FIHA Pow Wow, Fort Pierce, Florida, and Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Okeechobee, Florida, Leaking Camper Windows

I took a short trip from March 23rd to March 30th. I went to the FIHA Native American Pow Wow in Fort Pierce, Florida for a few days, then I went to Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Okeechobee, Florida for two days.

You can look at the pictures I took at the FIHA Pow Wow, and the photos of the animals I took at Arnold’s Wildlife. If you look at the pictures of the Marmoset monkeys closely, you can see two babies holding on to the mother monkey. The babies are hard to see, their coloring is exactly like the mom’s. The babies tails are visible in a few pictures, and so are their tiny heads. When I was there last year there was a 5 day old baby ringtail lemur, she is still there and I could tell which one was her because she is a little smaller than the other lemurs, but in pictures I couldn’t tell the difference.

On the way to Fort Pierce for the pow wow I stopped at the RV dealer who repaired my leaking windows because one of the windows they fixed did not open. They fixed the problem and said all is good now. I asked them to run water over the windows to be sure that the problem with the leaks have been fixed, but the service tech that worked on the windows said there is no need, the windows won’t leak, he fixed the problem. I said okay and asked what happens if it does leak and he told me to apply duct tape like they had on the windows while we were waiting on the part. But, he said I won’t have any problems with leaking windows. I was hopeful because the forecast showed rain for the upcoming weekend.

I arrived at the Savanna’s Recreation Area in Fort Pierce for the pow wow and I didn’t see any sign of it nor did I see some vendor friends who I knew would be there. I decided to call one of them and I found out after talking that the location has been changed this year. It has been at the Savanna’s for the past ten years, I didn’t think to ask if the location changed this year, and no one I spoke to before the event mentioned the location has been changed. So, I found out the new location and drove there. I went from far east Fort Pierce to far west Fort Pierce, on one lane roads with lots of traffic. Then when I got there the entrance gate was locked so I had to find the back gate into the County Fairgrounds where the pow wow was being held this year. I like this location a little better, the area where the dancing and other activities would be taking place was in a covered arena with metal bleachers all around the arena and there were nice restroom facilities. Also, there were about 9 vendors indoors in that area and all the other vendors were outside within walking distance to the arena. This works out well for everyone, including me since I help several vendors and watch their booths so they can take breaks or get food.

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I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and I got settled in a RV spot next to Jeff with Spotted Pony Traders. He is one of the vendors I help. Jeff let me plug my power cord into his camper so my refrigerator and lights would operate off of electric which would save my propane and not run down my auxiliary batteries. Thursday night was a camp feed where the FIHA board had a buffet for all of the vendors. The food was okay, it was bar-b-que beef and pork, baked beans, chips, coleslaw, etc. and there was plenty to eat.

Friday night it began to get really windy and we could see a storm blowing in so I started walking to my camper and just as I got inside and closed the door the rain came down really hard, the wind blew really hard, and I could hear hailstones hitting my camper. It seemed they were pea size. I looked at the windows that I had fixed to be sure there was no water coming in and the window that was leaking really badly before didn’t seem to be leaking. However, the window on the other side that was not leaking much, but I had it fixed anyway just to be sure since the rubber gasket was the same age as the other side and it was leaking a little. Well, that side had a steady stream of water pouring in. It was like someone turned on a faucet on low and water just streamed in. I grabbed an empty glass that was closeby and caught the water. When the glass filled up, nothing was within reach so I grabbed a towel and put it under the window to catch the water while I got another glass.

As I was holding the glass, I grabbed my phone and called Jeff and told him when there was a break in the rain I needed him to get his ladder and help me to cover the windows because water was pouring in. About a long 15 or 20 minutes later the storm subsided and I went outside and tried to dry the fiberglass so I could put duct tape over the window edges to keep the water out, but it wouldn’t stick. Thankfully, I had some of the tacky plastic that I used previously to cover the windows and Jeff got up on the ladder and put it over both upper windows. I hesitated because I knew the plastic left a sticky residue on the window, window frame, and fiberglass top and it was hard to remove the glue when we took it off to fix the windows, but it was better than having water come inside. The wind was still blowing and it wasn’t easy to get this sticky, tacky plastic put over the surface, but we got it done and just in time. As we finished the rain began again, but I had peace of mind that I didn’t have to catch more water.

