Florida Again

A family feeding the peacocks at Magnolia Park. I had heard the peacock's caterwauling as they prepare to roost for the night. But I had never heard the sound like a Volkswagen's horn they make when the children got too close.

A family feeding the peacocks at Magnolia Park. I had heard the peacock’s caterwauling as they prepare to roost for the night. But I had never heard the sound like a Volkswagen’s horn they make when the children got too close.

Our first camping this trip was at Suwannee River State Park due to its close proximity to family.

Our first camping this trip was at Suwannee River State Park due to its close proximity to family.

Mikkey usually prefers to sleep with Mom, but Mom is constantly rolling over or getting up.....

Mikkey usually prefers to sleep with Mom, but Mom is constantly rolling over or getting up…..

I had not intended to blog about Florida again because we are, as usual, spending the winter here.  The biggest treat is having time with family.

Unfortunately, I had to do a factory reset on my phone and haven’t downloaded all the photos yet.  I’m waiting for our next data cycle.  So there will be no photos to share of the lovely 80 degree Christmas celebrated in shorts at Gail’s screened porch.

So when Mom wiggles around too much, Mikkey heads for Daddy's bed.

So when Mom wiggles around too much, Mikkey heads for Daddy’s bed.

So I’ll just share my available photos taken at random, and let the captions tell the story…. which is, it’s CHILLY down here now!

BTW, our water pump went out and our toilet needs replacing.  I have them ordered and Gail and I will do the mods when we get back to her house in a week or so.

Lake Apopka is a big lake bordered by vegetation that provides a perfect habitat for many aquatic and semi-aquatic critters.

Lake Apopka is a big lake bordered by vegetation that provides a perfect habitat for many aquatic and semi-aquatic critters.

Next was O'Leno Park--because it had available sites. Then Otter Springs. The spring is a black water hole in a cypress swamp. But it gave us a place to stay till our next reservations were available.

Next was O’Leno Park–because it had available sites. Then Otter Springs. The spring is a black water hole in a cypress swamp. But it gave us a place to stay till our next reservations were available.

Otter Spring did have one nice feature... an indoor heated swimming pool.

Otter Spring did have one nice feature… an indoor heated swimming pool.

While we were at Suwannee River State Park, I found my first ever Albatrellus mushrooms. I originally identified them as sheep polypores, but discovered they do not grow this far south.  All I know is that they are both Albatrellus polypores.

While we were at Suwannee River State Park, I found my first ever Albatrellus mushrooms. I originally identified them as sheep polypores, but discovered they do not grow this far south. All I know is that they are both Albatrellus polypores.

As much fun as an Easter egg hunt!

As much fun as an Easter egg hunt!

You never know if you will be sensitive or allergic to even good mushrooms. So this was my sample. After 24 hours I knew they were okay to eat. To be honest, they were slightly bitter and not very good. But I relished my discovery anyway!

You never know if you will be sensitive or allergic to even good mushrooms. So this was my sample. After 24 hours I knew they were okay to eat. To be honest, they were slightly bitter and not very good. But I relished my discovery anyway!

So now it's winter in Central Florida, but still heavenly compared to home!

So now it’s winter in Central Florida, but still heavenly compared to home!

This pond was covered with thick, scummy duckweed last year. This year we discovered they had found an elegant solution to the problem.

This pond was covered with thick, scummy duckweed last year. This year we discovered they had found an elegant solution to the problem.

But winter in Central Florida doesn't really mean winter. :)

But winter in Central Florida doesn’t really mean winter. 🙂

Ron trying to find a spot out of the wind. Note the wind blowing the Spanish moss around.

Ron trying to find a spot out of the wind. Note the wind blowing the Spanish moss around.

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So Beautiful Here

This is an unretouched photo of our sunset this evening.

This is an unretouched photo of our sunset this evening.

Today was a little cool, but I was comfortable in a light sweater.  Until this evening.  Now we are inside for the night enjoying the cozy warmth of our little camper.

Ferns growing in palm tree trunk

Ferns growing in palm tree trunk

Ron and I take turns walking Sheba.  She requires so much exercise to stay happy when she has to be tied out all day.  So this way she gets double the amount of walks that she would if we walked her together.

