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.