Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bunkey's Bar-B-Que MMMM-MMMM-Good!

Doesn't this look delicious? As we were driving around the farmlands on the east side of Lake Okeechobee we stopped in Belle Glade and visited Bunkey and his road side bar-b-que. If you know Bill, you know that pulling off the road to investigate was almost an automatic reflex.

Bunkey was delightful! He sets up on the weekends and sells pork ribs and chicken legs to raise money for charity and to help feed the poorer people in his community. Bunkey was well spoken and his ribs were messy and delicious (although Bill usually likes more spice). We brought some chicken legs home and Bill made fajitas with them. MMMMM!

This is Bunkey holding up a slab of pork ribs. We sure wish Bunkey well!

In the town of Pahokee (that's "Gras-sy Waters" in the Seminole Indian language) they are building the Lake Okeechobee Outpost with a clubhouse, camp sites, cabins and the Loggerhead Marina. We asked the fisher-people what they were fishing for and they said "perch" - which is a delicious local treat.

We saw fields of sugar cane, corn and other vegetables and, of course, lots of orange and grapefruit trees. The soil was a deep, rich black.

This is Lake Okeecho-bee. It looks more like an ocean than a lake - with over 730 square miles of water. You can't see the lake from the roads because it is surrounded by huge tall earthen dikes - but there are "scenic outlooks" all along the road with access to The Florida Scenic Trail - a hiking and biking trail on top of the dike that looked like it went around the entire lake - but we did not explore the west side, so I can't be sure.

The lake is rather shallow with an average depth of only 9 feet. We saw lots of wildlife but no alligators - but I know the lake is full of them!

This is one of the canals that borders the lake which I assume helps to control water levels.

You can see some of the massive man-made gates that control the water in the distance and the beautiful habitat - with a Great Blue Heron posing in the foreground.

Here are a couple of close-ups of my favorite wading bird - the Great Blue Heron.

I wanted to post a couple of more pictures of the Sandhill Cranes we saw closer to Orlando. Side-by-side, you can see the similarites and differences between the two species - but the Sandhill Crane is much larger.

Sandhill Cranes can live for 20+ years, do not mate until they 2 to 7 years old and both the larger male and female help to care for their young 9-10 months before they are out on their own.

The only larger bird in North America is the very endangered Whooping Crane - which looks like the Sandhill Crane except the body is white instead of grey. I would love to see one!

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