We continue to savour our stay at Sumter Oaks RV Park in central Florida. We purchased new bikes and a rack for the car as our Christmas gift. We’ve been out riding a few times and introducing Dixie to the concept of following behind. We are loving it, Dixie not so much. The donkeys continue to entertain with their antics.
We have checked out the local Monday Flea Market a couple of times. We went near closing time on our first visit and as we were warned, missed out on the best deals. All the fresh, hungry fleas were sold out so better luck next time. Under the tents are rows of vendors selling everything from T-shirts, jewelry, signs, tools, purses, fishing tackle, cosmetics, electronics and even live puppies (scary). Everything is cheap in price and quality. The market is loaded with interesting characters selling and shopping. Another large venue provides a delicious array of fresh fruit and vegetables. Strawberries are in season and their tempting perfume has customers lined up to purchase. Of course, the citrus is plentiful and stands are loaded with fragrant lemons and limes, groovy grapefruit and all varieties of Navels: orange, pink and red!! There are various antique traders hawking items ranging from china, glass, coins, postcards, tools and toys to tables overflowing with yard sale rejects. On our second visit, a huge downpour flooded the market but luckily fleas can swim.
An array of bulls
At the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, we attended the 34th annual Reenactment of the Seminole Indians vs. American soldiers battle of December 23, 1835, so called Florida-Indian wars. Dade Battlefield Society members were decked out in period costume. Children played traditional games: hoop race, sack race and skillet toss to name a few. Furs, carved wooden toys, hand woven baskets and bead and feather jewelry were on sale. Demonstrations by wood carvers, blacksmiths, basket weavers revealed the skillful trades of days gone by.
The Battlefield had a large section of bleachers, another area for lawn chairs and additional space for those preferring to sit on the grass. Before the reenactment began, the crowd was educated about the uniforms of the soldiers and symbolic clothing of the Seminole warriors. The Seminoles were the indigenous natives who welcomed Black Slaves into their community. In a recurring story, the white settlers were gradually taking over the Natives’ land and trying to destroy their culture. From Fort Brooke in Tampa, 108 soldiers set out to reinforce Fort King (present day Ocala) Dec 23,1835. On their sixth day of marching, they were attacked by Seminole Indians and Black Seminoles. All but three American soldiers were killed. The Indian wars continued for seven years when the majority of Seminoles were eventually forced to resettle in Oklahoma.
The Battle was very authentic in its woodsy setting. We could imagine the days of marching in thick underbrush, through marshes, dealing with mosquitos, thirst and heat. The ear-bursting sounds of the shot guns and canon immersed the audience in the battle. Billowing smoke created an atmosphere of mystery where the Seminole appeared on horseback and on foot out of the haze. We had a visual, aural and malodorous experience. With the smoke in the woods, many of my photos look like paintings.
I titled the post with reference to the weather. Our Florida temperatures have plummeted to near freezing. Folks at the camp covered their plants against cold damage. The ice storm in Ontario was followed by snow and super cold temperatures. The northern States of America are dealing with extreme cold and heavy snow. Schools, businesses and even casinos are closed in some states due to extreme cold. Because this weather is so unusual in these places, people do not have proper clothing and do not know how to drive on icy roads. Many are huddled in airports and even train cars waiting for travel to begin again. The intense cold here is a foil for harsh heat in Australia where temperatures have been up to forty degrees centigrade! EXTREME !