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.