Thursday, February 23, 2017

Horse Heaven

I am surrounded by horses. Big, beautiful horses! We are staying at Grand Oaks RV Resort which is on the grounds of a beautiful equestrian facility. There are arenas and horse paddocks scattered throughout the idyllic green hills peppered with majestic oak trees. Folks can rent cottages of different sizes and bring their horses with them so they can train all winter. If they have an RV, they can stay at the "resort" and stable their horses on the property. There are a lot of carriage horses, including Bud and Weiser, two lovely Clydesdales who pull a wagon for tours of the property. We see horses pulling carriages in front or behind the motorhome on a daily basis. What fun to hear the clip-clop of hooves as a pair of horses trot by! (I was a bystander at a recent clinic and learned that two draft horses are called a team, and two lighter breed horses pulling a wagon are called a pair. Interesting!) It is even more awesome when a four-in-hand (two pair hitched one in front of the other) of high-stepping Friesians trot past the motorhome! Tucker and Gypsy have been on their best behavior. They haven't barked as the carriages have gone by, and on our walks they enjoy sniffing noses with curious horses that come up to the paddock fences as we walk by. However, Gypsy did take exception to one of the Percherons and snapped at the air trying to drive him back when she felt that the horse was moving in on her space. But, can you blame her? The Percheron's head is every bit as big as Gypsy! The facility is used for clinics and horse shows, as well as other outdoor events. While we have been here they have had a pleasure carriage driving show, a Gypsy Vanner Society evaluation clinic and the Gala of Royal Horses. This weekend they are having a dog coursing event and next weekend there will be a hunter/jumper show. Perhaps I've gotten my fill of horses for the time being, but then again, maybe not!

Here are a few of the sights I've seen in the past two weeks:

A team of European Sport Horses trotting in step with each other.

A Gypsy stallion. He has a teddy bear demeanor!

Four-in-hand Friesians. Such large, majestic animals.

And then there is small.... the tiniest miniature I've ever seen. He was 28" at the shoulder.
A horse trotting behind the RVs.

And now a team goes by.  They aren't phased by the barking of our neighbor's dog. 

And here come the Percherons pulling a tour wagon in front of our motorhome.

These are the guys pulling the wagon. 

An exhibition of the Royal Horses, the ladies were on Lipizzaners and
the gentlemen were on Friesians.

René, the trainer, on his Lipizzan stallion

A neighboring equestrian center had a cowboy mounted shooting competition.
The Gypsy Vanner Society had several exhibitions demonstrating the versatility
of the breed. Here a stallion was used for a "dance" with a garrocha. 

A unicorn hitch (two horses at the wheel led by a single horse) of Gypsy Vanners.
All are offspring of the stallion seen on the left.

Bud and Wesier are led by a golf cart on their way back to paddock after pulling the tour wagon.
Tucker and Gypsy weren't fooled by theses Chinese style horse statues.
There were a number of them in this paddock which may have been used
for a carriage driving obstacle in the past.

I guess you can see why I love this campground!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Leaky Lady

We have had recurring problems in the motorhome with our antifreeze leaking. Shortly after we bought the motorhome, we discovered a pink puddle under it. We had that fixed. Then, just before we left on the winter trip, we noticed it was leaking from a different area. We had that fixed. When we parked in Florida, we discovered a puddle under the motorhome. Another leak!

A puddle is not always a good thing!
We called a mobile repair tech and he arrived at 9:30 PM one night. He pointed his flashlight here and there and located the leak.... perhaps I should say "leaks"! Our motorhome was worse than an old lady. She was leaking fluids from multiple orifices, and she wasn't even sneezing! (Only those of you over a certain age might understand that comment.) The techie went on his way, promising to come back later to put things back to rights.

Normally fluid surrounds the red line,
at least half way up the gauge.
A week later he returned with a buddy to attack the issue. They crawled under the motorhome and using suction glass carriers that Mr. Dreamy purchased, they lifted the access panel to the engine. They tightened a clamp that was allowing antifreeze to leak, an oil filter that was not tightened properly when our oil was changed, and another clamp at a fuel filter.

The engine, as seen from above.
Knock on wood, all is dry!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Orange you glad?

Do you remember the old knock-knock joke:

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Banana who?

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Banana who?

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

Seeing all of the orange trees along the road as we traveled through south-central Florida reminded me of that joke. From what I could see, orange trees are southern Florida's equivalent of corn fields in Nebraska! The groves were on both sides of the road and extended as far as I could see. To be honest, since the land in this area is flat as a pancake (somewhat akin to Nebraska) one can't see too far over all of the trees.

The orange production in Florida has suffered a huge decline in the last decade due to a disease called citrus greening (Huanglongbing) carried by a small Asian fly. The bacterium is deadly. There is no known cure. The infected trees' leaves yellow and the fruit is smaller, thick skinned and bitter. Eventually the tree dies.

Picture from the Internet
Since the inception of the disease in the US scientists have been working to develop a disease-resistant tree. New varieties of trees are now being planted to replenish decimated groves. 

Despite the decline in production, we saw a lot of trucks carrying heavy loads of oranges.

Picture from the Internet
We passed by a Florida's Natural orange juice processing plant. 

And saw more than one tanker carrying orange juice along the road.