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Romp on the Swamp

48 posts in this topic

April and I have a few acres of property in a very undisturbed part of FL (that is a hard thing to come by nowadays) We went out the over the long weekend and enjoyed some time away from the city. It was peaceful to say the least. There were monstrous bloodsucking mosquitoes at night but once we got our net up they were no problem. We saw scorpions and other insects by the ton during the day and heard gators and wild pigs during the night. Apparently there are snakes out here big enough to ingest small deer, but we didn't see any. The property has some canalized everglades along side it, but other than that the land is mostly untouched.

This is the right of way leading to our place...

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The entrance

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Can you spot our glorified tree fort?

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I always wanted a hunting blind

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Somehow we just never pictured ourselves living under a camo roof

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I'm guessing a raccoon had a tasty dinner

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Can you spot the giant orange furry ant? It was about 3cm overall and fast as lightning, I barely was able to catch this photo. Any bug freaks know what this bad boy is?

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This is my Sabal hammock, the Serenoa repens live below

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Flowering palms!

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Some of the beautiful natives...

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Viking12.jpg

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This water is to the west of the land, The River of Grass

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Amphibians!!!

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The end!

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Looks like a fun camping getaway...

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Your giant fuzzy critter is a female (and therefore, wingless) Velvet Ant also called Cow Killer. The sting from these things really hurts.

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ur property is pretty =]

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Great pictures!

More? Any gators?

Tha fast "bad boy" is a really bitchy bad girl, and a velvet ant, a wasp species, which, as Old Ned pointed out, stings nasty.

I hear they're called cow killers because sometimes a cow will ingest one while eating grass and get a nasty sting in one of their four stomachs. (Not a critter you want in your shorts!)

We have VAs out here, too. They also come in other colors, like tan-and-brown, tan-and-black, red-and-brown (and -black) and white-and-brown (and -black).

More pictures! I didn't get a chance to see much of wild Floridy when i was there.

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Very nice. There's a lot in bloom there right now.

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Bill, A very good idea and April is obviously a great sport. The land has the look of the area just South and West of Lake Okkeechobee, where the soil goes sandy and Live Oaks start to reveal.I bet those big moes were brutal around sundown.I used to see those furry ants all the time and you could step on them and nothing stopped them.

It cleans your mind when you go to the great wide lonesome and ease back and let time stop. Connects you a little more to who you really are and the relative unimportance of all that constantly bounces around and the relative great importance of stillness and those close to you. Also, great deck and view.

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Wow, what a peacefull setting. B) I can imagine a nice camp fire to take advantage of the weather spell we just endured. Did you happen to add any vegetation when you were there? I could get away with camping out there once, then I think my wife would require a motorhome. :lol:

Randy :D

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Is there cable TV out there? The velvet ant is really a wingless wasp. Your land sounds like the area just east of Naples, Golden Gates?

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Sanford, we had an awesome time... It was good to get away from everything.

Thanks for the ID Ned! I suspected it was no mere ant and you better believe I was keeping my distance from it at any costs. You probably would have laughed at me jumping around tryng to avoid it. Ever seen a startled housecat jump 3 times it's height? that was me.

Ry, thanks! :) I wish I could take credit for the landscaping! It is perfect.

Sorry Dave, I spotted a couple gators but had no camera ready to capture them. And there were gators very nearby during our nighttimes. We didn't go looking for them in the blinding dark of the night. I'll get more pics next time we go there. Hopfully a few more week and we'll have an unplanned weekend.

Thanks Lucas, there was more in bloom in the area, these were just within our plot... I think it would be fun to wander my neighbors land. Everyone who gets around out there uses ATV's, maybe a new toy? SHHHH, Don't tell April!

Keith, you nailed it on the head, a cleansing of the heart, mind, and soul. It's amazing how little we really need and how complicated we make our lives. I already wish I was back in the "void" of the wilderness, it's so fulfilling. The moes left blood clots in my hair. EW! The deck went up with relative ease, half a day and we were chillin'

Randy, We were a bit nervous about a fire, there was so much dry vegitation it just looked like a recipe for problems. I've got a few cinder blocks laying around and intend to build a rocket stove and a seperate firepit. Hoping the smoke keeps out some of the killer mosquitos.

No cable yet Jerry. Dish is the only option for now. LOL! There is phone and electric with the county supplementing some of the runs into the remote lots. Land is actually a bit further away from home and really in the country... Okeechobee county!

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So you are Norte!

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We were a bit nervous about a fire, there was so much dry vegitation it just looked like a recipe for problems.

You call that "dry"?!

Bill,

Check out the fire that was on our hill yesterday. Foquieria lives just a street west(upwind luckily) from this blaze. I'm over the other side of the hill top thankfully.

KFMB news link w/ video

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Say William, would you consider planting some palms there ?

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Wow Matt, that fire is way too close to those homes. I'm glad ya'll were a bit away from it! Still too close for comfort.

Wal, I dunno how much I would plant it up. I recently visited an organic heirloom tomato farm and purchased a boat cooler full of Cherokee Purples to make sauce. We had somwhere around 10,000 seeds leftover and I did scatter those all around the property. Also planted some Allogoptera arenaria seeds near the driveway. Been toying with the idea of germinating some Roystonea seeds in the shade house and planting them out as 1 liter plants.

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We were a bit nervous about a fire, there was so much dry vegitation it just looked like a recipe for problems.

You call that "dry"?!

Bill,

Check out the fire that was on our hill yesterday. Foquieria lives just a street west(upwind luckily) from this blaze. I'm over the other side of the hill top thankfully.

KFMB news link w/ video

I heard about that one... Before I moved to where I am now, I lived just a few blocks from where the fire was. That's the first fire ON dictionary hill I've heard of...

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Did someone say GIANT ANTS? Oh no not again.

Looks like fun Bill. Anything wild out there to eat?

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Been toying with the idea of germinating some Roystonea seeds in the shade house and planting them out as 1 liter plants.

Do it!!

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Anything wild out there to eat?

Just critters and hearts of palm... Lotsa cabbages.

Zeeth, just couldn't get into the royals this year, maybe next season... Interested in productive plants, trees primarily, citrus, figs, nitrogen fixing legumes, etc. etc.

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Got a burst of energy this weekend and decided to cruise out into the wilderness this weekend, luckily it was freezing and rainy. :angry::lol:

Apparently the Moringa oleifera I planted will need protection from the deer and the cold.

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I hope Dale Holton doesn't look in this thread, he'll shoot me. Here is the Tahina spectabilis I planted out in the wild and left to fend for itself...

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I don't know if it's got freezer burn or if it's just dried out since we have been relatively dry since I planted it... Any guesses? I'm not familiar with either scenario. I don't really plant palms I just grow em in the shadehouse! :winkie::mrlooney::rolleyes: I'm thinking icesicles on the tree is the prob...

Hopefully the little bit of green will keep pushing thru the upcoming rainy season... You guys think she's a goner?

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Last but not least, I was industrious and decided to put up the frame work for the roof on the camping platform... Probably gonna use that clear plastic corrugated stuff up for a roof so that we can sleep here and see the stars overhead but still have protection from precipitation (hopefully not frozen :rolleyes: )... Gonna have to figure out where to get some big pieces of screen so I can screen in the whole project and basically just have a big screened in porch.

Progress (and my new toy truck!)

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Nice Little update W.D. Is April doing well too?

Also, most fan palms I have had that look like that, dried out....then got cold... :(

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Bill,

I did not see the original post for some reason. That looks like a great place to get away from things. I always enjoyed going out to west of the urban sprawl of S. Florida. As to the roof for your structure I would put something solid on it. The clear plastic lets in too much heat during the day. And, It is probably better to have something to keep the sun away on a hot day than see the stars at night. I think there is a place in S. Fl. that sell tatched roof panels. That may be interesting. Or just use aluminum or steel corrugated roofing. How much land do you have?

dk

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Some nice Utricularias there, U. juncea and a purple Utricularia!

Alexander

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Well a very nice private nature reserve!

Alexander

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Bill, A very good idea and April is obviously a great sport. The land has the look of the area just South and West of Lake Okkeechobee, where the soil goes sandy and Live Oaks start to reveal.I bet those big moes were brutal around sundown.I used to see those furry ants all the time and you could step on them and nothing stopped them.

It cleans your mind when you go to the great wide lonesome and ease back and let time stop. Connects you a little more to who you really are and the relative unimportance of all that constantly bounces around and the relative great importance of stillness and those close to you. Also, great deck and view.

Sooo Sweeeet!!

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FIRE!!!!

Got a bug to look at the Google map of the acreage today while sitting at my office and dreaming of being in a carefree sparsely populated place and it looks like there has been a somewhat significant fire out on The Florida Prairie!!

