Batt and Robin

Batt and Robin are Teachers, Scientists, Artists, Authors and Travelers


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Blog for November 15, 2017 – Listening for God’s still small voice

Rick and I spent two weeks this past November, following one of our favorite Fall highways. We drove up to Pennsylvania to a shell show. We made a long days stop at Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, PA. Then drove to the Delaware shore to stay at Dewey Beach, DE. After several days we began our drive south along the Outer Banks. Rick posted many pictures from this trip, including two spectacular sunsets. We beach combed, ate plenty of seafood and enjoyed the cooler nights at Cape Hatteras and on Ocracoke Island, NC.

What I wanted to share with all of you is how we found Peace in our hearts on this trip. Many people look for a sign from God to guide them through their life. Instead of seeking a sign, we should listen for God always. Where will we hear his voice?

Watch and listen two the two short videos that accompany this blog. I found God’s voice in the falling rain and at the shore of the beach. Like it says in:

Psalm 23:2b He leadeth me beside the still waters.

Psalm 29:3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters.

1 Kings 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

We find the still small voice of God when we listen, not to the roaring wind or mighty earthquakes, but in the quiet moments.


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September 22, 2017 – Post Irma date + 12 from the journal of Battman and Robin

two car garage
A two car garage! a Florida anomaly.
tony in wagon
Tony moving inside
jam
Jam and Chutney
light comparision
Before and after lights.

We wanted to post a chronology of Hurricane Irma’s track, and got stuck in the aftermath and sunk in the mire of fallen vegetation and powerlessness. Bummer right?!

Here is our edited chronology.

Hurri-cane Irma Date Actual

Day & Date

Events or Comments
-2 F- Sept. 8 All plants tucked into inside greenhouse – guest room. Found camping stove, and lantern. No battery operated box fans available.
-1 S- Sept. 9 Extra water, propane, lanterns and flashlights in house. Cleaned out stored mangos from freezer by making jam and chutney. Placed water bottles to freeze in freezer (best idea)

Wind picks up, not much rain.

Rather than evacuating, (where would we go? We wanted to avoid the parking lot that was I 75) we had wine and watched movies – Laws of Attraction (Pierce Brosnan) and John Tesh Live at Red Rocks… (an old video from 1995)

