Webster Flea Market
The cold spell continued in Florida for well over a week. After several cool days, temperatures moderated slightly for a day or two with highs straining to finally get up to 65-70 degrees. Then the daytime highs dropped back down to the 50s and low 60s for several more days with overnight lows in the 20s. That's still a lot better than the north, but we were used to 70s and 80s, so it felt pretty cold to us.
As we headed out one morning to run some errands, we saw this fence and nursery that looked like it had been toilet-papered. However, on closer examination we realized it was ice. It was the morning after the temperatures had been in the low 20s. They placed the plants on their sides to get them closer to the ground, then turned on the sprinklers overnight. By the time we drove by, much of the ice had melted; but you can see it still clinging to the fence and in the grass in the foreground.
Using sprinklers to deliberately allow ice to form on the plants is a method typically used by nurseries and citrus growers to protect the plants when there is a hard freeze. The ice actually insulates the plants and helps limit damage from the cold. Nurseries and citrus groves in our area and even vegetable growers much farther south in Florida were all hit by the freeze. It will take several days or even weeks to assess how much damage there was. Oranges that have been frozen can still be used for juice, but they have to get them to the processor within a week or so. The processors will not be able to handle everyone at the same time, so those orange groves that experienced freezing and who can't get scheduled at the processor quickly enough may suffer some losses.
Some time ago, we had seen on another full-time RVer's blog (From Darrell's Chair) where they purchased a Vornado electric heater. Vornado heaters are significantly more expensive than standard electric heaters, but they are much quieter and are designed to distribute heat more evenly by using vortex air flow.
Since the price of propane hasn't come down like the price of gasoline, we are using the electric heater to take the chill off the motor home more than the furnace during this cold spell. Campgrounds sometimes have a separate charge for actual electricity usage, especially with monthly rates, and that's the case here at Blueberry Hill. Since we are paying extra for electricity and with the price of propane still quite high, the cold snap prompted us to take a more serious look at the Vornado heaters. We decided it might be a good time to spring for a heater that was more efficient at distributing the heat.
We weren't able to find the model we wanted locally (Model DVTH) which wasn't a surprise. How often do you need a heater in Florida? Anyway, we ordered the model we wanted from Ace Hardware online. The heater arrived toward the end of the cold spell, but we were able to try it out on a couple of cold nights that got down to about 30 degrees. The photo below shows our new Vornado heater.
One reason we bought Model DVTH is that it has digital controls, as shown in the next photo. The controls allow us to set the temperature we want to maintain.
Another reason we bought Model DVTH is that it has a variable speed fan and variable power to the heating elements. It will run on full power until the room warms up to near the set point, then it will reduce the power and fan speed to maintain the temperature. This eliminates warm and cool periods that occur when a standard heater cycles off and on.
The Vornado heater is fantastic and does an excellent job of warming the whole motor home. The fan is extremely quiet, but still manages to move an amazing volume of air.
One of the days when the temperatures moderated in the middle of the cold spell happened to fall on a Monday, which is the day the Webster Flea Market is open. Webster is only about 15 minutes from Bushnell, so we decided to head on over. It also happened to be Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We figured the holiday would mean a good turnout of customers, which meant there would also be a good turnout of vendors.
The flea market is huge, and we were right about the big turnout. We were there on MLK Day last year, and it was nowhere near as crowded as this year, probably because it was sunnier this year. An announcement on the PA system said the crowd was estimated at about 60-70,000. There were so many vendors, a bunch of them had to set up in an overflow area in the parking lot across the street.
The good news is we got there mid-morning, which was late enough that some shoppers were already leaving. We got an excellent parking place right near an entrance. Sometimes a lot of vendors are leaving by that time as well, but not this day. The crowds were too big, and the vendors couldn't have gotten out if they wanted to. The photo below shows just a small portion of the market.
There is something at Webster Flea Market for almost everyone. There are crafts, antiques, new items, used items, food, produce, and you name it. The photo below shows some beautiful panels made by a stained glass artist.
In the next photo, Margery is taking a nostalgic look through some old phonograph records.
And speaking of nostalgia, Paul found an old toy truck from the '50s exactly like one he used to have when he was a kid. This one was in excellent condition. Not so for Paul's. His pet rabbit ate big chunks out of the rubber tires on the one he had.
At the far eastern side of the market is the produce area. There were peppers, lettuce, eggplant, squash, cabbage, cucumbers, and more. The tomatoes all looked delicious, not at all like the pink, plastic-looking ones you find in the grocery stores.
There were also a lot of people selling different varieties of citrus fruit. The 7 to 8-inch diameter fruit in the photo below were labeled "Small Pumelo" (also sometimes spelled pummelo), which is a variety of grapefruit native to Asia.
The folks in the next photo had the fairly large utility trailer in the background filled with carrots. The carrots were $1.00 a bag. Each bag had to contain at least 3 to 4 pounds of carrots.
We picked up a few lemons and a couple of sweet onions, then threaded our way back to the car. We were at the market almost three hours and probably only saw about half of it.
On our way back to the car, we ran into the fellow from the campground who bought Margery's scooter. He said it was really working well for him, and he even got a lift to carry the scooter mounted to the back of his car. We're so glad it's helping him get around, and we're even happier Margery doesn't need it anymore.
Since the temperatures only moderated for a day or two then dropped back down to the 50s, we decided to hold off on any further sightseeing until it warms up again. We'll just chilled out (literally) around the motor home and ran a few errands.