2023 January

Friday, January 6, 2023

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[Fresh Water] Big Pine Key has had significant fresh water resources for at least 4000 years. In ariel photographs from February 1952 the northern part of Big Pine Key is observed as having almost complete coverage of native vegetation. The only development on the northern part of the island was Key Deer Blvd. and Blue Hole, which was a quarry that supplied the fill to build the road. Twenty years later, all the canals and mosquito ditches were excavated and the fresh water lens was very substantially impacted for the first time. The shape of the lens was constricted on the south west by the Eden Pines canal system. On the north, by the canal system of Port Pines Heights and on the northeast by the canals of Koehns Subdivision.

The canals simply drained the fresh water from the oolitic limestone rock walls of the canals. In a period of a few years, the size of the lens was reduced was at least 30%. The vertical height of the lens was also reduced, probably by more than a foot. The seasonal cycle of the increase and decrease of the salinities in the water would be more pronounced with the smaller volume of the fresh water lens. The mosquito ditches also had negative effect, and they helped introduce salt water intrusion into more seasonal fresh water habitats.

In this century, sea level rise has substantially reduced the size of the northern lens. In 1952 the highest parts of the northern oolite ridge were just above 8 feet mean sea level. In 2023, 71 years later, sea level is more than seven inches higher, possibly nine. The mosquito ditches, dug in the late 50s and early 60s, do not have much effect now. Many are under salt water months of the year. Most of the coastal fresh water habitats have transitioned into more permanent brackish habitats.

In the last decade another substantial impact occurred with the construction of The Cudjoe Regional Waste Water project. The trenches that were dug down almost every Big Pine Key street are much larger and deeper than the mosquito ditches. The construction specifications of the ditch were at least 2 feet deep and one foot wide. Koehns Subdivision was one of the first ditch systems dug. The ditches were dug with a machine commonly referred to as a ditch witch. It has a rotary wheel digger, which dug a trench about 18 inches wide and about 4.5 ft deep. The oolitic rock was probably not kind to this machine and it seems to have broken down.

It was replaced with a large excavator, a machine with a bucket about four feet wide and about 4.5 ft long. The trench down Key Deer Blvd was dug with this machine. The ditch was about 5 feet wide and 4-5 feet deep running from Port Pine Heights down the east side of Key Deer Blvd switching over to the west side at Watson Blvd. and continuing to US 1. The ditch on Watson Blvd was as deep and wide and ran along the south edge of the road. During the construction it was a salt water canal running from east of Key Deer Blvd almost to Palm Villas. The limestone rock excavated from the trenches were hauled to several spots on Big Pine and Ramrod. After the sewer pipe was installed, the fill was replaced with quarter inch rock. A fine gravel, I presume to make it easier to excavate, if repairs are needed.

It is safe to assume that the trenches in many places, would allow salt water intrusion in dry times.

You can tell a lot about a woman by her hands. For instance, if they’re around your throat she’s probably upset.

[Buy and Spend Locally] Fort Worth in the 1870s was a thriving village of one thousand people. It was located at the juncture of two great cattle trails, the Baxter Springs and the Chisholm Trail, over which thousands of cattle were driven to Abilene, Kansas, the primary railroad terminal for shipping cattle to the slaughterhouses in Chicago. Tidball, Van Zandt & Company served the credit needs of the many cattlemen. Money was scarce in Fort Worth at the time and a gold coin always attracted attention.

Major Van Zandt relates how an outfit of cattle drovers camped one night southwest of the city, purchased a liberal supply of provisions at a store and paid for the articles with a glistening twenty-dollar gold piece. The overjoyed storekeeper rode to town and paid his family physician. The physician then rushed across the street to pay his overdue grocery bill. The valuable coin chased about the village during the day, paid over $200 in debts and in the evening came back to the original storekeeper in payment of some hay he had previously sold.

Then it was deposited in the bank for safekeeping, where it served as gold reserve for several days. This incident convinced Major Van Zandt of the value of sound money and safe banks.
This should teach us that money spent locally, stays in the community.

Charles C. Ebetts was the mind behind “Lunch atop a Skyscraper”, one of the most famous photos of the 20th century

Learning a new language? Here’s how to perfect your pronunciation. Tips to sound better in the top 5 languages Americans are learning right now. Link

Thank heavens the Keystone pipeline is open again after suffering the largest oil spill in over a decade.

[Friday Joke] Defense Attorney: Will you please state your age?
Old Lady: I am 94 years old.
Defense Attorney: Will you tell us, in your own words, what happened the night of April 1st?
Old Lady: There I was, sitting there in my swing on my front porch on a warm spring evening,
When a young man comes creeping up on the porch and sat down beside me.
Defense Attorney: Did you know him?
Old Lady: No, but he sure was friendly.
Defense Attorney: What happened after he sat down?
Old Lady: He started to rub my thigh.
Defense Attorney: Did you stop him?
Old Lady: No, I didn’t stop him.
Defense Attorney: Why not?
Little Old Lady: It felt good. Nobody had done that since my David died some 30 years ago.
Defense Attorney: What happened next?
Old Lady: He began to rub all over my body.
Defense Attorney: Did you stop him then?
Old Lady: No, I did not stop him.
Defense Attorney: Why not?
Old Lady: His rubbing made me feel all alive and excited. I haven’t felt that good in years!
Defense Attorney: What happened next?
Old Lady: Well, by then, I was feeling so spicy’ that I just laid down and told him, ‘Take me, young man. Take me now!’
Defense Attorney: Did he take you?
Old Lady: Hell, no! He just yelled, ‘April Fool!’ And that’s when I shot him, the little bastard.

