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13 January 2011 @ 04:10 pm
suddenly battling severe pollen allergy (in January!)  
It has been fairly quiet since the last journal entry, but I am dealing with something that caught me totally off guard -my old lifelong enemy, tree pollen is causing me great distress and if it does not get better soon this will be one of the worst allergy attacks of my life! This is a strong statement, because I have had some horrible attacks over the years.

It started right around New Years Day, but I didn't mention it in the last entry because I thought I was just catching a mild cold.

But by the middle of last week it was obvious this is a classic pollen attack like what I get in Ohio every year in April, with extremely itchy eyes and lots of sneezing. Then, after about a week, if the attack is bad enough, many secondary symptoms begin -fatigue, skin edema, odor from deep in my lungs, clogging sinuses, strange mood swings, etc.

I am dealing with all of these symptoms now, so this is a very severe attack.

Before I continue though I need to emphasize that I will get through this OK, because by the 1980s I had learned how to use herbs, especially cayenne, to prevent these episodes from being semi-crippling. Before then, I had what I now refer to as chronic fatigue syndrome because my body just kept getting weaker and weaker each Spring from these waves of pollen allergy until it just could not bounce back after the pollen was gone.

This no longer happens, and I will be as healthy as ever once this stuff is out of the air.

But why the hell is this happening NOW?!

When I came down here the first thing I checked was when to expect the various pollens, and tree pollen sufferers on Florida allergy internet forums assured me that I was safe until Spring, just like in Ohio. They say Spring comes a few weeks earlier here but the budding is triggered by daylight, not warmth, so the dates would not be that much earlier.

But this is the first week of January, and as you can see in this picture from Tuesday, these trees are now budding vigorously just a few weeks after last year's leaves fell off!:



...Here is what I think is happening...

The lake and large creek between the warm spring at the park and the Saint Johns River is very unique, because it is lined with non-native trees. Bob Costa assured me that all those fall colors that I photographed in early December were only here, not out along any of the roads or the other waterways nearby. He says someone way back when the State Park was a private health and amusement resort planted huge numbers of maples and other Ohio trees there and the currents and winds have spread them all along the shores and even along the creek towards Lake Woodruff and the Saint Johns River. And it's true, all these trees with no leaves are ONLY along these waters here. (When I drive through the neighborhoods between here and the center of Deland all the trees are still full of green leaves.)

But this only explains half the mystery. The next question is why are these out of range Ohio trees budding and releasing pollen right now rather than waiting until the lengths of the days tell them it is time?

That neither Bob or I have an answer for. Our best explanation is that since the trees dont belong here anyway we can't expect them to behave normally either.

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The only other big news so far in 2011 is the deluge we got over the weekend -4 and 1/4 inches. It terrified me because it came down so fast for about one hour that it overcame the ability of the tarp roof to shed it. It began to pool in the back corner and the more it pooled, the more the tarp sagged. By the time I realized what had happened it was threatening to collapse the whole roof. I just barely had the strength to push up at the center of the pool from the attic and cause it to spill over the sides.

The next day I worked for several hours to strengthen the roof and increase the pitch from the center to the edges.

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Ghost has been wonderful after the incident I mentioned in the last entry. I am out in the creek now and he is staying very happy even though he is stuck on the boat surrounded by water and even though we are still getting very long cold nights where I keep us sealed in the shelter for the fourteen hours of darkness. I use the four silver tarps always on the boat to make little tents and secret caves for him to play in on the deck during the day and he uses oranges and snail shells for toys and likes to play up in the attic every day and under the boat in the little green tender boat. He stays with me now without a leash at Tedders but I still had to scold him on Monday for chasing the other cats that live there who like to come down by the water.

Last night it dropped to 27, not as cold as the 26 we had twice in December. And, throughout all of this cold, there has still been much, much more sunshine everyday than in Ohio. It looks like there is at least a chance this record cold might be finally ending.

December was the coldest in history for almost all of Florida, and in central Florida here it was DRAMATICALLY colder than any previous Decembers, breaking the record for average temperature by about two degrees at most stations. So 2010 was VERY wierd here -the third hottest summer in history sandwiched between two of the coldest winters in history, and a persistent drought throughout all of this.