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.
A fun time for sure and the Oklawaha was pretty. What is beautiful cactus specimen with all the flowers. I've seen the cactus pads in Publix before but never tried them. All cleaned up for your drive north!ReplyDelete
I bet traveling with a kayak on the Oklawaha would be nice too and there was a launching ramp right at the park.Delete
Ummm yes I've tried that cactus. Once was enough. Maybe it's just too healthy for me. Didn't know about the insects used to make dye however. That's pretty fascinating!! Love seeing those guys fish. Apparently they are biting!ReplyDelete
Thanks for taste testing the pads so now I don't have to :-) I am now reading the ingredients on food packaging where red color was used!Delete
Looks like a great time with your cruising friends. Love the pictures of the cacti.ReplyDelete
Its always nice to spend some time with friends and we don't do it often enough.Delete
Wow. We too like looking at different plants, animals and birds from different regions. What interesting things about that cactus!ReplyDelete
Our world is full of wonders, we just have to look for them.Delete
Great fun meeting with your friends.ReplyDelete
Didn't like seeing the snake, dead or alive, haha, but loved seeing the flowering cactus.
Actually I am a bit squeamish about snakes but this poor thing touched my heart and I would have tried to help it get off.Delete
Sounds like a fun time getting together with friends and doing some catching up. Interesting about that cactus and it is a pretty one. Did not know that about that insect and red dye and now I am wondering what it could be in that I eat.ReplyDelete
Deb as is noted in the link this dye could also mean (all natural) in foods and may be better than chemical dyes.Delete