Summer is long days, and sunlight brings on extreme heat, so knowing how to beat the heat and enjoy summer is helpful. The sweltering temperatures can be uncomfortable and harmful to your health if not handled correctly. While this post is included in my Florida section, with the heat waves radiating across the country right now, this is true for anyone experiencing summer today.
Tips on how to beat the heat and enjoy summer without wilting:
Beat the Heat by Staying Hydrated
First and foremost, staying hydrated is crucial. Dehydration is one of the biggest dangers of hot weather, leading to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. Make sure to sip on water throughout the day, even if you’re not feeling thirsty. Infusing your water with fresh fruits like strawberries, lemons, or cucumbers can add a refreshing twist that encourages more frequent sipping.
It’s also worth noting that what you wear can significantly affect how you feel. Choose clothing that is light in color and loose-fitting. Such clothes reflect sunlight rather than absorbing it, keeping you cooler. Additionally, fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin, such as cotton, can help regulate your body temperature.
Beat the Heat by Staying Inside
One of the most straightforward ways to beat the heat is to stay out of it as much as possible, especially during the peak hours between 11 am and 3 pm. This could mean planning your outdoor activities early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun isn’t as strong.
While indoors, consider closing your blinds or curtains to prevent the sun from heating your rooms. If you don’t have air conditioning, fans can provide a breeze and promote evaporation, which cools the skin. Don’t underestimate the power of a cool shower or bath, either. These can help bring down your body temperature and provide immediate relief.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals can also help you feel cooler. Digestion generates body heat, so eating large meals can make you feel hotter. Opt for light, water-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and salads. These not only provide hydration but are easier to digest.
Lastly, don’t forget to take care of your skin. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, and wear a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outdoors.
Beating the heat doesn’t mean you have to hide away all summer. By implementing these practical strategies, you can maintain your cool and make the most of the warm weather. Remember to listen to your body and take it easy when needed. Let’s all stay safe this summer. Happy summer!
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You know the saying, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity”, well the humidity in Florida takes that saying to an entirely whole new level.
Living in Florida means dealing with high humidity levels year-round. There are only a few days out of the year that we aren’t in a humid climate: when we have a Nor’easter and after a hurricane.
The rest of the time, here are some of the tips on how we deal with humidity in Florida:
Humidity in Florida can be managed
1. Invest in a dehumidifier: A dehumidifier is a useful appliance that helps remove excess moisture from the air. Place it in areas prone to high humidity, such as bedrooms or living rooms. Running a dehumidifier can significantly reduce the muggy feeling and prevent mold and mildew growth.
2. Use air conditioning: Air conditioning not only cools the air but also helps to remove moisture. Set your AC to a comfortable temperature and ensure it is properly maintained to optimize its dehumidifying capabilities. Consider installing a programmable thermostat to regulate humidity levels more efficiently. K&N washable filters are very helpful in keeping the expenses down. I have two of these because I live in a very sandy, dusty area.
3. Proper ventilation: Proper ventilation is crucial in humid climates. Use exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry areas to remove moisture at the source. Additionally, ensure your home has adequate airflow by keeping windows and doors open when weather permits, using fans, or installing ceiling fans to circulate air. Damprid is helpful in the bathroom and laundry room.
4. Avoid hanging wet clothes indoors: Hanging wet clothes indoors can contribute to increased humidity levels. Instead, utilize a clothes dryer or set up a designated drying area with good ventilation, preferably outdoors. We have more than enough sun to find a day to hang the clothes out on the line. Because we’re not an industrial state, our air is clean, which makes the sheets smell so good.
Prepare your home for the humidity in Florida
5. Seal windows and doors: Ensure windows and doors are properly sealed to prevent excess moisture from seeping into your home. Inspect and repair any gaps or cracks to keep the humid air out and maintain a comfortable indoor environment.
6. Use moisture-absorbing products: Place moisture-absorbing products like silica gel or desiccant packs in closets, cabinets, or other areas prone to moisture buildup. These products help absorb excess moisture and prevent musty odors and mold growth.
7. Keep surfaces clean and dry: Regularly clean and dry surfaces prone to moisture accumulation, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Wipe down countertops, sinks, and shower areas to prevent mold and mildew growth. Walls in the bathroom can be prone to mildew build up, and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will clean it right up.
8. Avoid excessive water usage: Be mindful of excessive water usage, as it adds moisture to the air. Limit the length of showers, repair any leaks promptly, and avoid overwatering plants or using humidifiers unnecessarily.
9. Use natural ventilation methods: Take advantage of breezy days by opening windows and doors to let fresh air circulate through your home. Natural ventilation can help reduce humidity levels and provide a refreshing atmosphere.
