Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tropiflora Show and Market and Major Weather !

Whoa, for us in the central Florida area, this was a very scary day storm wise. A strong cold front came whistling in with major winds and rain and many in our county and surrounding suffered a lot of wind damage.

This weekend we are setting up at Tropiflora Nursery in Sarasota for a 3 day show, Fri-Sun, plus we will have a crew at Saturday Morning Market after a months absence. We love the folks at Tropiflora who hold 2 big plant events every year, with their own nursery having lots of offerings, but they are kind enough to invite 20 vendor friends to set up too, so its a very diverse show with every one's areas of expertise. Check out info, and directions at www.tropiflora.com

Days like this remind us of many folks that exclaim how much fun it must be to do plant shows and the plant thing but let us tell ya, the details and work involved can be very challenging...lots of hard work, hopefully some fun, and not too many dramas, but today was one not one of those days! We started off early, waking to headlines in the St. Pete paper, warning of major front coming into the area. As it is, we live around constantly checking weather reports and radar pics, and looking at it early this morning, it looked to be mostly north of us, so we weren't too worried as we were heading south.

We took off from home in St. Pete and headed over the lovely and very high Sunshine Skyway bridge, and my teeth were grinding as we headed into major winds looking down at tall, very heavy swells in the waters below..the sky was ominous...we made it to the nursery, started our load for Tropiflora...we continued to look at the sky as the winds blew, and we remarked it had the feeling of a pre-hurricane.

Our first load ready, we headed to Sarasota to Tropiflora, while I called my son every 15 minutes for updates on the radar (yeah..yeah, nope, we don't have those fancy phones to do it ourselves). We got to Tropiflora and the nursery itself is pretty protected, so we were able to unload pretty quickly, but then heard reports of major weather heading in. We quickly started driving north back to our nursery for our second load and 5 minutes up the road ran into a wall of wind and water..thank goodness we had elected not to go the interstate and immediately headed off into back roads that Mitch knows so well while I took another Xanax and tried to remember to breathe..did I mention that our brakes are not so good on the truck ??!!

Got to the nursery and it was spitting rain on and off and found most of our plants blown over, then it started getting very dark, and lightning was not far off....we frantically tried to throw our remaining load on, having to stop every 10 minutes to hide in the truck when lightning got close..my strong Mitch finally threw heck to wind and got out and got drenched trying to finish the load while, very lightning-afraid me cowered in the truck...almost done, we headed to the front field to get the rest, pulled into very boggy area and promptly got stuck in the mud....not 5 feet from a sharp embankment on the pond.

As I sat in the slowly sinking passenger side seat, while Mitch checked the depth of our predicament, I had visions of slowly sliding into the pond, sooo I quickly zipped up my bags, fully expecting to have to bolt over the very crowded front seat, and out the drivers side saving my purse, phones, snack bags and sanity from a certain wet dunking....as it was, the truck held steady and Mitch, bless his heart, was out trying to find wood planks to help traction in the pouring rain......as it was, we had a saviour, a true angel, as our neighbor Dutch was due home any moment and who conveniently had 4 wheel drive....I put a call into him and he came quickly, and literally hooked us up and dragged the rig out backwards away from the pond..whew !!

At this point, we were hoping to get the 2nd load back to Tropiflora but we finally figured that Mother Nature and karma were telling us to stop and rethink...so, we unhooked the trailer and decided to head home to St. Pete...again, tense drive in pouring rain and wind and when we got on the Skyway bridge, right before the highest part of the span, we passed a large trailer that had completely blown over sideways..luckily in the emergency lane, and luckily, the concrete barriers kept it from completely falling off the bridge...geeeez !!

So, we are home safe and looking at the weather, we are going to go from one extreme to the other, suppose to be beautiful weather for the weekend. But with all the delay, Mitch will be up at 3 am, to get back down to get the 2nd load hitched up and get it to Tropiflora, and Larry and I will head down to run the sale. Mitch will then spend the day trying to get the load ready for st Pete market on Sat.

We consider ourselves blessed tonight that we did not have any major damage crisis today especially after we watched the news tonight and saw so many pics and stories of damage around the area. Another interesting day in sunnyland in Florida and another interesting day in Armstrong Nursery land !

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