Florida

Surviving Hurricane Irma

Surviving Hurricane Irma

Hello everyone, it has been a few rough weeks here in Central Florida. As most of the world knows by now we have been hit with a devastating hurricane named Irma. Many people don’t realize what it takes to prepare for hurricane and what it is like to go through a natural disaster. Well in this article I am going to share with you some of what goes into preparing and riding out the storm.

Now I know it has been a few short weeks since I have posted anything new on this blog and the reason is all my time has been taken up doing preparation work for this storm. I had all my essentials ready for my family to make it through the storm and the many days after while we had no electricity. But in order to ride out a storm like this it takes days to get mentally prepared.

I have lived in the mid-western part of the country where I have been in tornadoes and bad thunderstorms, but a hurricane is much worse to deal with. I will try to explain some of what I am talking about in the next few paragraphs.

First when a hurricane is out in the Atlantic like now there are three between Africa and the United States the little hairs on the back of your neck start to rise and you start watching the weather channel every-day to see where the meteorologist are guessing the storm may go. Once the storm is about 3 to 4 days away from the States then you really start paying attention where the spaghetti models are saying where the storm may make landfall, but still at this point it is still a guess by the scientist. Now with this hurricane Irma the first place the meteorologist were saying it was going to skirt up the east coast of Florida so there was not to worry about for us on the gulf side of the state. Then as the storm was coming out of Cuba the meteorologist changed their predictions and said that the storm was going to hit Miami and go up the east coastal communities of the state. As the day went along which was Friday before the storm hit the United States more changes took place.

After Friday and into Saturday all eyes are glued to the different television stations watching to see where the storm was going to make landfall. At this point the grocery stores, hardware stores, the big box stores, and the gas stations were being inundated with people that were not stocked up with supplies. The grocery stores were mad houses with people purchasing anything they could, the lumber yards were being stormed with people purchasing anything that looked like wood to board up their homes, the gas stations were running out of fuel, and there were no generators to be found at any of the stores. People were in a panic.

Saturday and into Sunday we pretty much knew where the storm was going to hit land and where the track of the storm was going to go. All the roads leading out of Florida were a disaster by themselves. The highways heading north were bottlenecked, the county roads heading north were packed with cars, and the gas stations along all routes heading out of the state were either out of gas or running very low. There were lines of cars trying to get into the gas stations, people were screaming at each other in the lines; at some stations there were fist fights that were breaking out. Highway State Troopers and Sheriff Departments were called into keep order at the gas stations along the state highways. Panic was sure setting in and half the people in Florida evacuated and headed out of state.

By this time our little town was in the projected narrow path or track of Irma. The storm came on land and slid up the Gulf side of Florida and by Sunday evening we were feeling the outer bands of the storm. By 8:00pm we lost power and the rain was coming down in sheets. We still did not have much wind but the rain was heavy. Now living in the mid-west I was use to heavy flooding rains, but rain from a hurricane is nothing in comparison. Around 10pm is when the winds started to pick up and for the next 6 to 8 hours we experienced category 1 and 2 hurricane winds and rain. On Monday we still had rain bands and high winds and wind gust that were still 70 plus mph. The sheriff’s department had setup curfews, so there was no one heading out on the roads on Monday, there was no place to go anyways since no one had power.

Tuesday people were starting to venture out to start the clean up around their homes. The sheriff’s department had lifted the curfew but there still was no place to go since the power was still off for most of the people in Florida. To this day there are still people that do not their power back on, but the power companies have been working non-stop to get the power restored for these people. At our home our electricity was restored this past Friday, 5 days we ended up with no electric, running water, cell phone service, internet, television, or air conditioning. Just remember this is Florida in September when temperatures are still in the mid to upper 90’s, it is not comfortable in a home with no A/C. Thank God our family was mentally and physically prepared for times like this.

Conclusion

I cannot say this enough; families need to be prepared for any disaster man made or natural. One never knows when a disaster is going to hit, you do not want to be the one that does not have their family prepared. I am grateful that we had plenty of food, gasoline, and water in order to take care of my family and my neighbors that were not prepared. Things are getting back to normal for most people in my part of Florida, there are still many that have a long and tough road ahead of them. For many it will be a long time before their lives will be back to normal. Natural disasters like Irma, or Harvey that hit Texas a few months back affects millions of people and here in the United States, the one thing I have learnt from this experience is how spoiled people really are, it is amazing and how un-prepared most people are to any sort of disruption in their day to day lives.

Right now Florida is keeping an eye on another category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic, and it is on the same path as Irma was. The meteorologist are predicting it is going to go East of Florida, but they said the same thing about Irma and they were wrong, we will have to wait and see about this one. I hope and pray that people will learn and get prepared for disasters; I have personally lived through to many in my lifetime not to be prepared. I have lived through tornados, major snow storms where cities were shut down for weeks at a time, lived through 5 hurricanes and witnessed the devastation of earthquakes in foreign countries.

 


Posted by Tom in Lifestyle
Raising Chickens In The Backyard For The Beginner

Raising Chickens In The Backyard For The Beginner

Raising chickens for beginners

Chickens are great for people that are looking to get back to nature. My family and I love nature and we love living in small town USA in the heart of central Florida. Chickens can be great pets, supply you with an ample supply of eggs, can be a great source of meat when need be, and can add a little extra income to the family if you decide to sell the eggs.

At our home we have nine chickens at the present time. They range from two months old to five months old. We started this batch of chickens from when they were one week old. We built our own coop and chicken run from scratch and it cost us about $150.00 and then I put on another chicken run to give the hens more room to move around when we are not home. This cost about another $50.00. So for $200.00 we have a large hen house and two chicken runs for them to play around in.

Disclaimer: I am not a chicken expert; my family and I am novice at raising chickens.

Raising chicken from babies

When we purchase our chicks I waited until I could purchase then when they were sexed. This means that there is a very good chance that I will not be purchasing a rooster. Where I live my neighbors probably would not enjoy hearing a rooster at sun up or any other time of the day. I have been fortunate so far that I have not brought home a rooster yet. Where I purchase my chicks I always ask to make sure that they feel confident that there are no roosters in the mix.

Chickens first few weeks

For the first three to four weeks after they come home we keep the chicks in a large rubber made storage container, depending how many you bring home will determine how large of a container you will need. They are way too young to put in the coop when they first arrive at home. While in the storage container I have a bed of pine shavings or shredded newspaper about two to three inches thick for them to run around on and to sleep on at night. Being here in Florida we do not need any heat lamp for them to stay warm but depending where you live you may need to purchase one to help keep them warm till they are a couple months old.

Chicken feed

For the first three months chickens need what is called chicken starter food or sometimes called starter crumbles. I personally purchase starter crumbles that has additional nutrients mixed in for healthier chickens. Most starter crumbles contain about twenty percent protein. Starter crumbles can be purchased in both medicated and unmediated varieties; I personally use the medicated formula. Chickens can get an intestinal disease very easily that can be deadly and this is where the medicated feed comes in to help protect the chicks from catching this deadly disease.

When chicks get about eight weeks old then I switch them to grower chicken feed which contains less protein usually around 16 – 18 percent protein. I will keep them on this till they reach about 18 weeks old, this chicken feed is not medicated.

When the chickens reach about 18 plus weeks old I will switch them to layer feed. Layer feed is 16 – 18 percent protein but it also contains calcium the calcium is for helping with eggshell production.

I may catch some flak from some of you readers out there but I do give my girls cracked corn with their feed, about a 50/50 mixture. I have done this with all my hens from the time they reach about four weeks old till present. We also give them treats like meal worms and food scraps from the dinner table. We are not production farmers and we do have good solid and healthy chickens that are spoiled.

Chicken treats

You will see all over the internet about giving your chickens treats. Some people are in favor of giving them treats and others will say that it is not good for their diet. In our home we do give treats to our girls. Treats can range from various items but we give ours insects that we come across in the yard or we give them dried meal worms that we purchase at our feed supplier.

Chicken eggs

There is a question that I get asked all the time, “do I need to have a rooster in order to have eggs”? The answer is simple – NO! If you are wanting to increase your flock by having baby chicks from eggs then you will need to have a rooster, but No rooster is needed for just having eggs. The first time that I went to cook an egg from one of my chickens I could not believe how much richer and tastier it was than the eggs that I use to purchase at the store. You will really love the eggs that your girls will leave you when you start raising your own chickens.

You’re yard

If your families are the type that have a manicured lawn you may think twice about having chickens. Chickens will destroy a yard in no time if they are left free to run around. Chickens love to dig, just like dogs. Chickens will scratch and dig everywhere looking for insects they love to take dust baths. Now don’t let this discourage you from raising chickens, there are ways to keep them contained from ripping apart your lawn.

Now if you are like us and don’t care as much about our backyard as we do our front then chickens can be your best friend. You see chickens eat anything and everything, our back yard has a tremendous amount of weeds, ants and other insects. Our girls feel like they are in heaven when we let them out to run around, they love eating the weeds, and digging up any hills but we do have to be careful because they will eat other things that are not has healthy for them like trash.

My babies

Many of you may think that I am a little crazy but you will see if you decide to raise chickens you will get attached to them like your own children. You will find yourself naming them and talking to them just like your children and of course you will spoil them.

Raising chickens is not rocket science but it does take a little trial and error before you figure out what is best for your girls. Just like having children, you can read books and get advice from people but the best way to find out what to do is just jump right in and go for it. Here are some good resources for getting started raising your first flock of chickens.

       

 

 

Posted by Tom in chickens, Homestead