Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Autumn in Florida

Greetings from historical author Louise M. Gouge!
Fall is in the air, even here in Florida. The weather was actually pretty nippy this morning, a chilly fifty degrees! Okay, go ahead and laugh. But folks down here are covering their pools, pulling out their sweaters, and serving chili for supper. That’s autumn for us. In order to enjoy the lovely colors of the season, we have to go to the craft store and get our artificial arrangements!

In truth, living in a subtropical location makes it possible for Floridians to be comfortable most of the year. Even in the hottest summers, we have our air conditioning to keep us cool.
Such comfort wasn’t always the case in Florida. The heat, which most of us can easily survive today because of that air conditioning, was a killing factor for many early settlers. Actually, everything was more difficult in those days.
For instance, imagine preparing your Thanksgiving dinner, in fact all of your meals, in this kitchen.
Not only did you have to go out and hunt the turkey, then pluck and dress it, but you had to watch the stove carefully to keep the wood fire fueled and stoked so the bird would cook evenly. Oh, and that’s after you’ve grown all of the other fixins for the dinner in your kitchen garden. There was no refrigeration, so meat was preserved in the smoke house.

Or imagine doing your laundry in this wash house. That’s after you’ve hauled the water from the creek and heated it over another of those wood fires. My back aches just thinking about it.
One of the reasons I love to read and write historical fiction is to remind myself of all that our forebears endured just to make it through the day. It helps me appreciate my refrigerator (and grocery stores), washer and dryer, stove, and, yes, that wonderful air conditioning. Without that last one, I wouldn’t want to live in Florida, no matter how mild the autumn and winter are!
I took the above pictures at the Osceola Pioneer Museum, a wonderful educational, historical village in Kissimmee, Florida. They even have a working blacksmith and other crasftsmen and women. A great place to visit!
Check out my Web site at and find out a bit about my books.


  1. Yes, Louise,
    People ask me since I write historicals too, what era I would have liked to live in.
    I always say nothing before 1950! I refuse to live anyplace without indoor plumbing!

  2. Louise, as a fifth-generation Floridian I'm in awe that the state was ever settled. Truly, the summers are unbearable. Praise to those tough, hardy settlers! ;-)


  3. Lovely post, Louise!
    I so agree that looking back makes one more appreciative!

  4. After growing up in South Georgia and visiting and now moving to the Sunshine State, I agree about the summers. Bugs, humidity and heat-- but still beautiful!!

  5. I enjoyed the pictures, Louise. Daily life definitely wasn't easy back then. I spend part of the year in the Keys and marvel that the women could endure the heat, humidity, yellow fever, malaria, and so forth. Courageous indeed!


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