“Roughing It” at Silver Springs

Yummy! There’s nothing like a hotdog roasted over a campfire. Here I am with Team Buddy for another Florida State Park campout. I like to kid myself by thinking I’m “living off the land.” Pay no attention to our Viking trailer in the background. Which by the way is equipped with a microwave, air conditioner, and bathroom. Everyone needs a few creature comforts.

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During our latest adventure we spent a few days exploring Silver Springs State Park. In case you’re unfamiliar with Silver Springs, it was Florida’s first tourist attraction. The largest artesian springs in the world are located here. Everyday 550 million gallons of water flow out of the springs and into the Silver River. Visitors can take a glass bottom boat trip or rent a kayak and view the beautiful plants and animals which thrive in these crystal clear waters. The banks of  the Silver River provided a perfect place for settlers to build their homesteads. A replica village is open to the public at the Silver River Museum.  On weekends, visitors can walk through a pioneer settlement and hear stories of what Florida life was like in the 1890’s. Compared to the pioneers, my idea of “roughing it” is misinformed at best.

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The early settlers in Florida had to make or grow everything they used. The broom pictured above was created by tying a palmetto leaf to a branch.  Fire was always a threat to their homes. The area around the cabin had to be raked and swept of any debris which might burn.

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A family of eleven lived in this replica of their two room cabin. The parents slept in the bedroom with the baby. The boys slept on the porch. The girls slept on the floor of the sitting area. The bed in the corner was reserved for the teacher of the community. Teachers were not paid but received room and board in local homes.

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The kitchen was built separate from the sleeping area in order to keep the heat out of the house and reduce the fire risk. Gourds were used as pitchers. Various utensils were constructed from natural materials found in the woods. Sugar cane syrup was used as a sweetener.

Did you know that the term blacksmith was coined as a name for someone who works with black metal? IMG_6222

During our visit a museum volunteer, Al Duane, demonstrated how to make a metal hook. In this community the metal was shipped in by boat from the northern U.S.  Blacksmiths made nails, tools, and cutlery.  Each member of the family had one set of cutlery which was expected to last them until they grew to adulthood.

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I had to get a photo of the outhouse, complete with a corncob. With no running water, the pioneers only bathed once a month. They used lye soap which they made themselves.  If you didn’t let it cure for twelve weeks, it would tear your skin off. Each family member had two sets of clothes. Laundry was done with a washboard and a tub.

I think this is a pretty good description of “roughing it.” A trip to the Silver River Museum makes me appreciate the conveniences I have today.  The museum is hosting Ocali Country Days on November 10th and 11th, 2018. For more information about this educational event click on the link.

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Ocean View Camping at Gamble Rogers

Herb, Buddy, and I kicked off our fall camping season by spending two nights at Gamble Rogers. Upon our arrival, a friendly ranger greeted us with a smile. “Welcome to your new favorite park.”

She was right. We absolutely fell in love with our campsite which overlooked Flagler Beach. The rhythm of the waves provided a constant soundtrack, and the ocean breeze kept us cool. We felt fortunate to camp here. The park is small and campsites fill up quickly. We had waited months for an oceanside site.

Additional campsites are located near the Intracoastal waterway.  For a small park it has much to offer in the way of recreation. Visitors can swim, kayak, and bike on the A1A bike path.  A pet friendly beach is within walking distance just outside the park.

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We walked Buddy through the dog gate to a ramp that led down to the ocean. It was his first experience seeing anything so powerful. While Hurricane Michael was reeking havoc many miles away in the panhandle, its effects could be seen here. Buddy didn’t want to get near the water and prepared to make a quick exit. (Maybe he knew the red warning flags meant danger).

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In 1991, the heavy surf at Flagler beach claimed the lives of Florida folk musician Gamble Rogers and a Canadian tourist. Gamble tried to help the Canadian who was struggling to swim. Both men drowned. Before his tragic death, Rogers was known as “Florida’s Troubadour.”  As a folk musician, Rogers was recognized for his gifted guitar playing, singing, and storytelling. The park was renamed Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area in his honor. Looking out over the powerful waves I’m reminded of how dangerous they really are. Yet, there are peaceful times as well, at dawn, when God reveals his glory in the sunrise.

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This short trip provided me with the opportunity to rest and reflect upon scripture.

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Gamble Rogers laid down his life for a stranger. But maybe Gamble didn’t consider this person a stranger. Maybe he thought of everyone as a friend.

 

 

The Spark

A tiny spark ignites

the forest floor ablaze.

Red-hot flames surge high

Starlight eclipsed by haze.

Fire consumes the thicket

exposing blackened earth

A perfect bed prepared

expecting the new birth.

 

Old sequoia smolders

Its pulse begins to pound.

Dozens of roasted cones

Shed their seeds to the ground.

Nurtured by rain and sun

Unseen by human eyes,

Pushing up from the ashes

Tender seedlings rise.

 

 

 

Are We There Yet?

What parent hasn’t heard this question from their impatient child on a family road trip? It’s hard for kids to wait. Sometimes it’s hard for adults to wait. How many times have you felt impatient when traffic slows down to a crawl? The older I get the more I realize life is all about waiting. Human beings stand in one long line waiting for their turn. We experience waiting in lines at stoplights, the grocery, or theme parks. And most of us have let out a sigh of frustration when we take a number at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

I think ninety percent of my life has been spent waiting.

Here’s a list of seven things I’ve waited for this week:

  • For a prescription to be filled by the pharmacy.
  • For our carpet to dry after being professionally cleaned.
  • For our car’s hitch to be repaired so that we can pull our camper.
  • For my poison ivy induced rash to stop itching and go away.
  • For updates to be installed on my phone.
  • For more people to follow my blog.
  • For cooler temperatures. (A desire of many Floridians in October.)

That’s all I can think of at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll come up with another list by next week. Sometimes delays result from my own choices. But delays which involve wait time usually depend upon people or forces beyond my control.

Does waiting frustrate you? I admit I have a hard time waiting.  Here’s a great quote from Joyce Meyer:

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait… it’s how we behave while we are waiting.”

When I was forced to wait for my prescription to be filled, I became angry. How dare the pharmacist go to lunch when I need my medication? Then I realized, I’m hungry, too, I think I’ll grab a sandwich while I wait and do a little shopping. Taking a break and eating something helped me accept the fact the world doesn’t revolve around me. I was able to be polite when the pharmacy staff took my order.

Sometimes I try to take shortcuts to decrease my wait time. If you’ve ever used the WAYS App while driving, you understand how the navigation system reroutes you around road congestion.

But taking a shortcut isn’t always the best way to deal with decreasing wait time. For instance, if the mechanic leaves a few steps out when he’s repairing our car, we could encounter a possible disaster on the road.

Stop and think, has the end result of anything ever improved because you hurried? Generally, the answer is no. Hurry makes us more anxious and accident prone. We can’t take ten days of antibiotics in one dose and hope we will get better faster. Physical healing is something we can’t rush.

Arnold H. Glasgow said, “The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.”

How do you deal with wait time?

Thank you for reading my blog, which by the way is a great way to pass the time when you’re sitting in a waiting room.