Sitting on a picnic table listening to the live oak acorns drop…that is about how exciting Wauchula, Florida is. No, wait….we have discovered Magic Ice Cream; ice cream made as you wait, made to order with whatever flavors you wish and flash frozen using nitrogen right in front of you. Yummy and really an interesting process. Because of the processing, no ice crystals form so the ice cream is really creamy. Bob had chocolate peanutbutter and I had chocolate Heath bar with pecans. Wow!
We decided to go to Peace River RV Park in central Florida before heading to Daytona Speedway for a Good Sam Club rally. It is one of the Thousand Trails Parks and is nice but really, this area of central Florida is extremely rural. Hardee County has three industries; citrus, cattle and phosphate. Everywhere, there are orchards with oranges and grapefruit filling the trees. Beef cattle populate open fields accompanied by the ever present cattle egrets who eat the insects on the cattle. They even stand right on top of the cattle. The phosphate mines are hidden off the main highway but we could see huge mining structures.
We met a Hardee county sheriff’s deputy at the ice cream store and he told us about a county park named, not surprisingly, Hardee Lakes, consisting of a campground and four lakes that were created from abandoned phosphate mines. We got some fishing licenses at the local Wal-mart and off we went to Hardee Lakes. Though the sky was a brilliant blue, it was quite windy and chilly. We drove through the park and came upon two sand hill cranes heating the grass seeds in a field. I got very close to them but then decided to take the photos and just leave them alone.
We came upon a fishing pier along Lake No. 1. About 20 yards from shore, there was a barrel shaped floating something which apparently must have had some seed or fish food or something in it because the grackles were constantly flying to the buoy and trying to pick at the sealed contents. Fish were slapping the area around the buoy as well. Looked like a good place to fish. Unfortunately, the fish were way smarter than us. We weren’t successful using lures and when we baited a line and tossed it toward the buoy area, the bait was immediately grabbed and toyed with. Bob managed to hook only two small fish and I got one. Needless to say, they were not keepers. Still, it was a nice day and there was no one else at the park. The birds were noisy in the trees and coots, grebes and cormorants plied the water while wading birds such as blue heron and great egrets patrolled the shore. In the air, gulls dove for and got fish and overhead, an eagle searched the water for a meal.
Hope you guys on the East Coast and especially in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are surviving the storm. We’re thinking of you.