From the Wildlife File: a Happy Ending in Florida!

From the Wildlife File: a Happy Ending in Florida!

As you no doubt know, I’m a passionate environmentalist and advocate for wildlife.

And because we’re in such dire straits right now as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, I was quite happy to get a bit of nature news in my inbox just now. Some “feel good” news and I’m more than happy to pass it along.

An outdoor enthusiast passing through the Ocala National Forest a few weeks ago came upon an abandoned black bear cub on a dirt road.

This alert citizen did what anyone would do.

He took our hapless cub to a Florida Fish and Wildlife officer.

Because I’m an annual pass holder at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, I’m one of the many zoo supporters who got “the rest of the story” about our tiny, furry friend.

He’s now thriving in the care of of Zoo Curator Lauren Hinson and the rest of the staff.

If you’d like to read more about this happy situation, just follow this link.

I loved reading all about it. In fact, I could bear-ly contain my enthusiasm as I passed my delighted eyeballs over the happy missive from the PR crew at the zoo!

Yeah, sorry not sorry!

I hope you’re getting some relief today from the cares of the day. Take good care of yourself, by all means.

And look out for all God’s creatures, whether they walk around in jeans, suits or in their bear skin!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo of a different cub: Nat’l Wildlife and Pictures

Is there anything better?

Is there anything better?

Yeah, it’s not a rhetorical question. There’s not.

Nothing. Nothing at all.

There’s nothing better than hanging out on the pool deck on a beautiful Spring day like this.

See ya! I’m logging off so I can devote the entire afternoon to doing nothing at all.

Just hangin’ and sippin’ a cold one…

“Pooldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Return to Moss Park

Return to Moss Park

A couple of months ago I spent a very pleasant part of a winter’s day at Moss Park.

This gem is about 4 miles from Orlando Int’l Airport and features amazing scenery and camping, among other things.

I always love making a trip and taking in all the sights. I have camped there twice and have made two other day visits to grill and take photos.

And, yes, I got some really good photos on this trip.

My companion and I enjoyed a pleasant picnic lunch and then I started roaming around with camera in hand.

The banner photo is one that I especially like. The vistas in this part of the park–situated very close to the park’s entrance–are always breathtaking.

The one you see below is from that same part of the park. I always know that pix taken in those last couple of hours before sunset often turn out fabulously. On this visit, I was not disappointed.

Both our lunch and the photo expedition were wonderful. You can be sure that there will be another return to this fine outdoor spot very soon.

And when I go back, I’ll undoubtedly capture many memories and plenty of photos to go with them.

Photos like the one below, the last one I’ll share for now.

Enjoy your outdoor adventures. At this moment in our shared history, it’s all the more important to look for ways to grab a little serenity.

Taking in the beauty of some of our superlative outdoor spaces is a wonderful way to do that.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Coronavirus, the risks of comparison and a Silver Lining

Coronavirus, the risks of comparison and a Silver Lining

It’s natural that when we have a new threat–talking about the Coronavirus–that we compare it to something we already know about.

But the Coronavirus is very different from the flu that we’re all very familiar with. Different in several important ways.

This article will help greatly if you’d like to know more and see why this is a much bigger deal than, for instance, a new strain of flu.

This is affecting so many areas of our lives, as you know well.

It is and will have great effects on the way we do things together.

Let me throw out something that seems–to me, at least–to possibly be a silver lining in this very dark cloud.

One of the things that I’ve been aware of in the last day or so is that going outside and engaging in outdoor activities is most likely one of the areas of life that will be effected least while we weather this storm.

That is of considerable consolation to me right now.

I wish all of you the best. Take good care of yourselves and look out for each other, too.

Especially those whose health is not the best and are most at risk.

Ben Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Fort Christmas Follow Up

Fort Christmas Follow Up

On February 9th, I put up a brief post with a few photos about my January visit to Fort Christmas Park, a “hidden gem” within the Orange County (Florida) parks system.

