Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Safari Days

Sometimes “A man has to do, what a man has to do”. It seems that while we were away on our last little trip that we have had an explosion in the population of wild hogs around our place. Our place is just a couple of acres, but we are surrounded by hundreds a’ acres to the south and close to fifty to the north and west. They have started rootin’ up the grass all around the place, so it’s time to do somethin’. My son works nights and this ol’ fella aint settin’ up all night to try an shoot em’, so were goin’ another route.

My nephew brought over a trap to see if they could catch some to thin em’ out.

After a short walk in the woods, it looks like they got a superhighway runnin’ through there, not 40’ from where the woods start. So their plan is to set the trap in a spot along the their trail and see what happens. First they had to get some bait. Corn would do, and they also made some mash with corn and beer in a bucket coverin’ it with a garbage bag. Set in the sun, the beer and corn would start to ferment and blow the garbage bag up with gas from the process, signalin’ it was ready. Then they’ll put some of the stinkin’, smellin’ mash out in the trap to attract the little critters. There seems to be, at least, one large one runnin’ through and a bunch of smaller ones, judgin’ by the signs we seein’. The idea is to try an catch some of the smaller ones to pen up and raise on corn.

While the mash was brewin’, they decided to throw out some corn to see if they were comin’ through regular. The next mornin’ it looked like some one vacuumed the ground. Not one speck of corn to be seen anywhere. Then it was time to set the trap so they carried it into the woods last night and baited it.

Well this was the results this mornin’.

This is probably the ‘Boar’ hog that we been seein’ track on, cause he’s got so good size feet on him. I’m not a good judge but the boys figure him to be 225-250 lbs. He’s about two foot wide when you get up above him an look down.

So now you’ve trapped em’ what now? Well they needed to move him for fear he’d dig out from under the trap as it only has a partial floor in it. “Good Luck”! This is one worked up ‘Boar Hog’ that aint happy to be in that cage. So they drop a rope with a loop through the cage and get him around the snout, then open the door while my son’s keepin’ tight on the rope. My nephew has to grab ‘em by the back feet and the two of them work him out of the cage. After gettin’ him out, they tie off the rope on a tree, while the nephew holds on. They move the cage out of the woods, and then it’s time to move Mr. Piggy back into the cage that has been set on a big rubber stall mat, so’s he can’t dig out. The boys found someone to take the pig and he’ll be here this afternoon to pick him up. Almost the end of the story for today, we’ll see what the next few days bring with this continuing saga.

Hope to see Ya down the road as we’re ‘Dancin on the Wind’

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Road Home - February 20, 2008

Today our hosts are leaving us early, Ron to return to work and Susie going to a monthly meeting of her Red Hat chapter. We said our goodbyes and had some breakfast, pulled up stakes, folded our tent and we’re off. Today we must return to home as Linda’s Aunt & Uncle are due to arrive for their yearly visit with us tomorrow. Our wings will be clipped for the next month as we will be entertaining family.

We decided to stop at Lake Arbukle Park to see who was staying there. We decided to do some exploring and take some back roads to the park and happened upon a cow delivering her calf along the way. Two years ago we lived here for most of the winter and made lots of friends from all over the U.S. As it turned out, George and Della were goin’ out there for the same reason and were spendin’ the night. Upon arrival the first couple we spy are friends from Wisconsin who we spent some time with in the Black Hills this summer. Noel and Barb are wonderful people and we love to visit with them and “Francine” their pooch. It seems they just arrived on Sunday for a few weeks, of course we invited them to our ‘Campground’ to visit. Barb’s brother and his wife are camped next to them and George and Della arrived shortly to fill out the crew. We all sat and had lunch together. There were several others to visit, Avalene and Levon, who run the campground, Jeanette, their sister-in-law and Doug and Shiela. Unfortunately friends Norma, Albert and daughter Kelly were gone to Plant City for the day and Marge and Odean, of Tennessee were gone as well that day. Well we visited as long as we dared knowing we had company on the way and Linda having dance practice tonight, so on down the road we went.

After traveling some 25 or 30 miles I realized that we had left our folding chairs back at the park where we had lunch. I made a quick call to George to take our chairs with them as we may get together in March for the next Shuttle launch.

Our arrival at home was a surprise to find our company had already arrived, when they weren’t expected for another day. Well were home for now!

See Ya down the road as were Dancin’ on the Wind.

