"It is in the wild places, where the edge of the earth meets the corners of the sky, the human spirit is fed." Art Wolf

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Brief Stop in Georgia

The dogs and I have started our trip north.  We headed up I-95 and made it as far as Darien, GA, so that we could have a short visit with Lori and her husband Doc.   Lori's get-together in PA, back in 2009 was the first WomenRV GTG that I attended. From there it was a GTG in Nashville the rest is history.

I stayed at the RV park where Lori and Doc have their "southern" 5th wheel permanently parked. After full-timing, work camping and traveling for over 7 years they now split there time between north and south.  Their other 5th wheel is stored up in PA for their summer trips to visit family.  And that is one way full-time RVers slow down.

While visiting I headed off one afternoon to visit the King George Fort.  It was only after that I realized that I didn't take any pictures of the old fort itself.  It just didn't seem as interesting as the salt marshes and what the soldiers might have seen looking out over the lands.

This is a picture of the small Highlander's cottage.    It made my RV look spacious.

The fencing won't be keeping the chickens safe tonight.

May need to rethink the moat. 

Thinking these ropes were added for the safety of the tourist and not the soldiers.

memories of summer camp.....

Enjoying the purchase of gas outside of Florida and I'm not even in SC, yet!

One day Lori and I rode over to take a tour of the Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation and learn all everyone needs to know about rice growing in South Carolina Low Country.

Thought of Sarah when we got a look at a small collection of the Family's silver. (Five Generations worth)


And, again, apparently I was more interested in the Live Oaks and the Spanish Moss than the old house. It was an old wood frame home with all the family furnishings that were in use when that last sister passed away in 1973 well into her 80's.   As the ranger who took us through the house reminded us, the "big" houses of the planter families were on the stately streets of Savannah.   And well, I really like trees.....

I am currently parked on an old South Carolina State Park near Columbia.  It is very convenient to I-77, but I am thinking back to conversations Brenda and I had back in Florida as we evaluated whether or not she would want to tow her 5th wheels down the twisty narrow campground roads between trees on both side.   I am thinking that she better not try this one!   The dogs heard me muttering until I found a site that looked level and possible to back into with out trees jumping in front of the rig......

On to Charlotte, NC......and driveway camping tomorrow.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

This Year's Silver River Adventures

The days here in Florida are dwindling down to the last.  We will be slowly making our way back north starting tomorrow....very slowly.  I start work on Wednesday, March 2, so I have time to visit at some stops along the way and adjust the last bit depending upon the weather reports at the time.

Before heading off to Silver River one day with Brenda I drove up to Melrose to have lunch with Leslie Lingenfelter Skeans, a co-worker from 40 years ago when I started teaching.  I got to visit her small bit of Florida paradise after a taste lunch.  Oh, the interesting paths our lives take through the years.   Visiting relatives and friends scattered around the states is a wonderful benefit of traveling in a MH.

The next day Brenda and I headed over to Silver River so that Brenda could experience another kayaking practice and see why the Silver River calls Liz back again and again each year.

Brenda took command of the Sea Eagle "Fast Track" and I got to carry the 14 pound Hornbeck down to the water for my third voyage.  

Mama Osprey sitting on the nest while Papa flew in and out with treats for her.

Another day after my laundry was done Brenda suggested a drive over to take a look at Manatee Springs and the adjacent state campground.  There were several deer munching around the parking lot as we arrived.

The campground had many nice sites but the springs were not really what either of us expected. We got to spot a few manatees in the springs themselves but that lower section of the Suwanee River that it runs directly into is larger that either of us would have wanted to paddle.  The day trip without kayaks worked out well enough.   It was cool enough that there were only two bathers in the springs. One was swimming laps and the other was standing out of the water keeping her eye on the snake swimming through the swimming area.

I am not sure that the young woman even bothered to go back into the water.

We ourselves walked on down the boardwalk towards the river.  There were at least a 1/2 dozen manatees or more out in the main spring.  

Three out of four dogs got a bath yesterday and all four had a spa day for nails this afternoon.  I would have said they "enjoyed" a spa day but we all know it was not their choice of activities.   The dog bedding all sat out in the afternoon sun and the rig is smelling much fresher.  Tomorrow will be a slow start and easy drive to a campground in southern Georgia that a friend and her husband call their winter home.   The dogs will enjoy checking out new trails and roads.....

Sunday, February 7, 2016

McIntosh Area Adventures

I already threw a couple of Josef's pictures up on Facebook after he had his excellent adventure at the nearby Ocala Dog Show last week.  He collected a couple more Reserve wins but managed take a Best Of Breed over two specials that gave him his first win and made it a major win.   He really does look like a giant puppy and his body is like an adolescence's but so far his potential is getting noticed. This week he has just practiced being a "walk around town" dog and is getting pretty excellent at that.

