Friday, January 6, 2017

Polk Salad Annie, Gators' Got Your Grannie

Every year, we try to do one activity as a large group. A couple years we went deep sea fishing, a couple more we did trips to nearby scenic areas and another couple years we all just went to see a movie and eat out at a nice restaurant. This year, since we were in a different area of Florida, we opted to try something local to that area, an air boat ride. We drove north to the Kissimmee River Basin at the head of the Everglades where we charted a couple air boats to take us out through the swamps and marshes to see what we might see. We were hoping to see some alligators and we did, the biggest one a 12 footer seen above. We saw lots of flora and fauna that was exotic to us as well. It was a good trip though a bit on the chilly side since it was only in the low 40's there. Don't worry, we had our light jackets on while the pilots of the air boats were bundled up in heavy down parkas!

Shrimp Boil
Another of our traditions has always been to have a shrimp boil for one meal. In the past, we've always had it towards the end of the trip but there always seemed to be leftovers that had to be tossed before the long drives back home. This year, we did it on the second night there so we could eat leftovers the rest of the week. There were only 13 of us eating, (my grandfather wasn't feeling up to coming over for supper) and we still had enough food to last us several meals.

Path through the preserve
Our rental was just down the road a mile from an preserve where they are trying to establish oak scrub for the scrub jay bird. We did a walk there one afternoon on the only trail which was a vehicle access road that also doubled as a fire break. There was no need for maps because you really couldn't get off trail due to impenetrable scrub growth. I saw one gopher tortoise burrow though it appeared to be inactive. That was the first one of those I've ever seen in my life. We also saw long long leaf pines, a species of trees I don't run into very often either. My southern living brother spends a fair amount of time trying to propagate the species of tree at his job so it was neat listening to him talk about them.

Long Leaf Pine Adorned with Spanish Moss


Leigh said...

"This year, we did it on the second night there so we could eat leftovers the rest of the week," now that's using the old noodle, LOL. You have the best winter vacations, even make Florida sound like a nice place to be (we lived there for 6 months once and Dan hated it. :)

sage said...

Sounds like a great time. I have only been in the Everglades once--someday I want to paddle the Everglades trail. I saw 100s of gators earlier this week in the Okefenokee and will post about it at some point. Thank your brother for his work at expanding the Longleaf Pine forests that have been cut in the SE.

kymber said...

the pine tree is beautiful - we have nothing like it up here. but you can keep the gators - never saw one in real life and never want to! can you tell me what those little balls are that are in the bowls that are on top of the other bowls? everything else i recognize and it looks delicious!

sending much love! your friend,

Ed said...

Leigh - The traffic in Florida always just beats me down. I like living up here in flyover country where I can drive 15 minutes without seeing another soul.

Sage - Okefenokee has always been on my bucket list since back in my college days. Now that I've done an airboat, any swamp trip from now on will be by self propelled craft like how you've gone!

Kymber - Hush puppies. Little things of bread that are fried and definitely not on your diet unless they make a gluten free version.

kymber said...

thanks Ed! i will have to look those up...just because they look and sound interesting! but no - not on my diet list!

Kelly said...

Loved all the photos you shared today! We don't get many gators around here (thankfully), but my husband had an interesting encounter with a 12 footer that attacked their john boat when duck hunting in south LA, once.

We also don't have many long leaf pines - ours are mostly short leaf and loblolly. I'm not sure I've seen Spanish Moss on a Pine Tree before! It's normally on Cypress or other trees.

I'll pass on your shrimp boil (or crawfish, which is popular here). Hushpuppies, on the other hand..... delicious!!

Bob said...

Shrimp boil is definitely my favorite part.

Ed said...

Kelly - Down there, Spanish Moss grows on everything, including electrical wires!

Bob - It was tasty though not as spicy as normal. We never figured out why.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

Wow! Looks and sounds like a really nice trip, with the exception of the alligator! :) Those pictures are really nice.

Ed said...

Pumpkin Delight - I wasn't too worried about the alligator. It was a cold morning and they were more interested in warming themselves than getting a bite to eat!