Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ocala to Ruskin

Ocala to Ruskin

They broke! And I am heartbroken with them! What you say has caused such sad emotions? My beautiful, fabulous, but obvious delicate Amaryllis with her TWO buxom, frilly, obviously very top-heavy multilayer blooms! Was that enough adjectives?

Before we left Michigan, I bought 2 Amaryllis bulbs - a bright red one for a gift and a white and coral one for me. Over the years, I had already gathered several bulbs that have multiplied and now live in one big pot that spend the winter in the basement under a dark cool table. When we return home in the spring the pot is brought out and within a month we have a big splash of giant red flowers that grace our enclosed front porch. I planted this new bulb and both H and I watched her sprout a thick round stem that was topped with what promised to be a future dinner plate sized bloom. At Salt Springs she grew from a stub to over 10 inches in less than a week! As the days progressed, we watched her reach for the sky and in the warm sunshine at Ross Prairie she produced not one but 4 buds, 2 of which were branching out and showing color. Each evening we would bring her inside for protection from the cool night air and possible varmints. By New Years day, her 2 ruffled blooms were wide open like a Spanish dancer’s wide flowing brightly colored skirt in full dance mode! She was BEAUTIFUL! Then we moved. Big-busted women do not travel well in the back of a bouncing buckboard – if you know what I mean. These Florida roads are not as bad as our Michigan roads, but even in the back corner of this condo – it’s bouncy. I should have known better. Both blooms were on the floor when we arrived in Ruskin. Each is now resting comfortably in a dish of water on the dinette in front of the big window where the Christmas tree had been sitting. We will still enjoy their beauty while we can. The other 2 buds are just now showing color and when we must move again this weekend – she will get protected better in a less bouncy area of the condo!

During our stay at Ross Prairie, we were lucky enough to visit and get to know friends from Toledo who had moved to a new, gated community in Ocala, not far from D&S’s, Oak Run. John and Nora welcomed us into their home - once we finally found the right street and the right lovely home! I am looking forward to visiting again - now that we know how to find them! In the campground we made more new friends also! Donna and Wendell, originally “Uppers” are now from down in this area and love to mountain bike the trails in Ross Prairie! Their trailer is new to them also, so the guys chatted and discussed trucks and trailers! New Year’s Eve, D&S joined us one last time for steaks on the grill! It felt good to be able to provide a meal for them after all they have done for us when we’re in their neighborhood!

On New Year’s Day, H and I headed for K.P. Hole Park – the county park where we launched the canoe last year. On Christmas AND New Year’s day the park is officially closed but the launch areas are open and minus the $5 per person charge! The kayaks slipped into the water more gracefully than we did “slipping” into them! Paddling upstream in those bright orange bubbles was a lot easier than H had expected, especially since the currant is quite strong in some areas due to all the springs that flow along the way. We made the mile and a half to the headsprings and when the time came to come back downstream, the going was much easier. We saw a Bald Eagle, along with the neat assortment of wading birds and various ducks. On the list were also turtles and a water snake slithering by H’s bubble. With the kayaks it was fun to pivot quick and then almost catch up to it! When we came to a small shallow cove amongst the jungle trees on the shoreline, the wetsuits were yanked on and the kayaks tied together so we could finish up our adventure viewing it from under the crystal clear water. Bass of all sizes, curious bluegills, mullet, catfish and others swam ahead of us thru the waving sea grasses or darted away as we crossed the top of their water filled canyons! However, even with the wetsuits on – we were way cold by the time we paddled up to the launch area! That big towel that had grown warm in the back of the parked truck sure felt good around my shivering shoulders!

E.G. Simmons in Ruskin is now our home for the week. We pulled in and parked about noon on Monday and R&N arrived about 4 30pm. They FINALLY came and parked next to us when the Michigan State football game reached its final fevered finish! They had been watching the last nail biting minutes at the entry gate to the park but managed to get just barely parked and plugged in before joining us for the exciting overtimes and the joyous outcome of the game!

The brothers are being brothers and Nancy and I are enjoying some female conversations and such! Of course, H and I are blaming them for bringing down the cold air with them! When it’s cold tho, the manatees are up in the channel at the Power Plant in Apollo Beach! Last year it was warm when R&N were here with us and there were no manatees! Manatees got viewed and we hustled back to the truck for warmth and the next stop was for groceries. We did NOT need them because in the afternoon, we headed for Ellenton and H’s FAVORITE seafood eatery – Anna Marie’s Oyster Bar. Shop till you drop – we hit the outlet mall next for good measure!

Tuesday night was supposed to be the coldest night and this day is now sunny and getting warmer with very calm winds! Monday night none of us slept well due to the 50 mph winds that howled and raged thru the palm trees and around the corners of this 3 story tall condo and R’s trailer sitting next door. Sunny and warmer days are promised for our future!