After the Ocala Dog Shows were over the puppers and I headed over to the campground in McIntosh, pictures of which were posted last year.  It took a couple of days for the wind to die down but I did finally get to take the Hornbeck off the Honda and put it n the water.  The campground has tried to keep the channel "cut" though the vegetation in this end of the lake so boats can get in and out. It took me a while but I did find the channel. This end has about 20 feet of loose floating plants to paddle through but then I was able to paddle all the way to open water.  The kayak worked just fine.

The trees out on the island held a pretty sight.

He let me paddle right up next to him, or should I say right below him.

A couple days later I aired up the Sea Eagle and Brenda got a taste of kayaking.  It was windier today so we didn't go too far.  The wind had blown the loose vegetation around enough to close any of the channels that had been cleared and, well, it just isn't as much fun to be out on an open lake in the wind.  Brenda at least got to figure out that she could get into and out of the kayak, as long as no one had a video camera.  I am hoping that the winds die down enough next week to take the kayaks over to Silver River.   

Sarah, Brenda and I did spend Friday walking around the Ocala RV Show. We all saw several units that we didn't want and those of you familiar with RV shopping realize that is is just as important to identify what you don't want in the process of finding the unit that works for you.   I was just looking around and reassuring myself that I am happy with the rig I have.  Brenda and Sarah are actively looking for alternatives for what they have.

Saturday, Brenda and Sarah both joined me for a visit to the Gypsy Gold Farm, Home of the Gypsy Vanner Horses.   I found their web site last year and didn't go.  This year I decided to treat myself.  I have a friend from the dog show world that is now in horses and frequently posts pictures of beautiful pictures.  Some of thee pictures have been of Gypsy Vanners.

The tour is $20 for seniors and runs for two hours. The first 45 minutes or so is a presentation of the history of the Gypsy Vanner Breed.  How the breed was first noticed in the 1990's and the lengthy process of identifying the horses as an establish breed.  Quality well bred horses had existed within the British "Traveler's" community but since the community was s separate and isolated from mainstream society no one had taken notice.    The presentation was as much a history of the breed as it was an overview of the "Gypsy" or "Traveler" community nationally.

Who doesn't appreciate a fine barn?

Here in Florida the horses spend most of their time out in the paddocks.

This is King William, one of their breeding stallions.  He also spends most of his days out in a paddock but twice a week for tour days he comes up to the barn, gets a bath and spa treatment and waits around in his stall to come out and give the tourist an up close and personal meet and greet.   Sarah is on the left.

After listening to the journey of how the breed was identified, named and breeding stock was bought and brought to the US, our group headed out to the paddocks to meet some of the other horses and listen to more stories.

The horses all seem to know "tour day" and make their way quickly over to the fence to meet and get some treats.

Brenda meeting one of the mares.   The breed is known for its beauty but also for its temperament. As was explained, in the "traveler' communities often the children were sent out to move the horses, mares and stallions) around for more grazing.  The Gypsy community is strongly centered around family. They bred horses that they could trust around their children.

Before 2008 and the bottom dropped out of the market, Mule Mom's were used to increase the number of foals that could be raised in one year by the use of embryo implantation. Mules are sterile but the rest of their equipment works just fine and provide a loving, hearty environment for the babies.    Mammoth Mules are used here anyway.  I could have taken several of them home with me.  

Another one of the breeding stallions.

Mother and daughter.....

 Gypsy Vanners, here in the US anyway, are classified into three sizes by how many hands they are. None of the are huge when you think of most of the draft breeds.  Their bodies are very compact and powerful looking and do remind you of their draft horse back ground but the extensive feathering is a distinctive part of the breed as is a more refined head than most of the draft breeds carry.   

There are Gypsy Vanners out there competing successfully in shows for carriage and wagons teams and some are performing well in dressage competitions.    It was also admitted that many are expensive horses/ponies for a rich family's son or daughter.  

Most of the horses carry the typical colors but they come in solids also.  Another breeding stallion.

The farm's donkey, Donki-hoty. She runs free on the grounds or at her age and conditions, I doubt that she is running many places.    

We stopped by to visit three babies.  Yearlings and two year olds.   The horses continue to grow until they are 4 or 5.

"Hi lady, you are nice to come up and see me but looks like the group is down there. There might be treats!"

Another 2 year old walking down to meet us.

They are everywhere....

Back to the barn and photo opportunity time with King Williams.....