Although 2013 has been a good year for Chris and Dixie and I, we know many people who will be thankful to welcome in 2014. Some have lost life partners, others have had accidents or suffered through side effects from surgery or other health problems, many around the world lost everything to bizarre weather and our home province of Ontario is still reeling after a mammoth ice storm. On the other hand, birthdays, marriages, births, graduations, promotions, travel and other positive occasions were celebrated.
On December 31, raise a toast to life!
We said we’d be back in Ontario for Christmas this year but with the earlier than normal deep snow drifts, we decided to be safe, spare some expense and change our plans. The B&B we had booked was without electricity over Christmas and everyone is aware of the wrath of the ice storm that broke hundreds of trees and power lines and left thousands of people without heat, lights or “cookers” and communication devices for over a week. We are truly thankful that we did not venture north. We ended up in a great Escapees Park called Sumter Oaks RV in Bushnell, Florida. Our patio looks out onto a pasture and Live Oak trees decorated with Spanish Moss. We are entertained daily by seven gorgeous donkeys. They love to meet and greet the campers, especially if they come bearing carrots. Every morning they take a dust bath, rolling in the sand and kicking up their feet. Their loud braying is comical as the younger ones try to stir up some action. Many folks have their Christmas decorations up and an evening stroll takes us past many twinkling trees, lights and even an opossum or two. A hiking trail close by provides miles of easy walking along an old railway line. After the cold conditions we’ve been in until now, it is a pleasure to see blooms and butterflies again.
There are four Whooping Cranes who stroll about the camp and establish their territory with clamorous clacking of their sizable beaks. The bright red patch on their heads appears to be feathers but is actually red skin. A large Cypress Swamp sits at the back of the property and hosts white egrets, hawks, songbirds and woodpeckers. We have heard the loud hoots of an owl every evening but have yet to sight the bird. There are a number of amazing Colocasia, aka Elephant Ear Plants that create a delightful natural wall. Some of the trees are being attacked by the invasive Air Potato Vine. The non-native plant can grow up to eight inches in a day during summer and drops roots from its vines as well as “potatoes” that root themselves. Many campsites have citrus trees heavy with grapefruit and oranges.
On December 24, we joined our many neighbours at the clubhouse for “Hobo Soup”. Everyone donates a can of soup early in the day and all are combined, spiced and simmered to produce a delicious ragout. We watched Alastair Sim’s Scrooge “as is keepin with the situation” usher in Christmas as only he can. On Christmas day,we took Dixie for a long hike before we indulged in our turkey dinner. Chris surprised me with a new lens that does both macro and telephoto. The bird photos above were captured with my “new toy”. Our weather has been varied from humid 80 degree sunshine to cooler, rainy, low 70’s.
We wish everyone a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!