0 S- Sept. 10 Windy more, rain intensifies. Rick is typing teachings from his notes from the “Our Identity in Christ” weekend and Robin is working on quilt blocks. We stop mid afternoon to watch the wind and rain outside, when we turn around the power is off. It’s about 2:00 PM. As the sky darkens, we pour more wine and turn on the battery-operated radio and listen to the commentary as we watch through our hurricane impact-glass living room windows horizontal rain, wind gusts up to 100 mph, steady winds over 50 mph and listen to how Irma as a CAT 4, hits Marco Island, and begins plowing her way north to our home. By the time she reaches Cape Coral, Ft. Myers area, her eye is just about disintegrated, she is down to a CAT 2, and because she hit land, no expected storm surge. She spreads power outages and water everywhere, rips trees up by the roots. Trees too big to rip up, she bends, breaks and tips over. Leaves fly everywhere; we are mesmerized by the sound of wind and rain on our metal roof. No sleep till late. Hot showers still available since our water heaters cool down very slowly.
+1 M- Sept. 11 Christ’s Birthday (according to the Bible and astronomical evidence). Still windy and the rain keeps coming down. We are over 10 inches. Not as much as our 20 inch rain two weeks ago. Since the soil is so soaked, more trees and shrubs tip over. After two days in a shelter, our dear friend and sister in Christ arrives. She sleeps on the couch as the guest room is the temporary greenhouse. We start the outside assessment and begin the clean up process. Our morning coffee and tea is fixed on the Coleman stove. Right outside on our patio.
+2 T- Sept. 12 Blur of cutting, dragging, stacking, assessing, and doing it again and again for two days.   No power, no internet, only texting to keep in touch with friends, and family. No use listening to the news as the stories repeat and repeat, and are not based in our local-personal reality.  Drove to Fort Myers to check on our friend’s house (still no power there, and no working redlights at major intersections in Ft. Myers though they worked in Cape Coral). On the way back home we noticed our favorite Mexican restaurant in Cape Coral had just opened, so we stopped in for a nice hot lunch (and $4.00 margaritas)…
+3 W- Sept. 13 Ditto of Tuesday, only we are out looking for ice to replenish our coolers. Other folk are in line for gas to run their generators. We take warmish showers. We work to right trees down in our and others yards. Some peoples’ yards look like there was never a hurricane. Ours – definitely hit by hurricane force winds and rain. Our neighbors across the street graciously offered us the use of their pool and grill, so we took most of our thawing foods over and grilled lots of food – sausage, chicken, shrimp, calamari, lamb, etc, then hung out in the pool and watched the stars above. Yes for the first time in SW Florida, we saw the Milky Way!
+4 T- Sept. 14 Thursday begins the same, we have the hunt for ice, but include a lunch in a local Publix that finally had internet access. We all catch up on email and FB accounts. Many pictures of different sorts of damage are posted on local groups. Back home, I’m lying on the floor with a small fan blowing on me when our power flickers once and then is steady on. I’m wondering how different our electric bill will be since we were cut off for 4+ days. Our friends come for a swim and bar-b-que at our neighbors’ and our weekly Bible Fellowship. See our Sept 14 Blog.
+5 F- Sept. 15 Did we mention that when the Chaya (Mexican Spinach shrub/tree) went over, it took four panels of the fence also? Sheared off three four-by-four supports at the base. Had to prop it up and lo and behold the native pitch apple that had been smushed under the fence was alive! So many of our plants have surprised us with their resilience. Looking wilted and dead-like one day, sprouting new growth the next. That is the definition of Florida foliage. Because of the instant loss of shade from the shrubs falling over and branches being lost from trees, several of the bromeliads succumbed to sunburn and had to be removed and quarantined so their pups (offsets) could grow and replace the damaged plants over the next couple months. Today, we tacked the big inside job of cleaning out the Fridge and Freezer. Oh my, it looks as clean and almost as empty as when we first hooked it up. Shopping soon.
+6 S- Sept. 16 Shopping for fence repair wood, plants and food. We found a new tree for the fenced yard to replace a Bay cedar and half of the native Fiddlewood that broke off: a weeping podocarpus. With several other fenced yard trees gone or severely trimmed, we need more shade. Many of Rick’s bromeliads have burned leaves from too much sunshine. We also finally planted our Norfolk pine, a garage-sale special that has lived for at least two years in a pot as it tripled in size. Now to repurpose the pot.
+7 S- Sept. 17 Planted new purple passion flower vines to entice the zebra longwings and fritillary butterflies back to the yard. Our wild lime is just bare bones, we hope the giant swallowtails don’t mind. Rick is sawing downed limbs and dragging to the piles on the edge of the property.
+8 M- Sept. 18 Same as Sunday
+9 T- Sept. 19 Ditto – the days are running together. More of our friends, neighbors and Christian family are receiving power. They have had rivers for streets, downed trees leaning on their houses, pool cages fly away or twist in the high winds. Our friend who had been staying with us since the day after got power at her house so was able to return back home.
+10 W- Sept. 20 Rick is ditto of earlier days. Robin starts to clean the gutters. She got 43% of the way around the house. Only 155 linear feet to go. Did she mention she can do about 5 feet and then have to move the ladder!
+11 T- Sept. 21 Took a brief time out to drive to Sanibel and visit our friends at their shell shop then have lunch at the Sanibel Café.

We find out that a contracted company that will begin the debris clean up will not pick up anything in a bag or bin. We have 10 bins and about 15 bags of material we have to empty. Thus grows the piles around the edge of our property.

Christian Fellowship tonight. See separate Blog on our Justification in Christ.

+12 F – Sept. 22 Ditto in working in the yard. Rick picks out a small section, and works the area. Much more to do. Eventually all sections of the front, back and fenced yard will be re-worked. Tomorrow tree trimmers will come. We believe they will be able to remove the broken limbs that are lodged in the trees.

Today my sister asked me if we were back to normal? We are not sure what the new normal is, we are not there yet. Blessings to all. Here are some pictures of our trials and tribulations. If you want to see more details of our yard, come and visit.

Video from a north facing window.

           

Downloaded 9-22-2017 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffir%E2%80%93Simpson_scale

Saffir–Simpson scale
Category Wind speeds
Five ≥70 m/s, ≥137 knots, ≥157 mph, ≥252 km/h
Four 58–70 m/s, 113–136 knots, 130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h
Three 50–58 m/s, 96–112 knots, 111–129 mph, 178–208 km/h
Two 43–49 m/s, 83–95 knots, 96–110 mph, 154–177 km/h
One 33–42 m/s, 64–82 knots, 74–95 mph, 119–153 km/h

 

Related classifications
Tropical storm 18–32 m/s, 34–63 knots, 39–73 mph, 63–118 km/h
Tropical depression ≤17 m/s, ≤33 knots, ≤38 mph, ≤62 km/h

 


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Food, Glorious Food

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Food, Glorious Food is the title of a song in the musical “Oliver Twist”. It encapsulates our five-week journey in Australia and New Zealand. Both countries have their own blend or style of the presentation of meals that is unique. Not Fusion, nor French, but an amalgam of the sights, sounds and smells of the beaches of New Zealand or the outback of Australia. We had a variety of different meals, including “bush tucker.” Meals were presented in an elegant setting, by confident and competent servers. What stands out it us are two meals, very different from each other and equally memorable. Both were at Uluru, Ayers Rock, in the middle of Australia.

