Grace…she’s amazing.

I’ve seen several people begging for pictures of puppies, kittens and other baby animals as relief to all the nastiness of political posts on social media.



While I don’t have any pictures that fit those categories, I thought pictures of sweet baby Grace would serve the same purpose.


Born on October 5th, just days before Hurricane Matthew, there’s nothing more peaceful than a sleeping baby.


But Grace isn’t always so quiet. She has quite a personality.


I didn’t know it was possible for a three week old to have so many bows!


So far she’s been a good luck charm for the Lightning, but not so much for the Hurricanes.


Gracie Lou, she’s amazing!

It’s Moving Day

This is my kind of moving day. No boxes required, no clothes to pack, no furniture to lift and no back strain. From the comfort of our porch and our neighbors’ dock, we observed the moving of the Ma Barker house across Lake Weir this morning.


Before 8:00 boats began zipping across the lake to get an up close view of the house famous for being the location of the 1935 FBI shootout that killed gangsters, Ma Barker and her son. Other than the occasional reenactments, the house has remained in relative obscurity until it was announced that the house would be relocated across the lake at the county park at Carney Island.

Floating a nearly one hundred year old house across the lake on a barge has been big news the past couple of weeks. We’ve watched as the land has been cleared both at the house’s historical location as well as at the park. Large pontoons and heavy equipment have been new residents of Ocklawaha.

And then this morning, shortly after 9:00, right on schedule, the house began its journey to its new location. Along with a couple of helicopters and at least one drone, a fleet of about 50 boats, including a seaplane, provided a send off parade.


In less than an hour the famous house reached the shore of Carney Island ready for the next phase of the move on land to its final resting place where it will soon open to the public as a museum. Some question whether the move was worth nearly a quarter million dollars of tax payer money. I’m not sure, but on this beautiful fall day, it was a great distraction from all the political nonsense…a house with a story moving across the water bringing people together.


Early voting started this morning, and in just a few hours I’m going to mark my ballot and put this election behind me. While the Presidential election has consumed social media as well as radio and television, there are plenty of other races and issues that need our attention.

When I accessed a sample ballot on the website of the Marion County Supervisor of Elections, I admit that I found a couple of surprises. I was prepared to vote for U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative. I’ve researched the candidates for State Representative and Senator as well as Sheriff, Clerk of the Court and County Commissioner, but I’m in the dark when it comes to Soil and Water Conservation Seat…and this is important. Even Google failed to provide much information on the individuals seeking these positions. So much for an informed voter.

Did you know there are four Constitutional Amendments on the Florida ballot this year?

Amendment 1: Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice – This sounds like something every Floridian should support, BUT DON’T BE FOOLED. You may have seen the ads on TV touting this as a way to protect consumers’ energy choices, but Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente described this best as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” The first clue that this is not in the best interest of consumers is the fact that it is financed by Florida Power and Light, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Co., Gulf Power, Exxon Mobile and the Koch Brothers. Their interest in solar power…money. They don’t want to lose consumers to solar and they certainly don’t want consumers to be able to sell the extra power they generate to neighbors or to the power companies. Instead, they’d want to just take any surplus and then profit from it. I can’t say this enough, don’t get fooled and VOTE NO ON AMENDMENT 1.

Amendments 2, 3 and 5 should also be researched prior to going to the polls. There is a lot of information on Amendment 2 regarding medical marijuana with plenty of pros and cons, but this isn’t really a tricky one, just something you need to decide which position you wish to support.

The big surprise for me was that there are two additional amendments on the ballot. Both of these relate to the reduction of property taxes for special groups of taxpayers. They both sound good, but remember, the more property owners eliminated from the tax rolls, the more tax required by the rest of us.

Meghan reminded me of the advice given by Scott Maxwell, columnist for the Orlando Sentinel: If an amendment is confusing or if you are just unsure: VOTE NO! If it’s really an important, the issue can appear of a future ballot. There’s no reason to add amendments to our state constitution just because it might be okay. This is good advice…be skeptical of all constitutional amendments. Vote No unless you are absolutely sure and as for Amendment 1 – Vote No!






Keep an eye on Matthew

I hoped this year would be the one year I wouldn’t write a post about hurricane preparation, but as the path of Hurricane Matthew moves the storm closer to Florida and the southeast United States, it’s time for another reminder to watch the news and make some preparations. So here’s a quick list:

1) Fill your cars with gas.
2) Make sure you have plenty of water. You might want to freeze some bottles in case you lose power.
3) Charge your electronics.
4) Check propane tanks for your grill and/or camp stove.
5) Check the batteries in flashlights and radio.
6) Go to the ATM and get some cash.
7) Stock your shelves with enough food requiring little preparation. (Enough for about three days.)
8) Watch the weather forecast daily to determine if additional preparation is needed, especially in securing your home and planning for pets.

The effects of Hurricane Matthew are only a couple of days away so it’s time to plan (see It’s Hurricane Season…It’s Time to Prepare from 2013 or the website of American Red Cross for more tips).

Stay safe and keep an eye on Matthew!



The Other Hurricane Season

For the second time this season we’ve raised the hurricane flag with a tropical storm swirling off the coast of Florida.


However, our flag flies not to signal weather warnings but as a sign of the other Hurricanes, the ones that will take the field in Atlanta today to take on the Yellowjackets of Georgia Tech.

Chain saw work needed after Hurricane Hermine.
Chain saw work needed after Hurricane Hermine.

So far this season the flag has brought good luck on the field so we’ll keep flying it on game day, even while keeping an eye on the dreaded hurricanes lurking offshore.


Let’s hope for continued blue skies and more wins on the gridiron by the other Hurricanes. Go ‘Canes!