Florida Freeze 2022 Aftermath

We fared well with this past week’s cold weather. Some things did great, some did poorly and some we’ll just have to wait and see how they do. I’ll give you the rundown.

We actually had Hard Freeze Warnings for 2 nights in a row – January 29th and 30th. We hit 29* (or lower) the first night and were just at 32* the second night.

We grouped and covered and lighted various plants in the garden. My husband was very creative with his groupings.

He used sheets, tarps, buckets, cardboard boxes, milk jugs, buckets of boiling water – anything that would protect and hold in a little heat. It looked pretty when we turned the lights on at night.

Without fail, anything that was covered and had a string of lights under the cover survived. This included the following:

  • Mango tree – in-ground
  • Tomatoes – several varieties – in buckets
  • Strawberries – in pots
  • Longan tree – in pot
  • Cranberry hibiscus – in pot
  • Peppers – several varieties – in buckets
  • Oregano – in buckets
  • Carrots in buckets

The things that were covered with tarp also survived, even without lights. But to be fair – we also had several of these plants in buckets, uncovered and unprotected and they are ALL just fine. Who knew chickpeas were so hardy?!!

Some things under the 5-gallon buckets did well, especially the ones that were near the house. However, those in the farthest bed with no wind protection did not survive. These 2 tomato plants are the only things we know for sure that we lost. The peppers, however, look great.

Two of our tropical trees we wrapped with ground cover cloth around their roots and stems. We didn’t cover their tops. The banana looks completely dead and the chaya looks fine – even has its little blossoms still intact. The leaves look a bit stressed, but will probably recover just fine. Our other bananas are under the canopy of our oak tree. We mulched them heavily with leaves and they look well. We will leave this little banana tree alone and see if he can recover.

Things under cardboard boxes and plastic milk jugs were a mixed bag. The chicory did great, but the cassava didn’t fare well. Only 1 of the 3 has remaining green leaves.

Three other tropical were wrapped well, one even had boiling water added under its cover, but they are looking pretty sad. The Spanish Hog Plum will surprise me if it comes back, but I think the Jamaican Cherry juuuuuust might make it. (It’s behind the blue wagon, but you can see it’s leaves are very withered and drooping.) The Longevity Spinach is going to have to live up to its name to recover. It just looks like a pile of mushy brown leaves.

All things considered, I am super-duper pleased with our survival rate. The strings of lights definitely seem to be the secret, so we’ll probably invest in a few more of things, along with a few more extension cords.

I’m also amazed at the hardiness of many of the things we didn’t protect at all. They all survived. The list is impressive:

  • Garlic – in ground
  • Onions – in ground and in buckets
  • Sweet potatoes – in ground
  • Collards – in ground
  • Brussels sprout – in ground
  • Blueberries – Florida varieties – in pots
  • Carrots – in ground and in buckets
  • Turnips – in ground
  • Mulberry tree – in bucket
  • Fig tree – in pot
  • Loquat tree – in pot

And the surprise survivor is this:

Tiny baby lettuces that we’d planted on January 21st! They had just begun to pop up on the 27th. These hardy little babies weren’t even covered. Just took on the freeze like champs! Can’t wait to see how they do as they get bigger.

You know – God’s creation never ceases to astound me! There is such an overwhelming variety of plants and trees, veggies and fruits, but they all seem to obey His laws. Each has its own hardiness level and it will respond exactly how God intended it to. It’s a constant reminder to me to grow where God planted me, as I’m here for a purpose by His own design.

The Master Gardener may allow the harsh winter winds to blow us about, but He also gives us the Light of His Word and the Covering of His blood to protect us.

May you grow well, wherever He has you planted.

In Him,

Alesha Kay

He Hears What We Can’t Say

Genesis 2:24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

Genesis 6:5  And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

GROANING,  Uttering a low mournful sound.

GROANING,  The act of groaning; lamentation; complaint; a deep sound uttered in pain or sorrow.

In the Old Testament, when the children of Israel groaned because of the hardships that their disobedience had caused, God heard the sound of their groanings, and He remembered His promises to them, and made a way of deliverance.

