Monday, July 09, 2012

Debbie's Gift

Tropical Storm Debbie has been gone for a while now.
She brought us lots of water ... 5 gallon buckets out in the yard filled and overflowed during her stay.

We really, really appreciate her busting the fearsome drought that had dried up so many swamps, ponds, and creeks.
It wasn't all happy, happy, joy, joy of course. There was flooding in some places, but I'm not real sensitive to people who build in flood plains along rivers and then have flooding issues.
I wish them luck, but that comes with the territory.

Our groundwater levels had dropped so low that wells were failing all around this area before Debbie. In fact the groundwater deficit was enough that even with all that rain, my pond was empty the day after Debbie cleared out.

Most of that water percolated down to fill the voids beneath our feet, so the pond looks almost the same as before Debbie ... empty.

The difference, which showed up about two days after Debbie left is a shiny dampness in the bottom of the pond. Remove a shovel full of dirt, and the water oozes in to fill the depression.

That is excellent news and something to build upon. The pretty normal rains that have happened since then have actually formed a few large puddles, much to the delight of some frogs who immediately filled the puddles with strands of amphibian pearls.

Now that the drought is broken, I can see a few things that I took for granted during the drought. Things that have changed since Debbie.

1) Minor roof issues are not a problem during droughts. Heck, they are not even issues yet. I will be replacing my 23 year old roof soon. Thank you Debbie.

2) You really don't have to mow the lawn much during a drought. I think I had started the mower about once since March, ... before Debbie.  Since Debbie, I have mowed twice.  Thanks alot Debbie.

3) And last, but not least. During a drought, there are no mosquitoes. We have enjoyed almost a year here at PFHQ with few if any mosquitoes due to winter's cold and the long running drought. No water, no skeeter breeding!

That has changed dramatically. We have mosquito populations of the "Everglades National Park Flamingo Campground in the summer" category.

See for yourself.

Thanks a million (mosquitoes that is) Debbie!


Sharon said...

DUDE...that is one thing I do NOT miss about FL - TN has gnats but very few mosquitoes. Haven't been bitten by anything but a horsefly in the last 2 years. You do have a beautiful place :)

Sayre said...

Man... looks like the citizens of my backyard. They are the ONE thing I dislike about rain. I hope you put some meat tenderizer on when you got in the house.

Barbie~ said...

Ah, yes- it is the one reason that DEET is something that is reserved still even when I know full well what it does to us and the environment. I put it on our clothes (and head gear) and then get dressed when we know we are going to be out in the skeeters territory for more then traveling through.

threecollie said...

Erk! That is awful! Glad for the rain, but the side effects are not so nice.

Miz S said...

HAHAHA! It's not that I enjoyed watching your discomfort. It was just really funny to see you get covered so quickly and then hightail it back to the house. Oh, and I hope you didn't catch any mosquito diseases.

Pablo said...

We've had very few mosquitos at Roundrock, but I attributed that to the many dragonflies. Maybe not.

In faraway suburbia, we have plenty of mosquitos, but everyone waters their lawns, and there are lots of bird baths.

Sandcastle Momma said...

Wow! I've been trying to figure out what the Indians used as repellant. Do you know? Surely there is a plant you can rub on yourself or eat that really works.
And then I think about the early settlers and I know they were thinking they'd reached the bowels of hell lol

S N B said...

I found your demonstration quite disturbing. It has been a year since the brother of one of my co-teacher's contracted West Nile from a single mosquito bite while performing duties on his job in Tallahassee. He was a young, healthy male who almost died before they could even diagnose what was wrong. He is still fighting to learn to walk and talk and, initially, even breathe. I do understand the statistics of anyone's chances of this happening to them here is Florida, but advise you not to tempt fate. It has been a horrible experience for him and his family. (And we kinda like ya!)

Mark said...

We were hoping for some of that rain up in NW Georgia, but it was not to be. We got nearly an inch total over a couple of days and virtually none of it ran off. We're still a good bit below average. I expect to see some effects from our drought in the next couple of years as even more trees die.

