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Silvers Springs State Park at Ocala, Florida

July 27th, 2015 by Lila Steinhoff
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Summer Trip

In mid July, grandson Malcolm, neighbor Bill Jacqie Jackson and I headed north to ride the glass bottom boats at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala, Florida. Silver Springs is one of the largest artesian springs in the world. It was the summer trip I had promised my grandson.
Silver Springs State Park

Silver Springs State Park, Ocala, FL

Clearest Water Ever

If you haven’t been to Silver Springs, it should be added to your bucket list. It is an incredibly beautiful place with water that is so clear, you can see all the way to the bottom, even on the river.

springs and clear water

Crystal Clear Water

The springs produce 550 million of gallons of 98% pure water daily. Currently, while the water is clear, the white sand bottom is partially covered with algae. Still, well worth the trip.

 For you old movie aficionados, it is also the place where the TV series Sea Hunt, several Tarzan movies and The Creature from the Black Lagoon were filmed.

Glass Bottom Boats

glass bottom boat at Silver Springs State Park

Glass Bottom Boat at Silver Springs State Park

There are 30-minute spring tours and a 90-minute trip that goes down the Silver River, both in glass bottom boats. There isn’t a bad seat on any of them. I recommend the 90-minute trip for the wild life, the trees and plants and the time to stop hear and see it all.

Abundant Wildlife

There are alligators, turtles, anhingas drying their wings, nests full of baby herons, fish everywhere and, occasionally, the monkeys that live in park. 
turtles

Turtles

So much nature to see, eyes have a hard time taking it all in.When the sun hits the trees and plants, the greens are so bright they look fake. The cypress trees along the river take your breath away.
cypress trees along the Silver River

Cypress Trees Along the Silver River

And, it is quiet on the river. The only non-nature noise is the sound of a canoe paddle hitting the water.
Silver River

Canoes on the Silver River

Another good thing about the 90-minute tour is the boat that is used. It is open sided which allows a breeze and room to lean over the rail to see and take pictures. The shorter cruises use glassed-in boats. There is the option to open the windows, but open air is much better. Personal opinion.

Preview

Make your plans now. Don’t miss this beautiful, natural place. A preview of this marvelous place is in the gallery below. Click on any picture to make it larger, then click on the right or left side of the image to move through the gallery.

 

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Sweet Potatoes of the Satsuma-imo Variety

July 6th, 2015 by Lila Steinhoff
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Planted in the Herb Box

sweet potato plant

Sweet Potato Plant

Last fall, a friend of neighbor Bill Jacqie Jackson’s gave him a sweet potato plant to put in his window. It outgrew the window in a couple of months, so he planted it on the empty end of our herb box.

The vine filled the end of the box and had to be trained over the side of the box and onto the ground. Then we treated it with benign neglect until this morning when he decided to pull it up and see what grew.

A Pile of Sweet Potatoes

sweet potato harvest

Pulling Up Satsuma-imo Sweet Potatoes

It didn’t take too much effort to harvest the sweet potatoes. We took them inside for a quick wash, and yes, folks, all 12 pounds are from one plant started in a jar with a little water. I’m impressed.

Satsuma-imo Sweet Potatoes

Satsuma-imo Sweet Potatoes

I have never grown any kind of sweet potato before. Truth be told, I seldom eat them. Once a year or so, I will bake one and eat it with butter mashed into it. My neighbor will be in charge of cooking these.

Also, these did not look like any I had seen, so I had to do a little research. These appear to be a Japanese sweet potato called Satsuma-imo. If you want to read more about them, the Culinate website has all kinds of information from the history of it to how to cook this white-fleshed variety of sweet potato.

 

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2015 Lake Worth Street Painting Festival

February 22nd, 2015 by Lila Steinhoff
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Art in the Morning

February 20th and 21st… yesterday and today… was the 2015 Lake Worth Street Painting Festival. This annual art fest is one I do NOT miss. There are hundreds of artists and thousands of fans.

My sister, Marty Riley, has come from Missouri several times to chalk beautiful things for this event.

Tiger in Chalk 2009

Irises in Chalk 2010

 

The youngest artists have their own area marked off in sections and are supplied chalk for their own creative experiences. How cool is that?!!?

Budding Artists

 Rain or Shine

The festival goes on regardless of the weather.

Event FAQs

It rained for a couple of hours on Saturday. Many artists bring something to cover their work. Some did not, and their work was rinsed by mother nature. Most artists were back this morning, though, to redo and continue.

So Much Fun!

The weather was beautiful… clear blue skies, temps in the high 70s and low 80s and palm trees blowing in the best breeze ever. I love, love, love this event!

Seeing is believing, but it will be quite a wait for the next Street Painting Festival. To hold you over until next February, I’ve attached a gallery of pictures taken this morning. Click on any photo to make it larger and use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.

 

 

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