10. Embrace moisture-resistant materials: Opt for moisture-resistant materials when furnishing your home, such as mold-resistant paint, moisture-resistant flooring, and water-resistant fabrics. These materials are designed to withstand high humidity and minimize potential damage.
Hopefully, these tips will help you keep the humidity in Florida under control. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, dress for the climate, and keep your home comfortable. Florida humidity can be managed, making living in Florida enjoyable.
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There are at least 3 myths about the Florida lifestyle, and I’m here to bust up a few of them.
First, we’re not always at the beach; we work just like you. While you’re saving all of your money to come to Florida, we’re saving all of our money to get out of Florida. Seriously, there’s only so much sun, fun, and sand you can take before you start to hate the sight of palm trees and the smell of coconut oil.
But that isn’t really a myth so much as a belief. Have you seen our pale legs sticking out of our shorts? We don’t have time to lounge about the pool or the beach. At least not in the daylight.
Myths about Florida Lifestyle: It’s Always Sunny
Okay, I fell for this one when I moved here in the mid-1980s. I didn’t even pack a coat when I left Illinois in June for my new life in the tropics – see topic #3 for more on that. I had the impression – wrong, I might add – that Florida had no winter. That it was some perpetual sunshine party.
Let’s step back and look at the whole state of Florida.
The panhandle has an average temperature of 68º and around 52.4 inches of rain annually. I landed in Fort Walton Beach and camped along the Gulf. The wind was blowing, and I was sure it was a hurricane and I was gonna die.
It can, does, and will snow in the panhandle of Florida. Coats are recommended.
The northern part of Florida gets cold. Winter temperatures around Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, and Gainesville can get in the 30s. Sometimes – but rarely – that’s a high. Freeze, both hard and frost advisories, can reach as far south as the Vero Beach and Okeechobee areas. Lake Okeechobee is considered South Florida, and every so often, there are freeze warnings for the area that last around 7 hours.
It’s not unusual to see smudge pots in the orange groves to keep the trees from freezing in Central Interior Florida.
The sun doesn’t always shine; some days are as gray as the Midwestern winter skies, and some days, it rains for days on end. It snowed in West Palm Beach one day in 1977, and there were flurries in Miami and Homestead. Our ground doesn’t freeze like it does up north, so our snow doesn’t stick. Nonetheless, it’s a myth that it’s always warm and sunny in Florida.
Check out this book on traveling to Orlando, Florida for tips, tricks, and hidden places to visit.
Drink your coffee from one of my flamingo coffee mugs.
Myths about Florida Lifestyle: Alligators in Every Back Yard
Okay, this one is borderline true, depending upon where you live. Have I had one in my backyard along the East Coast of Florida? No. But I have seen them in the same area in canals, retention ponds, riverside, lakeside, and lounging on golf courses around where I live.
Most people with gators in their backyards live along man-made canals and golf courses with lakes. Gators will eat people and pets, so it goes without saying, don’t take a selfie with one (see idiots with cameras in Yellowstone standing by bison), and they are fast, so give them a lot of room. They can hit 35 MPH on land and 20 MPH in the water. Can you? Oh, and they can climb, too. Ladders, trees, fences, etc.
They are fascinating creatures but best left to admire from a distance – like from another state.
My tropical pillow looks great in your beach house. Take it with you when you go back north.
Another Myth: It’s Tropical
Another awesome and disappointing myth is that we all live a tropical lifestyle with rum runners in each hand, flowered shirts, flip flops, and hibiscus flowers stuck behind one ear. Okay, that might be the parking lot of a Jimmy Buffett concert, but not really how we live here if we live here year-round. Now, I am not talking about those retirees who are baking themselves around a poolside trying to get the color of a kidney bean, but those people who keep the retirees living their lives of comfort and sometimes excess.
Money people also spend a lot of time wandering around in floral skirts tut-tutting the sorry state of affairs should they accidentally cast their eyes upon a lowly servant-type person. They might be carrying a martini or a fruit drink, but they are usually in their backyard broiling in coconut oil around their pool, so they aren’t noticeable. If you see one, they’ve gotten out and will go back home soon.
The rest of us are happy to be able to wear casual clothes like jeans to work and comfortable shirts like a polo shirt rather than suits and ties or dresses and heels. There is a more casual lifestyle in Florida that does seem to permeate more traditional businesses like banks and doctor’s office.
Where are the tropics?
