A special place

"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, it is a special place where I spend my afternoon."

Friday, August 31, 2012

It's a Wrap!

      It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood! The calm after the storm is a lot better than the calm before. The boats are going back in the water, water levels are back to normal, and I'm back in my own bed.  As you can see, my butt would have gotten a little wet when the water was up.
      All and all it wasn't too bad. If you look at New Orleans, not bad at all. A storm like that would have done some serious damage to our little island. As it was, we didn't get enough rain to put in a coffee cup. All the water came from the surge. Here it shows the surge coming in and how it ended up. My neighbor had to kayak down the street just to get his dog to go out to pee. Now that's a lot of water!  Having rubber on the bottom of the doors keeps the water from getting as deep inside as it is outside. Thank goodness.
      But with this comes beauty. You discover which plants can handle being watered with salt water and those that can't. With so much water, the flowers are beautiful. And so is the gulf. The waves were probably a good 15 to 20 feet high. Woody had had enough water and decided to sit the beach trip out. But Ray and his friend D.O.G. were all for it.. They didn't want to leave. And I could have sat there all day myself. There's something about that size wave that just kinda takes you in. The rise and fall of every one is different  But the tide was coming in hence another surge was going to take place. Not as bad as the first by any means but enough to have to go home and move a few things onto higher ground..
       I'm ready to write about something besides the weather now.So my next post will not mention the weather at all! I'll just tell you ahead of time that it's going to be a beautiful day. Maybe we'll go kayaking at Wakula Springs

        I'm looking forward to the blue moon over the gulf, but, there's still nothing like the "blue moon of Kentucky"!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Get out the Paddles"

      It's a good thing I had to in go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Must have been all the water I was surrounded by! The surge came in the middle of the night! Water everywhere, again. Even though my slippers had floated away it wasn't above my hammock. The dogs had gotten on the highest deck and the cats had sought out higher ground in the house, so I went back to bed. Not much I could do that I hadn't already done. The difference from "Debbie" is that I woke up to a sunny day.
     I haven't gotten out to take pictures but seeing that it's such a lovely day I think I'll take the dogs to the beach. I doubt it'll be very crowded seeing that they made all the visitors leave at 8:00 a.m. yesterday. But they won't close the bridge unless the winds get up to 50 mph. Not much of a chance of that now.  And I have power. I hate to sound spoiled but that's HUGE. That cup of coffee tasted mighty good this morning! 
     So all and all, not bad. It's just a matter of waiting for the water to go down and that will depend a lot on the tides. Since high tide is at 1:30 this afternoon I don't think it'll recede much today. But I can sit out on my high deck, and along with the rest of the island life that has sought out higher ground, catch some rays. Life is good. 
     It's a beautiful day in paradise. Outside. Not so much in my house. But I'm not spending my day in there so who cares!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Calm before the Storm

      I really would like to write about something besides the weather but the weather that's supposed to head this way is pretty big. Isaac is coming to the island. You'd never know it by the beautiful blue sky, the calm waters, and the peace that is right now. It's beautiful. But the captains have pulled their boats out of the water and yesterday was a busy day for moving things to higher ground and securing anything that you didn't want to wash away. Now the weather forecasters will tell you it's too early to know what it's going to do but have you seen the size of that thing? Even if we don't get a direct hit we're going to get a lot, and I mean a lot of water. They're expecting a 4 to 5 foot tidal surge out of the big guy. Damn, that's a lot of water! So word has it that there will be a mandatory evacuation for everyone on the island. Residents included. And if  you're caught on the island you'll be arrested. I wonder if the jail takes dogs? And two cats. I doubt it. I'd better have a back-up plan. With "Debbie" I got about 5 in. in the house. Five feet? Shit! I'm having to take pictures off the wall! It's hard to imagine.
     I was lucky enough to find a couple cat carriers yesterday. The area shelter is in a little bit of a pickle themselves and bought up every box carrier that was to be had. There's a mad search to find people to foster even one animal for a couple days. The shelter isn't too far from the water over on the mainland and it's a low area. Not good. I told Karen, the critter keeper, as much as I'd like to help, I've got my hands full with my own family.
     So, I've got a couple options. And I guess just seeking higher ground doesn't look like one of them! One of the captains that works for Journey's, the charter boat business on the island, has kindly offered me shelter at his house. Well, if you look at a map, Eastpoint is just across the bridge and may not be quite far enough away from the rising water. The winds wouldn't be a problem it's just that damn water! Then I have a cousin in W. Palm that always has her door open for me and my kids. But I really don't want to go that far because when they do open the bridge back up I want to be over here taking pictures. Really, hopefully this is going to be something that doesn't happen very often and I'd really like to get it on film. Or on my digital card as it is. It has been eight years. Or plan C is to get a room in Tallahassee for a few days and just wait it out there. So I made a reservation for a few nights at a cheap motel and can only hope that Tallahassee doesn't lose it's power for too long. I don't think they'd appreciate me lighting my grill to heat water for my coffee in the morning!
     My packing was made a little easier by the fact that I don't have much to begin with and any yard art I have is meant to be in the water anyway. Shells, sponges, driftwood, coral, and salt water friendly plants. The infamous plastic deck furniture would probably end up in someone else's yard so I stacked it and will hope for the best.
      But there's not a cloud in the sky. How can this be? How could something so devastating be coming this way? Surely they're mistaken. It wouldn't be the first time the weather forecast was wrong. This has got to be one of those times. The eternal optimist. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst is the motto here and it's a good one.

