sanitation items (moist wipes, plastic bags for garbage)
    • Personal hygiene items
    • If you need to sandbag your doors or garage, purchase early. They will sell out. Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ace Hardware will sell them.
    • In case you have to go even though you thought you wouldn’t
      • In a sturdy backpack(s). Each family member over 13 should carry a sturdy backpack, preferably water resistant.

        • Important documents (identification, insurance policies, bank account records either stored electronically or in a waterproof container), phone chargers, small battery operated radio
        • first aid kit…with all prescription medications, as well as non-prescription, toothbrush, tooth paste, sanitary needs, antibacterial wipes
        • extra underwear and socks in a plastic bag
        • Telephone book with important numbers, personal calendar
        • Pet license and vaccination records
        • A few hundred dollars in cash or traveler’s checks
    • A cooler(s) to load into the car with food, freezer packs packed with above mentioned food for three days. Don’t forget manual can opener

 

Hurricane 5

Days before the hurricane:

  • Trim all trees near the house
  • Park your car in a secure garage or away from trees
  • Know your evacuation route, and if authorities ask you to leave, do so immediately.
  • If evacuating, load all of the above into your vehicle in the order of importance. Make sure you have the emergency-supply backpack(s) you’ve packed for each person who will carry on.
  • Whether leaving or not, turn your refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings, have freezer packs that you leave in the freezer if the power goes off. If evacuating, have additional freezer packs in a cooler with the food you are taking.
  • Bring in all light weight, loose objects from your yard indoors (patio furniture, garbage cans, etc.)

Hurricane 3

What to bring to a shelter:hat to bring to a shelter:

  • A blanket or sleeping bag for each person, pillows
  • Food and water for three days, eating utensils
  • Additional safety and hygiene items
  • Your emergency-supply backpack(s) with prescription and non-prescription meds, important papers, etc.
  • Flashlights and batteries, games, toys, crossword puzzles, books, magazines

Hurricane 6

Pet friendly shelters:

  • Know where they are located. Do not assume all shelters take pets.
  • Bring your vaccination records
  • All dogs must be collared and leashed and you must have enough poop pickup bags for three days, seriously!
  • All cats must be in a carrier and have a litter box and litter, also sturdy plastic bags for three days to scoop out litter and dispose of it, seriously!
  • Bring food, water, bowls, any meds the animals take
  • Note: The stench of pet waste is nausiating and is a health hazard. Bring what you need to take care of it.

 

CD hurricane(1)

On a lighter note…If you’re in search of a good novel to read during or after your hurricane experience.

It’s hurricane season! Check out COURTING DANGER. A murderer is terrorizing a beach town and so does a fierce hurricane. The case has national security implications giving former US Army Ranger, Dr. Dimitri Garmonin a chance to work with the FBI. It could help him gain funds needed to expand his small Behavior Analysis Unit. He’s unmoved by the chic FBI agent but is intrigued by spunky, newly installed Det. Katerina “Kat” Andruko with whom he shares a Slavic heritage. #99cents all summer.

Magnolia StormsConsider MAGNOLIA STORMS. Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina and she’s moved inland, away from the sea. Both her single-parent sister and Josh Bergeron, the ship pilot Maggie once loved,  refuse to leave the Coast. Now a hurricane’s heading directly toward them. Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?

Facts About Hurricanes:

  • The word “hurricane” comes from the Taino Native American word, hurucane, meaning evil spirit of the wind.
  • A giant tropical storm is classified as a ‘hurricane once winds go up to 74 miles per hour. That would be Category One hurricane. The highest category considered by the US National Hurricane Center is a Cat 5 with sustained wind speeds greater than 157 miles per hour.
  • Hurricanes form over warm ocean waters near the equator. The warm, moist air above the ocean surface rises, causing air from surrounding areas to be “sucked” in and these winds begin to swirl.
  • The Galveston Category 4 storm of 1900 is perhaps the worst ever seen in the US. The storm landed at 140 mph and brought a 16 foot storm surge. An estimated six to eight thousand people perished. The city’s trolley tracks ripped from their moorings and smashed through buildings like battering rams. Perhaps the most heart-breaking story is that despite the desperate and heroic efforts of ten nuns, all of the nuns and 90 of the 93 children in St. Mary’s Orphanage perished.
National_Hurricane_Center_HSU_desk
National Hurricane Center (NOAA) Desk

 

Where to Go For Hurricane Information:

National Hurricane Center (NOAA)

 

 

 

For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand,
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you. ~  Isaiah 41:13New American Standard Bible [NASB]

 

Preparing For Tropical Storm Hermine ~ don’t get caught

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I’m not a novice when it comes to tropical storms. I survived Tropical Storm Dennis when I lived in Miami in 1981. I’ve also survived several hurricanes that hit New York City, while living in Brooklyn, including Super Storm Sandy. And I’ve learned to take all storms very seriously.

I now live in Jacksonville and we’re hunkering down and waiting for Tropical Storm Hermine to hit tonight. It will be the first large, hurricane-type storm to hit Jacksonville in 11 years. I’ve learned that even if I’m not in an area sure to be flooded (and I’m not), a water main can break and I’ll need to have a supply of water in the house. Everything runs on electricity in JAX. If the power goes out, the stove goes out, the refrigerator. Everything.  I filled my Brita filtered pitcher with water to drink, filled an ordinary pitcher with filtered water, and made a container of fresh brewed iced tea for drinking. These I’m keeping in the refrigerator. I put all my thermal freezer bags in the freezer compartment of my refrigerator.I filled my container for ice cubes to the top with cubes and made two additional trays of ice. I didn’t shop for meat this week and I’m hoping what I have will keep if power fails.

I will fill my large blue plastic salad bowl and keep it filled in the sink for washing dishes. I filled plastic containers with water for washing dishes, and if (God forbid) a water main breaks and I need water to flush a toilet. I’ll also fill all my pots and containers in case they’re need for bathroom use. (Uugh) In addition I have new batteries for my emergency lantern and I have candles, if needed. I have easy access to my cat carriers in my outdoor storage ares should an evacuation be needed, but they’re not predicting anything as bad as that. I will keep my eye on the weather reports and if predictions worsen, I’ll bring my cat carriers into the house. I have cat and dog food and pet dishes I can easily transport, but I don’t think that will be necessary this time. Cans of tuna and a manual can opener are sitting on my kitchen counter, in case. These are easily transportable, if I have to leave, but I don’t expect that. I have a briefcase style purse near the door with my wallet (drivers license, bank cards, medical insurance cards). I know where my Social Security Card, birth certificate, will, and other important papers are if the storm gets bad in the wee hours, and I need to take them. I know where my rain poncho is.

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Last week, during a heavy rain, not a major storm, large tree limbs in the neighborhood were severed and fell. So, when the rain gets heavier (probably around 5 or 6 o’clock this evening) I’ll move my SUV to the center of the church parking lot across the street from my house. It should be safe from branches falling on it there. I always keep a blanket spread out in the cargo area of my vehicle. So, if needed, I’ll have a blanket. Just by happenstance, I have a few beach towels in the back seat of the SUV and I’ll leave them there for the duration.

Super Storm Sandy was grossly underestimated and under prepared for. The results were devastating and some NYC residents have not recovered from their losses yet. Equally, many in New Orleans have not recovered from Katrina and Rita.