Susan Marie Molloy

Life in the Oasis


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Chili con Carne, Life in the Oasis, and Writing

A little bit about me, my blog, and outlook on life:

You, probably like me, have been hearing ad infinitum how blasted cold it’s been lately. And if you live in that cold weather, I feel for you. I grew up in Chicago, where wintry winds off the lake fuel the bitterly cold air temperatures. Oh, yeah, and then there was the short time when I lived about 50 miles from the Manitoba, Canada border, where it seemed winter lasts 48 weeks out of the year. So, I know cold.

It’s been cool here, too, in Florida. The air temperature actually got into the 20s*F the past couple nights. Who would’ve thought? Well, so much for escaping the Midwest’s cold winters! To warm us up, I made a large pot of homemade chili con carne, and used chunks of beef instead of ground beef, for a change of dining pace.

As we were eating, I was thinking about when I started blogging, which was about 6 years ago. How it started was when my beau suggested it. His own blogging began when he retired from his long public service career and became a real estate broker, which led to him moving into the property management business, which, after that flamed out (rather, he burned out), led him to writing about beading art and wire work. Now, his occasional blog explores and comments upon the twisted side of life in It’s a Twisted Life According to Gene.

Which brings me back to my blog. I went from one leitmotif to another, and I didn’t seem to find my comfort level. Right now, if you flip through my blog, you will only find blogs as early as 2014, and those are just book reviews. Unfortunately, I wiped out a lot of articles I wrote because, in a fit of non-confidence one day, I got rid of blogs I thought were goofy. Or stupid. Or boring.

How silly.

Yes, it took me awhile, but I found what’s comfortable for me. My blog is subtitled, “Life in the Oasis”. What it means is, that my life – my world – is rich, lush, productive, and a sanctuary, while the world outside might be a foreboding wasteland at times. Moreover, my beau – my husband – is my own oasis, where he is, and always was, the one person I could always find refuge in, comfort, and happiness when the world outside was demanding, cruel, and inhospitable.

So – life in the oasis is a place – tangible and intangible – where harmony, fertility, cheerfulness, and optimistic thinking reign.

My blog focuses on the positive aspects of life, and the things I like. I write about my mundane daily life, movie and book reviews, how my beau and I keep love flaming hot, my discoveries and adventures, our travels, tips on homemaking, and other whacky subjects. I share my poems and photographs and share your blogs that grab me. And there are a variety of topics that can’t be particularly categorized, but they make it to this blog.

Since I left my glamorous 9 to 5 job (sarcasm) this past summer, I’m working at home now doing things I love (writing, reading, creating art, homemaking, travelling, being a wife, waiting on His Lordship and Her Ladyship – our two dogs, Toby and Trixie).  My blog has gently become an oasis where I hope you will find a few minutes to stop by and discover pacific, nurturing, and hilarious topics that somehow enrich your life, as your blogs do for me.

Welcome to Life in the Oasis.
Thank you for stopping by.
Sharing is cool.
Your logical, well-thought out comments here are what I live for.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

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Morning Meditation: A Trio of Florida Pine Cones

While our visit to Dade Battlefield State Park in Bushnell, Florida, I found a trio of strategically-fallen pine cones. I think they are pretty, even without a bank of fluffy white snow:

Articles in the Dade Battlefield State Park Series by Susan Marie Molloy
Dade Battlefield State Park: Morning Meditation: Fan Palm
Dade Battlefield State Park: Nature
Dade Battlefield State Park: Dade’s Battle!
Dade Battlefield State Park: Up Close with the Seminoles, Soldiers, and Trappers
Dade Battlefield State Park: Outtakes and Updates
Dade Battlefield State Park: Going Home
Dade Battlefield State Park: Morning Meditation: A Trio of Florida Pine Cones


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Dade Battlefield State Park: Going Home

The afternoon was ending and getting chilly again. We spent the day at the Dade Battlefield State Park to watch the annual Dade Battle reenactment. We took a leisurely walk in the forest, ate lunch in a gazebo, and met some of the Seminole and soldier reenactors.

It was time to leave and return home.

We found the area where the actual battle occurred and walked down King’s Road (which is the road the soldiers used when the battle began).

King’s Road

King’s Road

The state park is keeping this area as it looked in 1835 as best as possible.

I spotted a bridge:

An encampment of soldiers along the way:

Monuments denoting where the officers fell:

We took the back roads to see new country. People raise cattle in this part of Florida:

When we got home, I was thirsty, so I dug into my purse for the ginger ale I saved from lunch. It was a little cold and the carbonation tasted good.

Not a product endorsement.

This is last in the series of my articles, “Dade Battlefield State Park.” I hope you enjoyed this.  To read more about this important battle that led to the Second Seminole Wars in Florida, visit the Dade Battlefield Society website.

