This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Monday, 13 March 2023

Friends and Park observations

Unbelievable its already a week ago that we went to our annual get-together with our cruising friends here in Florida. This time it was a small park next to the Rodman Dam and spillway where we met with Linda and Ed who live in Jacksonville, Florida. Linda writes a blog and you can read about it here, and Allayne and Dennis, who reside in Michigan, but were down in St. Augustine for a lengthy vacation. This is always fun meet up and there is so much for us all to catch up on each other’s lives that the time together just zooms by in record time. As we did in years before, we all contributed something for a tasty picnic lunch and there was enough food for another meal.

From our picnic shelter we had a nice view of a bunch of fishermen/women who sat by the Ocklawaha River that seemed to be really successful in catching Mullets that were put into large coolers. We got a kick out of the cormorants sitting in a row all looking in the same direction. By the way the route to the Rodman Dam took us through the Ocala National Forest and that drive alone is worth a trip.


After many weeks without any precipitation the weather forecast called for several rain showers today. In-between the showers Benno took that opportunity to wash down our travel trailer that had a lot of grime accumulated especially on the roof. Well, his timing was a little off as he came in pitch wet. The rain helped to rinse off the hard water that we have here in the park.


You know I always keep an eye out for any creatures when I walk around the pond. There is an old picnic table overlooking the pond and I must have walked by it a dozen times but never noticed the dead snake hanging from the table until a couple of days ago. I don’t know what demise the snake befell, but I guess it got stuck between the metal supports, poor thing.


As a Canadian I marvel at the different vegetation here in Florida. There are many flowers and shrubs in this park that do not grow in the colder Canadian climate. I walk by some cactus/cacti that have started to bloom and they are so pretty that I took a photo. Our next-door RV neighbor has one growing next to his RV shelter and said that it is edible. I recognize the pads as they are sold in Canada at the “Fresh-Co Supermarket” but I have never purchased nor eaten them.  Google told me that this cactus is called Nopalea Cochinellifera or a Cochineal Cactus. Amazingly after the blossoms turn into dark red pear-shaped fruit, they can be eaten peeled and sans the tough seeds raw or cooked and taste apparently like raspberries.  The pads may be peeled and eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable. 


But the most interesting part I read was that the Cochineal insect lives off this particular cactus. The red color used in some foods, cosmetic and fabric dyes (natural red 4, C.I. 75470, E120) is produced only by the female Cochineal insect. It takes approximately 75,000 dehydrated and crushed insects to make one pound of red dye. To learn more if you are interested click this link


That is it for me today and I thank you for dropping in again.

Sunday, 5 March 2023

The hot weather is getting to us

Well, I’m not really complaining, but with temps in the 80ties for days on end and not really cooling down very much during the night, we are moving a bit slower these days.


Just a couple of photos of the flea market as I could have taken hundreds

This horse head was made from bark

However, that didn’t keep us away from the weekly Monday’s big flea market in Webster last week. That place is so huge and we’ve been before, but it is always new because of the sheer volume of vendors in both the flea market area and next to it, divided by a fence, the open area of the swap meet for individuals selling their treasures. I never got to see everything before we headed home all tuckered out.


Since we are here in central Florida, we thought we would have perhaps a chance to get a glimpse in the sky of the next rocket launch of the NASA’s SpaceX launch that was scheduled for last week at the NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida. It was postponed for a couple of days but materialized then a half hour after midnight on March 2nd. I took that photo from outside our travel trailer here at the Snowbird RV Park at 12:43 a.m. It was visible for a few minutes until the lights faded.


Free popcorn, why not

Today we took advantage of the senior discount for the Sumter County Fair in Bushnell, FL. The admission of $1/person included 1 free popcorn & a drink. The fairgrounds are close to the Webster flea market and the area is a fair size for the carnival midway. There were livestock & animal shows and indoor exhibits of crafts from the locals. At the same time the Swap-O-Rama’s Webster Westside monthly Motorcycle Swap Meet and Car Show was in full swing basically right next to it. However, that area had it’s own admission cost of $5/person. We were early at the fairgrounds together with other seniors taking advantage of the cooler temps before the afternoon sweltering heat. The midway was just starting to open up when we were there, but we wouldn’t have gone on any rides anyway, so it was good that not too many folks were there yet.


Those balloons looked kind of deflated to me

There were some pretty good rides

Benno and the dogs posed for me!

There was a couple that posed for a funny portrait :-)

Not too many people around yet

Benno enjoying some popcorn

On one of my walks around the pond at our RV Park, I spotted Mrs. Turtle with one of her offspring’s keeping a good distance from the alligator that hung around the edges of the pond while in the meantime, perhaps it is Mr. Turtle, took a sunbath on a log. 


While taking our nature walks I spotted an apple size kind of gourd hanging from a branch in a shrub. Is it perhaps a wasp nest? If any of our readers knows what this is, let me know as it intrigued me and I don’t want to open or destroy it.

