Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hopkins Prairie Primitive Camp

Since being in the Ocala Forest, I have gone from enjoying the remoteness of the area along with the benefits of full hook-ups for over two months.    Strangely however, I find myself being enticed more and more each day, further  into the Forest to try primitive boondocking.   
If I had my way, I would pack up and move further  into the Forest  soaking up all the  solitude that I can handle.   I am not so sure, however, that Bob can handle the silence.   Quite frankly, it is even a big surprise to me that I find myself  longing for the experience.   Life is a funny sequence of changes in our lives, various stages and interests, not to mention new discoveries about ourselves that take us by surprise even at this age. 
Today, we loaded up chairs, a few refreshments, binoculars, camera and headed out to Hopkins Prairie.    The rains moved on leaving the air wonderfully clean, fresh  and cool.   Trees are beginning to show  tender green growth and grasses shimmered in the sunlight.  Most of the Forest is just that….Forest…but Hopkins Prairie is a wonderful sea of  grasses.   Things have been very dry  so unfortunately the water level is  low and many of the Great Blue Heron's Sandhill   Cranes  (pst..thanks Judy) had moved on for better pickins’.   We only had this one fellow to entertain us.   It wasn’t too sure about our presence, yet curiosity kept getting the best of it while he did some fishing.
The campsites are very clean and private with lots of Palmetto Palms surrounding the sites.  Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire ring.   There is water access in the campground and there are  pit toilets.    Otherwise, nothing but total peace and quiet!   

We kept watching a log that started with one lonely turtle, then two, next thing we saw, they were lined up, basking in the sunshine. 

Prairie grasses and swamp lands are not for everyone, I know, but today they were everything to me.   Maybe, it was the different texture and contrast.  Gosh I love being a snowbird 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Early Bird Catches the Worm


I am thinking that all of the rest and relaxation we have enjoyed this winter is finally catching up with me and I sometimes find myself up  as daylight breaks.   A few days ago I quietly tiptoed out the door, with camera in hand,  hoping to find something to catch my eye. 

I headed down to the canal  as the sun was coming up over the water.   Until recently I had not seen many birds, however as  days get longer and temperatures have warmed,  there has become more activity.    I suppose, had I gotten my tail-feathers going earlier each day I may well have discovered the activity had always been here….and I was not !

Temperatures have been unseasonably warm this past week with many records being broken, and Bob and I had a few days of getting up close and personal with one another as the rains moved in.   Boy howdy, does this coach get small!!!  

Spring has arrived



There is love in the air


…. outnumbering the neighborhood dogs and cats, walking in pairs down the middle of the road


…even the pesky squirrels look good 


I will let Judy, our bird lady of blog land, educate us as to what bird this is.    All I know is that it was very curious about me and my camera …heck… this one didn’t have a mate, who knows maybe it was checking out my legs, wide body and big beak.     


…and  the  temptation to pick a few oranges almost got the best of me as I strolled with the flock.  


It was yet another good day in retirement.  Life is good !

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sunny, 85 and just because we can !



Greetings from Daytona Beach …We enjoyed a wonderful day people watching, sunshine, listening to the surf and entertaining the seagulls.

I am posting these photo’s for the benefit of family and friends that are needing a little break from winter.    ENJOY !
























……and as our blogging friend Judy so eloquently says….



Story of Grandma’s Apron

Our daughter sent  this and I thought it was well worth sharing the warm memories with all. 

How many of us remember making these in Home Economics?   I remember mine was purple and white gingham…

Apron 2


The History of 'APRONS' I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few and because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons required less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the autumn, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

The Govt. would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.
I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron…BUT LOVE...

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Walking the Bear Swamp Trail

As I follow along with many of  other blogging friends, I find myself feeling like a bump on the log.   Nearly everyone else is busy hiking. biking, traveling and seeing places new to them.   Nearly everyone…..except Bob and me !    Our life has gotten as slow as Molasses in January.   I am not even going to apologize for that because in my opinion it has been long, long, long overdue.  

