Think about this ... "be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle"

Thursday, December 31, 2009

agriculture in Florida

So as we were leaving Brandon the other day (Monday it was, and this is Wednesday, well since it's 12:31 as I write I guess it is technically Thursday) I was thinking about how "neat" it was to be passing orange groves and green grass etc. knowing that many of those we love are ass deep in snow - some loving it for daily four or five mile runs (oh you crazy boy), some loving it for who knows why and some detesting it as we well understand - some having their cars stranded on ice three feet from entering their garages ..... different strokes for different folks and I sure in hell hope none of that was interpreted as patronizing because it was NOT meant that way, but we sure don't miss the snow times - people yes, snow no (what a poet I am) ...
Anyway, above in the top photo is one of the orange groves we passed as we were leaving Brandon the other day, the photo directly above is strawberry plants by the gazillion near ready to be picked while the photo below are beds by the thousand waiting for strawberry (I think) plants to go in (what say you Candy and Chuck?) These raised and covered beds remind me of a picture of my Connor taken a few years ago when he was in a strawberry field (oh Beatles fans rejoice!) in California - one of the greatest photos his "Grammie" has of him eating a juicy red strawberry with those big huge gorgeous blue eyes looking into the camera!!!
below are acres of strawberry fields behind the moss laden trees (remember my quirky favorite things down here in the south are tin roofs and moss laden trees)
About 40 or so miles east then south of Brandon we came across these tomato plants darned near close to harvesting (today's travel, about 120 miles south of this photo we came across tomato plants whose red fruit was laying on the ground - UGH, I was sure it should have been between two slices of toasted whole wheat with light mayo and salt and pepper rather than laying in the dirt - strangely enough no one consulted me however)
All along the way we crossed paths with these trucks loaded with oranges (Rick has a "joke" - term loosely used - about a duck, a bar and some oranges - ask him ONLY if you have ten minutes to listen to the foolish "joke" or you want to humor him by asking about said "joke")
And beef farms (or are they called ranches?). I am reminded every time we travel through these parts about the misconception - well mine anyway - about Florida. I had no idea until I was in these parts for the first time at least a few years ago, about the agriculture here - I mean up until that point if you mentioned Florida I would think of a famous rodent, then beaches and warm water - seriously, what would YOU think of?

Just as we were nearing Clewiston (on the south side of Lake Okeechobee - what is the stat about that lake .... anyone???) we came across this accident - it didn't appear that anyone was physically hurt, but there were several men (crop laborers) scrambling to pick up the thousands upon thousands of oranges that were rolling about the roadway. Although you can't see it from this photo, there appeared to be four large trailer trucks and a car involved in this crash - two of the trucks were pretty much destroyed, but it did not appear that there were personal injuries involved - hoping my observations were accurate.
So, the above photos were taken on Monday and it is now Thursday (well the wee hours of Thursday morning) and in our travels today (a whole additional post of the adventures and where's and whys of today and our late arrival) below is a corn field somewhere between Ft. Lauderdale and Homestead - I'm guessing around Dade City, but then again it really doesn't matter where the hell it is does it?!?!?

and below an inflatable Santa next to azaleas for sale at one of the many many nurseries along the road. I remembered from the last coupe years here that there were many nurseries offering orchids for $5. and I had wanted one but knew it was quite likely if I had one, it wouldn't survive much travel with us, but I did decide today that we really should have at least ONE this trip around! Bets anyone on how long it may survive under our care?

With all that said we finally arrived here in the Keys quite late this afternoon - a post for another time about our adventure getting here - but for now it is way way way past my bedtime - in fact I suspect that King Richard may be waking up any moment (which isn't bad, because he can take Sir Arlo out and start their day as I am ending mine)

Since we are back at MY lodge, we have signed up for providing the champagne for the New Years celebration - not that there is much chance that we shall see "the ball fall" (well it has been many many years since I've seen midnight on December 31st) so it isn't likely this year either ...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

just a quick "update"

So, the new camera arrived on Tuesday - yippee. We'd been debating buying this for months and finally I just got tired of the quality of the old old camera and really tired of chasing down the best price on the new one and said screw it just order the darn thing! Isn't it lovely!! Very exciting too isn't it!
We finally decided to get our Christmas tree out last Monday or Tuesday. Above, is how we bring home the tree, "full timer style" and "Florida style".