Today I walked in a different direction than yesterday, and I found blooming pink and red hibiscus!  It was just before sunset, so the petals had curled up for the night.  Wish I could have caught them open.  But I was thrilled to see them anyway.

Pink hibiscus blossoms.  The flowers close in the evening.

Pink hibiscus blossoms. The flowers close in the evening.

Little Sunny appears to be doing better.  I think camping agrees with him.  But when we walk him, we just meander around our campsite and let him sniff trails to his heart’s content.  He can’t walk any distance.  My baby boy is now an old man, I’m afraid.  🙂

We have loved it here.  The only thing lacking are washers and dryers.  I continue to be surprised with how well designed this park is.  Even the barbeque grills are nice ones with heavy covers.

Red hibiscus blooms

Red hibiscus blooms

We had planned to go to Fore Lake tomorrow.  But since it’s supposed to rain Saturday and Sunday, we need hookups.  I doubt the solar panel would be able to keep up with our power usage without a lot of sunshine.

So we’ll head back to Ocean Pond to camp with Mike and Gail for a while again.  They found an adorable house and put in an offer today, and we want to be with them to celebrate.

American beautyberry

American beautyberry

Closeup of beautyberry

Closeup of beautyberry

Picnic area

Picnic area

 

Blackberries are Ripening Here!

Lake Seminole Resource Center

Lake Seminole Resource Center

Today we stopped into the Visitors Center.  The exterior is beautifully landscaped.  But the displays were disappointing.  There was a 10 minute movie, but we had left the dogs in the truck.  Although it was overcast and we were parked under a shade tree, we didn’t want them out of our sight that long.

Behind the Visitors' Center

Behind the Visitors’ Center

The real treat was roaming around outside the center.  Not only were the views beautiful, but we found ripe blackberries!  I ended up eating about two hands full of them.

Farther south, at Ann and Cecil’s place, blackberries were just beginning to bloom.  Yet here, they are already ripening.  Also, for the first time ever I found new poke plants growing among the standing skeleton’s of last years’ plants.  Usually winter storms flatten them.  I can only surmise that the area right around the visitors’ center is a very protected microclimate.

Dam view through the window

Dam view through the window

We drove to a nearby town today to pick up some groceries.  My eyes were way bigger than my freezer.  When we got home, the only way I could get it to fit was repackage everything in zip lock bags.  I really love traveling with a well stocked refrigerator and pantry.  Always the worry-wort, I want to make sure that if a storm hits and the road floods or trees block the road to town, we will have plenty of good food to eat!

Blackberries!

Blackberries!

On our way to town, we crossed a bridge that had a gorgeous view of the dam spillway.  I didn’t have my camera ready, so missed the shot.  On the way back, Ron leaned forward and I snapped a shot through the driver side window.  Ron was reluctant to stop the truck in the middle of a bridge for me to get out and take a picture.  Can you imagine that!  😀

Today was a low-key day for us.  I read and puttered around.  Ron did laundry.  The dogs got walks.

Yum!

Yum!

We probably should have done more while we can because it’s supposed to thunderstorm tomorrow and be rainy the day after that.  But we’ll just curl up inside with books, crosswords and the net and entertain ourselves.

How Sheba will manage being inside all day is yet to be seen.  She is definitely an outdoor dog, and prefers being outside in the rain to being inside.  But hopefully the rain will be sporadic so we can get a few good walks in.

Pokeweed with last year's skeleton still standing

Pokeweed with last year’s skeleton still standing

At first I thought this was a curled up leaf until I zoomed in on him.

At first I thought this was a curled up leaf until I zoomed in on him.

Triplet trees?

Triplet trees?

New tree growing inside rotted out base of older still-living tree

New tree growing inside rotted out base of older still-living tree

Spanish moss in trees across from our campsite

Spanish moss in trees across from our campsite

 

 

 

 

 

Left Florida Today

At Eagles Roost

At Eagles Roost

We really hated to leave Mom’s place today.  Neither of us wants to head home yet.

We’re in one of our favorite stopping over places tonight, Eagles Roost in Lake Park.   We couldn’t afford to stay here long, but it’s nice for one night.