I can't tell for certain, but it appears that the fire may have originated to the northwest and was funneled and controlled by firefighters and they ran it right over my spot... Check out these screenshots!

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Looks like firefighters did a good job with backburning and creating bulldozed land barriers to stop/control the blaze.

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The Google map has been updated in the area since the December 2010 as that was the last time I was there and put the roof trusses in place on my camping platform...

Look carefully you can see the rib like trusses on my platform and just a few feet to the west of my camping deck and you'll see a small concrete block structure I placed there to grill on...

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I'm gonna go out and have a look around if all goes according to plan.

B)

If you wanna zoom around on Googlemaps here's the lat/lon : 27.524886,-80.997388

Initially, I was a bit salty that my camping platform may have been burned beyond usability but fire is a very natural thing in this part of the world and it really helps to fertilize the sandy soil. I'm sure many Sabals and Serenoa were completely defoliated and scarred but there will most certainly be emergent green coming from the crowns of black trunks... Stay tuned for pics!

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Ugh, I just scrolled up and realized that Tahina was probably just recovering and then it got burned in the fire! I am really pushing the limits on this one. :mrlooney:

May have to try that again... Oh, Mr Holton!!

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Glutton for punishment you are.......................

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Tahina spectabilis lives!

This is gonna prove to be one tough palm! Pics of my visit in the next couple days! :)

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Through some random error, I accidentally erased all but two of the photos from my weekend jaunt. :angry:

Basically it was a fast moving brush fire that was visible from Google maps... Just like a cleanup fire! All the underbrush had been burned and charred to become fertilizer for the new growth... The Ilex opaca was quick to begin regrowth and was at least 12" tall in dense heavy mats... By the end of the year it will create impenetrable thickets. The Serenoa repens were regrowing leaves, flowering, and it was business as usual for them. I have read they can take blaze temperatures in excess of 500F. Their semi-subterranean trunk habit is a real lifesaver. Some cabbage palms were toast, most weren't. My camping platform was unscathed. Fire burned all around it, even the saw palmetto that is 2 feet away from it was completely defoliated! I wonder if the firefighters soaked it to prevent damage... There was no way it wouldn't have been burned beyond an unusable state without assistance. I am also led to believe it was soaked because the Live Oak that the structure is shaded by didn't have any of its undergrowth burned... Woody vines at the base showed no signs of burn...

All that is good news, but the big story is the Tahina spectabilis was pushing out green growth. That palm looked rough after our unusually cold winter and then it was set ablaze (there was char on the old leaves) but miraculously there was new green growth pushing out of the soil!!! It was clear to see that the plant was "thriving" against all odds... I am shocked that it has been so hardy. A slow grower for sure, but it seems that The Florida Prarie is similar enough to Tahina's native habitat that she may prove to be a very good candidate for our environment. Really ticked that I misplaced the photo! :angry:

The camping platform in good condition (post fire!)

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Some Sabal hammock with underbrush burned and re-growing rapidly!

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Bill,

I did not see the original post for some reason. That looks like a great place to get away from things. I always enjoyed going out to west of the urban sprawl of S. Florida. As to the roof for your structure I would put something solid on it. The clear plastic lets in too much heat during the day. And, It is probably better to have something to keep the sun away on a hot day than see the stars at night. I think there is a place in S. Fl. that sell tatched roof panels. That may be interesting. Or just use aluminum or steel corrugated roofing. How much land do you have?

dk

Thanks for the thought Don, certainly protection from the sun is far more important than anything else out here... Got to looking at the material recently and have all but abandoned the thought of using it. I've got a bunch of plywood that is already laying around and will probably just use it, thinking paper and cheap shingles (I can almost find enough scraps at construction sites to cover this thing I'd bet) or maybe get really fancy and put some metal roofing on... Place isn't that big, bout 2.5 acres... Got it off ebay! :blink:

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Looks like where I live or at least five minutes away.Nice pics

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Finished my roofin project yesterday...

Crappy cell phone pic to prove it...

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The real news is that Tahina spectabilis is one heluva tough palm. Freeze events, drought, fire, etc. etc. etc... Can't say she's thrivin' but she is stayin alive.

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Wow, Bill, would never have guessed that's a Tahina! But at least it's alive. Good luck with it! And great to see you're making progress with construction! :)

Bo-Göran

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