Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Getting Ready to Travel

Helen and I are diligently working to get the motorhome ready for our trip north. It requires a certain amount of preparation and packing. The top picture relates to Helen's preparation and packing while the lower picture is mine. In the top picture, it one were to turn around one would be looking out the window. In the bottom, turning around would cause a bumped head. Fortunately, I no longer hit my head every time.

The rain that has been constant for the last 5 days (8 inches total) has held off so far today and I've been able to get some ot the outside stuff done.

I guess I should get some more done while it's not raining.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Revisiting Louie

Today was a rainy day in Citrus County, but Helen and I had arranged to take Jack and Kathryn Farrell up to Dunnellon to see Louie. Helen had spoken to Penny Cobb about the vivit and she was more than gracious. It was quite a reunion! I was standing outside the driver's door when Penny let Louie out of the house. In a few bounds, he was at the door and when he saw Jack, he was on his lap in a leap. Then he saw Kathryn, who was sitting in the back with Helen. He was in the back in the blink of an eye. He recognized them both, but Kathryn has been his sole source of food and "walks" for over a year and he was very attached to her. Inside the house he laid at Jack's feet for awhile, as he used to do at their home, then he went to Kathryn and spent some time with her. The gentleman is obviously Jack Farrell and the lady is Kathryn. The small (really tiny) Doberman on Kathryn's lap is Bella, Louie's new house mate. Penny assures us that they get along well.

After the visit, the Farrells took us out to lunch at Charlie's Fish House in Crystal River.

Jack and Kathryn do not feel like strangers, but like old friends that we have become reacquainted with and I expect we will be in contact in the future.
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Getting closer to a northern trek

Our company has gone and the weather is getting HOT. It's time to be migrating north. A lot of necessary work has been done to the motorhome and it's about ready to hit the road. The truth is we're getting antsy. There's a lot to see and do and we can't wait to see and do as much as we can. There are, and always will be a few things that need doing, but we're expecting to be on the road on or about May 29th. It will be after Memorial Day, so we will not have to worry about the traffic. Our list of things to do is getting smaller as we check off the items one by one.
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More Homassa Springs

Here are more pictures taken at the Springs. They, as well as most of the others, are courtesy of Carlos.

Top is a great picture of a Momma Sand Hill Crane and a very young chick. There were a lot of birds who would grab the chick in a heartbeat, but Momma always kept the chick close and always stayed between the chick and possible danger. Also, as benign as the crane appears, they have been known to put their beak right through a man's hand who got too close for comfort. That same beak could quickly kill one of the predators hovering by.

The swan picture is beautiful. Beautiful as a swan may be, it has the disposition of a rattlesnake.

An alligator basking in the sun is the epitome of idleness and sloth. Don't be fooled, it approached, they react in a frenzy that will amaze the onlooker.
The last picture is of Jake, a long-time resident of the park. We tried to tell Paula to keep her distance, but.............. we'll miss her.
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A Day at Homosassa Springs

Today, Tuesday, we visited the Homosassa Springs Attraction. Again the weather was beautiful and the attraction was not too crowded. Our California cousins were introduced to that California star of the silver screen, Lucifer, the 49 year old Hippo who has resided here for many years.
A fixture at Homosassa Springs since 1964, Lu was a movie and television star with the Ivan Tors Animal Actors troupe, which wintered at the park when it was in private ownership. Some of his credits include the movies Daktari and Cowboy in Africa, and television specials such as Art Linkletter Show and Herb Alpert Special. Lu also starred in a Union Carbide commercial.

Lucifer is one of the big draws to the attraction, but the real stars are the Florida Manatees who reside here year round in captivity. The winter finds several hundred manatees in the Homosassa River, gathering at the springs where the water is a minimum of 72 degrees. They cannot survive if the water goes below 68, and the Gulf goes to 54 or less in the dead of winter. As the gulf cools, the manatees gather in the springs along the coast and particularly in Homosassa and Crystal River. They are also drawn to the warm water exhaust from the many electric plants along the coast.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Out in Crystal River

Today we had an outing on the waters of Crystal River and Kings Bay. We were actually looking for a manatee or two, but found none. We even tried Three Sisters Spring and were skunked there. Two Kayakers coming out of the spring reported nothing there. We motored around to The King Spring, the largest of many in the Crystal River Head springs and then went over to Hunter's Spring. There was a lot of activity of the human variety as so many were enjoying the perfect springtime weather.
We did see one large alligator as we were leaving the launching area, a beauty about nine feet long, and we were able to get rather close before he quietly and slowly submerged.

These are pictures of Paula Patterson, Helen, the alligator and another of Paula with her husband, Carlos.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Family Cookout

This is cousin Paula Patterson, nee Paula Marie Coletti, younger daughter of Paul Coletti and Rosielyn Rainone.

Next is Carlos Patterson of the Panama/New Orleans Pattersons.

Helen and I met the Pattersons for the first time last summer, though Paula and I have been in contact for several years. The most startling thing about Paula and her sister, Fran, it their obvious Coletti appearance. They had the NERVE to say that I look like their father!!!! Let me see, I'm short, fat, and bald........could they be right?

The third picture is of PT, Keaton and Carlos. When we have a cookout, PT gets drafted to be the chief cook. It works out very well because he does an excellent job and saves me the embarassment and ridicule of serving either nearly raw or very much over cooked burgers.

The last Picture is of Helen and our great-granddaughter Kimberly. That's one very happy great grandma.
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Family Cookout

This was a gathering of the Florida Tempesta clan with the Coletti cousins from California. The weather was perfet and everyone seemed to have a good time. The pool kept the kids occupied for much of the day , sapping their energy and making life easier for the adults.

At the top you can see Kristin with three month old Kimberly.

Below that is the group picture of everyone except Scott, who was working in China. Lest to right it's Carlos and Paula from California, Keaton in the brown shirt and Kyle in red. Robin, then Kristin holding Kimberly, and PT (Paul Jr) behind in the red shirt. Helen with Jodie and me behind. Number 83 is Kolbie with sister Kourtnie behind him and Heather behind her. The gent on the far right is Branden.
Third picture is of the Inverness Tempesta's and their wonder dogs Coco and Jodie.
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Saturday, May 2, 2009

California Dreamin'

Cousins Paula and Carlos Patterson arrived Saturday night, after a long day's travel. We were under the impression that Cousin Fran would be with them, but the was a misunderstanding on our part. It was so great to see them and we chatted long into Sunday morning. Sunday was another day, with the Florida Tempesta clan coming for a cookout. All were here except for Scott, who is still in China, and I think everyone had a good time.

It is hard to believe that we just met the Pattersons last summer. Oh, Paula and I have been in limited contact by phone and email since 2001, but our first face to face meeting was less than a year ago. My whole family was so comfortable with Paula and Carlos that one would think we've been seeing each other for years. Paula and Carlos are sharp, intelligent people so the conversation is lively and interesting. As I said, they got along very well with the entire Florida clan. Today is Monday and we have yet to decide exactly what we'll be doing so I'll add more later. Pictures, too.