Bob cats and rain

Trip Start May 30, 2013
Trip End Nov 25, 2013

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Where I stayed
at home in Port Charlotte
What I did
Babcock widerness ranch.

Flag of United States  , Florida
Thursday, September 19, 2013

our travel blog has been "in the cupboard,, sleeping", since David and Erin left.

We are feeling like this is our normal  life here and our days go by just as they do in Omokoroa.
Regular habits - walk the dogs after breakfast, then a bike ride and or a swim ....Garry checks the weather to see if there is any chance of he and Ken playing golf in the afternoon. BUT not likely.. The Floridians have never known so much rain . The pool is overflowing, and in some places people cannot get their vehicles to their homes.

Our Grand children are involved in swimming training 4 days a week after school ,and last weekend they all competed (Todd and Talley too), in a 5 k run to "remember the fallen".. This annual event was a huge affair with fire trucks standing by , the enormous American flag flying, suspended by a very large crane boom, and a helicopter hovering overhead to record the event with 460 runners waiting expectantly on the roadside for the race to start. A beautiful ,clear, female voice began to sing  the 'Bless America' song, and all race entrants and spectators turned with their hands on their hearts to the flag as she sang - (lump in my throat).....
Patriotism is alive and well in MOST of the USA - unfortunately   a small number of the 'baddies' are  the ones who get the publicity....guess that could be said for most countries.

We had only to look along the top of the heads bunched , ready for the start, to find Todd - his height gives us his location , as he stood a full head over the rest of the field..
Couper now "has the hang of it" (his words), and after crossing the finish line, he then turned and ran back though the finishing field to find Talley and Sophia running together ... returning to cross the line for a 2nd time.  He then turned to a young man, who had given him some lip before the race...... "see, I told you I would beat you" Couper said,, and walked off. Strong words from a 7 year old - anyway he finished 2nd for his age group, so had good reason to be proud. Todd finished 2nd in the under 40s (turns 40 next week) , and Sophia won her age group- very competitive lot, these Carpenters.

We have had some lovely days out with friends . Last Sunday toured an Arthur Ruttenberg showhome  with Jan and Chuck. We actually met C & J last year at another showhome by the same builder. Then enjoyed a very late lunch at "The Icehouse". A very large old building in Punta Gorda -  the huge brick building had  been an icehouse and it has no windows...stepping inside takes one back - all old brick interior and thick high timber beams , lots of high tables and chairs....with many enjoying their food and drinks perched on these- an ideal way to pass a stormy afternoon, before heading back to Chuck  & Jan's to watch a  Jack Nickolson movie..

We have enjoyed having Ken and Barb here from Kentucky - they are in their Condo in Venice , 15 minutes north from here. Last week Barb and I spent 2 days sewing ... recovering   the patio cushions for Raymond & Connies Lanai furniture ..Saturday evening Connie had us all for a meal and again, we enjoyed another movie - has anyone seen 'The Help'? - a movie set in the South and was about the struggles of the black people who were still employed as servants.
Garry and Ken decided on an earlier start for golf yesterday and managed 12 holes before being driven off by the thunder and lightning. Ken was telling G about a man (on another occasion) taking his second shot on the 7th fairway, who got a little close to the lake that is beside it ,when a large gator shot out of the water and grabbed him by the leg and started to pull him back into the water . It took quite a beating to its head by the other golfers with him, before it let go and retreated back into the water.... we always make sure to place the golf cart on the water side of any shot were playing , when anywhere near water .... there are lots of lakes around most golf courses here. A real good incentive to try and keep your shots on the fairway.

As we walked the dogs this morning we saw a bobcat and its baby walk out of the bush about 150mts in front of us..... she stopped in the middle of the road to look us over, then ran off into the bush on the other side,the dogs did not even notice..

Isabella loves to cook , and last weekend (feeling sad cause she did not get a placing in the running like the other 2) , arrived over and wanted to bake something. A pasta salad first, then the overripe banana came out of the deep freeze (what do you keep those for, she asked?) -  yes,they do make good banana muffins. Then a batch of this stage, there were 3 youngies in the kitchen all helping - Couper insisted on sitting in front of the 'lit' oven door , watching and waiting for them to cook. Those meringues did not have time to cool, and were devoured covered in cream - I had never eaten them warm, but yes they are YUM.

Raymonds birthday yesterday, so we 6 travelled north to Nokomis (a little waterside village north from Venice,). Local knowledge is the best and Ken and Barb knew of a seafood restaurant with happy hour from 4.30 every afternoon- offering  a choice of either fresh oysters or chicken wings as 'special 'of the day . NOW have any of you eaten raw oysters , freshly caught?....At $4.60 a dozen , I thought "that's me". Well those 12 oysters sloshed with lemon juice, disappeared in a wink, so I ordered another 12.... - 2 dozen raw oysters ALL to myself!!!!! what luxury.
Ken enjoyed Escargot (snails) . Our food just about on a par with the Rabbit Paella in Spain. Back to Venice for a live show at the Venice theatre.

