Big Storm in Orlando means one RV’er is NOT a Happy Camper!

Big Storm in Orlando means one RV’er is NOT a Happy Camper!

Just saw this feature while cruising some news sites. What a story this is!

I have camped here, twice. Very nice park. I have not camped where this gentleman was because the park has separate areas for RV’ers and tent campers like yours truly. The RV section is on the left about a quarter mile before the tent spaces; they are much closer to Turkey Lake, the showers and the cabins.

When this big storm hit us yesterday evening, I was impressed, to say the least! I was absolutely hoping that we didn’t have issues with a window or some part of the roof being wind-compromised and suddenly having to deal with water in the house. (I’m renting in a 60 year old home that’s not in the very best shape.)

Grateful that, in the end, I didn’t have a problem with this huge Florida thunderstorm, but Mr. James Williams certainly did. A very large limb from a large oak came down and not only ripped a huge gash in the RV, but blocked our unhappy camper from getting out of his now-destroyed RV!

The stalwart survivor of this camping catastrophe did dial 911. The City of Orlando Fire and Rescue crews did what they do, and the Red Cross is giving James, and some others around the Orlando Metro area, secure and dry shelter for now.

A closing thought: camping is so much damn fun, I hope Mr. Williams is able to go on enjoying this awesome American pastime moving forward in spite of Wednesday’s vicious storm.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit: Ben Lawrence Basile is the owner of this photo that shows the park on a much, much nicer day. November 27th of last year, to be precise!

After thoughts: the park’s official name is Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, but although I’m often a stickler for precision, I call it Turkey Lake Park as many locals do. This fine park and resort is the only camping spot in the city’s park system; it sits less than two miles north of Universal Studios.

I’ve posted here before about camping in this nice enclave of tranquility inside Orlando city limits. That post is right here.

 

Why I really love libraries!

Why I really love libraries!

Here’s the short list of why I really love libraries! Libraries are a place to borrow books on almost every conceivable subject and digital media of any kind–including, but not limited to–CD’s, DVD’s and instructional media on a wide variety of subjects and areas of learning without paying rental fees. I’ve taken advantage of their language instructions DVD at no cost whatsoever.

I can do most of those things via the ‘net, but there are almost always costs and fees involved. Not at your local library.

If you have a library card and create an ID and log-on, you can do on-line language learning and other stuff on-line through the library’s master user account and, again, pay no fees at all for educational and self improvement courses that others do on-line without paying the usual subscription fees. I’ve done a couple of those.

Libraries provide free, high speed internet access and PC services for folks who use the internet but cannot afford a computer. They do computer class on subjects ranging from beginning PC and word processing use, to power point and microsoft word.

They do seminars for classroom learning on many subjects and endeavors using outside experts or, in some cases, library staff who are trained and certified in different areas.

Libraries have low cost access to copying and printing for people who have computer access but don’t have a copier or printer. Like me. I go to my local branch about once a month just to print that rare doc where a hard copy, paper format is necessary. The last time was to print a resume.

Libraries host many community activities at low or no cost. The ones I’ve seen at the SW branch, close to where I was living in 2014 to 2016, are the Orlando Chess Club, and the Vista Toastmasters Club. That one has meaning for me as I served as the President of that awesome club many years ago when it was still associated with Disney.

At the branch closest to where I live now, I’ve seen meetings for clubs associated with the Puerto Rican community and an awesome seminar on the accordion. That was terribly entertaining and it was well-attended. I know that was the first exposure to the accordion by many attendees, many of whom were kids. Thank you, Corky Wisneiwski and the Orlando Accordion Club.

Libraries are a safe, appropriate place for kids to go after school so they’re doing something positive and constructive until their parents can come and pick them up. Basically, an informal and no-cost after school program. I’ve seen many kids take advantage of this at the Chickasaw branch, which is right across the street from a thriving charter school. They can do homework and use the free internet services.

The main branch of the Orlando Public Library has regular music performances by local artists. I’ve seen friends I’ve played with perform there. There’s a permanent stage there on the first floor in the dept where the CD’s and DVD’s are available for check out.

I’ve seen performances on that stage from Improv groups whose venue is right around the corner. But doing a show at the library gave them exposure to a new audience.

Libraries serve as polling places in Orange County for early voting. I have voted in three elections at the Southwest branch.

Libraries put on regular sales where the materials that are passing out of their inventories are offered to the public. I’ve bought vinyl albums, CD’s and many books this way. They have those awesome library stamps and stickers on them, but I think that’s okay. These sales are put on by friends of the library. Those folks are volunteers. I enjoyed my time as a FOTL years ago and think I’ll soon get involved with them again, too.

I loved being a volunteer docent for the main branch way back in the 80’s when the library built those 3rd and 4th floors and wanted the Central Florida community to see what their new facilities had to offer.

This post only covers library services and activities that I personally have used or gotten involved in; no doubt there are many others. I love libraries and promote them every chance I get.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

Bulldog’s Christmas Wish Is a Return to Trimble Park

Bulldog’s Christmas Wish Is a Return to Trimble Park

Visiting parks and natural sites, with or without camping, is one way Americans like to spend the holidays. I throw my lot with my fellows who’re into such things.

I’m very much hoping to spend at least a part of the week between Christmas and New Years Day camping in Trimble Park, a fave spot of mine. It’s here in Orange County, but about a half hour away from me.

There are two complicating factors for me at this moment: the first is that I haven’t booked yet and the demand for camping spots around the holidays in very strong. Very, very strong, in fact.

The second potential issue is that I had a minor accident in my PT Cruiser on Monday evening and am not too sure at this point just how long it’ll take me to get my wheels back.

I’m going to do my dead-level best to solve these problems and get back to Trimble Park before the year’s end. For right now, I’ll be content to post a pic I especially like from a previous visit. It features some waterfowl specimen I find fascinating, though I can’t say for sure what it is!

If you can identify my fine feathered friend, a comment with a tip would be most welcome!

I hope the next few days go well for you as we get closer to Christmastime. And remember to get outdoors!

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

A Visit to My County’s Ag Extension Service

A Visit to My County’s Ag Extension Service

Some of you may know that I’ve been wanting to find ways to grow stuff. I had a ball gathering some ideas at Orlando’s Veg Fest nine days ago. There were hundreds of companies, growers, educators and agencies who rented tables for the event; one of them was the Orange Country (Fla) Agricultural Extension Service, and those folks were very helpful to me. The University of Florida’s Ag Dept cooperates with each of Florida’s 67 counties, and many of them do great work in helping their residents who engage, or–as in my case–hope to engage in anything related to agriculture.

I found the folks who were staffing the OCAES table at Veg Fest to be very, very helpful. They had stacks of publications on a thousand topics relating to growing things, permaculture, landscaping and green living and so on, and I took about ten or so. And they very patiently answered my questions, gave suggestions and told me about other resources which they believed would be helpful to me.

Because I found them to be so helpful, I decided to pay a visit to their Conway Road location in south Orange County. I made it out there last Monday and I’m glad I did. Way back in 2006, I scored a free tree from them when they were located much closer to the family homestead, but I had not seen the new and much bigger campus since the move. And, yes, I got a few good pix out of my visit to this new-to-me location.

The gardens there are lovely. There’s plenty there for folks who like to dig in the dirt, whether they’re mostly into landscaping and flowers, or, like me, stuff you can harvest and eat. You probably noticed the pergola that welcomes visitors in the banner photo; here’s a closer view of this inviting structure’s roof which I think makes for a pretty good photo:

I do enjoy seeing the landscaping or aesthetic side of what they do at the Ag center. Here’s a shot that features some mighty fine landscaping that any gardener would be proud to display or would look amazing at any park or place of business, too:

When the visitor gets a little further into the grounds, they’ll find the part of the gardens devoted to agriculture, to growing things we can cook and eat. Because I’ve done plenty of the “pretty stuff” and am now focused on microfarming, this is the part of my visit I liked best. And for some reason, this spiffy little shed attracted my attention and I just had to get a shot or two:

The staff has been so helpful to me, both at Veg Fest and when I came for my visit. I’ve gathered some very good ideas and will soon be planting. This is going to require some serious planning and preparation, as I have a small and very shady yard, but grow stuff I will!

If you’re also here in Central Florida, I recommend you stop by and take a look at the facility and their lovely gardens. You can find the Orange County Agricultural Extension Service at 6021 So. Conway Rd, that’s just a bit north of where Conway meets Judge Road. The hours of operation can be found here on their web site or by calling them at 407 254-9200.

 

 

Bulldog Ben Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Bulldog Needs to Get Back to Butterfly Heaven Soon!

Bulldog Needs to Get Back to Butterfly Heaven Soon!

Moss Park. Lots and lots of Butterflies. That was back in the springtime and it was an outdoor excursion I’ll always treasure. One of the best EVER for this puppy, sans un doute! (Can’t beat Florida in the spring if you’re a butterfly buff!)

I have posted with a few pics from the trip–that was in March of this year for any who’d like to see those photos–but today I have some that have not lived anywhere off my hard drive until now.

The one featured here is a fave. But I have plenty of others. That, of course, will be another post on another day…

 

Bulldog Ben Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

Fave Fotos: Two Fish Friends

Fave Fotos: Two Fish Friends

This photo of two fish hangin’ out together is a 2016 shot of mine taken at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida. I’ve always liked it and thought I’d feature it on the blog today. It matches the languid, lazy feel of this fine Sunday afternoon.

Have not visited the Brevard Zoo in a few months. I’ll be getting back there soon.

I hope you’re enjoying this Sunday. Not too much of the weekend left. Mine has gone well.

Check in with you another time.

 

Bulldog Ben

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Fave Fotos: a Bird on the Shore of Lake Griffin from Mid-April

Fave Fotos: a Bird on the Shore of Lake Griffin from Mid-April

I got several good shots on this outing to Trimble Park earlier this year. Back on the 17th of April, to be precise. I’ve used a couple of them on this blog before, but this gem has not lived anywhere besides my hard drive until now.

I am about to be released into the wild again! Haven’t been camping for about three months or so. It’s just so ungodly hot here in Florida during the summer months! But I’ll be at one of my fave camping spots within a few days. Not Trimble Park, but a good one.

There are so many stunningly beautiful spots all over Florida; I’d love to get to all of them, but will settle for maybe a hundred or so! Can just barely scratch the surface, as that old saying goes… But it’s a lot of fun to get to the ones you can! And I do. Sure gives my life meaning and purpose!

I hope you’re able to take advantage of some good opportunities to enjoy Mother Nature’s embrace. As any outdoor enthusiast knows, my neck of the woods is not the only spot on the planet that begs for exploration and adventure! Make plans to get out and enjoy some of those places!

 

 

Getting ready for my next foray into the woods, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile