Aerojet Facility and Family Fun

Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, February 24, 2013

Today we planned a bike ride, with my son, Jason, daughter, Monica, her beloved, Jeff and grandson, Max. We headed out on an amazing adventure to one of Florida's Abandoned Past. A place that is far down into Homestead, passing the farmers fields and just before the Everglades National Park. Down an almost abandoned road lies a facility that has long been forgotten.

The road access is limited, at the end of access are signs "Keep Out", but there is no one to tell us otherwise. It is a good place to explore. Along the roadways are many abandoned buildings. Most doors are welded shut and mounds of rock and soil are piled up, so that no one can access the buildings, but there are many ways in. It reminded me so much of my teens, when it was so much fun to find and explore abandoned houses, farms, fields and what ever else we could find. We would then explore, as if we were on an adventure or perhaps some place in the future where we were looking back into the past. Into the ruins of civilizations that have long past.

The Aerojet Facility has a long past, in the mid 1960's it was testing rockets for NASA, mixing solids and liquid fuels, experimenting until they got it right. After the 3rd launch the facility was forced to close after the toxins from the launch poisoned much of the Everglades, farms and ruined peoples homes and property. The Aerojet 260 rocket still remains at this facility over 100 feet below the ground, sealed off from most on-lookers.The history of the place was just a plus, the environment of the area is what has the most interest. I climbed over mountains of rubble to look at what remained. Darkened corridors made my mind wonder about what it was like some 45 years ago. Like a detective we all looked at gauges and hoses, each building had it purpose and our purpose was to figure out what it once was. Almost every wall was adorned with amazing graffiti, we all spoke of how these artist were wasting their talents on something only a few people will ever gaze upon.

We went into each building, some made sounds that made them very creepy. It was so interesting to see how nature eventually takes over these man-made structures. As the building crumble, they leave behind remnants of asbestos and who knows what other toxins. We looked deep into holes, that are now filled with stagnant water, only wondering what lurks beneath our view. Light fixtures still hanging from the ceiling and attached to the crumbling walls. Canals run along the back of the buildings, where once barges could transport rockets to the Space Coast.

As we entered one of the buildings we were delighted to see a very large Owl take flight, he had a very large wing span and was light in color. As we explored that building we found where he had his meals, little skeletons of rodents remain. The air was so silent I could hear a fly, literally. The only sounds we heard were the creaking of metal and the leaves moving in the wind. So far from civilization, looking at a once bustling facility, now abandoned and virtually forgotten. What remains is a nature trail now and a look into a past that very few will ever see or know about.


Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, February 16, 2013

Today, I spent much of the day doing yard work, looking around to remodel some of my landscaping. Working at a slow pace, but still having a little problem with snags. Snags??? Yep! I am talking about this annoying and hideous mole that I have on my leg. It is so large it sticks through my fish net stockings, and can't be hidden with just one band aide. I have had it with this thing. It has been snagged so often it is just hanging there, so every time I touch it I am in pain.

Couldn't help thinking about this thing. So, I finally decided that I was going to remove it myself. Yes!!! Self-Surgery. First, I gathered my supplies, Betadine solution, scissors, eye glasses (so I can see), face cloths, cotton balls and spray on anesthetic. Preparing the mole for removal and my tools for surgery, I began. There was just one problem, it is creepy cutting yourself. I started by just snipping a little bit at a time, cringing at the thought of hurting myself. I am not fond of pain! After a few minutes it was time to make the final snip.

I looked at this hideous ball of flesh, and wondered why it took me so long to cut it off. Again, disinfecting my little wound and bandaging it, I sighed in relief and look forward to wearing fish net stockings again. I continued my yard work without a snag or even thinking about the mole that ended up in my trash. I thought about keeping it, but pushed that thought right out of my head. I thought I would share this little tidbit with my readers, something a little gross and perhaps a bit crazy. I just wonder how much it would have cost to have the mole excised at a doctors office!


Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Saturday that was delightful in store for me. I was asked by my son if I was up for a bit of fishing along the canals near the Everglades. As always, I never say no to an adventure, no matter how small or large. If I think about the alternative of staying home watching T.V. or putting around the house, this seemed like a great alternative. Actually, I don't think that I really pondered on it too much at all.

Gathering up some fishing equipment and a backpack with some necessary supplies, I headed to Homestead for the days adventure. Not much of a drive toward our destination of a tree-lined canal. The day was perfect for a bit of a hike. The trail down the canal seemed endless and amazingly remote. It is great to live in South Florida, with a bit of a drive you can be alone without a soul around and immersed in nature. No sounds of traffic or people, just the creaking of branches and the ripple of the water. Some how a peace comes over me and I don't think about the walk or anything else. 

Casting lures over and over hoping for a bite or even a nibble. The water was clear enough to see the fish chasing the bait, but nothing big enough or hungry enough to make into the cooler. It didn't seem to matter much, as we watched buzzards circling and listened to the sounds in the swamp that surrounded us. Imagination getting into our heads as we thought about what could be lurking beyond our sight. Virtually alone down this abandoned road we enjoyed the day with its riches and surrounded by the sounds of nothing. Hours seemed to pass and without a thought in my head, it seemed like the perfect way to spend a day. 

Eventually, it was time to head down the road back to civilization. Instead we drove down some roads that had abandoned tree farms and canals, perhaps looking for another chance to throw a line out. We found a rickety old dock, down a rocky road, and an abandoned missile base. Another road to try on another day.  

Making another attempt at heading home, hunger struck me as we passed the "Gator Grill". We have passed this little hole in wall a bunch of times and never stopped. We walked in to this little place with this very pleasing menu. We ordered gator bites and frog legs as our starters. Ordered a couple of sandwich's and picked out or hot sauces among the counter full of them. Sitting outside on picnic tables we chatted and enjoyed the meal that was amazing. Perhaps the best tasting frog legs and gator that I ever had. 

Every time I hang out with my son, I find that I don't get home until after dark. I was surprised that we had arrived at his house while it was still daylight. We went outside to enjoy the late afternoon breeze and started playing word games and sudoku. Before I knew it the time was nearly 10 PM, an effortless day has passed before my eyes. I think everyone should spend a day clearing their head and enjoying what is really important.


Written by Captain Mary on Wednesday, February 06, 2013

I don't have an exotic job, nor do I get up in the morning and look through my closet for the latest fashion trend to put on for the office. No make-up, just soap and water, and I look through my clothing for the worst looking, bleach stained things to put on my body to head out for a day of work. Granted, my self esteem is not assisted by my wardrobe choices. Instead my spirits our lifted by my customers, most of which, have been with me for over 10 years.

It doesn't seem awkward to just open the door and walk through as if it were my own home. What they don't know, is that I get more out of these relationships than they know.  These relationships started out as an exchange of work for money, then for some reason it became something I look forward to. Some customers are great friends, others are just like family, but I have one who by far has made a place for me to change my life. Just imagine how lucky I am to have counseling every week for over 10 years. Imagine the cost. When she is out of town, I miss her dearly, I have to work through my dilemmas on my own. I hear her voice in the back of my brain and work it out.

My Kitchen Councilor shall remain anonymous, if I reveal her name, I would have to wait in line and I wouldn't be able to have her all to myself. From the mundane, to the massive, she can tackle any problem that I can conjure up. When I bring my daughter to work with me, I can hardly get a word in, my counseling session is taken away for the day. I don't mind, because my Kitchen Councilor can put a perspective on a problem that gives you that moment of aha! Why didn't I think of that?

I remember how crazy I was and how I was very emotional, a bit brass too. I now take my time and have figured out what is really important in life. The things that seemly appear to be inconsequential, like smelling a flower seem more important than thinking about the bills that are due. A matter of fact the smell of the flowers reached more of my senses and made me feel better than just going through life not paying attention. Laughing and talking while scrubbing carpet stains, it doesn't get any better than that!!


Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, February 03, 2013

Working on sharping my photo skills and the fact that my son just got a new camera, we headed out with the kids on a family photo competition. We headed to the Everglades for some wild photos. I worked on some special effects and trying to capture a scene with my eye. The most unusual photo of my day was caught in a gators eye.
If you look you can see my family in the reflection of his eye. This was not planned, but it was a great effect.

The day was beautiful, nice and cool, we had hours and hours of good light for taking pictures and as always an opportunity to spend with the family. Once we got away from the crowds we could be more creative and take our time.

My camera has a setting called color accent, which I selected the blue of the sky in the reflection of the water. I think it brings something special to a normally boring photo.

I do like black and white, and took several photos, this one was one of my favorites.

This alligator was inches from the path, and I couldn't resist zooming in on his wonderfully white teeth. We all took photos, some with the same subjects, and then there were photos that surprised us. The kids were outstanding in their composition and their macro skills. Everything was done without a tripod and good timing.

It was extremely difficult to decide who pictures were the best, because everyone had an outstanding photo. Much to my surprise I would have to admit that the over-all winner of our family photo challenge had to be Jasmine. Max and Jonathan had some amazing photos and I hope to see them posted somewhere. Jason, by far had the most detailed and sharp photos, he had a definite advantage with his new camera.