Saturday, June 28, 2014

No computer, no new blog photos

My computer is in for repairs. No photos. Using a notepad Until computer is fixed or replaced.
I am still Awarkward on this notepad! Please be patient. We left Myakka State Park this morning. We will
Be working as volunteers at Hillsborough State Park north of Tampa Fl from July 1 to end of Sept as camp hosts at one of the campgrounds there

As soon as I get access to my computer, I will
 Give a post with photographs!

Thank you for your patience.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Our Tour Of Myakka River State Park




On May 2nd, we took a wonderful 4 hour “Orientation Tour” given to all Myakka River State Park volunteers!
Meet Jim Watson, our tour guide and he has been a volunteer here for years.
Jim Watson 072 Jim and his wife Lois spend several months a year as volunteers here. Lois works in the Visitor Center answering many, many, many questions by visitors!
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First critter we saw on our orientation tour was a turkey! Warning….  most of the following images were shot through the window of a bouncing 4X4 Ford Explorer!  Not much here totally in focus!
Below is Clay Gully…. a very slow moving creek
Clay Gully
Clay Gully is also a great fishing hole as evidenced by the red plastic bobber caught up in the tree!
Many deer share their world here at Myakka River State Park which is the main reason the speed limit is 25mph here. You never know when a deer will jump out in the middle of the road! We have witnessed it many tines!
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Jim and Chuck in the front seat as we all go “Uh Oh rain drops” on the windshield!
raindrops
The rain stayed in the distance although we did get a few quick showers.
rainstorm
The Pickerelweed below is beautiful plant to look at but NOT a native plant to Florida.  It is prolific and quickly chokes out native plants and choking up our waterways!
pickerel weed
I thought I had captured an alligator in the background, but upon closer examination it was just a neat old log!
pond
meadow
Another deer enjoying the wild side of Florida! New antlers are just beginning to show on this guy!
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One of our  stops was at the Sweetmeadow Pastures ranch site. The original pioneer family of ranching lived here, laughed here, worked here and loved here long before “here” became a state park.
Chuck and Jim Meadowsweet
Bertha Palmer was enticed by the lush wetlands and a vast grassy prairie land. In 1910 she built her 19,000 acre ranch along the banks of the Myakka River. Mrs. Palmer was innovative in her approach to ranching. Over her short 8 year tenure, she introduced Brahma bulls improving her spindly Florida herd. she also built dipping vats to combat tick fever. She also fenced in her land, all unheard of customs in her day!Meadowsweet sign
This is one of her dipping vats.  You would walk the cattle in at one end, through the dip potion and out the other end.
cow dip

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Can you even imagine walking 100’s of cattle through these vats???

I am sure you all have heard of saw palmetto, the herb to help men’s prostrate. Below is a saw palmetto and the small flowers peeking out are the medicinal part of the plant.
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Another deer watching us pass by!
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Below is known as “deep hole”.  Alligators collect themselves here.  It is just one of the mysteries of Myakka State Park.
deep hole sign
2 gators
deep hole
Below is an Osprey perched on a branch far, far, far away which my hand held 300mm tried its best to get a good image!
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If you enjoy camping, whether in your backyard  or in one of the many state or national parks that our beautiful America enjoys, you might love this recipe!
Waffle cones with marshmallows, chocolate chips, bananas, and strawberries. Wrap in tinfoil and throw on the fire. aaaaahmazing

Saying goodbye to our good camping volunteer friends Connie and Cecil.  Their time here is up and they head back to upper Michigan for the summer months and home gardens!
connie and cecil

DoogieBowser and Radar definitely love living the life of vagabond gypsy doggies!
Doogie and Radar em
It seems hard to believe that in 4 short weeks our time here at Myakka River State Park will be done. KaPut! Over! UNTIL we get the opportunity to return again as volunteers!  We have really enjoyed our time here and we encourage all of you consider volunteering at one of the state parks in your area!