In the New Testament, because we have the indwelling of the believer by the Holy Spirit, God the Father takes it even further: when the pain is too deep and the grief is too overwhelming to have breath to make a sound, God HEARS our cry. His Holy Spirit calls out to God the Father and communicates what our prayer should be. 

Romans 8:27 says “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

On days when we can’t find the words to tell God how much we hurt, how broken our heart is, how overwhelmed we are, how deeply we are wounded, and we groan out our prayers to Him – He remembers! And when there are days that the pain is so sharp and so deep, that we can’t even summon the breath to groan – amazingly – He hears!

Do not despair, my sweet friend. You are heard by the Almighty God. He knows your voice. He sees your pain. He remembers His promises. He will use this present suffering to work His glory in your life. 

(For further study and edification, I encourage you to read the entire chapter of Romans 8.)

In Him,

Alesha Kay

Our Garden’s First Freeze and How We’re Handling It

You guys know I’m a newbie gardener, so this weekend will be the first time we’ve dealt with a freeze in our garden.

Here’s a list of some pointers that have been posted on the various groups I’m part of, as well as on the University of Florida’s IFAS Extension article on Cold Protection.

I thought I’d share for those who don’t have time to do the research.

My next step was to list everything in the garden that we didn’t want to lose or that was close to harvest. I made a coded list of what we planned to do with each one.

Some things are tropical. Ideally, they would be dormant right now. But, of course, it’s Florida, so things get weird. We had temps in the 80s just a couple of weeks ago so the plants that had been dormant started to bud, flower and grow. So nothing is dormant as it should be. We’ll do our best to protect each one in the best way.

Tropicals that are too big to be moved or that are in the ground will be mulched with yard clippings and leaves. Our neighbor just blessed us with 9 bags of oak leaves that will do a nice job for that. We also can use the straw that we use for mulching our garden beds.

Some of the tropicals will also be covered with sheets and we’ll add a string of Christmas lights underneath to add to the ground’s radiant heat.

We’ll be grouping our strawberries and blueberries together and placing a bucket of hot water underneath the covering as well. We’ll try to put that out as late as possible, and will need to replace it each night that we have the coverings in place.

We have several 5-gallon buckets with peppers, tomatoes, chick peas and Cape gooseberries. We’ll cluster these with a sheet and lights too. A couple we will bring in, especially if we only have one of those – namely, the Cape gooseberry and the Katuk.

Some of the smaller plants that are in the garden beds will get a tarp installed over a frame, as well as a little extra mulch around their stems. Finding a frame is easy enough – we have several crates we’ll use and some lawn chairs that can be turned upside down over the plants that will do the job, too. We also have a few plastic jugs that we’ll cut the bottoms out of and install on top of fragile plants.

The onions, garlic and sweet potatoes are all underground, and we’re hoping that the temps in our area won’t be cold long enough to affect them.

We also made of list of those plants that need to be harvested if at all possible:

There won’t be a lot of this stuff ready, especially after the frost on Sunday night, but we’ll check on each of them any way.

So…this is our plan. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. If you’re an experienced Florida farmer and see a flaw in my plan, please let me know! We’d like to do our best to salvage what is still growing and to save those tropicals and natives that we’ve spent money on this past year.

I’ll do my best to do a timely follow up post.

Until then, stay warm – wherever you are!

In Him,

Alesha Kay

Making Do

to get along or manage with the means at hand

Merriam-Webster

As the cost of gasoline rises and supply chains are stretched to breaking, there are so many ways we can cut costs, meet our family’s needs and learn some age-old solutions for our households.

Sometimes, going high tech is useful, with YouTube videos available on how to do just about anything you can think of; but at other times we are digging out old recipes and how-to books – actual, literal, made-from-trees books, to give us our direction.

Whichever you choose, bathe your path forward in prayer and Scripture reading. God will open your mind and heart to His wisdom, which far surpasses our own.

With that in mind, I’ll share a few links to items that are helping us save, stock up and make do. All of the picture are clickable links that take you to the purchasing page for the products.

(For transparency’s sake, I’d like to inform you that if you choose to buy any of these items through the links here on my blog, as an Amazon Associate, I receive a very small commission.)

