Category Archives: Florida weather

New Pergola @ Lost Arts House – COOL!!

It’s cool under the new Pergola shade structure at the Lost Arts House.

The New Blue Hen Pergola

With temperatures breaking new records, it’s great to have the back deck shaded from the hot afternoon sun.

Resident plants are lantana, penta, basil, sage, and oregano, which makes a lovely hanger. In the garden below the deck are more Lantana and all the animals’ favorite: Mexican Sunflower. (Tithonia Diversifolia)

In the record heat we’re experiencing this summer, we have to water the hangers everyday at least once! It’s so nice to have shade on the hot and sunny back deck, and the plants double as a butterfly garden!

The Main Garden

With temperatures hovering between 95 and 98 degrees and heat indexes over 120 (!), it’s been a very uncomfortable summer for animals, plants, and people! The only crop that chugs right along in the hot and humid is the cover crop, cowpeas.

We won’t start the Fall garden until the heat has broken, probably October! By then we’ll have starts for the cool weather crops, cabbage, broccoli, kale, bok choy, and direct seed the collards and carrots. Can’t wait…

In the meantime we’re rescuing the Main Garden from this year’s dominant weed…three feet tall and with a tap root to rival the tallest Long Needle Pine.

Happy Homesteading,


No Name Storm ? Again?

Another No Name storm at Blue Hen Farm last week. No one was hurt, but the ducks decided to move their nest! With the help of friends we were back to normal by the dawn of the new day! Don’t let the Florida weather get you down…

As we stacked branches for burning and moved heavy logs it occurred to me that perhaps we should not be in such a hurry to “clean up the forest”. This is how nature builds soil. We should take a lesson from the forest floor and build our “social soil” in natural layers, as well. Let’s stay connected to nature and take heed of the lesson right in front of us.

On the way to deliver my grandson to school, we noticed that the state park folks have cleared a large section of the forest …cut down all the trees and put up little signs (as if anticipating negative feedback) that announce “Habitat Restoration”. We are surely proud of the way we can step in and improve on natural processes. It’s also handy that we can strip mine the woods and make a little profit for our trouble.

Soil building…the hardest part of community.

Happy Homesteading,


Tornado Alley July 2019

July 2014 …we planted these four little cypress trees in tubs and set them in the sandy backyard, thinking that someday we may want to move them.

Five years later these cute little trees are 10 feet tall and 8 feet around and not likely to be moved! Until July 20, 2019, the day of the mini-tornado at Bent Pine Farm.

I’m always complaining about Florida weather! It’s too hot for 7 months of the year, and the other 5 are hit and miss… we may have days that are absolutely gorgeous, but you know that as soon as we set out those tomato seedlings…Bamm! Freezing temps. Happens every time.

On this particular Friday, or was it Saturday? (When you’re retired all the days run together…so in addition to having more to do than when you were working full time, you have no idea what day it is!) as we sat watching the rain. It came in at a 90 degree angle blowing from the south, then suddenly turned 180 degrees, blowing from the north. We heard “pop”-“pop” – “pop”…not knowing what that was…

When it was over, we went outside to find our 10 foot Cypress trees laying over on the ground with all their tap roots broken off at the base! The chickens had been blown across the garden in their cage! The huge Moringa tree was over flat with its roots ripped out of the ground. Micro-burst!! A little scary.

With Seth’s help we got the Cypress righted and planted in the ground. Let’s face it. It’s the only way those trees would have gotten moved! Florida weather. You gotta love it.

Happy Homesteading,