We are lucky here at Myakka that we have such a wonderful support group, “Friends Of Myakka” pay for our uniforms, our equipment and our immediate needs at the park. Below is the fancy swamp buggy used in helping with control burns and trimming the trees with low hanging branches just waiting to snag one of the larger RV Motorhomes!
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These tires are almost as tall as I am!
Myakka swamp buggy wheels 005
We hope you enjoyed this tour of Myakka State Park and will one day get to visit this piece of Old Florida!
Florida, before the land grabbers and the land developers came and decided they had bigger and better ideas for “La Florida”  Land of flowers!
We hope you get the opportunity to come explore this “wild” piece of Florida soon!
Please leave a comment!  We like to read about your thoughts!
Happy Trails from the crew of the “MotherShip”  Chuck, Geri, DoogieBowser and Radar!

 spiritual teaching

Thursday, May 1, 2014

THE ADVENTURES OF GERI AND CHUCK AS VOLUNTEERS


We are still in Myakka River State Park working as volunteers.
We are enjoying the late spring, days had been in the mid-70’s until this week….   now we are mid-80’s. But Spring has sprung and the trees are loaded with all kinds of air plants or bromeliads in full bloom!
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The colors are brilliant this week!  This plant had fallen from a tree and one of the workers put it behind the shed and it bloomed brighter than any other I have seen!  That is the miracle of air plants, they don’t need water or soil to survive!
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Bromeliads usually grow up high in the trees, so you have to look up high to see them.  In the top photo, only one can be clearly seen but actually there are 6 plants in the photo!
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The above photo is Cabin Road. We have to drive down this road every day to our job cleaning cabins! Beautiful jungle road! If you look closely, you can see that the trees here are loaded with air plants!
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This beautiful flower is wild ginger!
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Can you get any more beautiful than this? I love this plant! It smells just like ginger!  It is a bulb plant so I have “rescued” one and replanted it. They are not native to Florida.
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Baby grapes! We have wild grapes growing  every where! They grow up tall pine and oak trees!

I am so very happy Chuck and I decided to sell our home in NM and go full time in our RV.  We really enjoy our time as volunteers or workampers. We get a free camp site with full hook ups in trade for 20 or so hours a week working in the park.  We meet wonderful people every day!  We are near family and we are creating new friendships!  We are not rich, but we are not in debt either and not having to worry about rent or utilities frees us up to really enjoy life!
Get ready!  It was time for Chuck to get another hair cut!
BEFORE!
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AFTER
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HAHAHAAHA!  A summer haircut!  I took the dog clippers to him!  Grin!  I think he cleans up pretty good!

EASTER
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We spent Easter with family!  The girls went hunting eggs in their yard Easter morning and some of the eggs actually had money in them!
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After all the eggs are found, Annesley and Aubrey divvy up the candy and count the $$$$ with mom and dad!
MYAKKA ENVIRONMENTAL BURNS
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Prescribed burns happen often at Myakka River State Park. 
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This is one of the reasons Chuck and I volunteer! It allows the rangers to do what they were hired to do, keep Myakka River healthy! If there were no volunteers, rangers would be cleaning cabins, mowing lawns, cleaning picnic areas or spending time as camp hosts. Volunteering is essential to keeping our state  parks running smoothly!
Myakka River SP fire 008
Most of the fire crew is male, but we have a good number of women out there working the fires as well!
Myakka River SP fire 010
Not sure this is a job I would want to do in the summer heat. But these folks do a great job of keeping the under brush contained and providing less fuel for wild fires!
Just think, if we hadn’t decided to be volunteers, we would have missed all of this!


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Radar and DoogieBowser love to ride in the car with me, Doogie just doesn’t like sharing HIS seat!
I hope you get a chance to visit Myakka one day.  I am excited…  tomorrow we get to go on a 4 hour orientation tour of the park!  Woooo Hooooo!
Have a great week!  From the crew of The MotherShip,
Geri, Chuck, Radar and Doogie Bowser!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Settling in at Myakka River State Park



First thing I want to do is thank the company that made our wonderful MotherShip, Evergreen Recreational Vehicles !  Just before we began our job here at Myakka, our slide got stuck in the out position and would not come in !  We called Randy, our friend and owner of Nature Coast RV where we bought the Mothership! Randy called Tony Chupp of Evergreen for their assistance in repairing our Schwintek Lippaert slide system problem. Problem solved and we are now very happy campers! 