The first evening in the Ayers Rock Resort complex, Rick, was our chef, was in charge of cooking our meat selections. Robin took care of the salads. What was our meat selection? Rick had kangaroo, crocodile, barramundi and emu. I stuck with the emu sausages. We used an outdoor bar-b-que and with other diners and cooked our meat. We sat family style and enjoyed a rare opportunity to fix our own food.

The next evening, began with a camel ride to the site of our outdoor sunset meal. We were greeted with champagne, and caused a flurry of photographs as we arrived and were helped off our camels. We sat family style. Our table included a ship pilot from Hong Kong and a family from Singapore. Our buffet meal consisted of bush tucker and a variety of more familiar items. As the sun set, we were entertained with Aboriginal dances, and then a star party. We all saw the southern cross and were invited to look at planets through a telescope.

As much as we love traveling, sometimes the constant need to find a place to eat becomes trying. Robin is a diabetic with accompanying dietary restrictions. We managed: we did our own breakfasts – from foraging for appropriate foods, to thinking up alternatives to plates and bowls. Lunch and dinner where enjoyed as we found places, often in the lobby of our hotel, or a search for goodies along the way. Sometimes we were surprised at our meal, sometimes not. Yet always, the service was always stellar.

What was the fall out – or weight gain – about 20 pounds between us.


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Starting our summer travels out right: Be prepared.

It seems like everyone we see at the airport these days is pre-checked in. They use their phone, iPAD, computer or pre-printed electronic boarding passes and check in. Most people come to the airport ready to drop off a bag and head to security. It saves time and sometimes a few dollars for using the online check in procedures.

Then there are those who arrive at the airport, not quite ready for travel, as the two groups of people ahead of us in line before our first leg of our summer trip to Australia and New Zealand. The first couple was going to Bombay. They discovered that not all their bags would go for free. Each of their second bags was going to cost them $100. They had their tickets, yet didn’t plan ahead in packing. With nervous looks at each other, they turned away from the ticket counter.

Next in line, was a young man from South Korea. He was going to Sydney, AU like we were. The agent asked him if he had his visa. He said he had applied on line for the electronic visa. When she asked when, he said a few hours ago. She couldn’t verify it and could not issue his boarding passes.  He turned away sadly to check his computer.

We were next in line. Rick handed the agent our copy of the visa authorization with our passports.

Passports?

Visa authorization form  

1 bag each and each under 50 pounds.

We were checked in as far as Los Angeles, CA, where we would change to Quantas for our international flight. Our bags, however, were checked all the way to Auckland!

Here are five points for low stress, high success, at the beginning of an international trip.

1 Do your homework.  Find out what your destination site’s regulations are. Comply.

2. See if you need a visa and apply for it at least a month before your flight.

3. Use a bathroom scale before your flight to weigh your luggage. Our trip included 9 more air flights, so we bought a hand-held luggage scale. Some flights had different weight allowances! We found our scale at our local automobile travel agent. We had a lot of fun distributing poundage between our bags and backpacks as our trip unfolded.

4. Arrive at the airport early. We booked our taxi in advance. The company we use is always early and the drivers are interesting people. Or save more by having a friend drop you off. The small gift you bring back for them will more that pay for itself.

5. Enjoy the extra $$ in your wallet. You might buy the special chocolates you love, or a Chicago style hot dog if it you fly through O’Hare and enjoy your flight.

I guess growing up as a Girl Scout and embracing the motto. “Be Prepared,” saves us time and money during our travels.


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New Zealand: Sunday May 25, 2014. A drive to Taumata….

Taumata with arrow

This small hill in the southeastern part of New Zealand’s North Island bears the longest place name in the world. Even though the New Zealand map commission shortened it a bit for maps, it is still best known by the 85-letter name you still see on the sign at the site (there is an even longer version with over 100 letters). The name is: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu.

It refers to a Maori chief whose name includes some of his numerous impressive physical attributes, who fought a battle in this area during which his brother was killed; so every morning he would climb to the top of this hill and play the nose-flute in lamentation for his brother. Please watch our video. What Rick didn’t mention is that it took us most of one morning to find the roadside sign and the hill.

 


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On the (air) road again

North Island, New Zealand

North Island, New Zealand

We are waiting in O’Hara in Chicago for our flight to LA. Saw an exchange kiosk, and said let’s get a few dollars. So we did. DONT do this. We paid par for NZ dollars.  Save until you can find a better exchange, and she didn’t take travelers checks. Anyway here is the map of our first islands top. New Zealand North island.


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Iceland as a travel destination.

Here are some pictures from our summer 2011 trip to Iceland.