Summers are very hot in Florida. In fact, even here in mid-October, we are still hitting 90* occasionally. And in our house, we keep our thermostat pretty high, due to an aging a/c unit. Therefore we find ourselves going through a LOT of ice to keep our drinks cold. And the price of ice is rising, just like other things. Our refrigerator freezer is too small to use ice trays, so we opted for something different:

A small counter-top icemaker.

It does a great job of making ice, as long as you add water. We bag the ice up and store it in our freezer. It only takes a few days of diligent scooping to get a nice supply of ice.

However, we quickly found that we were going through many more bottles of water than we had been. It makes sense – we were putting it into the ice maker! So…how to remedy that problem?

By pulling out something that had been languishing in our storage shed for a long time: a water distiller.


(We somehow misplaced the glass pitcher that collects the water. But we found this Rubbermaid container that does a fabulous job:

Here’s the lid for it:

This handy gadget takes whatever water you put in it, turns it into steam, then collects that steam as a liquid, thus removing all impurities.

Our distilling setup.

We can use the bleachy, yucky city water (at no extra expense) and turn it into lovely pure water to use in our ice cubes.

But with one addition, we can elevate this whole process to something wonderful. By adding this mineral concentrate to our distilled water, we can add back valuable minerals (Magnesium, Chloride, Sodium, Potassium, Sulfate, Lithium, Boron, and Ionic Sea minerals) to our ice:

Who knows – we might actually start drinking this water, instead of buying bottled water!

We store our water in half-gallon Ball jars:

To some, this may seem like quite a complicated process, but once it’s set into motion, it pretty much takes care of itself. We store the distilled water, add it to the ice maker when needed and put the ice in the freezer.

We are saving money by not buying ice and extra water nor the gas which we’d use to go buy it, and we’re adding a pure mineral-enhanced ice source to our daily diet.

If we choose to use this water for drinking and cooking as well, our savings will really increase!

To take the process one more step further, this water would be excellent for storing for emergency use. Do you have an emergency store of water? Here in Florida, most of us keep some extra water on hand, especially during hurricane season.

Here’s a great YouTube video on storing water. It’s very thorough and logical.

I hope this post has gotten your wheels turning on the subject of water. I’d love to hear what you do in your family to save money, store for emergencies and maintain the flavor and mineral content of your water.

In what other ways are you “making do” these day? Are there other subjects you’d be interested in? Let me know.

Thanks for reading.

In Him,

Alesha Kay

9-11 – I Promise to Remember

I’ve promised to remember…
The day the Islamic terrorists attacked our great nation, here on native soil.


But I am also promising to remember…
The man who just empowered those same terrorist groups…
While he stripped our citizens of their God-given, constitutionally-protected rights and freedoms.


The enemy is no longer foreign. He (and the party he represents) is destroying our country from right here in the heart of our nation’s capitol.


If you’re going to remember, remember it all.


Make sure your children and grandchildren know that when a nation forgets God, He removes His protection. He allows the enemies to attack from without…and from within.


The only safely we have is the eternal refuge, protection and salvation of the Lord our God.

Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

Psalm 20:6-7

In Him,

Alesha Kay

When Silence Won’t Work

I was skimming through a well-known magazine yesterday, full of thoughtful articles and beautiful pictures, tasteful ads and an exceptional layout.

The owners/editors are purported to be Christians, although I’ve never heard them say the name of Jesus, mention the Bible, or talk about God.

But they are super nice folks, their tv show is squeaky clean and family-friendly, and their magazine is incredibly sensitive, encouraging and a beautiful work of art.

The editor in chief shares poignant stories, writes encouraging posts and exudes kindness, loyalty and a strong character.

She seems to come so, so close, so often, to quoting Scriptural principles, but stops just shy of citing her Source.

I don’t know if she knows Christ, but if she does, she’s very, very careful to never say so. I think she is probably trying to live out her Christian principles so as to never offend those who would not appreciate her mentioning the “why” behind the way she lives.

However, I also know this: One day, if she really and truly cares for hurting, frustrated, discouraged people, she will find herself saying the name of Jesus.

You see, no matter how pithy your platitudes, how sweet your temperament, how catchy your slogan or how encouraging your wall hangings, there are times when nothing else will help except that the only Truth is Jesus.

No one can heal, no one can encourage the wounded heart, no one can dry the tears of the broken like He can. No one can wash away the sin, no one can promise Heaven, no one can change a man from the inside out, save Jesus.

God alone has the answers to all the questioning, tortured minds.

To know Him is to find Peace…to meet the Answer…to know the true Way.

If she fails to name His Name, she is hiding the only One Who can truly help those around her who are hurting.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

II Corinthians 4:3-4

So then, what about us? Do I speak up? Do I say His name? Do I acknowledge that He is the only Way to peace and Heaven?

Do I just “play nice” and make sure that my “walk talks” to the extreme that I never mention the name of Jesus?

Do I try to be that “silent witness” that lives our Scriptural principles so that my life is blessed, but I never tell my friends how to get that Blessing?

Am I hiding my Light under a bushel???

 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

Luke 11:33

God forgive us for not saying Your name! Forgive us for not sharing Your Son’s name!

Convict our hearts when we give in to cowardice and fear, and share a Scriptural principle without saying that it is from the Bible, God’s holy Word!

One day, we will have to choose.

Because quietly living our life to please God often makes others angry. No matter how peaceably we try to live, people are quite often incensed with our way of life. They hate that we are peaceful. They are jealous that we are blessed. They feel judged that we don’t accept their sin…even if we don’t verbally condemn it.

This world’s system wants us to choose. They want us to be like them. And when we aren’t, they do not accept that as sweetly as we accept “the sinner” while not accepting “the sin.”

We will have to pick a side. And soon, I fear.

We might as well start speaking up now. Maybe the Lord will woo a few more hearts into the Kingdom before He turns to Jesus to say, “Son, go get Your children!”

When they ask where YOU stand, what will your answer be?

…and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

I Peter 3:15b-17

It’s better that they condemn us as “Christ-followers”, “Jesus freaks” and “Right wingers” than that we be condemned by Christ for not sharing His name with the lost who are around us.

I’d rather have God’s crown than man’s approval.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

II Timothy 4:3-8

So, what’ll it be for you?

Man’s approval…or God’s?

A hidden flame…or a blazing testimony?

Silence…or Speaking up?

May God give us the boldness to speak for Him before the world decides to silence us completely!

In Him,

Alesha Kay

Hello August!

I’ve never really been a fan of August. As a youngster, it was always too hot to do much outside, and too boring inside. I was an only child until the age of 13, so no siblings to play with. I also had to start thinking about the upcoming school year, wardrobe, routine, pressures and supplies.

August marked the end of church Summer Camp weeks (my absolute favorite thing about summer!) and the lazy, unplanned mornings at home; and the calendar started filling up with lots of activities, some I enjoyed, but many that I didn’t.

Now, however, I’m finding the joy in August. Not only are some things started to really take off in my garden – despite the heat! – but now starts the time of planning and research and plotting out my new fall garden scheme.

I love researching what will grow here in my zone (9b) and learning which plants make good companions to others. Did you know that you should not plan onions and/or peppers near your beans? Yeah, neither did I, until I started studying.

And did you know that now is the time to start your seeds for all those things that wouldn’t grow here during our hot summer? That’s right – broccoli and carrots and lettuce will do well here during the fall when the heat diminishes and the hours get shorter.

There are also certain varieties of each veggie and fruit that do best here. We need onions and garlic that are short-hour varieties because our days are getting shorter now. We don’t have the 16-hours of sunshine a day needed for those long-day varieties.

And the Seminole Pumpkin does really well here in Florida because it’s a native variety. The Red and Yellow Roselle Hibiscus do well here too, and will soon have beautiful calyces to harvest for teas and preserves..

I’m also trying a tomato variety that is native to Florida, the Everglade Tomato. It is sooooo tiny, and the fruit will be very small, but it’s nice to have something that actually likes to grow here. 😉 And our course, a Mulberry tree is always happy in Florida. This one is “dwarf”. Yeah…I’m thinking it doesn’t know what that word means! Ha!

So, I’m finding plenty to be excited about in August. It’s not only a time of transition, but also a time of savoring…enjoying the still moments before the rush of our autumn routine pulls us away.

Enjoy what the last few weeks of crazy Florida heat is doing for your plants and soil, instead of wishing the hot weather away. Autumn will come, just like always. Let’s enjoy each day God gives us.

In Him,

Alesha Kay