I am The Tattooed Homestead

I have an overdeveloped sense of fairness!
I have no idea where I got it.  
I believe that the Truth will always win over a lie, that the little guy will always beat the big mean corporation, and that when the story ends everything will be as it should be.

But sometimes, things bring darkness into my rose colored world.

So this is how it begins …

In the last month, we have been given three warnings by Miami-Dade Code Enforcement for a laundry list of issues like having cardboard boxes, tarps, tools, and “other junk and trash scattered around” the property.

Courtesy of Dade County Planning and Zoning
This is not The Tattooed Homestead
When we called, they informed us it was illegal to have potted plants and potting soil in a residential property.

I shared our story ( Potted Plants are Illegal: Why YOU Can’t Grow Your Own Food In Miami-Dade County ) and it got picked up by the New Times ( Potted Garden in Your Yard? Prepare to Pay a Fine! )

Someone pointed out:

But wait. You guys do run a business out of your home selling plants and plant products. At least that’s what it seems like to me all over social media. I don’t see how anyone could think you arw being picked on when this is clear.

The truth is that we don’t.

Are we a nursery? Not by any means.

We sell to friends and family and other liked minded souls who believe in growing your own food but may not have the resources or the time.

But this is not The Tattooed Homestead.

We’ve been staying here for just over two months, helping out with an ailing Grandmother and planting every edible we can get our hands on.  My mom planned to sell this family home to us one day and let us start the permaculture process now.  But as chance would have it, those plans will more than likely never come to fruition.  

This is not The Tattooed Homestead

Our business is run out of a family home in Flagami.

This is not The Tattooed Homestead either.  Not really, anyway.

This is my husband’s childhood home, where his family has allowed us to take over the yard and grow odds and ends here and there.

So then where the heck is it?

The Tattooed Homestead is real.  At least, it is to me and my husband, and I hope it one day will be to our baby boy.

The Tattooed Homestead is:

… the idea of living sustainably and not hurting the planet while you’re doing it.  It is the idea of leaving the earth a better place than when you got here.  It is the idea that I want my child to know how food grows in the garden and not think that it comes from McDonalds.  It is that I want my child to believe that the Truth will always win over a lie, that the little guy will always beat the big mean corporation, and that when the story ends everything will be as it should be.  


… and if he falls victim to having an overdeveloped sense of fairness … then I will know I definitely did something right!

I know I’m not like everybody else.

I think that’s ok.

Right now, The Tattooed Homestead only exists in my mind … and on the internet.  One day, it may be a real place.  It may be here or somewhere far away.  It won’t make much of a difference either way to be honest.

Some things will never change:

We will always grow using sustainable practices and ideas.  We will never use pesticides or treatments for our plants or for our bees.  We will always think with our hearts instead of our pocket books and we will always follow our hearts and let it guide us to what is right.  

Some people may think I’m crazy.

I think that’s ok, too.

It’s not the first time I have been called different or crazy and I truly hope it won’t be the last.

As for my overdeveloped sense of fairness, I may need to learn to live with the fact that I may never change the world … but no one said I couldn’t try!





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Talking to Miami-Dade County about Chickens and Bees

Trying to Get Answers

We have heard a lot of hearsay and rumors about keeping Chickens and Bees in Miami-Dade County and no one seems to know the full story including Miami-Dade County Employees.

Help us, by signing the Petition for Backyard Chickens here

Anyone who has grown up in Miami, has more than once seen chickens and roosters crossing the roads in the middle of the city.  So much so, that Miami had to reinstate the Chicken Busters after they had been “eliminated three years ago in a round of budget cuts”.

Everyone I asked had a different story.

  • You can have up to 15 Hens
  • You can have up to 4 Hens but no Roosters
  • You can’t have them at all 

The stories for keeping bees aren’t much clearer.  Most reactions run the gambit between fear and awe.

Recently, I was advised to call 311 and get to the bottom of the story … and so the odyssey begins.

Calling 311

When the phone was answered, I started with a polite “Good afternoon” as I expect I will get further being nice than by being rude.  I must have unsettled the person on the phone.  I continued and said “I am interested in getting more information on having Backyard Chickens”.  It’s not a usual question so I wasn’t surprised when she asked me to repeat myself. “I am interested in knowing the regulations for keeping chickens in your backyard”

“They’re not allowed” she stated as if she was letting me know the sky was blue and I should have known.

“Well, I am getting contradicting information from different sources,” I began to explain “I have heard that you can have 15 chickens, or 4 hens as long as you don’t have a rooster, or that you can’t have them at all so I just wanted to get to the bottom of the story.”

I think she took offense because she took a tone of exasperation and I assume pulled up the regulation which she read verbatim.

Tenants and homeowners that reside in a residential zoning district cannot raise or breed chickens, livestock or maintain beehives. 

Source http://gisims2.co.miami-dade.fl.us/MyNeighborhood/Help_Code_Violations.asp

I continued to ask if this had changed recently as I had seen documents online that said they were allowed.

Full document available at: http://hensinmia.blogspot.com/2013/09/miami-dade-once-allowed-15-hens-per.html

 She said she didn’t know but did offer that Code Enforcement might know more and to call them at (786) 315-2552.

Before I hung up, I thought to ask if she knew anything about keeping Bees and that if she knew about the recent Florida Law (source: http://news.wgcu.org/post/new-law-removes-local-control-backyard-beekeepers), but again she directed me to Code Enforcement as they would have more information.

Calling Code Enforcement

I called Code Enforcement and was briefly kept on hold before an exhausted Miami-Dade County Employee answered the phone.  Her voice exuded a lack of patience and interest that called forth pity rather than dismay.

I made a point of being as pleasant as possible as it sounded like she had suffered some terrible calamity as I began, “Hello, I am interested in knowing the regulations for Backyard Chickens?”

“Chickens are not allowed in a Residential Area” the technician stated dryly.

I continued, “Could you tell me when this changed because I found that …”

Click.  

I will assume we had phone issues and not that the technician from Miami-Dade County Code Enforcement, who is paid by my tax dollars to be available to answer questions and assist county residents, hung up blatantly in face.

Calling Code Enforcement, again

So I called again.

This time, I started by introducing my self and getting the persons name.  She said that in the 20 years she had worked at Code Enforcement Chickens had never been allowed but to check on municode.com to confirm.

I continued to ask if she knew if homeowners could keep Beehives.

“If there is a beehive the homeowner has to have it removed” she replied.

“No, I mean like a beekeeper.”  I clarified.

“Like a business? Not if it’s a residential area” she asked and answered.

“Not even under Cottage Law?” I pressed.

She had not heard about Cottage Law so I explained that Florida Law allowed Food Sales out of the home as long as those sales did not surpass $15,000 in income.  (source: http://cottagefoods.org/laws/usa/florida/)

I think I confused her because her story changed a little.  “Like a home office, yes, that’s allowed”

I asked her if we didn’t find anything on municode.com if we should assume it wasn’t allowed.

… zoning ordinances in Miami-Dade are exclusionary codes, meaning if something is not permitted, as in this case of the single-family residential district zoning ordinance (Chapter 33, Article XIV of Miami-Dade ordinances), it is not allowed. 

Source http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/shortorder/2013/09/no_potted_gardens_on_residenti.php

She said she had never heard of that, so I read her the above excerpt.

“Well there you go” she responded.

I thanked her for her time and let her go as I knew she would not be able to provide me the answers I am looking for.

Now what?

I am no less confused and don’t feel that anyone I have spoken to as of yet has held enough of an understanding or interest in my question to answer me fully.

I am now reaching out to our Commissioners about our Illegal Potted Plants and trying to get answers about Chickens in Miami and Backyard Beekeeping.





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Article: Potted Garden in Your Yard? Prepare to Pay a Fine!

Our recent run in with Miami-Dade County Zoning Enforcement got picked up by the New Times





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Shark Diving: Four Important Tips to Keep In Mind for Your Own Personal Safety and Enjoyment

Shark diving is possible one of the most amazing experiences that anyone can have since the intense opportunity to be able to observe the ocean’s most well-known apex predators in their own habitat is truly exhilarating and petrifying. If you happen to be someone who would like to go through such a breath-taking experience, you should continue reading about the four important tips that you ought to keep in mind for your own personal safety and enjoyment.

1. Make Sure To Dive with Experts

One of the first and foremost tips is to dive with experts since they are highly knowledgeable when it comes to diving and dealing with sharks. They can easily elaborate on the actual risks involved in any shark diving experience and can teach you what you need to know to make sure that you do not run into any problems during the dive. It should be relatively easy to find experts in areas that offer shark dives so make it a point to seek their expertise so that you can eliminate the risk of running into potential harm as you explore the captivating depths of the ocean.

2. Avoid Unnecessary Attention

If you want to make sure that you do not become the subject of a shark’s interest, it is best to avoid unnecessary attention by removing all shiny items to prevent looking like their next meal and remaining as motionless as possible to avoid seeming like a potential threat which can cause them to launch into a defensive attack that could lead to serious injury. Also, make sure to never taunt a shark because doing is guaranteed to be considered an invitation for them to strike a lethal attack which can be devastating to say the least.

3. Refrain from Making Eye Contact

Eye contact is one of the best ways to get a shark to approach you on your dive which is exactly why people who go shark diving are strongly advised to refrain from making any kind of eye contact whenever possible. While the idea of looking them straight in the eye may seem to be the most exciting way to observe sharks, it is most recommended to use your peripheral vision instead.If you have poor peripheral vision, simply use a camera but make sure that you do not have any flashing attachments that will grab their attention. Always remember never to provoke a shark in any way!

4. Never Dive With an Open Wound

One of the most fascinating things about sharks is the fact that they are such efficient hunters – a skill that could very well be the result of millions of years of evolution. Part of their being so efficient lies in their ability to detect even the slightest amount of blood from miles away which is precisely why people who are planning to go shark diving should be absolutely certain that they have no wounds whatsoever.The last thing that you would like to do is give sharks the impression that you are a fresh delicious meal waiting to be eaten so make sure that you are completely wound-free.

If you would like to learn more about shark diving and how you can make it a safe and enjoyable dive, you should definitely take the time to talk to a shark expert located in your area so that you can find out all about the important things that you will need to know before you go and embark on a one-of-a-kind experience of a lifetime.

About the Author

Shark Angels is the next generation of shark conservationist, independently working and a network of angels to bring out the change. Visit their website and Go Shark Diving with SharkAngels.org..




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Final Miami Dade Adopt-A-Tree Giveaway in 2013



The final FREE tree giveaway of the year will take place September 14 in Miami Springs.

Miami-Dade single-family or duplex homeowners are eligible to receive 2 FREE trees per year, even if they have adopted trees in past years.
Tree species, event dates and times are subject to change. Tree quantities are limited and will be given away on a first come, first served basis. 
Trees reduce air-conditioning costs by providing shade, while a good landscape improves a home’s appearance. Trees also help increase a property’s real estate value and reduce flooding by absorbing excess rain water. Trees also help to remove tons of carbon dioxide from the air every year. Carbon dioxide is considered to be a factor affecting climate change.
For more information, email adoptatree@miamidade.gov or call 305-372-6784.

Event Information

Saturday, Sept. 14
9 a.m. – noon
Miami Springs Community Center
1401 Westward Drive, Miami Springs
Note: Tree species, event dates and times are subject to change.





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Article: Facebook Post Claims Miami Man Killed Wife, Shows Apparent Photo of Body

A Miami man apparently posted a photograph of his wife’s blood-splattered, dead body on Facebook, along with what appeared to be a confession, before turning himself in to authorities today.

Derek Medina, 31, showed up at a South Miami police station today claiming to have killed his wife and told authorities her body could be found at their residence, a Miami-Dade Police spokesman told to ABC News.

Medina was taken into custody and, when police arrived at his home, they found the body of Jennifer Alfonso, 26, according to the Miami-Dade spokesman.

Charges against Medina were pending, according to a police statement, though The Associated Press later reported he had been charged with first-degree murder.
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A post on Medina’s Facebook profile this afternoon showed a picture of a woman wearing a black outfit slumped over backwards, with blood on her left arm and face. The photo was accompanied by what seemed to be a murder confession.

“I’m going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife love you guys miss you guys take care Facebook people you will see me in the news my wife was punching me and I am not going to stand anymore with the abuse so I did what I did I hope u understand me,” the post said.

Friends replied to the post in disbelief and asked Medina what had happened.

His Facebook profile was removed about five hours after the shooting, according to ABC News’ Miami affiliate WPLG-TV.

Authorities have so far declined to discuss the Facebook postings or say whether Medina made them.

Alfonso’s 10-year-old daughter from a previous relationship was at the residence today with her mother’s body and was unharmed, according to police.

source:LiveLeak.com – Facebook Post Claims Miami Man Killed Wife, Shows Apparent Photo of Body





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Citizens detained in Miami-Dade County for Making Public Records Request

On Thursday, September 12, 2013, in the city of Hialeah, Mayor Carlos Hernandez and Mayoral Chief of Staff Arnie Alonzo have citizens detained in Miami-Dade County for Making Public Records Request.

We are on the verge of making a Public Records Request for our Potted Plants are Illegal issue, but this makes me very nervous about going.

“The crime was people were in fear”

There were too many people in their group?  Isn’t the right to assembly protected by the constitution? How many people is too many?

The Florida Public Records Law does not allow the custodian of the record to ask citizens to complete forms when making Public Records Requests.

There are major issues with transparency in ALL of MIAMI-DADE County!

What is going on here?





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Snails just love herbs in the garden – Plant Clinic – MiamiHerald.com


Local Gardener is having trouble with snails in the Garden.  

Read more here: Snails just love herbs in the garden – Plant Clinic – MiamiHerald.com





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Beat Florida’s September Heat by Night Fishing

Florida’s artificial reefs are a whole new world when the lights go out.

Get anchored over your favorite artificial reef in 70-plus feet of water and turn off everything in the boat that makes noise. You will hear a deafening chorus of clicks, snaps and pops being produced by millions of organisms that inhabit the reef.

Turn off all the lights, and any movement in the water will cause an explosion of tiny lights produced by billions of tiny bioluminescent organisms. Drop a floating light over the side to bring the squid in so close that you can see them pulse with colors and patterns. Or just kick back and watch the curious sea turtles surface to investigate.

Even if the fish don’t bite, you’re going to have an experience that you can’t get sitting on the couch, and you won’t be feeding the bugs or baking in the hot sun either.

Fish that feed primarily at night have excellent vision, and they’re a lot smarter than those daytime feeders, so you don’t want to show them much. The key is to “go stealthy,” which is a phrase coined by my favorite yellow-perch catcher, Brian “Fishhead” Bristow of Estherville, Iowa. “Going stealthy” means to scale back all your tackle to the minimum. I mean the rod, reel, line, lead, circle hook and bait. I like to fish 20- to 30-pound tackle with a longer than normal, fluorocarbon leader to keep a good separation between the lead and bait. Small live baits (pinfish, grunts, pig fish, bull minnows, mullet, etc.) are excellent, but cut cigar minnows, sardines, herring or menhaden also work very well. Bristow will tell you that frozen squid is all you need, but he’s from Iowa, so you definitely shouldn’t listen to him.

So what are you going to catch? Well, that depends on the water depth and what part of the state you’re in.
In the Florida Panhandle, you’ll catch what the locals refer to as black snapper. Now if you’re not familiar with that species, don’t try to look it up in the state regulations booklet, because it’s not in there. Black snapper is the same fish that people in central and south Florida call a mangrove snapper. The actual common name is gray snapper.

These fish have a 10-inch minimum size limit, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you’re fishing at night in depths that exceed 70 feet. Most of the snapper you catch will be significantly over the minimum size limit and average between 4 and 6 pounds. Some will exceed 10 pounds, and when they get that big they begin to look like a Cubera. Gray snapper are open for harvest year round, and the daily recreational bag limit is five fish per person in state waters.

Snapper are not the only game in town when fishing the reefs at night. Catch a live squid and put him out on a flat line just outside the reach of your anchor lights. Big king mackerel and wahoo feed all night long. They also like to eat while traveling at about 30 miles per hour, so set the drag light and keep the rod in a holder.

This may not be repeatable, but on one August night off Franklin County in 70 feet of water, Ol’ Fishhead and I ran into a nest of cobia that was absolutely beyond belief. I’m not sure if it was a spawning aggregate or what, but we caught and released enough 25- to 50-pound cobia in a seven-hour period to sink the boat. When daylight came, the amberjacks took over. When the sharks started eating the jacks whole, we blew the whistle and headed for the hill.

Safety is always a consideration, especially when night fishing, so make sure you pick a night with perfect weather and calm seas, especially if you fish from a small boat like we do. I like to hear the words “high pressure, light and variable winds, and seas of less than two feet” multiple times before I make a decision on a night trip. Also, make sure that your flares are current and your lights, electronics, marine radio, bilge pump, etc. are all working properly.

About the Author

Bamboo Charters Capt. Matt Bellinger
80500 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL 33036,
United States
(305) 393-0909




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HURRICANE HUMBERTO: THE HURRICANE IS MOVING NORTHWARD AT A SLIGHTLY FASTER PACE

ALTHOUGH THERE IS SOME EVIDENCE OF SOUTH-SOUTHWESTERLY SHEAR OVER THE SYSTEM…HUMBERTO REMAINS FAIRLY WELL ORGANIZED WITH CONTINUED HINTS OF A BANDING-TYPE EYE. DVORAK CLASSIFICATIONS FROM TAFB AND SAB CONTINUE TO SUPPORT AN INTENSITY OF 75 KT FOR THIS ADVISORY. INCREASING WEST-SOUTHWESTERLY SHEAR AND COOL SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES SHOULD CAUSE WEAKENING OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. LATER IN THE PERIOD…ALTHOUGH HUMBERTO IS FORECAST TO TRAVERSE THE WARMER WATERS WEST OF 40W LONGITUDE…THE SHEAR IS LIKELY TO REMAIN STRONG…SO RESTRENGTHENING IS NOT ANTICIPATED AT THIS TIME. THE OFFICIAL WIND SPEED FORECAST IS NEAR THE LOW END OF THE NUMERICAL GUIDANCE AND LIES BETWEEN THE LATEST DSHIPS AND LGEM PREDICTIONS.

Read more: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/productview.php?pil=TCDAT4&version=0





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