      News Flash!!!! I just had a pow wow with the neighbors and the evacuation plans may have changed due to the change in the direction of the storm through the night. It has made a drastic turn to the west. Alabama seems to be it's target now. It doesn't change the fact that we will still have and storm with lots and lots of water and no power is a given but if I only have to seek higher ground that would be exciting. So it's time to go storm searching and try to see what the mother nature has decided to do next. I'll keep you posted. ( I changed to blue because it's my happy color!) Woody couldn't be happier!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

It's a Beautiful Day

  If you could be sitting where I am right now you'd understand why a little rain is easy to take. Even a lot of rain! It's the most beautiful morning. And so quiet. The boat captains went out early today and plan on being out all day. The weather could change in an instant you know!
  Yesterday was just as nice so I thought I'd take the kids down to the beach. The "kids" being Woody and Ray, my dogs. I don't leave home without them . As a matter of fact, that's how I ended up at St. George Island. It was a dog friendly place where I could take my vacations when I was working. That was about 14 years ago. It's hard to imagine coming down and only spending a week. That's all the vacation time I had. But I came down every year because it truly is" dog friendly". The beach, stores, restaurants. Dogs rule this place! And it's great. And since the island is not an incorporated area the law is that if your dog is non-aggressive and it is a command and obey dog, (in other words it comes when you call it! ) you don't have to have it on a leash. Just use some common sense about it and be considerate of other people. 
    So I took the kids to the beach yesterday and a good time was had by all. Woody's a "lovin' life" fourteen year old that has a lot of the same aches and pains I do! I rescued him when he was a year old so he's been coming with me every year. And Ray's a "love everything and everyone" ten month old that I rescued down here  at about 3 months old.  And they both love each other. Ray is absolutely crazy about the water. He goes kayaking with me, loves to go fishing in the big boats, and will fetch into the water all day long. Woody likes the water too but his activities are a little more limited these days. I think it's more therapeutic to him that anything else. He'll go in up to his belly and just stand and let the waves hit him in the chest.
    The beach is also a social affair. On days like this that's where you're going to find the people. Ray is the little social butterfly. Sometimes the sunbathers lying on the sand aren't real excited about having a 50 lb. puppy bounding up and messing up their towels but one look at his face and they get over it. Woody doesn't go bounding up to anyone. I can't really describe the way he walks. Displacia in the back, arthritis in the front. He kinda waddles and barks all the while he's going as if to say "wait for me. I'm coming. I'll be there in a minute. You got food over there?" He barks a lot!

     We don't go to the beach every day. We could since it's only about a 10 minute walk over there. Well, with Woody it's more like half an hour.  So I'll drive over to save his energy for the fun stuff. But some days we'll go to the estuary, some days we walk the neighborhood and other days we just sit here at home and sit on the canal and fish. So going to the beach is a treat and they love it. So much yesterday that I think we'll go again today!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

" I Need a Bigger Sponge"

I can't believe it. Like I said in an earlier post, we've been getting rain every day but last night was a monsoon
   With all the rain we've been getting I've had a chance to see what I can do to keep some of the water away from the house. Nobody's lived here in a couple years so there were plenty of improvements to make when I moved in. Drainage ditches, run-off pipes, downspouts, rock against the house to build up the low spots, and as of yesterday, gutters on the front of the house. With all I'd done I was feeling pretty confident that I would stay dry inside barring a hurricane. Unfortunately I underestimated the power of mother nature!
     I woke up last night after the rain started. It was probably about 1:00a.m. and I sleep like a hibernating bear so it was coming down pretty hard. But I checked things out and everything seemed to be holding up pretty good. No water inside. Yay! So I went back to sleep feeling pretty proud of myself and had no worries. I slept great. Ha! I got up this morning to the crabs thinking they'd  found a new home and the frogs leaping merrily. My dog Woody should have had his life jacket on! ( Ray the puppy can swim pretty good).  And there's not a dry towel to be had. I'd used them all a couple days ago to clean up after another downpour and they were out on the line to dry. Not a real good place for 'em last night. And to add insult to injury there's a dark mass to the southwest thinking of coming our way. Damn. Now I know the true meaning of the rainy season down here. And to be honest, it sucks. Now, I'm not going to let a little (or a lot!) of water in the house run me out of here. It would take a bulldozer to do that. But I much prefer paradise when I wake up to sunshine, the calm waters in the bay, an egret strolling the canal,, and a dry floor! I've been talking with friends up in Kentucky and they'd love to have one of these showers. And they'd be welcome to it. They're dry as a bone. But that's mother nature for you  A warped sense of humor if you ask me. On the bright side, I've got power so my coffee was ready for me when I sloshed to the kitchen and I'm not having to seek higher ground. Just pick a few things up off the floor. Stereo speakers, electrical wires, and I'd say the rugs but I discovered rugs can be very absorbent. The water might have creeped a little further if I had picked them up before I went to bed. I knew I should have looked at that Doppler last night! I'm going to show you a couple pictures of my house when "Debbie" came through. Keep in mind the water had receded about 4 inches when I took these.. 

   You're probably asking yourself, "why don't you just move upstairs"? Good question. First off, I don't do steps very well since my horse accident. And my old dog Woody handles them worse than I do. And the belongings of my friend are still upstairs. Unfortunately she died of cancer a couple years ago and her son hasn't moved her things out yet. He lives right across the canal. When I decided not to go back to Kentucky  this year he suggested I live in his mom's house. Jeanie and I had been friends a long time and he knew I'd feel right at home living in her house. He was right.And when the foreclosure sale takes place I'll be in the front row. But I'll keep living downstairs as long as Woody's still with me (he's 14), and maybe longer. The downstairs is about the size of a houseboat but  it takes on more water!  And it doesn't float. But while I've been writing this, the sky has turned blue and the clouds have disappeared. What a beautiful sight! Paradise as it should be. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A funny thing happened........

When talking about "Debbie" I left out a little humor that came with it. Picture this. The storm is coming. Security is driving around with their bullhorns calling for an evacuation. The tourists are scrambling to get the hell out of Dodge. Grabbing the kids, trying to find the dog, and getting the bare necessities. Forget the toothbrush or maybe some clothes and a little food. Get the laptop and the cell phone! Everyone is rushing to the bridge. Well, in the meantime the loose barge has hit the bridge and nobody tells the guys with the bullhorns that the bridge is now closed! So everyone rushes to get to the bridge to leave but no one's going anywhere. ( They're wishing they'd grabbed that leftover pizza out of the refrigerater now!). Traffic was backed up for 10 miles in both directions! (The island's only about 30 miles long). And it stayed that way for a couple hours. ( good thing Debbie was a slow mover!)  Eventually the officials decide that the bridge is safe enough for the evacuation but when everyone's across they close it again and that's how it stayed for most of the week unless you lived on the island. They did open it at one point during the week for residents to go across if it was an emergency or absolutly necessary. For example some of the restraunts needed gas for their generators to keep the thousands of dollars worth of food from going bad. Or your dog had gotten a bone hung up on their lower jaw and had to have a vet saw it off. (That was me). But as luck would have it while we residents were taking care of manditory things on the mainland they closed the bridge again and it was 2 hours before they let us go back home. A mess you say? No doubt. Right out of a three stooges movie. But keep in mind for the most part the police in this area have nothing to do. There's never one on the island because nothing ever happens. There is next to no crime here. Really. No robberies, no fights, no car accidents. So when something big happens they really have very little or no experience. So the communication breakdown was no big surprise to the people that live here. At least Barney Fife carried one bullet!  P.S. With the daily showers come rainbows almost every time. Nice.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Sky is Falling

