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

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Blanchard Park and the Little Econ

Blanchard Park and the Little Econ

My traveling companion and I had a marvelous time at Blanchard Park on the east side of Orange County recently.

That outing was about ten days ago and it was a great morning in a wonderful and somewhat under-appreciated spot in the Orange County Parks system.

The banner photo was taken from the picnic area. We had staked out a good spot with a truly fabulous view of the “Little Econ” River.

By the way, the river’s full name is the Econlockhatchee River and it flows into the St John’s River, the longest in the Sunshine State.

Folks around here just call it the “Little Econ”, as you might imagine. A good part of its 54 mile length winds its way through eastern Orange County and there are several parks dotting its path.

Here’s a view of the river looking straight across the bank from our prime spot where we’d set up our camp stove and started to take photos.

I didn’t get too carried away with my camera that morning. But I did get a dozen or so shots worth keeping. Here’s one similar to the banner photo but not zoomed so tightly.

As most of my readers know, I usually take plenty o’ pix each time I get out into Nature’s Den. But the other reason we went to Blanchard Park that fine Tuesday morning was that it was a perfect opportunity to fire up that two-burner camp stove I love so well and make some pancakes and vegan sausage.

We enjoyed our late breakfast that morning and then moved on to another outdoor adventure. That was a trip about ten more miles out East Hwy 50 to the tiny town of Christmas, Florida.

Fort Christmas Park is another choice spot for Central Florida outdoor enthusiasts. But that will be material for another post on another day.

I just want to note as I’m closing that while we were making breakfast, there were two incidents where joggers who were zipping through the park stopped to tell us how awesome the smell of our pancakes were!

That and everything else about the morning was pretty cool. We’re most definitely going to make another trip to Blanchard Park in the near future.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

Downey Park revisited

Downey Park revisited

I had a little idle time this afternoon and started thinking about how I’ve had few opps to get out of the house lately.

It wasn’t a good feeling.

I started looking through some of the folders for pix on my hard drive and it occurred to me that I’ve got thousands of photos I’ve never edited. As many of you may know, there’s no end to the editing process if you take a lot of photos.

So I dove back into a folder from a visit about a year ago and found some photos I like a lot. I tinkered with them and I think some of them are ready to live off my hard drive now.

I did have a different pic of these same waterfowl in a posting a long time ago. This is a good one, too and I’m happy to include it here.

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I’ll offer one more before I get off the net and get lunch started. It’s from that lovely afternoon and features a good look at the dock from which I took the first two pix.

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I’ve been wanting to get back to Downey. It’s on the east side of the Orlando metro area but outside the city limits. The Orange County Parks system here is so unbelievably good. Our parks and our library system are first class and those are two of the things I like best about living in Central Florida.

I said that the last pic was it for this posting, but I’m very pleased with how this editing session went, so I’m going to get one more up today. Appropriately, it’s a shot of me leaving the dock and walking back into the main part of the park.

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I truly do love taking photos. And I really love blogging. That photo session ended and I’m wrapping up this post, too.

I have been trapped inside for three or four weeks now, and I don’t like it! I’m pouting right now but even so I’m buoyed by the knowledge that I’ll have other opportunities on other days to escape, put my camera to good use and enjoy what I’ve been missing lately.

That’s a good feeling.

 

Chained to my laptop for now, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

Another Triumphant Trimble Trip!

Another Triumphant Trimble Trip!

I just can’t get enough of Trimble Park. As you may remember, it’s a very nice park right where Orange and Lake counties meet. Although it’s actually in the very small Orange county town of Tangerine, that tiny hamlet does not deliver mail, so the park has a Mt. Dora mailing address even though that popular and well known town is across the county line.

Confused? Well, here’s the important part: Trimble Park is just overflowing with natural beauty and critters of every kind. And offers some of the nicest, most serenity-filled camping experiences anywhere in the Sunshine State.

I had my clothes and too much camping gear soaked pretty good on the first night. I had gone back to O’do to enjoy a movie with my little bro, and the rain came. I didn’t put on the rain fly because the weather forecast said no rain was coming. Yeah, Mother Nature caught me with my guard down. But Wednesday morning was quite sunny and I was able to dry everything out pretty well.

It was a nice outing in spite of the first night rains. I did get some pretty good photos and have made one I like especially the banner photo here. I feel all serene again just looking at it now.

May you enjoy some quiet, tranquil moments this day. I’ll be posting with more awesome photos before much longer…

 

“Bulldog Ben” 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

 

 

Making Final Preps For a Return to Moss Park

Making Final Preps For a Return to Moss Park

In spite of their very aggressive raccoons — one of whom had the stones to rummage through my car last time — I truly do love Moss Park. Headed back this week and I promise to get some good pix. Battery’s charged and I’m just about ready to roll.

Here’s one photo from my last visit that I haven’t posted until now. So much to like about this spot in the southeast corner of Orange County.

I’ll be checking in again soon.

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

 

A Busy and Cold Weekend Here in Florida. Let’s Look at Moss Park Pix Again!

A Busy and Cold Weekend Here in Florida. Let’s Look at Moss Park Pix Again!

Lately I’ve been ready to head back out at each opp to see some new beautiful corner of Florida. Or revisit a familiar spot. Not happenin’ this weekend. It’s too cold and I’ve got too many tasks demanding attention. Way too many, truth be told.

But seeing as how I took about 80 or 90 photos at that awesome, serenity-promoting trip to Moss Park I just wrapped up 36 hours ago, why not post another pic or two from that excursion! I think I will…

Here’s another one I especially like. It came early in the shoot. Selecting your faves and getting them ready and all of that can be a bit time-consuming. Very rewarding but it can take a while. I have around a dozen or so I’d like to get up, so I’ll let this gem be next.

I hope life is treating you well where ever you may be as you read this. And I hope you’re getting a chance to delight in the wonders of this amazing planet that sustains us.

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Triple Trimble Tuesday!

Triple Trimble Tuesday!

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Well, it is Tuesday. And I do want to send along one more photo that features the beauty of Orange County’s Trimble Park. Okay, maybe two.

Good shot of the meeting of Lake and Sky first.

And then another sunset pic. I like the one shown here as the final foto better than most. Mr. Sun seemed a bit tired. I was sure he was going to chill awhile after a long day at work. Well, the days in January aren’t all that long, but you know what I mean…

I hope your Tuesday has truly been terrific! Mine has been fine. I just need to dive into my recliner and chill. Camping, as many of you probably know, can be very fun. And very, very exhausting!

 

Photo Credits Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Another Shot or Two from Trimble Park.

Another Shot or Two from Trimble Park.

There must be thirty or forty docks at the park. No, that’s not an exaggeration! A view of a dock or two. This huge lake is Lake Griffin.

Call Orange County Parks and Rec if you’d like to book or need info such as hours, fees, how to find them, and all that. If you like to do outdoor stuff and you’re here in Central Florida, don’t overlook this hidden gem.

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile