Monday, November 2, 2020

235 Days, Wildlife, Beach, Halloween, Anniversary, Voting and Covid

It is hard to believe we have been at Shelter Inn Place for 235 days. We have tried our best to limit our contact with people. We do our morning walks and runs five or six days a week so at least we are staying in shape. The weather here has finally gotten more fall like so we did the beach and enjoyed the fresh air. We know everyone in the world is in the same situation, but that does not make it easier not being able to do what we want to do.  
We continue to see a lot of wildlife right here in Lex Lakes. Here is an anhinga drying its wings. I saw another one in the lake with a fish in its bill and as it tried to toss it in the air to swallow it the fish escaped. 
I finally got to see the bobcat. It stopped and gave me a long look.....
....before taking off. It seems there are two bobcats in our community as Nanc said this one is bigger than the one she saw.
The temperatures got more comfortable so we hit the beach. As you can see we had no problem social distancing. I think most people picture Florida beaches crowded with hundreds of people. Our experience is that you can almost always find a quiet spot.
Nanc enjoying being out in the sun.
Making it an even better day I caught some fish. This pompano was the nicest.
Lex Lakes is not a 55 plus community so we prepared for trick or treaters. Our neighbor Morgan went all out.
We practiced covid protocols putting our candy on a table in the driveway. We only had four or five kids and then it started to rain. Typical of Florida weather, the shower only lasted a few minutes. 
That evening we celebrated our 51 anniversary with our favorite home cooked meal, linguine with clam sauce. Sure was a change from our big 50th celebration last year, but still a wonderful evening.
The full moon coming up with Mars shining brightly above it. It was the first Halloween full moon since 1944.
Of course we voted. Florida has greatly improved their voting system since the 2000 debacle. We signed up for mail in voting for the next four years. Our ballots arrived in early October so we were able to take our time checking out local candidates and the several ballot issues. 
We mailed our ballots and could then tract them on line. They were received in a couple days and a few days later they were counted. Unfortunately, many states don't count the mail in ballots until election day or after so I think election day results will be a long time coming in.
If you know me you know that I voted Biden / Harris. 
Go Blue!!!! 
We felt we needed to do more than just vote so we signed up with the Biden Harris campaign to be poll workers. It was outside and social distancing protocols were followed so we felt safe.
The poll we worked at was an early voting site in Fort Pierce. A big part of the day was the Free My Vote march to support people who have served time in jail to be allowed to vote. Florida residents overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the constitution to allow this, but the republican governor and legislature added that ALL fines and costs must also be paid. Problem is, in many cases the state does not know what people owe. We will also be working on election day.

Covid - 19
Like all sane people we continue to follow protocols of mask wearing, social distancing and washing our hands often. We have ventured out a few times for a late afternoon lunch at places with outdoor seating that were being safe. But since our governor put everything back to 100% we now only go to places that are interested in protecting both their customers and employees by keeping tables spread out.  We call ahead and if the place is not doing that we tell them we may see them next year. 
When I wrote the last post on September 29 there were 7,367,177 cases and 210,140 deaths. As I write this only 34 days later, cases are at 9,229,716 with 230,679 deaths, We have hit new daily highs several times. The last couple weeks it has really hit home with us as six people we know in three different states have tested positive.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

201 Days Elliott Museum

WOW, it is hard to believe we have been at Shelter Inn Place for 201 days. For most of that time we have limited our outings to grocery shopping with a couple trips to other stores. We have gone to the beach when it was not too hot. We did make a change in our routine this month when we decided we would be okay going out for a late lunch as long as we could sit outside and the places weren't crowded.
We are still in the Florida rainy season with either afternoon or morning showers, but almost never an all day rain. This past week on the first day of fall a "cold" front came through and lowered the humidity to a more comfortable level and dropped the temperatures from the mid 90's to the mid 80's. Other good weather news this week, there are NO storms brewing in the Atlantic, but hurricane season goes to the end of November.
We are still getting in our daily exercise and eating well. Nanc made some great shrimp tacos and I made margaritas. The meals at Shelter Inn Place continue to be healthy and delicious.
A big change in the local Lexington Lakes wildlife this month!!! We have a resident bobcat. This is a picture a neighbor captured. I have not seen it but Nanc has a couple times on her morning runs. 
Not a great picture but we also have a large family of raccoons living in the woods. Hopefully the fence will keep the alligators out;-)
The first time we ventured out other than shopping we visited the Elliott Museum. The original museum was built in 1961 by Harmon Elliott as a tribute to his father Sterling who was a prolific inventor. The current building, which opened in 2013, is described as A Work in Progress, with constantly changing exhibits. The biggest collection is the vintage vehicles.  
One of the most unusual exhibits is Wheels of Change. It is a three level rack system that holds over 50 cars. Cars can be retrieved with a robotic tray and brought down to this turntable to be displayed. This is the only one of its kind in the country. There was not a docent the day we were there to operate it for us but normally you can request that a car be brought down to enable you to get a better look. 
There are many one of a kind cars displayed here.
Part of the vehicle collection is in a gallery with facades of old downtown Stuart buildings on the walls.
If you are a car person the Elliott is a must see stop in Stuart.
Is it a boat? Is it a plane? Yes, it is both. It is a boat that was built from the fuel drop tank of a Grumman OV-1 Mohawk by retired Grumman employee Lawrence Regier. Lawrence was there the day we visited and was happy to tell us all about it. 
Many of Sterling Elliott's inventions dealt with improvements in bicycles and quadricycles. He also served as the president of the League of American Wheelmen.
Hugh Willoughby was the designer of the hydro-airplane pictured above. This is his pilot's license certificate from the National Aeronautic Association that was signed by Orville Wright. 
The General Store is a display of businesses from the late 1800's and early 1900's. There is an Apothecary Shop, Barber Shop, Ice Cream Soda Fountain, Post Office and more.
This hand-carved circus with 300+ figures was done by Bob Wyatt in the 1950's.
They have an exhibit of over 600 signed baseball cards and these game used bats. There are bats used by Josh Gibson, Ty Cobb, Rod Carew, Roberto Clemente and other old time players.
Some of the art on display.
The changing exhibit hall had a great collection of British motorcycles. The Elliott offers a very nice eclectic collection of art and history for a small town museum. 
Our first dining out experience since March. After visiting the Elliott we went to Dolphin Bar and Shrimp House for a late lunch. We sat outside and the tables were well spaced so we felt comfortable.
Pink sky in morning.
Another week and another dining out experience. This time was Kyle G's, a place we had never tried. Here we had a table overlooking the Atlantic. The food was great and once again we felt comfortable that they were following all the correct Covid protocols. We sure enjoyed eating out, but are unsure what the future holds as our governor has called off all Covid restrictions and declared the state is open for business. Places will not be getting our business if they eliminate social distancing and other safety procedures. 
We went to check out the waves from Hurricane Teddy that was several hundred miles off  coast. Teddy caused high surf warnings from here in Martin County all the way to Cape Cod. Unfortunately the beach at Blowing Rock where holes in the rocks send the waves high in the air was closed. 
We were sad to see all these turtle egg shells on the beach. The high surf destroyed over a hundred nests on Jupiter and Hutchinson Islands. The good news is there were over 700 nest so many more survived.
Nanc has run the Great Race in Pittsburgh many times over the years when we are in WashPA at the end of September. Because of the pandemic the race this year was virtual. You could run anywhere and send your time in. She did a great job with the fastest time for her age and finished 169 out of 361 female. GREAT JOB!!!!!!!
While most people are doing what should be done to slow the spread of Covid there are way too many people who are like this. It is hard to believe with the case and death numbers we have in this country. Total cases in the world 33,689,344; US cases 7,376,177. We have 21.9 % with only 4% of the world's population.
Total deaths in the world 1,008,617; US deaths 210,140 We have 20.8%. 
     These numbers are so sad.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Beach, Hurricane and Voting

It is really hard to believe we have been at Shelter Inn Place for 169 days. We have the routine down pat getting up early before it is too hot and humid and doing our morning walk and run (Nanc). Next is breakfast and then two or three hours of reading the news on line. During this time we listen to music and avoid listening to any news. We have taken a couple day drives to explore the area. Heading ten miles west and we are in ranch and prairie country. Of course, heading east we are quickly on the Atlantic coast. Nanc continues to make sure that we have been eating healthy. 
It is the rainy season in Florida so almost every day we see huge clouds. The pattern seems to be if the wind is from the east the rain threat is in the morning and if it is from the west we get thundershowers and rain in the afternoon. Almost every evening when we are watching the local news the buzzer warning of severe weather in the viewing area goes off. These storm are usually smaller and localized somewhere in the viewing area that stretches 100 miles along the coast and inland to Lake Okeechobee. We have had a couple storms with what I call flash-bang thunder and lightning, very scary!
We did hit the beach again just to escape the boredom of staying home.
As you can see we had no trouble social distancing.
The day was full of sunshine but we watched as this big cloud got closer and closer. We decided to pack up just in time and the sky opened up with a heavy downpour. By the time we got home the sun was shining once again..
As I said in the last post, seeing the way things have been going in 2020 we would probably get a hurricane. Sure enough, at the beginning of the month we were in the "cone of uncertainty" for Hurricane Isaias. Since it was only a Cat 1 storm we decided to stay put. Here is what I learned about waiting for storms from a friend in Louisiana. "Waiting for a hurricane is like being stalked by a turtle." You get an early warning days before the storm, but you never know for sure how bad it will be until a few hours before landfall. In the above picture Isaias was raining and blowing just south of us.
The good news, we had accordion shutters installed last year so it only took about five minutes to shut each one. On Saturday I closed the three window shutters to have it done before it started to get windy and raining. As you can see it was still sunny.
The storm was expected to arrive Sunday night so I did not clear the patio or close that shutter until Sunday afternoon. The good news, Isaias stayed off shore about thirty miles from us and was "only" a tropical storm with winds about 50 mph. The bad news, it became a hurricane as it moved north and hit the Carolinas pretty hard. 
You can see why I like the accordion shutters. The original shutters required getting on a ladder and putting up one slat at a time. Also, we are supposed to remove the shutters within 10 days after the storm passes. It took me less time to do all four of our shutters than it took my neighbor to put up one panel. Our neighbors who have lived in Florida a long time said this was a good practice storm for us.
It is the rainy season and skies like this are very common. Usually the storms don't last very long, but they can bring a lot of rain, wind and lightening.
A heavy afternoon shower.....
...... followed by a beautiful sunset and.........
Nice rainbow.
This moth hatched on our patio door and stayed there drying its wings before taking flight.
Neat heron at Lexington Lakes.
When we became Florida residents in November we registered to vote at the same time. Voting here is is much easier than what we experienced our whole lives in PA. In March for the presidential only primary we voted early, an option we never had before. 
For the August 18th primary for local officials and our US House Representative the election was by party. For this election we opted for mail in voting. Thirty days before election day our ballots came in the mail giving us plenty of time to check out where each candidate stood on the issues important to us. 
We mailed our ballots on August 1st and were able to check on line to make sure they made it to the office. It was all very easy and we are looking forward to getting our vote in for the November election.