Family day out ....Saturday and we had booked 'groupon tickets on line' (half price) for the Babcock wilderness Adventure park. A 1 & 1/2 hour journey south and inland from our home, the 7 of us all headed out for the day ..Nana with the cooller (chilly  bin), and home made food for the day out.
The park is a 90,000 acre Ranch where Cowboys on horseback work the cattle on the open prairie land, and alligators and bird life, roam the Cyprus 'silent beauty' swamp land.
We travelled in the comfort of an open air covered swamp buggie ( an old bus actually), mounted on high axles , needed to negotiate the many waterways we traversed. An almost 2 hour journey through 'old' Florida with sightings of many species of wild life in their natural habitat. Alligators of all sizes, and at one point , there were many of the beasts, sunning themselves on the track we were travelling on. Needless to say, our driver, gave them time to remove themselves , and we passed by as they slipped silently into the murky tannon coloured water flowing quietly through the cyprus trees. At one point while driving through the water, it was up to the 2nd step on the buggy/bus  and we were almost stuck....NO getting out and pushing  with the alligators and snakes!! in there .Our outback journey came to an end and we were able to enjoy our food at a covered picnic table area...a lovely hot clear day and as we were leaving the park (last ones out) , 2 of the staff removed a couple of snakes from their enclosures and showed us close up of their love for these creatures, with them winding all over their arms....Couper of course was right up there, he has a bearded dragon (rather like a large sized NZ Tuatara) , and I was thinking, I bet he would love a snake too.

While we were skyping Kate and family later that day, Couper arrived and stood beside me ,with a packet of uncooked spaghetti in one hand and a bag of Parmesan in the other.
"What are you going to do with that I asked?"...his reply, "will you cook this for me?" my skype time passed me by, while I fed the needs of someone  closer at hand. Next question..."can we play Mexican Dominoes"? ........yes after you've eaten.... but no, he decided he was going to do both (boys can multi task , I have discovered)...he played Dominoes, eating between turns, and beat me once again!!! The 3 of the children all enjoy this game and it is something we can all play together.

Another early start, and Sunday we were off to meet Barb and Ken & Raymond for breakfast at the Venice airport cafe....every table taken and a well known spot for a great breakfast. Garry removed a snake (only a black racer) from the entry doorway , as the staff stood  wondering what to do with it ,on our arrival .We watched some of the private planes take off from outside the cafe, after the owners had had their own 'fuelup' in the cafe. It is from this airport that some of the 911 suicide pilots trained - stating that they did not want to know how to take off in the planes, only know how to fly them !!!!!!and that did not raise a RED flag??????
Anyway after a great breakfast, Ken bid farewell to  Barb as we set off to drive him to Punta Gorda airport for his flight back to Kentucky. Ken has been there for us from our flights on numerous occasions, even diverting his pickup for us this year after our flight arrival shifted from Lexington to Louisville...
so great for us to be able to repay him this time , by doing our bit in the transport .

Punta Gorda has a local airport and caters for lots of Internal flights in a north south direction. We dropped Ken off, having gone down on the Interstate, returned for a slower journey on the Tamiami trail . Stopping off at Chuck and Jan's on our way back. They had phoned earlier in the week to say the had found the EL CID movie, (Charleston Heston and Sophia Loren)..
G & I had been telling them about seeing where it had been filmed in the castle at Oropesa in Spain . So after a pleasant few hours wandering around an outdoor RV show displaying both new and used RV's with price tags from $50,000 to $250,000 we decided we did not have the need (nor the money) for one of those and headed back to C & J's home for a happy hour , and EL CID.
A very busy day , finishing with a great pork loin BBQ, dinner by our hosts, and again home after all the lights were out next door. I guess T & T wonder where these OLD FOLKS get to all day.

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Barbara on

Lots of fun to read and see even if I am with you in most of this fun summer....
Guess we will go for bang-bang shrimp Wednesday. Ready for our next adventure.....

sue on

Wonderful to get your latest update.Shame about the horrendous rains that have fallen but despite that it hasnt stopped you getting out and enjoying your precious time with friends and your beautiful family.Not so sure about the Alligators tho.Next 2mths will fly by.
Sue & Andrew x

garrynjan on

thanks for your comment ...we do enjoy creating this blog , and going to turn it into a book version, when we return to NZ. Hope to see you over the festive season. XXXX J & G

glenna gray on

Greetings from Colorado,

It is so nice to hear from you! You folks sure know how to have fun (and a bit of excitement with the gators). Jerry was commenting the other day that some people just know how to have fun wherever they go. You two were his examples.

We are in Colorado at the moment enjoying the snow covered peaks. There was snow fall in the mountains on Sunday and parts of the road through Rocky Mountain National Park are closed. It was 39 degrees when we got up this morning. The Aspens are beautiful.

Sounds like you and your family are having a wonderful time together! That's what life is all about. Let's try to get together next year. Stay cool and have fun!

Glenna and Jerry

garrynjan on

well.. you 2 sure get around too... since we saw you in Asheville and now you are in Colorado. We will definitely cross paths next year and will be in touch about that. XXXXJ & G

Carol and John Freeman on

Hello both from "home"?? We have just returned after 5 months wandering around the globe, though not to Florida yet, we go over there in November so we may miss your return to NZ. As always we enjoy reading your blog and looking through the photos accompanying the written word. You both never cease to amaze us with your energy and curiosity for exploring whatever takes your interest. Long may you both continue.

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