When you visit any park, you’d expect to find some rec facilities, picnic sites complete with sheltered pavilions, grills and a playground.

Fort Christmas Park has all of that and much more. A recreated Fort of no small historical significance, for starters.

The construction of this outpost for our troops of that day began on Christmas day of 1837. Which is–as you might expect–the reason behind the Fort’s noteworthy name.

Are you interested in Florida history?

Would like to know more about the three Seminole Wars of the 19th Century?

The conflicts which have been called the “Vietnam Wars” of that time.

More about the fighting spirit and resistance of great Seminole chiefs like Osceola, Micanopy and Billy Bowlegs?

I was quite surprised to learn how much the park and the recreated fort could inform and educate those who come to see and experience all of it.

My companion and I stayed for over three hours and tried to take it all in. I assure you, it was time very well spent.

This post is mostly focused on the recreated fort. I did get some good photos and those make a good template to put together a post that can give one a glimpse into what the park and the replica of the fort have to offer.

The banner photo is a view of the gate leading into the fort from the outside. The one below is of one of the stockades from the interior. This would be one of the locations where troops defending the outpost would be if the fort should come under siege.

Once you’re in the interior of the fort, the building you see below houses a fine and accurate exhibition of the fort’s history, down to the carpentry and construction tools which were used for such purposes in the 19th Century.

Another one of the things that caught my interest is pictured below. That’s the enclosure where gunpowder and musket balls–the ammo of the 19th Century–were stored.

The earthen floor–which you can’t see in this exterior shot–was about two feet below ground to keep the ammo cooler and more secure than it would be at ground level.

There is so much more about Fort Christmas Park and the Fort in particular that could never be conveyed in a blog post.

For example, there are many real, authentic out-buildings that illustrate what life was like for settlers here in Florida in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The photo below features just one of them.

I did capture a few interior shots that I think merit a place in today’s posting. I’m very keen to know more about about wood-burning stoves and some of the other furnishings found in the homes of that time.

If you’re in Central Florida or ever come here–for a visit to our beaches or ever-popular theme parks–I heartily recommend the Fort and the Park for anyone who’d like a glimpse into Florida History or get a taste of what life was like for our early settlers.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

A word from Florida’s FWC with Spring on the way

A word from Florida’s FWC with Spring on the way

Each year around this time, wildlife obey Nature’s directive to shift back into high gear.

And each year, our Fish and Wildlife Commission here in the Sunshine State puts out info so the public can be “springtime savvy” as far as helping critters of all kinds is concerned.

Helping–or in many cases–just making sure that our behaviors and actions don’t hurt.

If you’re here in Florida, taking a look at the site and this helpful bulletin would be a good thing.

And it’s a very good thing for those of us who love critters to watch out for them all throughout the year no matter what neck of the woods you may be in.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Fort Christmas Park

Fort Christmas Park

My fellow outdoor enthusiast and I made another trip to Orange County’s Fort Christmas park a couple of weeks ago.

It was another splendid trip, and I did have a chance to take some good photos.

When you visit Fort Christmas Park, there are so many things to see. It’s a park in the Orange county park system wrapped around a pretty authentic re-creation of the actual fort. Fort Christmas was active for a short time in the 2nd Seminole Indian War.

That’s a photo of that storied fort (as re-created) but the fort is only one of the reasons why making a visit to the park is time very well spent.

There are at least 15 out-buildings spread all over the park grounds and they shed light on what life was like for settlers in Florida in the late 19th to early 20th Centuries.

I’ll have more coming soon both about the fort, a very brief mini-history of the Seminole wars and why the fort came to be. And then a photo journal of all of the other things that lie in store for the park’s visitors.

Keep getting out to see some of the great outdoor spots in your neck of the woods. Every corner of America–and our entire planet, for that matter–has a thousand lovely places just there for the taking!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile