WEEK TWO AT FUMCH (Florida United Methodist Children’s Home)

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Monday morning after devotion we, along with Mary and Phil, returned to our outdoor chapel project.  At the end of the day last Thursday we had 2 rows of benches installed.  Monday we resumed with the layout of the third row, used the gas powered auger to dig six more holes, stacked cribbing to be used to support the benches while we used the fork lift to lift the benches and place the legs in the holes.   Then we mixed up some concrete and poured it in the holes.  It’s a very tedious work to be sure all the holes are placed in exactly the correct place, left/right, front to back, plum and level all the way across.  It took us a day each to complete each of the remaining rows this week.  Of course, there was also tear down, clean up to do each day since we had to leave everything secure each evening.  For safety and security of the children we secured anything that might could be used as a weapon by an upset, confused resident.  We also had some landscaping to do.  We completed all the benches Wednesday afternoon.

After some final cleanup work we moved to the greenhouse project after lunch Thursday and helped to pull some very heavy gauge wire through some buried conduit for close to 200 feet – a lot of heavy wire.  The wire was tied to a rope that we pulled through the conduit by attaching the rope to the forks of the forklift and then raising the forks as high as they would safely extend.  Then lower the forks back down, tighten up the rope and lift again – many times before finally pulling the wire out of the conduit at the panel beside the greenhouse.

Our outdoor chapel crew then went back to help with the setting of a 30′ concrete light pole for the chapel area.  David, supervisor of the maintenance department, along with several of his employees did most of the tractor and forklift work to get that huge hole dug and the pole set.  We assisted with the concrete and filling of the hole once they had it where they wanted it.  They left the tractor holding the pole in place for the night.  With that our work week was over.

It was another productive and fun week.  Other team members worked on electrical for the greenhouse, painted, pressure washed and several other things but again we don’t have pictures of that since we were not involved.  We are still hoping to gather some of those pictures before the end of the project.

Friday as another day for fun.  Mary and Phil invited us to visit the Circle B Bar Reserve with them.  It’s about 90 miles from the children’s home, in Lakeland, FL, but took about two hours to drive due to really heavy traffic getting through Orlando.  It was worth the time!  Such an amazing place.  Over 1,200 acres of former cattle ranch on the shores of Lake Hancock.  There are several distinct ecosystems that are available for hiking or biking.  We saw way too many alligators to count from very small to VERY large.  The one that decided to cross our trail as we approached, not looking at the trail but at the osprey eating a fish in a tree overhead, was the one that really got our attention.  He was a big guy.  Not the biggest we saw but the larger ones were not nearly as close.  The are many birds to photograph such as osprey, eagles, red shouldered hawks, storks, cranes, woodpeckers, herons and many others.  There are turtles and frogs and snakes (did not see any snakes), beautiful live oaks covered in Spanish moss, wetlands, and plains.  All of this and much more and it is free and open to the public seven days a week.  Amazing place we hope to return to next time we are in the area.  We would spend a week there and not see it all.

We ended the day with a family zoom with Anne’s cousins on the Richardson side.  It was a nice way to end another day and week in Florida.  May God continue to protect you all.  Until next week….

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