We plan to take our time getting home.  Will probably stop somewhere else tomorrow night.  Unfortunately the weather is turning cooler, but it shouldn’t be cold for a few more days.

Today’s photographs are of the picturesque Spanish moss that so captivates me.  And a couple of photos of our Sheba girl.  Sunny needs to be groomed so badly, I’ll wait to post more photos of him!  🙂

The unpaved area in the rear for those who prefer more of a camping experience.

The unpaved area in the rear for those who prefer more of a camping experience.

Sheba leashed to the truck

Sheba leashed to the truck

Sheba being a good girl.

Sheba being a good girl.

 

 

 

Spanish Moss

Spanish moss at Eagle’s Roost

As usual, we left Mom’s house late — after lunch.

The Casita at Eagle’s Roost

We were hot and tired, and wanted to do as little driving today as possible.  So we crossed the Georgia line and stopped at the Eagle’s Roost RV Park, one of our favorite overnight stops.

Besides being a beautiful, clean park, the profusion of Spanish moss lends an aura of timeless peace.  I first remember seeing Spanish moss when I was a little girl in Green Cove Springs, Florida.  Then we moved to the beach and I don’t remember seeing it there.  It must not like salt air.

Spanish moss closeup

Spanish moss is not a true moss, and it is not a parasite.  It gets its moisture and nutrients from the air.  It can, however, cover a tree to the point that the tree becomes unable to produce enough food through photosynthesis.  And sometimes it can get so heavy that it can cause branches to break off the tree.  But to me, it’s a beautiful, mysterious part of the essence of the Deep South.

Eagle sculpture entitled “The Nest”

I also noticed the Eagle sculpture for the first time this visit.

There’s only so much I can say about Spanish moss, so I’ll just post pictures that I took today.

Tomorrow we plan to visit Ron’s brother in a nursing home near here.  Then we’ll head to Cotton Hill COE campground on Walter F. George Lake on the Georgia/Alabama line.

It’s a new campground for us, so we’re looking forward to spending several days there.

Curtain of Spanish moss

Spanish moss in sunlight

Spanish moss on tree

Veil of Spanish moss

Bird hotel

Checking the hotel out?

Lake Park, GA

Overnighting in Lake Park, GA

We are overnighting at Eagles Roost RV Park in Lake Park, GA tonight.  The park is beautiful and is one of our favorite places to stop.  But tonight it is almost empty here and the road noise from I-75 is louder than I ever remember it being before.

We stopped here so we could visit Ron’s older brother who is in a nursing home in Quitman, GA.

Empty campsites

The visit was heartbreaking.  His son has gotten rid of his vehicles and is renting his house to someone else, so Ron’s brother has no hope of ever returning home.

Don’t get me wrong.  His son loves him, but doesn’t believe that he will ever come home again so he is taking care of business as best he knows how.  But knowing that his things are all gone reinforces Ron’s brother’s loss of hope and paints a bleak future.  All he has to do all day in the nursing home is lie in bed and watch TV.

I wish that I were physically and emotionally able to take care of him.

Eagles’ Roost RV Park, Lake Park, FL

The Aliner at Eagles' Roost

The Aliner at Eagles' Roost

We stopped by Mom’s on the way out of town this morning.  Then we stopped to eat.  So by the time we got on the road, it was after 2:00.

We decided to stop right across the Georgia line at Eagles’ Roost RV Park.  It’s a beautiful place with huge old trees and a canopy of spanish moss.  Even though it is right off the interstate and we hear the traffic, it is not irritating.  Maybe the trees absorb some of the sound.

Spanish moss

Spanish moss

We did hear a very loud diesel engine rumbling on and on very near to us.  I finally peeked out to see what was causing the disturbance.  A wrecker service had towed a 5th wheel to a site across the street from us.  I sure hope they can get repaired and back on the road soon.

We are in no particular hurry to get back home.  We may just drive 3 or 4 hours tomorrow, then stop somewhere else again for the night.

Picnic pavilion area

Picnic pavilion area

dog walk area

Sunny's favorite spot -- the dog walk area

I am almost finished with my little tatted Christmas tree ornament.  This time it’s going very well, and I am pleased with it!  It will be used to decorate a Christmas card for my Mom.