I love going to pet stores, bird sanctuaries, and the like. The girls working there talk birdie to me all day long.
[Football Heart Attack] With roughly 1.7 million NFL hits in last 50 years, why have we never seen an “arrhythmia” cardiac arrest before? Link
[Lucy Burdette] Big Pine Book Lovers Book Club with Special Guest, Lucy Burdette. Saturday, January 21 at 10:00 am
The Book Club invites you to their next meeting to discuss Death on the Menu: A Key West Food Critic Mystery by New Your Times bestselling author Lucy Burdette. We are also very pleased to announce that Lucy Burdette will be joining us to discuss her title and participate in a Q&A! All are welcome to attend. For more information, please contact,
[False Hope] Boy did I shake up the adult children. I told them if I ever hit the lottery in a big way, and after donating much to great causes like MARC house, autism research, hospice, etc. I will give each of them a few hundred thousand. And after one year I was going to see what they did with the money, invest? Or squander it, cars, trips, booze, etc? Things got quiet quickly. What would you do?
[Cuban Rafters] I remember years back camping at Dry Tortugas during the ‘wet foot dry foot’ policy. After the tourists left, you pretty well had the run of the island. We counted 11 chugs all along the shores!
One of the days we ran into an armed US Parks Service officer and asked him what actions they take when a chug, full, arrived? Do they tackle them in the water, somehow stop them from hitting land?
He said, “Nope, give them bottled water.”
This mess has been going on a long, long time.
[Weather Map] The Ventusky weather map is fabulous! It will show the weather for the rest of the day, hour by hour. Ventusky usually uses the ICON European model which seems very accurate. I zoomed out and panned to the Pacific, then hit “play” with a focus on pressure. There are some nasty cyclones way out in the Pacific, but none came close to California. B.C. might get some nasty weather, or Alaska. Only heavy manipulation will bring anything like Geowatch suggests. Link

[Inflation] There are still deals. I saw a 65” flat panel TV at Target for only $300.

[Old] It turns out, that as you get older you don’t actually figure anything out, you just don’t have the energy to care anymore

[“Name that feather”] The correct name for the bird is “Mourning” Dove not “morning”. It is named due to it’s sad sounding coos because they mate for life, hence the sadness when one’s mate dies
Learning a new language? Here’s how to perfect your pronunciation. Tips to sound better in the top 5 languages Americans are learning right now. Link


Hundreds of Cuban migrants head to Key West after landing in  the Florida Keys. Video

[Batteries] You will never look at a battery again in the same way you did before you read this article. Link
[“Hurricane Relief”] Good luck getting anything. After Irma, relief agencies along with the SPA were all but knocking on my door to help us. But after filling out more forms than I did to buy our house, we never received one cent. We even had some agency offer to replace our dead slash pines. The had me take pictures and submit them. I did. I took 110 photos of all our dead pines and never heard one peep from them. I think most of these relief agencies spend their money on administration, advertising and finding ways to keep all their money. It looks good and keeps them employed while helping almost no one
[Cuban Rafters] We’re not allowed to complain about them as they are granted special treatment by the politicians of Cuban descent in Florida due to their Wet Foot – Dry Foot policy. So now others are coming into this country by piggy-backing with the Cubans. Will any of them be returned or be bussed elsewhere? Quite the hypocrites wouldn’t you say.
[National Holiday Tree] I think it’s a shame they cut down a beautiful tree every year just to throw it away in a month. Why don’t they plant a small tree on the Capitol’s front lawn, decorate it, and watch it grow? The whole country would watch with holiday joy.
I sent a proposal to President Obama years back and received a form letter for my trouble.
[Politics Can Kill] Excess death rates for Republicans rose to nearly double the level for Democrats in the summer of 2021, after Covid vaccines were widely available. The study attributes the death gap, which widened even further in the winter of 2021, to the disparity in vaccine acceptance by Republicans. Link

Last week gas was only $2.85 in Tavernier Creek by the big boat dealer. Why do we pay almost a dollar more down here?

[Friday Joke] I was standing in line at the supermarket checkout last week. I turned around and saw a beautiful young woman who looked a little familiar. I told her that I thought I knew her, to which she replied, “Well you should remember me. You’re the father of one of my kids.” I had to stop and think, and then it hit me. “New Year’s Eve – 2018. That rooftop party in San Diego! Wow! We got so high together, didn`t we? That was some night, huh? I guess I should have stayed in touch.”
She looked at me a little puzzled and said, “What are you talking about? I am your son`s pre-school teacher.”
The current Coconut Telegraph was published on 1/6/23 at 9:19 am.