Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Our Interesting Neighbors and the Young Hammock

Thursday February 9  & Friday February 10, 2016                       Most Recent Posts:
Highlands Hammock State Park                                                   
Scamp Camp Open House-Looking Inside
Sebring, Florida                                                               Surrounded by Scamp Camp and Hikes in the Hammock





Just a few more pictures of our neighbors.  It’s Gramp Camp at Scamp Camp and  don’t you love the message!




Yes, he’s our neighbor too.  He was dipping his beak into the hole in the tree on which he is perched.  It has water.  He’s getting a drink.



Lots of Scampers were talking about this screen room.  They all like it.  Reminds me of the RPod room.




Hree are some other ways Scampers have found to deal with the sun.





David particularly likes this Vintage Truck neighbor pulling a 16’ Scamp.  We spoke with the owners and he restored the entire thing including the wooden bed cover.  They’ve taken it all over the country with the Scamp.




This just makes me laugh.



And so does this.



I mentionned yesterday that we went to the campground potluck for dinner last night.  Tonight we are going to the Thursday night dinner put on by the Friends of Highlands Hammock.  They do a different dinner each week during the winter season.  Tonight is Soup Night.  For $2 a bowl you can have your choice of about 8 soups.





Health rules require that you cannot bring your own bowl.  You must use their paper ones.  And you must get a new bowl if you have a second helping.  All the money goes to the Friends group for helping the park.  David and I do our fair share with two bowls each.  He has two different ones, a chili and a chicken and bean.  There is New England Clam Chowder and I don’t look any further than that.  I have two bowls and it is delicious.









Today the morning is spent taking Ruby into Economy Auto for them to take a look at her rear brakes and tell us what she needs. This is a long time auto repair in Sebring with good recommendations.  It is Run by Nestor Peralta and his son Nestor Peralta Jr and his son Nestor Peralta III.   The go by Nestor, Nestor2 and Nestor 3.  Too funny!  They looked it over with David and the bad news is she needs the entire brake deal, pads, calipers and all.  So the appointment is tomorrow.  That will put an unexpected dent in this month’s budget especially since she is scheduled to get new back windows next week.

In the afternoon David bikes and I walk down to the Young Hammock Trail.  In this part of the park a young hammock is still spreading.  It is replacing an open pine forest which once stood here.  The addition of the pines to the hammock brings in some different birds and gives it a different feel.








These pines are tall!


I come around a corner and there walking down the trail in front of me is an Ibis.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Ibis on a trail before.  I stop.  He just walks right on down the way.   But when I start up again he rushes off toward the swampy waters



Two of the most abundant plants in Highlands Hammock are the Sable Palm and the Saw Palmetto.  After many hikes in Florida I can finally tell them apart.  Today’s trail has many many many examples of both. 

Did you know that the Cabbage or Sable Palm Tree is Florida’s State Tree and it is the source of hearts of Palm (aka Swamp Cabbage).  If you eat  them you should know that removing that bud kills the palms and while it is no longer legal in Florida, they now come from Central and South America where their stands are being severely depleted .  Commerically growing the trees takes too long to be profitable. 

This is a young Sable Palm Frond.  What a beautiful center.



Saw Palmetto berries are harvested and ground into a powder used to make the herbal aid for prostate health. 

When Palm trees are tall and Palmettos are not, it is easy to tell them apart.  But when the Palms are young and small, you can confuse them unless you look closely at the fronds and stems..

The saw palmetto has sharp, saw-tooth spines along its stem; the cabbage palm has a smooth stem.
The Saw Palmetto leaf stem ends abruptly at the edge of the fan-shaped leaf blade.  If the stem continues into the leaf, forming an upside down V it’s a Sable Palm. 
Saw palmetto leaves are only 3 feet across, while cabbage palm fronds can exceed 6 feet.

If you can see the ground around the plants, see if the fronds grow from thick, rough stems running along or under the ground.  That’s saw palmetto. You can see colonies of hundreds or more growing as a ground cover in pine forests like this one.

This is a Saw Palmetto Frond.  It doesn’t have that beautiful center.



There will be a quiz later but for now, look at the size of some of these pine trees.



