Friday, February 28, 2014

Horse Down!

I am so proud of Pam.

She came home from the ranch frantic. Trooper, a 34 year old horse, was down. Pam was sobbing that it must be his time to die. She grabbed some Banamine, drugs we got for Jeremiah the Horse. I drove with her back to the ranch.

Trooper was in distress. He was colicking, rolling on his back, his breathing labored and his eyes glazed over. 

Pam gave him the Banamine and then comforted him for a time. 

She then put his halter on and made him stand up, which he did with great effort. She led him to a water hose and made him drink, and then led him to the back pasture to graze, which he did for a short time before laying back down.

Pam fetched Gracie, a mare that Trooper "fancies". Trooper and Gracie touched lips for about a minute, and then Gracie walked away. 

I don't know what Gracie said to Trooper, but he struggled back to his feet and started grazing again. Pam put him in a paddock, and Gracie in the pasture. 

Trooper whinnied to Gracie, and she whinnied back. They did this for some time, with Trooper becoming more and more frantic to return to his herd. Pam opened the gate to Trooper's paddock and he galloped to the pasture gate, waiting for Pam to open it. Trooper's herd was on the other side of the gate waiting to welcome him back.

Animals are amazing. As is Pam.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

BP Oil Spill. An Environment Disaster Still.

A bunch of the family took a ride over to the Gulf Coast yesterday to try some Gulf Coast shrimp and other seafood. We tried "the Freezer" in Homosassa, which is rated as one of the best restaurants in Citrus County. Pam and I were sharing a two pound serving of Gulf shrimp when I got one that tasted like detergent. I figured something went wrong in the kitchen and I stopped eating them. Pam kept on, and then she got several that tasted the same way.

We then went to the Riverside Crab House for a few libations and to see the Rhesus Monkeys on "Monkey Island".  Monkey Island is actually just the remains of dredging, and the owner had the idea of putting monkeys on it to attract customers.  It worked.

It felt great to be able to photograph birds again.

Great Blue Heron

Turkey Vultures drying their wings after torrential rains

Later, we took a drive to Fort Gulf Beach.  Lots of birds here!

Black Skimmers, the only US bird to have a longer lower beak than it's upper

Strolling through the water, Pam noticed a black spot. She scooped up a handful of goo.

It smelled of oil. It was, no doubt, remnants of the BP oil spill. We're assuming now that since shrimp are bottom feeders, we got shrimp tainted with BP oil and the detergent used to "clean it up". What the dispersals actually do is just sink the oil to the bottom where it can be ingested by bottom feeders like shrimp.

We also noticed a large number of one legged Sand Pipers. Way too many to be a mutant of nature. One can only assume that this too is an after effect of the BP oil spill.

If one digs down just a few inches into the beach sand, one comes up with a handful of smelly oil sludge. This makes me very angry. As much as the US needs oil, we have to stop drilling off shore. We can't rely on large corporations to remedy their environmental accidents.

Elmer and Myrtle were here!  You Drift Away followers may remember Elmer and Myrtle.  They wanted Krispy Kreme donuts.

Megan feeding the birds while Tracy, Judi, and Pam check out the oil.

The Gulf shrimp were second only to Georgia's wild shrimp in flavor.   Sadly, because of the BP oil spill, I won't be eating any ever again.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chevy's Eyebrows

Never leave Chevy the dog, daughter Megan, and a black Sharpie alone together, unsupervised.

So why did Megan do this?  Because Chevy is such a happy, expressive dog.  The eyebrows add to his happy look.

Why did Chevy allow this?

Because he loves attention.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Ocklawaha River Ride

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are here for the Daytona 500.  I understand that's some kind of an automobile race that's popular with NASCAR types.  They have some kind of VIP passes that not only gives them full access to the pits, cars, and drivers, but a sky box view at the start-finish line with all kinds of food and drinks and stuff.   Well... if that sounds like a good time... whatever floats your boat...

We loaded up Jeremiah, Breezy, Destiny, and Blake from the Griffin Ranch and headed over to the Ocklawaha River for a trail ride.  It was a picture perfect day, about 80 degrees in the sunshine but much cooler under the canopy of the trees.  Pam and Andy are experienced riders.  Tracy and I are not.

Andy videoing Tracy and Pam, while I photographed Andy.

Pam on Jeremiah.

This part of Florida is all white sand.  It's beautiful.

The Ocklawaha.  Watch for alligators.

Andy and Tracy soaking up some Florida sunshine and enjoying horses from the Griffin Ranch.

Just for the record, my Navi-Nuts (patent pending) was totally useless, especially when my horse decided to trot.  I went through at least a dozen of the darn things, and for what I pay (wholesale no less) from Kent Boatguy, it was an expensive ride.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Life is slow here in Eureka, Florida.  Every day is just chillin' and relaxin'.  The other day Pam and I fetched hay for the horses in nearby Ocala, making it probably one of our most productive days.

Pam's brother Andy and his wife Tracy drove our Buick down here from upstate New York.  They have VIP passes to the Daytona 500.  Being NASCAR fans, they're really stoked.  They have full access to everywhere before the race, and skybox seats on the start-finish line for the race, courtesy of Toyota.  Their trip south was not without drama, though.  The Buick had new tires mounted all around a year ago, and two of them blew out.  It seems that the Buick dealer who mounted them screwed over Diane, the elderly lady who owned the car, and mounted 12 year old tires.  They were dry rotted.  One of the crooks who towed the Buick charged $225 for the honor.

We drank way too much beer while sitting around our fire pit.  I'm paying for it this morning.

Still, I tried taking star trail photos again.  And, once again, I missed the north star.

The north star is hidden behind that tree on the right.  

I think today will be another day of chillaxing.  Tomorrow we might go horseback riding.  I wonder if I can adapt the Navi-Nut (patent pending) to trail maps?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cruising the Ocklawaha River with Earl

I think this blog is having an identity problem, and I'm not sure what, if anything, to do about it.  It is not only about life in Bleecker any longer, obviously.  But I can just start another blog called "Florida No Mountains Life".   That would be too many blogs.  And, I suppose, getting out of Bleecker in the winter is part of living in Bleecker.  So I guess I'm simply going to continue doing this until  I come up with a better answer.

Earl and I took his boat for a ride on the Ocklawaha River yesterday.  Its a 74 mile long river that runs north through central Florida, eventually coming out on the St. John's River at Palatka.  It was to be part of the Cross Florida Barge Canal, an ambitious project to shorten the boating distance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.  Construction began in 1961 but environmentalists raised a ruckus and it was halted in 1971 by Richard Nixon.

It is eerie to be motoring along on this small river on this flat as a pancake part of Florida and see tall bridges with 75 feet of clearance under them and abandoned locks large enough to accommodate huge barges.

Here is a smattering of photos for you.

A bridge designed for freighters to pass beneath.

I thought this was a Great Blue Heron, but looking at it closely, I don't think it is.

pilings built for barges that never came.

This is a huge lock.


Florida's Red-Belly Turtles were out in abundance.

Sunning turtles here lift their heads and legs.

I'm undecided whether this is a HUGE alligator or a log.

The river is beautiful.

A small alligator.


Earl's river boat.

Earl's ingenious trailer-hitch-in-the-trunk, patent pending.