The next morning, which was Saturday, it wasn’t raining so I took the plastic off, and I spent a few hours trying to scrub off the sticky glue residue. It wasn’t fun or easy, but I thought it better for me to do it than have the RV place do it and charge me for it. After I got it cleaned as best as possible, I took the roll of duct tape I had in my camper for emergencies and I taped the frame of both windows because it was due to rain for the next few days. After the windows were secured, I went inside and decided to check the inside of my camper where the water came in and found that my mattress pad, sofa cushions, blankets under the cushions, and the wall and window frame against the wall where the water came in and my bed is situated was all wet. So, I took the sheets off and pulled the bedding items apart and set up my little fan so the air could dry the wet areas. Finally, all was dry and I put my bed back together.

I really got a bit upset when I thought about the fact that if I had not taken the trip and experienced the rain and was able to mitigate the damage the water was doing that the water could have caused a lot of damage and mildew. When I am not traveling in the camper I have it parked somewhere and I go check it and drive it about every three weeks. I don’t like to think about the damage that could have happened in that three week period if water poured in and nothing was done to dry it. My bedding, sofa cushions, carpet, etc. would have been wet, moldy and mildew, and who know what else would have been the result of the water. I caught about 50 ounces of water before I was able to cover the windows and it was raining a lot for several days. I would probably have driven to the camper a day or so after the rain stopped just to check things, but I would have also taken the repair man’s word that it was fixed. Glad I was in the camper when it happened.

I called the RV repair place and told the owner what happened and that I would be bringing my camper in again because the windows were still leaking and worse than before it was fixed. Since the windows were taped and I felt confident that water would not be coming into the camper, I stayed at the pow wow for the rest of the weekend.

There were not as many people at the pow wow, and many of my vendor friends were not there as well. It was probably a combination of the weather being rainy all weekend and a change in locations. I met some new people and visited with others I have known for years. I gave a break to some of my vendor friends, and brought them meals. It was still a nice outing and I was glad to be camping even though it was a short trip and raining most of the time.

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The county fairgrounds like I wrote above, did have some nice benefits like real restrooms that had nice facilities and a covered area for the pow wow. The Savanna’s was all outdoors with no covered areas and when it rained the grounds got very flooded. This county fairground must have a lot of events, there were cattle and livestock barns that were really nice, several building for classes, and outside in one area were small storage sheds that were painted differently.

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The pow wow ended Sunday afternoon, and a few of us stayed over until Monday morning, It turns out that where the pow wow was held was about 20 minutes closer for me to travel to Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. I arrived there mid morning and after I got set up and got my camper plugged in, I was able to feed the monkeys some kiwi fruit that I brought with me. They absolutely loved it.

As I walked around I saw several new animals that weren’t there last year, and I also didn’t see some that I have seen during my previous visits. Sadly, Foxy Brown the rare and endangered fox squirrel passed away, as did one of the llama’s named Oreo. Lulu the camel is due to have a baby in September after a 16 month gestation period. Some of the new additions are a goat, sheep, calf, baby antelope, baby deer, six month old Asian fishing cats, and the usual baby raccoons, owls, chicks, ducks, a duck with spinal or neck problems, etc. The two Asian fishing cats are brothers and they are in these pens until their new habitat is completed.

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In the afternoons I got to help feel some of the animals, in the morning I mixed up the fruit mixture that would be fed to the monkeys. I love watching the various types of monkeys. It’s really fascinating how they eat their food and play with toys, so much like the way humans do these things, other than using silverware. I think the monkeys are so much more interested in food then we are. They seem to examine the food and savor the taste and textures of the food items, and they also do the same with other things they chew on such as straw or even sometimes insects. The Capuchin monkeys Zeke and Cricket are very entertaining and they seem very capable to entertain themselves. Cricket likes to poke her hands and tail outside the cage to see what she can catch. She had a dead frog that she was playing with when I got there, and then later on she was playing with straw. Zeke liked playing with some plastic children’s toys.

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I loved looking at the animals when they didn’t know they were being watched. Some of the positions they get into when they are sleeping or relaxing are very interesting. These black and white lemurs were sleeping on their back with legs in the air. Two red footed tortoises were in a log together and from looking at the size of the opening in the log they had to maneuver to get in there at the same time and it didn’t seem to bother them that a big iguana was sleeping above them in his own bedding.

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A women died and left her part wolf animal, a dog that seems to be the wolf’s watchdog, a horse, and some other animals to Sue in her will. Anytime I got even a little close to the cage with the wolf and dog the dog would carry on and bark, the wolf didn’t seem to be fazed at all. They have been together all of their life and they are in the same cage now too.

