I am having a hard time believing it is really winter! Our weather here in central Florida has been amazing. Highs of 75 degrees and tolerable lows. It is the kind of weather where you just want to be outdoors all day long and begin putting down all of your new spring plants. Fortunately, I have lived in this area for so many years, I know not to be fooled by Mother Nature. The minute those new plants hit the ground, we WILL get a hard freeze. Ask me how I know!
So, I look for other ways to be outdoors. I do love being in the garden and there are ALWAYS weeds (why don't the weeds seem to die out in the winter the way that the plants and grass do) to pull but this weekend, I used the beautiful weather to join hundreds of other people in the city of Gainesville at the "Great Air Potato Round-up". This year I was part of the team at daughter #2's school. She is the STEM magnet team leader as well as the 5th grade magnet teacher at Stephen Foster Elementary School. We were assigned the large, wooded area at the boundary of the campus. The kids love this place as it includes a large,deep sink hole type area filled with a creek-did I say LARGE and DEEP? Since I am no longer quite so nimble of foot, I left that area to the young ones for fear I would start my dissent and end up falling the rest of the way. And, everyone would spend the rest of the day trying to rescue "Nana" instead of air potatoes-but, I digress.
In any case, I think by now you must know that I am pretty tenacious when I want to be. I am not a wuss and things like scraps, scratches, vines twisting around my ankles and 8 foot tall brambles can not deter me when I put my mind to it. I headed in an opposite direction of most of the others and found the largest concentration of air potatoes of the day. Could be because this area was so thick with growth that no one had ventured there for several years. In any case, word soon spread and we collected a lot of air potatoes. And, as my grand daughter said, "it is very rewarding when you finally find a stash". Kind of like eating potato chips-no one can eat just one. We found ourselves not wanting to stop and kept going for just a few more....and more.... and more! We took a few pictures right at the beginning-my daughter was still signing people in, so we missed her-then decided that it was much easier to snag the potatoes without having to worry about that camera. Have a few to share of my grand daughter, son-in-law, me, our loot and the logo for this year on our shirts.
After everything was collected, we were all off to Morningside Park where all of the volunteers were thanked for their efforts with entertainment, t-shirts, snacks and raffle prizes. Because none of our group had eaten breakfast, we wanted a bit more than just snacks and were soon on our way to B.J.s for a "real" thank you. Nothing quite like a glass of wine with lunch-got to watch out-this could become habit forming.
And then, because I was in Gainesville, I hit a few of my favorite haunts before heading home. It really was a wonderful way to enjoy the gorgeous day we were given and help the environment and community as well. What could be better?
When I got home, my new mattress and box spring were awaiting-but that will be for another post. Stay tuned.