Last week, however, Sherri and I left our men on their own and headed out to explore the Bear Swamp Trail.   It is a wonderful mile and a half loop through the scrub forest filled with majestic oak trees draped in Spanish Moss.    IMG_0618 

The forest is also home to ancient Dogwood, Hickory and  Magnolia trees overhead.   It is wonderful to see how it has matured with protection of the  US Forest Service.  

As we meandered along the path we were surprised to find a wonderful boardwalk winding through the swamp filled with  Palms, Cypress and the many tall slender pines.  Oh the peacefulness !!.




At a few points we wondered if we may get lost due to the dense shade as it was difficult seeing the sun.    Thoughts  kept running through our minds  the possibility of meeting face to face with one of those humongous Burmese Pythons which are taking over Florida.  Now that would have put a bounce back in our step again.


The gall attached to the Cypress tree was nearly 35 feet off the forest floor and I can only imagine how tall this massive tree must have been at one time before the crown had broken off.


The one thing that I do find odd here is the strange absence of birds.   We figured for sure we would find more of a presence of fine feathered friends.  

The days are becoming longer and warmer so are the signs of spring.   Very strange for us to grasp with the calendar still showing the first week of February.  IMG_0599

    We need  to  return  to watch Spring unfold before our eyes and to give hope to our family and friends that, in fact, relief from winter’s grasp is on it’s way.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Love the National Forest Roads


I believe I could easily go back in time to a much simpler lifestyle.   I find such peace within  after traveling the dirt roads here in the National Forest.   We live in such a fast paced world today that often times I find myself not even seeing or taking in a small percentage of the nature that surrounds us.   It isn’t until days like today that I am reminded and amazed at the simple beauty of the world we live in.  We could not have asked for a nicer day…lots of sunshine, no humidity and mid 70’s

This afternoon we were treated to watching Bald Eagles  snacking on a tasty morsel on the roadside.  First we only saw one, and then suddenly a pair appeared.  Sadly, only one of the many pictures that I took even came close to being worthy of publishing.

Bald Eagle

I have been somewhat disappointed to see the absence of birds around here, so today was very special .  

A few days ago we sat along the canal in hopes of seeing  wildlife.   I can see that it is almost a necessity to get out onto the springs in a canoe or kayak in order to really  see the show.    An otter was playing a short distance off shore but it was too bashful and fast for me to catch any photo’s.   We got a peek at a Manatee from a distance but it, too, just isn’t the same.

A lonely egret, however, was not the least bit concerned about our presence


 I am really enjoying the camera I purchased last winter and it is offering quite a challenge in learning all it has to offer.



Before  returning to the campground we swung into the nearby fruit stand and bought over 11 pounds of Honeybell oranges for a song.   All I can say is WOW …they are  incredibly juicy and sweet.  We also had  heard about a family that sells citrus in the area and stopped in there to scope it out.   What a slice of heaven their operation is !     It looks as though they have possibly 5 acres lined with grapefruit, orange, tangerine and lemon trees.   Lots of free-range chickens and a pet emu.   Mr.  Robinson gave us a sampling of kumquats and a few lemons.  I guess I will have to search or the Food Network for a recipe to use them.   Sorry, I was so interested in talking with him that I completely forgot to take any pictures, however we will be going back again so I can hopefully snap a few at that time.


I am not real sure how I started this blog about birds and ended with kumquats, but that is the way life is these days.   Good and very laid back!!!

Thanks for checking in with us and have a great week

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Eighty Seven Years Young


Happy Birthday Dad !


Dad and Duke-1


I know we all say we are not having any more birthdays, and we all claim to be 39 and holding.   Yet, somehow, as our time on earth is shared, the importance of birthday celebrations gains new meaning.

I can remember the day my Grandfather Holtzman  was honoring his 75th birthday and how proud he was of reaching the three quarter century mark.   At that time, I was only creeping up to my 20 years and did not fully appreciate the pride .   I only remember thinking Gosh, that is old !

Well Dad, like so many other important things you have taught us, I can now appreciate and celebrate  the 87 years of contribution you have made to the family and your friends. 

Did you know that you share the same birthday month and year as Winnie the Pooh?    Ray Price?   Grand Old Opry?

