2022 December

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

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It was so cold Christmas morning that people were ice skating on the Blue Hole!

[Fresh Water Resources of Big Pine Key] During the 1980s, there were about 80 fresh water wells in use on Big Pine Key. At that time, it was legal to pull a building permit with a fresh water well as a source of household water. As more development occurred the quality of the water declined. My own well was dug in 1980. It was a trench that was 13 inches wide, about 22 feet long, and 4 feet 8 inches deep. It was only dug to that depth, knowing that if it was dug deeper that the salt content would increase. It was on a part of the island that was about 4 feet above mean sea level. Mean sea level is determined by the elevation above sea level averaged between daily high and low tide.

This well supplied household water and drinking water for several years. Drinking water was used from this well, completely untreated for a period of four years with no problems. The salt content was about 2- 3 parts per thousand, which was considered useable as drinking water. As time went on, a cup of beach was added about every three months as there was a decline noticed in surrounding natural fresh water. The well was sealed with a cement cap and it could be observed with a removeable section where the draw pipe was located. The level in the well would go up and down twice a day with the daily tides. It was well understood that the fresh water was a layer that floated on top of brackish water, that became more saline the deeper you went. People with wells generally understood that it was a finite resource, to be used conservatively. Wells that were pumped dry, usually became more brackish. Upwellings of salt water were documented under some larger wells that were heavily used. The well of Coconut Farm nursery just west of Wilder Rd. near the northern part of the southern fresh water lens was a good example.

Fortunately, the vast majority of wells on Big Pine Key are no longer in use. During the storm surge of Hurricane Georges on September 24/25 1998, my own well was inundated. I had not used it for drinking water for about a decade. The well became hype saline and was more saline than the water in the sea. At that time, a grant was established by the South Florida Water Management District to the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority. The grant would supply pipeline water to homes that were not connected to the FKAA system. The homes in Pine Key Acres were not permitted to get pipeline water up until this point. Small trenches less than 1 foot wide and 18 inches deep were allowed and dug over a period of ten months. There was a public faucet put up at the corner of Key Deer Blvd. and Watson for many months, as many houses had no water during this period.

Since that time, the lenses of Big Pine Key have continued to get smaller and to become more saline. At the rate that sea level rise is occurring, the complete collapse of this resource is only a few decades away.




Happy Boxing Day!

There’s no virtue in being old, it just takes a long time.   ~Robert A. Heinlein

involving lithium-ion batteries are particularly difficult to extinguish. Half a billion dollars worth of luxury cars sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic early this year. Link
[Sad Sad Story] For the Man Who Hated Christmas ~Nancy W. Gavin
It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it – overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma – the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was on the wrestling team at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids – all kids. He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came.That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.
Mike’s smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year. And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition – one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children – ignoring their new toys – would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure.The story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree. And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more. Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.
Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.


Christmas morning it was 55° in the center of Big Pine Key. That’s far too cold for us locals.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan

[Mr Nobody] My identity was stolen and they paid me 100 bucks to take it back.

Light pillars
are caused with light reflects or refracts from ice crystals in the sky, typically when snow is on the ground.
[Cold Cold Cold] Summerland Key, Florida 14 Day Weather: Thu, 22nd · 22° · °F · 24° · Cloudy Thursday, temperatures as high as ; Fri, 23rd · 21° · °F · 25° · Patchy rain possible Friday. Link


What is a hangover? And can you cure it? We get into all the nauseating details. Link

[Holy Hair] “Does anyone know why Muslims are so hung up on hair” Hindus and Sikhs are hung up too. Do thay think exposing hair takes them farther from their gods? Is there a clause in their religious writings that says they must hide their hair? And does it explain what happens if anyone sees their hair?
Lust for power is stronger than lust for love.
Death by sea urchin. In the horror movie ‘Shock Wave’ with Peter Cushing, a guy dies when he gets stuck on the sea floor on a bunch of Diadema — the porcupines of the sea. The only thing more stupid was in the Captain Tony movie (one of the worst mories ever made) when Stewart Whitman dies as he drops millions of dollars in the sea and then gets eaten by green turtles.

[Arch] Have you ever seen a perfect arch like that at the bottom of a wall? Cartoon mice seem to have a keen architectural sense. This large arch needs a gate to keep the cat out.

[Best movies of 2022 in the US] No 2 – Tár, a career-best for Cate Blanchett who embodies the cold center of Todd Field’s audacious character study of a composer grappling with her sins. Link


The best ways to store holiday decorations so your future self doesn’t hate you. Give yourself the gift of foresight. Link

Some days I wish I could go back in life. Not to change anything, but to feel a few things twice.
The current Coconut Telegraph was published on 12/27/22 at 8:32 am.