Living in Florida

Living in Florida

Organically adapting to new climates

If you’re like me and millions of others who get gloomy as the season changes, you would have probably thought about perhaps relocating to a warmer climate like Florida and starting a new life in the tropical sun. Well, that’s exactly what I’ve done, and I wanted to share with you the beauties of doing so and, perhaps, some things you should be aware of but not let influence you from taking the plunge.

Beaches

I don’t know about you, but I feel my best when I’m outdoors, especially by the water. Well, what better place than Florida, which has 825 miles of panoramic beaches to choose from. So, if you like to surf the waves, do some sport fishing, snorkeling, or simply want some quiet seclusion, then this is the place for you. Most beaches are accessible by car, so you don’t necessarily need a boat. There are tons of nature trails, springs, rivers, lakes, and exotic animals to explore. Florida’s continued sunshine day in and day out make every outdoor activity worthwhile. We might be making daylight saving time year-round through the “Sunshine Protection Act,” still waiting on congressional approval, which would allow you to enjoy that extra hour or so outdoors before the sun sets.

Financial

We all have to pay those taxes each and every year, which can really deplete your income, especially if you are in a high-income tax bracket. Well, Florida is one of only seven states that doesn’t collect on Individual Income tax, saving you thousands! It also does not collect a death tax, which, as sad as it sounds, could also be a financial burden for many when there is a death in their family. This amazing state also offers the most Protective Provisions under the Homestead Laws as it protects an unlimited value of up to 160 acres in a county and ½ acre within the municipality. Very intriguing, especially when you are coming from a state like New York or Toronto, which has double the taxes!!!

Lightning

It’s really epic to see ambient lightning here, but please watch from inside as our lightning is utterly dangerous. Florida is not only known as the Sunshine State, but it’s also notorious for thunderstorms and lightning strikes that result in fatalities. It’s quite a scenic and potent view which can make your windows jolt. Yet, for a child, it’s nonetheless a nuisance as their outdoor activity has to cease until it clears. It’s usually 30 minutes from the last bolt of lightning within 8 – 10 miles of your location for each strike within this distance; otherwise, you need to re-start the time, which, to a child, seems eternal. So, have some books handy in your car for that exciting time that you have to wait till it’s clear. As Florida is considered the lightning capital, with an average of 10 people being killed by lightning strikes annually and 40 % being seriously injured, please take this seriously and follow this simple rule, “When it Roars, head Indoors!”

Gardening

I thrive on organic food, but I sometimes question organic being really organic, so I take every opportunity to grow my fruits and vegetables. I always thought I would be able to grow nutritious fruits and vegetables in Florida all year round and could hardly wait to start. As it turned out, an actual successful growing season is between sometime in October and late Spring. The summers are simply too hot, too rainy, and our summertime thunderstorms are often referred to as “popcorn” storms as they can form right on top of you with little to no warning. Therefore, gardening opportunities are almost the same as up North. Just different times. So, perhaps freeze some of your produce and or make great fermented recipes out of your crop.

Bugs

Someone once told me that if I lived in a tropical place like Florida, I would have to use pesticides as there are bugs all year round. Well, if you don’t already know me, I DO NOT use any chemicals, especially pesticides, so I had to prove them wrong. To do so, I had to make sure none of my landscapers used any pesticides or sprays. For the three years I have lived here, I have never experienced any infestation, lawn damage due to pests, or anything else other than a healthy lawn! Please note that 99 % of insects are beneficial. Yes, we need them to sustain our natural ecosystem. So, there is NO need for any pesticides as this will destroy many insects and deplete your soil of all the nutrients you need if you want that Garden. Most importantly, a pesticide is a health hazard to all animals, including yourself and your pets. So, if you have an unwanted weed, pull it or use direct vinegar, which is completely safe and non-toxic. You can do the same solution for unwanted pests, which, as I mentioned, there are none. You will be amazed how you will have less weed and less infestation as everything just balances itself out. No need to get involved; you’re not Mother Nature!

Sizzling Summer

You’re probably correlating summers with warm breezes, sunny skies, and cooling off in the waters. Well, Florida summers would be similar, just with triple the heat and humidity; therefore, it feels more like a tropical amazon. When you go to the waters to cool off, the temperature is more like a water bath, with the air humidity levels usually peaking in August. Also, since we have hardly any tourists and most residents leave to get away from the heat, many businesses shut down, but on the other hand, many lower their prices as there are fewer customers. So, if you want to do business with any particular local company, summers would be the ideal time as many of them have hardly any work during this time. So, if you are planning on some renovations or work you’ve been putting off, summer would be the ideal time to do these things.

Mold

Obviously, there is no shortage of sunshine here, with almost 10 hours of it in July, making it the hottest month with an average temperature of 82 F (28 C). On top of this blazing sunshine, we have humidity that can be oppressive and can welcome unwanted mold. Indoor humidity levels should be between 40 % – 60 % during the summers, and the best ways to keep humidity down in your home or workplace is to take the following measures.

  • Install fans in your home as this helps with air circulation and dries out any wet areas.
  • Place a few drops of tea tree oil on a cotton ball and place it in each and every one of your vents as tea tree kills any mold particles
  • Let plenty of sun through by opening your curtains/blinds/or any other drapery as this will also dry out any wet or damp areas.
  • Lastly, you can purchase a dehumidifier and place it in any room that you find moist to remove any excess moisture in the air

Next time you find yourself congested, sneezing, or having any other symptoms, it may not be a cold but mold spores. So, inquire about mold testing to promote a comfortable work area, especially the living space.

Nevertheless, this beautiful Sunshine State is always shining, vibrant, and, most of all, does not require ANY snow plowing. Our culture is similar to the rest of America, but as a coastal state, it’s been influenced by immigrant populations such as myself who come from Europe and Latin America. I’m sure you will call Florida home once you take the plunge, and we welcome you.