We had planned on leaving Brandon so many times, then extending so we never really got around to it but when we decided to extend yet again, it seemed we might as well do the tree thing. Christmases are so different now - what with no kids around and we don't "do" Christmas anymore between us, so what the heck. In fact it was here in Brandon (Goodwill, thank you very much) that we bought our funny little tree last year) and we have a couple "special" ornaments that people have given us along the way and two special ones from the stick house days. Plus, this beauty came "pre lit" and "pre decorated" - scary indeed!
We did the Yuengling tour the other day at their Tampa plant. Not too exciting - especially since there were only a few people working that day.
Yesterday we traveled up to Summerfield (85 miles or so north) to our friends Dana and Wendy. In the photo above Wendy is trying to explain to Arlo how "yummy" his food is and trying to convince him that she did indeed add some of Patches (their King Charles Cavalier) food to Arlo's food - I think he believed her too, because after this demonstration he did finally consent to eat his food, so I'm certain he believed her. We had a great afternoon - it was good to see our old friends (Rick and Dana go back many many years - to the Weymouth days!), and hear about their latest cruise - crazy people - they go on five or six cruises a year! Wendy and Dana also full timed in their motorhome for a couple years several years ago, but now own a gorgeously outstanding "stick" home on a huge plot of land that Arlo loves to run around and act like a nut on. Arlo is even very gentle with Patches, although Patches has little interest in Arlo (there is quite a size difference there - like about 80 pounds!)

Today will be spent getting things in travel mode in the coach since we truly are leaving Brandon in the morning headed to Clewiston for two nights then down to the Keys for the month of January. The coach is a total disaster area as a great deal of my time is consumed with a sewing project theses days and the floor is pretty much always covered with thread and fabric scraps - this project has me in panic mode as it has a serious time frame and I am way behind! When I had the latest diverticulosis bout a couple weeks ago for four days Rick told me he missed his "play pal" and wanted her back, he has been very good about his lack of "play pal" with this project for sure! His play pal will be back in a couple weeks I hope!

That's it for now - catch y'all from Clewiston, or more likely, from the Keys.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

holly jolly and merry merry

Here's wishing you all a delightful, wonderful, loving and joyous Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

the solution is ...

To put my foot in the toilet (seriously)! Such loving and compassionate advice I get - be it something clearly, having a field day on my foot or me throwing and going for days ... I won't continue with the history, as it may be clearer than the photo below!

What the heck is up with this (and I doubt like hell that the solution has anything to do with a toilet). With that said, I guess I won't be having a pedicure anytime soon huh!
On a lighter note, for me at least since not much is of light spirit at the moment - how about a 93 pound lap dog for y'all?
And the guy in the photo below was outside the local establishment where we watched the Patriots win today (an egret I do believe?) and he was still there when we came out three hours later, in the same location with the same stance (poor fella, imagine what HIS foot(s) may look like right about now, with probably no toilet to put it/them in even if he wanted to)
The other day we took Sir to yet another dog park in the area (there are several - what a GREAT concept). This park (Mango Dog Park in Seffner) had a few of these "wading" pools for the dogs and this awesome, large, docile English Bulldog named Savannah claimed this pool for herself - well she would have shared ......
but some of the other "kids" couldn't find room to be there with her and they weren't real happy about the purple turtle pool I guess! Check out who is last in line behind Savannah's sister (whose name I don't remember) and a chocolate lab named "Beau" I believe who I think was four months old, but perhaps I'm wrong by a few months - at any rate, Sir Beau is young and FULL of puppy energy and gave Sir Arlo a bit of a work out (read major work out)
This dog park even had a "time out" fenced area for those who don't play well with others .... hmmm interesting. I've been trying to upload a photo of said time out area, but not in the cards tonight ... and at the moment I am too "f'ugly" to continue. G'night all!

springs, peace and quiet (not to mention beauty)

Someone told us about Lithia Springs as a campground so we decided to take a "field trip" to check it out. OMG what a gorgeous place about eight miles down the road from where we are in Brandon. I was not able to find any good information to post as a link here so you'll just have to try to enlarge the photo above for what little info there is.

The next four photos are of one of the campsites there. This site was HUGE - the photo that has a bit of our car in it was looking back out towards the road from about 2/3 of the way into the site. The other photos were looking at the river that flows ever so slowly by this site. It looks like the water (Alafia River) is gross but it isn't ~ I think it looks that way because it is a reflection of the trees above and along the banks making the water look black. These sites are around $25./night I believe, but the rate for us seniors is $18./night for water and 30 am electric. We won't get over there to stay during this trip through the area but it a contender for another time (although we do love staying here at the Lodge, which is why we keep extending our stay here).

Isn't that a neat looking crooked old tree!

Below is the swimming area - which "they" say the water remains at a temperature range between 72 and 76 degrees. We didn't get into the water area as the gates were closed and locked when we were there.

The ripples in the water in the photo below are actually one of the springs bubbling up. That water is so clear we saw lots and lots of fish there - couldn't tell you what kind but they were there.
The remaining photos are just random shots of the park and the walking paths and picnic areas. The place was outstandingly gorgeous and peaceful. Isn't the moss terrific, as well as the various palm plants!

Hopefully the quality of my photos will improve by the end of the week - Rick ordered a new camera last night (which should arrive mid week) to replace the one that got destroyed (as well as my ankle and toe) when I fell when we were in Michigan.

Today we are off to a local "joint" to watch the Patriots vs the Bills. The place we are going to has a HUGE Buffalo following so I hope we get out of there alive!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Too much excitement

This post is to ward off comments on the fact that I've not done a post in nearly a week! So this is how exciting things are in the "RBU" these days ~

Isn't it lovely - our brand new faucet! PLUS, we installed it ourselves! The old one had been leaking for a couple months (remember we don't move too quickly with these projects).

So yesterday, off we went to the local Camping World, which just happens to be located at Lazy Days (the largest RV dealer in the country, I believe). What a place, oh my what a place. It is HUGE and "done right" - all coaches are open and you walk freely among the hundreds of them with NO sales pressure (what a concept) - if you want help there are phones throughout the property so you can call a sales person to come out and assist you (we didn't need any help!). We could have spent an entire day there, but of course we have the four hour window of Sir Arlo (he was home with the ac on and Jimmy Buffett in the cd player - it was too hot for him to accompany us yesterday).

So here are a couple of the coaches we looked at ~ this Phaeton and this used Alfa. We did look at several more, of course, but I don't have the information on them - when you go into a coach there are copies of the fact sheets for that particular coach that you can take so when you are on mental overload within the first 30 minutes you have something to refresh the tired brain cells. We didn't even get into any of the high end units - like I said, we had the four hour window.

So that's how exciting our day was yesterday - after that we may have to just chill out today OR have another productive day - or I wanted to take Sir to a county park down the road so he can, hopefully, go swimming, but it is going to be quite hot out today so we shall see.

We do have to get to the Post Office today and get tiny stockings in the mail.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I'm back among the walking, talking functioning population and raring to go ... so much to do, time lost to make up for and list of projects is growing, so I best keep with the program.

Here are the photos from our "outing" the other day. That is not Sir below, but his new friend - female (don't know her name) two years old, with a HUGE tongue, and she ran circles around Sir - she was just a peanut of a thing - less than half Sir's weight with these cute little white socks and a bundle of energy.

