Yay!!!!! I think I’ve got the adding pictures thing now. Thank you Rose! I’ll catch up with travels a bit then maybe do a whole post of pictures. This one just shows the whole rig, camper and tow vehicle, at the farm before leaving. First things first. The camper is hitched up in it’s popped up position for camping, but you don’t travel with it up, it folds down to the middle line you can see under the windows. I didn’t get a picture of it in travel position.
So to catch up with traveling, we’re now in the Gainsville area, actually camped at my friend Karen’s little house in Hawthorne. Karen lived in Durham years ago, then more recently was in Goldston, Chatham Co., where she beautifully restored a fantastic Victorian house. A few years ago she bought this little cabin on a lake in Hawthorne to join a thriving women’s/lesbian/artist/music community. I have many friends in this area, especially Melrose, so lots of time being spent here visiting and catching up.
When I first got here and plugged the camper in, had a bit of camper drama. Something went wrong with the electrical system. Luckily I found a little local trailer/camper repair place just down the road (so lucky not to have to go to a big camper store in or near a big city!!). They were able to figure it out and fix it. They also found the house battery was about dead so got a new one (expensive deep cell battery, but it was the original 5 y.o. one in there), they fixed the wiring harness so it would lock in which I’d already known was a problem, and fixed whatever to make all lights on trailer come on, the running lights and back up lights hadn’t been working. So there were some good benefits, the silver lining, to having the other problem in the first place. Especially since we’re planning to be in Ocala National Forest without hookups, really need that battery.
Thursday after taking the camper in and leaving it Karen and I went into Melrose to what’s called “coffee talk”. Thursdays from 11 – 1 there are local musicians who play. Melrose is full of musicians and artists and galleries, this is just such a nice little touch. I’d been to it before when I was here and heard a great environmental/naturalist type of singer/songwriter who I liked so much I bought his CD. This time was a very good woman singer/songwriter singing mostly bluesy style. Some other friends, Wini and Barb, joined us there and then we went to lunch with Shan who met us there. In the afternoon I went to pick up my camper, drove it to where I could get the propane filled then out to the “North 40”, a 40 yr. old women’s community/land trust, to visit another old friend. We had a wonderful walk around the land and simple salad supper and good catching up talk. Drove back in the dark, first time towing the camper. Very busy, and tiring, day.
Friday was also busy running around. After a nice leisurely morning catching up more with Karen over coffee, and taking a walk down the road and visiting with other friends, Jenna and Quay who is visiting there, I went back into Melrose to meet some more friends for an early lunch. Including Rose, who does a blog and who showed me how to post pictures here. Thank you again, Rose. Also met her friend Rena, a long time resident of The Pagoda in St. Augustine, another old women’s community. Rose is writing a book about the Pagoda and it’s history. After a delicious lunch of salmon artichoke dip with crusty bread, an appetizer we shared, (so good!!) and a great salad, we drove out to a friend of theirs Chestnut farm in Alachua, on the NW side of Gainsville. What fun, a Chestnut farm!! A beautiful piece of land and a really nice woman named Mary, a new friend. I left and rushed back because we had a pot luck to go to, but was so tired by that time decided I just couldn’t go. Hope to get up with those women on another day.
Yesterday Karen and I went to an organic farm, conservation preserve and retreat space called Crones Cradle Conserve in the community around Citra. Started by 2 “conservation addicted” women in 1986 with 80 acres, now 756 acres! The name: Crones – honoring elder folks who are often ignored, neglected, and forgotten; Cradle – commitment to nurture the earth, it’s wildlife, and the people in physical, emotional and spiritual need and recovery; Conserve – because the land is conserved, as are the foods and values. We went for their Saturday morning “coffee and toast” gather and sit on the porch. There is a sweet little store where they sell their veggies, their canned goods (pickles, jams, honey, etc.) as well as local crafts and products, and have these and other gatherings. Very nice chat with one of the long time workers there about the history and the farm. “Sustainability, conservation, prudence and frugality is practiced and preached. The ultimate priority of the Conserve is protecting and respecting the earth. We work to enable people to become aware and committed to their earth through our farming, conservation, restoration, activities and philosophy.” Well, if you know me, you know how I feel about a place such as this.
From there we went to nearby Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park where we walked around the grounds and did a guided tour of the house. Fascinating history of the woman, the house and orchard, the area, the people and the times. If you can’t call up who she is, she’s an author from the 30s-40s who wrote most famously “The Yearling”, and “Cross Creek” about the life of the people in this community of Cross Creek. I’ve only read the Yearling as far as I can remember, and I can’t really remember it. 🙂 Now I have to read them all and watch the movies made of The Yearling and Cross Creek. I am so glad we did this, so interesting and informative. Most of the furnishings, books, pictures and what-nots are Rawlings, including first editions of her books. We also picked and ate kumquats right off the tree. Yum, soooo good. Don’t think I’ve had any since childhood. Then we went for a late afternoon lunch at a restaurant just down the road called, yep you got it, “The Yearling”. Had fried catfish and cheese grits!!! Another really really going day and came home really tired.
Her sleeping porch!! The other side is a writing table and chairs.
Karen picking kumquats.
So, today . . . A beautiful quiet morning, sitting outside in Karen’s yard, near the lake, Xena by my side, catching up on writing, finances and other computer stuff. Shan for lunch, then more of the same.
Florida Sandhill Cranes in Karen’s yard by the lake, right where I was sitting. They are huge and have a red crown.
Thanks for traveling and sitting by the lake with us.
Lynn and Xena