Archives for January 2022

Friday, January 21, 2022 – Runaround Day

Hi Sweetie!
Had to run down to the SFWMD office in West Palm Beach to get my fingerprints done so they could do a background check on me. Apparently that’s required for park volunteers, or at least for someone who is staying as long as I am. Figured if I ever want to be camp host they’ll require it anyway, so I didn’t mind. Stopped at Anita’s to pick up some paint and a new sign for Indiantown, I had picked up the old one on the way out because of a piece of plastic that had come off. Went to Jeff’s to pick up the small horse trailer, then we went out to lunch at Angelo’s Too. Finally got back to camp around 3:00, then I washed the horse trailer since it hadn’t been touched since last year and was covered in algae and dirt. Looks a lot better now! I even found the long lost key for that little padlock on the hitch which we thought was missing! Had several conversations with folks about the OTL, including one phone call from a woman in South Dakota who’s trying to figure out if they can make it down in time! Got a couple more sign ups today, happy with the way the numbers are increasing, even with the higher price. Finally settled down for the evening, finishing off with another phone call with Anita about our work day tomorrow, which means I have to get up early in the morning, so I’m off to shower and bed very shortly, already later that I would have liked! Good night, babe! Love you!

Thursday, January 20, 2022 – First Ride in Dupuis

Hey Babe!
Woke up to another beautiful morning, got my chores done, did some OTL work, finally saddled up Flash for our first ride here at Dupuis. My goal was to ride the newly marked pink trail (Anita and the gang came out and did some tree painting last weekend), to see where the problem were. While most of the southern part of the park seemed okay, there were a few sections close to camp that really were difficult to navigate, seems like it hasn’t been mowed in a really long time, so it was a bit tough to find the trail, even with the new markings. Once I reached the bottom gate, I had planned a nice loop on a couple of different trails back to camp, and that was even more of a challenge! Whole sections where the horse trail was indistinguishable from the numerous game trails, and the markings so far apart you couldn’t see them. I can’t tell you how many times I had to turn around and start going in a different direction, and that was only because I had the trail mapped in my GPS, otherwise I would have gotten utterly lost! Not a good feeling! Of course, we found our way back to the main trail eventually, but the number of squiggles on my GPS trail when I finished was alarming! It was a nice ride, though, but when we got back, it was starting to cloud up, and even though there hadn’t been any rain in the forecast when I checked this morning, when I checked again after having sprinkles landing on my head, suddenly there was a 20% chance of rain, surprise, surprise! I also met another James, the older guy who does all the mowing, and we had a chat about getting the pink trail mowed on Monday. In fact, he says he can get the entire park done in one and a half days! That’s like 50 miles of trails, I’d like to see that happen! But the pink OTL trail is the priority, that was made clear. I had another phone conversation with James I, making plans to meet next week to show him some of where the rest of the trail goes, he seems honestly curious about learning as much as he can about the equestrian’s needs, so naturally, I’m happy to play tour guide! He also said that in order to complete my volunteer application, I would have to submit to a background check and go to their offices in West Palm Beach to get fingerprinted. That’s fine, especially if I decide to do some campground hosting here, it’ll save me the trouble of doing it again later. It will also give me a chance to pick up the small horse trailer at Jeff’s, since I need it out here for my next ride. Rain in the forecast tomorrow, too, so it will be a good day to get these errands done. Spoke to Anita a couple of times, finally settled down for the evening, won’t be long before I’m ready for shower and bed! Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022 – Field Trip with James of Dupuis

Hi Darlin’,
Got up early this morning, got my chores done, did some work on OTL stuff, then James, the new recreation manager for Dupuis arrived, and we left in his car for a ride around pretty much the entire property, adding combination locks to gates so we can easily open them when the ride starts. He hadn’t been in some of these areas, so it was a good opportunity for him to see it, and we had a good time chatting. He’s from Wisconsin originally so he’s got that same kind of sardonic humor, and we had some fun with it. Didn’t get back to camp until almost 3:00, but got a lot accomplished. The weather has been warming up and the flies have started to come out, so I put up the screen room today, haven’t had the chance to use that for awhile, but since I’m going to be here for a month, I wanted the comfort of being able to sit outside without being bothered by the bugs. I actually talked to James about possibly being a camp host here, and he might be willing, but he’s looking for someone for a full six months, I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to that much time yet. Still have a few places in Florida I’d like to visit, but I can probably knock most of those out this spring, so who knows? Not a bad place to be, though it will still be too hot for my taste in October, but maybe November. We’ll see. Updated the OTL Facebook group with new levels of participation, then finally settled down for the evening. Ready for shower and bed! Love you, sweetie! Good night!

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 – Busy Day in Camp

Hi Sweetie,
After a lovely quiet night, I woke up full of energy and a long list of chores, almost all of which I managed to accomplished. Did two loads of laundry, finished the T-shirt design, though it turns out that I have to redo it to different printer specifications that no one told me about. Sent out a bunch of emails, posted in a bunch of Facebook groups, moved the hay off the truck under the gooseneck, cleaned the skirting so I could close it up, met James, the ranger here now, had a nice chat with him, did some kitchen work, generally went nonstop all day, though I finally settled down in the evening. A tiring but productive day! Ready for my shower and bed, though, have an early morning tomorrow. Good night, babe! Love you!

Hi Babe,
Well, after fretting a bit last night about whether I’d get out this morning, I ended up staying in camp a bit longer to work on some OTL stuff, some last minute sponsors that needed to be added to the T-shirt designs, and well as some volunteers and donators, which was probably a good thing because it gave it a chance to dry out a little, it was very sunny this morning. Once I got that done, I was able to finish packing in a hurry since I’d put just about everything away on Saturday, and I pulled out about 11:30. Despite my concerns, I managed to get out with no problem, though the ground was rough from other peoples tires making tracks. My other concern had been about getting out the driveway without falling into the ditch, and I managed to swing just wide enough to make that happen, too, so it was all a bit of a nothing in the end, just the way I like it! Had an uneventful trip to Dupuis, managed to get in a really good flush of my black water tank, which has miraculously lasted almost a month with overflowing! The new camp host, Steve, showed me a spot he thought would be good for me, and even though I had been planning a different spot, I agreed with his plan and moved in. It’s rather out of the way of the traffic, back by the trail entrance, and right across from a multitude of nice paddocks. It didn’t take me long to get the horses settled and some of my stuff put out, but I really had to get to Okeechobee to shop, so I headed out there as soon as I could. First stop was the feed store, I had bought some decent coastal there earlier, and wanted to get as many as I could so I wouldn’t have to make the trip again, and managed to get 21 bales in, even with the water tank! And these bales were even nicer than the last ones, so I know the horses will be happy! Then a quick trip to Tractor Supply for propane and a couple of bags of feed, then the gas station to fill up (not Walmart, they were actually almost 20 cents more a gallon, surprisingly!), then down to Walmart where I did a BIG shopping, mostly because I’m hoping I won’t have to come back up here again, though I may have to for propane, although Jupiter Hardware fills propane tanks, they’re a bit more expensive but it would save me a trip. Anyway, all of that took a long time, and it was dusk by the time I was leaving town, and dark by the time I got back, though there’s a full moon and a clear sky, so it was lit up pretty good. Got the groceries put away, fed the horses, put their blankets on because it’s supposed to get down to 41 degrees tonight, then got busy on my OTL stuff again, even though it was already 8:00. Then Anita called and we ended up being on the phone past 10:00 trying to sort things through. Now I’m exhausted, and heading for shower and bed very shortly! Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Sunday, January 16, 2022 – Rainy Day

Hi Darlin’,
So glad I put almost everything away last night! Though it wasn’t raining when I got up, it arrived just after I fed the horses and made breakfast. It was quite windy, and poured for a long time, and the field is now a soggy mess. I’m really worried about whether or not I’m going to be able to get out of here in the morning! A motor home on the other end (which I though was higher ground closer to the road) got stuck, and needed two pickup trucks to pull it out. If I hadn’t already been hooked up to the trailer I would have offered to help, but I figured they would call a tow truck, but they never did. I hope I’M not calling a tow truck tomorrow! It cleared up late in the afternoon, but then another shower just went by, and even more might come through, so tomorrow might be a busier day than I already had planned! So I spent most of the day reading, then watching a little TV, just the way I like to spend a rainy Sunday, and working on a little more OTL stuff with Anita this evening. We’ve just about wrapped up the T-shirt design with all the sponsors, though we’re still waiting for possibly one more. That’s it, though, that was my day. Not much to it today! Heading off for my shower and bed, keeping my fingers crossed the ground isn’t as soft as I’m afraid it might be. There are some puddles around, don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing! They actually keep this campground closed during the wet months because it gets so bad in here, I’m just hoping it drains well and dries up overnight! We’ll see! On that fine note, I’ll say good night, sweetie! Love you!

Saturday, January 15, 2022 – Ride and Rest Day

Hi Sweetie,
Slept late again, though I woke up a few times during the night, don’t know why. Did some work on the OTL stuff again, then decided to see how my back was really doing, so I saddled up Flash to take him for a ride on about the only other “trail” that’s on the map that I can reach, Road 10. Had to do the same boring stretch along the road until we reached it, pass through a gate, then we had a nice long grassy straight-away between pastures for awhile. Ran into a couple of quail hunters with a pretty GSH, chatted for a moment before we went on. There was one very short stretch that got mildly interesting because it had cypress copses on either side, but then just opened up into cow pasture again. At one point, Lola apparently disturbed a snake, she was a ways ahead of me, and I saw it strike at her, but it missed her by a mile. I’m not sure she even saw it! The other week at Picayune she actually stepped on one that was uncurling to get out of our way, but we were moving so fast, it never knew what hit it. I’m more worried about gators, though I didn’t see any here, but I’m going to be so busy in the coming weeks, I’m not sure I’ll be able to take her with me, and I know they’re a bit more strict about dogs on the trail at Dupuis, though I’m hoping I can take her occasionally. It was a nice ride, though, we got in a lot of gaiting and cantering, and thankfully, my back handled it all very well, even without me taking any aspirin, so I’ll be ready to get to work next week! Got a call from Anita from the OTL this evening, they went out and worked on the trails today, said they were in the worst shape she’d ever seen them, which I guess shouldn’t be too surprising since we skipped last year, and apparently the guy who used to maintain the trails passed away last year as well, so we’ve got our work cut out for us! Actually looking forward to it, it seems like I’ve wasted so much time sitting around here. Weather is supposed to turn bad tomorrow, so I went ahead and put most stuff away, hooked up the truck so the ground would stay dry under it, brought the awning most of the way in because they’re calling for high winds and rain, then settled down for the evening. Heading to bed here shortly, so good night, babe! Love you!

Friday, January 14, 2022 – Another Rest Day

Hi Babe,
Had a good night sleep, and woke up late, but feeling a lot better this morning! Still a little twinge, so I’m taking it easy again today, just worried if I twist wrong again it will flare up. Didn’t take any aspirin and still felt pretty good. Chores were a bit easier, and I spent most of the day in one of my chairs instead of in bed, so I’m hoping tomorrow I’ll feel good enough to go riding. Flash gathered quite a flock of feather fans around him today, looked like a regular pied piper! I spent the day putting together the sponsor logos and designing the back of this year’s OTL T-shirt, evidently someone else was going to do it but dropped the ball, so Anita asked me if I was able to, and of course I said yes. Apparently it’s been a major problem for some other folks, but honestly, it was nothing for me, I had it put together in no time. The hardest part has been waiting for all the sponsors to get confirmed, and they still might add another one or two over the weekend, but it takes no time at all for me to add them. I think the problem is that most of these folks are old school, not particularly good on a computer, but even I’m using an old Paint program and it’s still taking me no time at all. Anyway, it was a pretty relaxing day, a quiet evening, and now I’m ready for shower and bed. Love you, darlin’! Good night!

Thursday, January 13, 2022 – Big Time Rest Day

Hey Darlin’,
Slept late this morning, felt a little better, at least until I started moving, still struggling with back pain. Barely managed to feed the horses and throw the frisbee for Lola, but I had to make her put it in my hand because it hurt too much to bend over. She’s so smart, she had that figured out very quickly! After that, I went straight back to bed, because as comfortable as my chairs might be, I think the bed was a better idea. Yesterday I took some time release acetaminophen, which helped just a little, but then I looked at the bottle and saw they had expired in Nov. 2013! Then I found a bottle of practically full aspirin, and even that had an expiration of April 2021, but at least that seemed to work a lot better. So I spent the day in bed taking aspirin, reading, and napping. Around 5:00, my camping neighbor actually came over and knocked on the door to see if I was all right, since they hadn’t seen me around all day! How thoughtful was that! I swear, the country song is right, most people are good. I felt a little better, managed to feed the horses and play with Lola for a few minutes, then had some dinner and settled down for the evening, watching a new British limited series called The Stranger. Skipped my shower last night, but taking one tonight, then off to bed shortly. Had a few more sign ups for the OTL today, things are looking promising for good numbers this year! Hope that makes everybody happy and not overwhelmed! Makes me happy, seems like I’m getting the job done! Good night, my sweet! Love you!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 – Slow Day, Hurt My Back

Hi Sweetie,
Slept late this morning, did my chores, and had hoped to take a ride on Flash today, but somehow I managed to twist my back and now I can hardly move. Don’t know if it’s from Apollo’s wild ride yesterday or something else I did thing morning. Just one of those things, where it seems okay and then suddenly some muscle collapses and it’s excruciating! Took some painkillers and spent most of the day in a chair on the computer, though I thought maybe some stretching might help so I did an hour of my Egoscue exercises, sorry to say I’m sure they made it worse, I could barely move after that. Oh, well! We’ll see how I feel in the morning. Lola spent the evening in my lap, probably knows I’m not feeling well, but I’m not sure have a sixty pound dog in my lap helped much. I put some ice on it, that helped. Not much else went on today, pretty boring day, actually. I know you hate to hear that! But that’s okay, starting next week I’ll be going non-stop for a month, so I’m grateful for the down time this week. Heading off the bed soon, so good night, babe! Love you!