Saturday, October 15, 2016

Clean Up Continues

Today a truck from Ohio was working in the neighborhood picking up the bulk of the brush and tree limbs. It is a long tedious job for them, because there is so much tree debris everywhere that the trucks get filled up quickly and they have to go and empty them, then return to continue where they left off. Plus they were working in the rain.

In one week everything on the side of the road has turned brown and most of the leaves have fallen off the branches. So once the bulk is picked up, we had to rake piles and piles of leaves. It is great to have the mess gone though. Many thanks to all the utility and tree companies who have come from out of state to help out!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Power To The People!

Finally we have power and I can fill you in on all that has been happening during Hurricane Matthew. Once Dave arrived in Daytona, we immediately started putting up hurricane shutters, which hasn't been done since 2004. My father was still alive then and no one in the family knew how to do this. Thankfully one of the neighbors had the same type of shutters and told us to look for special hardware to attach them. A sign from above as Dad guided me to the can with his handwriting saying hurricane shutter hardware!

As we were preparing, Mathew was intensifying and heading away from a direct Abaco hit and more easterly towards us and the whole southeast coast.  We made the decision to evacuate early to beat the traffic and were headed west with Mom and her 5 lb. Maltese by Wednesday night. First night was spent in Gainesville, and then we hoped to stay in Tallahassee, where we had a picnic lunch at this beautiful park on the river outside the city.

Unfortunately there were no room reservations available anywhere. Finally there was one room left in Panama City Beach. We heard that some people had to go all the way to Tennessee to find a room. So while Matthew was ravaging the coast, this was the view from our room! Dave even went in the 90 degree water but ended up with jellyfish stings and huge welts on his whole body.

We also went sightseeing during our idle time and came across these two attractions...the Titanic and Wonder Works upside down earthquake building. They looked so funny in the middle of the shopping district among CVS, Walmart, and fast food.

After the storm passed, we received a text and a photo from Mom's neighbor who stayed home and said although there was no power, Mom's house looked fine with no damage except for many small tree branches on the ground. What a relief! Since my brother had his power restored shortly after the storm, and my sister never even lost power, we started heading east. This trip was very stressful on my mother (and in turn, us), especially dealing with her dog that we had to sneak in and out of our room in my carry on case, because the motel wasn't dog friendly. Mom was getting increasingly confused, so even if there was no power at her house, she could stay with my brother, which is what she had to do for two nights. However, we did spend another night in a beautiful plush Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Silver Springs so we wouldn't arrive in Daytona at night. This was such a treat, complete with Jacuzzi hot tub, and dog friendly (We really needed this because both of our other rooms had bedbugs, although Mom's beds were fine and she never knew, but they loved Dave's body heat, and I slept in a chair. Nothing we could do when there were no other places to stay).

Back in Daytona, my sister had already hauled brush to the side of the road and raked Mom's yard, which helped immensely. We had to throw away everything in her fridge and start again (at least it wasn't like another neighbor who came home to find her two freezers full of meat running watery blood through her house). Just before Dave left to fly home, the utility trucks that had been sent to the area from all over the country, arrived and pulled a fallen tree off the wires and got us back on the grid...woohoo! Meanwhile there was no hot water, so it was time for outdoor showers.

Below are photos of some of the sites in the area. Captain Daddy's Riverboat restaurant was pretty much destroyed. Tree damage was immense, especially in her neighborhood of cedar trees that split, and live oaks that uprooted. One of the mobile parks had a tree come down and fold up a trailer. Now the huge piles of debris are on the sides of all the roads and pulling out of side streets is like trying to see around snowbanks up north in the winter. What a long strange trip it's been, but as you can see, some people kept their sense of humor! It could have been so much worse if Matthew had stayed a Category 4 hurricane and hadn't wobbled that little bit away from the coast at the last minute (so many people to the north of us are much worse off). Plus Abaco and Hope Town were spared the brunt of the hurricane and all is well there. We are ready...

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Waiting For Matthew

And unfortunately I don't mean my nephew Matthew!  See how lovely the beach looked a few days ago?

That will soon change. Following Hurricane Matthew's progress has been frustrating and as each three hour prediction is issued, it looks worse for the Bahamas and then on to us in Florida. I have secured all loose things that could blow around and have plans to drain my mother's pool down a lot so that it doesn't overflow and come into the house. The big problem is that there are three big live oak trees around her house and we have already had quite a bit of rain. At least if the uproot they will probably fall away from the house, or at least I hope so.

This morning I went outside and it was so wet that we had ducks in the yard, that wandered in from the local pond a block away.

