Day 12-14 Homestead   Leave a comment

We left beautiful Ft. Myers extra early to give everyone a heads up on the alternate route. What a beautiful drive! It took us right through the panther refugee. Camera ready, but guess what?! No Panthers…..

Beautiful day, beautiful views and arrived at the Miccosukee Indian Village & Museum .

The museum was interesting and so were our guests.

And then again, so was the staff.

Everyone got into the act with the alligators.

This year we noticed they taped the mouth of the baby gator before allowing us to hold them. Wonder why, hmmmmmm……..

The “Alligator Wrestler” was amazing.

Notice photo top, right. This particular alligator is new to the show and kept trying to run away. He was not real happy about being the center of attention.

Some of these shots, we had to get fast because he only did it once! I DON’T BLAME HIM. This particular guy had a scar on this face, which is why he has a bit of a beard.

The Village was informative and interesting.

We learned about the Miccosukee culture, “then” and now.

Next was the airboat ride!

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

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. When it blooms, the flower dies after one day! No wonder they are so expensive.

My favorite is the turquoise orchid that is like our wisteria

Tasting Scorpion wine …….Vicki talking to a bird……what a fun tour!

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 a Model T Ford (above left) and Polaris telescope (above right).

He even figured out how to make a mirror out of the rock so he could shave.

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.

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 got there early enough to catch someone trying to “catnap”

Guess we are wearing them out.

Our guide studied under a master for 20 years. When asked when he would be considered a master, he replied, when I die.

This year we got a treat. We were able to watch how they “bonsai.”

We were told to bonsai, the first thing you learn is patience. I want one, but you have to cut the roots and repot once a year. Too much TLC than I can give.

We provided a Taco Salad night for the caravan and what a treat that was!

Followed by Bingo.

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Posted March 11, 2017 by carolnbill in Travel

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