Critter Creek Tour Febuary 19, 2008

Today was the day to go to Critter Creek Mixed Media Farm. The caretaker had invited us back for a tour of the farm in the morning. We were supposed to be there at 9 or 10 am, but we ran a little late and didn’t make it there until 10:30am. When we arrived, Danny, the caretaker took me in his golf cart and Susie, Ron & Linda followed in theirs. First animal he pointed out was a miniature horse they had just acquired for $175,000.00 for breeding, OooWeee….. talk about some expensive horse flesh, I’ve seen dogs bigger than this horse. Then it was off to the Aviary to see their birds. They have many, many varieties of Peacocks, Pheasants, Quail & Chickens, so’s I couldn’t keep all the names straight, but I’ll post a few picture anyway.

Then we were off to see “Zeus” their miniature Brahma bull. Danny had told us Zeus stood only about 34” tall with a hump on his back another 12” high. Well we rounded up all of the Zebu miniature cattle, but never did locate “Zeus”, he must have been far of in the back pasture. In roundin’ up all the cattle, “Noble” the Pecheron and two of their Appaloosa’s came a runnin’. No I guess shouldn’t say runnin’, cause Danny says “Noble” don’t like to run. But him just crossin’ the ground at his hurried gate he “Thumps” the ground with his massive hooves. Noble stands 181/2 hands and weighs 2400lbs.

We then toured the hatchery and saw baby quail, pheasants & emu. My pictures here were a flop so I’m not a postin’ any from the hatchery. Danny gave Linda an Emu egg that he’d blown out, that we’ll give to our granddaughter.

We then visited a few of the Mini horses in the stable, but most were out in the pastures.

We thanked Danny for the time he spent with us and were on our way. Back at our hosts place, we all dined on Spaghetti Linda had made up before we left home. She had made up a few dinners to bring with us so Susie wouldn’t be burdened with feeding us, but more importantly we could spend more time together. Susie & Ron had to attend a class this evening, so we just watched some TV and went off to bed cause tomorrow we leave for home.

See Ya down the road as were Dancin’ on the Wind

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Day With Friends - February 18, 2008

Well we‘ve made it to our friends, Susie & Ron’s place in central Florida for the next couple a days. They’ve got e'm a nice little place, 14 acres, to roam around on. Today we took us a little tour of their lil rancho’ an “We were impressed”. They are a very close family and have many family gatherings, in the past normally in public parks & campgrounds. But now they have all this room and they’re making it into a place that the family loves to visit. They’ve added two 30 amp hookups in the “Gathering” area for those with RV’s that come, there’s a Dinin’ area, with ample seatin’ for family and friends under a large metal roof, a game room buildin’ with TV, pool table, jukebox, air hockey and all sorts of other amusements to pass yer time, a shed with extra campin’ gear that visitors might need, of course there’s also a campfire circle for everyone to gather around at night. “Purty nice spread”.

After some lunch and dodgin’ the weather with a passin’ front comin’ thru, Susie took us for a short ride down the road apiece to a miniature horse farm. Some of the lil’ guy’s were just wanderin’ around on the property like dogs in someone’s yard, no gates, no corral, just wanderin’ wherever they was goin’. The caretaker came out and we spoke with him about some of the older lookin’ horses that were layin’ about the drive and found out they were not old just had bad legs due to the genetics involved in breeding the miniatures.

He also showed us a Pecheron, a draft horse that stands 18 ½ hands tall.

He said he had to go but if we came back tomorrow at 9 or 10 in the morning he would give us a tour of the entire farm, miniature cattle, miniature Brahma bulls, emu’s and an 11,000 square foot aviary . So we'll wait for better weather tomorrow and take him up on his offer of a tour, we can’t wait.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Some Prepin' for a Visit - February 17,2008

Some friends of ours moved across the state about two years ago now, and we figur’ it’s high time we got over there an saw them and there little ranch. Susie and Ron have invited us again & again but we’ve never seemed to be able to make it. Well enough is enough! Aint’ we retard’? Caint’ we go and do as we please? Well the last time Linda saw Susie, she told her we’d like to come and see their new digs, Susie’s reply, “I’ll believe it when I see it”. Well get ready girl cause “Here we come”.

Yesterday I spent the morning washin’ the truck and getting it Prim and Proper. Best of my recollectin’, it’s been washed at last once or twice since we come back from out west but it needed a bath badly. That’s a benefit of livin’ where you don’t have harsh winter weather, and havin’ a white truck, you don’t have to wash it as often. After some lunch we both took on washin the ‘Lance’. Them little bugs that commit “Hari Kari” on the front are the hardest to remove. The one’s on the cabover are bad, but the one’s that plant themselves behind the cab of the truck, I think were tyin to homestead when they expired. We finally got her cleaned up and now truck and camper have been reunited.

