Day 11-13 Homestead   Leave a comment

While waiting for everyone to arrive and tour the Miccosukee Indian Village & Museum,

I noticed one of our drivers had changed.

He looked very comfortable.

The museum was interesting and so were our guests.

And then again, so was the staff.

Everyone got into the act with the alligators.

The “Alligator Wrestler” was amazing.

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………

Some of these shots, we had to get fast because he only did it once! I DON’T BLAME HIM.

The Village was informative and interesting.

We learned about their culture, before and now.

Next was the airboat ride!

What fun that was being in the wild with the alligators, turtled, fish, and birds.

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.

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.

Before leaving Homestead, we enjoyed a wonderful pot luck dinner and BINGO.

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Posted March 10, 2014 by carolnbill in Travel

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