Monday, January 19, 2009

Venice, Florida - January 15-17th

We continue to enjoy our stay in Florida. Not every day is warm and sunny, but Paul and I don't mind! We still do not consider this weather to be cold.

We spent an afternoon with Kent and Margie and Beth and Gary and their friends, starting out at Snook Haven,

a local establishment by our campground. Every Thursday they have a volunteer group of banjo players perform in an outside pavillion by the Myakka River. We all came back to our campsite for a picnic lunch.

As you can see in the pictures, it was sweatshirt weather that day.

The boat ramp is located very close to our campsite here at "Camp Venice Retreat." Several of the RVers have "foldable" boats they use for fishing here on the Myakka. As you can tell, the tide affects the water level here.

Here is a view of our campsite, complete with the tree that is covered with resurrection fern and Spanish moss.

Our campsite is right on a canal, which opens to the Myakka.

And, here is our campsite from the walking path across the canal.

We have nice "neighbors." An armadillo,

and a group of black vultures that hang out in the mornings near the water.

Oh, and we had a "bare" sighting Sunday evening, but that is a different story and I run a family friendly site here.

On Thursday evening, Kent and Margie

invited Beth and Gary and Paul and me to their home. We have had a pool table in the family for over 40 years. It seems hard to believe it has been that long, but this will be my 40th high school reunion this year and Dad bought this table used during one of our last years on the farm. It has moved with the family several times, which is a challenge because the slate is very heavy. When our parents moved out of their last house, Beth and Gary brought the table to their home and Gary did a wonderful job refinishing it, discovering it had some beautiful inlays and different woods that were covered up with age. You can see some of the detail in this picture.

When Beth and Gary moved out of their home in Danube, the table made the trip to Florida and now lives in a beautiful room in Kent and Margie's home. They have done a wonderful job restoring the table as well. They learned from the person who came to redo the felt and cushions that it is probably about 100 years old.

I am so glad the table has found such good caretakers and homes in our family.

While Kent was diverted by a pool game with Gary and Paul, I took over his grill in their wonderful outdoor kitchen and grilled and simmered some bratwurst from the Geier Sausage Kitchen, a delightful touch of Germany down here on the Gulf Coast.

This is the nicest grill I have ever cooked on in my life. Thanks, Kent!!

On Friday, Paul and I headed to Myakka State Park, north of Venice on the river. We did the tree walk in the canopy.

We toured the park and did some hiking and birding while we were there.

We still are amused by the alligator warnings. People are stupid. People who need these signs also need to be told that coffee is hot.

We are learning to identify many of the wading and shore birds in this geographical area.

And, if you look carefully in the following picture, you can see the eyes and the snout of a 'gator. Do not try to pet or feed this animal. Duh.

On Saturday, Beth and Gary

gave us a lesson in the fine art of retirement. They are good mentors.

We went to a local art fair

and visited the local vegetable stand, which I think is one of the highlights of the city!

We stopped at a pub in downtown Venice for a libation

and then walked out onto the jetty pier to watch boats, birds, fishermen and just people.

Paul loves the water, so he is completely convinced we will be back here next winter.

We then went down to Sharky's on the fishing pier to catch the sunset. We had a table right on the water. I think one could call this a perfect day. I am with you, Paul! This is the life.

Paul has done some fishing on this pier, so we will share some pictures with you soon. We leave here next Tuesday and will be heading to the Florida Panhandle for a few days.

We will keep you posted!!!


Lisa D said...

I am laughing out loud about the alligator comment!! Too funny!

Looks like you are having a wonderful trip! makes me miss Venice. I have had so much fun when I have gone down to visit.

Hope the rest of your trip goes smoothly! thanks for keeping us up-to-date on your travels!!

I head to GF this weekend - another cold front is coming in. Don't be too jealous! ;) A group of 18 will be attending a hockey game & hitting the town, so it will be fun. But yah, visiting GF in January? Not the best timing! But it's a tradition and you can't mess w/ tradition!

Jamie and Missy said...

Hello to all in Florida! All of you make retirement look divine! Is it time for me to turn in my badge, yet?

Marlys said...

Thanks for sending some of the familiar sights and the new! Venice is a wonderful place to be.
We are going back to the deep freeze again and there is big talk about spring flooding now -90% chance, so are we anxious for spring to come? Hmmmm. I hope this doesn't duplicate the spring of '07! I should send pictures of the streets of Wyndmere as one has to slowly move out of the intersections so you don't get broadsided from lack of view! Enjoy the warmth, even if it's sweatshirt weather! Hi to all! Miss you so much!

Meema said...

I LOVE reading your travelogue! And yes, at high noon it's -4F here. Feel free to push the sweatshirt weather northward.

As a friend, I must tell you that you're barely masking your teaching withdrawal. Liking the sun? Having fun picking out earrings and veggies? Grilling? Come on, Barb - you can do better than that. BTW, we have placed the MN Highway Patrol on alert should you try to sneak back into the state to attend conferences next week. ;-) Love to you both!