Only the bottom half of the state is considered tropical I think Vero Beach has said it’s the top of the tropics, but anything south of midway is more tropical. Driving in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami is a lot different than driving where I live around Vero Beach. You have to watch where you drive down there because their roads are filled with homeless iguanas, large lizards, crabs with sharp pinchers, and even boa constrictors and pythons. It’s an unwanted pet dumping ground where even the cutest little lizard can grow up and take your face off. I only have to contend with raccoons, opossums, armadillos, egrets and Sandhill cranes.
Those of us still working all look foreign because we’re not dressed in flowered shirts, flip flops, board shorts, and carrying a cocktail. If you see us, be nice; we’re tired and just want to go home and lay on a pool float face first.
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Florida, the Sunshine State, is not just known for its beautiful beaches and theme parks but also for its rich history and hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. From sunken ships to buried pirate loot, Florida offers an exciting treasure hunting experience for adventurers of all ages.
I am thrilled to live in one of the most treasure filled spots in Florida. It’s so rich in treasure that it’s named The Treasure Coast. Yet, it doesn’t yield the most treasure.
Whether you’re visiting Florida or live here, let your inner adventurer out and make plans to claim some of your own treasure.
Key West, the southernmost point of the continental United States, has a long history of pirate activity. The area’s clear waters and numerous shipwrecks make it a popular destination for treasure hunters.
Take a guided snorkeling or diving tour to explore the underwater treasures, or visit the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum to learn about the famous Atocha shipwreck and see the recovered artifacts. Key West is a true treasure trove waiting to be explored.
Known as the oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine is steeped in history and legends. The city’s cobblestone streets and ancient architecture create an ideal setting for treasure hunting. Explore the Castillo de San Marcos, a historic fort that witnessed many battles and rumored hidden treasures.
Another intriguing spot is the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, where you can join archaeological digs and potentially uncover relics from the past. St. Augustine offers a blend of adventure and history for treasure hunters.
Amelia Island, located off the northeast coast of Florida, has a rich history of pirate raids and buried treasure. With its pristine beaches and dunes, it provides a picturesque backdrop for treasure hunting.
Visit the Amelia Island Museum of History to learn about the island’s pirate lore and then head to the beach with your metal detector. You never know what you might find buried beneath the sand – from ancient coins to lost jewelry.
The Indian River, stretching along the east coast of Florida, has been a popular site for treasure hunting for centuries. It runs between the Atlantic Ocean and the mainland, and the Sebastian Inlet connects the two. The area was frequented by Spanish galleons and pirates, leaving behind a trail of lost treasures.
Join a guided boat tour or rent a kayak to explore the riverbanks and hunt for artifacts. From hidden coves to mysterious islands, the Indian River offers endless opportunities for treasure seekers. The treasures have been known to wash up from the Atlantic Ocean when we’ve had a big hurricane. It’s not unusual to see people find Spanish coins on the beaches.
Metal Detecting on the Beach is one of the best ways to find your own stash of Spanish coins. You’ll need a metal detector and some inspiration.
Located in Central Florida, the Ocala National Forest is not only a haven for outdoor enthusiasts but also holds a mysterious allure for treasure hunters. Legend has it that during the 1800s, a gang of outlaws known as the Ashley Gang buried their loot within the forest’s vast expanse.
Venture into the forest’s dense foliage, armed with a metal detector and a keen eye, and you might stumble upon a hidden stash of gold or other precious items.
For a unique treasure hunting experience, head to the secluded Dry Tortugas National Park. Situated about 70 miles west of Key West, this remote island paradise offers a fascinating blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue.
Explore the remains of Fort Jefferson, a 19th-century coastal fortress, and search for hidden treasures among its walls and corridors. With its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, Dry Tortugas National Park is not only a treasure hunter’s dream but also a paradise for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.
Crystal River, located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is renowned for its abundant marine life and captivating natural springs. However, beneath the surface of its inviting waters, lie secrets waiting to be discovered. The area is known for its historical shipwrecks, making it a prime spot for underwater treasure hunting.
Whether you’re scuba diving or snorkeling, keep a lookout for artifacts and remnants of ancient vessels. Crystal River offers a unique blend of adventure and underwater exploration for treasure seekers.
Situated at the mouth of Tampa Bay, Egmont Key State Park is a hidden gem for treasure hunters. Accessible only by boat, this secluded island is steeped in history and holds the potential for exciting discoveries.
Explore the remains of Fort Dade, a military fortress from the late 19th century, and search the shoreline for seashells and relics washed ashore. With its pristine beaches and intriguing history, Egmont Key State Park offers a tranquil and rewarding treasure hunting experience.
Pensacola Beach, located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, is not only a popular vacation spot but also a treasure hunter’s paradise. With its long stretches of sandy beaches and turquoise waters, it’s no surprise that the area has a history of shipwrecks. Take a stroll along the shoreline, particularly after storms, and keep an eye out for washed-up artifacts or even pieces of Spanish galleons. Pensacola Beach is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered.