As a  child, I loved Winnie the Pooh the most, Ray Price I have only heard the name and the Grand Old Opry is quite a place,  but you are still are the BEST Dad we ever had. 


Love you,

Bob and Sue

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Life just doesn’t get much better than this….

Initially this winter, I was concerned as to whether or not we would enjoy remaining in one spot for an extended period of time, however, this has been just what the Dr. ordered for the both of us.   Bob’s speech is thriving and he has become quite the social butterfly once again.   He has met many of the other folks in the campground and spends hours sitting in “The Barn” (large community center) visiting,  playing games, and watching a fire in the fireplace while being entertained by the Salt Springs Pickers.   Lots of toe tapping going on around here


Salt Springs is such a small peaceful community and one cannot help but feel welcome.  It is hard to remember the last time I entered a grocery store, hardware store, or even the post office  and was greeted with so many smiles.  Life is certainly peaceful and very laid back.

This afternoon Sherri, Randy Bob and I made a trek back to the Square Meal for lunch and then ended the afternoon sitting on the edge of the canal soaking up the warmth and watching the local wildlife put their show.    What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday. 

Both Sherri and I have enjoyed one anothers company and support since we both have a “hands on” understanding of each others  challenges.   Some gifts in life are priceless!

As we were taking in the serenity of the canal, one of the long term employees of the park rolled up on his golf cart and shared his stories with us of the many snakes, turtles, bears,alligators and manatees that reside in the park.   He was telling us about the hawks that follow him around looking for his fish hand outs when he whistles.    Sure enough…in a very short while we were treated to his magic.


We were speechless if you can imagine that !!



Although we found where the Alligators sun themselves on the other side of the canal , we were not fortunate enough to see any today. 

We hope everyone has enjoyed their Sunday as much as we enjoyed ours.   Have a good week.      

Monday, January 07, 2013

One more Senior Citizen


We have enjoyed the luxury of staying in one spot more this year rather than “running the roads” as much as we did last year.   Today was a relaxing day spent lounging at the springs watching fellow RV’ers getting accustomed to their new Sea Eagle kayaks they just purchased.   





Our friends, Randy and Sherri, which we met at the end of last years travel, rolled into Salt Springs last week just in time to celebrate Sherri’s birthday.   If you ask her she will tell you that she isn’t having anymore birthdays but this is not just any old  birthday, it is one of life’s milestones.    She has joined the ranks as an honorary (Junior) Senior Citizen. 

We started off our day and headed to the local restaurant aptly called The Square Meal.   It is the greatest  restaurant offering delicious home cooked meals.   While Randy, Bob and I responsibly ordered a  meal, the birthday girl decided she would celebrate her day and ordered nothing but a huge piece of carrot cake…. Wow it looked good….

I had every intention of taking a group picture but we started chipping our teeth at one another and completely forgot that too…Geez ….

I did, however,  manage to snap a few shots to share in between our gab session



Oh the life we are forced to enjoy……



Have a great day

Friday, January 04, 2013


Since we have begun another New Year I have felt the urge to begin blogging once again.    For the friends we had following us last season, we owe an apology to you for suddenly dropping off of the cliff, so to speak.   We started the summer months relaxed, rejuvenated, and refreshed after traveling last winter.    All was going well and suddenly we were hit with several challenges that did not allow time in every day to accomplish all that was needed to be done plus allow the time for blogging.   In looking back I  should have at least written a temporary "dear John blog".    I know that probably we have all been there and done that !  Needless to say, we hope you understand and will continue along with our journey of 2013.    I mostly need to thank our family members that hung with us through a difficult summer and became my safety net.   I so appreciate the calls, tears, laughter, hugs, and prayers..   The dust has settled and I feel as though we are back on track once again.  

Bob is doing very well after having an emergency Carotid surgery.   It was very unexpected and he has bounced back and has gained remarkable improvement in his speech and cognitive skills.   I see glimpses of the man that I married emerging once again.   Hallelujah !

I am very thankful for the close of 2012 and the renewed strength to look forward to a much better 2013.   Welcome back to our little corner of the world, we hope you will enjoy our travels once again.


Salt Springs Recreation Area   Ocala, FL