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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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: 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.

 


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Dade Battlefield State Park: Dade’s Battle!

We were almost at the end of our walk in the forest at Dade Battlefield State Park. The air temperature was growing warmer, so the chill was practically gone. As we walked back to civilization, my beau spied a horse’s hoof prints in the dirt path. We remembered that the main reason we were spending our day here was to see a battle reenactment, so we made our way out of the forest and to the field.  We found a good spot to sit, just behind the yellow cord.

Dade’s Battle (also known as The Dade Massacre)

On December 28, 1835, a column of 107 United States soldiers led by Major Francis Langhorne Dade were ambushed by Seminole warriors at the present site of the Dade Battlefield State Park in Bushnell, Florida. The men departed from Fort Brooke (present-day Tampa), and headed up the King Highway military road on a resupply and reinforce mission to Fort King (present-day Ocala).

As my beau and I sat on the grass, the reenactment began. A reenactor who represented the sole survivor of the battle, Ransom Clark, began outlining the government side of the story. On the other end of the field, a reenactor representing the Indians’ leader, Chief Jumper, gave the Indians’ side of the story.

The start of the battle.


The wounded fell. In the following photograph, the man on the left in black with the tall hat and white sash represents the field doctor.


More fighting, more cannon fire, and before long, all soldiers were dead, but a couple. The Seminoles lost a handful of men.

Seminole Indians, after the battle:

Afterwards, Private Ransom Clarke and Private Edward Decourcey were able to start walking towards Fort Brooke, but a Seminole found Decourcey and shot him dead. Clarke, hiding in the palmetto fronds, wasn’t found and survived. Another soldier, Private Joseph Sprague, survived but died shortly after; he provided no account of the battle, as Clarke did.

In sum, the Federal government was trying to remove the Seminoles to Indian Territory. The Seminoles were peaceful and wanted to live in harmony with settlers, but the Federal government had other ideas.  This battle in Bushnell began the Second Seminole War which lasted almost seven years(1835-42). To read more about this, here’s the link to Dade Battlefield.

Thursday: Up Close with the Seminoles, Soldiers, and Trappers

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.


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Dade Battlefield State Park: Nature

My beau and I look for unique and different activities, and sometimes we come across some pretty out-of-the ordinary sites.

This past weekend, we took a trip to Bushnell, Florida, located in the central part of the state. It was founded in 1885 and incorporated in 1911. It was named after the man who brought the railroad to the town, John W. Bushnell. It has a population of about 2,300 and it has a rural setting.

The Dade Battlefield Historic State Park is here, and the park was our main destination. We found many interesting demonstrations, historic attire, natural features, and an historic reenactment, all of which we learned a lot about and piqued our growing interest in Florida history.

We arrived at the park in the late morning. The sun was out and the sky partly cloudy. It was a cool 45 degrees Fahrenheit. As long as we walked and stayed as much in the sun as possible, it was not too unbearable.

We parked the car in a large mowed field and walked to the gate.


Our first stop was the concession stand, where we had hot hamburgers and French fries. We both got a can of cold ginger ale, but I slipped mine in my purse; it was much too frosty for me on a cool day!

As we sat at a picnic table in a gazebo and ate, 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 and old women poking their umbrellas at his kilts to sneak peeks underneath.  The woman to whom he was giving his monologue, kept giggling.  Incessantly giggling.

It was time to walk off our lunch, since the main event was still over an hour away.

My beau and I found a dirt path that led to a forest of pines, oaks, and palms.

There was evidence of a fire, since many of the trees were blackened and some felled. In the following photograph, you can see the blacked edges of a fan palm.

We continued along the path, remarking about the various vegetation and enjoying the absence of any 21st century noise, only the breeze rippling through some oak leaves and birds chirping above.  This stand of palms caught my eye, and I was surprised at how green the fronds were in contrast to the brown tree trunks.

The air temperature was growing warmer, so the chill was practically gone. As we walked back to civilization and back to the activity in the park, my beau spied these horse hoof prints. By my reckoning, it seemed the horse was cantering.

Tomorrow:  Dade’s Battle!

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.