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There are several animals that seem to be unlikely buddies, like the albino wallaby and a deer, peacocks and deer, rooster and parrots, and many others. There is also a hybrid that is a cross between a turkey and peacock.

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The butterfly garden was still going strong with beautiful butterflies and flowers. A new addition is the beautiful painted wood butterflies and stepping stones. This garden was created in memory of one of Sue’s daughters who died of cancer.

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The two baby marmoset monkeys hang on to their mom so closely that I didn’t even know they were there until Sue asked if I saw the baby marmosets after my first walk around. I didn’t see them but I went back and looked closely and was able to see the babies. The dad and mom marmoset groomed each other and the babies would climb on mom but stay pretty well hidden. I was able to see a head, leg, or tail and every now and when the baby moved I could see it’s head which was smaller than a walnut.

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IMG_4562I also saw a spoonbill in the distance but couldn’t get a good picture because it was too far away. In the late afternoon every day a family of sand hill cranes and some deer came to the house to be fed. Sue let me put out a few scoops of deer corn for them, of course the goat and sheep wanted to eat the corn so I had to keep trying to chase them away which was not easy.

In the hospital were several baby animals needing special care. One of them was a baby egret who needed to eat minnows. Sue and I drove to town which is Okeechobee to buy minnows. We were surprised at the price. A pound of minnows was $16 and the little bird eats about half a pound or more a day. They put them in a bowl of water so the egret can get them out as if it were in a pond.

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While I was there people brought in animals they found on the side of the road or were caught by other means. One was an osprey, another an adult sand hill crane, another was a barn owl with a hole in the side of it’s head, a screech owl, baby squirrel, and a few other critters. Sadly, not all were able to be saved, but Sue and Angela do their best to treat the animals and save their lives and take them to the vet when necessary. This ospray was really large, but it was doubtful it would survive it’s injuries.

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Sue has a sign that says donations are $10 for an adult and children under 12 are free. I am amazed at how people come and walk around and do not put any money in the donation box. It costs a lot of money to feed and provide care for the animals, not to mention electricity, water, medicine, and other necessities to keep the food stored and fresh for the animals. While I was there they had just had to spend a lot to get their large walk in refrigerator repaired and one of the water pumps stopped working and had to be repaired.

I saw about 20 people, most of which were adults and when Sue emptied the donation box at the end of the day it had about 6 or 7 $1 bills in it. Three adults came together and they came up to me and asked what the charge is for walking around the center and I told them. I guess he felt that a dollar or two would be enough? I know that there are people that maybe can’t afford that, but something would be helpful. I know it’s important that people, especially children, get to see and experience various types of animals, especially rare and endangered ones like the Asian fishing cats, Indonesian Jade Peacocks, Albino Wallaby, Cotton Top Tamarin’s, Kookaburra’s and many others, and there are many of them at Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. It’s really sad that people don’t make donations, and I know it was disappointing for Sue and her staff who work tirelessly to take care of these animals who are so special to them.

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This is one of the most important organizations that I support. 100% of the donations are used for the care and feeding of the animals. When the wildlife officials, or people bring animals to Sue so she can hopefully bring them back to health and release them, no one gives her money for their care. I saw her give each of the animals a shot with medicine so that they could relax, have an antibiotic or whatever medicine was needed and when able she would feed them. A few had to be euthanized because they could not be saved like an adult sand hill crane with a broken hip and leg. Recently they were able to release an American Bald Eagle that they nursed back to health.

Even though it rained really hard at both the pow wow and at the wildlife center when I was at both places I had a great time. There are several previous albums and stories for the pow wow which I attend annually, and there are numerous albums and stories for Arnold’s Wildlife which I try to go to as often as I can. You can do a search on my website for the stories and photos.

Parts of the wildlife center yard looked like lakes after the hard rains. The rain and large puddles did not stop the wild animals from coming for their daily afternoon meal. Despite the variety of animals, they all get along and share the food. After the rain stopped there was a beautiful sunset.

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There are lots more pictures in the album I posted, so take your time and enjoy looking at them.

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One Response to FIHA Pow Wow, Fort Pierce, Florida, and Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Okeechobee, Florida, Leaking Camper Windows

  1. Maggie Bossett says:

    Fabulous post and great photos! It is AS important to teach children to be generous, giving, and kind as it is to show them animals and wildlife. We are interconnected and symbiotic, and need to do more than just look at our fellow creatures! Bless these women who give so much.

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