The Suwannee River, winding through North Florida, holds a captivating charm and a touch of mystery. Known for its legends of hidden pirate treasures, this picturesque waterway offers a unique treasure hunting experience.
Rent a kayak or canoe and navigate the river’s gentle currents while scanning the riverbanks for clues and hidden caches. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature as you embark on a treasure hunt along the Suwannee River, uncovering stories from the past.
Florida’s rich history and diverse landscapes make it an incredible destination for treasure hunting enthusiasts. Whether you’re searching for pirate gold, ancient artifacts, or sunken treasures, the Sunshine State has something to offer. Key West, St. Augustine, Amelia Island, and the Indian River are just a few of the many places where you can embark on your own treasure hunting adventure. So grab your map, metal detector, and a sense of adventure, and set off on a thrilling journey to uncover Florida’s hidden gems.
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There is so much to see in Florida that doesn’t include the ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, I included Fort Walton Beach, but only because that was where I landed when I first got to Florida and camped. I’ve never been back, and that’s been 36 years ago. I think it’s time to see if the little fish camp that fed me catfish long after dining hours were over is still there. I think the sand is still white and the waves still crash.
Grab a map and make your own list of Florida places to visit.
If like this post and want to read more about my life in Florida, then check out the following posts.
Florida is home to so many birds waiting for you to come check them out. The diverse habitats include beaches, wetlands, forests and grasslands that attract a variety of species, which makes birdwatching in Florida a great hobby.
Here are some popular locations for birdwatching in Florida and the types of birds you can expect to see in Florida:
You’ll find many species of birds calling the Everglades home. Those species include wading birds, including herons, egrets, and ibises. You may also spot the Roseate Spoonbill, Anhinga, and the endangered Florida Snail Kite. I’ve seen the Roseate Spoonbill along the road eating from the culverts in the Indian River County area, as well as at the next stop on our tour.
This refuge, located near Cape Canaveral, provides a habitat for over 300 bird species. During the winter months, you may encounter migratory birds such as American White Pelicans, Northern Pintails, and a variety of shorebirds. This is also one of the few locations where you can see the Florida Scrub-Jay. I wanted to explore the painted bunting nesting area, but no matter how far I hiked or where I went, they were not to be found. As it turned out, they showed up in my front yard the following month, so you never know what birds are around.
I have seen a lot of Scrub-Jays around my home, so they are also out in some of the Brevard County uninhabited areas. Those areas are quickly being developed, so it won’t be long before they are gone from here.
This is the feeder I use in my yard, but I have it on a pole with a baffle on it to keep the squirrels out. This makes it really easy to see the birds. The only problem is that the mourning doves are ground feeders, so they plant themselves in it and refuse to move. They are pigs.
Accessible by boat or seaplane, this park is a group of seven islands located about 70 miles west of Key West. You can spot seabirds such as Sooty Terns, Brown Noddies, and Magnificent Frigatebirds. It’s also an important location for migratory birds during spring and fall. Put this on the list of places to do birdwatching in Florida.
Situated near Naples, this sanctuary is known for its boardwalk, which takes you through a variety of habitats, including cypress forests, wet prairies, and marshes. You may spot Wood Storks, Limpkins, and Barred Owls, among other species.
This park, located near St. Petersburg, is a popular spot for shorebirds such as Piping Plovers, Red Knots, and Black-bellied Plovers. You may also find warblers and other migratory songbirds during spring and fall migrations.
Located in Delray Beach, you’ll find many wading birds Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, and Green Herons. You can also spot Purple Gallinules, Least Bitterns, and Black-necked Stilts here while birdwatching in Florida.
In addition to wading and shore birds, don’t overlook the raptors that inhabit the state and some migratory hawks. We see red-shouldered hawks, falcons, red-tail hawks, owls and so many other raptors that like to eat the squirrels and fish around my home.
Be Prepared to Hike
Buy a good pair of binoculars and a zoom lens for your camera, so you can take longshots without getting off the trails. You can use a field guide on your cellphone (or the Merlin app from Cornell University, which is an amazing app that I use all the time), but you may find cellphone coverage spotty depending on where you’re hiking. It doesn’t hurt to have a small bird guide for your pocket.
These are good guides. I like that the Birds of Florida Field Guide has a painted bunting on the front.
Make sure that you dress for the weather and don’t wear open-toed shoes. Hiking boots with ankle coverage might be best. We do have rattlesnakes and other bitey kinda snakes.
