Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gators, Cows, & Pigs

Oh my!

OK, so it wasn't lions, and tigers, and bears, but man did we have a great day! We went to....well crap I can't remember where we went! It was a working cattle ranch that gives Eco tours. How's that? It was somewhere near Ft. Myers, or maybe Arcadia. It was about 2 hours from here...close enough? I didn't take my camera with me as I really, really, love the visual party for my eyes on these tours. If I take a camera, I'm so busy trying to get pictures, I miss some of the adventure. My friend Clair took pictures and I'm pirating them here. I hope he doesn't mind!

We left at 9:30 in the morning. It was supposed to be a cool day so I took Den's heavy security guard coat with me. I packed some snacks so I could stay on my WW program. I even did my exercise before we left. What a gal! I had a choice to either exercise or eat breakfast. I chose exercise. I took my oatmeal to go and told my friend Clair that he was driving my truck. Problem solved!

We got to the farm an hour early so had time to look about and enjoy the sunshine. What a gorgeous day! The sky was blue, there wasn't a wind, it was just picture perfect! The bus lumbered up to load us in. It was an old school bus with all the windows cut out. Looked like it had seen better days. Actually, it looked like it might have gone through a war! It got us were we were going though, and quite comfortably I might add!

We hit the dusty trail and the very first thing we saw were some pigs. They weren't feral pigs, I think they were escaped domesticated pigs that are just in feral training. I'm sure they become breakfast for the farm hands so they don't get quite so out of hand. Pigs propagate at an amazing rate and they can, and do, cause a lot of damage on a farm with their rooting. These pigs knew the drill well. They knew the bus driver would have corn for them. They came running as fast as their little piggy legs could carry them. First were 4 big pigs, and then, to my joy, came the babies! They were adorable! They were assorted bacon bits. Some were solid color, some multi. My favorite looked like a baby calico cat. He was the runt of the litter and just precious. I was in my glory watching them squeal and eat the corn. Then another group came charging across the road and this batch had even tinier babies! Oh my goodness they were just so cute! Little curly tails and everything. One had a hurt back leg and couldn't run as fast. He came about a full minute after the rest. I felt bad for him. I'm afraid he'll be in a pot with some beans and onions soon. My day, I thought was complete at this point!

The bus chugged to life and away we went. We saw lots of cracker cattle, and one, Betsy, even put her head right into the bus looking for her corn. You can read all about cracker cattle if you like by clicking on that link up there. They got their name from the sound of cracking whips the cowboys used to use to round them up. People would hear the sound and say 'here comes the crackers', referring both to the cowboy and the cattle. How cool is that? It takes little to amuse me as you can tell.

We crossed one stream on the ranch that was a wildlife party! It was brimming with alligators and lined with all kinds of birds. There were wood storks and white herons and anhingas and buzzards. As we sat there watching, 3 white tailed deer crossed the stream. It was amazing to me how all those beasties live in harmony. There had to be at least 30-50 gators in that water and not one of them rushed the venison. The picture here is fuzzy, but you get the drift!

We got to see a baby gator close up and touch it's skin etc. It's surprisingly soft....thinking I might quite fancy a pair of alligator boots!

We were on the way back to be dropped off and I saw an armadillo. It was my very first armadillo. They're all over here and I've never seen one. I was an armadillo virgin! On the way home, I spotted one on the side of the road. No, not dead as usual. He was just burdling along. All of a sudden, I saw another, and another and another! I bet we saw 30 or more! What a perfect end to the day!

We left the ranch and stopped to view manatees on the way home and then had a lovely dinner. What an excellent day. I love being with friends at any time, but the stars had aligned and this day was nearly 100% perfect.

1 comment:

Luanne said...

Looks like a fun day for sure. I was surprised when I lived in Florida. I saw dead armadillo's on the side of the road like we see racoons here. I think the armadillo's may do a tad bit more front end damage to a vehicle though.