Smile

                   CLEANING CABINS

Okay, I have to be honest here!  Cabin Cleaning isn’t always fun, but there are perks!   Most folks are actually quite clean and leave the cabins like they found them!  Some folks don’t!  But all and all, Chuck and I like it here very much.

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The cabins were made by the C.C.C. in the 1930’s and built with palm logs that have turned out to be bug and rot resistant.

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The cabins come with a kitchen with a stove, microwave and fridge. Cooking utensils and plates and silverware are also supplied!

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A fireplace in each of the 5 cabins for those cool nights!

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Each cabin has a very private back yard complete with fire ring, BBQ, and picnic table and a very cool back porch looking out on the florida wilderness.




Last week was a very slow week for us, we only had to work 2 days out of the scheduled 4 because there were no scheduled check-outs! How is that for an unexpected perk???
Two extra days off of sunny yet fairly cool weather! Highs are beginning to get up into the low 80’s now but nights are great in the low 60’s!
We love all the wildlife here at this park!


                    MYAKKA WILD LIFE


Lots of alligators and vultures here for sure, but we also have baby owls!
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This baby has already left the nest and poses on a nearby limb!
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This baby is still thinking about leaving the nest….
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And Mama Owl is ready to clean house, but she keeps a watchful eye on both her babies!

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Our friend Cecil catches a nice big tilapia from the nearby lake!

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A squirrel finds the orange 1/2 I left out hoping  attract hummingbirds, to my fancy home made feeder… not squirrels!
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Squirrel friend looks down, hoping the other guy will share his orange!
We have seen a family of Bob White Quail here, a fox and several deer in the pasture out behind us. Also a Pileated Woodpecker makes regular trips to our camp, but by the time I grab my camera, he is gone!

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Yesterday, on my way to Publix Grocery I passed a Momma Sand Hill Crane and her 2 yellow babies!

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Last week, as we were headed to clean a cabin in our golf cart, I noticed a LONG yellow rat snake wound around a tree branch. Below for a close up!

Yello rat snake 34

This snake was probably a good 4 to 5 feet long and very skinny, probably just woke up from hibernation.

                         FAMILY

We have also been enjoying being near our family. Chuck’s daughter Glorianne and her husband Chaz are just 30 minutes away up in Bradenton!

kyle

Last Tuesday we went to see our oldest grandson Kyle inducted into the National Honor Society.

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Kyle with his brother Ryan!

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Their two little sisters, Aubrey and Annesley! Already Diva’s! Notice the princess 
crowns ??? mmmm  These two girls are gonna keep their daddy busy!

Radar and Doogie
Radar and DoogieBowser are our two wild animals!  LOL!
Last week we drove all the way to Arcadia FL to eat some of the best Mexican food I have ever put into my mouth!

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Our friends, Jill and Bill, went with us and agreed…. GOOD EATS!
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I had Shrimp Ranchero   YUM! We all just sorta waddled out of there, full and happy!  El Pirata on highway 70 east end of Arcadia is worth a visit! We drove over 30 miles to get there! YUM !

We have had a very busy month!  We really do love being here and are beginning to think that this might be our best gig yet! We love workamping/volunteering! Volunteering at our state parks really helps keep these parks open and running smoothly! Rangers are so busy managing wildlife, and doing control burns, that they just simply don’t have the time or the resources to do all that is necessary to keep the parks open! We are also happy to have wonderful support from the Friends of Myakka State Park. They raise money and donate our trucks, our firefighting equipment and even our uniforms! Donations appreciated! Please make checks out to: Friends of Myakka River State Park and send to: 13208 State Road 72, Sarasota, FL 34241  Thanks for your generosity!

We lost a lot of our volunteers April 1st as they left to head home where hopefully the snow has melted and spring has begun! We now have some new volunteers that have arrived to fill those places. 

If you have never considered volunteering at your favorite state park or Army Corps or Engineers (COE) parks, maybe you should. Most only request a 2 month commitment and in return you get a free campsite with FHU and a fun place to explore!
We hope you enjoyed this visit to Myakka River State Park and with the MotherShip crew! We have enjoyed showing you our corner of the world!

Please feel free to leave a comment!  We love hearing from you!

Geri, Chuck, DoogieBowser and Radar!