After many phone calls and texts to Dave about what has been happening, this afternoon he told me he is going to fly down temporarily and be with us. This will also help if there are mandatory evacuations. Heck, he's even bringing his mask and snorkel in case he has to do anything outside during the storm. Gee, you never know where he is going to show up, and I certainly am relieved. If it happens that the storm veers out to sea or it's not so bad, then it will still be worth it. I will post more when I can after the storm. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fields O' Plenty, Part 2: Nighttime

My cousin Chuck sure knows how to throw a great party, and what a fantastic setting it was to have it! Past his new blueberry field, with his gorgeous house overlooking it all, lies another field with picnic tables, a fire pit, and the now famous Boogie Barn! We had such a fun evening visiting people and relatives we hadn't seen in years. Plus there was delicious food and a fabulous band (with Chuck as one of the two drummers).

Since we had come directly from the truck show, we unloaded the Tally Ho wagon and Farmall and went for a tour of the property with Kerstin, Kenny, and Ashley. In a couple of years these 2700 blueberry plants will be mature, so you'll definitely want to head to Star Farm to pick your own.

We had a bit of a problem going up the hill when the gas ran to the back of the Farmall's tank and it stalled. We ended up having to unhitch everything and get it turned around and pointed downhill, without it getting out of control at the steep angle. All part of the experience!

Thanks so much Chuck for a memorable night! Now it's time to trade in my heavy coat for my swimsuit and head south. Dave will stay home for a bit, but I will spending a month in Daytona before we both fly to Abaco. What an awesome season in the north it has been!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Fields O' Plenty, Part 1: Daytime

This weekend was the annual truck and tractor show in Ballston Spa. Dave brought up the Farmall tractor and the Tally Ho wagon, along with his award winning Trail 70 on Saturday.

The show was very well attended and it looked to have more participants than I have ever seen. People brought their rigs from all over the Northeast, including Canada.

Many were antiques, which is always interesting...

 Friend Tim and his company Timco had this miniature tractor trailer on display. 

It even had a motor and Dave got to take it for a spin. He could barely see, and getting in and out was a challenge. I sat on the back while Dave was driving and it is amazingly fast.

This weird looking trailer was for sale and no one could figure out what it was used for. The lid lifted up and there were all partitions inside of it. 

Here are a few more photos from this event that we look forward to all summer long. What I have shown is only the "tip of the iceberg" though.

What an extraordinary day and we still can't believe the price of admission is only $1.00. Now that's a lot of entertainment value for a buck!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Fall Is Here!

A few days ago, on the first day of autumn, it was still 84 degrees out. Such a perfect continuation of our great summer weather. Before it got too warm out, we decided to take a hike up Cook Mountain, which we haven't done in many years. Once we were into the 1 mile hike almost straight up, I remembered why we hadn't been there in so long. I would caption the photo below: the WTF much farther and steeper does this trail go?

Eventually my knees couldn't handle it and I know going down at such an angle is even worse. I sat on a log and told Dave to keep going for a little way to see if we were near the top. I certainly didn't want to miss out on the view if we were almost there. It was so beautiful and quiet with just a couple of chipmunks running around. Then I heard rustling and looked around to see a huge porcupine heading my way with its quills out! I yelled "HEY" to keep it away and it did stop, but Dave also heard me and called out to see if I was okay. I told him about the porcupine and asked if he was "there." He said yes, so I started heading up, only to find he was heading back down. Me: "Why did you come down?" Dave: "I thought you wanted to know if I was there, not THERE." In other words he was in hearing distance but not at the top. I showed him the porcupine who was still rummaging around in the leaves and Dave went to take a photo, startling it and it immediately climbed up a tree, something I didn't know they did. At least it wasn't a bear!

We figured this was an omen to abort our hike and decided it would be much more fun to go out on the lake in Moxie one more time. Definitely a good decision. We got to see the Mohican tour boat that has been hauled out on the railway in Ticonderoga. They are putting a new bottom on it and we could see straight through it in the front.

Dave couldn't resist taking one more plunge into the water before we headed back and winterized all the boats.

Too bad all of fall isn't like this, but our life down south is calling. We'll back boating in another body of water that is always clear, soon enough!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Round & Round We Go...

Or not! Dave and friend Pete (who also has a fertile imagination and eclectic talent for projects like this) have been working on Dave's latest creation. A spring loaded twirling motorcycle ride. A few years ago, we wanted a spring from a children's playground ride, but ended up with a much larger and heftier spring, so we could really go big...perfect for adults. It even spun around, which was an added bonus. With Dave's mind that never rests, he came up with the idea that we should be able to be transport it to some of the motorcycle, truck, and tractor shows we attend. The guys mounted it in a campfire ring and welded it to this little trailer.

Then Dave poured concrete to secure the spring in the base. 

Next they mounted an old non-functioning Bridgestone motorcycle to the spring.

Unfortunately the added weight and height made it too top heavy and wobbly, or in nautical terms, it was very tender. Dave hung on to the New Holland tractor for stability and wouldn't let go. It would definitely be too scary to spin around and bounce on this ride, especially so high up.

So it's back to the drawing board, but stay tuned, because you know eventually Dave will succeed!