Hurricane Irma blew through my part of Florida in the wee hours of Monday morning. The peak winds for us in the Orlando area came around 1:20 AM. Yes, I was up and I couldn’t keep from watching my NE facing window since that was the main direction from which those vicious winds were coming.

No serious damage here, but we did have several smallish trees in large planters blown over and lost a large limb on the big oak in the back yard. I say “large limb” and I mean about 10-12″ across; that’s a good-sized limb. Big enough that removing it is going to take ropes and pulleys. It was right on the property line and will almost certainly fall into the adjoining neighbor’s back yard when cut free. (Its fall was arrested by other, lower limbs.)

On Thursday morning I’m going to remove another good-sized limb from the neighbor’s yard on the east side. My roomie and I estimate that it will take about two weeks to get all of the yard debris to the curb for collection. It’s not an afternoon or two of work. And this yard is not as big as some. But a lot of growth since the last big storm.

I’m the newest tenant here but because I have a lot of tree experience and love doing this kind of work, I’m in the middle of the clean up effort. The primary tenant has been here for 17 years so she’s definitely the committee chair; the owner is in Naples, which took the full effects of Irma’s wrath, so we’re going to do what’s got to be done without having to get him to redirect his attention from what is almost certainly a huge task as far as getting his own domicile squared away. The structure seems to have weathered all of this in fine form, but trees, shrubs and cacti are going to need considerable attention.

Because I’ve been in Florida since 1961, I have been through many, many hurricanes. Riding out a storm is not too big a deal, but I certainly will admit that I don’t sleep a wink if the damn thing happens to come through my part of the state in the wee hours. No doubt some folks can sleep just fine when storms blow through; I’m not one of them.

Let me point out that always “keeping one eye open” for the approach of danger is an example of an evolutionarily positive trait. Meaning that those who have that trait are more likely to reproduce and therefore pass along that trait. Being a light sleeper in hazardous conditions is a very good thing! Let the record show that Ol’ Bulldog does indeed possess that trait!

Damage to trees and shrubs was the worst for my house mates and me. But many in Florida were not so fortunate. Well over half of our state’s utility customers were left with no power; as of 11:00 PM today, Sept 12th, about a third of all Floridians are still toting flashlights and burning candles. Although cell service and internet connections were disrupted here, we kept our lights on throughout. Good to have fortune smile on us on that score, to be sure!

The death toll in the Sunshine State stands at 12 as I write this and will almost certainly go higher. Irma was no wimpy storm and we’re certainly relieved now that she’s gone up the road a ways and ultimately fallen apart. We know that some of her siblings will be heading this way; some, perhaps, before this year’s hurricane season wraps up.

We’re Floridians; we’ll be ready.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

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