Linda has a show to participate in at the local Moose lodge this evening and then we’ll be “Dancin’ on the Wind” across the state. Linda is a ‘Clogger’, and dances on an exhibition team with our local club, the “Kickin’ Country Cloggers”. Both of us are ‘Certified Instructors’ but I’ve gone into retirement there too. I have had recurring foot problems and when it comes down to walkin’or hikin’ here or out in the ‘Shinin’ Mountains’, dancin’ just gonna have to take second fiddle.

Well that’s all for now. We’ll see what kind a trouble we can get into at Susie and Ron’s tomorrow.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Day of Excitement and Wonder February 7, 2008

Well we started our day with a nice breakfast and the four of us were on the road. We all jumped into George & Della's truck for the ride up the coast to get us close to the shuttle launch site. I have watched the shuttles since the program began but always from somewhere's around home. Night launches are spectacular from our house since we are surrounded by acreage and no lights of "Suburbia' to affect the viewing. We can actually see the glow seconds after the shuttles engines ignite on the ground.
So with friends expecting us to "Be in the Know" as far as where to go, I've never felt more in the dark. But I knuckled down and with the help of my trusty laptop and DeLorme Street Atlas we were off. We traveled up further than Linda felt we should go risking closed roads and massive crowds, Oh the unknown! I also neglected to say that NASA was predicting only a 30% probability of shootin' this thing off because there was a cold front comin' down and a good chance for high winds and thunderstorms. Either of which could cancel the launch, not even considerin' low ceilings shuttin' things down. But the weather held. This is Florida, "Wait five minutes the weather will change" is the norm.
We drove to US Hwy 1 and found the crowds were not as bad as anticipated. After seeing cars parked everywhere and a couple of lots charging to park, George hung a U turn and went back to check out a resturant lot. "Way to go George". Ten dollars to park and they took it off your bill if you ate at the resturant. So now we got a front row seat directly accross from the launchpad and set up our chairs and tables. The people in front of us where RV'ers from Michigan and came down from Daytona for the day.

Lots of Folks

While we waited for the launch time we ordered hot dogs from the resturant and ate them in our seats.

That's Yours Truly on the left, Della seated center George, right and Linda standing.

When the appointed time arrived everyone was on their feet and this was the results of a very questionable day.


Lift Off

Another Successful Launch

It was awe inspiring to see this wonder of modern science from such a vanatge point. Just a few decades ago this was all science fiction and now it's not only reality it's borderin' on routine. Well the ride home was dull compared to that, even with all the traffic. Our guests are leaving in the morn' to go home, but with a spectacular memory of our trip today.

See ya down the road as we're "Dancin' on the Wind"

Travel Day Home - February 6, 2008

I'm sorry but I'm fallin' behind on my posts so's I'm gonna try daten' my entries so they correspond with activities of that day rather than the day posted.

It was a pretty much a travel day to home today. We had recieved a call from our good friends Della & George Dixon of Indiana, that they would like to come over to the coast to watch the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on the 7th. They're wintering in Sebring, Florida this year and would bring their Lance camper over and meet us at our house. On our way from Ocala we stopped at the Farmers Market outside DeLand, FL. Seems they hold a market every Wednesday and we thought we'd give it a look see. There's alot of produce and fruit, some are growers some are just resellers. So's as we're moseyin' thru we pick up some veggies and a bag of Honeybell Tangelos, sure are sweet. We found that a portion of the market is Flea Market and skipped that part cause we didn't have that much time to spend here, maybe we'll make it back this way and try again. Since we were stopped we decided to have lunch before hittin' the road again.

We drove the last 150 miles to home and found George & Della already setup in our backyard. I installed a 30 amp and a 20 amp service out there for our two RV's. So when folks come by now they can just hookup their electric & water and they're right at home. our backyard is about 3/4 of an acre so there's plenty of room to manuver. After handshakes & hugs we settled in for some "Catchin' Up". Dinner was shared leftovers, ours and theirs. Some more good visitin' and a plan for tommorrow and we were off to bed.

