Homestead, Florida   Leave a comment

Day 11-13

On our drive to Homestead, we stopped at the Miccosukee Indian Village and Museum.

The alligator show was amazing. As he stood there next to the alligator, I could not resist asking him why the alligator was not biting him. His response was he’s there and I’m here. HAHAHA

As he put his hand into his mouth, he said the alligator will not bite what he does not see. So as long as the alligator’s eyes are closed………

Everyone was allowed to hold a baby alligator. Bill (below right) always has to clown around.

The airboat ride in the Everglades was a great experience. That’s one less thing on my bucket list.

Coral Castle is an engineering marvel that has been compared with Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. It was built by Ed Leedskalnin (1887-1951), a 5 ft. tall 100 lb. Latvian immigrant, without any help, using only simple tools excavated, carved and moved tons of coral rock with only a 4th grade education.. Ed built the coral castle monument for Agnes Scuffs, the only love of his life who told Ed the day before they were to marry that he was too old for her. He was 26 and she was only 16. He left Latvia broken hearted and finally settled in Southern Florida around 1918-1920. He was a very private person and no one ever saw him working on the castle. The walls are composed of huge stones, the largest weighing 29 tons. Each section of wall is 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, 3 foot thick and weighs approximately 13,000.

The tower (below right) contains approximately 243 tons of coral.

The upper level is Ed’s living quarters, with his tools in the lower level.

The castle includes furniture of all sorts (below left), bathtub (below right)

Pressure cooker made from the rear end housing of an old Ford (above left) and Polaris telescope (above right).

The most amazing of the castle is the 9 Ton Gate. It is approximately 80 inches wide by 92 inches tall by 21 inches thick. It weighs approximately 18,000 lbs. What is so remarkable is that Ed found the exact center of balance, which enables the gate to be moved with the push of one finger! The gate has been probed, measured, and x-rayed by many engineers and scientists. To date NO ONE has come forth with an acceptable explanation of how Ed did it.

In 1951 Ed became ill, put a sign on the door saying “going to the hospital.” He took a bus to the hospital in Miami where he died in his sleep 3 days later.

R.F. Orchids Farm has more varieties of orchids than we knew existed. They are growing in pots, on trees, everywhere you look.

The vanilla orchid, picture below, is one everyone will know about. Our guide explained how the vanilla bean is formed from the orchid. No wonder they are so expensive.

After our tour, we were given a taste of Scorpion Wine. Yes, that’s what I said “Scorpion.” Check out the photo below right! All I can say is it goes down with a burn. It felt great for my sore throat.

Next, on to the Bonsai Gardens for a demonstration on how to bonsai. But Bill could not resist a tree out front. It’s the only tree I’ve ever seen perfect for back scratching. Those are thorns all over the tree truck and branches.

We were told to bonsai, the first thing you learn is PATIENCE.

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