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04 April 2011 @ 10:03 pm
such a busy life!  
I am amazed at how busy I stay on this boat. Part of this is due to the need fo never delay any chores because every thing must be "ship shape" at all times for safety reasons. (For example If something breaks it must be fixed or replaced IMMEDIATELY.)

Then there is the constant attention that must be paid to the weather.

It was still very dry on March 25th when I wrote the last entry. The next day, just across the Saint Johns River, a pickup truck had a tire blowout, lost control, and struck a tree. Just after the seriously injured driver was rescued, the truck began to burn. A major forest fire thus began.

I knew something was going on when I heard many sirens and began to see helicopters overhead. Then came the huge pillar of smoke and the haze over the water.

It took two days for the fire to be totally put out, partly with helicopters dumping huge buckets of water.

But just after, on Wednesday and Thursday last week (March 30th and 31st), we got many inches of rain. Here, we got between four and eight inches, and just south, around Orlando, the totals were from twelve to sixteen inches.

Everything is clean and lush now. Last night, we had the clearest sky I've seen in many months. And suddenly there are fireflies in abundance, twinkling like the stars above them.

Last week's storms were severe again too though so once again I had to stay crammed under the trees, and several tornado warnings were issued for Deland as the wind whippped the branches overhead. There was a considerable amount of damage in Deland, and also in other nearby places.

In a few hours now we are going to get more rain, and maybe more severe weather, so I'm crammed in again.

Now that I'm in these narrower canals with lots of calm weedy water along them, I've had to learn how to be very serious about mosquitos at night. The main successful strategy was closing up most of the gaps in the shelter and porch. I also burn Citronella in my kerosene lamp. So far, this is working well.

Now, in the last few days, I've started pushing the envelope even more on low energy use connection. My Tilt smartphone finally died completely while I was in Ohio and I just got a new $80 phone with no extras except WiFi and Bluetooth.

But I had learned to do a lot of internet and other laptop things on the Tilt which really saved my precious solar energy. I wanted a way to contine only using my HP Mini 311 notebook PC for the more demanding things.

I found the answer at Radio Shack -the Archos 5 Android Inernet Tablet, which weighs less than the Tilt did, but has a 800 x 480 screen compared to the 320 x 240 the Tilt had. It is a model from 2010, so it was on sale for $160 instead of the regular $250.

I am very pleased, and I've learned how to do much more on it than I could do with the Tilt. (This entry came via the Archos 5.)

My biggest challenges have been due to the fact that Android is like Linux -wonderfully open source, but with limited features right out of the box. I've managed to download dozens of widgets and now this customized device is like a tiny supercomputer for me already after just a few days.

I almost bought a newer but cheaper and more limited Archos 32 from Sears in Deland. But it didn't work (wouldn't boot up) so I took it back and got my money back. I'm actually glad, because this Archos 5 is much better for me than the little 32.

Yesterday, while I was fiddling with the Archos 5, I almost lost Ghost again.

To get some shade, I parked on the side of the canal adjacent to a wooded property with some pretty paths leading from a house a few hundred feet from the water.

The shore reminded Ghost of his little island I talked about recently, so he thought it was OK to jump ashore.

But he got lost in the huge woods. It was over an hour before he found the canal and boat again. We were SO glad to see each other after that panicked time when we thought we never would again.

I hope to take him back to the little island soon so he can recognize it better. Meanwhile, he has been great when I leave him alone on the boat in the shed at the marina while I am in town in the car. He stays close to the boat and watches the squirrels play in the grass and the big tree next to the shed.