Manatee Park & Labelle

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This picture was taken before we left the dock for the Manatee Park of Linda and Kent.  Kent still calls her the crazy Canadian.

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Today the four of us went to Manatee Park in hopes of seeing of course Manatees. Manatee Park is a non captive warm water refuge for Florida Manatees.   The Manatees are unable to tolerate water below 68 degrees, so in the winter months they congregate near warm water outflows of power plants.  Manatees are hard to see unless you can get close to them.  If your lucky you will see their nose when they come up for air or their tail.

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Florida Manatee is a state marine mammal found around shallow rivers, bays, and coastal water.  They are a large aquatic relative of the elephant and often called a sea cow.  They are grayish brown with algae growing on their thick wrinkled skin. They are 10-12 feet in length and weigh between 1500-1800 lbs with a life span of 50-60 years.  They have good eyesight and great hearing.  Manatees are gentle and slow-moving using their front flippers to steer them.  They have a flat tail that helps them propel through the water.  They eat sea grasses and fresh water vegetation.  The female manatees have only one calf, with a 12-14 month gestation.

The day was on the cooler side which made it nice for walking.  There are several different paths  you can walk down with different vegetation, trees, and information about them.

We want to bring our Ella and Lucy, our granddaughter here, when they come for Christmas.

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This is a Southern Live Oak a very large tree.  The characteristic is low-hanging wide-spread branches which can form a shade canopy of 100 ft or more.  Live oak was widely used in early American ship building due to strength and density in their curvature branches.  The frame of the USS Constitution was constructed from the Southern Oak wood harvested from St Simons Island, Georgia in 1812.  This wood is known as “Old Ironside” and is still used today.

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The lady talking to Linda was explaining the history of the Southern Live Oak tree which was very interesting.  She pointed out that their were five different species of vegetation living on this tree, all of which would not harm it.

Don’t we all look so sweet next to the manatee the closes we have gotten so far.

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When we left the park we wanted to get something to eat.  Well an hr later after not knowing where we were going, we ended up in Labelle eating at the Forrey Grill.   Kent was getting pretty ” hunganger” as we call it.

The first  Forrey Resturant opened in 1930-1993 by Flora & Ella’s and got its name because it was built on Forrey Property.  The restaurant was the first to have TV so friends and customers would spend Saturday nights watching their favorite shows.  Over the years famous customers were drawn by the restaurants good food and warm hospitality.  Norma Zimmerman from the Lawrence Welk show and country singer Mel Tillis were a few of their customers.

Labelle began as a settlement along Caloosahatchee River with the western edge laid on Captain Francis A Hendry land.  The land was populated with cattle drovers and trappers.  Labelle was named for Laura & Bell Hendry daughters of pioneer cattleman Francis Hendry.  The first school was built-in 1891.  Captain Hendry sold the land to E. E. Goodno in 1909 and became a city in 1925.  Labelle hosts the annual Swamp Cabbage Palm festival which is held in honor of the Florida State Tree.

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The Old Hendry County Courthouse was constructed in 1926.  It was designed in the Mediterranean Revival-Mission Revival style.  The architect was Edward Columbus Hosford.

When we left the town of Labelle we found a market along side of the road that had fresh oranges so we had to stop.  Kent found some bloody mary mix that said it was smoking hot.  He found out it was not smoke flavor but very hot.  It has now found a new home.

This is a picture of Linda having fun and Kent waiting patiently or not at the car for us.

We all had a great day and the Oranges were great.  Dave and Barb (Miss My Money) gave us home-grown lemons off their tree.  Linda was so nice to make lemonade out of some of them.

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