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Rainy Day Monday

Waking up to gray skies on a Monday morning isn't my idea of perfect, however, the thunderstorms which came in soon thereafter are much needed. While driving to Ocala last week on a super cold morning, everywhere I looked I saw evidence of our unseasonably cold weather this winter. Brown, brown, brown!

Mostly true. Actually, my drive through the Ocala National Forest was wonderful. Mile after mile of stick straight pine trees planted in rows.
So, there was some green. And lots and lots of blue. The freezing weather--28 degrees in Umatilla, seems to bring out the blue of the sky, which in turns seems to turn every body of water ultra blue. You know how sometimes a lake looks either gray or green? Not so in the winter it seems.
The above is not just some random lake shot, no, my friends, it is part of our family history. Make that Matt and Bruce's history to be precise. When I saw the sign for Farles Prairie, I decided to see the place for myself. Taking a left turn off SR 19, I drove along a sand packed road for miles and miles with nothing but the sound of my car and when I felt like braving the brisk cold, I opened my window to hear an occasional bird song. Again, pines and more pines. Which brings me to the above picture. Eventually I arrived, and the above is was I saw. Clicking on the picture will enlarge the scene allowing you to see the rows of broken pines surrounding the lake. I've no evidence to prove this, but more than 15 years ago, Bruce and Matt, along with some other men from our church, camped in this location. I'm showing you the boat ramp where they launched their canoes for fishing in Farles Lake. Well, I can't remember all the details, however, I do remember that a huge storm, which, at the time they called "The Storm of the Century" came through. Remember I said I drove for miles and miles off 19? Imagine being in a tent in the middle of the forest during a massive storm! Maybe Matt will remember more of the exact details, but for my part, I recall that someone called letting us know they were all right. It was a very frightening experience for all involved. Which brings me back to the picture; perhaps the storm broke off all of those trees?

Continuing my drive I pulled into Juniper Springs, one of several swimming springs in the forest. Because of the extreme cold, I shared the park with two other hardy souls.
The glint of sunlight on the springs shows off the gorgeous color. Another pretty little feature there was a mill house which was closed at the time of my visit.

By now I'd been on the road for more than four hours, which tells those of you who know that Ocala is only 1 1/2 hours away, how many times I took sightseeing detours! Because my meeting with Desiree was not until 1:00, I stopped at one more place, Appleton Museum of Art and was I glad I did! For more information on this Ocala gem, click on the link. Seriously spectacular for a city the size of Ocala.
Bill would have gone crazy what with his love of all things made from natural stone--make that 80,000 square feet of Italian travertine! Sadly I missed a 200 piece photography show by a week, however, I've definitely a new appreciation for oil painting of which there was a lot.

Turns out Kimberly's Cottage was only a few blocks from the museum which was great because it's very easy to get lost in Ocala.
After a tour of the facilities, Desiree and I brought the pieces into the boardroom and that was that! As you can imagine from reading her email, she was a very enthusiastic young woman. For my part, I was happy to be of some help.

And then, I took the long way home, which I'm sure doesn't surprise you one bit! I thoroughly enjoyed my road trip, mostly the peaceful stretch through the forest, with barely another car on the road. I need to get out more often!

Moving into the present, the market was terrific yesterday. The day began chilly and gloomy, with few folks out, however, just before lunchtime, the sun broke through the clouds and all was right with our little market world. Pretty much my best sales day there in ages and ages. Hurray!
By the way, Jonathan and Amy, the purveyors of the fruit pictured above, both told us how thrilled their 13 year old son was to receive the bed and linens making Bruce and I very happy. We've never forgotten all the times we could have used some helping hands.

Heading into the kitchen now to heat up some leftover corn chowder I made the other night. Definitely a soup kind of day.
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