Thanks for dropping by again.

Thursday, 23 February 2023

Hot weather in Florida

It has now become hot here in Florida and apparently we are breaking records with these kinds of temperatures in February. Well, we got air-conditioning inside the travel trailer and outside in the shade with a little bit of a breeze, I find it tolerable to sit reading a book or looking into my iPad for more reading or playing a game.


An arial view of the pond with a picnic table. The RVs are in storage to the right.

The hot weather is turning the pond into a swamp

In a previous post I had shown you a photo of that little pond at the outer edge of this RV Park and an old sign warning not to feed the alligators. Of course there are no large alligators there, the management of the park would have them removed, but you never know. Most of the residents here do not even walk that way, but we dog owners do like to stroll around it and take the trail further down in-between fields and along a little creek or drainage canal towards the country road 48. At first sight it appears that there isn’t much to see there and it does look a bit swampy at some places. At the beginning of this month I had by chance come across a turtle just as she was covering up the hole where she had laid her eggs. Today I went there without our dogs just to see if Mrs. Turtle was around for another photo op. She was not, but have a look what I came across, although I had to round the pond three times to capture the wildlife within it. At the first rounding I noticed this fellow, but it took a quick dive being spooked by my surprised move of raising the camera. At the second rounding it just poked the head out the water and dove quickly back in. Once more I did a third rounding and remembered the TV series “Seals” and snuck up on him like the “Special Forces” through the bush and took the shot (with the camera). Below the picture of Mister “Taste like Chicken” 


He is just a small gator at about 2+ feet

I spotted fish in the pond (centre of the photo)

A couple of Common Moorhen

This will be a nice water lily when in full bloom

A Sandhill Crane looking for food. He flew off as soon as he saw me.

Last Monday Benno was on the hunt for another edition from Vince Flynn, who is one of his favorite authors and the best way to find one was to head over to the Monday Flee Market at the Sumpter County Fairgrounds, Rte. 471. This Flea Market is smaller than the one in Webster, although still a plenty large area. The Webster Flea Market lies just a few miles further south on the same route. We knew of a lady in one of the stalls that has all her books sorted by authors so you don’t have to riffle through endless piles of books and Benno found one of the series he hadn’t read before, so it was a success. Meanwhile I wandered around to look at things. Here are a few photos of what my eyes spotted while browsing the merchandise.


Look at this little piggy. Isn't it sweet!

I didn't ask how much they wanted for the Lynx

This vendor lady showed me her Chihuahua

Perhaps next Monday we will head over to Webster to peruse the vendors at the Flea Market if the weather is not too hot. We’ll see how it goes.

Thanks for dropping in again.

Tuesday, 14 February 2023

Valentines Day Surprise!

Yalaha Bakery A German Bakery Like No Other!

That said the sign above the entrance door and is printed on the sticker of our takeout box from the"Yalaha Bakery". We came across this little treasure unexpectedly today from our trip to Lowes in Tavares here in Florida.


Benno had been sourcing a 5 lb. propane bottle to use instead the 20 lb. one that we use for our barbecue as it is easier for handling and that Lowes store in Tavares apparently had them in stock, which turned out not to be the case as the last one had left the store before we got there. However the drive was very scenic and we enjoyed the outing. On our return trip a bunch of veterans on motorcycles were in front of us on the winding road and the whole group suddenly turned into a driveway with a German flag at its entrance. We decided to follow them to find out what kind of establishment this was.


There was some shade parking that we took advantage of since we had the dogs with us. Next to the building was an inviting looking courtyard/beer garden with tables and chairs. As we came through the double entrance door a massive looking display counter that ran almost the entire length of the room greeted us. 

You should have seen our excited expressions as we eyed their spread-out pastries and goodies behind the glass. In the next room they had a deli section for sandwiches and hot meals with indoors seating and every single table was occupied with patrons having lunch. Actually they were stuffing themselves.


Coming across such a nice European Bakery, and it happened to be Valentines Day also, we decided to treat ourselves to a piece of pastry each to take home.

Faced with so many choices we had a hard time to choose as they all were tempting. Their menu in the deli read like from a real German restaurant and I am sure that the meals were delicious. They sure looked very appetizing. 


On the property adjacent to the bakery was a Mennonite run moonshine distillery and small store offering homemade preserves, hot pot pies, souvenirs and of course moonshine of various flavors. All gluten free.


Yes, I did taste test the blueberry moonshine mixed with lemonade. Good thing the glass was small, as it appeared to me very potent!


Back home at the RV Park Benno and I indulged us with the cakes from the Yalaha Bakery that joined the chocolates and flowers on the table I had gotten from Benno this morning.


Tomorrow and Thursday will be pretty hot here and I am planning on sitting outside in the shade with some good books from Michael Connolly that I purchased at the flea market. Thanks for dropping by again.