Looks like lots of folks missed the Hawk romance shots and thus won’t be able to pass the quiz. It’s not too late. Just use the first link above to the Young Hammock post. It’s blue.
For those who were there, here’s the quiz. Without looking back at the last post, what is your favorite way to tell a Sable Palm from a Saw Palmetto?
Back to the bean excitement and important information……….
As with most week-ends, we lay low during this one. I spend the day working out the ideal plan for this summer with all the stops and campgrounds so that IF we can figure out how to get David’s treatments, we MIGHT be able to head up to Niagara Falls and spend the summer in the Finger Lakes and Vermont.
Having a serious illness as a full timer is a major challenge unless you just want to pick a place and stay put but, at least for me, that isn’t what fulltiming is about. It’s about traveling and visiting the beautiful Natural Areas of our country while we still have them.
In the evening, we attend a very interesting talk on the insects here in Highlands Hammock. Because this area has been preserved for such a long time, those species who need old growth forests make their homes here including lots of insects.
It is a beautiful night for sitting around the campfire listening to stories of ants and butterflies, roaches (well maybe not roaches), bees and wasps among others. We are lucky and get a spot up near the front so we can see and enjoy the campfire.
Most National Parks have ranger talks on week-ends during their season but few state parks do. It’s just another thing we like about Highlands Hammock.
Today is laundry day and there is quite a stir. When I come over there is one other woman there and she is very riled up about finding what she calls a Rosary Bean in the laundry tub.
She thought it was lint and picked it up but she knew when she looked at it that it was this very poisonous bean and she threw it into the grass outside the laundry. She’s washed and dried her hands twice and has a complete fit when I start to use the laundry tub and put my hand inside to soak up some water in the top. She’s convinced we are both going to be poisoned through our skin. She’s read that people have died from wearing the jewelry made from these pretty beans. She insists that I have to wash and dry my hands twice. I do and then I slip away, go get my laptop, look up the bean and bring the information on my laptop back over to her.
I find the bean has a very hard seed so unless it is cracked you don’t have to worry. You can even swallow it should you be so stupid and as long as you don’t bite it and crack it, it will pass right through. She’s spread the alarm all over to everyone who has come up to the bathroom and soon one of the volunteers shows up and then the ranger who finds the bean and reassures her it is not broken. He’s running it through his fingers and she chastizes him. The whole thing is hilarious although, it is true that these beans are very poisonous and the park is trying to irradicate them. The bean pictures are courtesy of Wikipedia.
My point in relating this exciting laundry episode is to show you the seed and warn you not to pick it despite how attractive it is and if you have children or grandchildren educate them about the ‘abrus precatorius’ also known as jequirity, Crab's eye, rosary bean, rosary pea, precatory pea or bean, John Crow Bead, and Indian licorice.
It’s slender, perennial climber that twines around trees, shrubs, and hedges. The plant is best known for its seeds which are used as beads in jewelry and in percussion instruments. They are toxic due to the presence of Abrin. The plant is native to India and grows in tropical and subtropical areas of the world where it has been introduced. Here in Florida it is quite invasive.
The end of the story is that the ranger tells her heat will kill the toxins so she put her two loads of laundry in each of the two dryers and runs them both twice at the hottest temperature. That’s a total of an hour and a half in the dryer. Meanwhile, my clothes are sitting in the washer waiting and others are backing up behind me. It made for a very long laundry morning for me. I did not dry mine twice and I have not died from the poison. Even though I’m still alive, there will be no quiz.
The afternoon is spent enjoying the lovely temperatures in the 70’s and organizing where might be the closest city with a cancer clinic to the places we hope to go and what doctor can David contact to see if he will be willing to administer this chemotherapy. All this before we can even make reservations and time is passing. Hope we don’t get closed out.
Every Monday morning a volunteer naturalist leads a hike on one of the park’s trails. This week it’s on the Swamp Walk with which we are very familiar. We meet up with about 30 people who are split into two groups for the hike. Most folks drive over. This hike has the most parking spots. David and I bike over so we arrive right on time and are in the second group
Right away Brian points out a jack in the pulpit that neither David nor I noticed when we were here previously. The real benefit to doing guided hikes is being with someone knowledgable who shares my love of the natural world and has great scanning skills for finding things I might otherwise miss.
Not sure how they will ever replace this board now that the cypress has claimed it.
We are almost to the single boardwalk when a flock of Ibis flies in overhead. I’m too slow to get them in the air but it is a wonderful experience watching them swoop in as a group and land to begin walking along feeding in the swamp.
Opposite the Ibis on the opposite side of the boardwalk and the little lake is a single Great White Egret.
We walk around the lake.
Our coming toward the the egret causes him to fly. He joins the ibis who have migrated around behind us. It reminds me of the different types of people I know. Some are most comfortable in a group, the bigger the better. Others tend to be more solitary and join groups once in a while. The egret doesn’t stay long. Rather like me at a cocktail party.
As we head on around the boardwalk, someone with a great eye and good binoculars spots this alligator out of the water but way back in the swamp. This is the best picture I can get of him but unlike most years, he is the first gator we’ve seen here and we are now in our second week at Highlands.
On our bike back to the rig, David has to stop at the access to his favorite orange and grapefruit trees. I find the oranges more bitter than the grapefruit so I don’t accept his offer to share the only orange he finds.
The Scampers have left over the week-end and we have some new neighbors. This one just makes me laugh. We call him Bill Junior as he seems to be always tidying up and cleaning the windows, the rims, and even his tow dolly. But he loses that name and becomes Mr. Loud Machine when he repeatedly gets out his blower to blow debris that we can’t even see off of his site. Today we come back and he is blowing off the water from last night’s gentle rain. There are no puddles, it’s just that his paved pad is wet and he wants it dry, even under his mat.
Our best new neighbor is Judith who pulls into the site in front of us today. She was not at the Scamp Camp. I’m not sure if she knew about it but she tells me she comes to Highlands often when she isn’t traveling to see her children in New Jersey and Mississippi. She has a home in Stuart Florida on the East coast but really loves her little Casita. Judith is an inspiration. She’s 87 years old and continues enjoying the road.
I sure hope I grow up to be like Judith.