December 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the December Edition of my newsletter. Please feel free to reply with a comment. I am always looking to improve on the content for my subscribers.

Also, visit my website to view my listings, search for properties, or to enjoy one of my archived newsletters and stories on Florida History.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thank you,

Lightered Wood
Have you heard the terms "Lightered wood, pine wood, or fat wood", and don't know exactly what the means? Let's take a quest with this Florida Blogger on at trip deep into a Florida forest, along old fence lines, and even underground. He is seeking "fatwood" aka "lighter". Fatwood is the heavily resinous remains of old pine trees and it makes the most amazing firestarter aka "kindling. " Fatwood is so resinous that even here in the land of wet rot and termites, the stumps of old pines that were harvested many decades ago, are still hard as a rock.

More specifically, when a pine tree dies — especially from getting cut down or broken off — all of the resin in the roots gets drawn into the stump, right above the tap root. The stump becomes saturated with resin. As the roots and trunk rot away, the resin-soaked wood at core of the stump hardens and endures.

The resin itself contains terpene, the main component of turpentine. It is incredibly flammable. It takes flame effortlessly and doesn’t want to give it up. Because of this, fatwood shavings can be lit with a spark, even when wet, producing a flame that resists the wind and burns much, much hotter than regular shavings. Fatwood shavings make a wonderful tinder that will easily set blaze to larger pieces of kindling.

It gives off a piney thick black smoke, so you wouldn't want to cook over it, but it is wonderful for starting your hardwood fire or even your BBQ charcoal.

Hunting lighter is a great excuse for a slow walk through an oak forest kicking old stumps and logs to find exactly what you want. A soft stump meant rotting oak, worthless, while a hard stump that kicked back meant possible lighter wood. This land may be oak forest these days, but once it supported large longleaf pine trees and turpentine harvesting. How is that known? He finds the remains of clay turpentine pots and old pine stumps here and there around the property.

The evidence is clear. Before the oaks, a pine forest of large longleaf pine stood here. Probably many of them sported turpentine "catfaces" where the bark had been scored to make the sap flow into a terra cotta turpentine pot hung from a nail.

Before long, he found a the lighter stump like pictured above. It was lying at the base of an old oak, and could have been easily mistaken for a chunk of oak itself, but it was dense and hard. When he whacked it, a rich piney scent arose and the super sticky resin was apparent. Treasure!

It was half buried in the rich leaf mold beneath the old oak so it took a while to dig and pry it free. A stump like this is pretty excellent black widow, scorpion, snake habitat, so you have to be careful. No biter or stingers in this stump this time.

There's a good chance that this stump was cut when that big oak behind it was a wimpy seedling.

After the excavation, he drags it out into the sun to dry for a few weeks. This is only the center of a much larger pine stump. The softer, less resinous sapwood has rotted long ago leaving this core of fatwood.

After some seasoning, he uses a chainsaw to cut it up into approximately foot long sections that can be split easily.

The beautiful orangey-red color is pine resin ... the "fat" in fatwood and it smells amazing!

He is going to try and sell to his friends up North, but he has to be competitive with his pricing since this other guy called "Walmart" sells imported fatwood from Guatemala.

Lighted wood makes an excellent emergency fire starter. It keeps indefinitely, and a little bit of it goes a long way. One good stump can keep you supplied for life. It's the perfect way to get your fire started and going on a cool, Florida evening.
December citrus crop forecast delivers positive news
BARTOW, Fla. – The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected an increase for Florida Grapefruit and held Florida Orange production steady in the December forecast.

In an announcement Tuesday, the USDA predicted Florida Orange production to remain at 74 million boxes and Florida Grapefruit production to climb 6.5 percent to 4.9 million boxes for the 2019-20 season. The numbers are a 3 percent increase for oranges and a nearly 9 percent increase for grapefruit over 2018-19. 

“Today’s news is welcome for an industry that has had its fair share of ups and downs,” said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus. “ The hard work of Florida Citrus growers is evident in theses numbers and on the tables of families around the world who have come to expect only the best from Florida Citrus. We are proud to be a staple of holiday celebrations near and far.”
Read More: Florida Citrus
37th Annual Florida Cattleman’s Institute & Allied Trade Show

January 15-16, 2020

Tuner Center Arcadia, FL


 Come out on the evening of January 15th for a steak dinner with statewide cattlemen, allied members, and industry leaders.

