Sunday, October 21, 2012

Settling in Ocala… for a few months anyway.

We woke up to a sweet surprise our second morning here.2012-10-16 Ocala (4)
One of the resident interns with the SCA (Student Conservation Association) had come by and left all of us a pumpkin.
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There is a Halloween gathering coming up.  Costumes and pumpkin carving are optional.  Perhaps we’ll try our hand at the carving part.  Meanwhile, it sits where he placed it and makes us smile each time we come home.
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The entrance to our 2012-2013 winter home.
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Two miles down a dirt road, from a paved road, in the middle of the forest.  If you’ve tried to call or text, try email!  We aren’t ignoring you.
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We are no longer ‘public’.  Yes, we feel special.
The OHV center used to be a seed orchard and testing ground for trees and shrubs.  Everything around is planted in perfect rows.  It’s really sort of funny.  The good news is our irregular personalities have not been affected.

We took a walk down one of the OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) trails one evening.2012-10-16 Ocala (11)
These trees grow randomly and wherever they want.  But if all that freedom goes to their head and they create a hazard on or near a trail then it is our job to chop ‘em up and get ‘em out.  There are 135 miles of well laid out and maintained OHV trails in our area (the North).  Another 70’ish (they keep adding) in the other area (the South).  By the time we have finished our five months we would have ridden on all of them many times over.

Two examples of the many up-sides to this volunteer position…
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The 800cc Polaris and…
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the quads.

Yin and Yang say that where there is an up there is a down.
The only identifiable downside…
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Right foot = preferred footwear.  Left foot = REQUIRED footwear.

Not only do we have to wear shoes, but they have to be boots.  If we are going to be using the chainsaws (which we are) they must be 8” up our leg from the heel.  Oh the sacrifices we make for the Forest Service! 

We received our Polaris OHV certification today and are cleared to hit the trails in it starting on Tuesday.  ATV training is next Friday and then we learn how to drag the hydraulic rakes and tires too.  Photos of all of the excitement are in the future. 

Meanwhile, enjoy these few from one of our hikes.

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2012-10-16 Ocala (33)It is as peaceful and quiet as it looks.