Friday Meanderings

So how has your week been going?

If you live in one of several southern states your week has probably been spent with eyes glued to the TV watching spaghetti models. Or maybe standing in despair at Publix looking at the empty shelves that formerly held water or soup or other necessary goods.  Or checking out gasbuddy to find a gas station that actually had gas. Or waiting in line for sandbags. Or maybe on the road in bumper to bumper traffic.

I did the watching of the spaghetti models but was fortunate to have plenty of peanut butter, water I can get from the tap, full gas tanks because I treat half a tank of gas as empty, the house is high enough that if I need sand bags we are in a whole heap of trouble, and after one trip on US-19 on Wednesday I declared that I’m not leaving Old Homosassa again.

Only potential problem is that Amerigas–who declares that customer service is #1 on their phone message–refused to deliver any propane gas.  I called on Tuesday because it was a holiday on Monday. And the response from customer service–after I called several times and didn’t get an answer and listened to their message that customer service is #1–Sorry.  Next week maybe.  That was when Hurricane Irma was shown as wiping out the entire state of Florida and Governor Scott had declared a state emergency. But Amerigas, where customer service is #1, didn’t feel it was necessary to deliver gas even though I had signed a contract back in 2005 that they would deliver every month. Since then they only come if I call. And then they are always pissy about it.  The last time I called they said no, two weeks, and then they pulled up to the house across the street and filled their propane tank and went on their merry way.  I’m stuck with them because I have an underground tank and rent it from them–which they convinced me during installation that would be the best thing to do. It would be very expensive to have that tank dug up and replaced. But. If we run out during this Irma adventure, I do believe that might happen.

Ok.  Off of my soap box.

Things are looking bad for everyone in Florida and all the way up to the Carolinas.  We have voluntary evacuation now.  If they order mandatory evacuation, where does one go?  We have three shelters in Citrus County and only one is dog-friendly.  Terry’s 92-year-old mother will be with us along with our geriatric dog.  Neither would be very happy in the shelter sleeping on a cot. The traffic is bumper to bumper on all the major roadways from Miami to Georgia.  There is no guarantee of gas on that trip north.  All of the hotels are booked. And as we drive north, Irma is right behind us.

Governor Scott has been out there telling people to get the hell out of Miami and the Keys.  He claims to have called all the oil companies and gas is on the way.  I have never seen the governor on TV so much. Or being so concerned.  Wondering if this response is because the people of Houston were not encouraged to evacuate and he saw the negative response after Harvey wiped out so many people.  Because, after all, he is planning to run for the US Senate Seat against Senator Bill Nelson, wouldn’t want to look bad. Oh geeeeeze, I’m on my soap box again!

But in reality.  Did the good governor cause a little extra drama?

Most of the predictions are that Irma is going up the east coast of Florida.  Very bad for that side.  But rather than a storm surge–which is what happened in Hurricane Hermine last Labor Day–the water should be pulled away on the west side. But Irma could still turn.

I’m being optimistic on this one.  Old Homosassa will be spared.

But…..hurricane season goes until November.  We had a REALLY mild winter which makes the Gulf water warmer which in turn makes these monster storms.   If Irma doesn’t get us….will the next one?

We’ve lived in the south for almost four decades.  Been through many hurricanes.  This is just our reality. Just like those in the west live through mud slides and fires and those in the middle of the country deal with tornadoes.

Okay.  Now I have to give you a funny.

Jessica texted us a picture of a spider.  She lives in DC.  Guess she was wanting guidance and Terry said

“When I was in NAM…I got bit by a spider in Pleiku, yuk, and a spider bit my eye. Couldn’t see out of that eye for two days. Can you imagine shooting a M -16 with only one eye, probably not, but kill the sucker!!”

Is that funny?  Or have I watched too many spaghetti models?

I hope you have a great weekend.  We’ll be hunkering down!

Kathy

Old Homosassa in July……

scalloping

and August….. and even September…..

Okay, if you follow me on Naturecoaster.com, you’ve already read something about this.

But, I cleaned it up for Naturecoaster.  None of my pithy comments or wry personal observations.

There are a couple of big draws back here for visitors to Old Homosassa. (besides the Freezer, of course.)

The first is manatee season.  No, you can’t catch and eat a manatee. But we do get a lot of tourists back here in the winter that want to swim with the manatees. Or kayak with them.  Or touch them.  Or ride them.  (both of those last two are illegal)

And the other big event is scallop season.

Such a fun time in Old Homosassa for all those that get out into the Gulf and scoop those future delicious morsels out of the sea grass.

scalloping
That’s Jessica back in 2012.

Also a boon for our local businesses which is a very good thing for Old Homosassa because they are owned by our friends and neighbors who in turn employ people from our community.  No chain restaurants or stores in Old Homosassa!

But everything isn’t sunshine and roses for the local residents.

traffic

This pic is from a traffic back up last year.  All the way back to the Homosassa Elementary School. This year at 7:30 in the morning on opening day, traffic was backed up all the way to Kevin Jenkins art studio.  And vehicles were driving in the wrong lane to get around the jam while other vehicles were heading out of Homosassa.  Very scary.

Several years ago Citrus County started having employees from the Parks and Recreation department direct traffic at the county boat ramp in Old Homosassa on the weekends.  This alleviated a lot of the congestion and some of the arguing at the boat ramp as visitors attempted to put their boats into the river or pull them out.  Kind of made it boring for Terry and I because we used to bike down there on Saturday mornings just to watch the launch battles!

