(It’s a little long, you might want to grab a cup of tea first!)
Wow! We have been so busy that time has just flown by and it has been awhile since we updated this blog. It will be hard to condense the last 5 months into one blog post but we wanted to get things caught up before our summer travels.
We spent 6 wonderful months at the Barberville Pioneer Settlement in Barberville, FL. This was our first Workamping opportunity and we picked the perfect one for us. The people we worked with were amazing, our bosses were fantastic, the weather was perfect, and the work was entertaining.
Our primary job was to do school programs for students that traveled from as far away as Jacksonville & Orlando. We had several different programs we helped to present from teaching the pioneer arts of weaving, spinning, candle making, woodworking, and blacksmithing, to what life was like on a farm on the Florida frontier in the late 1800’s – early 1900’s. In addition, we had programs on the life of the Seminoles, how to make Lassie Cakes, Christmas Traditions, Florida History, and the Rites of Spring. The wide variety of programs helped to keep things interesting, though we had a very steep learning curve when we started as we had to research and learn all of the arts and program materials, but once we got to the point where we knew the information, the sessions became quite fun.
We wear 19th century attire while presenting and we were able to borrow from the Settlement or purchase most of Jon’s attire. I made several pieces for myself as well as making a Seminole patchwork shirt for Jon. Learning how to do so and making the shirt took several months as you have to create each piece of the patchwork before sewing the shirt. It took so long that I was not finished until the end of April! The good news is that we enjoyed ourselves so much, and the weather was perfect, so we have decided to return to the Settlement next winter and Jon will be able to wear that shirt next year!
I must say that it was a lot more physical work than I expected. The Settlement has 30 acres and 18 historical building, two of which are original to the site and the rest having been donated and moved there or where build on site by volunteers and staff. So besides the school programs we also worked keeping the Settlement tidy by cleaning and repairing the buildings, as well as helping to put together display cases, and Jon resurrected their herb garden. I, also, worked in the office for several weeks until they hired a new staff member. The Settlement has several festivals a year and we helped with the set up, running stations, and take down of two music festival (fall and spring), a Christmas holiday festival, and a Strawberry Festival.
One of the main reasons we thought this Workamping job was such a good fit for us was the aspect of my being able to continue my storytelling. After having worked at the Depreciation Lands Museum I knew that any presentations at the museum would be a form of storytelling and I was able to be the storyteller in residence at the Lewis Cabin during the Settlement’s Second Saturdays each month. I was also asked to put together a special presentation for Women’s History month and so I created a new program on the women inventors of the 1800’s.
I presented a first person character interpretation as Margaret E. Knight (the woman Edison of the time) and told the stories of her inventions as well as 8 other women of the time. I am really looking forward to putting together several other presentation for performances next year.
In January the Settlement celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the school. We had a Roaring 20’s party to commemorate the Barberville Central High School which was build on the site in 1919. David Martin from Fox News 35 Good Day Orlando came out to help promote our event and we had an entire morning where we were the spotlight during the morning news broadcast. There is a post of part of the video on our ShadowfaxRVing Facebook page.
We helped to decorate the school to create a 20’s Speakeasy, we got gussied up in our 20’s attire, and Jon was both a gangster and the judge for the evening. The local county sheriff and several of his deputies “raided” the joint and Judge Jonathan made them raise bribes … oh, I mean bail. All the money raised at the event will help to maintain the school.
One of the draws to Central Florida besides the winter weather was that we were centrally located east of Ocala, west of Daytona Beach, north of Orlando and south of Tallahassee. It was a 4 hour drive up to see my mother in Tallahassee, but we were able to make several trip up to see her and to help celebrate her 89th birthday.
We explored the area, biking in Ormond Beach, hiking in the wildlife preserve, swimming in the hot DeLeon Springs, and getting to see manatees in the warm springs. We also attended the Volusia County Pow Wow.
We went to Disney World several times. We had visited Disney Spring in December, the Magic Kingdom on Christmas Eve, and Hollywood Studio just before we left in April. We tried twice to go to Animal Kingdom but once the weather was lousy and the other we were both fighting colds, neither of which are conducive to having a fun day at the park. It will be first on the list when we return in the fall.
We were thrilled to have Alex stop by for a visit. He had been on a business trip to Puerto Rico and took a side trip on his way home to spend a few days with us. We got a little beach time and a hike or two in-between showing him the Settlement.
One surprise was that we were able to see the Falcon Heavy Rocket launch from right in front of our campsite. The Kennedy Space Center is an hour south of us and we could see quite clearly the rocket as it was launched. We even caught a shot of the rocket boosters separating! We are hoping that next year they will have a launch at a time when we can go down and see it.
It was amazing how fast time flew by this winter. Before we knew it we were at the Season Farewell party having to say goodbye to our new found friends. Page & Bob and John & Lucy will not be back next year, their travels are taking them on new adventures. Lloyd, Richard, and Rhonda will be back with us and we look forward to working with them for another season. The staff was sorry to see us go even for a few months but they were enthusiastically grateful and happy to hear we would return.
We have now experienced a lot of what it means to be full-timers and we are settling into the lifestyle. This July will be two full years on the road and, hey, we are still happy and haven’t killed each other yet so I guess this life on the road suits us.
When we left Barberville in April we stopped to see my mother then headed to Red Bay, AL for our annual pilgrimage to the Tiffin Service Center. We had a checklist of items to get taken care of and as always they under promised and over delivered. We were originally told it would take 2 weeks before we would be in a service bay but it only took 8 days of waiting and then only 2 1/2 days to get everything done. From there we headed to Knoxville to a Freightliner Service center to get all of our chassis work done for the year. Now that all the work is done, it is time to play for the summer before heading back to Barberville.
Our plan for the summer has stops in Williamsburg, VA, DC, NY and Maine. John and Lucy are working at a campground in Lubec, ME for the summer and we are going to join them for the week of the 4th of July. After that we will make plans to head south to rejoin our friends at the Settlement.
I hope to get more regular updates posted this summer, at least after each major stop on our itinerary so hopefully you will hear from us again soon.
Oh! and Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there!
Till next time,