Kaybe said...

lol - I was in Gulf Hammock this weekend & met your skeeters personally. A truck fogged the property, my cousin's hubby hand-fogged with a little machine, & I carried a bottle of deep-woods cutter with me at all times. I even resorted to a net over my hat at one point. Needless to say - our picknic was moved inside.

Floridacracker said...

Hey gang,
Thanks for the input ... Pablo, I put a lot of stock in dragonflies and gambusia minnows for skeeter control, but their numbers are down with the drought.

Sharon, lucky you!

I get no after effect from mosquito bites. Lucky me!

I just put it on my clothes too ... usually in the form of Deep Woods Off. Bugs me to put it on my skin.

Every gift comes at some cost I suppose!

Miz S,
Before Debbie I could have stood around down there and never had a need to swat.
Pretty amazing.

I think they lived in smoke and moved seasonally to coastal, breezier camps.

Droughts are depressing aren't they?
I don't see how desert dwellers keep their sanity.

Oh yeah, my skeeters could slide there easy enough. I can imagine how bad they are in there. Beautiful place though.

Solid point and one I get from my wife, the public health nurse. I don't usually purposefully feed myself to them, but I do get bit daily on my Bear walks.
This pulse will die down at some point, but for now they are extreme and I have taken to working outside in the blazing sun rather than waiting until the cooler morning and afternoon times, since the mosquitoes are worse then.
I hope your friend continues to heal and I appreciate the very good advice and reminder that none of us are bullet proof.

In the 80's as a Ranger at Fort Pulaski in Savannah, I was the NPS contact guy for the Chatham County Mosquito Control folks. One of the SOP's they had was the LRC ... Landing Rate Count.
The mosquito guy would stop at a station and count the mosquitoes that landed on his arm in 60 seconds.
They used this data to decide on aerial spraying schedules.
I hope they still don't use that technique ... for the reasons you stated.

robin andrea said...

Yikes! That really is a lot of mosquitoes. Thanks for braving the onslaught.

Floridacracker said...

Yikes is exactly the right word.
It's like a cartoon bee swarm chasing you as seen in about a zillion loony toons episodes.

Bill said...

I decided that the few wilty tomato plants are not worth the battle to try and water every morning. I moved the ones in the buckets to the porch and the rest are just going to be compost. The peppers don't require as much maintenance, but I am still getting eaten alive every time I go into the garden. I had to wash the blood off my legs on Sunday from a 10 minute outing. Thanks Debbie.

Julie Zickefoose said...


All right. Nothing demonstrates bite rate quite like a video.
And that does it. My plans to move to Florida and be your teaching assistant and animal caretaker and all purpose slavish fan are on permanent hold.
Ack ack ack.
Did I see those teeny mosquito tanks filling up before my eyes?
Worst skeeters I ever experienced were at Flamingo, between the parking lot and the park lodge/restaurant. Running, screaming, smacking, flailing, flinging ourselves against the (locked) doors.
And yeah, like SNB're too cool to go down to W. Nile. Cover up if you can stand it. As one who's allergic to DEET, that's my only option. And how DID the Seminoles deal with them???

cinbad122 said...

You are a brave man! I would be completely eaten alive and have huge welts from that. Brave, brave, man!

Terence Watthens said...

How is your new roof now? I'm glad that you can see the positive of things even when it’s not so favorable. That is a good attitude. And having a good, sturdy roof is essential. If it’s not replaced soon, it can ruin just about anything that we have under it. Please don't hesitate to seek the advice of the experts on this matter.
Terence Watthens

Lida Swisher said...

The roof at 23 years old can still be at its best if it was maintained properly. Still, the roof has experienced erratic weather therefore; it’s great news that it protected you for that long time. It’s been months now and I’m wondering if you had already replaced your roof. Since it serves as your family’s protection against the direct heat of the sun, the snow, and rainfall, I think replacing your old roof could be the best thing to do now. :)

-Lida Swisher-

Arthur Bryant said...

Tropical storms can do a number on your house, especially on your roof. I'm glad that you already have a new roof, and preferably, you also had some renovations and repairs done in other parts of your house. You must also constantly maintain the other parts of your house so that when the rage of nature strikes again, you'll be assured that your house has a strong foundation. Also make sure that you have used high-quality materials in your building. :)