We finish the Young Hammock Trail and David, who is on a bike, wants to go on down to the Swamp Trail since he hasn’t hiked it yet.  That means that in addition to the two trails,  I’m walking the 3 mile loop road all the way around. I should have a nice number of steps.





We do this trail multiple times each visit to Highlands Hammock.  I won’t bore you with details I’ve already shared in an earlier post.  If you haven’t read that and want to here is the link.


The boardwalk winds through the beautiful swamp.  At first it has two rails and is wide enough for a wheel chair.  But before it gets to the top, it turns into a single file one rail walk.



The reflections make the great egret a bit difficult to see.







This is one of my favorite pictures of the day, taken down into the swamp water of the fern growing there and the red maple leaf floating on the water.




The single rail boardwalk is no problem as long as there aren’t folks who want to pass you on the left.  Guess that would be their problem.




We have been hearing two Red shouldered Hawks calling and have seen them do fly bys the entire time we’ve been on the trail.

When we get on the back side of the boardwalk, the female flies in and sits on a branch above me.  She’s almost in the middle of the photograph about 1/3 down from the top.



I watch her for a while and take lots of pictures of her as she sits.  The tree limbs make it difficult.  A couple of other hikers pass us by and I point her out but they aren’t interested in staying to watch her.  Except for one woman who stays but not long enough to see what happens next.





Valentines Day isn’t until Sunday and this is only Friday but pretty soon she has company.







After a bit he flies off.  She stays.  We walk on.  At the end of the trail and off the boardwalk, the woman I showed the female hawk to is staring up in the sky.  She has neither binoculars nor a camera but she can see a bird up there she says.  And right she is, another hawk.  Is it the fella?   Who knows but he’s definitely looking down on us.



  1. The hawk in that last picture is looking hungry!

  2. I agree, great Hawk pic. Thanks for the palm education, hope I learn it.

  3. I'm not sure I'll remember all that palm information, but I'll try.. ;)

  4. Great info on distinguishing between the saw palmetto and sabal palm. I always look for the tell-tale saw teeth on the stems of the saw palmetto, but now I'll also look for the v-shape on the frond of the sabal palm. Beautiful reflections in the cypress swamp.

  5. Love the sayings posted on the back of some of the Scamps :) I agree, I really like that reflection picture, one of your best! We had never seen Saw Palmetto until we were in Florida that one winter. It's everywhere!

  6. Thanks for the photos of the little trailer insides the other day!

    Love your reflection photos in the swamp...they are beautiful:)

  7. Great hawk sightings!! Thanks for the palmetto/palm lesson :) That picture down into the swamp is beautiful. I think the Sierra Club Calendar would like a picture like that! Not sure why you can't use your own bowls at Soup Night ... maybe because of the spoons dipping again and again into bowls. Yummy though :)

  8. Here I was all studied up and ready for your quiz and I can't find it. Now I'm so disappointed... :cD

    Do you think it's not too smart to carry those Kayaks on top of that Smart car?

  9. The little egg trailers are so fun, and it looks like their people are as well. The birdie next to the three Nestors is so pretty. Palms and pines together seems odd, but it seems to work for them :-) Nice to see your hawks are still around, and making more. I need to learn trees from you, the books just confuse me!

  10. I think I would love traveling with a Scamp, but backing it into a camping space would be another matter.

  11. You've gone to that soup event before haven't you? Unless it was a different soup event.. The reflection pictures are lovely but I especially like the last picture of the hawk. Those Scamps are so cute- I might like them almost as much as I like the old Airstream campers. Miss you!

  12. Great park, beautiful trees and trails! Love it!! Thanks for all the memories!

  13. Thanks for the reminders, I already forgot how to differentiate Saw Palmetto and a Sable Palm especially there is none in the desert :)
    Love that photo taken down into the swamp water, beautiful capture!

  14. Your swamp water picture with the fern and red maple leaf is my favorite. Really lovely. Soup night -- yum! New England clam chowder would've been my pick too.

  15. the pic of the sparrow looking bird in the pine branches is really spectacular!

  16. The swamp walks are so interesting, being right there, above the swamp. I like all the cypress knees around the egret and the reflections are superb. How very cool to see the hawks mating. Too bad for the passerbys.


Your comments are the best part of this blog for me.
I LOVE hearing from you!