A Visit With My Family In Florida
By Rachelle Siegrist
Haydyn and I enjoying our boat picnic
Wow . . . I can’t believe it’s been a week ago already since we attended the opening for the MASF show in Tarpon Springs, FL! I guess time flies when you’re out playing in the sunshine though, and that’s what we spent this past week doing, while visiting my family in Okeechobee, FL. Every day brought blue skies and sunshine as well as very mild temps, which I personally thoroughly enjoyed! Wes and I spent most of our time outside playing with my niece and nephew and working on the pond at my parents’ place. After many hours of tugging, Wes managed to free up much of the pond, exposing open water for the kids to go out and play in the boat. One day, Haydyn and I even enjoyed a picnic lunch out in the boat, which was very nice, while certainly getting a great dose of vitamin D!
Uncle Wes making miniature pancakes with the kids
A beautiful day for a Picnic!
Last Monday, the family enjoyed a delightful picnic lunch at the Taylor Creek Stormwater Treatment Area and trail. The tables located underneath a magnificent Live Oak tree, provided the perfect location for just such a picnicking adventure! Afterwards we all enjoyed riding our bikes around the trail while seeing numerous waterbirds, buzzards and of course my favorite . . . alligators! While riding with clear blue skies above and feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin, I was as happy as can be and even more so when we came up on a gathering of about 75 buzzards, which I love to watch! Of course with the flock of buzzards, there were lots of discarded feathers, so the kids and I had lots of creative fun, putting them in the ends of our bike handlebars and in their bike helmets. We then gave ourselves “Indian” names such as Chief Buzzard, and Flying Buzzard, adding even more fun to this outdoor adventure!
A beautiful gator and his turtle buddies
A gorgeous Blue Heron
Haydyn talks with one of the friendly buzzards
Chief Flying Buzzard
Haydyn flies along with the Sandhill Cranes
Later that afternoon, I joined my brother Marshall and his family at one of my favorite places, Grassy Island Trail, where we spent a couple of hours hiking and playing in the woods. The kids had a ball tossing “meadow muffins” . . . or dried cow patties, into the creek and watching them float. Of course yours truly had to do it as well, as I returned to a childhood pastime for a few minutes! They swung on grapevines, played on dirt hills and we watched an Armadillo and ate wild oranges, all while just relaxing and enjoying this time together in the beautiful oak hammock.
Alicia, Haydyn, and Marshall watch while Tyler swings
Playing with “meadow muffins”
Washing hands in the creek afterwards
The next two days were spent just enjoying time with the kids, while soaking in the beautiful south Florida weather! Tuesday, we met my dad for lunch, while eating delicious pizza. We spent the afternoon playing in the boat and all helped Wes clean out more grass and water lettuce out of the pond. We played in the big sandy hole, while sculpting sand turtles and sand snakes. We hiked the path through the wooded backyard and searched for critters, and even made paper boats and launched them in the pond one afternoon. Before we knew it, my boat had floated over to Tyler’s, and I told him my pirate men were invading his boat! Soon afterwards, his sank, so I guess they took it over.
Uncle Wes drew Haydyn while waiting on our pizza
Marshall and the kids bringing in more grass while Wes waits to help haul it out
Friday, we met my dad for a delicious lunch at a restaurant called Tin Fish located in Okeechobee. That afternoon, we spent playing and working outdoors again, and Haydyn thoroughly enjoyed playing in the mud! That evening Marshall, Tyler and I rode our bikes at Grassy Island Trail, a favorite pastime of mine, and as usual, we had a wonderful time! Just as we completed our ride, the sun was setting, painting the sky above in oranges and pinks, creating a stunning masterpiece indeed! The next morning I spent time riding the 4-wheeler, another favorite pastime of mine, as I love the feeling of wind blowing through my hair, and riding just for the sheer delight of it! I must admit it was very hard to stay away from the mud, but knowing we had to leave for the airport soon, I somehow managed to resist. My parents dropped us off at the airport in Sanford later that afternoon, we said our goodbyes, and flew back to the Smokies. Walking to our parked van through the rainy, cold night, it was hard to imagine that just a few hours earlier I was wearing shorts and flip flops and riding the 4-wheeler! More wonderful memories indeed!
Haydyn and I test out the Tin Fish truck
Happy . . . Happy . . . Happy!
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Until next time . . .