More Info:

Air Properties LLC

Air Parks Hangers*Punta Gorda Airport

Kenneth Van Patten

LongLeaf Pine

Longleaf pine is the legendary southern yellow pine of forest history. The tall, stately longleaf pine once was one of the most ecologically important tree species in the Southern United States. Longleaf pine and its accompanying forest ecosystems covered vast swaths of the Southern United States, spanning an estimated 60–90 million acres. One estimate places the historical extent of longleaf pine forests at 92 million acres. Although once one of the most extensive forest ecosystems in North America, only a fraction of these longleaf pine forests remain today, 200 years of logging and land clearing have greatly reduced its range. Longleaf pine takes 100 to 150 years to become full size and can live to 300 years old. Modern methods of reforestation are helping to restore longleaf pine to previously cleared land. In the future, we may expect to see more of these majestic trees in the Florida landscape.

32+ Acres Kings Hwy-Quick Access to I-75
10692 SW Co Rd 769 Arcadia, FL 34269
32 beautiful wooded acres located on Kings Highway near I-75. This property would make an ideal recreational property or a fantastic homesite with room for horses and cattle. This property is already divided into four buildable parcels. LOTS OF WILD GAME-Deer, Turkeys and Wild hogs. Only 2 minutes from the Nav-A-Gator Bar and Grill and County boat ramp with access to the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor. Call today to explore this unique opportunity!

Total Acres: 32.06
Listing price: $800,000
PUD 28+/- Acres with Water/Sewer Available
SE Hwy 31 #A Arcadia, FL 34266
28+/- Acres Zoned PUD-70 units Residential on Hwy 31 in DeSoto County. Public water and sewer available. Over 1,500ft of highway frontage. ONLY 5 minutes to Publix and Wal Mart and 25 minutes to Babcock Ranch. An ideal location for a new housing development.

MLS: C7419049
Total Acres: 28+/-
Listing price: $550,000
Don't Miss Your Opportunity, 30+ Acres
SW Co Rd Rd 769 and Co Rd 760 Arcadia, FL 34266
Serene 30 Acre wooded property just off Kings Hwy abundant with wild game including hogs, deer and turkeys. A perfect place for a secluded, getaway cabin or your next home. Located in the much sought after Kings Highway (State Road 769) area with quick access to Port Charlotte, Interstate 75, or to the downtown Arcadia area. Sarasota and Gulf Beaches are just an hour away. CALL TODAY!

Click Parcel below for more info:
Parcel B: 12.30 Acres-SOLD!
Parcel C: 11.94 Acres-SOLD!
Parcel E: 10 Acres -SOLD!
Parcel F: 10 Acres-SOLD!          
Three Retail/Office Units--Veterans/Peachland Intersection
701 J C Center Ct. Port Charlotte, FL 33954
Premium retail property located at the intersection of Veterans Boulevard and Peachland Boulevard in The Vines Commercial Condominium. The units are 1,044 sq.ft. and ideal for quality retail or office space near the Kings Highway & I-75 interchange. Surrounding units are occupied with retail, office, fitness center, and a barber shop. There is tremendous opportunity for annual rental income. High traffic area with Publix, new Peachland Promenade Shopping Center nearby. All units for sale separately but can be combined for a total of 3,000+ sq.ft.

Click Unit below for more info:
Unit 17: MLS#C7418573
Unit 18: MLS# C7418577
Unit 19: MLS#C7418578

12+ Acre Joshua Creek Estate
3410 County Rd 760 Arcadia,FL 34266
Beauty and privacy abound in this 12.64 acre estate set among oak hammocks, a gently flowing creek and manicured pastures. As you enter through the private gate down the paved drive you are welcomed to this custom built 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath brick home. With over 2,700 heated sq. ft., this meticulously maintained home features soaring ceilings, an open floor plan, lots of natural light, and a spacious screened back patio perfect for relaxing & enjoying the natural Florida habitat. The kitchen is complete with breakfast bar, dining area, dual dishwashers, updated appliances & opens to the formal dining room & family room ideal for entertaining. Downstairs is complete with a Guest Room/Office lined with windows and a large master bedroom featuring fireplace and an en-suite bathroom with soaking tub & separate tiled shower. Upstairs a catwalk, overlooking the family room, leads you to two additional guest bedrooms & a guest bathroom. Additionally, there is an attached 2 car garage, screened gazebo, a detached 30X52 garage-for your RV/boat, multiple RV hookups, as well as a huge workshop. Workshop is outfitted with kitchen & office area, ideal for home business. Much of the acreage is cleared pasture land with a pond & lends itself to cattle and horses. Property is within 5 miles from Publix, shopping, and downtown Arcadia. Come home to privacy and peacefulness on this beautiful, natural property nestled along Joshua Creek! Sellers willing to consider exchange/trade of commercial, vacant, or residential on water.