And below is Sir, and his two new friends. The brindle is a shepard/pit mix of some sort - not as full of energy as her boxer sister and a bit aloof but she was ready to play when called upon!
Now for the best ..... below is one of the dog beaches (I swear) in Tampa - this one is fenced and has a wash off/shampoo area - what a marvelous concept this whole place is - on land donated the the city from a county aviation authority (there is a very small airport next door)

and a yacht club across the parking lot!
That is the very short post for today - I'm off to the fabric store, which thankfully opened at 8:00 today so hopefully I can beat the onslaught of mall shoppers and be back in the coach being productive before the rest of the world gets headed out to shop till they drop (darn I don't miss that Christmas chaos one bit).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

bug off, bug-b-gone, bug away .....

Oh screw it ... I've been trying to upload a photo so at least this short post would have some colorful, peaceful content ... not gonna happen today.

So bug-b-gone, bug off and bug away ..... yeah, I started with some 24 hour puking bug Sunday morning - seemed to recover from that and moved on to a bout with the diverticulosis from there so not much pleasant to post about (just as an explanation for lack of posts)

We did finally venture out yesterday to take Sir to a dog park and dog beach in Tampa (pictures in an upcoming post) then we stopped at a great little place on Davis Island for lunch - lunch kicked in within ten minutes so we had to rush home .... so much for a day out!

The good side ~ I've lost five pounds!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

tough tough tough

But, as the saying goes "some one's got to do it".

It rained buckets yesterday (no tornado, just rain rain rain) and the sun came out today so him selves spent the afternoon chillin'! I've spend the majority of my time working on a major sewing project of late, so the boys do their own thing!

It was one of those days around here (the Perry, FL Elks Lodge). We are leaving tomorrow so usually (well often anyway) the day before we hit the road is sort of pack up day and shopping for "on the road stuff" which really means sandwich and snack stuff for a travel day (other than those travel days we don't do a lot of sandwiches). And water, it seems I am always buying water - cases of bottles and gallon jugs - go figure 'cause we have filtered water in the kitchen (which really ends up being double filtered) and the water coming into the coach is filtered outside .... hmmmmm...

So remember yesterdays post when I commented and posted a photo or two of the spanish moss - well Sir Arlo found it to be a new play toy today. There was lots and lots of it around on the ground today because of the strong winds yesterday. Sir spent so much time and energy throwing it up in the air and chasing it around - it was pretty comical to say the least. I wish I'd done a video or two.

Below are a few sunset photos I forgot I took when we were in Pensacola last week and found them when I loaded a group of photos from the camera to the laptop. You know me and sunset photos ....

These were taken the day after Thanksgiving when we went back out to the Elks Lodge at the beach (rather than the one we were staying at in Pensacola). Timing was perfect on the return when we stopped to let Sir play in the water (something he truly seems to have forgotten how to do - go figure that one - hope he remembers because within a couple weeks he'll be living at the water for the next six or so weeks).

So that's the post for today ... I will go put some things in travel position now.

We'll be in Brandon, FL at an Elks Lodge there for a few days. We were there last year and loved it - a lot of that had to do with a great bartender at the Lodge and a very social, friendly group there so we did some volunteering and truly enjoyed ourselves. Unfortunately that bartender is no longer there I've learned, but I'm sure it is still a friendly group - just missing a key player! That was also the Lodge that we got involved with their community Christmas last year which was terrific in many ways, hopefully that will happen again.

When we started our great adventure two plus years ago (can you believe we've been on the road for two years and two months!!!) we didn't want to stay at the same places repeatedly - we seem to be doing that more and more often these days - part of it is that I can not stand the thought of paying the price that private campgrounds (more often they refer to themselves as "resorts") charge when all we want is electric and water (sewer or a dump station would be great) hookups (we have occasionally done no hookups for a couple days - easy enough with the inverter and the generator, although the genny is too noisy for my liking! Lodges (Elks and/or Moose) offer us an opportunity to do some "giving back" as well. We have no need for the pools, shuffle board, boccie or any of the other "activities" that private campgrounds feel compelled to offer and charge dearly for, in addition to the fact that there are few, very few, in these parts that can accommodate us without the need for us to disconnect the trailer from the coach.... Off the soapbox I'll go now.

Good night all ..........