My Adventure at “Ford’s Garage”

IMG_2543American industrialist Henry Ford was the founder of the “motor car” company which today bears his name. During the cold winter months in Michigan he lived in his estate in Fort Myers, Florida. Not far from his Winter home is one of a few pub-style automotive restaurants known as “Ford’s Garage.”

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Splinters in the Dock, My Boating Instruction Experiences

A few months ago while visiting my friend Coconut Pete in Cape Coral, Florida, I decided that I wanted to learn how to operate a motor boat. I also decided that I would tackle this bucket list item on the Florida coast rather than a mountain lake near my apartment in Asheville, North Carolina.

My friend Pete owns a boat. This story is about my adventure learning to captain his twin engine Hurricane.

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My Safari Exploits… A Jungle Journey

IMG_2705A few days ago I scoured the mountains surrounding Asheville, North Carolina on safari. Passing by lumbering black bears and the garbage-fattened raccoons, my quarry remained elusive. How could this be in the United States?

The places my quarry always dwelled were void of its presence, without a hint of its flushing past. Yes, the shelves were empty and no toilet paper could be found.

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The Conch Horn Sounds at the Mermaid Parade

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Young and Old Dress in Their Costumes 

Even on the darkest of days one can find amusement and a smile in Matlacha Island,  Florida, USA.

I have found little amusements around the world. In Portland, Oregon, “Voodoo Donut” contributes to “America’s Capital of Weird” and in Panhans, Lower Austria, “Nude in the Sauna” creates a totally unexpected surprise.

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More Local Onlookers Dressed for the Mermaid Parade

Recently, I have written about Coconut Pete and the Turtle Races which also provides a lot of laughs on Saturday evenings at Bert’s Bar and Grill in Matlacha, Florida.

Yesterday, I ventured to Bert’s to once more watch the turtle races only to find they had been cancelled because across the street the “Parade of Mermaids” was taking place.

This story is about the fun, annual costume contest featuring contestants as well as onlookers in Matlacha.

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Discovering the Critters in My Backyard

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Cape Coral Burrowing Owl

As a youngster growing up in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania, seeing “critters” in the backyard such as rabbits, squirrels and occasionally a deer was commonplace. It just seemed to me that almost everyone had critters of some sort in their backyard.

Having traveled many places in the world and observing different animals, I developed an appreciation for the diversity of wildlife on every continent. Few animals are the same around the world. But they certainly are interesting. Everywhere there are new critters to discover and enjoy. This story is about discovering the Cape Coral Burrowing Owl.

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Enjoying Mediocrity with Coconut Pete at the Turtle Races

In the 1960’s there was a popular television series called The Beverly Hillbillies. In it Uncle Jed, a poor mountaineer, lived a peaceful, mediocre life in the mountains before striking it rich one day. That day was when “Texas Tea” bubbled up from his ground when he was shootin’ at some food. On moving to “Californy”, he and his family found a whole new world of swimmin’ pools and movie stars.

IMG_0906Similar to the Hillbillies, my good friend “Coconut Pete” moved to Florida where he found a whole new life in which he could go back in time to a simpler way of living the way Florida used to be.

One of his favorite hangouts is “Bert’s Bar and Grill” in Matlacha where every Saturday evening turtle races are held. This is my story about Coconut Pete’s favorite saying “enjoying mediocrity” and the turtle races at Bert’s.

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Nurturing Giant Pumpkins – Part IV, The Final Episode

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Giant Plastic Pumpkin in Hendersonville, NC

Several months ago I began my ongoing tale about the exploits of my brother and several of his neighbors to grow giant pumpkins in their North Carolina neighborhood. This blog story is the final one in the series about the adventures of the pumpkin growers and their gourds.

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A Fireworks Display for My 100th Story

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Statue in Mijas Pueblo, Spain

During the past five years I have blogged about my adventures and observations of places, people and their cultures. To my surprise, my stories have been read by people in 73 countries around the world!

The worker statue in Mijas Pueblo in Spain reminds me that most of my stories sprang from adventures and explorations. These adventures began on the side of a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Southern Spain.

This story, my 100th, is like a fireworks display… lighting up the sky with brilliant flashes with loud blasts! It commemorates those stories that I find most enjoyable.

This story is dedicated to those who have encouraged and inspired me to write and to those who read what I have written.

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Nurturing Giant Pumpkins – Part III, Hail to the Leaf

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Terry Buettner with “Donald Trumpkin” (photo by Loretta Buettner)

The past few weeks in the mountains of Western North Carolina have not been very conducive to growing giant pumpkins. This area is right on the southern edge of where these giants will grow best.

The vines in my brother Dave’s patch have withered under the intensity of the heat. His gourds stopped growing.

However, pumpkins at the Buettner’s (neighbors mentioned in Part II of this ongoing tale), have grown a bit. “Hope” is a beautiful orange globe-shaped pumpkin and is now about 107 pounds.

The Buettners also have a new kid on the block which is already 70 pounds. His name is “Donald Trumpkin.”

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Nurturing Giant Pumpkins – Part II, The Competitors

4801020c1fb3bd7fb49bdf919f91b985If you asked me, there are interesting happenings going on in Loretta Buettner’s garden in Flat Rock, North Carolina. In Part I of this ongoing saga, I told you about my brother growing giant pumpkins in his front yard. He is not alone in his community.

It turns out that growing these behemoths  is a really big deal! Take a look at this video!

One of the characteristics I see in Loretta and Terry Buettner’s giant pumpkin “Hope” is the symmetry of the gourd. If this baby continues to grow at the rate it has been, I think that the next Cinderella’s carriage pumpkin could be in the works!

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