MLS: C7238071
Total Sq Ft: 2,779
Listing price: $725,000

Kings Hwy "Old Florida Village" 1/2 Acre Lot
12687 County Rd 769 Lake Suzy, FL 34269
Just over a Half Acre commercial lot located in Old Florida Village on Kings Hwy. Relocate or start your own business adjacent to established professional office buildings that include a law firm, accounting offices, and wellness center. Located less than 1.5 miles to Interstate 75, just across the Charlotte County line. This property offers a 250 feet waterfront view of Allegiant Air’s recently purchased Kingsway Golf Course.

MLS: C7406153
Total Acres: .54
List price: $75,000
Little Gasparilla Island Bayfront Home
8538 Little Gasparilla Island Placida, FL 33946
BAYSIDE LITTLE GASPARILLA ISLAND 3/2 Stilt Home. By boat or water taxi, arrive at the 100'+ private, newly refinished dock that leads you straight to the front of the house on the oversized lot. The split stairwell welcomes you taking you to the second floor patio that is a perfect place to drink your morning coffee and watch the sunrise. As you enter the home, the spacious living area with a wood-beamed ceiling opens to the kitchen. The large kitchen with walk-in pantry and island are ideal for entertaining. The bedroom windows are adorned with plantation shutters. At the end of the hallway, the master bedroom is complete with its own bathroom. Below the home, features a large lower deck with an enclosed storage area. From there, it's just a short walk down the path to enjoy the amazing sunsets on the beach! There is plenty of the best Florida fishing right from your dock into Placida Harbor and onto the Gulf waters. Just minutes from the back waters of Bull Bay, Whidden creek, Turtle Bay and the world’s greatest Tarpon fishing in Boca Grande Pass.

MLS: C7408868
Total Sq Ft: 1,360
Listing price: $749,000
**Seller Financing NOW Available**
16.84+/- Acres
SW Cypress Bend. Arcadia, FL 34269
348+ Acres with over 22 Mixed-Use Buildings 239,907 total sq. ft., located in South DeSoto County directly on Hwy 31. Permitted uses included, but not limited to: medical offices, a housing facility, service clubs or hotel/motel. This property was formerly a state owned juvenile justice center. The property may qualify for H2A workforce housing. A large tract of agricultural land is also included within the total acreage. Seller Financing May be Available!

MLS: C7401036
Total Acres: 16.84
Listing price: $245,000
About Walt Bethel
Walt Bethel is a fifth generation Floridian, born and raised in Arcadia, with a vast knowledge of all areas of Florida Real Estate and an ardent appreciation for Florida history.  
The purchase and development of his first orange grove when he was just sixteen years old fueled Walt's passion for real estate.  
Since then, he has bought, owned, and sold a wide variety of properties throughout a successful business career. His investments have included acreage, agricultural properties, residential homes, condos, and commercial properties. 
Walt's marketing and sales experience was cultivated over time at his family's business, Bethel Farms, where he marketed, managed, and sold products to "Big Box" retailers across the Southeastern and Midwestern United States.
From an early age, Walt's dad instilled in him the values to work hard and always have a goal, to look for a better way of doing things, and to constantly improve on them.  
The daily implementation of these principles, coupled with his enjoyment of networking with new people and his experience in business, sales, and marketing, have contributed to Walt's success as a Realtor.
 Walt has served on various boards and committees throughout the years. He has coached and actively supports local youth athletic programs and leagues. 
He and his wife Jill, also a fourth generation Floridian, reside in Punta Gorda. They have two children, a daughter Peyton and a son Truman.
Walt Bethel | RE/MAX Harbor Realty| 863.990.1748 | |