Morning Meditation: Fan Palm
Dade Battlefield State Park: Nature
Dade Battlefield State Park: Dade’s Battle!
Dade Battlefield State Park: Up Close with the Seminoles, Soldiers, and Trappers
Dade Battlefield State Park: Outtakes and Updates
Dade Battlefield State Park: Going Home
Morning Meditation: A Trio of Florida Pines

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


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Dade Battlefield State Park: Outtakes and Updates

While on our trip to Bushnell, Florida to observe the annual Dade Battle reenactment, it wasn’t without a little humor and surprising observations.

Remember Kilt Man I wrote about in Dade Battlefield: Nature? As you might recall, as my beau and I sat at a picnic table and ate our lunch, we couldn’t help but hear a very loud talking man two tables over. He was regaling and bragging about his encounters and experiences with kilts. The woman to whom he was giving his monologue, kept giggling. My beau, on to Kilt Man’s bravado and time-worn faux tale of old ladies with umbrellas trying to seek a peek under his kilts (such an old, old joke) walked up to his table, and asked:

“I couldn’t help but hearing you, and as a proud Irishman, I’d like to ask you if you know what’s under an Irishman kilt.”

Kilt Man mumbled the time-worn, old punchline to the joke.

“No, sir, it’s the same thing, only bigger,” was my beau’s snappy comeback.

The day’s reenactment activities were all about authenticity and accuracy. I took this photograph, pleased with the setting. When I uploaded it onto my computer, I spotted the 19th century Seminole eating his lunch from a 21st century Styrofoam container:


A white horse hides behind some brush, but the Seminoles are even more hidden:


I walked over to gaze at some real coonskin caps:

I looked at a necklace made from a real racoon paw and one made from an alligator paw. I didn’t take photos of them, but they were interesting nonetheless.

Under one of the gazebos, a lady was playing a dulcimer with wooden spoons, while a man was playing a one-string washtub.


The back of this Seminole’s dress fascinated me. Then I saw his 19th century pistol:


We spoke to this Seminole, and we asked about his tartan cap. He told us that not only did the Seminole trade with the Spanish, English, and French, they also did business with the Scots-Irish: Therefore, tartans caps and other European commodities made their way to Seminole culture and fashion:

We spied this Seminole on horseback holding a rifle:


The afternoon was ending and getting chilly again. It was time to leave and return home.

Tomorrow: Going Home

Articles from the Dade Battlefield State Park by Susan Marie Molloy
Dade Battlefield State Park: Morning Meditation: Fan Palm
Dade Battlefield State Park: Nature
Dade Battlefield State Park: Dade’s Battle!
Dade Battlefield State Park: Up Close with the Seminoles, Soldiers, and Trappers
Dade Battlefield State Park: Outtakes and Updates
Dade Battlefield State Park: Going Home

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


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Dade Battlefield State Park: Up Close with the Seminoles, Soldiers, and Trappers

The battle in Bushnell, Florida between the Seminoles and United States soldiers on December 28, 1835 ended, and although the Seminoles lost a handful of men, all but a couple of the 107 U.S soldiers were dead. Private Ransom Clarke and Private Edward Decourcey were able to start walking towards Fort Brooke, but a Seminole discovered Decourcey shot him dead. Clarke, who was hiding in the palmetto fronds, wasn’t discovered and survived. Another soldier, Private Joseph Sprague, survived but died shortly after; he provided no account of the battle, as Clarke did.

The reenactment we watched was very well organized, and lasted almost an hour. The actual battle’s length is uncertain; accounts differ between Private Ransom Clark and the Seminoles.  According to Seminole leader Halpatter Tustenuggee (the soldiers called him “Alligator”), it began at 10 o’clock in the morning, yet Clark asserted it began at 8 o’clock and ended at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  The weapons – including the cannon – were loud. Many times I saw the bright white-orange flashes after they were fired. As the reenactment began, several soldiers pulled the canon along; horses weren’t always used.

The soldiers’ uniforms were true to the era, and the doctor wore the appropriate costume and carried a field bag true to the era, too.

After the reenactment ended, park visitors were invited to mingle with the soldiers and Seminoles. It is important to note that some of the Seminoles were black (known as Black Seminoles), including this gentlemen who is a black Seminole in real life:

More Seminoles:

Taking a walk:

Soldiers talking and laughing:

A couple of trappers chewing the fat:

Camp:

Officer on horseback:

Tomorrow:  Outtakes and Updates

Previous articles in the Dade Battlefield State Park series by Susan Marie Molloy
Dade Battlefield State Park: Morning Meditation: Fan Palm
Dade Battlefield State Park: Nature
Dade Battlefield State Park:  Dade’s Battle
Dade Battlefield State Park: Up Close with the Seminoles, Soldiers, and Trappers
Dade Battlefield State Park: Outtakes and Updates
Dade Battlefield State Park: Going Home

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.