Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wilma 2005

Hi Folks ~ I recently showed what's left of the pine that came down in our back shed, in Hurricane Wilma. I though I'd do a little post about this hurricane.

Wilma took a back seat to Katrina, even though she was a bad hurricane herself. The eye of Wilma came right over us, and it was the first eye we had ever been through. We went out in it to fasten on some tarp to the shed roof, and just as we were about finished I yelled to DH to hurry up, because I could feel the back half of the storm coming. We no sooner got inside when the hellish fury of the storm started up again immediately, only much worse.

We had been on the cusp of the eye in both Frances and Jeanne the year before, going through both of them within two weeks of each other. Wilma was so much worse than either of them. I was petrified to say the least.

We lost power around 11 the night before she made landfall the next morning on the west coast, and were without power for 13 days.

We have a camper on our property and popped the top and used it as our cooking shack as it had a little gas stove. We rigged up hoses in the sun and an outdoor shower to have hot showers. I washed clothes by hand in a 5 gal bucket.

Friends who only lost power for a short time made ice for us, as ice was very hard to come by.

But, we survived, we are thankful, and we hope we never have to go through another one like that again, or worse.

Here is a bit of info from Wikipedia about Wilma.

Before hitting Florida, Wilma intensified despite increasing amounts of wind shear, briefly producing winds of 125 mph (200 km/h) before hitting Cape Romano, Florida as a 120 mph (195 km/h) major hurricane (although maximum sustained winds at the Florida landfall, according to some sources, might have been stronger). Wilma crossed the state in about 4.5 hours and weakened to winds of 110 mph (175 km/h) after entering the Atlantic Ocean.

Damage from Wilma was extensive and widespread over South Florida due to winds and flooding.Hurricane Wilma caused widespread destruction of critical infrastructure, including power, water and sewer systems. Florida Power and Light, the largest electricity utility in the state, reported more than 3,241,000 customers had lost power,[29] equivalent to approximately 6,000,000 people, with most residents getting power restored in 8–15 days.


My heart goes out to everyone who has ever experienced massive storms, whether they be a hurricane, a tornado, snow storm, whatever. They are horrifying. We did not know if our little 50's cottage would survive or not, but it did and we are grateful. Because of the tornadoes some people lost their homes and businesses. We did have a mini tornado go over us. While laying in bed freaked out, I noticed a change in the storms noise and fury because it sounded just like an oncoming freight train overhead, just like they say. That passed and the storm kept on howling like before. We could hear debris hitting the roof and house and we just hoped nothing bad happened.

As soon as Wilma passed, we went outside to assess all the damage, and had to come back in to get flannel shirts, as Wilma had brought a cold front. and it was now in the 50's. I immediately started clearing the driveway, hauling out small branches to the street to be picked up. I think we eventually had 5 or so huge piles of cut up pine and Melaleuca trees. We just kept plodding along day in day out. A neighbor had a chain saw and that's how we cut up the pine that was in the shed. The clean up around the state was monumental.

We did repair the shed, put an awning on the side that had been damaged and used the leaning pine section as a prop and strapped the awning to it. DH put an almost 11' stainless steel restaurant sink that we found dumped in an ally many, many years ago, on that wall and that is now my potting bench and area.

Below are pictures.

You can see the whole pine tree, the top half is out the other end of shed. When the top was cut off, the rest of the pine tree rose up out of the shed.

This was taken looking out through the sidelight in the scullery,
looking toward the workshop,
which part of the melaleuca tree had fallen onto,
poking a hole in the roof.

This is some of the Melaleuca tree fallen in a different direction.
It was a beautiful tree before the three hurricanes wrecked it.

This was our 'camp site'. Cooking shack to the right.

Inside the cooking shack.

Here I am in the neighbors yard. Sections of our privacy fencing was down on all four sides.
We cut up the pine tree, and hauled it all into our yard, then out to the street to be picked up. Before this picture, I had tripped going into the camper, carrying two jugs of water and fell into a bench with right hand, slamming my pinky finger between one jug and the hard edge of bench. I thought 'oh no', and hurriedly got the rings off my pinky finger. It and the next finger swelled right up and turned purple soon after. We think I probably broke my finger. I just taped it together, put a sock on the hand and started carting stuff. That was the least of our worries. The finger healed, is a tad crooked and feels arthritic at times, but heck we are still here and so is our little cottage/compound.

Here is the area after we repaired the roof and wall, and put up the awning.

The round artistic piece is from a friend, and it's French. The iron leafy planter on the wall we found a block over when people were moving out. The bird houses were made by DH and blown out of the trees by the hurricanes. We lost several trees, so that we not longer live in the woods at all.

This is from today.

May we once again have another quiet hurricane season.
Hurricane season lasts from June first until the last day of Nov.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Good morning

Good morning Friends ~ What a lovely, cool morning it is. We had gray skies, Sun and Monday, with rain off and on Monday. It was really windy yesterday too.

Hope you all have a lovely Easter week.

This is George Tabor azaleas.


Duchesse de Brabant

Don Juan

Don Juan and Bon Silene growing up over the main garden arbor.

Don Juan

Bon Silene


Crape Jasmine and Vanda orchids


I think these are either Old Blush or Bon Silene.

"Gardening is all about cultivating the senses:

the palette of colors,

the scent of the flowers,

planting for songbirds.

It's the closest I can come to creating peace and solitude."

From: An Affair With a House', by Bunny Williams

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A heart felt thank you ...

I want to say thank you from my heart to all that visit and leave your kind comments. They mean a lot.

I want to say to Linda, (who visited my blog today, but does not have her own blog for me to visit), that my heart goes out to you for the loss of your mother in January of this year. It was inspiring to read that she loved flowers and gardened up until her 80th year when she could no longer handle the work entailed. Bless her heart.

Different ones have said that the music really touches them, and to me that is great. I wanted the music to be soothing, healing and inspiring and am glad to hear that it is that.

May all of you feel Love, Peace, Healing and Light surrounding you at all times.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Continual work in progress

Good evening Folks ~ Thank you all for your posts this past week while I recuperated from my dentist visit. I only had to take two pain pills the first 24 hours, and one Tylenol the next day, that was it. I feel so much better having that tooth out.

Below is one of my gardens which are all a continual work in progress. I am a country girl at heart, growing tropical/cottage gardens where summers are hot and humid and we have the threat of hurricanes until the end of Nov. I garden on a shoe string, loving every minute of it and thankful for my many blessings. The leaning pine tree in the picture is the one that came down into the shed during Wilma. We left this part and use it as support for the awning out over my potting bench. I'll show that another time.

The temps are warming up here. Yesterday it reached the mid 80's and was very humid, so I turned on the a.c. during the day and turned it off in the middle of the night. It was cool when we woke up this morning and was not as humid as yesterday, so the a.c. stayed off.

Hope you all have a lovely Sunday and a great pre-Easter week.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thank you all and good night

Just a quick note to thank all of you for your wonderful healing, well wishes. I'm going to bed to read for awhile. I just took a half of a pain pill, as the first pill has worn off. Will see how a half does. These pills definitely make one feel woozie, hopefully a good night's sleep will make me feel good as new tomorrow.

May you all have a good night and a great day tomorrow.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Recuperating :-)

Good morning Friends ~ Well, I am home from the dentist. She extracted the tooth, after giving me two doses of Novocain. The first dose wasn't enough, after the second dose, I was shaking, and crying. Sheesh, what a big baby! Then she came in and pulled it out and that was that. My left eye is still watering, my face is puffy and drooping too. A real beauty, NOT. DH filled my prescription and got me some soups and yogurt. I'm going to relax for the rest of the day.

Hope you all have a lovely day. It's gorgeous weather here, so I may just lay out in our screened room on the swing. Think I'll fix some nettle tea too.

This is Old Blush and Copper Leaf.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thank you and Penelope

Good evening Folks. Hope you all have had a lovely weekend.
I want to thank all of you for your birthday wishes.
Yesterday was a perfectly gorgeous day,
today it was gray, with some sprinkles and very windy.

I checked on the Accu-Weather website a little while ago,
and lo and behold,
it said our temperature was 25 degrees
and we were having snow.
All this week we are to have high temps in the mid 20's.
Hardy ha ha ha!
It was warm and humid here today.

Right now I have a tooth ache.
It's been bothering me for a week or so,
but is getting worse,
so I'm going to have to make an appointment tomorrow to get it taken care of.
Not something I am looking forward to at all.
I hate going to the dentist.
The dentist I was going to does not do extractions,
so I have to find someone else.
I know I'll feel better once this is done,
but right now my anxiety level is high.

Have a great week.

Here is Penelope, taken this morning. She is so pretty.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Margaritaville at Plum Cottage

Today was my 61st birthday. I have been planning my bday dinner for a few weeks now.

Ever since I was a girl living in So. CA, I have loved tacos. Whenever we had them with family or friends, it was a happy time, so for me tacos is a comfort food and one for celebrations. This year I felt like having them for dinner, along with a margarita and key lime pie for dessert. My boss also gave me avocados from his tree, so I fixed us guacamole to have with corn chips before dinner. It was a nice bday party with my DH. Not only is today my birthday and the first day of spring, I also met my DH on my 17th birthday.

For our margaritas, I used Monte Alban Mescal, you know the bottle with the worm. :-) DH has eaten the worm a couple of times, I have declined. Mescal has a real earthy, buttery flavor. We really like this. I also used Nellie and Joe's Key West lime juice, along with triple sec.

My recipe: 1/2 oz. lime juice, 1 oz. trip sec, 1 1/2 oz. tequila or Monte Alban. Server over ice, in glasses that have been chilled in the freezer for a few minutes then turned upside down to twirl the rims into a bit of sea salt.

Here is the recipe for the key lime pie, which was very easy. There are all different kinds of recipes for this pie, but this was the one I chose to make this year. Click on the link below to take you to the website where I found this recipe. It was delicious. I used some candied ginger slices I made earlier this week, to make the flower decoration.

Cream Cheese Key Lime Pie

From the kitchen of Gail Brown

Serves 8

This simple recipe makes a 9-inch pie and requires no baking.


9-inch graham cracker piecrust
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons of Kermit’s Key Lime juice ( I used Nellie and Joe's Key West Lime Juice)
8-ounce package of softened cream cheese


Combine milk, juice, and cream cheese in a mixer for 5 to 6 minutes.
Pour mixture into graham cracker piecrust.
Refrigerate until firm.

I hope you all had a wonderful first day of spring.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

First Day of Spring - Birthday Blooms

“When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege

it is to be alive - to breathe,
to think, to enjoy, to love.”

Marcus Aurelius





Spicy Jatropha

Purple Queen - Tradescandia pallida


Bon Silene

Morning Glories


Golden Dewdrop

George Tabor Azalea

Bromeliad bloom

Morning glories

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL