Next Stop Alligator Lake

alr08252016-9Our next stop in our workamping journey will be a little different that what we are use to doing. Alligator Lake Recreation Area is located in Columbia County Florida (Lake City area) and they offer a semi-permanent positions for workampings in both their Falling Creek Falls Park and this one. They have a stable parking pad here with water, electric and sewer on site. There is even a little shed next to it we can use as extra storage which we have gotten use to here at Olustee Beach Day Use Area. The only thing is they do not have a washer/dryer available for us to use nor an extra shower in the shop area which we like very much here. But, the coordinator stated that she would have no objection for us adding one if we like. They do offer FREE internet and Basic Cable and mom is looking forward to that. Finally, they stated that we can stay as long as we would like but would really like us to stay through next summer. It seems that their regular winter workampers are moving over to the Falling Creek Falls Park and we contacted them at the right time.

Strangely, we are really looking forward to being in one place for a year. Even the 6 months we were able to stay in the Osceola National Forest was a nice change from the Florida State Parks 2 to 4 month assignments only. I do imagine though once the year is up we will be ready to resume our regular volunteering in the state parks and moving every couple of months. In the mean time, we will be using this time to get our RV fixed up, being able to write more (I do have outlines and am research a couple more books I want to write), and get some serious crafting done.

We are hoping to convert an old vintage travel trailer into a “Shop on Wheels” over the next couple of months and plan out a year’s journey of craft shows and being a traveling retail shop instead of working just for campsites. To that end we will be launching our first T-Shirt Funding Campaign at the end of this month. We hope you will look over the page and mark your calendars as the launch date is September 30, 2016! We need to sell only 500 T-Shirts in order to reach our goal. We have even found the perfect fixer upper 1964 Shasta travel trailer that in located just over the Georgia line. Hopefully, the owner will not sell it before we can get the financing. Anyway please visit our Southern Women Crafts website for more details. We have information, pictures of the T-Shirt, style, sizes and pictures of the Vintage Travel Trailer we are hoping to get.

Till next time….hoping to have our Osceola National Forest Workamping WrapUp written by next week.

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Rain Rain and More Rain

ONF08042016 (1)Rain, rain and more rain! Over the last couple of weeks we have been getting hit with rain almost every single days. Some days we get at least a couple of inches at a time. Thus for the last week we have had large puddles of water all over our campsite and in the picnic area. One good thing is that we cannot mow. The bad thing is the grass grows faster when its wet. The temperatures in the evening and early mornings have been kind of nice too. But we still have temperatures in the 90s. Well, duh, it is August in Florida.

We finally got the lawn mower back before this latest batch of storms hit and I had the day use area about 3/4 quarters of the way mowed after 2 days when the Fire Fighter guys showed up. They finished off what I hadn’t done yet as well as both sides of the roadway all the way to the Old Train Depot and blew off the parking area for me. THANKS GUYS! We really appreciate your help. But not hours after I had cleaned all the fallen limbs and mowed around the trees, barbecue grills, moved the picnic tables back to where they were supposed to be and large trash bins we got a little gust of wind and a huge pine tree limb fell down. Boy, talk about being ticked off. Luckily though I was in another area of the park when it fell. That would have probably have hurt. I took a picture of it (See above) and forwarded to the ranger. He came the next day and towed it off into the woods.

The recreation manager here in the Osceola National Forest has been trying to make some improvements and necessary repairs as time, money and qualified personnel allow. One of which is the new sidewalk and large barbecue/fire pit at the Group Landing. That turned out really nice and they finished it last month. Earlier in our stay here she tried to have a group of forest personnel to come in with some kind of large metal rack on a chain to try and clean out all the vegetation in the swimming area. They would pull the thing out into the water and a truck would pull it back towards shore. That didn’t last very long though after the second or third batch there were a couple of large snakes within the grass so they stopped what they were doing. After sitting around for a couple of hours waiting for some kind of tractor to come and help they decided to call it a day. The drug up vegetation stayed on the beach for about a week before a tractor and dump truck finally came and picked it up. Now the manager is having to get bids from private contractors with small dredging boats to clean up the various areas around Ocean Pond. We probably won’t see that done before we leave in at the end of September though.
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Another project that did get done was the replacement of the information signs along the Trample Track Trail. It is a short short which explains about the earlier use of the area for cutting down timber, floating the logs in the pond until they could be taking into the mill for processing. There was even a railroad track around the lake. The information kiosk were painted onto fiberglass and had gotten faded and cracked. There is more to the trail than the pictures below and I thought I had them but I will take some more to add to our movie once we get that going after we leave here.

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We still haven’t gotten another volunteer in the other workamper campsite and don’t look to have one before we leave. The golf cart they told us we had to use broke down and was in the shop for about a week. It doesn’t have lights on it so it is no use to us for night time closing. During the weekends our visitors just don’t seem to want to leave. Also, the golf cart is not 4-wheel drive nor does it have knobby tires for traction. With all of this rain we have had to use the larger ATV. We are not supposed to use it because we haven’t been “Trained” by an authorized teacher yet. There is only one of those and he/she travels around the various National Forests trying to get the park personnel trained before any of the volunteers are. Even though we have been driving them for over 3 years now. Government! Their regulations just don’t make any sense sometimes.

Anyway, that’s my rant and update for this week. Hope to be posting again and more often now that Katie has come back to help us out. Poor Mom tripped in the RV the other day and can’t put any weight on either of her legs. Nothing is broken and just barely swollen but she can’t help out for a while yet. My brother and Katie made us a nice set of wooden steps for the front of the RV but she will not be able to go up or down for a little while yet.

Till next time…..


***Help Us on Our Journey by Buying/Sharing Our Book***


Insider’s Guide to Campground Hosting in Florida Parks!


Get Our eBook version of Insiders Guide directly from Smashwords

Get the paperback of Insiders Guide directly from CreateSpace

Jolene Author Page on amazon

Paperback and eBook Versions On Barnes and Noble

Get eBook Version on iTunes iBook Store

eBook Version on Kobo Bookstore

Oyster Books is a Monthly eBook Subscription Service

Scribd is a Monthly eBook Subscription Service

Buy Jolene’s eBooks and More Acrobat Reader PDF version with pictures and an Appendix Section with samples of Volunteer Workamping Applications Samples from a county, Florida State Parks and Federal; Volunteer Handbook sections From the Florida State Parks and Florida Fish and Wildlife

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Now till the end of August 2016 get Free Shipping on all orders over $25 in the USA. Just Use Coupon Code: FreeShipping25OrMore

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Beating The Summer Heat

ONF07172016 (1)Beating the summer heat seems to be the main occupation of almost everyone here in North Florida including us. We try to get most of our jobs done first thing in the morning or just after sunset or we will bake to a crisp even here is the shadiest park we have been to so far. There are numerous large pine and oak trees here but there really isn’t anything you can do about the over 100 degrees heat index on most days. And we are just getting started on the summer months. The lake temperature is rising and we have only had a few days of rain here and there so far. My granddaughter is again spending the summer with us and has finally learned to ride her bike! We are so proud of her and hope she will keep on practicing when she gets home again.
Continue reading “Beating The Summer Heat”

Getting Ready for Local Author Expo

ONF05052016 (18)We have been at our current assignment for 3 months now and have been really busy during our stay here. With no other volunteer we have been working 7 days a week since we got here. We have been updating our online stores with new items and I am working on a new book. In the mean time we have decided to offer our eBook version of our current book for 1/2 price for retail customers and $0.99 for Libraries. Below is a cute little widget from Smashwords to help promote our new pricing. We will be changing the Amazon Kindle price as well but not the paperback version. We only get a couple of dollars on these anyway.

To help promote our book we will be participating with the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park’s upcoming Antiques, Arts and Collectibles Event on July 16th. They have invited North Florida writers to participate in a Local Author Expo in the air conditioned Nelly Bly Kitchen. (Yea!). I will be giving a talk about the book but not selling any of the paperbacks. We still have some for sale in the park’s Gift Shop and they will be selling them there. Of course, for anyone who is attending I will be giving our business cards with links to buy the eBook online. That way I will not have to pay a vendor fee. Now all I have to do is come up with a presentation.

The main focus of the event will be the antiques and collectibles on display but there will be craft vendors there as well. We cannot do both until we finally raise enough money to get our Mobile Retail Shop. Then we will be able to participate in more events in the future and possibly schedule some vending experiences with the Florida RV Show circuit. That would be a great way to market both our books and our crafts as well as meet potential and current RVers.


Well, we cannot promise to post more often but we will try. Hopefully, when we get the new volunteers at the beginning of next month we will have some days off and be able to keep up with our various websites, online craft stores and even get going on our newest books.

********Help Us on Our Journey by Buying/Sharing Our Book**************


Insider’s Guide to Campground Hosting in Florida Parks!


Get Our eBook version of Insiders Guide directly from Smashwords

Get the paperback of Insiders Guide directly from CreateSpace

Jolene Author Page on amazon

Paperback and eBook Versions On Barnes and Noble

Get eBook Version on iTunes iBook Store

eBook Version on Kobo Bookstore

Oyster Books is a Monthly eBook Subscription Service

Scribd is a Monthly eBook Subscription Service

Buy Jolene’s eBooks and More Acrobat Reader PDF version with pictures and an Appendix Section with samples of Volunteer Workamping Applications Samples from a county, Florida State Parks and Federal; Volunteer Handbook sections From the Florida State Parks and Florida Fish and Wildlife

**********************************************************


HELP US ON OUR ADVENTURE BY BUYING SOME OF OUR HANDCRAFTED ITEMS

Southern Women Crafts on Etsy

Southern Women Crafts on Handmade Artists

Southern Women Crafts on SquareUp Marketplace

Southern Women Crafts on Amazon Handmade

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Osceola National Forest Workamping

FrontDoorViewONF041816Osceola National Forest Workamping is a new experience for us. Not only are we in a forest but a national one at that. So the workamping rules and perks are slightly different than with our Florida State Parks. Originally we were slated to be campground hosts at Ocean Pond Campground but when we arrived the volunteer coordinator wanted us to go to the Olustee Beach Day Park and Boating area. Since, they currently do not have any park hosts in this area and have one at the campground we said, “Okay with us!”. And, for now, it is turning out to be similar to our Troy Springs State Park experience. We clean the bathrooms, mow the grass and open and close the gates each day.

Now for the differences. First, we are allowed to stay for 6 months here instead of the maximum 4 months with the Florida State Parks. National parks and, especially, forest and wildlife refuges have different guidelines for their live on-site volunteers. Mostly, because it is very difficult to get volunteers to stay from the late spring to early fall months. And, once you have proven yourself they are allowed to let you stay longer if you wish and it is needed. Just like the state parks, each of the national parks, forests and wildlife refuges do not have many problems getting volunteers to stay from October to the end of March. So, there is great opportunities here for those of us willing to stay in Florida during the “Non-Peak” seasons!
Continue reading “Osceola National Forest Workamping”