Mosquitoes will try to make you their lunch no matter what time of the year you go birdwatching in Florida. They never go away. Ever. So, wear whatever protection you need to keep from getting eaten alive, as well as sunscreen for sunny days.
Seriously, don’t be a hero.
Additionally, follow birdwatching ethics, such as not disturbing nesting birds and staying on designated trails.
If you’re lucky and live in Florida, then look out your front window and see if you can find a good place to put in a bird feeder that will bring birds to you. I enjoy my annual visit from the painted buntings. If you don’t live here, then come on down and do some birdwatching in Florida!
It’s impossible to cover the fascinating history of Florida in a 500 word article, so I am going to hit the highlights and promise to come back and fill in rest in future posts. Like all of our United States, it belonged to someone else before the settlers took it by force and built colonies and cities.
According to Florida Facts on the official Florida website, Florida’s first inhabitants were here over 12,000 years ago. The Spanish followed suit in 1513 when Juan Ponce de Leon set foot on shore. The Spanish continued to rule Florida until the 1700s, and it was a popular territory for the Southern plantation owners.
It is said that Christopher Columbus brought the first oranges to Florida, but Ponce de Leon is credited for planting the first orange trees, which has been a cash crop for Florida ever since.
The name Florida is from an Easter Spanish Festival, Pascua Florida, which means Feast of Flowers that historians believe is another Ponce de Leon contribution to the state.
St. Augustine is the oldest continuously populated city in the United States, and it dates back to 1565. If you get a chance when you’re in Florida, stop by this city and spend some time wandering around the Fort.
Spain had to give up Florida during the Seven Year War, when Cuba and the Philippines were captured by the British. If they wanted those colonies back, they had to give Florida to the Brits. The First Treaty of Paris was the paperwork that gave it away.
During the Revolutionary War, Florida did not fight for the colonies. They remained loyal to England, and the first chance they got, the Spanish took it back. From 1783 until 1821, the Spanish again ruled Florida. It didn’t stop Andrew Jackson from trying to wrest control over Florida though, and he started the First Seminole War. By 1817, everyone was fighting everyone, and Jackson burned it all to the ground.
An 1819 Treaty saw the state in the hands of the United States as a territory with Andrew Jackson as its first governor. Funny how that turned out. The first Florida newspapers were St. Augustine’s Florida Gazette and Pensacola’s Floridian.
Tallahassee was chosen as the capital and it became a state in 1845. First thing the state tried to do was secede during the Civil War. Brilliant, I say.
Then Maybe Not a State
During the Civil War, the Ordinance of Secession was drawn up in 1861. Florida was taking its flowers and going home. The Union army didn’t really care and took over Fernandina, St. Augustine and Jacksonville. They had Black troops with them, which sent the Confederates over the edge. The Confederates managed to hang onto Tallahassee and the governor killed himself. The Federal government took it over and ended slavery.
There was an impeachment, a fight against Reconstruction, another election kerfuffle – if there is an election kerfuffle, look to Florida first to have mucked it up, and the end of Reconstruction thanks to Florida’s strong arming another election with disputed electoral votes. If anything goes wrong in an election, it’s because of Florida.
Then Maybe a State
They became a state again, or at least acknowledged they were a state. Then they wrote a new state constitution that seemed to work until 1968. They even granted Confederate pensions to veterans.
Nobody drank, then everybody drank, then nobody drank again with the 18th Amendment to the Florida Constitution outlawing alcohol.
1920 land boom. Then a hurricane. Then another hurricane. Boom over.
Amelia Earhart waved good-bye from Miami and was never seen again.
So much more to cover, but this is going to be it for the moment. We are up to World War II for those of you playing along at home.
Think that Florida sounds like someplace you want to live? Keep reading my blog posts while I cover some of the more interesting aspects of Florida. Like more booms and more busts, and a lot more hurricanes.
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You’re going to have to look closely, but this guy is an inchworm. He thinks he’s a stick, and the best I can figure is that he is a moth in waiting. I didn’t move him or dissuade him from hanging on the front porch, and I don’t know where he wandered off to, but he left. At first I thought he was a larva stage walking stick, but finally found him in the geometer moth family. They like to eat plants and leaves, so hopefully, he will stay on his side of the house and out of my garden. I already had two beautiful red tomatoes with little squirrel bites out of them.
New monarch butterfly ready to come out of his chrysalis and flit about my milkweed. This is what they look like about 24 hours before they emerge. He is hanging on the side of my milkweed box since I didn’t try to capture any more caterpillars and put them in my cat box. It seemed late in the season, and I was trying to discourage them from laying eggs. They ignored me and 20 or so more butterflies took off in February.