There's a rain shower every day. Sometimes it'll last an hour, sometimes 5 minutes. It really puts a snag in fishing. The boats go out and they come back in. And if the passengers are paying customers in can be a real pain in the butt. But as everyone knows, you can't control the weather. The best showers are the ones that come at night and are gone by morning. The air is so fresh and cool. But more than likely there'll be another on later on in the day. Now if you sleep in a hammock at night like I do the night showers can be a little bothersome. I've got pretty good protection depending on how hard it rains but part of the protection is plastic on the deck above and it makes a hell of a racket. There was a pretty good one that came through last night and the whole sky lit up with lightning. Very cool and very beautiful. More so when it is a good distance away!
   Now if they decide to give one of these showers a name you might be in trouble! Thankfully the island hasn't been hard hit by a hurricane in about 8 years. Hurricane Dennis. And people are still talking about it. Fortunately I missed that one. But no doubt it was a hurricane to be reckoned with. They said there was water where it's never flooded and even some of the locals didn't hesitate to get the hell out of here. If you look at the map you'll see that St. George Island is somewhat protected by the curve in the panhandle so alot of the weather coming from the east hits that curve and continues on out into the gulf instead of going on down the coast. It's amazing to see some of the old houses on the water still standing with very little damage. And some of them aren't even on stilts!
    We did get a hit from Tropical Storm Debbie that came through the end of June. It hit us dead on and my house took on about 5 inches of water! Me and the animals didn't heed to the mandatory evac but we did seek higher ground! I'm one of those sitting right on the water. There's what they call a tidal surge when the water just keeps rising but it hasn't started raining yet. It's very weird but it's fair warning to get it together and put a plan into action. I was more prepared than I would have thought. Batteries, pet food, my weather radio (to see how long this shit's going to last!), some canned goods, and 3 cans of gas for my grill to make coffee in the morning. As long as I have my coffee I can survive anything! So the storm itself lasted about 3 days. It just sat here and didn't move. The weather people didn't know what it was going to do so the weather radio wasn't a big help. It rained, and it rained, and it rained some more. A barge broke free and took out part of the bridge so if you didn't evacuate you weren't leaving for awhile. The power was out for 7 or 8 days. ( I quit counting). And it seemed like it took forever for the water to recede. And then there's the clean-up. Yuk! The crabs and snakes had moved right in! The tourist got a real raw deal. The storm hit Sunday right after they had come in they had to leave and they couldn't come back for about a week. Vacation over. Bummer. And without insurance they were shit out of luck in the money department. But if you had a house on the beach I might have thought about leaving too. The beach was gone. The water came all the way up to the dune fences.

    So I'm glad I was introduced to what can happen with just a tropical storm. Piece of cake. I'm sure a hurricane will be a whole new ballgame. I can wait another 8 years.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Quiet Sundays

        Sundays are one of my favorites. They just feel different. Plus I always take my pups to the estuary on Sunday mornings. It's a place on the island that most of the tourists don't know about. A very well kept secret. It has more of the qualities of Kentucky than the beach. Trees, trails. birds. And the coastline along the bay never has a shortage of trash for us to pick up. I say us because Ray has gotten to where he's a big help. Plastic bottles and tin cans are two of his favorite toys. You haven't met Ray and Woody yet but you will.
        I'm just not sure if my posts are even getting seen by anyone so I'm holding out on a lot of details until I work out the snags of my blog.
       The estuary is best at low tide if you're looking for treasures. Finding sea glass, driftwood, old shell caseings from world war two are just some of the finds. But the most beautiful things are the birds. Snowy egrets, bald eagles, terns, ospreys, and blue herons are a few that are never hiding and easy to spot. So it's off to the estuary to see what we can find. And I'll take my camera in order to share the beauty of it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Welcome to my Blog

O.k. everybody. Hang in there and I think you'll find that Island Days are good ones. Very much unlike living in the country of Kentucky. Which I loved very much. But I am living a different life now and would really like to share it with others. We'll go fishing, kayaking, enjoy the beach, the sunsets, the bay and best of all you'll get to enjoy a lot of it through the eyes of my dogs. Because of my horse accident some of my activities are limited but my eyesight is great and I have taken up photography. So as soon as I know more about blogging and how to share these photos, you will see plenty! So welcome aboard and I'm looking forward to sharing my good fortune of living on St. George Island.