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The Wrath of Hurricanes
Frances
and Jeanne 2004

As we enjoyed a Labor Day party back in 2003, we were completely unaware that hurricanes Frances and Jeanne would upend our world just a short year later.

My dad had just finished building his new spacious workshop and was figuring out how to make best make and add doors.

'Before' and 'After' collage of Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne's destruction of a newly-built workshop

Read more about hurricanes here on Wiki.

Before  and After  Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne

Fast-forward just one year...

Looking back at those photographs, it's hard to believe that just a year later dad's beautiful workshop was completely destroyed!

Not One, Not Two, Not Three... But FOUR Hurricanes!

In 2004, we Floridians experienced four crisscrossing hurricanes. We got hit by both Frances and Jeanne which made landfall a month apart. Both times we experienced extended power outages.

The other two storms (Charley and Ivan) were northwest of us.

In the aftermath of our two storms, namely hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, we spent a few hours surveying the damage, and then got right to work, picking up the pieces, and rebuilding anew.

At this point, all our physical energy came from the inner relief that all our family's homes were still standing, albeit with minor damage. We figured that a freak mini-tornado completely destroyed the workshop.

Due to Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, I Learned About Dehydrating Food!

Thanks a lot, hurricanes Frances and Jeanne. It was surreal.

It was a feeling like you'd just attended a funeral, and you were thankful that you were still alive. Obviously not joyful, but subdued.

And it's due to these hurricanes and loss of power for days that I looked into ways to stockpile food that wouldn't have to be thrown out and totally wasted.

In 2010 I started this website.  I want to share how to dehydrate food and show how easy it is to be prepared.

FPL (Florida Power and Light) to the Rescue

Power Restoration by FPL (Florida Power & Light) after twin hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004

After living in Florida for almost 25 years both hurricanes Frances and Jeanne hit us hard. This was my first experience with survival - after such windy, wet-weather devastation.

We had no power for at least a week. When the electrical crews came out en masse we felt like hugging the guys who worked tirelessly around the clock to restore power to all.

Kudos to FPL (Florida Power & Light) and all the other 'power restoration specialist' crews who came from around the USA to help FPL restore power in record numbers and in record time.

Cooler October Temperatures Helped

Thankfully, it was early October after hurricane Jeanne passed, so the oppressive heat of midday wasn't as bad as the previous months! At night, we slept with the windows open to feel the slight breeze.

We used candles for light and scooped water either out of the bathtub we'd filled previously to flush the toilet, Water taken straight out of the swimming pool we used to bathe with as best we could. We had stashed bottles of drinking water, so this we had on hand.

All this reinforced just how much we rely on electricity for power.

Boarding It Up—It Ain't Pretty

Jeanne 2004 plywood hurricane protection on windows

If you've ever been in a "be prepared" situation, you know how exhausting it is—putting up the plywood on the windows.

It was a day's worth of hard work, but obviously, it was well worth it—as the little home came through the storms pretty much unscathed.

I'm embarrassed to show you these pictures. It makes our home look like an abandoned shack... (After the storms passed, we treated the home to a new exterior paint job AND a new roof—the old gal deserved it).

Mealtimes Were Not "A Piece of Cake"

Mealtimes were a challenge because of no electrical power. Thankfully, our kitchen stove ran on propane, so we had it good compared to our relatives who weren't "cooking with gas".

Cleaning the dishes was especially tricky—you had to make sure you kept clean dishes away from dirty dishes, all the while working in a somewhat darkened room. Remember, we had no kitchen ceiling lights!

We had to eat all the fresh foods as fast as we could from the fridge, but honestly, there's only so much you can eat in a day. After three days, the remaining fresh food had to be dumped. What a waste. And all the frozen foods too were dumped. Inedible.

Our (Long Overdue) "Wake-Up" Call Certainly Woke Us Up...

The workshop was totally demolished after Hurricane Jeanne in 2004

As mentioned above, hurricane Frances was a wake-up call that we were only semi-prepared for (lovely plywood on the windows) and we'd just about taken it all down when hurricane Jeanne did a loop-the-loop and came back onshore and hit us.

This time we thought we were old pros. But it was this hurricane that demolished the workshop.

We were more vulnerable the second time around as the ground was still sopping wet from all the previous rain, making the trees susceptible to toppling. And we lost a few mighty oaks.

It's times like these that make families and neighbors come together—to look out for each other—to make sure that everyone is okay. Bob, our neighbor, popped over a few times to give us power updates as FPL worked their magic down the street.

Thanks For The Memory

Looking back, it was quite an exhilarating time, but would I want to live like that all the time—without power? No—but at least we all learned a lot from the experience.

Our takeaway: You need to have enough food on hand to live for more than the three days that we had. So now I have dehydrated food put away, so I'm much better prepared.

We also have an electric/solar panel generator. We can cook meals in the crock pot with ease and run a light and a small fan—until FPL arrives to work its magic again!

Also, See Our Article:
Be Prepared for Hurricane Season

Also, See Our Article:
Be Prepared for
Hurricane Season

Don't forget to get your free "Six Simple Steps" eBook where I share how to dehydrate food safely!

Sample pages showing the first page only of the chapters in Six Simple Steps