Monday, January 28, 2013

Birds of a feather...again!

This title is a repeat from last year, but with some different thoughts attached, perhaps.  In one of the mangrove 'swamps' in the campground, we have a variety of the waders that are so exciting to see when we come south.

In addition to the birds that make their home in and around the mangrove pools, this land-based hermit crab drags the abandoned shell that is its home. ( Not too different from us now!)  The accommodations in the campground are varied.

I wanted to show some of the places in the campground, and spots we enjoy in addition to the actual campsites.  (There are both rustic sites like ours for dry camping, and then the electric side where campers have larger motor homes and hook-ups for water, electric and sewer.)

Entrance to the office and store

Foreground is where most cards are played - bridge, poker,etc.
Background is the shuffle board court.

Motel rooms on the canal where the boats await the next fishing day.

Suites above the office/store connected by a walking bridge to the pool.

The pool and the sundeck ( where we do water aerobics each morning.)

Laundry - very reasonable but sometimes crowded.

The main point of this post is to give a sense of place where the the gregarious birds and the quiet loner hermit crab live and survive together.  To this place, each year, comes an amazing group of people who live and survive and add to each others' daily experience.  This is by far the most social group of people I have been around, yet a group that accepts the individual choices made by the members of the community.  It is not difficult to spend time alone walking the nature path, or exploring the beach in the neighboring state park.  Yet, one also has the opportunity to enjoy an event like the occasion we shared on Saturday night.  A couple who are from Hungary, make all their traditional dishes - appetizers, main dishes, soups, desserts and vermouth.  The they invite the WHOLE campground for dinner.  I am including some photos and hope you can get the flavor.

The hostess in the background

The host in all the colors
The line of tables laden with all the specialties of the 'house'

The small screen house where she prepares it all HERSELF1

The happy group waiting for the feast! (Usually over 150)
The evening ends with a campfire and music

Latona and I have been blessed with a community of happy, caring energetic people here at Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge.  We are part of the 'birds'.  It also reminds us daily of the blessing of the larger community that we share with you...our friends and family.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Back Again!

We have been here at Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge since January 5, and finally getting settled into our schedule of water aerobics, senior exercises and walking the nature trail.  We have had fun reconnecting with friends here and the spirit of community that is part of the identity of the group here.  As you remember, we sold our  beloved home on Chemo Pond the day of August, and recently (December 29) bought our new home-on-wheels.  

When we arrived at our site that we have reserved for five years now, we caused quite a stir.  Our friends celebrated our new 'rig' and have come for visits and tours.  The tour doesn't take long but their enthusiasm has made us even happier about our purchase.  Our friend on the site across from us is an electrical engineer, technical expert and eager-to-help person.  He has been educating me about so many new things I need to about our Leisure Travel Van.

Now to share some pictures from our first week here in the Keys:

Along the nature trail, we got a picture of these common waders - White Ibis

Latona noticed this buck resting in the bushes right behind our van.

This "friendly" manatee came into one of the canals in the campground.

Our clothes line on back of our site!

One of the Key deer who really wanted a taste of our watermelon.

For the bird lovers - a picture of a Great Egret in a mangrove pond beside the nature trail.

A Florida Tree Snail - about two inches long.  Many are multicolored.  The
ones here are all white,
And for all the Latona fans, here she is among the Gumbp Limbo trees on the Nature Trail.
These trees are red and peel often, so are called the 'tourist tree'.

Well, almost time to sign off for now and I will look forward to posting again soon.  Hopefully, we can hear from some of you and learn that the blog is coming out to greet you, our friends and family.  We have been caught up with our own affairs lately and did not even send out a holiday letter, so I hope this will reach each of you with our love and care. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hoping this works...

Just a bit frustrated with my technical savvy right now and a weak network here in the campground that sometimes throws me for a loop.  But enough of that moaning...HAPPY NEW YEAR for 2013.  Latona and I have certainly been running hard and fast to catch up with all the changes in our life since selling our house in August.  We have had so many wonderful visits with friends and family members since leaving the north, and now have finally settled into our winter home in the Florida Keys.

It truly is a paradise that you drive to get to!  I would recommend the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge to anyone who loves warm days and incredible blue green water in January.  Who wouldn't, right?  Well just tuck the idea in the back of your mind somewhere and perhaps for a vacation or an extended after-retirement stay, we would suggest this community.  They have every accommodation possible from motel rooms to rustic and full-hooks.  Perhaps the best part is the collection of people that have made this their winter home.  I will talk more about that in my next blog.

The Key is also a National Wildlife Refuge for the endangered Key Deer, a subspecies of our northern whitetails. They love to visit and sometimes take some strong encouragement to leave your snacks alone.  We don't want to disrupt their normal diet.

More to share next time - just wanted to get something going from us to you...will write again soon.
Love and hugs