But there were still too many trucks and trailers to park in the county parking lot.  A few businesses and several home owners with large yards allow trucks and trailers to park for a fee.

But still, not enough parking on any Saturday during scallop season.

This is supposed to be a two-lane road.  Not during scallop season!  Wondering how a fire truck would maneuver around these obstacles plus dealing with oncoming traffic if there was an emergency.

And if the fire truck got through?  The fire hydrant is blocked!  Along with the gates into the elementary school.  And they are parked on our SIDEWALK!  We don’t have many and they aren’t supposed to be used as a parking lot!

Here’s another one on the sidewalk.

Old Homosassa in July......

Note the “No Parking Here to Corner”.  The corner is where that stop sign is. Two boats and trailers!

Old Homosassa in July......

The board of directors of the Homosassa Civic Club decided that it was time to come up with a solution for this ongoing problem. After talking with owners of some of the local businesses and a meeting with Sheriff Prendergast, the board decided that part of the civic club property could be used for parking.

Old Homosassa in July......

Our first youth group benefiting from helping out with the parking is the “Unstoppable Student Ministries” from the First Baptist Church of Homosassa.  This Saturday will be their third time–they are raising funds to go to camp next year! They should already be pretty close to their goal!

Terry and I worked the parking lot on one Sunday.  One guy, in his $40,000 truck and $30,000 boat objected very loudly to paying $10 to park so went and parked at the school in front of the fire hydrant.  Really.

Streets clear, local youth groups earning money for their causes, and the smart scallopers won’t be getting tickets!

Win-Win-Win!

Friday Meanderings

How cute is Maggie? She actually let me take her photo without a biscuit!  We rarely let her off of the leash anymore.  Being partially blind and almost completely deaf, she can’t see my hand commands and can’t hear those I shout at her.  We rode our bikes down to the Cobia Big Fish Tournament with Maggie in the basket.
SO many boats in every size. All waiting for that 7 am count down and “132 you’re good to go” Seriously, that announcer says that 200 times!

The tournament is a lot of fun even if you don’t fish.  BBQ on Saturday and fish fry on Sunday.  Plus art, t-shirts, and the OHHC booth! It’s turning into a mini-festival!

cobia tournament

It was also the end of the Amazing Race Scavenger Hunt!  My friends won 1st and 2nd.  And I didn’t give them any clues.  Seriously, I didn’t know the answers!

Here’s Melinda and Sue, bloody mary’s in hand, running for the finish line. Doesn’t it look like Melinda will win?
But no, the clue said you had to touch the little water tower. Sue saw it first. Can you see the water tower over Sue’s shoulder.  Melinda completely missed it!

The third place winner, Teri Reed, gave half of her winnings back to the OHHC.  Melinda told me yesterday that her and Sue gave all their winnings back to the community–with drinks at Old Mill!

If you read my posts on NatureCoaster.com, the following info is not new.  (You read it, right? Comes out on Thursday!)  Just in case you don’t, I’m giving you a little review…..

Way back in April, two groups from Old Homosassa headed to Tallahassee to show support for adding two bills to the state budget for funding.  Both groups, “Access to the River” and “Homosassa River Restoration Project” got bills passed and money in the state budget.

Unfortunately, the governor vetoed the money for the restoration project.

Steve Minguy, president of the Homosassa River Restoration Project, is not giving up.  In an email to concerned residents, Steve thanked Senator Simpson and Representative Massullo for their support but the group is not waiting for next year to ask for money from the state.  They are staying active. He will be setting up a community meeting plus putting together a brochure.  In addition, he is looking for a “good grant writer”.

The “Access to the River” group fared better.  $850,000 was put in the budget for what is now being called the Homosassa Heritage Park and that made it past the governor’s veto pen!  But much more is needed to buy the property.
As a member of the “Access to the River” committee, I attended Citrus County Board of County Commissioner’s meeting Tuesday (June 13) to find out if the park would receive money from the BP Restore Funds.  I’ve attended a few of these meetings and there are several projects seeking that money.  That meeting put the park at number two, behind the Crystal River Boardwalk project.

I’m disappointed.  The commissioners unanimously voted for Crystal River saying that the boardwalk idea has been discussed for 24 years!  The chairperson of our group, Roger Cullen, got up to say that Old Homosassa has been trying to get a park on the river for 70 years.

Anyhow, that’s where we are now.  I’ll update you as the park progresses–that’s what I’m here for!

On a lighter note, Terry and I went to lunch before the BOCC meeting in downtown Inverness.  We planned on going to Deco Cafe which I’ve wrote about before.  Closed!  What!  That doesn’t leave much on that block.  Stumpknockers, Coaches, Subway and Motor City Pasta.  We went to the later because that was the only place we hadn’t been yet.  Terry and I both had paninis.  Very Yummy.  Unless something new opens up before our next BOCC visit, we will go there again.

Scallop season is almost on us.  Again.  The influx of scallopers helps our economy but hurts the river.  A typical boater comes in, heads out to the Gulf, snorkels for the scallop, head back to the spring and shuck those scallops. After years and years and years of throwing those shells into the springs, the local community groups have gotten together to stop this activity.  Yeah, pick up those scallops but throw the shells in the Gulf.  Not our river.  After asking the county to step in to help stop this activity, Old Homosassa got this sign at the boat ramp.

scallop sign

That wasn’t good enough for our local residents.  They banded together and had these signs made.

shells

Local citizens, community groups, and businesses are placing these signs in prominent spots.

I know.  You are thinking.  I HAD NO IDEA!

Hey.  It’s okay.  Just don’t do it anymore!

Have a great weekend!

Kathy