See ya down the road as we're "Dancin' on the Wind"

A Long Trip and Some Disappointment - February 4&5, 2008

Well we were up early Monday morning due to the drip, drip, drip on the roof. We thought that it was trying hard to rain from about 5AM but when we finally rolled out we saw the fog was so thick we couldn’t safely go on down the road just yet. When the sun came out if began to whittle away at the fog and by 9:30 we were rolling along. Just as soon as we get moving we need to make a quick stop at Wally World for some supplies and then were off again. We had a ways to go to get to St George Island State Park, Linda wanted to check this one out as we had heard good reports on it. You’d never know it but 300 miles later, I’m still behind the wheel and Linda tells me were almost there. That’s a long day in the saddle follerin’ the yeller’ line fer some folks that don’t make 50 miles some days.
Along the way we made a stop at the site of Fort Gadsden, 3 miles off Route 65, in the Apalachicola National Forest. The fort was built by the British, on the banks of the Apalachicola River, for the purpose of recruiting Seminole Indians to fight against the Americans and disrupt river traffic supplying them. The fort was destroyed by a force led by Andrew Jackson, when early in the skirmish a cannon round landed in the forts magazine. Some 270 defenders were killed instantly and all other survivors wounded except 3 lucky souls, “Nice shootin’ Andy”.
The site was a little visited Gem in the middle of the wilderness of the forest.
When we got to St. George they had one site left but some folks were out checkin’ it out we were allowed to drive the 4 miles to the CG and look at the site in case they didn’t take it. That 4 miles took forever. Now I can see reasonable speed limits in a park but 25MPH for 4 miles to the campground? Glad we weren’t goin’ the 9 miles to the end of the park. We didn’t find the campground to our liking, I guess we had the idea that it would be camping on the beach. It wasn’t. When you live in this place many call a ‘Paradise”, you develop certain preconceived notions on the way some things should be.
What we expected was more like what we found At St. Joe Peninsula or Fort Clinch State Parks, with the beach out your window. After some quick discussion, we figured to go back to Ochlocknee River where we stayed Friday. I can see there’s no R&R this day!
At Ochlocknee we caught “Ranger Linda” just closing the office for the night and told her we’d see her in the mornin’ to settle up. We chose the same site we had on the river last time and settled in. After a dinner of ‘Linda’s Garlic and Parmesan Chicken Tenders’ (Mmmm, Mmmm), we sat by the campfire till it was time to shower and turn in.
February 5, 2008
After breakfast we broke camp, settled up with the state and we were off down the road towards home. We couldn’t decide whether to go SE to Ocala or south retracing our route coming up, but Ocala won out. For tonight’s stay we chose a PA park, Wandering Oaks (appropriate name), at $12.50 for a full hookup.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Blue Skies and Brrr…….

Wake up weather 30 degrees and cloudless blue skies. The “Weather Guesser” hit way off the mark again, had maybe 10 minutes of ‘trickle’ all night and day. That front come thru moving like “a cat on a porch full a rockers at the old folks home”, Swoosh.

After breakfast we headed up the west coast, a quick stop at Wally World for some fixins’, then over along the “Big Bend” of the “Sunshine State”. Made a stop at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, lots of wading birds and a pair of bald eagles perched in a tree (not quick enough with the camera).

St. Marks Lighthouse

Decided to spend the night at “Ochlocknee River State Park”, rated one of Florida’s Best Parks, two times. The park has a beautiful lil’ campground, 30 sites, heavily wooded, riverfront sites and $16.35 a night including tax.

Here are some shots of the river.

The next morning around the point at Apalachicola, stopped to get some shrimp to cook for dinner. The next stop was Crestview, FL and the office of Passport America to renew our membership. Rushing like mad to get there before they close at 4PM, it's 3:45 and we have 10 miles to go. So at Linda's urging I decide to call them, when I look at the phone it's 2:45, we've entered the Central Time Zone. No rushing needed. We got to the office with 50 minutes to spare and had a nice visit with the young lady in their office. We renewed for 5 years, cost $179 (38.80/year). So for the price of five nights stay at a medium priced RV park, we get five years of 1/2 price camping.

Then on to our destination for tonite, Blackwater River State Forest.
Nice little camp spot on Hurricane Lake. Linda cooked up those shrimp, we dipped 'em in garlic butter, Mmmm Mmmm good. Sat by the campfire to unwind for the evening and then turned in for the night.

Our camp spot.
The view out our window.
Sunday, it’s Lindas B-Day, we were up early had our breakfast and off to explore some more camp spots in Blackwater River State Forest and then up the road 20 miles or so to Conecuh National Forest to Open Pond campground there, very nice. Then its off to Pensacola to “The Fish House” for dinner. We both had the world famous, Grits a’ Ya Ya, delicious. We really enjoyed the meal.
Tonite (Sunday) we are staying a Big Lagoon State Park near Pensacola. Tommorrow we're haulin' our ashes down to St. George Island State Park for some R&R, so says Linda.
Sorry but up in this part of the state it's difficult to get a signal for the "aircard" so my posts will come when I have signal (I really need to get an amplifed antenna).
See ya down the road as we're 'Dancin' On The Wind'