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Highlight Reel

I can't believe I have not updated since Tuesday. What's wrong with me??? Lest I forget what the heck I've been up to I decided to post just some highlights of the week. *Warning!! Massive amounts of photos ahead!

Starting with today and going backwards, I had a great day at Winter Garden this morning. Wow, and I didn't even want to go! Originally morning rain was in the forecast, however, the weather was great, albeit windy and slightly chilly. Allegedly, tomorrow is going to be super cold, but we'll see won't we?
Yesterday morning, well make that all week, I was dying to go on a field trip. My original plan was to visit the Gamble Place in Port Orange which I read about in last week's newspaper. Because it is only open on Friday and Saturday, for obvious reasons, I was planning on Friday. Not to be, and for good reason. Mr. Bruce has agreed to accompany me next Friday, so, for that I will wait. Instead, I headed out to the Orlando Wetlands Park to see what I could see. Leaving way too late to really see all the birds wintering there, I went nonetheless. On the way I came across a store, located on East Colonial called Garden Ridge. Because it was new to me, I pulled in. Now that was fun. I bought the whirligigs that I'm now using for my header there, as well as a darling little bird house to hang in the tree. I had to stop myself before our yard gets too "cutsie."Apparently the store is from Houston, Texas and is the first in our region.

I arrived at the park under a leaden sky, after seeing this bull along the main road.
His coat was drenched so apparently it rained prior to my arrival. This orange tree confirmed my suspicions.
The first thing you notice when you begin walking on the path is the sound of birds. Lots of birds. Problem was, I just couldn't see them. I did see lots of palm trees though.
Well, I said the skies were leaden, but you wouldn't know it from this picture, now would you? After walking for more than 1/2 mile I discovered I was on the wrong path. Duh!! I started to take the path back through the woods only to hear the sound of my honey in my head--"be careful Gail." And so I was, opting to walk back on the wide sandy road. Eventually the sun came out, illuminating the ponds and foliage. The last visit I made there was probably two years ago and I saw not one soul. This time I saw three "birders."
Well, they are tiny, but you can just seem them in the middle right side of the photo. I could tell they were birders by their binoculars.

Deciding it was getting too late, not to mention I was hungry, I headed out of the park. On the road in one passes Fort Christmas Historical Park. Now, I said I was hungry and I was, but I thought to myself, "self,  you don't come out this way very often, perhaps you should stop." I listened to myself and pulled in and boy, howdy, was I glad I did. I skipped all the fort buildings, opting instead for the one room schoolhouse and the seven "cracker" houses dating from 1870-1930. It was so great! Fortunately I had some crackers and peanuts I'd brought with me so that had to suffice for lunch. Water bottles quenched my thirst.
There is just so much to say about the place I hardly know where to begin. Mosquito netting! Iron beds, quilts galore!
Each and every home had a sewing machine and all kinds of other tools for pioneer life. What really struck me was that they made all of their stuff, from houses to furniture to bedding to rugs. I'm thinking those pioneers could never imagine that 100+ years later most everything we have in our homes is made in China.
Flour sack curtains hung from empty spools. Did I mention the quilts? Why, I guess I did, but some of them were so striking I couldn't keep from photographing them. I'm crazy for this one:
I have every intention of trying to figure out how to make this pattern. What you quickly notice is that the older and more worn the quilt, the better.

One of the buildings is a ranch house where the boss lived. When I was a girl the main enterprise of Florida was cattle and citrus. Tourism figured in there, but still, it was cattle and citrus. I like how the curators put the rancher's hat on the wall:
Another awesome quilt!! And then there was the chiffarobe with the precious hangar and smocked baby dress. Oh my!
Chifforobe, for those too young to be familiar with, is like a free standing closet and dresser. I was spelling it with an a in the middle, and it was coming up as incorrect, however, in To Kill a Mockingbird,  Harper Lee spells it with an a, and if it's good enough for her, it is more than good enough for me. There is a ton more about the place I want to write about, including the school, but I'll save that for the next post. I can't tell you how awesome it is. Go if you if you have the opportunity.

On my way back to East Colonial I came across a pasture with horses. U-turn!
Such a beautiful horse! Eventually I got home and not a minute too soon. I wanted to help Bruce out by making an appointment for an ultrasound his doctor has been nagging him to have. I called my old stomping grounds. I was on the phone with the young woman from central scheduling, giving her all his info, and at some point she asked my name. Okay. After a time I mentioned that I was familiar with the procedure having worked in radiology etc... It was then that she made my day. She said, (if you can imagine,) that even after SIX years of being away from the hospital, woman were asking to make their appointments with me. What she really said was something along the lines of, "Are you the Gail who worked at Sand Lake? You get the picture. It was an unexpected happy moment in a day that was already super.

And it got better. Because Bruce is traveling on Valentine's Day we had an early dinner out at a terrific restaurant in town, formerly known as Houston's. They've changed the name to Hillstone, but it's essentially the same.  Great ambiance, service, and food. Marvelous time.

Remember a few days ago when I talked about our waterproof sides? Here's one of them drying on the fence.
I also mentioned how heavy they are. Weighing them, it turns out each one is a little over seven pounds. Think trying to fold sheets that weigh seven pounds each! Plus, see the orchid on the bottom right. Moving into the house proved to be not such a great idea; buds fell off. I put it right back where it came from and new buds are forming every day. Plus, if that weren't great enough, I have another orchid forming buds!! Lightening strikes twice.

Plus I've been raving about that great new grill pan Bill gave me for Christmas. Wonderful marks on my grilled cheese and tomato sandwich for lunch. I don't know why I like the marks so much but I do.
I want you to know that I played the first hand at bridge on Thursday with a bid of four hearts. I stunned myself by making it. Beverly was my partner and she proceeded to play most of the other hands like a pro. Unlike the previous week when I lost about four hands, Thursday was a success.

And finally, before you head into photo overload--oh wait, that's probably already happened. Okay, for those of you still with me, I thought it was pretty neat how most of what I bought at the market the other day was red. Not just red, but shades of red.
Pretty amazing to me. Designers need look no further than nature don't you think?

My golly, it's just about my bedtime.

Good night dear readers,
Gail
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