Fresh Food and a Home for Retired Horses

February 18, 2017

Last weekend, Jim was sick, so we were in the RV all weekend long. By Monday, he was feeling better, and we were in need of a major shopping trip. Walmart is the only grocery within 30 minutes of our current campground to obtain organic items, so we spent a good portion of the the day in Live Oak, Florida, purchasing food, a new general use hose, propane, dog food, etc. Middle of the week was crazy windy, though there was no rain. We had gusts getting close to 40 mph. We got a few chores done around the camper, and Jim and Chewie took a drive on Wednesday to check out other RV parks like Ichetucknee Springs Campground.  On Friday, he and I had an appointment to get the truck serviced, so this necessitated another trip to Live Oak. Afterword, we picked up a few extra items at Walmart and had lunch in town. Last night was our third bingo session here at Suwannee River Rendezvour (I went alone last week); we got close a couple of times, but we are still 0 for 3 on wins. (By the way, the Suwannee River by which we are camping is the historic river made popular by the song “Old Folks at Home” by Stephen Foster.)

Today, however, we had plans to actually do a few things – things we can only do on Saturdays. The first Saturday here, we didn’t know about these options, and last Saturday, Jim was sick. Though, it was threatening rain, we took off to the Alachua County Farmers’ Market in Gainesville, Florida. A farmers only market, we knew everything for sale would have been produced on a local farm. We left with fresh food including “just picked” strawberries and eggs. We also left with a determination to return again next Saturday.

Entrance to Farmers Market

Entrance to Farmers Market

Some of the vendors; this was an organic grower

Some of the vendors; this was an organic grower

Jim with strawberries and eggs

Jim with strawberries and eggs

After leaving the market, we headed to Mill Creek Farm, a retirement farm for horses. The mission, from the web site, is as follows:

         We provide lifetime care to elderly horses seized by law enforcement agencies, rescued by the SPCA or humane societies, as well as horses retired from government service such as police patrol or state and federal parks.

The farm is open to the public from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each Saturday. Admission is “two carrots.” Donations are encouraged, and items are available for purchase to support the care of the horses. We went with a 1 pound bag, and if I knew what I know now, I would have gone with several pounds of carrots. It was so rewarding to see how much joy the horses receive out of being fed the carrots. This is a popular attraction, and it was rewarding to experience the good being done and the loving care these horses receive.

Farm Sign

Farm Sign

Layout of the horse retirement farm

Layout of the horse retirement farm

Angela feeding Harriet

Angela feeding Harriet

If you are within an hour or so of the western edge of Gainesville, Florida, I highly recommend both of these locations for a Saturday outing, especially if you have children. Watching little kids connecting with these horses today were almost as good as seeing the beauty of the large farm providing a wonderful retirement home for horses. The pictures below say more about our day than our words can. As always, click on a picture (or hover your cursor over the picture) to read the caption. If you can’t go, perhaps you will consider making a donation; go to the web site (link above) to find out how to do so.

Our timing was right. As we made our way home, ready to have some of the fresh strawberries we’d purchased, the rain began to fall.

Ten days from today, we move on to our next spot (visible on our Maps page), so we have several explorations and activities we hope to do before then and we also have some home chores to complete.

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