Thawing Out In Florida

It was 21° when we boarded the plane early this past Friday morning in Tennessee, and in the mid-70s with sunshine when we stepped out of the airport in Punta Gorda Florida a couple hours later. It was delightful and I happily stood in the sun for a few minutes just to soak up the warmth while waiting for my parents to arrive. It was a happy reunion with my mom, dad, niece Hayden and nephew Tyler. We drove a short distance to a lovely wooded park situated along beautiful winding peace river, and peaceful it was, while we spent a couple of hours wading in the water and searching for shark teeth.

Tyler found the most, being about a dozen, with Hayden close on his heels with about half a dozen and me in last place with one. But one is obviously better than none, and we certainly had fun looking for them. When a large invasive species of fish, locally known as an armored catfish, swam up into the middle of us and just stayed there as if it wanted to hang out with us for a while, Tyler carefully caught it by the tail, then Wes took it and held it up so we could see the underneath which was really cool looking, covered with intriguing patterns.

We really enjoyed feeling the amazingly hard scales covering it, making it look as if it was made out of metal or bronze perhaps. That encounter was a highlight of our visit to the picturesque park!

Afterward we walked a short trail while occasionally stopping for the kids and me to climb trees. Leaving there we headed over to Okeechobee to my parents home and enjoyed eating my sister-in-law Alicia’s delicious homemade spaghetti for supper!


Since my dad has been out of commission while dealing with his cancer treatment over the past several months, their yard became a little overgrown because of the recent rains and inability to be there to take care of it. So Wes and I spent the day Saturday working in the yard, getting it back into shape and looking like it did before dad wasn’t able to care for it. We took a break later that afternoon and I went for a boat ride in the pond with the kids where we enjoyed birdwatching, seeing little Green Heron‘s, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, Cat Birds, Black-and-white warblers and more. Afterwards I got to do something I’ve always wanted to do, and that was drive a tractor. Dad recently got an old tractor, so he showed me quickly how to work it and after a rough start off I went, happily singing “Green Acres” as I bounced along!


Sunday brought clouds and a few scattered showers, so we went to Lake Okeechobee and walked on the pier for a while, which was pretty chilly with the wind, but way warmer than the 20s back home. Sadly there were no gators out, perhaps they were tucked away in a warm spot somewhere until the sun returns. Today the sun is out and we’re enjoying the beautiful weather Florida is know for this time of year!

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle

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